Books and lists – what more could you want?

You might have noticed I like books. I keep my Goodreads lists up to date, and set myself targets every year. I also know Jennifer Gilmour, the author of The Book Review Log Book, has targets on Goodreads | you can see them here, although I suspect she’s using her log book now so it may not be up-to-date!

But the Goodreads system only lets you set a target number of books – I go for one a week because it requires no thought! Which is fine, but with the emphasis purely on quantity, it misses that for a reluctant reader, three books could be a huge achievement. That’s why I published The Book Dragon Club packed with fun reading activities and challenges for kids.

So, back to The Book Review Log Book. Now, full disclosure, I’m working on a grown-up version of my Book Dragon Club, so I was a bit worried I might be conflicted if I reviewed this book, but I’m really glad I did as I love it, and mine will be different so no conflict.

It starts with goal setting – yay! And it’s free form so you can tailor it to exactly what you want to achieve – another bug bear of mine regarding the Goodreads system.

The “To be Read” section suggests drawing spines on shelves, which I love as an idea instead of a list. There are 6 shelves, so you could even organise them by genre, or any other way.

And the inclusion of a “Book release calendar” is genius – unless I add a book to my Amazon pre-orders, I often lose them.

There is then plenty of space for 100 book reviews, and progress checks to celebrate as you go. Fun!

Blurb

Keep a track of your reading progress and your book reviews in one place:

  • Reading Goals
  • To Be Read List
  • Book Release Dates
  • Word Cloud
  • Your Reviews
  • Your Notes

Author bio

Jennifer Gilmour is an author and advocate for women in abusive relationships, using her own experiences of domestic abuse as a catalyst to bring awareness and to help others. Jennifer has published two publications, Isolation Junction and Clipped Wings which have both been Amazon Best Sellers and received awards. Jennifer speaks at events across the UK and continues to raise awareness through her blog posts, public speaking, radio interviews and social media. 

Most Informative Blogger Award 2018 (Bloggers Bash Annual Awards)
UK & European Award for using Social Media for Good 2019 (Social Day: Social Media Marketing Awards) 

Jennifer says: “Together we are Louder”.

Racoon and the Hot Air Balloon

Jill Atkins is in my writing group so I was thrilled to be invited by her publisher to take part in the blog tour for her new book, Racoon and the Hot Air Balloon. Unfortunately a hiking holiday in the hills meant I missed the actual tour, but I was lucky enough to be sent a copy to review anyway.

I absolutely loved the Racoon character – everything you could want in a role model – kind, compassionate, brave, and adventurous. And always getting into mischief – something that should appeal to young readers!

And the Eagle mum character is also very strongly written. She allows Raccoon to explore, but there in the background to prevent disaster. What a lovely way to include the “grown-up” in the story. I remember hearing Katherine Rundell say in a speech “there is nothing so endangered in children’s literature as a mother” and it’s true – as writers we’re encouraged to write them out so the children can solve their problems, but I like them to be there in the background.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there is the underlying message of good deeds repaying themselves.

Blurb

Raccoon is in search of adventure! A hot air balloon looks like the perfect way for her to experience flying…but how do you get down?

Author Bio

Jill Atkins is a self-proclaimed ‘escaped teacher’ who is now writing for children with 46 books published so far, ranging from early reading material to teenage novels. She is married with two grown-up children and five grandchildren, and loves to read both adult and children’s books.

Delightfully different, totally terrific

Dilly the penguin has one leg, so she hops rather than waddles. Some penguins are fine with this, others not so. Approaching the topic of “difference” often feels like a potential parental minefield, but I promise you can’t go wrong with Delightfully Different Dilly. There’s a learning here, obviously, but many stories which cover this scenario feel uncomfortably forced or contrived. Not so here. This is a classic adventure set-up, with courage, teamwork, and friendship shining through, and it’s flawlessly done.

Stunning illustrations (see the pic), tons of drama, great characterisation, and an important message that is not rammed down your throat – this is an absolute must for every home bookshelf and classroom book box.

Not only are there great talking points leaping from every page, but I was so impressed with the linked sensory activities done by @rascals_and_rainbows that I have to highlight them here. Check it out!

Blurb

When Dilly is born, her parents think she is perfect – from the top of her head to the bottom of her foot. The other babies notice that she is different but soon accept her, and love her different way of doing things. They even try  to copy her – in the funniest ways! Their mummies and daddies aren’t sure, though – someone different makes them anxious, they like everyone to be the same. Can their babies convince their parents to accept Dilly – and to understand that it’s actually brilliant to be different?

Author bio

I began writing magazine fiction and have sold thousands of stories all over the world, but when my daughters were born and I started reading to them, I was reminded just how wonderful children’s books are, and decided to try writing them myself. They are the most fun of all and I have had over eighty books published from picture books up to novels for up to age 12. 

Some of them deal with issues I have faced with my own children such as a pet dying – Scrumpy (Andersen) or an over-adventurous hamster – Hammy (Orchard), others cover issues common to many children, such as being scared of monsters – Nothing Can Frighten a Bear (Nosy Crow), being different – Delightfully Different Dilly (Quarto 2021) and being small – Billy and the Balloons (Salariya) and Off to Market! (Frances Lincoln -a runner-up in the Dundee Picture Book Award and based on my journey on an over-crowded minibus in Uganda filled with villagers, furniture and animals! 

Not a bus book!

On the day that Meghan Markle’s “The bench” is all over the media for being a pure vanity project, entirely devoid of plot, and barely in English (seriously, Puffin should be embarrassed to have published it), I’m thrilled to have a beautifully written picture book for you.

I’ve reviewed several of Sue Wickstead’s bus-themed books over the past few years. They’re all beautiful gentle stories, with a simple, appropriate message, and with lovely traditional illustrations. So when I saw she’s branched out and published a non-bus themed book, I was intrigued.

Firstly, I was pleased to see that Barty Barton, the bear who was loved too much has the same illustrator (I wish they were credited on the cover). The picture of Barty reminds me so much of my own tatty teddy, who is definitely “loved too much” but still sits on my shelf (with his best friends).

It’s a heartwarming plot line that brought a lump to my throat. Perfect for reassuring any youngster before their favourite toy goes for its annual bath!

And in case you were missing the buses, I spotted one sneak into the illustrations.

Giveaway

Giveaway to Win a  Lego bear and some teddy bear colouring sheets (UK) plus a few more goodies.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494424/

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Author bio

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author and writes children’s picture books with a bus theme. She has also written a photographic history book about the real bus, which is where her story writing began.

Sue once worked with a playbus charity based in Crawley. This led her to write the photographic history book about the project. The ‘Bewbush Playbus’ book was published in 2012.

Sue then began to write a fictional tale about the bus. ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name and has now been followed by more picture books (ten to date) which all indeed have a bus connection as well as links to her teaching journey.

Gloria is the most recent bus book and is based on the summer play-schemes which operated during the school holidays providing a safe place to play and to meet other children. (published 2020)

‘Barty Barton; the bear that was loved too much’ was also published in 2020. Barty was written for both her son and grandson.

Some of Sue’s books have been entered and shortlisted in ‘The Wishing Shelf Book Awards’, her book ‘A Spooky Tale’ was a silver medal winner in 2019. It is a story written with her class in school and is aimed at the younger reader.

Book box birthday party!

It’s flown past but the book subscription box business I run, The Book Dragon Club, is one. If you haven’t already seen the boxes then clearly my social media presence needs some attention, so here is a little teaser.

At the start of the pandemic I turned my after-school book clubs into a range of carefully curated book boxes and themed activity packs. The monthly boxes save parents’ time and effort in ensuring their child has access to a high quality, diverse library, and are specifically designed to encourage cross-curricular learning. Plus our regular book club meetings (online) are a great way to encourage a love of reading.

The book boxes are designed to inspire a lifelong love of reading with an emphasis on diversity by both genre and author. Each box includes an exclusive themed activity pack designed by experts to encourage cross-curricular, immersive, learning. Our boxes are suitable for all abilities, from reluctant readers to bookworms, although of course we call them book dragons. 

If you aren’t a member already, I’d love to see you there.

You can find out more about the book boxes at www.bookdragon.club

PS – prices will be going up in the summer for new members, so join now to lock in the current bargain!