Posted in Teens (13+)

Teen Book of the Month! -Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan.

Our book for this month is Sarah Crossan’s Apple and Rain. We absolutely loved this book. Grab a copy, let us know what you thought! Meanwhile, here’s our review!

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan


Our rating: 5/5 gold star

“You don’t have to fly your sweetheart to Venice to show her you love her. Sometimes you can just buy someone a Toblerone.”Del Holloway, Apple and Rain

In this heartwarming story, Apple’s life-long dream comes true when her mother returns after 11 years away. With her mother’s return, however, she realises that sometimes dreams are better in your imagination than they are in reality. We loved the poems interspersed in this book, inspired by Apple’s substitute teacher, Mr Gaydon. Sarah Crossan cleverly weaves in themes like mental illness with regular teen problems like crushes, the search for independence and social exclusion. Each character, from Apple’s strict grandmother to her flaky mother and quirky sister, is utterly believable. Our favorite character was Del who throughout the book is utterly unapologetically himself, regardless of anyone else’s opinion. Like R. J. Palacio’s Wonder, this is a book that is hard to put down once you start and may send you on a quest for Sarah Crossan’s other highly acclaimed books. We must mention that while this book contains no sex, it does involve a kissing scene between Apple and Del. We recommend this book for ages 12+!

Where to find it:         Sytris Books (Ghana)          Amazon UK               Book Depository

Read this book? Tell us what you thought!

Posted in Tots (0-2)

Babies Love Books Too! 5 Terrific Books For Your 0-2-Year-Old

Babies may not have perfect focus when they are born, but there is still a lot they can see! They are naturally attracted to high-contrast items, making large black and white patterns very attractive to them. While they may not have adult-perfect colour vision, research shows that by early as 2 weeks, babies can see colour so long as the patterns are relatively large and have enough contrast. What does all this mean for you? It means you can start reading to your baby from day one. Here are 5 marvellous books to help you do just that!


my-first-alphabetMy First Alphabet by Roger Priddy

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

We kick off today’s post with this gem by Roger Priddy. This book is a great way to introduce your baby or toddler to the alphabets. From A through to Z, each letter is introduced with large, colourful illustrations – ranging from an apple to a zebra. There is also a range of textures included in the book, which babies and toddlers alike are sure to love. All in all, a perfect book for learning their ABCs while developing their sense of touch. We recommend this for ages 0 months to 3-years-old!

Where to find it: Sytris Books (Ghana)           Amazon UK             Book Depository


babys-first-touchy-feelyBaby’s Very First Touchy-Feely Book by Stella Baggott

Our rating: 5/5 gold star


Right from the cover, this Usborne book delivers on the touchy-feely promise, with a cut-out portion on each page of the book that features a different texture. The black portions of the bee on the cover have a nice velvety texture, as does the butterfly on the inside. Other textures included are furry, bumpy and squashy. The illustrations are colourful and high-contrast (to draw your baby’s attention). Babies – and toddlers- will love exploring the different textures in this book. On the last pages of the book, each item is featured again but described by colour rather than texture, a good way to introduce colours. We recommend this for ages 0 months to 2-years-old.

Where to find it: Amazon UK                      Book Depository


the-very-hungry-caterpillarThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

This cute story by Eric Carle details a week in the life of a caterpillar as he eats his way through different types of food on his journey to becoming a butterfly. Apart from the various types of food, The Very Hungry Caterpillar also introduces children to counting and the days of the week with very colourful and vivid illustrations. Babies and toddlers will love exploring the finger-sized holes cut through the food to show where the hungry caterpillar has been. We recommend this classic for ages 0 and up!

Where to find it: Sytris Books (Ghana)         Amazon UK            Book Depository



One Ted Falls Out of Bed by Julia Donaldson

Illustration by Anna Currey

Our rating: 4/5 gold star

We really liked this Julia Donaldson book. In this book, we follow Ted on his amazing night-time adventure, and what an adventure it is. From racing with mice to dinner with dolls, Ted has the time of his life until at last, it’s time to go to bed. The illustrations are adorable and the rhyming and counting throughout the book make this book a likely shoo-in for bedtime favourite. We recommend this for 1 to 3 year-olds.

Where to find it: Sytris Books (Ghana)          Amazon UK                   Book Depository



Never Ask A Dinosaur To Dinner by Gareth Edwards & Guy Parker-Rees

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

Never ask a dinosaur to dinner, he just might eat the kitchen table! This is a wonderful rhyming book that takes the reader through the bedtime routine. We learn what to not do with a shark, a beaver, a bison, a tiger and an owl when you’re getting ready for bed. At Midori, we love colour and this book had lots of it from the fabulous illustrations by Guy Parker-Rees. It is a good book for reading aloud especially at bedtime and will definitely make your infant giggle. We especially loved the bedtime advice at the end. We recommend this book for 2 to 6 year-olds.

Where to find it:    Amazon UK                     Book Depository

What other books do/ did you read to your baby? We would love to know! Drop us a comment.

Posted in Tweens (9-12)

5 Hilarious Books Your 9-12 Year Old Will Absolutely Love!

We really enjoyed putting together this review of absolutely hilarious books for pre-teens. While there are loads more out there that are sure to make your pre-teen laugh, these five books caught our attention by making us laugh in several places and each of them comes with its very own heartwarming message. We are sure your pre-teen will enjoy these books as much as we did!


how-to-not-be-weirdHow Not TO BE WEIRD by Dawn McNiff

Rule 1: Don’t wear old lady clothes.

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

Woody is a bit weird, or at least he and the school bullies think so. It doesn’t help that his mum dresses up as a sheep for a living, he has to wear the occasional granny jumper or that his dog, Gooner, gets him in the most sticky situations. With secondary school about to start, Woody makes a plan to get un-weird and fast. His plan involves a few simple rules, and a momento from his father. His plan works -sort of-, but will this new Woody be everything he’s ever wanted? This book is very relatable and all of Woody’s wacky mishaps make you want to give him a hug. By the end of the book, you don’t just love Woody and Gooner, you fall in love with his neighbour Lu too. There are also a few things that you pick up along the way like people may seem confident on the outside but they are probably just as scared as you on the inside. The biggest takeaway for us though is that it’s okay to be a little different!

Where to find it: Amazon UK                 Book Depository



Diary of a Wimpy Kid ‘Cabin Fever’ by Jeff Kinney

“I’ve started wearing sweatpants to bed because I really don’t need Santa seeing me in my underwear.” -Greg Heffley

Our rating 4/5 gold star

Cabin Fever is the sixth book in the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Like other books in the series, this book is written in the style of a journal with cartoon-style illustrations that brings the text to life. Greg Heffley (star of the series) is in trouble. He’s the prime suspect when some school property gets damaged. With the authorities closing in, Greg breathes a sigh of relief when a surprise blizzard hits. After a few days stuck indoors with his family, Greg can’t help but think prison may be a better alternative after all. This book is hilarious (see quote above), and kids between the ages of 8 and 12 will be able to appreciate the troubles Greg seems to get himself in without ever meaning to. At 212 pages and with loads of illustrations, it’s a quick read and if your kid happens to fall in love, you know there are 10 other books he/ she just might love too!

Where to find it:     Sytris Books (Ghana)           Amazon UK               Book Depository



Baby Aliens Got My Teacher! by Pamela Butchart

“Because that’s what I would want someone to do if they found a crisp shaped like me (also known as a crisp twin).”

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

Izzy and her friends are convinced their teacher has been taken over by aliens.  For one thing, she’s suddenly being nice, but even more telling, there’s a teddy bear on her desk and everyone knows Miss Jones isn’t a teddy bear kind of person. With hard evidence (a KIT KAT) that the office ladies are aliens too, it’s really up to Izzy and her friends to find a solution before they all get turned into aliens! This book is laugh-out-loud funny throughout and will be enjoyed by children of all ages. It is a hilarious portrayal of what happens when you couple an overactive imagination with eavesdropping (on conversations you do not understand). The language is wonderfully descriptive and this together with the illustrations peppered throughout the book makes it easy to picture each and every scene. It’s a short read (164 pages) which means more able readers will probably finish it in one sitting. This book is generally recommended for 5-8-year-olds but we recommend it for 9-12-year-olds too!

Where to find it: Book Depository                      Amazon UK



 Disgusting Dave and the Bucketful of Vomit by Jim Eldridge

Our rating: 4/5 gold star

There’s a barfing epidemic at school and Dave has got to get on the case to save his best friend’s mum from food poisoning charges. Fortunately, Dave doesn’t mind a bit of vomit. His sister, Krystal, thinks he’s disgusting but really, Dave just likes to know how things work, even burping and farting. With the help of his farting dog, his friends Paul and Suki and his clueless ‘detective’ cousin Kevin, Dave sets out to solve the mystery of who is behind the barfing epidemic once and for all. This book really had us in stitches in several places. We also loved the ‘factoids’ generously included throughout the book and the illustrations are a nice bonus. Sure to catch the interest of both boys and girls, we recommend this book for 9-13-year-olds!

Where to find it: Book Depository                     Amazon UK


mr-stink Mr Stink by David Walliams

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Our rating: 4/5 gold star

“Mr Stink stank. He also stunk. And if it is correct English to say he stinked, then he stinked as well.”

With this charming introduction, needless to say, we were hooked from line one! In this hilarious David Walliams book, we meet Chloe, a lonely 12-year-old who does not feel like she fits in at home or at school. Her life changes when she meets the local tramp, Mr Stink. He does smell a bit, but he’s nice to Chloe and there is a bit of mystery to him that has her intrigued. There are definitely a lot of parts in this book that children will find laugh-out-loud funny. As adults, some of Mr Stink’s habits had us go ‘eww’, although those bits are more than likely to elicit a laugh from younger readers. We liked the marvellous illustrations by Quentin Blake, especially the one of what stink looks like. Even more, we liked that David Walliams weaved in salient issues like bullying and kindness, without losing any of the humour. We recommend this book for 8 – 12-year-olds!

Where to find it: Book Depository             Amazon UK

Note: For books without a Sytris Ghana link, the book was not have been available on the Sytris website at the time of publishing this post. It is still worth checking their bookshop or on their website to see if they now have those books in stock. Contact us at for help with purchasing books.

Happy reading!

Posted in B'Twixt (6-8)

5 Interesting Books Your 6-8 Year Old Absolutely Needs to Read

Middle childhood is an exciting time. At this age, children are starting to be more independent, forming friendships and becoming more aware of other people’s feelings. They are also starting to understand more complex grammar and according to, this is the age where a lot of children become true readers. A lot of basic skills necessary for reading are developed here. With the early morning rush trying to get everyone out of the house on time and an evening consumed by making sure homework is done, it can become a challenge trying to fit some reading time in. No fears, however, as research shows as little as 20 minutes reading every day can make a marked difference in children’s reading abilities and overall literacy skills. In today’s post, we review 5 books that have caught the heart of children all over the world and are sure to get your child fired up about reading!

  1. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

3 little pigs  Rating: 4/5 gold star

This is a story I believe both boys and girls will enjoy. It is also a good book for slightly older reluctant readers. In this hysterically funny tale, we learn the wolf’s side of the famous story of The Three Little Pigs and to hear the wolf tell it, he’s been framed! The whole thing is apparently just a big misunderstanding. While this is a good book on its own, I believe it is even better when you already know the story of The Three Little Pigs. The illustrations could be more colourful but what is lacking in colour is more than made up for by the story. This is a great book to read with your child not only because there is a huge range of activities you can do together based on this book (check these sites for ideas  Scholastic Teaching Heart ), but also because it is a great way to introduce or reinforce the concept of looking at things from another person’s point of view.

Where to get it:   Sytris Books (Ghana)      Amazon UK     Penguin Random House        Discover Books

2. Clarice Bean, That’s Me! by Lauren Child

Clarice Bean Rating: 3.5/5 gold star

Clarice Bean is your average little girl…if your average little girl is feisty, funny and in search of a little peace and quiet. Having to share a room with her annoying little brother in a house that is always full of people (including an uncle, a grandad, a cousin and somehow the plumber), it’s no wonder Clarice must resort to somewhat extreme measures in order to get a little peace and quiet. Full of colourful illustrations and very vivid descriptions, Lauren Child paints a bright picture of what life is like when you have a huge family. Full disclaimer, though, some parents were not too impressed by some of the behaviours described in the book and Clarice’s final tactic in her bid for a little peace. Personally, I believe that these scenes could pave the way for discussions with your child on the best way to behave when you’re upset. This book might work better for readers 7+ years old as the text is a little scattered and relatively small compared to the images. There is a range of delightful activities you can do together, see these sites for ideas Teaching English

Where to get it:   Sytris Books (Ghana)      Amazon UK          Book Depository

3. The Dinosaur Who Lost His Roar by Russel Punter

Dinosaur Who Lost His Roar  Rating: 5/5 gold star

This is a great book for both reluctant readers and for children who already love to read. I fell in love with the vibrant colours used for the illustrations. The repeated roars were an added bonus because let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good roar every now and then. Sid likes to have a bit of fun scaring his friends until one day, he loses his roar. He wakes up the next day to find his friends in terrible danger. He might just be able to save them, if only his roar is back. This book is great for readers who love dinosaurs and is a great favourite among both boys and girls. For fun activity ideas, check out Preschool Express.

Where to get it: Amazon UK   Book Depository



4. Anansi and the Bag of Wisdom by Lesley Sims and Alida Massari

Rating: 4/5 gold star

If you are African or Caribbean, then you might well be familiar with Anansi’s shenanigans. In this retelling of the traditional African tale, Anansi gets a gift from god and in very Anansi fashion, decides to do the exact opposite of what he is meant to do with his gift. This book is part of Usborne books’ first reading level one. It is designed for reading with very light support and contains lots of colourful illustrations and minimal text. This makes it perfect for readers who are still mastering the art of independent reading. As an added bonus, the kindle edition (and possibly the hardcover edition) come with reading-related puzzles which means you can do a fun activity right after reading without having to search!

Where to get it: Amazon UK        Book Depository



5. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Russell Punter

Rating: 4/5 gold star

We finish today’s post with a classic. This retelling by Russell Punter gives a bit more of a back story to Goldilocks, and there is quite a lesson learned at the end of the book! Goldilocks is a naughty little girl that lives with her mother and father near a forest. While on an errand for her mother, she forgets her promise to be good and goes exploring. She discovers an empty cottage with bowls of porridge and helps herself, little knowing the cottage belongs to a family of three bears. This book is part of Usborne’s First Reading Series and being a level 4 book, it is perfect for readers that are ready for a bit more of a challenge. There is more text on each page but the text is a good size and is accompanied by a beautiful illustration, striking a good balance. For some wonderful activity ideas, check this site out

Where to get it: Amazon UK           Book Depository

(Sytris Books has other versions of the Goldilocks story by different authors.)

This is where we leave today’s edition of creating enthusiastic bookworms.  Drop an email to if you live in Ghana and would like help with purchasing any of these books.
(Header image by JuhFernandes)

Posted in Tikes (3-5)

Your Preschooler Will Absolutely Love These 5 Hilarious Books

There are many great books out there for preschoolers and in time we will hopefully review a lot of the truly remarkable ones. Today, however, we focus on 5 colourful and hilarious books absolutely worth reading to your 3-5-year-old.

(Shameless plug, if you  have any requests for future posts or feedback on this post, drop a comment or send us an email

That said, let’s begin!

oi-frog  Oi Frog! by Kes Gray & Jim Field

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

Cats sit on mats, hares sit on chairs, mules sit on stools and gofers sit on sofas, but what do frogs sit on? From the bright yellow cover to the twist in the tale at the end, there is a lot to be enticed by in this book. Full of colourful, quirky illustrations, the funny rhyming conversation between the cat and frog is sure to keep your preschooler entertained. This book is recommended for 3-5 year-olds but will definitely go down well with 6 & 7 year-olds too.

monsters-love-underpants Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

“It’s not the sand inside his pants that makes this monster tetchy. His underpants are way too small, ‘I wish they were more stretchy!'”


All kinds of monsters love all sorts of underpants. With loads of colour and loads of humour, if you’re looking for a good laugh, this book is definitely it. We are far from toddlers and this book had us giggling in tons of places. From the very first page, you are treated to silly but imaginative poems and colourful illustrations that make you want to keep going.  We especially loved Disco Night but there’s a lot more your preschooler is sure to love! Whichever monster you love, one thing is for sure, you’re probably not going to look at monsters the same way after this book. We recommend this book for 3 to 8 year-olds.

PS: Some have recommended this book for potty training and the switch from diapers to underpants. Best of luck!

elephant-on-footWhat To Do If An Elephant Stands On Your Foot by Michelle Robinson (Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds)

Our rating: 4/5 gold star

What do you do when you’re on safari and an elephant stands on your foot? Whatever you do don’t panic! You DO NOT want to bring the other animals your way. In this very entertaining book, we follow a boy on an adventure and a safari guide whose advice always comes a little too late. The illustrations are vibrant and the protagonist’s facial expressions at each stage are sure to make you laugh. We learn a few helpful tips along the way but our favourite bit of this book is the illustration at the end. We recommend this book for 2-5 year-olds.



Slug Needs a Hug by Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross

our rating: 4/5 gold star

“Slugs mummy didn’t hug him, it began to bug him. And he wondered, ‘Why oh why?’ So he sets out to find a solution, getting different ideas from various animals.  The most hilarious part of this book is the illustration of slug when he has finally made all the changes suggested by everyone he met. This book is written in a rhyming fashion, meaning your preschooler is sure to love it. Even better, the illustrations are bold and detailed, making it easy to picture the story as you move along. This book is adorable on all fronts but best of all it emphasises that everyone is perfect, just the way they are! We recommend this book for 3-7 year-olds.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

(Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers)

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

Poor Duncan! He opens his box of crayons one day and finds letters from each of his crayons. They are all saying one thing, “We quit!”  Duncan has to find a solution soon otherwise how will he ever colour. For her first novel, Drew Daywalt absolutely nails the life of a crayon once it meets a child. The book is hilarious and as you read each letter, you can totally identify with each crayon’s complaint. The illustration at the end is especially colourful and while we would have loved some more illustrations throughout the book, there are more than enough bright, well-done, illustrations to keep your preschooler going. As an added bonus, your preschooler will hopefully approach colouring in a whole new way (at least for one day) after they read this book. We recommend this book for 3 to 7 year-olds.

For help purchasing any of these books, send an email to and we will be more than happy to help!


Posted in B'Twixt (6-8), Teens (13+), Tweens (9-12)

Children’s E-readers, 6 Reasons Why They Are A Fantastic Idea!

If you are a book lover like me, it might be pretty disheartening to see the kind of damage that can happen when kids and books collide. You want your children to read, but is there any way that they can without a resultant loss of (book) lives? Thankfully, the answer is yes! It is entirely possible to get children reading without the accompanying heartbreak from torn pages, wet pages, missing covers and the like. That’s not the only advantage, there are several others.

1. They can access their full library with one click!

Amazing right? Yes, you do lose the sensation of the book beneath your fingers as you turn each page but, isn’t being able to carry all their books with you whenever you leave home an ace compromise? Having all their books available in one place means no longer having to decide what book to take along in case they get bored. A lot of reading apps also have the page-flipping setting which means even if you don’t feel it, you do get to see the pages flip. Revisiting a favourite book is also very easy and you can re-read all your child’s favourites with just a few clicks!

2. They are way more hardy

Like I mentioned earlier, much as I love them, one of the disadvantages of paper books is how easy it is for them to get destroyed. Take your eye off things and it could be shredsville in a matter of minutes. Which is fine, the first or second time but after that doesn’t your heart (and your pocket) break a little each time? The amazing thing about e-readers is if you use apps like the kindle or nook you can access your books from any smart device :). This means in the unlikely event that anything happens to your e-reader your books are all there, ready to read.

3. It is easy to purchase a new book

Let’s face it, there are not a lot of places in Ghana where you can get a wide variety of children’s books to buy. The few available also may not be as close to you as is convenient. E-book readers mean no longer having to make time to drive to the bookstore. You can access a wide array of new books in minutes and save going to the shop for days when you are actually in the neighbourhood.

4. You can look up hard words while reading

No need to search for the dictionary (or fumble through explanations when you know the meaning but you just can’t put words to it)! Apps like the amazon kindle make it easy to look up words while reading. This means you can buy slightly advanced books for your child without worrying that they will be put off by the harder words. As an added bonus you can also increase or decrease the font to a size your child is more comfortable with.

5. Dum-Sor or No, You can Still Read

With the constant power cuts also known as dum sor, an E-reader is a fantastic way to keep the momentum going with your child’s reading. E-readers tend to have longer staying power than regular smartphones which means with a full charge you can get between 2 and 3 days (depending on what other apps you’re using, screen brightness etc.) of reading, dum-sor or not.

6. Free Books 😉

We saved the best for last! With e-readers, it is much easier to take advantage of free books and e-book deals offered by big book retailers. I have found that free books can be an amazing way to discover fantastic new authors you may otherwise never have tried. With sites like BookBub offering great deals for bestselling e-books, it’s a simple matter of entering your email address to find yourself in a whole new world of books. Not just for them (your child) but for Mummy and Daddy too!

That’s it, our top 6 reasons why an e-reader for your child is a terrific idea! This does not mean you should totally rule out paper books, they have their own advantages and you should definitely stock a few, whenever you get the chance. It’s just, why not make life a little easier if you can? 🙂

Watch out for the follow-up to this post What Type Of E-reader Is Best For My Child?

Posted in B'Twixt (6-8), Pre-tweens, Teens (13+), Tikes (3-5), Tots (0-2), Tweens (9-12)

Why Children Should Read

Reading has many benefits and yet even as adults, it is not an easy habit to maintain. From long, stressful hours at work to the demands of parenting it can become very easy to fall into the habit of going months without actually reading anything for leisure. Sadly, it is almost as easy for children to fall into this pattern too, often associating reading with boredom because of all the text they are required to read for school. In spite of this, it is absolutely essential for children to read and the points below outline some of the reasons why.

  1. It is useful in the classroom: reading at home exposes children to new ideas. This means your child gets to learn new information in a relaxed setting the more they read. Also, reading skills improve with practice. This means the more your child reads, the better they get at it! Finally, reading increases your child’s capacity to learn. This is indeed good news for their academic life because it means they read and learn better in class and also are equipped with all the extra information they learn while reading at home.
  2. It increases their vocabulary: the more your child reads, the more new words they encounter therefore expanding their vocabulary. Reading also teaches children the importance of language, helps them to better master language and develop better communication skills. This helps children to be more articulate and therefore better able to express their ideas.
  3. It helps to develop their imagination: reading paints pictures of other people and places in the mind. This is why book fans often feel let down when their favourite book is made into a movie- the movie often does not match up to their imagination. While reading, your mind creates a picture of what characters and the setting look like, helping you to better identify with the characters and the book. A good book can transport children (and everyone else) to new worlds where really anything is possible, stimulating their imagination. Reading also exercises the brain and has been found to increase cognitive abilities
  4. It strengthens your bond: Reading to your young child is a terrific way to bond with them. When children are younger and have not yet acquired skills to read on their own, snuggling together to read a book is a fantastic way to get closer. It, first of all, gives you time with them away from all the running around that is their day and also teaches them the basics of reading. As children grow older, it is still important to make time to read together. With their acquisition of reading skills, you can make reading even more fun by taking turns to read or each reading as your favourite character in the book. This has the added benefit of drawing your child even further into the book, making reading time an adventure each and every time.

Reading has many other benefits (for everyone) like better writing skills and memory improvement to name a few. Hopefully, the reasons above are enough to get you started on the journey to turning your children into bookworms.

(Header image Zoey reading by JennRene Owens)