This is a weekly meme started and hosted by @marysimms72 on her brilliant Book Craic blog which I urge you to read. Also, please check out all the other posts and Tweets with the #MGTakesOnThursday tag, you will be sure to find many fantastic recommendations!
If you love books written for an MG audience and wish to take part, the steps to follow are:
- Post a picture of a front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
- Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence.
- Write three words to describe the book
- Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.
This week I am highlighting the pinnacle of #MG writing, a collection of short stories and illustrations featuring more than one hundred children’s writers and illustrators, the brainchild of Katherine Rundell. NHS Charities together will benefit from sales of this book.
Editor: Katherine Rundell
Illustrator: This book features illustrations from many of the most popular illustrators of children’s books
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Favourite sentence from Page 11: The short story on which starts on page 11 just happens to be written by one of my absolute favourite writers, Frank Cottrell Boyce. It is a wonderful allegory about finding the light in the midst of the gloom.
“Once, Sunny asked her mum, ‘My name – Sunny – what does it even mean?’ “
This book in three words: Endlessly Hopeful Possibilities
This book is the brainchild of Katherine Rundell and was first published online during lockdown. It is now available in a glorious hardback edition, with beautiful gold foiling on the cover and endpapers designed by former Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child. It is the perfect gift for any child and a joy to share in school classrooms and libraries.
It begins with a very short essay about hope and the power of stories and books to help rekindle and nurture hope in all of us, written in her usual elegant, wise and precise style by Katherine Rundell. Following this there are contributions from over 100 children’s book authors and illustrators, divided into themed categories. You can quite happily sit and read the entire book cover-to-cover, or just dip in and out of the section headings or alternatively seek out the contributions from your favourite authors first. There is genuinely something to appeal to everyone, no matter what their taste, mood or circumstances.
It is a perfect book for every teacher or librarian to have on their desk; each reading is at most 500 words long, so could be read in those changeover moments, or these days, the hand washing or wiping down the equipment stages of each day. There are true stories, poems, wild flights of imagination, beautifully illustrated quotes on the theme of hope, fascinating facts about the natural world and some pieces specifically reflecting on the period of lockdown. I found the item by Jackie Morris to be extremely evocative of the early weeks of lockdown when the treadmill of everyday routine was paused and there was actually time to observe the natural world.
Of the items I have read aloud, highlights include:
Anthony Horowitz’s poem, Hope, which has delighted boys who until now saw him solely as a writer of action-packed spy adventures.
M.G. Leonard’s reflections on the dung beetle, always a topic of interest to many primary school children. This piece is packed with scientific and ecological knowledge perfectly explained to satisfy an inquisitive young audience.
Isabel Thomas’ true story of the hungriest caterpillar and the importance of taking the time to observe and ask questions. This is a lovely item to read to Children in Years 5 and 6, before or after a science lesson.
Finally, if you want to hear a room-full of youngsters in fits of giggles, read them Lockdown Cat Haircut by Sharon Davey.
Whenever I get a chance to browse, I find myself constantly drawn to the picture by Alex T Smith, illustrating Audrey Hepburn’s quote: To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
This is a book which will plant a seed of hope in anyone who wishes to spend time with it.
I am grateful to Toppsta and Bloomsbury Children’s Books for sending me a review copy of this beautiful book.