Chrissi’s Class Reads #12

We’ve read another 5 books, so I thought I’d update you on them for my post today! As ever, book images go to Goodreads.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #1)

I really am not the biggest fan of Wimpy Kid but the children really seem to love it and I’m one to go with the children’s passions. This was one of our books we read for pleasure.

The Firework-Maker's Daughter

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this wonderful book. I am not always the biggest fan of Philip Pullman’s writing, but this one was so gripping and the children loved it.

Dear Greenpeace

We used this in our writing lesson as we’ve been learning about environmental issues. It’s a sweet story about a girl who believes there’s a whale in her pond. She writes letters to Greenpeace and they write back to her with some advice.

The Paper Bag Princess

I used this book in a PSHE lesson (Personal, Social, Health). I used it to discuss stereotypes.

How to Live Forever

I absolutely loved this book which we’ve read as part of our reading books. I am a big promoter of picture books to children as there’s some really detailed picture books with complex issues that are aimed at older children. We had this massive debate about immortality. It was fantastic.

What do you think of the books we’ve read recently? Have you read any of them?

Banned Books #56- Northern Lights/The Golden Compass

Banner made by Luna @ Lunaslittlelibrary

Welcome to this month’s edition of Banned Books. This month we read Northern Lights/The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.

Northern Lights (His Dark Materials, #1)

First published: 1995
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2008 (source)
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, violence.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Of course not. I’m one of those people who never experienced reading the His Dark Materials series as a child so I only came to it with an adult mentality. Either way, I think I would have had the same opinion. There is no reason on earth why this book should be challenged or banned, ESPECIALLY for the reasons mentioned. As always, I tried to guess the reasons why this book, the first in the series, might have been difficult for some people to stomach and once again, I was completely wrong. I assumed that the fantasy/magical aspect might have offended a few people (even though children clearly love a good, imaginative narrative that doesn’t necessary have to be believable!).

CHRISSI: I have to say no. It’s a load of poppycock. I have no idea why this book was challenged. Like Beth, I thought it might be about the fantasy elements, I know some of the parents of children at my school don’t like fantasy because of religious reasons and I wondered whether that could be it. No. Political viewpoint? Religious viewpoint? This confuses me.

How about now?

BETH: Northern Lights was challenged over ten years after it was published and to be honest, I’m struggling to see why if there were challenges from concerned readers, they didn’t appear prior to 2008? If anyone has any ideas, please do enlighten me! Additionally, it really does irritate me when the reasons for challenging a book point towards a political or religious viewpoint. Now, I’m not a particularly political or religious individual BUT I do like to learn about different attitudes/cultures and viewpoints and I very much enjoy it when there’s a difference of opinion to my own in a novel, unless I feel like I’m being preached to. Saying that however, I really didn’t think there was a strong viewpoint either political or religious in Northern Lights and I’m a bit confused as to where this reasoning has come from?

CHRISSI: I am utterly confused by the reasons for challenging this book. I didn’t think it had a particularly strong political or religious viewpoint. Even if it did, why does it matter? Why should it be banned? Shouldn’t we be allowed to make our own minds up? Shouldn’t we open our minds a little to other’s views?

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: I really love His Dark Materials as a series but particularly this first novel, Northern Lights. Lyra is a wonderfully rich character who never fails to make me laugh, the world-building is imaginative and thought-provoking and I adored the adventure aspect of the entire novel. Plus, I absolutely love the idea of having a daemon companion as a unique part of your personality. I’d love to know what yours would be in the comment below if you’ve read this book? Mine would be a ring-tailed lemur!

CHRISSI: Ooh. This is a toughie. Whilst I appreciate that Philip Pullman is a talented writer and that this story is fabulously creative… there’s something about it that I don’t connect with. I have a disconnect with it and I can’t tell why. I usually like fantasy/magical reads but this one leaves me quite cold. I know I am in the minority with that. I certainly wouldn’t dissuade anyone from reading it! Oh and my daemon would definitely be a lop eared rabbit!

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!


Looking Ahead- This Month’s TBR- February 2019

Welcome to my Looking Ahead post for February. In January, I managed to read all of the books on my TBR post. I enjoyed all but one of them! I was not a fan of the banned book- Stories You Can’t Unread.

Here are this month’s books! Thanks to Tina over at Reading Between The Pages for hosting! As ever, click on the book image, if you want to add it to your Goodreads TBR!

I'll Find You

Goodreads synopsis

Emily Jacobs, a nurse, is in hospital for a minor operation. When she wakes in the night, woozy with anaesthetic, she sees the doctor frantically trying to resuscitate the woman in the bed next to her. In the morning, she is told that she must have had a nightmare. The bed has been empty all along . . .

When Emily returns to work she discovers a bracelet that she believes belonged to the missing woman. Soon, she becomes convinced that her colleagues at the hospital are hiding a terrible secret. 

What if she’s wrong? What if her own troubled past has affected her more than she knows?

But what if she’s right? 

What else could they be capable of?

I’m a bit wary of this book, having heard mixed reviews, but I’m going to give it a go!

A Version of the Truth

Goodreads synopsis

We all see what we want to see…

2019: Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be.

1990: Holly is a fresher student at Oxford University. Out of her depth and nervous about her surroundings, she falls into an uneasy friendship with a group of older students from the upper echelons of society and begins to develop feelings for one in particular. He’s confident, quiet, attractive and seems to like her too. But as the year progresses, her friends’ behaviour grows steadily more disconcerting and Holly begins to realise she might just be a disposable pawn in a very sinister game.

A devastating secret has simmered beneath the surface for over twenty-five years. Now it’s time to discover the truth. But what if you’re afraid of what you might find?

I am very intrigued by this one!

Day of the Accident

Goodreads synopsis

They say you killed…But What If They’re Wrong?

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie’s husband?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive? 

I’m really looking forward to this book after enjoying the author’s writing before!

Northern Lights (His Dark Materials, #1)

Goodreads synopsis

When Lyra’s friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him. 

The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies – and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about.

Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her – something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights…

This is our banned book for the month. BANNED? I’m confused. Look out for the banned book feature on the last Monday of the month. 🙂


Goodreads synopsis

When Sophie is snatched from her orphanage bed by the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), she fears she will be eaten. But instead the two join forces to vanquish the nine other far less gentle giants who threaten to consume earth’s children.

I can’t wait to read this book for the kid-lit feature with Beth!

What are you reading this month? Let me know!

Banned Books 2019…REVEALED

Banner made by Luna @ Lunaslittlelibrary

Here are 2019’s books that Beth and I will be reading for our Banned Books feature that has been running since July 2014!

JANUARY: Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread Chuck Palahniuk
FEBRUARY: Northern Lights/The Golden Compass Philip Pullman
MARCH: Uncle Bobby’s WeddingSarah S. Brannen
APRIL: We All Fall Down- Robert Cormier
MAY: Crazy LadyJane Leslie Conley
JUNE: Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun CultureMichael A. Bellesiles
JULY: In The Night Kitchen- Maurice Sendak
AUGUST: Whale TalkChris Crutcher
SEPTEMBER: The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
OCTOBER: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain
NOVEMBER: To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee
DECEMBER: Revolutionary Voices- edited by Amy Sonnie

I am looking forward to reading these books and exploring/discussing the reasons why they’re challenged! Here’s to another year of Banned Books!

Ten Best Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week’s list is quite a fun one! It’s all about character names. Here are some of my favourites!

In no particular order:

  1. AriaPretty Little Liars- Sara Shepard- I may not have read the books (and don’t think I will) but I really like the name Aria.

  2. Veruca SaltCharlie and The Chocolate Factory– Roald Dahl- She’s a disgusting character, with quite a disgusting name. So fitting!

  3. Luna LovegoodHarry Potter– J.K. Rowling- I love alliterative names and Luna is one of my favourite Harry Potter characters.

  4. Atticus Finch To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee- Such a strong name for a wonderful character.

  5. Ebeneezer ScroogeA Christmas Carol– Charles Dickens- What a name!

  6. Philip Pirrip (Pip)- Great Expectations- Charles Dickens- Pip! Love that name. Alliterative full name too.

  7. LyraHis Dark Materials– Philip Pullman- I think it’s a really pretty name.

  8. Albus DumbledoreHarry Potter– J.K. Rowling- It’s just a legendary name, right?

  9. Coraline Coraline– Neil Gaiman- I really like the name Coraline!

  10. Matilda- Matilda– Roald Dahl- Every single time I hear the name Matilda I think of my favourite Roald Dahl book. 🙂

How about you? What are your favourite character names? Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

Fairy Tale Friday- The Nixie Of The Millpond

This week brings the last Grimm Tale in my Grimm Tales For Young And Old book. Please feel free to check out my other reviews of the fairy tales on this link HERE. The last fairy tale is The Nixie Of The Millpond, which I have to admit, I hadn’t read before now! As usual, Grimm didn’t let me down with their strange little tales.

The story centres around a miller who was very poor. One day a Nixie appeared to him, out of the water of the pond. She promised that he’d never want for anything, if he promised her what had just been born in his house.. Thinking it might be a kitten or puppy, the miller agreed. When the miller returned home, he found his wife cradling a newborn baby. The miller was petrified that his son would be taken away from him, so he made sure his son never went near the water, telling him that a hand would take him underneath. Way to freak out your child, hey?!

Years later, the boy had become a hunter. He got married and everything seemed to be going well, both with his career and his life as he got married. One day, a strong deer was being particularly tough to chase. The hunter was determied to get it and finally brought it down. The hunter went into the millpond to freshen up. The hunter was dragged down into the millpond by the Nixie.

The hunter’s wife searched everywhere for him- except the millpond. Exhausted, she fell asleep. She dreamt of climbing a mountain and finding an old woman. When the hunter’s wife woke up, she climbed the mountain that was in her dreams and found the old woman. The old woman gave her a golden comb and told her that she had to comb her hair by the millpond whilst thinking of her husband and then put the comb down. The hunter’s wife did as she was told. The Nixie stole the golden comb and the hunter’s head appeared from the millpond. The hunter’s wife returned to the old woman of the mountain. She gave her a golden flute and told her to do the same. Trusting the old woman, the hunter’s wife gave it a go. After playing the flute she left it on the side and the Nixie stole it. Half of the hunter’s body appeared. The next time, the hunter’s wife got given a golden spinning wheel. Once again, the Nixie stole the object. This time, the hunter completely emerged from the water. He grabbed his wife’s hand and they tried to escape. The Nixie tried to drown them, but the old woman of the mountain turned them into a frog and a toad. When on dry land, they regained their human form, but they were far apart from one another.

More time passed and both the hunter and his wife were shepherds. They were unexpectedly reconciliated whilst tending their heards. The man was playing a flute and it was the song his wife had played him whilst in the millpond.

I really think this was a great fairy tale to finish the collection with. It was interesting, slightly weird but wonderful!

Next week I start my journey into Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales!


Fairy Tale Friday- The Goose Girl At The Spring

This week’s Grimm Fairy Tale is The Goose Girl At The Spring. 

It centres around an old woman who raised geese in the mountains. One day, she persuaded a count to carry her heavy burder up the mountain for her. He was incredibly tired, but she would not let him rest. When the reached a hut, there was an ugly girl looking after the old woman’s geese. The old woman said the count couldn’t stay together otherwise he might fall in love with her. As a thank you for carrying her burden, the old woman gave him a box cut out of emerald.

The count wandered the woods for three days before reaching a town where a king and queen reigned. He showed them the emerald box and to his surprise, the queen collapsed. The count was seized and taken to the dungeon. As the queen woke, she demanded that she speak to the count. She explained that her daughter was a beautiful girl who wept pearls and jewels. One day, when her dad asked his daughters how much they loved him, the youngest said ‘like salt’. The king divided his kingdom between his two other daughters and sent the youngest one packing with only a sack of salt. The king later regretted his actions, but the girl was never seen again. When the queen had opened the emerald box, a pearl just like her daughter’s tears was inside it. The count told the king and queen where he had got the box from. The king and queen decided that they needed to speak to the old woman.

In the mountains, the ugly girl washed in the spring at night. She became incredibly beautiful by night, but ugly when moonlight was hidden. When she returned to the hut, she came across the old woman who told her she could no longer live with her. The girl was upset. The count had gone with the king and queen, but had got separated at some point. He observed what had happened to the girl. He told the king and the queen. Once the king and queen had met the old woman, she told them that they could’ve spared themselve the heartache and the travel up the mountain if they had not been so unkind to their daughter. The old woman took the king and queen to their daughter. They wept as they were reunited. When the old woman disappeared, the hut became a castle. The count married the youngest daughter!

It’s always a shock when the Grimm tale isn’t quite as grim as usual! I really enjoyed this fairy tale though. I felt it had a moral!

Last Grimm Fairy Tale- The Nixie of The Millpond