Friday, 28 September 2012

Little M sat down for a chat.....with Susie Day

Little M asked Susie Day a few questions. Susie is the author of the wonderful book, The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones.


Susie Day (photo: Justa Mili)

Little M: Is Bluebell Jones inspired by your childhood?

Susie: The story, no. Alas, I did not blow out my birthday candles on my 13th birthday to find my 14-year-old future self grinning back at me, full of advice. If I had, perhaps I could’ve skipped that unfortunate phase of home-hairdressing.

But the setting, a seaside town in Wales - that’s absolutely drawn from my childhood. I’m from Penarth; when I was growing up, going down Barry Island Pleasure Park and playing the penny slots, riding the Wacky Gold Mine and then eating some fairground doughnuts was basically the best night out of my life ever. There’s a lot of that in Penkerry.

Little M: How did you get the names for your characters in Bluebell Jones?

Susie: I stole them from the Jim Henson Creature Shop!

Redfraggle (copyright JHP and HIT Entertainment)
When I was small I loved the character Red in Fraggle Rock: she was carefree, with a real sense of adventure (I was more of a Boober or a Mokey, myself) - so when I imagined this girl, this amazing projection of the future, complete with bright red-dyed hair, she had to be called Red.

When I first started writing this book, the main character was called Poppy - but once Red was there, naturally she had to become Bluebell: Blue and Red. And Fozzie is of course named after Fozzie from The Muppets, because everyone loves Fozzie.

Little M: What inspired you to write Bluebell Jones?

Susie: I wanted to write a coming-of-age story about a girl absolutely on the brink of being teenage. I remember finding that ‘on the cusp’ time so difficult, when some girls seemed so much further ahead than me in caring about clothes, knowing what was ‘in’, deciding what kind of person they were. I just wanted to skip over all that and reappear one day at school, finished and ready.

Little M: Do you have any pets?

Susie: Nope! I used to have goldfish called Starsky, Hutch and Huggy Bear. I’d love to have a cat, though.

Summer snap: Gelati in Corniglia, Italy
Little M: Are there any funny moments working at the boarding school?

Susie: Many, many funny moments! (For anyone confused by this question, as well as writing I work in a boarding school, and live in a house full of teenage boys.) They do a lot of the old classics: bucket of water on top of the door you’re about to open, trying to make the pizza delivery guy frisbee the pizza boxes through a tiny gap in a first-floor window, that sort of thing.

My highlight from this past year is still L: I go around the house each night to check on everyone, and he always liked to hide and then leap out and shout ‘aaaargh!’ to scare me. Except L was really, really bad at hiding. There was always a leg sticking out, or he’d start laughing before he could do the ‘aaaargh’ bit. One night he actually climbed into his wardrobe while I was in the room, and then jumped out - and he was very put out when I didn’t look sufficiently surprised.

Thanks for asking me such great questions!
Susie xx


Read Little M's review of The Twice-Lived Summer of Blubell Jones.
You can vists Susie at her website.

And, if you're coming to our event at the Ilkley Literature Festival, you may get a special taster of Bluebell Jones :)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Billie Templar's War - guest review by Alice

We've a new young guest reviewer today. It's Alice. She's 12. You might have met her before when she took part in our first teen book group. In her own style, she reviews Billie Templar's War by Ellie Irving.

Billie Templar's War by Ellie Irving

For Queen. For country. For dad. This book is about an eleven year old girl called Billie Templar and about her life while her dads at war. It is set in England in the modern day. Billie’s main aim is to get her dad home from the war in time for the school’s summer carnival.

Favourite character:
My favourite character was Billie because of all her determination and concentration that went into trying to get her dad back home from the war.

Extra comments:
- emotional in places (especially towards the end of the book)
- full of determination and willpower

9/10 - a good book

For 9 and over and for people that like modern fiction


Publication details:
Bodley Head, June 2012, hardback

This copy: received by We Sat Down for review from the publishers 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

M's Review - Now Is the Time For Running

Now Is the Time For Running by Michael Williams

Now Is the Time For Running

First published in South Africa as The Billion Dollar Soccer Ball, Now Is the Time For Running is a novel about the courage, bravery, despair and hope that are required by ordinary, everyday adults and children in the face of xenophobia (the fear of people from another country).

This is a compelling story about two brothers, Deo and Innocent. It starts with a dusty game of football being played in a Zimbabwean village using an improvised soccer ball (a football). It’s around 2007 and the arrival of soldiers at the soccer game sets the novel on a dramatic and heartwrenching path.

Deo is fourteen and finds himself faced with a smattering of the biggest and scariest decisions of his life. They’re made even tougher because he shoulders responsibility for Innocent, his twenty-four year old brother who suffered brain trauma at birth.  Armed with only a broken soccer ball and a cereal box, Deo and Innocent set off on a journey. They know their lives are in danger and they need to seek refuge. But they don’t know where they’re going or how they’re going to get there.

Now Is the Time For Running is a hopeful story but it is also a deeply sad and horrifying story. There all sorts of wild and often horrible obstacles encountered by the characters in this story. But there is also a lot of goodness where you’d least expect to find it. Apart from telling a good story, this is one of those novels that might prompt some readers to go and find out more about refugees or even get involved in existing social projects. Or maybe start a new one.  Or just have a little think.

This is a book that could hook readers of soccer fiction. Soccer is a central theme and it provides key turning points in the story. It is also a much loved game in southern Africa. But for those who aren’t football fans, fear not. The story is really about Deo and Innocent’s journey for refuge. And it’s a real pageturner. The last section of the book was my least favourite but it signposted me to a couple of important things I didn’t know about so I am very pleased I read them (I’m not saying what they were because that would be a plot spoiler!). 

I think this fictional story (based on interviews with African refugees) will tug at the hearts and minds of most teenagers, youth workers and many other adults.  I think I should start a new tag for the blog: books that made me cry when I wrote the review.

The book cover warns that it is not suitable for younger readers. There is horrific violence and abuse but it is not graphic and sometimes it is simply inferred.

Publication details:
Tamarind, 2012, London, paperback

This copy: received for review from the publishers

Other reading suggestions:

For younger readers wishing to read fiction that explores issues with similar themes about democracy and refugees, I would point them towards The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo.

For older readers who are interested in genocide, refugees and human rights, Never Fall Down is the story of a teenage boy living through the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge killings in Cambodia. Never Fall Down is a much starker read than Now Is the Time For Running.

Another teen novel about contemporary Zimbabwe is Jason Wallace’s Out of Shadows. We haven’t read this but it did win the Costa in 2010.

The younger brother caring for an older brother theme also runs through My Brother Simple by Marie Aude-Murail. But that is a very different book.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

More Diverse Universe Blog Tour

Aarti at BookLust is hosting A More Diverse Universe blog tour which celebrates speculative fiction written by people of colour.

Malorie Blackman: Noughts & Crosses
For my post, I've chosen Malorie Blackman's Noughts & Crosses. Noughts & Crosses was Malorie Blackman's first direct treatment of racism in her novels. It is based on an alternative history which pretty much amounts to a flipped apartheid. It's a harsh and brutal story that doesn't hold back its punches. And it's great for teens today.

The reason I've chosen Noughts & Crosses is for three reasons:

1) It's a book that really gets under my skin because although speculative, much of the material in the book is based on past and current happenings (just switched);

2) No matter how often I remind myself that Noughts are white and Crosses are black, in my mind's eye, I flip them back. Just an observation......;

3) New editions for the four book sequence have just been published in the UK and the new jackets are still quite stark but with a splash of colour and more grit. Covers that, in my opinion, reflect the content of the novels perfectly.

Here is the link to my earlier review of Noughts & Crosses, the first book in the sequence (you'll see how the cover has changed too).

The new covers for the Noughts & Crosses sequence
You can find out more about Malorie Blackman on her website.
Raimy-Rawr has been running a Noughts & Crosses week on her blog, Readaraptor.
This the schedule for A More Diverse Universe Blog Tour 23-29 September 2012.
Thanks to Corgi (Random House UK) for sending me copies of the sequence.

Friday, 21 September 2012

We sat down for a chat....with Martyn Bedford (part 2)

Today, we continue our chat with Martyn Bedford. Here, we focus on Martyn the person and the writer. Find out what the question he's never been asked before is!
For part 1, go here; for a review of Flip, go here.

How did you become an author?

Martyn: I was writing fiction when I was at school. I started writing stories and chapters of novels when I was about thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. I went into journalism initially – you can’t really get a job as ‘an author’. I carried on writing in my twenties and early thirties. I’d got about forty rejection slips from agents. Then I went and did an MA Creative Writing course at East Anglia and started working a a novel that did get published. I didn’t actually get published until I was about thirty-six.

Martyn Bedford
You teach writing part-time. What is your favourite writing class?

Martyn: I teach at Leeds Trinity University College. I’ve got a module that I enjoy called Life Writing where people write autobiography in the first semester and then they write Biography. The students seem to particularly like the autobiographical element – I don’t know if that says something about undergraduates that they like writing about themselves. They find the Biography a bit more of a stretch.


Did you get scared when you were writing Flip (because we did in a couple of places)?

Martyn: Not really because as the writer I know what’s coming. Fear is a tension thing that comes with not knowing what’s coming next. But you were meant to be at some points!  Although there were some bits where I got a bit upset.

If you were Alex in Philip/Flip’s body, what food would you struggle to eat for breakfast?

Martyn: I wouldn’t object to the croissants in the way that he does – I wouldn’t mind those. I’d eat pretty much anything. I’m not that fussy about food. But I’m not keen on savoury food for breakfast, like kedgeree. Or kippers.

Being weird about what I eat at breakfast, I’ll try that one morning at home and see what happens!

What kind of key ring do you have?

Martyn: In an interview there’s always a question you’ve never been asked before – and this one’s it! I’ve got Simply the Best Dad – which is true actually, I’m sure your dad’s very good, but I’m the best dad. And the Tesco’s clubcard.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

We sat down for a chat...with Martyn Bedford (part 1)

For the first time on this blog, we really did sit down for a chat! Little M, M and Martyn Bedford all together in  a coffee shop.

Martyn is the author of the acclaimed teen novel, Flip. You can read our review of it here. With three of us there, there was a lot to talk about. And Martyn is very funny. Today, is Martyn Bedford part 1 and focuses on questions about his novel, Flip. Part 2 is about Martyn the author on writing. Watch out for the spoiler alert warnings towards the end.

So, let's flip to it.....

Why did you want to write this book?

Martyn: I wrote five novels for adults before I wrote Flip. But I knew this was going to be a teenage novel, not just because the central character is fourteen, but because the ideas and themes in it were the ones that mattered to me when I was fourteen. And I thought these might still be relevant to teenagers today. I think the emotional stuff about being a teenager – friendships, relationships, getting on with parents and teachers – they don’t disappear from one generation to the next. What I was exploring was my experiences of being Alex’s age and how difficult I found that: not being sure who I was, looking for a sense of identity. I wasn’t quite a child anymore but I also wasn’t quite an adult. That’s what I wanted to write about.

When I was writing the book, I got interested in this idea of if we looked different – if you knew that when you walked into a room everyone would fancy you - would that make you different inside? Would you be more arrogant, more conceited, more confident?

Did any real towns influence the settings in Flip?

Martyn: Yes. Litchbury is based on Ilkley but it is fictionalised. The reason I didn’t call it Ilkley was because I wanted to make little changes to the geography in the book and play around with the reality of it. The rocks in the book are based on Otley Chevin. And if I based it on a real school, there’d be risks of libelling teachers! The bench that Alex sits on when he rifles through his rucksack is real though.

The setting that inspired a turning point in Flip
Is psyche evacuation a real phenomenon?

Martyn: No, it’s not. I did do a lot of research but I couldn’t find anything that says psyche evacuation exists. Or, at least, no-one believes it exists. Scientifically, I don’t believe it’s possible and I couldn’t find anyone out there who does. But the websites that Alex comes across in the novel are real ones that I came across – but not the psyche evacuation one. Some readers are quite cross about that!

Somebody asked me if I was a psychic evacuee and I thought, “Well, if I was, do you think I’d come back looking like this?”

Did you feel sorry for Alex of Philip?

Martyn: My sympathies are mainly with Alex. I imagine that’s really obvious. He’s the main hero. I started off not feeling very sympathetic towards Philip but as the summer wore on, I became more sympathetic towards him.

I wanted Alex to be traumatised by being Philip but also seeing that were some advantages as well. It’s not just a straightforward choice for him then – about going back. I wanted it to be a real choice that Alex had to make. How desperately does he want to live his own life?

If the book’s got a message at all, it’s to try and be who you are rather than be something you’re not. But I don’t want to make that too obvious because I hate books where the author’s trying to tell me what to think.


Come back for Martyn Beford Part 2 where Martyn talks to us more about himself and writing - Friday 21 September 2012

Spoiler alert!!! Spoiler Ahead!!!
Stop reading now if you don’t like any kind of spoilers!

What happened to Flip?
(We know that the answer to this would be a big spoiler for people who haven’t read the book yet so we’re not including that answer! But it was a great discussion and we all had slightly different ideas about what happened or where the story went once the novel was finished. You can e-mail us if you want to know more detail!)

Why did Beagle the dog die?  This seems to be a recurrent event in books for children and teens that deal with death?

Martyn: That’s a good question. I’ve been told off by quite a few people for killing Beagle. There are a number of reasons for doing it. Partly, it triggers thoughts for Alex about bodies and souls, and it also triggers a degree of sympathy for Philip not being there. But I also wanted it there to be a certain element of stress for Alex. I didn’t want his life to be straightforward as Philip. I wanted there to be problems and difficulties along the way.

Until tomorrow.......

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Review - Silenced

Silenced by Simon Packham

Silenced by Simon Packham
Chris is in Year Eleven and his best friend’s just been killed in a car crash. Chris is so distraught by the news that he becomes unable to speak -literally! He has become mute. Silenced. Everyone is trying to get him to speak again – his parents, the psychiatrist, people at school, Ariel, and Will.

At first, Chris being mute is a bit funny.  But then you realise that the car crash or events surrounding it could be important – and maybe Chris knows something about it? Or not? He’s not saying and you’ll probably find yourself shouting “tell us, tell us” at him. From here on, Silenced becomes a bit of a thriller.

But Silenced is also very much about dealing with grief, and losing and making friends. The thing that stands out for me is that it looks at how to be a friend.  What exactly is a good friend?

Was Chris a good friend – he starts to ask himself this? Could suave Will Hunt be a new friend? Ariel? Well her off-grid, green Honesty life makes her a very interesting possibility – and she knows things that Chris doesn’t! And was Declan as fabulous as everyone’s making him out to be?

Silenced is a bit like Martyn Bedford’s Flip in some ways (maybe because it’s a teen boy character considering issues of death) but Silenced is a lighter, quicker and easier read.

This is a very readable book and most teens would probably enjoy it. I’d recommend it. Some ten years olds might be happy with it too but it does deal with themes of death, crime and suicide – although not in a dark or violent way. 

Publication details:
Piccadilly Press, 2012, London, paperback

This copy: received from the publisher

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Review - Flip

Flip by Martyn Bedford

Flip by Martyn Bedford

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be somebody else? Are you really happy in your own skin? And if you're not in your own skin....well, where are you? That’s what Flip is all about.

It’s also about Alex. No, Philip.  Actually, it’s Flip. Hmm? Confused?  Yes. So is he.  They. So I’ll just call him Alex.

This award-winning novel kept me on my toes. At first, I thought it’s a comedy. A contemporary comedy.  But, hey, waking up in somebody else’s body.  Uh no, that’s got to be some kind of science fiction – or even fantasy!  But comedy it is as Alex struggles to become Philip who is the complete opposite to him. Philip is good-looking, sporty and has girls drooling all over him. Alex – not so much.  So you see the problem. Not to mention taking a shower in someone else’s body.

As Alex battles with this new body, this new identity, this new life, his mind delves deeper and deeper into his existence. Who Am I? – in both the literal and figurative sense.  Then, thanks to the internet, the novel darkens and typical elements of a thriller emerge. There are some really, really scary bits: I bet a shiver runs down your spine more than once. And at quite a few points, I thought, how on earth is this going to end?  Pretty much what Alex must have been asking himself too.

Flip is a great teen read (and lots of adults will like it too), worthy of all the book award nominations received and won. It is probably more suitable for older teens because of the subject matter and situations in the novel.  But some mature 11 or 12 year olds may be comfortable reading it. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly light start though.  This is a deep and satisfyingly challenging read that raises (and to some extent explores) very controversial questions about life, death, and the choices we make about them.

And how about that cover! Do you know how many people looked at me curiously and said, "You've got the book upside down"?  

Publication details:
Walker Books, 2011, London, paperback

This copy: borrowed from our local public library

Friday, 14 September 2012

We sat down for a chat....with Sophie McKenzie

Little M's read all three of the Missing novels and most of The Medusa Project series. The third and last novel in the Missing series, Missing Me, was published just this week. So, Little M was delighted to ask author, Sophie McKenzie a few burning questions......

Author Sophie McKenzie
Little M: Why did you become a writer?

Sophie: Because I love stories. I got made redundant from my job, went on a writing course and realized that I loved writing stories even more than reading them!

Little M: How many books have you published altogether?

Sophie: Apart from short stories, specialist fiction and World Book Day books, I’ve published 11 teenage thrillers (including Missing Me) and 4 YA romances, as well as 2 books for younger children.

Little M: How old were you when you got your first book published?

Sophie: My very first published story was in my school magazine, when I was six! I had to wait over thirty years for my first proper book to be published though.

Little M: Do you have a stepmum or any step relatives?

Sophie: I do have a stepmother and I have had two stepfathers in the past (though they have both died now) as well as several stepbrothers and sisters.

Little M: Why did you want to write the Girl, Missing trilogy?
Sophie: I didn’t plan to write a trilogy. For a long time I thought Girl, Missing was a standalone novel. When I came up with the idea for Sister, Missing, I soon realized I also wanted to write another book after that one, set several years on and featuring Lauren’s little sister Madison as the main character. That story became Missing Me.


Click on the links to read Little M's reviews of Girl, Missing and Missing Me.

Girl, Missing

Missing Me

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Missing Me - Little M's Review

Missing Me by Sophie McKenzie

I wanted to read this book because I’ve read the other two books in the Missing trilogy and I just wanted to know what happens next in the story. Missing Me is a follow on from Girl, Missing and Sister, Missing. The first two stories are from Lauren, the older sister’s, perspective. Missing Me is from Madison’s perspective when she is a teenager.

Missing Me by Sophie McKenzie
Missing Me is about Madison who is the youngest of three sisters. She finds out that her biological father is an anonymous sperm donor. She meets up with her biological father and he takes her to a party. At the party, she meets a girl called Esme and a boy called Wolf. The three of them get together on another day and Madison discovered some information that could help with something illegal that’s being done by someone. Then she starts to get more information and tries to stop the illegal activities.

I really enjoyed this book. This book was exciting, full of suspense and a thriller. I really enjoyed it because I love how Sophie MacKenzie writes. She doesn’t just drag anything out too long. I enjoyed it more than Sister, Missing but the first book, Girl, Missing, is still my favourite.

You can understand the storylines from the first two books by the recap in the beginning of Missing Me but it doesn’t give you some little details and you miss out because the first two books are good. You need to read all of the books in order to understand the story really well.

I would recommend this book to readers who like Sophie McKenzie’s books that are for younger teens (like The Medusa Project). I also think people who like Lauren St John’s Laura Marlin series and people who like adventure and mysteries will like this book.

If we did ratings on this blog, I would give it a 4 ½ out of 5 because it is in my top ten favourite books this year.

Publication details:
Simon and Schuster, September 2012, London, hardback

This copy: received for review from the publishers

You can read my review of Girl, Missing here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Kentucky Thriller - Little M's Review

Kentucky Thriller by Lauren St John


Kentucky Thriller is the third book in the Laura Marlin mystery series. This book is about the horse racing in Kentucky, America. When Laura and Tariq find an abandoned race horse in a trailer their detective minds start to think. The owner of the horse, Golden Rush, is very pleased to have him back and says that they can come and stay at his farm in America.
Kentucky Thriller by Lauren St John
One night at the farm Laura wakes up in the middle of the night. She saw Golden Rush be unloaded. And then a few hours later another truck comes with a horse that looks just like Golden Rush. Then she suspects there has been a swap. Is anyone going to believe her?
Whilst in America, Laura suspects Golden Rush is going to be stolen again, but how?  And is Noble Warrior going to win the Kentucky race? Are the Straight A’s, a criminal gang, going to be involved? (The Straight A’s have been in the other two books.)
I absolutely loved this book because I love Lauren St John’s books, I love horses and I love detective books. So this book was pretty much perfect for me.
I have read all the Laura Marlin Mysteries and I really enjoyed them all. But I still think the first book and the second are the best. There are only 3 so far in the series but I think Lauren is up to something (writing a 4th one).
I would recommend this book to anyone who has read any of Lauren St John’s Laura Marlin Mysteries or any of The White Giraffe series. I think most people who liked Enid Blyton's The Famous Five and Secret Seven when they were younger will enjoy this book.
This book is a mystery, horsey and 100% Lauren St John.

Publication details:
Orion, 2012, London, hardback
This copy: received for review from the publishers

Monday, 10 September 2012

Celia Rees talks inspiration plus a Giveaway

Celia Rees tells us about her inspiration for her latest novel, This Is Not Forgiveness. Author of acclaimed historical novel for teens, Witch Child, This Is Not Forgiveness takes Celia into new territory. It is not an historical novel. It is a psychological drama about political terrorism, extremism and the impact of war. You can also win a signed copy of This Is Not Forgiveness.

Author Celia Rees
Every book begins with an idea and ideas can come from anywhere: books, pictures, places, newspapers, conversations. This idea came from a film: Francois Truffaut’s Jules et Jim.  I had just come back from Paris and was watching French films to try and extend the visit. I’d always loved the film, the story of two boys and a girl. The boys are old friends and they both fall in love with Kate, played by the captivating Jean Moreau. She is an extraordinary girl, unconventional, a free spirit who won’t be owned by either of them. While I was watching, I suddenly thought, ‘You could up date this. Make it now.’

I began to see two boys, friends since nursery, been through junior school and secondary school together, now in the 6th Form. A girl comes to the school. She is like no-one they have met before and they both fall in love with her. What will happen? What will it do to their friendship? What will it do to them?

So that is how it started, but books quickly warp away from their initial starting point. The boys as friends didn’t work, so I decided to make them brothers. One younger, one older, both involved with the same girl but the younger one doesn’t know.

The younger boy, Jamie, would be the main narrator. I felt I knew about him straight away, but I had to find out more about the older boy. Who is he? What does he do? At the time I was thinking about him, more troops were being deployed to Afghanistan, sustaining casualties. On the news, people were lining the streets of Wootton Bassett. I decided to make the brother a career soldier. Rob. He joined up at sixteen and is now in his early twenties. He’s back home after being badly injured and has been discharged from the Army. His physical wounds have healed but he is finding it difficult to fit back into civilian life. 

Then there was the girl. Who was she? How could I make her different? I decided to give her an interest in radical politics. Anti war. Anti everything. At the time, that seemed a bit ‘out there’. Young people interested in radical politics? Very ‘Sixties’. Then, suddenly students were marching through London, smashing windows, fighting with police, hanging from the Cenotaph, throwing bins at the heir to the throne’s car. I found myself writing and re-writing as events unfolded.

I had her. Caro. I had the connections between the three of them; the web of cause and effect that would mesh them together; the element of risk and danger that would give the story explosive emotional power.


This Is Not Forgiveness was published in early 2012.
You can buy tickets to see Celia Rees at the Ilkley Literature Festival on 7 October 2012 here.

You can come and chat with us at the free Spreading the Book Love event that is on just before her. Double whammy!!!


To win a signed copy of This Is Not Forgiveness, simply leave a comment on this blog post. Please leave a way for us to contact you if you win (you can e-mail your details if you prefer but leave a comment to be entered).

The competition closes on Friday 13 October 2012 at 5pm. The winner will be chosen at random by our Randomeater. This comeptition is open to readers aged 13 or older. If you are 12, please get your parent's permission to enter - or ask them to enter for you.

Good luck!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Event - Spreading the Book Love

Aged 12+? We’ll be spreading the book love on Sunday 7th October at the Otley Courthouse as part of the Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe from 1:30 – 3.15. Come and join the spread.

What’s on our smorgasbord spread?
There’s a bookswap, games of book battleships with prizes, our top 20, plus time and space to chat all things booky, bloggy, and reviewy. And as always, we’ll probably have a trick or two up our sleeves.

From 28 September – 14 October, if you happen to be wandering around somewhere near the Festival, watch where you sit down: you might find yourself a little surprise….. If the closest you can get is online, we’ll be up to things there too!

So, the menu!

A bookswap – bring a book and swap it
Bring a book, browse and swap it for another one. Our bookswap library includes a real mix – and they’re all in fantastic condition. Each of these books have been registered on Bookcrossing and have their own codes so that you can track where they’ve been. And if you pass them on or swap them with us again, you can follow where they go.

Some of the books also come with our personal recommendations – and a few words on the bookplates will tell you why.

One of the books will not be published until November 2012. We have 3 copies of it so three of you will have it long before your mates can even get it! We’ve read it and we recommend it.

Book Battleships

Inspired by Scholastic UK’s game of Book Battleship’s on Twitter, we’re bringing our own real live version to the table. If you fire a hit, you win! Some of the prizes are sweet!

Top 20
We’ll be sharing twenty books from our list of favourites. You can read our reviews of them or perhaps even grab a copy of them. We pledged to share twenty books this year in celebration of the Booktrust charity's 20 years of bookgifting.

Chit Chat
Come and chat with us about books, reviews and blogging.

Online competitions and giveaway
For those who can’t make it on the 7th October, you can still join in online.
There are books to be won.

Spreading the Book Love
Sunday 7th October, 1.30-3.15 pm

Spreading the Book Love is part of the Ilkley Literature Festival's Wordsfest for people aged 12-18.


Thank you to the following publishers who have supported us:

Random House Children’s Publishers, Hodder Children’s Books, Scholastic UK, Vintage Children’s Classics, Simon and Schuster Children’s and Strange Chemistry.