Harry Potter and my teenaged life

'No story lives unless someone wants to listen. The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.' J.K. Rowling What makes a story? I am thirteen, and stuck on youth camp for the … Continue reading Harry Potter and my teenaged life

Five books…to help your kids love words

I'm trying hard to be casually enthusiastic about numbers with H at the moment. I am naturally a words person, and numbers both bore and frighten me. Which isn't so bad for me, because my days of mental maths tests are over. But I do not want to pass it on to them, and my coverage … Continue reading Five books…to help your kids love words

Five books…with jaw-dropping illustrations

I always think books for preschoolers have an extremely sensible ratio of words to pictures. And the pictures are everything to the under-five crowd. Have a look at their faces the next time you're reading one with striking, colourful illustrations. Their jaw drops. They can't resist touching the page with their fingers, like they want … Continue reading Five books…with jaw-dropping illustrations

Museums I have known and sprinted in, by H. J.

I am a huge believer in kids and museums. Firstly, because I love museums, and if you can't impose your likes and dislikes on your children while they're too young to roll their eyes, well, when can you, eh? Secondly, because most of them are free, so I can buy us cake on the way … Continue reading Museums I have known and sprinted in, by H. J.

The secret to choosing the perfect holiday reading

Tomorrow I fly to the States for my little brother's wedding. Leaving aside how weird it is that tiny sticky-handed brothers can grow up to become nice people and get married to other nice people anyway, like what business is it of theirs getting older, I have a fair few things to ponder over this morning. Not … Continue reading The secret to choosing the perfect holiday reading

The genie in the sandpit: why I want my kids to read

‘What a gift to give, this chance to discover that you can love a book and the characters in it, you can become their friend and share their adventures in your own imagination. That open democratic space full of thrills, full of excitement and fear, full of astonishment, where your own emotions and ideas are … Continue reading The genie in the sandpit: why I want my kids to read

Wheels and wheels

That resolution of mine hasn't been going very many places. Because neither have we. Not today though, ladies and gentleman! No, last night I went to bed at the ever-so-glamorous time of 8.30pm, and woke up this morning ready to ACHIEVE. We attempted to go to rhyme time at the library, but I spent too … Continue reading Wheels and wheels

In praise of the paper-and-ink

There's a place you can go where everything smells of unicorns and chocolate sprinkles. Stuff Disneyland. Just take me to Waterstone's. (I am putting the apostrophe back in, because COME ON, WATERSTONE'S.) The Waterstone's at home was a house of wonders. The books sat in the old Wool Exchange building in Bradford, and I breathed … Continue reading In praise of the paper-and-ink

Teether/reader

I never thought I'd be grateful for teething in any particular. Baby teeth can, as a general rule, bog right off from this house. Don't mess with me, teeth. I've got pepper spray. However. When Henry was cutting molars earlier this month, all he wanted to do was be held. We sat for long afternoons … Continue reading Teether/reader

This is September calling. It’s time to change your life.

You guys, September is in the air. Can you smell it? It smells like freshly sharpened pencils (tm Tom Hanks). A whiff of September is irresistible to me. Eau de New Start. I buy stationery I don't need and embark upon life-improving projects. It's the sort of month where I start feeling like I might want a … Continue reading This is September calling. It’s time to change your life.