Bookshelf Moving On

Lily and the Rockets

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Lily lives with her widowed father who used to be good footballer and has brought his daughter up to love the game, teaching her all the skills of a goalkeeper. leaving school in 1917, Lily goes to work in a munitions factory, lying about her age to get a job. Here, she is delighted to find a women’s football team and soon finds her place as their goalie, joining them in kickabouts at lunchtimes and then playing in a women’s league. As the war comes to an end, the girls find they are no longer needed to do their jobs- and they lose their team. Lily, however, has other ideas.

Rebecca Stevens has a real talent for making historical fiction really come to life for the reader. ‘Lily and the Rockets’ is full of details which make it convincing reading, but it is the fascinating insight the reader gains into the history of women’s football which makes this a very special read. Using a lady called Lily Parr as the inspiration for her own Lily, Rebecca Stevens adds details from her footballing life to the story.

The story is full of strong characters- Lily is a well rounded young girl with hopes and fears, worries and joys like anyone else. I am particularly fond of Lily’s dad whose wise words- Whatever you decide to do, there’ll be people who’ll tell you not to, say it’ll be too hard, you won’t like it, it’s not for the likes of you. they’ll try and stop you, Lily-oh. But you mustn’t let them. Listen to me girl, You Must Not Let Them!’- love and support, even when he is injured, is so wonderful. I am also delighted with how things turn out for Lily at the end!

A wonderful story, drawing on true experience, about camaraderie, love and those who paved the way for women’s football today.

Lily and the Rockets Rebecca Stevens

Chicken House ISBN: 978-1912626120

Rebecca Stevens is also the author of ‘Valentine Joe’, a great favourite of mine, but one which for some inexplicable reason, we have never reviewed!

The Starlight Watchmaker

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Hugo is a watchmaker, working alone in his attic room, at an elite academy for rich students from across the galaxy. Having been abandoned by his previous owner, he is lucky to have a job and a home; many other androids are not so fortunate. Hugo’s orderly life is completely disrupted one day when Dorian, one of the privileged students, arrives with a watch which needs mending. This leads to a mystery which they must work together to solve.

Barrington Stoke are well known and respected for the excellent range of titles they produce which support those with dyslexia. ‘The Starlight Watchmaker’ is a fabulous example of a compelling, enjoyable read aimed at older children which is accessible to a younger reading age. Its beautiful presentation makes it really tempting.

Hugo is a wonderful character and the development of his friendship with Dorian is lovely to witness as the two come to understand each other’s world more clearly. The lack of understanding of those born to wealth and privilege shown to those who have so little is explored through the story.

Laura James has created a fascinating, well imagined and incredibly diverse world, populated by butterflies riding penny farthings, clockwork moths, students whose scalps are covered in tentacles…It’s just wonderful!

‘The Starlight Watchmaker’ is a beautiful tale of friendship and understanding, full of wonderful characters and offering a satisfying story. Brilliant!

The Starlight Watchmaker Lauren James

Barrington Stoke ISBN: 978-1781128954

Where the River Runs Gold

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Today, I was lucky enough to be invited to The Skip Garden for the launch of Sita Brahmachari’s wonderful new book, ‘Where the River Runs Gold’ which is on our Moving On long list this year. This is a powerful, thought-provoking story, set at a time when bees have disappeared and plants are pollinated by hand using child labour. It is a stunning piece of writing and its main characters, Shifa and Themba, are beautifully portrayed.

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The Skip Garden is a fascinating place and made the perfect backdrop for the launch. The team who worked on this project with Sita are obviously very passionate about the book - and there was such a lovely warmth between them. Speeches were made and then Sita spoke, not only about ‘Where the River Runs Gold’ but also about her childhood, entertaining us by ‘channelling’ her father, speaking to us as he would have had he been there.

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Amid the noise from the surrounding area, Sita spoke passionately about the importance of children realising they can make a difference and that their voices can be heard, about the importance of looking after our world and the people in it.

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Sita did a reading whilst in the polytunnel, a very fitting location for the extract she chose. She read with such conviction and expression I think everyone was disappointed when she finished! We then were able to explore the Skip Garden and look at all the amazing work they are doing.

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When we re-grouped for a drink and some delicious nibbles, we were taught how to make an origami seed packet in which to gather our own collection of seeds.

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It was a suitably fabulous celebration of a wonderful book and its lovely author. Thanks very much for inviting me!

Where the River Runs Gold Sita Brahmachari

Orion ISBN: 978-1510105416