Bookshelf Bits & Bobs

Where the River Runs Gold


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Little Tiger Picture Book Showcase 2019


Yesterday, I headed off to a hot and humid London for the Little Tiger Picture Book Showcase. Held at the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford, it was a very tiger-themed affair as their current immersive exhibition is ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea.’


The afternoon started with the wonderful Tracey Corderoy sharing her new book, ‘Sneaky Beak’, illustrated by Tony Neal. Always a joy to hear, Tracey was full of energy and enthusiasm, interacting brilliantly with her audience. The story is an absolute joy, reminding us that all we really need is a good friend!


After reading, Tracey showed everyone how to make rockets like the one Bear zooms off in in the story! I love Tracey’s events as she is always so well prepared and everyone always comes away with something that they have made. Parents and children quickly put together their rockets from the wonderful array of materials and soon children and rockets were zooming round the room!


Next, Barry Timms shared his book, ‘Where Happiness Lives’, illustrated by Greg Abbott. Full of beautiful pictures with cut away sections and flaps to lift, this story is about Little Brown Mouse and how he learned to value what he had. It’s so lovely!


Next was poet, James Carter who introduced music and madness to the proceedings as he took us on a journey to the stars with his poem, ‘Once Upon a Star’. He quickly had us all joining in and enjoying ourselves.


All too soon, the party was over, but we still had a treat in store! Having met up with Jane from the FCBG, we went down to the basement to explore ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ exhibition. We followed the tiger paw prints…


…and entered the wonderful world of Judith Kerr! So many little (and not so little) people were enjoying themselves exploring everything! Jane wanted to go down the slide, but decided to have a nice cuppa with the Tiger instead!


As well as the Tiger, we enjoyed seeing Mog…


…whilst lots of little ones enjoyed driving the bus!


It was a wonderful day! Thank you to the Discover Centre for allowing us to explore and to Little Tiger for such a lovely gathering!

Tea, biscuits and long lists!


Last night, we had our final long list meeting! Favourite books were championed, tea was consumed and many, many biscuits were eaten!


Over the past few months, JAB members have been searching bookshops, using their local libraries and visiting festivals to collect wonderful books that we think could be part of the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards 2019. We were delighted by the response from publishers this year and many boxes and parcels have arrived, full of goodies for us to savour. Hard as it has been, we have been working our way through these and suggestions from members until- hundreds of books later- we are ready to share this year’s long list for each category- on Saturday!


Starting with poetry, we worked our way through each of our six categories with different members championing their favourite reads. The range and quality on offer was amazing and we enjoyed sharing ideas for how books could be used in classrooms, for guided reading, book events or library sessions.


Tea top-ups and new packets of biscuits were needed as the evening wore on and the discussions became increasingly heated. Reluctantly, some books were put to one side- some occasionally sneaked back into the discussion pile when no one was looking- until at last we had six long lists of wonderful books- twenty picture books, twelve poetry, twelve information, twelve quality fiction, twelve read aloud and twelve moving on. Can’t wait to share them…