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  • Darganfod! Newid Hinsawdd - DK [adapt. Sioned Lleinau]

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch* (suggested) reading age: 7+ (suggested) interest age: 6+ Genre: #factual #nonfiction #environment #climate The climate emergency "It is unequivocal." Climate change is happening. That's what the latest IPCC report (2022) says. There really is no doubt that our planet is already being affected. Now is indeed the time to act, and that's before it's too late! With so many things happening in the news, like the war in Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis etc, it’s all too easy to forget the environmental crisis and watch it slide down the agenda. Only this week, the UK's new prime minister said he will not be travelling to this year's COP27 climate conference – what kind of example does that set? (don’t get me started!) Renowned presenter Sir David Attenborough recently urged us all to stop climate change in order to save the planet. The video is hard-hitting and is in effect a ‘final,’ urgent plea from the 96-year-old. It was filmed as part of the BBC's Frozen Planet II series. DK non-fiction books When I was a kid there was nothing I enjoyed reading more than the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness books. In fact, I binged my way through them. Ships. Trains. Mega buildings. Reptiles. Dinosaurs. Birds. You name it, I had it! These ARE undoubtedly the best non-fiction reference/fact books on the market - both in terms of appearance and content. They are so bright and visual with eye-catching pictures to hold the attention of a generation of children who have grown up in front of screens. These certainly aren’t the dusty, boring textbooks of old! The design and layout is excellent - with pages brimming with interesting facts but separated into small, manageable chunks. I’ll admit, I’ve been like a broken record of late, moaning about the serious lack of high-quality Welsh non-fiction books out there. Not everyone wants to read stories about fairies or high school dramas. I can't stress how important it is to have engaging fact books, which feed young children's enormous curiosity and desire to learn and know things. Looking at what's currently on the shelves in Welsh - we're a bit behind. Where have the non-fiction books I remember fondly from the 90's gone? A little sad perhaps, but I was super excited when I saw that Rily had adapted one of DK's books from the brilliant Find Out! / Discover series! What will you find out? The book starts from scratch – explaining exactly what 'climate' means. The book takes us on a journey through the history and changes of the climate and how we arrived at the precarious situation we are in today. It clearly explains how humans have affected the delicate systems that keep the planet healthy and balanced. As well as discussing the causes, we see the consequences if we don't change our ways. Nothing sums up the climate crisis more than the image of a polar bear. There's a fine line between telling the truth and fear-mongering, and I think this book strikes the right tone on that one. If we are to see true, meaningful change, mankind must change its attitude and behaviors. Climate change – and how to solve the issue– is an incredibly complex problem, and one that requires global collaboration. It's not too late yet – by working together, we can turn the tide on climate change and keep out planet from warming past the point of no return. The scale of the global problem is so great that it’s sometimes difficult for us to process. That's why I like the fact that the book offers practical ideas about what we can do, on a personal level. Like St David's said "Do the little things." And when the environment is concerned- he’s spot on. We all have to play our part, even if that just means turning the thermostat down a few degrees, or drying the clothes on the line instead of chucking them into the tumble dryer. More More More! I'm really thrilled to see this book - please Rily will you translate more of the series? I've already ordered several of the English books (Engineering, Reptiles and Space Travel!) and it’d great to have more of them in Welsh. This is a book that will be extremely useful in the classroom, for geography work on global warming or sustainability, for example. As a teacher, I can definitely see how this book offers many opportunities for independent research and engaging discussions. The next generation will inherit the planet, (or what’s left of it!) so it's incredibly important for our children to have a solid understanding of the situation and how they can be agents of change – just like Greta and the millions of children who went on school strikes for the environment in 2019. Together, we can stop climate change. We have to! Publisher: Rily Released: July 2022 Price: £6.99 IPCC REPORT IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, 3056 pp., doi:10.1017/9781009325844

  • Dyddiau Cŵn - Gwen Redvers Jones

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of webpage* ♥ Tir na n-Og Award Winner 1998♥ Audience: #youngadult #teen Genre: #fiction #WelshOriginal REVIEW BY REBECCA ROBERTS I came across a copy of 'Dyddiau Cŵn' in Siop Clwyd and it felt as if I was greeting an old friend I hadn't seen since high school. That wasn't far from the truth – I first read ‘Dyddiau Cŵn’ in high school, and remember it as one of the few Welsh novels I really enjoyed. At that time many novel covers were cartoonish, and looked rather 'young' for a teenager. But there was something about the cover of ‘Dyddiau Cŵn’ that compelled me to pick up the book. There was a naked man on the first page! Not a picture, obviously, but a description. A promising start, to a hormone-filled teenager! I enjoyed ‘Dyddiau Cŵn’ enough to pick it up again some twenty(ish) years later for a nostalgic trip into the past. This is the story of Sera, an eighteen-year-old living at home with her parents. She meets Dan, a young and handsome traveller, and immediately falls in love with him. This leads to a conflict between parents and daughter, and Sera leaves the nest to travel Wales with Dan and his friends, who are also travellers determined to live a 'free' life. The tension of the novel comes from the conflict between Sera's traditional upbringing and Dad's desire to be free from society's expectations – free from the responsibility of paying rent and tax, and to love freely, without commitment or responsibility. The strength of the story is that Gwen Redvers Jones does not preach or present a single character as a 'good' or 'bad' character. Dan is portrayed as seductive and charismatic on one hand, but incredibly selfish at other times. At the end of the novel Sera faces a difficult, fateful decision about how best to live her life. I won't reveal the ending, except to say that the message is a positive one about self-determination and independence that remains relevant to this day. How has the novel aged? In one way, it was nice to be reminded of a pre-internet era, before mobile phones took over (the novel was published in 1996). On the other hand, aspects of the novel, particularly the pearl clutching and Sera's mother’s priggish approach to 'hipis' seem ridiculously old-fashioned. I guess she would have been seen as overprotective and snobbish even when the novel was published - at times it felt as if the family's rules and attitudes dated from the fifties! Neither did the conflict between Sera and her parents ring completely true – Sera was far too immature and childish for a young eighteen year old ready to head off to college or university. The best thing about the story was the portrayal of Dan's friends, the travellers, and their lifestyle. Fleshed-out and vivid characters, all of them - and the dialect! At times it felt as if I was listening to a radio play, so alive were the voices. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Sera's time with the band of travellers, and it was great to watch her mature and become more independent after being taken under the wing of some of the older female characters. Although this novel is about a young woman's first sexual relationship and contains a few references to drug use, there is an innocence to it that makes it suitable for young teens. Because of that naivety it might not appeal as much to today's youth, but there is a nostalgic pleasure to be had from re-visiting the nineties within the covers of a book. Publisher: Gomer Released: 1997 Price: Out of print - library or 2nd hand only

  • Y Cwilt - Valériane Leblond

    *For Welsh Review, see language toggle switch on top of page* A treasure trove of pictures and a lovely story. Welsh Original Often, it is the words that are important in a book, but it’s the pictures that grab our attention in this story. A beautiful book, featuring a wonderful artwork by Valériane Leblond. She normally draws for others, but this is the first book that she has been responsible for the story and the pictures herself. This is a story about a poor family who leave Wales to seek out a better life in the distant lands of America. As ‘hiraeth’ takes hold, a longing for home, the quilt sewn by his mother brings the child great comfort. As well as enjoying the story, which was subtle and elegant, I took ages to read the short book as I was so busy looking and studying the beautiful pictures in detail. On her website, the writer/artist talks about her work: " My artworks often deal with the idea of belonging, how people inhabit the land, what makes the place they call home. Most of my works have details and sub-stories that you may notice if you look longer.” I tend to agree with her – her use of patterns is very clever, if you look closely enough. Through the ages, people from Wales have migrated by sea in search of a new life. They are facing a long and grueling journey, and countless challenges as they struggle to establish a new life in foreign lands. The book shows us this in a lovely way, which is perfectly suited to young children. (Note - the words are not as straightforward as the book initially suggests – it may be that an adult's help is needed to read it for very young children.) It's a hard cover which is perfect for this book. A bargain for £5.99! Publisher: Y Lolfa Released: 2019 ISBN: 9781784617974 Price £5.99

  • Nye: Bywyd Angerddol Aneurin Bevan - Manon Steffan Ros and Valériane Leblond

    *For WELSH Review see language toggle switch on top of page* (suggested) interest age: 3-7+ (suggested) reading age: 6+ Genre: #nonfiction #welshhistory #inspirational #WelshOriginal National Treasure I doubt there’s many of us reading this who haven't had some contact or other with the National Health Service (NHS) at some point in our lives. I count myself very lucky to be here in all honesty, thanks to the excellent care I had in hospital when I was seven years old for a nasty dose of bronchitis. If it wasn't for that treatment, who knows what would have happened. I firmly believe the NHS saved my life, and has done so on more than one occasion! The NHS gets a lot of stick in the media, and there's endless complaining about it from some, especially when you can't get a dentist or you’ve been waiting for knee surgery for years... No, it ain’t perfect. I doubt anyone is kidding themselves that it is. And whilst there are certainly areas for improvement, I think we sometimes forget how lucky we are to have free medical treatment for all. ‘Enwogion o Fri’ series Just going to say a few words about this series, which is a good example of how to produce an incredibly interesting and diverse series, and one that is of a high standard come to that. The various author and artist combinations not only promote variety, but careful thought has gone into picking the historical figures, which are often ones who have been largely overlooked, or ones we may be less familiar with. The pairing up of authors and artists has been done thoughtfully – each book bringing something new to the table with its own unique vibes. This time it’s Valériane Leblond (author of The Quilt) illustrating and Manon Steffan Ros wordsmithing, so you just know straight away we're in safe hands! I think it was a good idea to publish two versions of each book; making it accessible to a wider audience. See details of the English version here. What a Welshman It's amazing to think that the story of the NHS – a beloved service that has saved millions of people over the decades – had it’s roots here in Wales, with a young lad from Tredegar- Aneurin Bevan, or 'Nye' as he was known. 'Nye' left school at 14, and worked as a miner for years – learning the art of public speaking and addressing crowds through his work with the union. He demanded better rights for his co-workers. After becoming a seasoned public speaker, he was elected as Member of Parliament for the area, and things grew from there. He made quite an impression while he was in Westminster. I won’t say too much, because Manon Steffan tells his life story far better than I ever could. But it’s safe to say that 'Nye' had a vision: to make big changes and to create something truly special. An amazing story I'm still amazed that a Welshman was the driving force behind a first-of-its-kind national service – free medical care at the point of need. The community was very important to Nye, and this is evident from his hard work throughout his life- always working to support others. The book conveys beautifully how he was influenced by the close-knit community in Tredegar, and the way everybody looked out for one another there. When I read Nye's story, I'm not only impressed, but I feel proud. It really does inspire you. It makes one feel that anything is possible. If the son of a South Wales coal miner with a stammer can achieve what he did, we too can do anything – there really is no limit to our potential. NHS today Yes, the NHS is under enormous pressure, and its future hangs in the balance because of those who oppose it, abuse it or take it for granted, but we really should hold on to it and cherish it. We don't know how good we've got it! It’s impossible to put a price on our gratitude as a nation to Nye Bevan, and to all NHS staff who work tirelessly to look after us when we need it most. I’m glad Llyfrau Broga has cast a fresh light on Nye's story; introducing him to a younger generation. I think it’s important that they learn about the Welsh origins of the NHS and to realize it’s true value, because it is they who will be entrusted with it’s future. It will be their duty to ensure it continues for years to come. The NHS is more than just a medical ‘service’ – it’s a glimmer of hope in a world that can be fraught with selfishness, prejudice and inequality. A glimmer of hope that we can be better- a fine example of how caring for each other, rather than just looking after ourselves pays off in the long run. And it all starts in a town in Blaenau Gwent. Publisher: Broga Released: 2022 Price: £5.99 ENGLISH VERSION ALSO AVAILABLE... See details here.

  • Diwrnod y Sioe / Show Day - Llenwedd Lawlor a Jessica Wise

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of webpage* (suggested) reading age: 6+ (suggested) interest age: 3-7 Genre: #gwreiddiol #ffuglen #llyfrallun #anifeiliaid #amaeth #iechydalles Messages: taking part that counts, bravery, perseverance, self-belief, ♥Children's Book of the Month July 2022♥ Our opinion It's good to see a variety of books coming to market, and this one will surely appeal to the readers who love animals, farming, the countryside and of course horses. We are fortunate in our area to have plenty of agricultural shows to enjoy - Llanrwst Show, Eglwysbach Show, Cerrigydrudion Show to name but a few! Reading this book made me think back to those lovely summer days watching the animals and their owners performing. Shetland pony Ladi is desperately worried about her first show. Let’s face it, we all know that anxious feeling of butterflies in our tummies before we do something new, and it turns out horses are no exception! To make matters worse, after an unfortunate experience with one of the fellow contestants, Ladi is ready to give up and run for home. However, despite the nerves and her initial worries, Ladi (and Cit, her rider) persevere and find some determination. In fact, they have a great time in the end. If you want to know how they got on... you’ll have to read to find out! This is an original story, published bilingually. I'm happy to see a steady supply of books such as this, because they’re very popular with parents who are keen to support their children's Welsh reading. Technically, you get double the book for the same price! A lovely story that shows how important it is to be brave and to persevere. And yes, whilst it is a somewhat cliché message, it’s a good one – it’s taking part that counts, not winning! Don't just take our word for it, have a look at what Gwales has to say: GWALES REVIEW This is a lovely original picturebook by author Llanwedd Lawlor and artist Jessica Wise that gives you a little bit of everything – an engaging story, colourful pictures and bilingual text to boot. Something for everyone, then! As with all story-and-picture books, having an attractive cover is essential, and the playful cover of this book is sure to attract the eye, with Ladi the show horse's eyes fixed on you from the start. The story presents Ladi's point of view going into the show – her excitement, but also her anxiety and insecurities upon arriving at the showground and seeing so many people and creatures there. And if you thought things were bad in the singing world, the same can also be said for the horse world, and the appearance of the majestic ‘celebrity’ horse, Concyr, frightens poor Ladi. Luckily, the judge has the final say, and without revealing too much, Ladi and Cit make a very good show of it. There's a small moral message woven into the story, of course, but it’s subtle enough. The layout of the text in the book is creative, with some experimentation with fonts in terms of colour, type and size. By now, readers in Wales are quite familiar with bilingual books, with the English text appearing in a smaller font on the same page as the Welsh version. You don't have to notice the English version at all if you don't want to, but it can work as an extremely useful tool for non-Welsh parents and learners, as needed. I probably would have preferred to see the English font in italics, to show an even greater difference between it and the Welsh text. Naturally, attracting the eye’s attention is what the pictures in a storybook are all about, and the use of striking and contrasting colours on different pages certainly promotes interest. Jessica Wise's photos are neat and clean and add the expected amount of interest. A good little original book to read, although the sale price might be a bit much for some little piggy banks! A review from, with the permission of the Books Council of Wales. Publisher: Atebol Released: 2022 Price: £7.99

  • Cwestiynu Popeth! - Susan Martineau a Vicky Barker [adapt. Llinos Dafydd]

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of page* (suggested) reading age: 9-11, 11-14 (suggested) interest age: 8+ Genre: #nonfiction #research #fakenews #selfhelp Welsh adaptation of 'Question Everything' “We live in an information jungle. How can we help young readers to navigate safely through it to explore the world confidently and safely? They need to be armed with some essential critical literacy skills to find their way to reliable sources of information, to ask questions and to think for themselves.” - Susan Martineau [original author] Don't be deceived by this books size - its jam packed with very sage advice for young researchers. Digital age For better or worse, we live in a digital age where technology is progressing at tremendous speed. Just think about how much life has changed since the advent of the web, and how dependent we are on it. It has permeated every part of our lives and there’s more information out there now that there’s ever been in our history – all at our fingertips. I'm sure you've heard of 'Fake News' – a term that has received more attention in recent years. It means misleading on untrue information presented as real facts. Unfortunately, not all the information out there is what it seems, and a bit of detective work is often required, so we can be as confident as possible that what we’re reading is accurate. It may not sound like a big problem, but fake news is insidious and dangerous. Especially when people start passively 'accepting' things without being critical and asking questions. How does the book help? The book helps us make some sense of the complexity. It will present you with research skills, which will enable you to think for yourself and come to a decision. Is the source of information safe? Is it reliable? Is it correct? These are just a few of the questions we should all be asking ourselves every time we read anything (and not just on computers either). It will teach you which questions you need to ask, and how to weigh up the information before deciding what to do. These are essential skills for school work or for any further research at university. In fact, this book is an useful guide for anyone in everyday life. What's good about the book? For starters, it's packed with modern digital style illustrations, which helps to present all the information in an easy-to-read way. The book advises us, but never in a patronising way or one that tries to scare us. If the book is to be used as a textbook in class, there are also a series of tasks to practice the new thinking skills. This book would be a great resource to do group reading, sparking discussion along the way. The glossary to explain some of the terminology was useful – though I personally would have found the English translation of those words handy too. Teachers - this book is perfect to tackle aspects of the new curriculum for Wales. The following comes from the 'statement of what matters.' - "learners to develop the skills to become unbiased and critically-aware interpreters of what they hear, read and see in order to interact as capable, informed citizens of Wales and the world." What can I do? Hopefully, by the time you finish reading the book, you'll feel more confident thinking for yourself, staying safe online and how to navigate your way through the abundance of information and misinformation that surrounds us. And remember the main message of this book - don't just accept anything - question everything! Publisher: Rily Released: 2022 Price: £5.99 Check out the CILIP Blog for an article with the book's original author - Susan Martineau

  • Cnwcyn - Meinir Pierce Jones

    *For Welsh review, please see language toggle switch* (suggested) reading age: 7+ (suggested) interest age: 4+ Genre: #fiction #picturebook #nature Trouble in paradise I like the name 'Cnwcyn' – [which actually means small hill] – it’s a funny sounding little name that suits this woodpecker perfectly. The onomatopoeic qualities of the name are quite apt, as you’ll certainly hear this bird before you see him. Cnwcyn (and his friends) live in the woods of Pen-y-Bryn in tranquil peace and quiet, that is, until the men in hard hats come to turn their lives upside down. They’ve come for one purpose alone, to raze the forest to the ground, and will make Cnwcyn & co homeless in the process. But sadly, down come the trees, and despite Cnwcyn’s repeated requests to neighbours for a place to stay, nobody’s willing to put a roof over his head. His unfortunate situation after losing his home is even more heart-breaking as we see similar stories on the news from Ukraine every day. Things get from bad to worse in Pen-y-Bryn, because when a large fire threatens all the other animals too, it’s Cnwcyn who’s straight there to lend a hand. The other animals soon come to realize that to overcome any challenge, you must work together and have a bit of faith. Will Cnwcyn & co find a new home? Contemporary messages This is an original Welsh language book, with a 'traditional' feel about it but featuring contemporary environmental messages such as deforestation and wildlife, but also things like homelessness and being a refugee to some extent. We also have the usual moral tales of friendship, empathy and collaboration. Sound like a lot of themes to include in one story? Well, they all slot neatly and effortlessly into the story, without being forced. I understand that children see the world in a more black and white way than adults, and there's obviously a limit to the extent of what you can include in a picture book, but I wonder, is there a tendency to portray the loggers in a rather stereotypical way as the big bad guys? I’m probably overthinking it – but forestry workers need to live too don’t they? But I acknowledge that perhaps the message of sustainable forestry practices was a bit much to include here. According to some statistics, we lose 10 million hectares of forests every year worldwide (which is very concerning!) The sooner we can educate the little ones about the problems facing our planet, the better. Here’s to hoping they’ll do a better job of caring for it than our generation did, whilst they clear up our mess. Bargain! The cartoon-like artwork by Thom Morgan is vivid and colourful, and the story itself is rather substantial – value for money for your £6.99! A perfect bedtime story, that works even better with adult on hand to help with the reading, and to chat about some of the interesting topics that the book pertains to. Publisher: Atebol Released: Medi 2022 Price: £6.99

  • Adref heb Elin - Gareth F. Williams

    *For Welsh review, please see language toggle switch* ♥ Tir na n-Og Award Winner 2007♥ (suggested) reading age: 12+ (suggested) reading age: 12+ Genre: #fiction #teen #youngadult #mystery TRANSLATION EXPECTED 31/8/22 SORRY Publisher: Gomer@Lolfa Released: 2006 Series: Whap! Price: £6.99 (or in any library!) E-book: MORE BOOKS IN WHAP SERIES:

  • Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni - Alun Davies

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of page* ♥Welsh children's book of the month: July 2022♥ (suggested) interest age: 11+ (suggested) reading age: 12+ Genre: #fiction #fantasy #adventure #ditective #Mabinogi Magical Realism... I feel a bit guilty admitting this, but I didn’t actually study the Mabinogi in school (I know, shock, right!) so I did get the impression that they were old, boring, crusty stories from the past. How wrong was I? Have you heard Branwen's story? Well, it's absolutely mad truth be told! With its fair share of betrayal, revenge, violence, giants, magic and epic battles, it could rival any summer blockbuster! It serves as the backdrop for our story, Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni by Alun Davies, which weaves the folklore and mythology of the Mabinogi with modern everyday life, and all for a teenage audience [according to the publisher]. Well, I'm not a schoolboy - I'm much older, and I really enjoyed this one, so don't dismiss it just because you're older than the target audience! Like a lot of cars these days, this book is a bit of hybrid fusion so we, as readers, get the best of both worlds! The author is successful in creating a piece of fiction that deals with fantasy, magic and otherworldly adventure, but is rooted in the mundane routine of everyday life. The story alternates between the fantasy world, and an intriguing detective story in the ‘muggle’ world. According to my Google research, we call the genre Magical Realism when we combine magic with the 'normal' world. I like it. So who is Manawydan Jones and what’s a ‘Pair Dadeni?’ Manawydan Jones is a fifteen-year-old schoolboy, who at first seems ordinary enough, until an unexpected visitor arrives at school and demands to see him – a meeting that will change his life forever. I have to be careful here, because I don't want to say too much! Yes, there are many extraordinary things about this boy. He doesn't talk at all, for starters. But even more unique than this is the fact that he is a descendant of one of the famous characters of the Mabinogi - Manawydan Fab Llŷr. But why is he the ‘chosen one’? Well, let me tell you. Two factions have been pure enemies for centuries (since the days of the Mabinogi) and tensions between the two sides are increasing, with a major battle on the hroizon. The 'cyfeillion' represent peace and kindess whilst the ‘marchogion’ are totally up for a bit of violence and cruelty (a bit the Jedi and Sith type perhaps?) Everything is at stake and they desperately need Manadwyan’s help – but only if he has the "ability" of course (again, like ‘the force’ maybe?). Before he can be accepted as part of this brave crew, he will have to prove himself in the trials. (hunger games-style) What was good about the novel? This was a combination of some of my favorite genres. I like adventure and fantasy, but having that element of detective and police procedural was a bonus! IMO there wasn't too much "emotional fluff" about characters, but the novel delivered on plenty of tension, and crucially, action. Exactly what I wanted. That said, I some of the side-characters didn’t really get fleshed out, but I think we’ll get a chance to know more about them in the next book! There were quite a lot of chapters, but they're very short (ideal), so it was easy to read a few each night, and the constant switching back and forth between Manawydan's story and Detective Saunders' efforts kept things fresh. The main story about the magical cauldron (Pair Dadeni) kept me interested throughout, and I must say the idea of a cauldron with an unnatural power to bring back the dead is a good one, and a little bit creepy – perfect. There's no need to be afraid of being a bit dark with novels like this. Indeed, it reminds me of the White Walkers’ dead army in Game of Thrones, and the skeleton soldiers in the classic film, Jason and the Argonauts. I was guilty of thinking that the Mabinogi were just boring Welsh history stuff, but I've been proved completely wrong. It's a testament to their longevity that they still inspire new stories to this day. I love the latest spin on the old tales, which is sure to introduce them to a new generation and make them relevant once again. I need to know what happens next!!! I don't remember seeing books like this on the shelf when I was a teenager. Maybe if I had, then I would have started reading fiction much earlier! Today's teenagers are being spoiled! The only thing that concerns me – are they actually finding out about great novels like this? I really hope so, because this book is worth £8.99 every penny! And if they sell enough copies, I'm sure Alun Davies will write part 2, so I can find out what happens next!! C'mon people – get ordering! Publisher: Y Lolfa Released: June 2022 Price: £8.99

  • A am anghenfil - Huw Aaron

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch* (suggested) interest age: 0-7 (suggested) reading age: 4+ Genre: #fiction #alphabet #funny #monsters Gwales description: A hilarious and zany poem by the artist Huw Aaron about weird and wonderful characters who go to a tea party. A colourful and entertaining characterisation of all the letters of the Welsh alphabet. REVIEW BY LLIO MAI I want to start this review by saying I ABSOLUTEY LOVE this rather unusual book! Some books are just great, aren’t they? – full of fun, pure imagination and bucketloads of creativity! The concept’s very simple -the boy in this book is having a birthday party, but the invited guests are, well... they’re quite unusual to say the least! Would you invite a bunch of weird and wacky monsters to your birthday party? We are introduced to the VIP guests one at a time as they arrive at the party, and they’re all unique and some are just, well, plain crazy! This book that will sure to have you laughing, but it's also quite educational because it introduces the Welsh alphabet – a monster for every letter. You could even use this book as a springboard for further activities afterwards such as creating your own monster or making up weird and wonderful names for each one (We've been giving it a go here at Sôn am Lyfra HQ!) I particularly like Huw Aaron's illustrations for the various monsters, and the names are absolutely brilliant too - they're so funny, creative and bonkers creative I couldn't wait to turn the page and find out what the next one would be called – an that’s coming from an adult never mind the kids! Which one is your favourite? Mine’s the Gwibno-bwm! I really recommend this book - it's fun for children of all ages, and the adults too! Grab a copy - you won't be disappointed. Publisher: Carreg Gwalch Released: September 2021 Price: £6.95 Author's webite:

  • Weithiau Dwi’n Gandryll / Sometimes I am Furious -Timothy Knapman [adapt. Casia Wiliam]

    *For Welsh review see language toggle switch* (suggested) interest age: 1+ (suggested) reading age: 5/6+ Genre: #healthandwellbeing #emotions #anger Illustrations: Joe Berger Now that we're halfway through the summer holidays, I'm sure many parents across Wales will be familiar with sulky face on the cover – especially those who are parents of a toddler! Temper tantrums. Cranky. Stranking. Furious. Livid. Goin berserk. Crazy – there are so many different ways to say someone is angry! Life’s ok when things are going right isn't it? But sometime, life just isn’t fair! No matter how calm and chilled out you think you are, there's always something that's bound to annoy or wind you up from time to time. Sometimes, things just go wrong, and other times people just do things that just make you lose your rag! For me, the red mist monster rears it’s head when I’m driving. The Road Rage just comes out when other drivers do stupid things! Of course, whilst most adults and older children have learned how to manage or control their feelings, not everyone is in the same boat. Young children in particular sometimes haven’t yet learned how to control and make sense of these powerful feelings. Of course, there are also some who grow up still not being able to manage these overwhelming feelings. This is a light-hearted, rhyming hardback book which just confirms basically that yes, life can be difficult sometimes, andthat it’s quite natural to get angry from time to time. We see a little girl who struggles to control her temper when things don't go as she wants them to. There's a good opportunity to hold a discussion on strong feelings like ‘anger.’ I can see this book as a useful tool in class and at home, not only with children in the early years, but with older pupils who would benefit from the opportunity to discuss these emotions. This is certainly an useful resource for any parent trying to hold a conversation about these feelings. Whilst the book is useful, I think it misses a trick to offer more useful strategies for controlling temper. I would have liked to get a bit more for my £12.99 if I'm being honest. This is probably one I’d get from the library, if I’m being honest. One thing the book is dead right about – a cwtsh or a hug with a loved one can work miracles. There really is nothing better than a big embrace to calm things back down. Note: As stated on the cover, as with many rhyming bilingual books, it’s an adaptation of the original, and is not a direct translation. Publisher: Atebol Released: 2021 Price: £12.99 Cover: Hardback

  • Sedna a'i neges o'r Arctig - Jess Grimsdale [adapt. Mari huws]

    *For Welsh review, see language toggle switch on top of webpage* (suggested) reading age: 7+ (suggested) interest age: 5+ Genre: #picturebook #environment #plasticpollution #fiction Having recently enjoyed (or suffered, depending on your point of view) some rather hot weather recently, a record was broken in Wales, with record temperatures of 37.1°c being recorded in Hawarden, Flintshire. Now even though we like a bit of sunshine, the recent events leave us in no doubt that our climate is changing... Yup, the influence of man now extends across all corners of the planet, and if polluting the earth wasn’t bad enough, we’ve even started to leave our mess in space too! (anyhow, that’s another story!) So, let me introduce Jess Grimsdale's new book, which discusses an extremely important environmental issue, and one that will become increasingly more important, plastic pollution of the sea. The book was actually inspired by the author's journey as part of the Sail Against Plastic mission, a collection of researchers, activists, and film-makers who are exploring the threat of micro plastics in the sea around Svalbard. The book was expertly adapted into Welsh by none other than our own Mari Huws, the environmental campaigner and current warden of Bardsey Island– I can't think of anyone more suitable. What are those weird little balls? At the beginning of the story, the people of a seaside Arctic village are amazed when colourful little balls appear in the water and near the shore. Initially, everyone is curious about the small particles, but things soon turn sour some of the residents start to feel sick. Sedna and her crew must go on an adventure to find the origin of these tiny pellets, and once they find out the truth, Sedna takes on the mission to spread the message across the world. I'm sure you've heard of micro-plastics on the TV, and the adverse impact they have on nature. In fact, I heard on podcast recently, that they’ve even found microplastics in our bodies!! I love learning new things whilst reading, and I learned quite a few things, to be honest. The tiny balls are called Nurdles. They are small pieces of plastic, measuring no more than a lentil. The worst thing about these is, nurdles aren’t plastic bits that has been ground down by the waves, but small pellets that were deliberately created by us! WHAAAT?!?!?! If you want to know more, the author has included some interesting information after the story. Amazing Artwork Now then, I’ve got to mention the artwork. Incredible. This is certainly one of the most striking books to hit the shelves this year. The standard is very high, and you can see how much work has gone into it. I’m told that every picture was made out of small pieces of torn paper. Illustrating a children's books is no mean feat - it takes a lot of talent and hard work. I'm sure I saw on her Instagram account (@jessgrimsdale) that the whole process took several years. I mean, just look at this picture - I’d buy a print of this for my house it’s so good! When I’m putting on my teacher's hat, I can see how this would be an excellent book to study in class– plenty of opportunities to do work on the environment and climate change, and link it to artwork emulating the illustrator’s style. This is undoubtedly an important addition to the ever-expanding collection of books about the environmental crisis we’re currently in. I only hope that the book will inspire the 'climate superheroes’ of the future to tackle the mess that our generation has created! *shame on us* Publisher: Carreg Gwalch Published: June 2022 Price: £6.95 OTHER BOOKS ABOUT PLASTIC POLLUTION: Review on our site:

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