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 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)