Whilst life can feel like there is barely room to breath and I may be supposed to be cleaning our house for an inspection this week (blurgh!) I thought I'd shine a light on some recent reads for younger than adult people in your life, or yourself - I'm not judging!
At the moment I have about 7, I kid not!, books on the go - some serious and others less so.
These are the books I've been reading recently that fall into the younger category.
Hop Up! Wriggle Over! by Elizabeth Honey
This is a beautiful little book perfect for the under 3 bracket. The whole book is simply a collection of action words with gorgeous Australian animals participating. Essentially it is a record of a days adventure and activities with the odd whoops-a-daisy along the way. Sweet, engaging and a perfect introduction to doing words. I could imagine acting this one out with kindy kids to great delight. A lovely addition to your books to buy as a present if you have small people who want to be read to.
Details - Allen & Unwin, April 2015, RRP$19.99 HB. Also available as an ebook.
Teddy Took the Train by Nicki Greenberg
This is a delightful rhyming book about Dot and Teddy. Teddy and Dot end up separated when Teddy is left on the train. The conductor comforts Dot by suggesting that the train didn't take Teddy, Teddy took the train. There begins the whimsical imaginings of Dot about all the things Teddy might be up to. Just before bed there is a wonderful reunion! The illustrations have a graphic quality to them and use some collage features which I like. There are also some nice additions in the illustration like the fact that mum is in a wheelchair and there is a punk-male knitting on the train. Simple ways of challenging stereotypes through image.
Details - Allen &Unwin, April 2015 RRP $19.99 HB. Also available as an ebook
Ten by Shamini Flint
Set in Malaysia and following 10 year old Maya Ten is a perfect read for any soccer loving kid boy or girl. Maya lives through the world cup and dreams of when she will be able to play professionally. Of course one problem she faces is that she has never kicked a soccer ball and there are no girls teams she knows of. Child of an English father and Indian mother living in Malaysia Maya faces other discriminations too. I like that Flint has woven a story of family dysfunction, cultural exclusion and sibling rivalry and support into the story. The story doesn't feel contrived and I think it would be a great jumping off point to have discussions with children about their own thoughts on these issues. I like that it is also a book that casts minorities in major roles. I think this is a really important issue for emerging readers, particularly those who are in a minority. It is a read alone or read aloud book and I would recommend it for any interested reader from about 8+.
Details - Allen & Unwin, 22 April, RRP $12.99. Also available as an ebook.
Prince of Afghanistan by Louis Nowra
This book follows Mark dropped into Afghanistan at 18 for a mission that goes very wrong. Stranded with military dog Prince so begins their adventure to try and get home - back to rural Australia. This is an action book and an easy read. At times I found the solutions a little too convenient to feel realistic but I think it would appeal to readers who are engaged by adventure, dogs and war stories. The relationship that develops between Mark and Prince is a lovely story and there are some poignant moments between the too. There is drug use in the book, not by the character, but descriptions of drugs and people on drugs. The narrative in no way glamourises drug use, quite the opposite in fact. The book does give insight into the terrible realities of war, drugs and destitution as a result of the continued and continuing cross fire in Afghanistan. It manages to do this without becoming too explicit.
Details - Allen & Unwin, March 2015 RRP $16.99. Also available as an ebook.
Pieces of Sky by Trinity Doyle
This is probably my favourite of these reads. It really hits the young adult genre well and deals with death, depression, relationships, identity and family in ways that I think are realistic and thought provoking. The narrative follows Lucy - champion swimmer, focussed student and the aftermath of her older brother's unexpected death. As her family spirals one way Lucy struggles to get back into the water, struggles to answer the questions she has about her brother's death and struggles to hold on to her own identity. As a warning there are some intimate scenes - no sex but not far off. For that reason I'd recommend it at an older teen level. This is a debut novel for Trinity Doyle and I think she will do well. I read this book fast and have thought about the characters since which is the hallmark of a good novel for me.
Details - Allen & Unwin, May 2015 RRP $16.99. Also available as an ebook (released this week)
Many thanks to Allen & Unwin for keeping me reading even when the world is spinning fast!
love you more than 2 hours of reading with no interruptions xxx
It's amazing to have watched our baby grow into a toddler and then into a boy... being a teenager is just around the corner.
I am so pleased to be your mama - to have the delight of you saying every night, when you are supposed to be going up to bed, I could hug you forever. I so admire your perseverance and your willingness to have a go at everything.
We have always been delighted by you. We love the way you see the world. We love that you march to the beat of your own drum without wanting to, or considering imposing that beat on anyone else. We think you are totally awesome.
You are such a delightful person you still hold my hand and I love how you wink right back at me when we catch each other's eye across the playground or the classroom or any space. You are friendly and inclusive and you genuinely believe that everyone is your friend - may you always be such.
You are a fantastic, patient, caring and including brother to Bounce and it makes us so delighted the way you 2 find all sorts of crazy games to play together. You still love numbers and technology, when we give you the chance, you also think wolves are the best.
You have a vivid imagination and you love being silly and making us laugh. Flip we are very proud of you and the way you have continued to grow with grace and faith into the boy you are. We are so blessed that you are in our family and we hope this new year will bring you exciting new challenges, a deeper faith and much joy.
Okay y'all here are three books that make my eyes and my heart feel good. They are housey books.
Do you ever have that treat-y moment where you decide to buy yourself a magazine and then you stand in the magazine shop for about half and hour tossing up between house, craft, fashion or food (usually food gets knocked off my list pretty quick)... then you narrow it down to a genre (or virgin, as I like to say!) and then you still feel too overwhelmed so you leave.
or you buy one and then wish you'd gone for another?
stand with me here magazine ditherers of the world.
So, that rather random introduction brings me to 3 books I have recently read and delighted in of the house genre/virgin.
Absolutely Beautiful Things by Anna Spiro
This one was given to me by my sister for my birthday and it has some really good designy advice as well as a plethora of beautiful, inspiring images. Anna is a maximalist rather than a minimalist so we were already going to be great friends! I read every word - and now it sits by my bed incase I ever get to lie in and read - which will never happen because I actually sleep every morning moment I get (I think I may still be a teenager!). This is a true coffee table style book large, hard cover, great images.
Published by Penguin books Australia. Her website is here.
The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith
Now I did put this on my book wishlist a while ago but then I saw it in the library and grabbed it. I read every.single.word of this book. The premise of the book is to push people past their fear of taking risks, their commitment to perfection and to give them some sound advice about taking a leap with their home even, or especially, if they are renting. Although the author has a name I'm not sure how to say and a design style that is very different from mine I loved the way she wrote and I agree with her approach. She is a thrifty, make-overy, love what you have and enjoy your home kind of gal and I love that.
Published by Zondervan. Her blog is here.
Homespun Style by Selina Lake
I think I have seen photos from this book before and so I was pretty stoked to see it on the shelves of my library too. A quick browse in the home/crafty/new books section always comes up trumps! I started reading every single word of this book but then the pictures were so pretty, SO pretty that I couldn't read the words anymore. This whole book is full of a very Miriam kind of design aesthetic - it is a riot of colour and mis-match and hand made and all of it.
Published by Ryland, Peters and Small. Her blog is here.
All of these books have inspired and challenged me to make the most of anywhere I call home and to take even more risks to decorate the house in a way that makes me feel joyful. One of the questions Myquillyn poses is to come up with some words that you would like to describe your home. Here are 5 I'd like to think people would use about my place
colourful, joyful, welcoming, interesting (in a way that wants you to stop and look), creative
Do tell, what words would you want to describe your home?
love you more than a colourful cushion, imperfectly styled xxxx