top of page


98 items found for ""

  • Elon - Laura Murphy a Nia Parry

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch* ♥Children's Book of the Month: January 2023♥ (suggested) reading age: 5+ (suggested) interest age: 3-7 Genre: #fiction #empathy #nature #conservation Illustrations: Elin Vaughan Crowley Out of all the wild animals, I think elephants are the most fascinating of them all. Do you agree? Okay, I will admit that giraffes are pretty cool too, but for me, the elephants steal the show. With their huge ears and long trunks, they are such strange creatures, almost as if they belong to a different era. These are dignified and majestic creatures, but seem affectionate at the same time. Of all the elephants, one is very special indeed- Elon. Like any young elephant, she’s full of enthusiasm and energy, and has grown tired of having to listen to her parents with their rules. How boring! Elon longs for adventure! After ignoring her parents’ advice and making a run for it (I don't recommend this at all!) Elon gets her wish for an adventure, but the world outside the safety of the herd is a strange place, and the young elephant soon comes across the most dangerous creature of all – mankind. To think how beautiful these graceful creatures are, it saddens me to think that they are in grave danger of disappearing altogether, because of us. As if hunting them for ivory over the centuries wasn't bad enough, we now threaten their very homes as our desire for agricultural land leads us to destroy their forests with our infernal machines. But Elon is brave. Even after coming face to face with the ferocious machines that threaten her habitat, Elon decides he can’t sit back and do nothing. Something has to be done. I wonder if one small elephant can put a stop to the destruction and change things for the better? Elin Vaughan Crowley's illustrations grab your attention immediately, and all the vibrant colours and wonders of the forest are brought to life through her pictures. This rhyming bilingual book isn’t a direct translation, but is an adaptation by Nia Parry. Whilst I love bilingual books, my only complaint here is the layout and placement of the both languages make it a bit confusing to read sometimes. This will be a really useful book for anyone wanting to discuss animals, conservation or the environment. It helps draw attention to the plight of nature, and our devastating affect on the animal kingdom, but it does so without causing panic. We’ve got to make sure kids get the message if they ever hope to see elephants in the wild in their lifetimes. Like Elon, the brave elephant, I hope they too realise that they can make a difference by doing something, however small that may seem. Publisher: Atebol Released: 2022 Price: £7.99 WHY NOT WATCH AND LISTEN TO CHARLOTTE CHURCH READING THE STORY?

  • Sblash! - Branwen Davies

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch* ♥Book of the month: Nov 2022♥ (suggested) reading age: 11+ (suggested) interest age: 10-14 Genre: #fiction #teen #school #healthandwellbeing Well, first things first, I’m clearly not the target audience for this book. According to Gwales, it's a book for readers between the ages of 10 and 13, but I’d say 11-14 personally. Like I said, I'm not in high school anymore, but I have been (albeit a long time ago!). For anyone was has been bullied themselves, or has indeed been a bully this book will chime with you. As someone who was 'bigger' than his friends, unfortunately I have experience of both sides of the situation, having been bullied about my weight, and to my shame, have been a bit of a bully myself. Something I’m not proud of. If only I had a time machine, things would be very different. The experience of being bullied never really leaves you, and just reading Beca's story brings back some old, painful feelings -even if the context is different. On land, Beca is somewhat awkward, and is well used to being the butt of other people’s jokes. As she’s bigger than her classmates, she stands out and this makes her an obvious target for the bullies. The story begins with the other kids teasing her because of her stretch marks (despite the fact I’m 99% sure we’ve ALL got them!) Once she hits the water, she transforms complexly. Much like a penguin or a seal, she may be clunky on land, but in the water she’s a skilled and accomplished competitive swimmer. The pool, which has become her refuge, is a safe space, where she feels comfortable and happy. None of her fellow pupils can swim like her -so why has she kept this talent a secret from everyone? One of the ringleaders who makes Becca’s life a nightmare is Siwan, the prettiest, skinniest and most popular girl of the year. She goes out of her way to make life miserable for Beca. Beca always thought she was safe in the pool – that is, until Siwan turns up…. Beca isn't completely alone, I'm glad to say. She has a small band of loyal friends. But when Jacob, her mate, starts going out with Siwan, the enemy, this creates a bit of a headache for Beca. After an extremely cruel encounter, the two girls' lives come together in an unexpected way. Without saying too much, it was interesting to see a glimpse of Siwan's life, and despite being the most popular girl, life isn't all rosy for her either. They say, don’t they, that bullies are deeply unhappy people. Over the course of the novel, we see poor Beca at her lowest, but also growing as a person and coming through the other side stronger a person. As she gains confidence and begins to accept her body, she becomes happier in her own skin. This isn't a fairy-tale either, and while Beca can't change her body shape, she can learn to hold her head high and be proud of what her body can do. In a way, the 'bullies' are still there in the background – there will always be haters, but Beca doesn't let them affect her in the same way. This is a very important message for anyone who is having a hard time right now. Love yourself and love each other peeps! While I think the novel will appeal more to girls, I think this is a book that everyone would benefit from reading, especially if you're struggling with self-image and self-esteem. I hope it gives strength to those who are struggling at the moment, and if it makes the rest of us stop, and think, before saying or doing something nasty to another person, then the novel will have succeeded in my opinion. I realised after reading, how unattainable some of the expectations and pressures we put on today's young people are – girls especially – to look and behave a certain way. Celeb culture and apps like Instagram and TikTok have a lot to answer for. Looking back, I’m glad I finished my school days before the era of mobile phones, Love Island and social media. Whilst the story is at times rather simplistic and clichéd, it’s definitely an easy read, similar in length to the ‘stori sydyn’ series. We could do with more short stories of this size. Publisher: Y Lolfa Released: 2022 Price: £5.99

  • Sgrech y Creigiau - Elidir Jones

    *For Welsh, see language toggle switch on top of webpage* (suggested) interest age: 10+ *depends on child - not everyone likes ghost stories (suggested) reading age: 12+ Genre: #shortstory #fiction #horror #ghosts Illustrations: Nest Llwyd Owen You might want to watch out as you pass the bookstore – the bony green hands and the soulless black eyes will stare into your very soul, forcing you to pick up and buy a copy of Sgrech y Cregiau… When I was teaching, making time for a story at the end of the day was crucial. I don’t think we’re doing enough of it to be honest. And no, I’m not talking about comprehension questions and all that, just putting your head down and listening to a good story. Something I enjoyed with my class of year 5&6s was reciting horror stories at the end of the day. In the portakabins we inhabited at the time, we’d draw the blinds to create maximum creepy atmosphere – perfect for sharing those ghostly tales. The problem was, there was a shortage of 'off the shelf' Welsh books with short horror stories, and there are only so many times you can rely on Lleuad yn Ola by T Llew Jones! The fact of the matter was, we needed a new horror book in Welsh. When I saw on Twitter that this book was on its way, I was very happy. No more real-time translating English spooky stories for me… not for awhile anyway. Sleeping with the light on Although there’s no contents page to suggest this, Sgrech y Creigiau is a book of short stories, and following much research, Elidir Jones has reimagined some of the old Welsh legends that may have become forgotten. These stories, enough to send shivers down your spine, are further strengthened by the nightmarish pictures by Nest Llwyd Owen. I can still see that old woman's gaunt face with her ugly white eye in my sleep! You'll probably need a nightlight afterwards (nah, only kidding, but it’s enough to give you goose pimples!) Don't go into the water... Personally, I think horror stories work better in the form of short stories, which reflect how we used to share ghost stories in front of the campfire or on a sleeepover. I've heard several ghost stories in my time, and some of these have stayed with me for a long time afterwards. Out of all the stories in the book, I think the first, "Y Naid Olaf" was the one that gave me the biggest creeps. I think it reminded me of the bit in the lake at the end of What Lies Beneath. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to share this book with a poor classroom audience next time there's time for a story. A well-timed and piercing SCREAM in just the right place (after the line "something grabbed his leg") will surely do the trick! Reading under the duvet I think most people (especially children) like to be scared from time to time, otherwise horror films and that sort of thing wouldn’t be so popular. I still remember mam telling me a story about the ghost of Plas Mawr, Conwy, when I was younger. That story really creeped me out, and to this day, I still walk past the building in quite a hurry, especially at night time. Most people find otherworldly, supernatural and disturbing things extremely entertaining, and whilst I LOVE this book, I recognize that this one won't be for everyone. Will you be brave enough to give these seven nightmarish stories a try? Well, if you are planning on sneaking off to read this book under the sheets, you’d better remember your torch! Publisher: Broga Released: November 2022 Price: £8.99

  • Y Llew Tu Mewn / The Lion Inside - Rachel Bright [adapt. Eurig Salisbury]

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of web page* WINNER OF THE UKLA BOOK AWARD 2017 Shortlisted for The Evening Standard Oscar's Book Prize 2016 Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Prize 2017 (suggested)interest age: 2-7 (auggested) reading age: 5+ Illustrations: Jim Field A modern twist on one of Aesop's fables Without a doubt, this is one of the best picturebooks of the last decade, and one that looks like something straight out of the Disney pixar world. Children will be asking to read this bestseller more than once! And don’t just take my word for it - this book has sold more than 200,000 copies in Britain alone and has been translated into over 30 languages! Quite an achievement for any book wouldn’t you agree? "Being small isn't always easy." The little mouse has fed up of being ignored and forgotten, often stamped on under foot because he’s so small to even be noticed. On the other hand, the lion is something of a dandy - full of confidence and able to command the attention of all the Savannah animals. All he’s got to do is roar and everyone listens. What a show-off! One night, the little mouse gets a big idea. He wishes to be brave like the lion, and although he knows full well that the lion could swallow him in an instant, he decides to be brave and go in search of the lion for help... Oh-oh! But, quite expectedly, the lion behaves very strangely. That’s because he’s afraid of mice! Somehow, the mouse manages to persuade the lion that there’s nothing to fear and that he doesn’t have to roar loudly to gain respect. The beginnings of a rather unusual friendship… "You don't have to be big and brave to make a difference..." This book is just LOVELY – an absolute pleasure to read. If you're not familiar with Jim Field's work, go search the web – his style is so unique– pictures that are extremely filmic and very contemporary. This spread below is my favourite: Sometimes I worry that adaptations, especially ones that rhyme, can be a bit awkward, but Eurig Salisbury has done a good job here, with a translation that flows as well as the original. "Modern classic" For any child who is nervous or feeling insecure, I would recommend this book. But to be honest, it's so good, everyone should read it. The messages are important and clear, and the story of the lion and mouse conveys this in a way that is understandable for young children. The story shows that even the most confident and high-flying individuals sometimes have hidden fears. Also, this is to show that you don't have to be big and noisy to be heard, and there's courage lurking within all of us, no matter our size! Everyone has an important role to play in this world, remember that. I don’t often rate books individually, but this one gets 10/10 from me. Publisher: Atebol Released: 2015, 2020 Price: £6.99 Format: Hardback

  • Y Parsel Coch - Linda Wolfsgruber, Gino Alberti [adapt. Llio Elenid]

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of webpage* (suggested) interest age: 6-11 (suggested) reading age: 7+ Genre: #fiction #Christmas #kindness #community Illustrations: Gino Alberti A lovely, unexpected find that calls to be shared at Christmas. An international gem with a simple message of kindness at it’s heart. I want to mention this little book, which is a great example of international collaboration. This is Llio Elenid's Welsh adaptation of Linda Wolfsgruber's original German story from 1988. The book was illustrated by an Italian, Gino Alberti, was printed in Slovakia and originally published by a Swiss publisher. It has a distinctly European flavour. With its linen hardback cover, it looks and feels quite different to the usual books you see these days. It’s nice to have the opportunity to read an adaptation from another country other than England for a change. It’d be nice to see more, actually. In an age where everything is bright, busy and frankly, noisy, it's nice enjoy a rather more traditional, slower paced story. There's something old-fashioned about it (in a good way) and the illustrations have a classic feel. For your £7.95, you also get a wrap-around, which lets you to cut out a gift of your own, so you can gift your own little red parcel. But to be honest, I don’t see me putting a scissor to this one. Photocopy it is then. "You can't open the red parcel, but you can give it to someone else," On the surface, this is a story about a little girl who goes to stay to her grandmother, bringing great joy to the old lady. But there's more to it than this. In a society where everyone is busy going about their business, often with no time to talk to each other, grandma decides to make a big difference by means of a small act. She simply gives a small gift to a stranger. Anna (the little girl) is confused as grandma hands the man a small red package. The only condition – no one can open the little red parcel. What secrets does it hide? Is there gold inside? Or perhaps expensive gems? No. There’s nothing inside but happiness and good fortune. "No, Anna. One is enough." To the girl's surprise, grandma is confident that only one gift was needed, to light the flame of kindness that rapidly spreads across the village. And whilst it's a very simple story, the message is an important one. Especially in a modern world where the true meaning of Christmas gets lost amidst the hustle and bustle of it all. It's not really about the parties, the feasting, the spending and the presents but we’re all guilty of forgetting that sometimes. For me, the book is a celebration of 'community' – where everyone is reminded to notice the little things and to look out for each other. Over Christmas, take a minute to stop and talk, lend a helping hand, or wish someone well. Maybe a neighbour, or a family member you haven't seen in awhile? I don't think I’d read the story with children under 5 years old, because I think the message will go over their heads and the book may be a little boring for them. But for children between 6-9, I think the story is perfect to share in front of the fire on Christmas Eve. For me, this is one I’d certainly use in a school morning assembly. What’s inside the parcel isn’t really important; it’s the act of kindness in giving the parcel as a gift that matters. If you do someone a kind turn, hopefully someone will repay the favour one day. Publisher: Carreg Gwalch Released: Sept 2021 Price: £7.95 Format: Linen hardback

  • Cymry o Fri! - Jon Gower

    ♥Welsh Children's Book of the Month March 2022♥ (suggested) reading age: 9+ , (suggested) interest age: 11+ Illustrations: Efa Lois Genre: #factual #nonfiction #Wales Gwlad Beirdd a Chantorion… It's important to inspire the next generation, and what better way than a volume like this, which looks back and celebrates some of the remarkable Welsh men and women who have made their mark on the world? In Cymry o Fri we get the story of 50 amazing Welsh individuals who have made a difference in a variety of ways and have certainly put Cymru on the map. With so much to choose from, I don't know where you’d begin with choosing such a list, but what strikes me straight away is how much variety there is here, from Colin Jackson's accomplishments on the race track through to Betty Campbell's influence in the classroom. And you can bet your bottom dollar we’ve got enough remarkable people to fill a couple more volumes too! The cover is appealing with it’s bright colours and the book is sensibly and neatly laid out, although I felt it was rather plain compared to some of the similar stuff we’ve seen of late, like Genod Gwych a Merched Medrus. Though to be fair, that series, as well as the excellent ‘Enwogion o Fri’ series from Broga books are aimed at younger children, whereas I think this book suits an older audience better (top primary/early secondary). I prefer the pages where a real photograph accompanies Efa Lois' pictures. I just like seeing the real person too. Did you know...? Did you know that it was his Doctor that encouraged Kyffin Williams to start painting? Or how about the fact that our very own Barti Ddu had a strong connection with the famous skull and crossbones flag we’ve come to associate with pirates? You'll be surprised what you might learn by flicking through the pages. I find learning about other people's lives so interesting (most likely because I’m a nosey parker!) but remember, you don't have to read the book from cover to cover in one sitting; it’s perfect for dipping in and out as you please. Why not pick an amazing Welsh man or woman every day like an advent calendar? From reading about all these notable people, and considering that we’re only a small country, we’ve certainly made a big impression on the world haven’t we? If we’ve done all that so far, the future looks very bright! Publisher: Y Lolfa Released: 2022 Price: £6.99 HERE'S WHAT AUTHOR BETHAN GWANAS HAD TO SAY...

  • Mi wnes i weld mamoth / I did see a mammoth! - Alex Willmore [adapt. Casia Wiliam]

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of web page* (suggested) reading age: 5+ (suggested) interest age: 3-6 Genre: #ficition #funny #bilingual Gift ideas Usually, at this time of year I’m on a mad dash looking for books to give as gifts to the little ones in the family. This year is no different. The girl is no trouble, but the boys are harder to please where books are concerned. I’m looking for a book to make us laugh. Last year, Disco Dolig Dwl won, but this year I’m thinking Mi wnes i weld mamoth/I did see a mammoth. Great choice for a stocking filler. I’m not normally as keen on Christmas books, but this isn’t a Christmas one per se, but it does have snow in it, so ticks that box as well. Don't think you’re going to get anything deep and meaningful here; just lots of zany fun and lots and lots of unimpressed penguins. Welcome to the Antarctic! On an expedition to the Antarctic, a brave crew is battling the cold in order to study penguins. Many, many penguins. But for one young adventurer, our feathered friends just don’t cut it. He’s not at all interested in birds, oh no, because he's got his sights set on something far bigger! Oh no he isn’t... oh yes he is! And there you have it with the plot pretty much. (see, told you there wasn’t anything deep and meaningful!) It's a funny story, and one that's sure to appeal to kids, especially when the creature pops up from time to time in ever-whackier situations. Although the boy desperately maintains that he saw something, the adults simply refuse to believe him, either thinking he’s crying wolf, or just being down right patronizing! (children will surely identify with the whole adults not listening thing) It’s an old, tried and tested idea (like they do in panto) that adults don’t take children seriously. It’s very effective. Of course, everything changes when they all finally see a M..m.. m MAMMOTH!!! Told you so! The book is bright, modern and energetic, and feels almost like reading a comic. It's not a long story and it’ll make for a quick story before bed. You’ll have plenty of fun looking at the penguins (they’re my fav) and all their un-amused facial expressions – obviously not impressed at being upstaged by a giant ball of fluff! There's plenty of scope to do silly voices and add a bit of dramatics whilst reading, which will make it even more fun. The big ‘twist’ at the end was absolutely expected, but there was just something missing in the ending for me. A little confusing for younger readers perhaps? Could just be me. There will be some who will think that this story is a bit stupid, and that the repetition of the word 'mammoth' quickly becomes annoying, but I think very young readers will find the repetition helpful when reading together. The fact is, children do like repetition. I like the last page which gives a few extra facts about the real creatures – I didn’t know that they never lived in the Antarctic. Well, there's no evidence anyway. I recently read that a group of scientists are trying to bring back woolly mammoths with cloning/DNA technology. So you never know, if the boffins get it right, we might actually see mammoths again one day! Publisher: Atebol Released: 2022 Price: £6.99

  • Hedyn - Caryl Lewis [adapt. Meinir Wyn Edwards]

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of webpage* (suggested) reading age: 9+ (suggested) interest age: 9+ Genre: #fiction #adventure #magicalrealism Illustrations: George Ermos Themes discussed: · Bullying · Family/relationships · Deafness/disability/diveristy · mental health - OCPD/hoarding · Poverty I’m glad I remembered to pack Hedyn in my hand luggage because it came in really handy to pass the time on my fifteen-hour flight back from Japan! Seed (of change) Marty’s grandfather is a rather eccentric old man, who’s forever inventing things and spending time in his allotment. It’s rather fitting, then, that he should gift his grandson a single seed on his birthday, much to the boy’s dismay! You know that classic ‘oh geez, thanks’ feeling when you get a rubbish present (like a pair of old socks) – well that was Marty’s feeling after receiving a somewhat underwhelming gift. Although it initially seemed like any normal seedling, it was in fact, far from normal. The two soon come to realize that this was indeed a very special plant, and Grandpa has some big plans for it. But first, the plant must be grown to full size – something that initially goes quite well with his awful mixture of God-knows-what! Soon after, some strange things start to happen… Family is family For me, the main strength of the novel is the character work by the author. Yes, they go on an exciting adventure, but more importantly, the author manages to create characters you really care about, and you’re always wanting things to be ok for them. Marty's Father has long gone, and he lives with his Mother as they struggle to get by. The subject of mental health is given careful attention in the novel, (albeit as a bit of a side story) as we realize early on that Marty's mother tends to hoard things, until the house is overwhelmed with stuff – something that puts their relationship under strain. No wonder Marty’s so keen to get to the allotment! A quiet boy, he tries to keep himself to himself, but the bullies sense this from the get go and make his life even more miserable. Watching him grow in confidence over the course of the novel is great to see. Much of that is thanks to his new friend Gracie, a strong and determined person, who refuses to let the fact she's deaf and needs to wear a cochlear implant stop her from doing anything. In fact, she sees it as her otherworldly power, rather than something that hold her back. She’s certainly not looking for pity and she gives as good as she gets! Sure, she can look after herself, but whilst she seems tough on the outside, there's also another, softer, side to her. She has big ambitions to become a dancer, not that her father has bothered to notice. Yes, the characters all have their personal struggles, but it's wonderful to see them overcome these, develop as individuals and come together at the end. Front cover gets 10/10 The cover gets a high rating from me, and it’s probably one of the best covers this year. It’s got a high production value feel to it and it sets the bar high for Welsh books. As I keep saying, we have to invest in attractive covers if we want that book picked up off the shelf. Love, hope and dreams This is a heartwarming and memorable novel that encourages us to be brave and follow our dreams, no matter what! If I have to make a comparison, I’d say it was a magical mix between James and the giant peach, Cinderella, Jack and the beanstalk and the Disney Pixar fim, Up! If you’re looking for a bit of magical realism adventure, but you want characters you care about, then give Hedyn (or the English version, Seed) a try! Publisher Y Lolfa Released: Mai 2022 Price: £7.99 DON'T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT, READ JON GOWER'S EXCELLENT REVIEW ON NATION.CYMRU:

  • Y Poenisawrws / The Worrysaurus - Rachel Bright [adapt. Endaf Griffiths]

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of webpage* Illustrations: Chris Chatterton (suggested) reading age: 6+ (suggested) interest age: 2+ Genre: #worry #anxiety #fiction #healthandwellbeing #bilingual Storm Clouds Rachel Bright, the author of the hugely successful The Lion Inside, is back with another equally charming picturebook. Do you have a little worrier in your house? If so, this is an ideal book to read an enjoy, and one that will serve as a good prompt to hold a conversation about those feelings of doubt and worry that can rise to the surface from time to time. This is a lovely, simple little story about a small dinosaur (or dragon?) who’s looking forward to an exciting adventure and a delicious picnic. But before he even gets started, the black clouds soon come to darken his day. Does he have enough food? Will he come to harm in the huge forest? All sorts of worrisome thoughts swirl around in his head. These anxious feelings are expressed as 'butterflies' in his belly – a simple enough concept that children will be able to understand. I like that the book uses this as a metaphor to help explain and discuss emotions that can be difficult to describe. That said, you may have to be explain to the youngest children that a real butterfly isn’t about to rip itself through their bellies! (I remember reading a poem years ago about a lad called Bili Bolyn who ate too many apples – I was convinced that a tree would burst through my belly if I ate so much as a single pip!) It’s the little dinosaur’s mother who comes to the rescue with some sound advice. I’ve lost count of the times Mam and Dad have given me words of advice and comfort when things aren’t going so well. Sometimes just being able to express your concerns and having someone there listening makes a world of difference. Butterlies We've all had them haven’t we? Strange or uncomfortable feelings in our tummies when we’re nervous. Whether it's the first day of school or moving home – any new, unexpected situations or the great unknown can give us those ‘butterflies in out stomachs.’ And you know what? Being nervous or worried about things sometimes is perfectly natural, but of course some individuals end up worrying a bit more than others. According to some figures, anxiety is increasing in children and young people, and that was before the pandemic! This book will is an essential read for anyone with a young child who worries a lot about different things, but to be honest, we all get those feelings from time to time, so the book is suitable to read with any child. It provides the catalyst for a conversation about these feelings; how to identify them and how to try to deal with them. As for the pictures, they are cute enough. I’ll be honest I don’t really know much about art, and I tend to either love the pictures or I don't. The use of colour is effective here, with dark colours describing the initial worries, while colours fill the pages as those feelings fade away. For me, some of the pages feel quite 'busy' because of the inclusion of both languages, but I think that's a small price to pay for having a bilingual book. The demand for books like this is increasing, especially from non-Welsh speaking parents or those with limited Welsh skills who are keen to help their children. By offering the story in both languages, side by side, this can actually open the door for more people to further Welsh-language books. Stressful situations are inevitable in life, and everyone will end up fretting about something at one time or another. Kids have to know that it's ok to feel this way sometimes, but that they mustn’t let those feelings control them. To use Rachel Bright’s idea- sometimes, we’ve just gotta stop holding on to our worry-butterflies and let them free! Head on the block, I probably preferred The Lion Inside, but Y Poenisawrws is an affectionate, useful book with an important message for this day and age with nice illustrations to boot. Publisher: Atebol Released: 2022 Price:£6.99

  • Cranogwen - Anni Llŷn

    *For Welsh review, please use language toggle switch on top of web page* (suggested) reading age: 6+ (suggested) interest age: 3-6 Illustrations: Rhiannon Parnis REVIEW BY LLIO MAI This is the first book in the new series ‘Enwogion o Fri’ [Welsh Wonders] by the relatively new Broga Press. This is a series that showcases the inspiring lives of some Welsh individuals that may not be so familiar to us. I really welcome this series, and I’m pleased to see an effort to draw the attention of the younger generation to some of Wales' incredible people from the past, and the influence their work has had, and continues to do so, both in this country and beyond. And who better to focus on in the first volume than Cranogwen, or Sarah Jane Rees to use her real name. Sarah was from Llanrannog, and it was there that her interest in the sea and ships began. While many didn't believe that a ship was a place for a young girl, Sarah didn't want to let that stop her from achieving her dream. She worked hard and went on to learn a great deal more about ships and navigation and then shared her interest and knowledge with others through her work as a teacher. Sarah also loved poetry, and is the very first woman to win an award for the best poem at the National Eisteddfod! This is quite an achievement and inspirational to a number of women who have come after her. It’s through her poetry that we now know her better as Cranogwen, as this is the name she used as her pseudonym. She’s one who broke the stereotypes of the day and constantly railed against the prejudices she faced. As stated in the book, Cranogwen did ‘what she wanted to do, not what everyone else thought she should do'. She spent much of her time supporting other women, and that message is very clear at the end of this book. Cranogwen's inspiring life and work is very well summarised in this picture book by Anni Llŷn, and Rhiannon Parnis's beautiful illustrations help to take us back to her time and imagine her at work. Cranogwen is someone every child and young person should be aware of. She’s a special example of someone who overcame obstacles to pursue her dreams, and who used her success to help others. Grab yourself a copy - you'll surely be inspired after reading this one, then you’ll be ready to tackle your own dreams! Anything is possible. Publisher: Broga Released: 2021 Price: £5.99

  • 'Dolig Diflas y Dyn Dweud Drefn - Lleucu Lynch

    *For Welsh review, please see language toggle switch* (suggested) reading age: 6/7+ (suggested) interest age: 4-7 Illustrations: Gwen Millward REVIEW BY LLIO MAI If there's anyone who hates Christmas, it’s the ‘Dyn Dweud Drefn.’ (the angry man) Having read the previous books, I'm sure we could all have guessed that he wouldn’t be a fan of all the festive cheer! On the other hand, someone who absolutely loves Christmas is his little puppy. This year, somehow, the puppy has managed to persuade the Dyn Dweud Drefn to give Christmas a go, without telling anyone off or being cranky! Now, this is going to be interesting… Will he be able to resist being angry or miserable for one WHOLE Day? He’s certainly challenged a few times during the day. He wakes up early, which isn't a very good start… You'll have to buy a copy of the book to know how he gets on. I love this series by Lleucu Fflur Lynch. The character of the Dyn Dweud Drefn is brilliant, and his unconventional relationship with the puppy provides enough material for many stories to keep us entertained. Both are brilliantly illustrated once again through Gwen Millward's likable and charming pictures. This is a great book to read over the Christmas period (and at any other time really)! It's a story about friendship, companionship and about what can happen when someone dares to do something differently and steps out of their comfort zone. Publisher: Carreg Gwalch Released: 2022 Price: £4.95 ALSO IN THE SERIES:

  • Yr Anweledig/The Invisible - Tom Percival [adapt. Elin Meek]

    For Welsh review, see language toggle switch* (suggested) reading age: 5+ (suggested) interest age: 3-7 Genre: #fiction #empathy #bilingual ♥Children's Book of the Month, September 2022♥ This is a heart-warming story about a young girl who manages to do one of the hardest things possible: a difference. Erin finds the winter snow very beautiful, but she also feels the cold. That's because her parents don't have enough money to heat the house. Even though they don't have much, one thing they do have plenty of is love. (Which according to the Beatles, is all you need!) Unfortunately, though, as the family soon find out, love doesn't pay the bills, and they are forced leave their home and familiar surroundings and move to the other end of the city to what appears to be a tower block. The change comes as a bit of a shock to Erin, and she feels lonely and lost. She feels so hopeless and unimportant that she begins disappearing before our eyes. It’s only when she becomes ‘invisible’ that she notices all the other invisible people out and about around new home. The unseen and the unwanted But who are these people? Well, they are the people who have been pushed to the fringes of our society – the poor, the elderly, immigrants, the homeless. Anyone who doesn't fit in or 'belong' to what society as a whole considers normal. They are often ignored and forgotten. This is why Tom Percival's idea of turning invisible works so well as a metaphor to convey how we fail to see certain things, choose not to notice, or turn our backs completely. Just think- how many times have you walked past a sleeping person in front of a shop door? Did you stop to say hello or did you walk on by? Beauty is all around Although her new home seems bleak on the surface, Erin manages to discover beauty hiding everywhere around her. It’s only then, that she decides she's going to do something to help, so she goes about planting flowers and doing odd-jobs around the place. Speaking of beauty, the illustrations are very special. It starts off cold and grey, and gradually the colour returns and grows as the community comes to life. Indeed, the last spread pf pages is bursting with colour and warmth. Erin's efforts to improve her local area catches on, and the community soon comes together to improve their locality. Making a difference The message of the book is powerful— you don’t need grand gestures to make a difference, but small acts of kindness can make a big impact. I hope the book will show children that money and wealth are not a measure of their value, and that showing kindness and compassion is far more important. Author's experiences The story's origins come from the author's first-hand experience of living in a caravan at a young age. He shares his experiences of poverty in a thought-provoking note at the back of the book. He is keen to draw attention to those who are less fortunate than us in society, but no less important. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, almost 15 million adults live in poverty in the UK, including 4.3 million children. With costs and bills rising every day, this is not something that is about to disappear. Inequality will continue, no doubt. Poverty can often be a taboo subject and we seem reluctant to discuss it openly, perhaps due to lack of understanding, embarrassment or shame. This book is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation, in an empathetic way, with young children. No matter who or where we are in life, we should show some love and respect to each other, offering support to those who have fallen on hard times– you never know when you’ll need a helping hand yourself... Publisher: Dref Wen Released: 2022 Price: £6.99

bottom of page