Archive | August, 2012

Alex Flinn’s world.

31 Aug

alex-flinn-beastlyIf like me you are a sucker for happy endings, princes, princesses and spellbinding curses, then Alex Flinn’s fairytale adaptations are definitely your next read. Alex Flinn is one of the most inspiring writers for the Young Adult genre, she manages to reinvent stories we have heard a million times and somehow make them fresh and new. The modern day twist she cloaks over the fairytales is really intriguing because when you are reading the stories you are still wondering what is going to happen and how it’s going to end. It seems nothing is ever obvious because her writing technique adds a twinge of suspense, making the story flow differently. Even though the tales are as old as time, you are still hoping for the same perfect happy ending. Alex’s writing from a teenage perspective is always authentically believable and never false.

Alex Flinn grew up in New York and Miami, at the age of five she started writing and entering various writing competitions. She practiced Law for ten years before giving it up full time to concentrate on her writing. Her first published novels, Breathing Underwater, Diva, Breaking Point, Nothing To Lose and Fade To Black, are all heavily influenced from her career in Law. The novels tackle tough and realistic life situations that some teenagers face in their lives. Some subject matters include domestic violence, disabilities, divorce and HIV.

Beastly

One of Alex Flinn’s most successful fantasy novels was recently turned into a motion picture staring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer.“Beastly” was written in 2007 and the film was released in 2011. The book has been very popular winning numerous awards from the Young Adult genre categories. “Beastly” is a romantic fantasy story retelling the widely known tale of “Beauty and the Beast”. Kyle Kingsbury is the popular and wealthy high school student. One day he disrespects a classmate with his arrogant attitude, little did he know she was a wicked teenage witch in disguise. She casts a spell cursing him and disfiguring his face and body. Kendra the witch gives him the ultimatum, before one year passes he must find his one true love or be left as a beast forever. It is during this time he befriends quiet classmate Lindy and begins to fall in love.

One of the ways in which Alex Flinn conveys a modern day twist is through her setting of the scene as the story takes place in busy New York City. The description of bright lights and noisy streets is a far cry away from the little town and countryside from the original story. Also the use of technology throughout the story, for example when Kyle/Adrian reaches out to other victims of curses using the internet. There is a part in the story dedicated to showing his conversations. The story is told from the Beast’s perspective, which is completely readable as this puts a twist on a contemporary tale and ultimately tells an unheard story. As fairytale book readers, we are so used to reading about how the Princesses or female protagonists are feeling, I really enjoyed the change. If you haven’t read Beastly yet, it is an absolute must!

This year “Beastly” has been recently re-released with additional chapters called, “Lindy’s Diary”. The chapters you can purchase as an e-book or the new special edition of “Beastly”. The chapters are from Lindy’s perspective while she was captured by the Beast. The diary entries are a very honest and are an emotional insight into the characters captivity and feelings.

Also, this year my favourite character, Kendra from the “Beastly” novel got her own book, thank you Alex Flinn! Kendra’s tale is called “Bewitching”. This novel tells the tale of her life dating back to 1666 to the present day. The story splits into two perspectives, one being Kendra’s and another being a young girl she is trying to help, but, Kendra trying to help is normally when things go terribly wrong. My favourite chapters include the mermaid she once found on the Titanic lifeboat and the witch who lived in the famous gingerbread house. The story dips in and out of many famous fairy tales so you are never bored and constantly entertained throughout.

Excerpt from “Bewitching”

“If you read fairy tales, and who doesn’t, you might believe there are witches all over the place—witches baking children into gingerbread, making princesses sleep hundreds of years, even turning normal teenage boys into hideous beasts to teach them a lesson. But, actually, there are only a few of us. The reason it doesn’t seem like that is because we’re pretty long-lived. We live hundreds of years, as long as we don’t find ourselves fuelling a bonfire”.

The book art for all novels are beautifully old fashioned and true to it’s fantasy and fairytale like genre. Everyone has their fairytale favourites, so read my guide below to try and spot your favorite and maybe try the Alex Flinn version. I promise, you will not be disappointed but remember to expect the unexpected.

For fans of Sleeping Beauty read, “A Kiss In Time”.

For fans of Princess And The Frog and The Swan Princess read, “Cloaked”.

For fans of Beauty And The Beast read, “Beastly”.

For fans of Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Hansel And Gretel and other old fashioned Grimm Tales read, “Bewitching”.

For fans of books visit http://www.authorattic.com

All books mentioned are available in book stores and as e-books.

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Bedtime Stories: Roald Dahl

29 Aug

“When you grow up and have children of your own, do please remember something important: A stodgy parent is not fun at all! What a child wants- and DESERVES- is a parent who is SPARKY!”-Roald Dahl

Why do I read? I read because thinking back to the days of being really young the days of pink and white bunnies decorating my walls, I’ll always remember my bed times. At a young age my bed times always consisted of a Roald Dahl story before bed, always. Before I could read myself, every night my Dad would take me to bed tuck me in and read a segment of a story to me. My favourite memory will always be reading The Twits, this continues to be such a vivid memory for me and a way to remember our relationship. Anyone who is an avid Roald Dahl fan will know exactly what story, page and illustration I am referring to. It is the story about The Twits trying to trap the birds to make a bird pie. My Dads marvelous sense of humour made him a very charismatic story teller and I will never forget being in a fit of giggles when he read me the story.

“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.” – Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is famous for his fun and sometimes grotesque wordplay, scrappy yet wonderful illustrations by the wildly talented Quentin Blake and his ability to make a misfit child feel like they belong. Roald Dahl was born in 1916 in Wales, he spent the early part of his career serving in the British Air force. In 1940 he began writing and went on to become a bestselling author for adults and children. His dark humour writing style is sometimes very misunderstood. In many schools Roald Dahl books are actually banned. Apparently his story telling encourages children to behave badly and as some stories reference alcohol and drugs this lead to a ban being implemented.

James And The Giant Peach
From my experience, I believe it to be so important for parents to bond with their children through literature. My Roald Dahl bed times developed my learning and taught me how to read resulting in my Dad becoming the listener whilst I read the same stories back to him. My love of reading has grown with me and has fuelled an ambition to want to work in the writing industry. It’s fascinating how Roald Dahl today would have been 95 and still his stories and characters remain so relevant. This year has also celebrated the 50th Anniversary of James and the Giant Peach which was published in 1961, one of my all time favourites! If you haven’t read a Roald Dahl classic yet then maybe consider James and the Giant Peach. It’s about a young boy looking for acceptance away from his two revolting aunts and bidding farewell to a life of unhappiness by embarking on an adventure. The story is a wonderful tale about family and friendships – a perfect book to introduce you to Roald Dahl.

To see a good Stephen King list of his top books why not click here and some of the following cool sites too:

– http://www.authorattic.com/category/best-books/

– http://www.scholastic.co.uk/

Best books for toddlers

21 Aug
best-bear-emma-dodd

best-bear-emma-dodd

There is no greater joy than reading a great story to your toddler. After speaking to parents of toddlers, sitting in the library looking at what parents are reading to their toddlers and researching the best books for toddlers – I have compiled a list of books which represents the best stories that you should be reading to all your lovely little girls and boys. I hope you enjoy them toddlers (and parents).


Good Night Gorilla By Peggy Rathman A fun tale about a Zoo Keeper putting the zoo animals to bed. However, as he is going around wishing them all good night a mischievous Gorilla takes his keys and begins to make some trouble. Good Night Gorilla is quite a funny book that will keep both toddlers and parents thoroughly entertained. It has 34 pages of beautiful and vivid pictures. Absolute must-read to any cheeky monkeys.


Share! By Anthea Simmons & Georgie Birkett A little girl has a younger sibling who she doesn’t want to share with. As the day goes on and her Mummy tells her more and more she learns the importance of sharing and begins to enjoy it. A lovely way to promote sharing amongst brothers and sisters and transform it into something they want to do. The ending in particular is lovely and very heartfelt. Recommended read to toddlers with younger siblings.


Animal Babies! By Amazing Baby This touch-and-feel book introduces toddlers to different baby animals whilst allowing them to feel the different textures of their hair. There is also a rhyme for each animal which describes the feeling of their skin/fur. Very entertaining and sure-hit with your young ones.


Funny Face By Anna Walker Anna Walker is one of the best toddler-authors and this book is a great example of this. Human beings are capable of showing how they are feeling by their facial expressions and Funny Face is fantastic for encouraging children and indeed yourself to make different faces at one another to show emotion and expressions. Each page shows a different emotion and will have your toddler laughing and experimenting to try different facial expressions, from happy to sad, scared to impressed. Great fun for both toddler and parent.


Dear Zoo Noisy Book By Rod Campbell 30 years after this book was first published it still remains one of the most recommended books by parents and could not be missed from this best books for toddlers list. A young child wants nothing more than to have the perfect pet to look after. So much so, that the child writes to the Zoo asking them to please send him the perfect pet, which they do. Once the pet arrives, the child sends it back to the zoo as there is something strange about it. The zoo then tries again with a different animal, but again the child sends it back. The zoo continues sending animals until they send the perfect pet. This interactive books allows your child to pull flaps up, look behind crates and even push a button that creates the noise of the animal. Another book that will provide both the reader and child a lot of entertainment.


Twinkle Lullaby Book By Ladybird A book of well-known lullabies that has shapes and pictures around them and asks your child if they are able to see the little pictures that are inside the bigger ones. It also has fun pictures relating to the particular lullaby and has different material and textures to feel.


Ten Tiny Babies By Karen Katz A story of babies who are all playing and having loads of fun bouncing and being silly until it’s time to go to bed. It follows the babies one by one whilst they get together until the ten of them are all ready to say good night.


Very First Numbers By Usborne This first number book teaches your child to count up to five and then back down again. It used lively pictures to do so and introduces animals that they may have not encountered yet. The book is well made and should last a long time, which is great as children love to look at the pretty and engaging pictures.


Opposites By Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler Using the very popular characters from The Gruffalo stories this book shows and teaches children about opposites. The differences are shown through many animals of all shapes and sizes through their speed, size, expressions and height. Brilliant way of introducing your child to The Gruffalo books and how we are all unique. Very recommended to teach your young ones some very important things about the world.


Waiting for Baby By New Baby Waiting For Baby is an excellent way of creating excitement around the anticipation of a new arrival to the family. It follows a little boy as he and his family get ready for the new baby. This encourages questions and helps to get your child to feel involved with everything surrounding the new addition to the family such as ultrasounds, feeling the baby kick, helping choose clothes, decorating baby’s room, attending doctor’s appointments and then finally waiting for Mummy, Daddy and baby to arrive back from the hospital.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle A timeless story that follows the progression of a caterpillar from when it is an egg on a leaf. It wakes up and immediately begins to forage for food eating everything in its sight until he gets a tummy ache because he was so greedy. He begins to feel better and then forms a cocoon and changes into a magnificent butterfly. A great way of showing your child where butterflies come from originally.


It’s Bathtime By Ant Parker It’s Bathtime by Any Parker is a highly enjoyable book that helps your child to get ready for their bath by enabling them to get all the things together that they need such as their towel, bubble bath and toys. Great way of bringing some fun to an important part of your child’s routine.


Best Bear By Emma Dodd Best Bear is a lovely story of a boy and his favourite bear at bedtime told through a delightful rhyme. This is a soothing night-time tale of how his best friend ‘Bear’ protects him from the dark and helps him to be brave before going to sleep. This is a perfect way to alleviate the fear of the dark that some children may have.


Moo, Baa, La La La! By Sandra Boynton Truly entertaining, this poem book allows you and your child to copy animal noises whilst following the story which is thoroughly hilarious for children. Moo, baa, La La La teaches your child to associate certain noises with specific animals.


Where’s Spot? By Eric Hill No list of the best books for toddlers would be complete without one that features the lovable puppy Spot. This lift-the-flap-book follows Spots Mummy Sally looking for him but coming across many other animals before finding her pup. Tons of fun can be had with uncovering the hidden animal in behind items in Spots house, an amusing way of having your child guess who Sally is going to find next!

This best books for toddlers list contains only some of the great books that are available to you parents and all are thoroughly recommended. Some will provide you and your toddler great moments of laughter and others will give you a great teaching tool. Whichever book you decide to read your lovely toddler next – I hope you both have the utmost joy discovering the vast world of children’s books together and if you or your toddler have any particular favourites that weren’t mentioned in this list, please share it. If you liked this top list, you should definitely have a look at http://www.authorattic.com/best-books/roald-dahl-books-listhttp://www.authorattic.com/best-books/best-young-adult-fiction/ and http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/series/childrens-books-podcast.

See you later!