Amy Wilson

Snowglobe

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Clem is different somehow and Jago, a boy at school, knows this and doesn’t like it. After enduring his taunts, she finally snaps and uses the magic she has tried to ignore against him. Suspended from school, she finds herself drawn to a mysterious house which she has never noticed before. Once inside, she is intrigued by the thousands of snowglobes it holds- and alarmed to find one holds Dylan, a boy from her school…

It would give too much away to say any more about this amazing book which is published today. Clem is a wonderful heroine- determined and loyal, yet so vulnerable as she is ostracised by others at school. Her relationship with her father is also beautifully explored. The relationship between her and Dylan is also well developed, showing each’s strengths, weaknesses and sensitivity.

The three sisters, Io, Ganymede and Calisto, are wonderful creations, fascinating and complex, their lives entwined yet marred by the demands of their relationships.

Beautifully written, the lyrical prose is as magical as the story it tells. Wonderfully original, completely captivating, this is a must read!

Snowglobe Amy Wilson

Macmillan ISBN: 978-1509885800

You can read our review of ‘A Far Away Magic’ here and of ‘A Girl Called Owl’ here.

Bristol's Festival of Children's Literature part one!

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Today, I joined lots of lovely people at the wonderful Horfield Primary School. What a wonderful school it is with reading obviously at the heart of every classroom and it was here that the first Bristol Festival of Children's Literature was held.

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What a brilliant programme packed full of excellent events! It was really hard to choose which to go to, but after much deliberation, I selected four sessions. Before I made it to any of them, the day started well when I bumped into the lovely Andy Seed and had a chat with him while he was waiting for his first event! 

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I was also delighted to see that Book Island had a little shop, offering their wonderful books. They really offer something a bit different and special as well as being really high quality.

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First, I went to see Leigh Hodgkinson, author of 'Are You Sitting Comfortably?' and 'The Big Monster Snoreybook'. 

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Leigh read 'Troll Swap', one of her lovely picture books, which the audience really enjoyed. The book celebrates the importance of being who you are and recognises how different we all are. She then drew a troll as directed by the audience, valuing all contributions and making sure that the quieter children had an opportunity to offer their ideas as well as the confident ones. It was lovely to watch their enthusiasm!

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Each child then made their own troll/ child picture, creating a flip book. They had great fun. I was chatting to a very nice lady who has been training to teach and will start her first job in September! We agreed this would make a great activity to do in class!

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Next, I went to find out how to make a picture book with David Lucas. He talked about plot structure and showed us how he had formed the plot of 'The Robot and the Bluebird' over a number of spreads. David also talked about how pictures and works support each other.  He then read us 'Grendel: A Cautionary Tale About Chocolate' and taught us how to draw Grendel using letter shapes!

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Next, David encouraged everyone to develop ideas for their own stories. He circulated, supporting people and helping them to develop their ideas. He suggested that everyone tried to finish their ideas and that children create their book over the summer to show their new teachers in September- something I would absolutely love if one of my children had a go!

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After this, I was sitting in the sun, enjoying a sneaky ice lolly, when I was joined by Margaret Pemberton and Amy Wilson. It was lovely to have some bookish chat with these fab folk before heading off to my next session. Amy held two sessions during the day which were very popular. She has a new book, 'Snowglobe' out in October which I have a copy of and am looking forward to reading and reviewing very soon!

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And that was all before lunchtime! More about this brilliant new festival tomorrow...

A Far Away Magic

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Starting a new school after the strange death of her parents, Angel doesn't want to be bothered with friends, yet finds herself drawn to Bavar, another loner, who seems determined to merge into the background. Angel can sense something strange and different about him and a friendship develops between them.

As she comes to know him better, Angel learns that Bavar is responsible for trying to protect the world from raksasas, monsters trying to enter the world through a magical rift. Determined to break the cycle, Bavar is trying to find his own way on life. However, his story and Angel's are more closely linked than either could imagine.

Told from alternating viewpoints, 'A Far Away Magic' is a compelling, unusual story, full of magic and mystery. Amy Wilson successfully combines the fantastical world Bavar inhabits with the everyday world of school and 'normality'. Bavar's house is an amazing creation, contrasting perfectly with the 'little vanilla house' Angel is living in.

Both children struggle with deep emotions- Angel with the grief of losing her parents and the guilt of her survival and Bavar with feelings of rejection and the desire to escape his role. Their emotions are portrayed with great sensitivity and skill.

Darker than 'A Girl Called Owl', but just as compelling, 'A Far Away Magic' is a fabulous, enjoyable read. 

A Far Away Magic      Amy Wilson

Macmillan Children's    ISBN:978-1509837755