You Can’t Make Me Go To Witch School by Em Lynas, illustrated by Jamie Littler

Read what competition winner Miss Cleveland thought of You Can’t Make Me Go To Witch School.

Miss Cleveland is reading...

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It’s Daisy Wart’s 11th Birthday, and instead of Granny taking her for a birthday treat, she’s stood outside a crumbling building. Granny is convinced she’s a witch, but Daisy is adamant she isn’t. For Daisy is a Shakespearean actress, preparing to show the world her Bottom just two nights hence. With the headmistress ignoring her, Daisy is enrolled into Witch School where she will stay until her 18th birthday. Daisy must find a way to escape if she is ever to win her Oscar.

A fabulously funny, fast-paced read, packed with quirky characters and one-liners. Daisy and her new school friends all have unique voices, and their individuality shines through. Jamie Littler’s illustrations capture the budding actress in all her glory, bringing Em Lynas’s hilarious new heroine, and surroundings to life. This is a book that begs to be read aloud! I can’t wait for more from Toadspit Towers, but…

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Perfectly Norman

About this book:

Norman had always been perfectly normal. That was until the day he grew a pair of wings!

Norman is very surprised to have wings suddenly – and he has the most fun ever trying them out high in the sky. But then he has to go in for dinner. What will his parents think? What will everyone else think? Norman feels the safest plan is to cover his wings with a big coat.

But hiding the thing that makes you different proves tricky and upsetting. Can Norman ever truly be himself?

A poignant yet uplifting story about individuality, with stunning artwork in a striking minimal palette from the author/illustrator of Herman’s Letter. Fans of Oliver Jeffers and Benj Davies will love it.

Author: Tom Percival

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Thank you to Bloomsbury Kids for my copy.

My Review:

Perfectly Norman is a perfectly beautiful book. I think i actually love it! Perfectly Norman completely understands and projects a wonderful message- it is ok to be you!

When Norman suddenly sprouts wings he feels like he has to hide them in fear of people treating him differently, the book spends time exploring how Norman would wear a coat- rather uncomfortably- to hide these beautiful wings he doesn’t want anyone to find out about.

He ends up completely miserable because he is too hot or too restricted in the coat and comes to realise that it’s not the idea of his wings that is making him miserable but in fact the coat he is using to hide his real self.

A story about acceptance, embracing the you within you and discovering that actually you are not alone as there may be many other people experiencing the same feelings about themselves and other peoples opinions of them.

The reassuring tone of the book is beautifully executed, showing that acceptance first lies with yourself.

Themes of acceptance, friendship and individuality.

Visually stunning, the combination of colour on greyscale spreads works effortlessly with the text.

A new favourite and highly recommended. 

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National Young Writers’ Awards

I recently entered Explore Learning‘s National Young Writers’ Awards writing competition.

This years theme is The Future. I thought it sounded like a great theme and decided to approach it from a unique angle.

I opted to write about an interplanetary explorer who visits a place called Kross Krone- a planet inhabited by upright alien cats who fell in love with 21st century Earth. That way i could compare their planet (Earth now) with the Earth my interplanetary explorer is from.

Read my story below:

Untitled by Megan Grace Nicholson

Space Craft- The Mae Jemison
Earth Date- 3017
Ship’s Log.

There have been 18 new planets similar to Earth discovered just outside our Solar System, well that’s if you’d call 39 light years away ‘just outside’.

In days gone by, travelling to these places seemed unattainable but over the last millennium advancements in Science have placed these planets within our reach.

I am Margaret Mackintosh, ‘Mac’ to my comrades and i am an interplanetary explorer.

Despite the convenience of teleportation, my crew and i are hurtling through space to Kross Krone, a planet inhabited solely by a species of upright alien cats. They forbid the use of teleportation.

The species, known as Kwarbles developed an obsession with Earth during the early 21st Century. Since then they have spent all their time and resources turning Kross Krone into a replica of our beloved planet a thousand years ago.

Where our planet was forced to create synthetic water after the population boom of 2361, their planet is still thriving from their own rivers and lakes. Where all our pavements have become eco turfs, they are happy to use paving slabs- it truly is a sight to behold! Kross Krone houses many livestock and crops, something that hasn’t been done on our land for years. Our meat is harvested from cloned animals, we only ever grow the parts we require as we are no longer a wasteful society. Our crop is much the same although growth is monitored entirely by machines, human like robots known as Ersatz.

Kwarbles scavenged all our old electronics such as PC computers because mankind had developed biotic systems that synced with our own electronic impulses. The cats type out words to send messages to each other, it’s simply archaic but fascinating! They travel in cars much like our own but without the use of smart roads to keep them the correct distance or speed, they control this.. themselves!

The people of Kross Krone fell in love with many of our native animals and have spent years helping them thrive on their own planet. Due to their vast oceans, only a fraction smaller than Earths, they have been able to rehouse many of the beloved sea creatures we believed to have died out years ago.

Although the Kwarbles dislike modern technology, this passion for Earth’s animals has lead them to request cloning technology for long since extinct creatures such as dinosaurs which they would propagate on their sister planet Pterodore.

***

Uncharted Territory. 2020

In deep space a lost probe has encountered a black hole.

***

N.A.S.A 2020

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

“Sir, there is a message coming through. Columbus II has picked up a radio signal”

500 Words

I was really pleased to find out that my story made it through the first round of 500 words! What an incredible achievement!

I didn’t make it through to the top 50 but i’m so happy to be in the mix with the best 5000 that i don’t think it really matters, plus there is always next year!!

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My 500 Word Entry: Night Terror 

My breath caught in my throat, i could hear it again. That raspy, shallow breathing. I knew it wasn’t my parents or my little brother- they had gone away for the night. I was all alone in the house.

I was completely frozen in fear, i could feel myself getting hotter beneath the covers and now i desperately needed to scratch my ankle but i couldn’t, daren’t move.

If i move, it might see me. It can’t see me under the covers… can it?

I’ve heard the breathing every night now for over a month but up until this moment i thought it had been my brother messing around. Not anymore.

I finally muster enough courage to shift my body, i flex my foot as if it were an involuntary movement in my sleep. It lands against something solid. I could feel something, someone sitting at the bottom of my bed. I couldn’t help but let out a gasp.

A wash of white heat radiated down my spine, i could hear it right beside my ear now and knew my gasp have moved it closer to my face. Was it watching me?

“Is that it? Is that all she wrote?”

Molly stared at the bottom of the bed expecting to see something, anything. She clung tightly to the old journal she had been reading.

A hand etched upwards between the wall and the mattress, it’s rotting fingers walking, inching their way towards Molly. It’s broken, chipped nails snagging on the fabric.

With an intense internal shiver Molly leapt from the bed causing the hand to retreat from whence it came.

“I’m not staying here!” Molly declared as if to whatever entity was occupying the room and threw the journal onto the bed before making a start for the door.

The journal dropped silently beneath the bed frame where the darkness consumed it.

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Reading Zone’s Picture Book Competition- making my book

I’m finally at the making stage of my book for Reading Zone’s Picture Book competition. It’s been so a long road but i can’t believe that i’m nearly at the end.

I went to Staples- now Office Outlet to print out my pages. The copier was having a hard time printing them out properly, i think that the loading area was off centre!

The assistant behind the desk ended up taking my USB and doing them directly from there. They all ended up with a slight border round them which i’m having to cut off- a small price to pay for having them printed central!

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It’s been lots of fun cutting out all the pages- although i’m left handed so this can sometimes be a bit of a chore!

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It took me a couple of days to get everything cut out and stuck together but it was well worth it! I think it looks brilliant now that it’s all put together. 🙂

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If i don’t win the competition- i’m in it for the experience really so it doesn’t matter if i don’t, do you think i should try and publish my book instead? Would you buy it?

One Education- Blog 4 Books

One Education ran a competition recently to write a blog about why ‘we’ love reading. I thought it sounded like a great theme for a blog and got to work straight away.

I was privileged to be on the shortlist!

You can read my Blog below: west orchards 4

Why i love Reading

by Megan Grace Nicholson

Age 9

It’s a good question, why do i love reading? I think it’s best to break that question down because there’s more to reading than just picking up a book and reading some words on a page!

Starting a book:

When I start a new book i feel like i have entered a completely different world which means adventure, mystery and excitement throughout. I am transported to different places and make new friends along the way. A good writer makes you forget about the real world and makes you feel like you’re part of the furniture- that is to say that their welcome embrace makes you feel right at home.

A new book is a gateway between my world and the land of the author’s brain- what a weird and wacky place that is!

Today i could be swimming with mermaids (The Tail of Emily Windsnap), Sleuthing with detectives (Sherlock Holmes and the disappearing diamond) or attending a magical school (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone).

But tomorrow i could be a super spy (Alex Rider Point Blanc), in a Refugee Camp (The Bone Sparrow) or facing the Dreamsnatcher (The Dreamsnatcher).

A new book is a gateway between my world and the land of the author’s brainwhat a weird and wacky place that is!”

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Finishing a book:

I feel depressed when i finish a book, fellow book folk will understand that inevitable deflation upon completing a book. No matter how long you’ve been reading it, whether it be a few hours, a day or a week, you have invested yourself in this world and this world has completely enveloped you.

When it ends you’re forced to say goodbye to the characters you’ve come to know, support and admire. That really does make an impact and i question “What am i going to do now?” but thankfully that can be easily rectified by delving into another book and getting completely swept up in another world, another life.

I get to travel the world, time and the universe. I am not a bookworm, i am a book traveler- a book hitch hiker and i get to visit all the places people have ever dreamed of.

I am not a bookworm, i am a book traveller- a book hitch hiker and i get to visit all the places people have ever dreamed of.”

I am NOT a bookworm:

People who love books are usually referred to as a bookworm, i am NOT a bookworm- i am a book traveller! I don’t slither through a book- i pack a suitcase, put on my sunscreen and grab a coat! (Well i never know what the weather is going to be!)

I hitch-hike my way through books! I catch a ride through the prologue and make my journey through the chapters.

I don’t slither through a book- i pack a suitcase, put on my sunscreen and grab a coat!”

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Where it all started:

My Mummy was reading stories to me even when i was in her belly, she read to me every day after i was born and by the time i was one i was reading on my own! (Yes, REALLY.)

She would practice phonics with me everywhere, anywhere and all the time. She was helping other children to read at primary schools so all those techniques transferred back home.

There’s even a video of me at one reading on my own! How amazing is that!?

I honestly think that if my Mummy hadn’t read to me every night i probably wouldn’t have read at the early age i did and probably wouldn’t be as besotted with books as i am now.

By the time i was in Nursery i was the only child in my class reading and i enjoyed reading to the other children in the class and helping them to read. I love helping people discover their love of reading.

By the time i was in Reception i was able to take a variety of books home as my teacher knew i would read them all! Not to mention i was starting to build up a rather healthy library of my own!

My Reading Challenge:

When i was 5 years old i challenged myself to read a book every day for a year (365 books in 365 days) but i was greedy for stories and read 365 books in just 10 months!

I read every day. I never get bored of going on new adventures! When i near the end of the book, i start eyeing up the rest of the series!

Now i have started writing my own books as there are worlds forming inside my head that i want to share with other book travellers.

I recently started my reading challenge again but this time i want to read double the amount of books from my last challenge! I’ve read far more books in a year than the challenges i set myself but this is a nice guide to work by, there are so many fantastic authors and so many amazing books out there- i have to read them all!

There’s even a video of me at one reading on my own! How amazing is that!?”

My life at the Library:14424797_10157688406645105_7967357500714678513_o

My local library played a big part in my reading challenge and my love of reading in general.

I got my first library card when i was about 2 year old and i’ve been borrowing books from there ever since. They have a limit of only 20 books per card- i have to go back a lot!

All the Librarians know my name and always ask me what i’m reading at the moment. There’s nothing like visiting your local library and talking about books with other people who appreciate books!

12957468_10157003579805105_554080046544406293_oI’m actually part of the library’s book club where we meet up every month to borrow and discuss books.

I wouldn’t be without my library, i go there frequently as it’s part of my weekly routine, so i don’t know who i’d be without it!

All the Librarians know my name and always ask me what i’m reading at the moment.”

Writing my own books:

I started writing my own books when i was six years old, i planned to write a short story (500 words) but quickly found that i had more to say. I finished my first book in just 4 months- i don’t think that’s too bad for a 6 year old!

That story is only the beginning as i’m currently writing the second and third book in the series.

I’ve even had a go at creating my own picture book- Big City, Small Monster which i illustrated myself too!

I really enjoy reading and writing books, i don’t think that will ever change.

That story is only the beginning as i’m currently writing the second and third book in the series.”

I hope that this blog has inspired you, either to read to your children more often or if like me, you love books, to pack your suit case and take a journey by delving into another great story!

Don’t forget, we are NOT bookworms- we are book travellers! Go and grab your coat quick, another adventure awaits!

See you there.

Megan x

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