Bookstart Bear Hunt Summer 2017 How many bears can you find?

BookTrust_BOOKSTART_CORE_CMYK.jpgBookstart Bear Hunt 5 June – 3 September 2017 How many bears can you find?

To celebrate 25 years of Bookstart, Wokingham Borough Libraries and Children’s centres are holding a “Bookstart Bear Hunt”.

bear no. 1The bears will be hiding in Libraries and Children’s Centres and Country Parks in Wokingham Borough.

Each bear will be numbered and will have a copy of their favourite picture book.

How many bears can you find?

Pick up a form from your local library or childrens centre.

Rhymetime in the park at California Country Park on Monday July 10, 2017

Rhymetime in the park at California Country Park on Monday July 10, 2017

Libraries go outside to celebrate books and a love of reading this summer

Wokingham Borough Libraries will be running a Rhymetime in the Park at California Country Park on Monday July 10 from 10am to 12 noon.

Rhymetime in the Park at California Country Park with Rhymetimes at 10.30am and 11.30am.   There will be activities and information from:

  • The Wokingham Borough Children’s Centre Family Workers.
  • The Wokingham Borough Early Years Team will be promoting their “Ready for School, Ready for Life” programme.
  • The My Journey Team will have road safety information and a chance to try Balance Bikes.
  • There will be stands from the Community Wardens, NHS Nursery Nurses, Home-Start and First Days Charity with information about the services they offer.
  • There will also be an  Authors’ Corner with local author Tina Stubbs who will be reading extracts from her books and  books will be available for purchase  on the day.
  • A libraries goody bag can be collected along with a free “Everybunny Dance” book.

National Reading Group Day June 24 2017

Today is National Reading Group Day when we celebrate Book Groups and why people nrgd POSTERlove being part of them.

Private groups can join our Book Groups loan service for an annual subscription fee. We have an extensive collection of titles for members to choose from, including classics, best-sellers and prize winners.

Most of our libraries have their own book groups which meet on a monthly basis, including a group which reads classics,  groups for young people and a VIP group for people with visual impairments.

People enjoy coming to book groups because they love stimulating discussion about books. Some of our groups have been meeting for many years and the members have become firm friends. Being a member of a book group has been shown to have a positive effect on people’s mental health as it’s a regular, sociable activity that people can look forward to.

If you would like to find out more about book groups in Wokingham Borough Libraries email bookgroups@wokingham.gov.uk , call (0118) 9781368 or go to http://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/clubs-and-groups-in-our-libraries/book-groups-at-our-libraries/

The photo  below shows some members of Generation X,  one of our groups which meets at Wokingham Library and  caters for people in their twenties and thirties, enjoying a Christmas celebration.

GenXChristmas2016(2)

Lots of amazing Animal Agent themed children’s events this summer 2017

Lots of amazing Animal Agent themed children’s events this summer 2017

Animal Agents Volunteer Activity Sessions

Talk about your Summer Reading Challenge books, storytelling and other fun activities with our Summer Reading Challenge Volunteers.   Just drop in!

  • At Wokingham Library on Monday July 31, August 7, 14, 21 from 2.15pm to 3.30pm
  • At Lower Earley Library on Tuesday August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 from 2.15pm to 3.30pm
  • At Wokingham Library on Wednesday August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 from 10.45am to 12noon
  • At Woodley Library on Wednesday  August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 from 2.15pm to 3.30pm
  • At Lower Earley Library on Thursday August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 from 10.45am to 12noon
  • At Woodley Library on Friday August 4, 11, 18, 25 September 1  from 10.45am to 12noon

Animal Agents Activity Session – Activity session for children aged 12 and under. £1.50 charge

  • At Arborfield Pop-Up Library on Monday July 31 from 3pm to 3.45pm
  • At Finchampstead Library on Tuesday August 1 from 2pm to 3pm
  • At Maiden Erlegh Library on Friday August 4 from 2pm to 3pm
  • At Spencers Wood Library on Thursday August 10 from 10.30am to 11.30am
  • At Twyford Library on Tuesday August 1                from 11am to 12noon
  • At Wargrave Library on Wednesday August 9 from 9.30am to 10.15am
  • At Winnersh Library on Wednesday August 9 from 11am to 12noon

Animal Mystery with Reading University – Come and catch a criminal with Chemistry! Just drop in for fun experiments and story fun with Reading Universities Chemistry Outreach Team. For children aged 4 to 11 years old.

  • At Lower Earley Library on Tuesday August 8 from 10.30am to 12.30pm
  • At Woodley Library on Wednesday August 9 from 10.30am to 12.30pm
  • At Wokingham Library on Thursday August 10 from 10.30am to 12.30pm

Art Club* – Come and learn about different artists with creative activity. For children aged 7 to 11 years old. £2 charge per session.

  • At Winnersh Library on Wednesday July 12, August 9 from 3.45pm to 4.45pm
  • At Woodley Library on Thursday July 13, August 10 from.45pm to 4.45pm
  • At Wokingham Library on Friday July 14, August 11 from                3.45pm to 4.45pm

Author visit from Katrina Charman* – Come and meet the author of the Poppy’s Place series, Katrina Charman. Katrina will read some of her fantastic stories and you can also make your own version of Poppy the cat to take home. For children aged 7 to 11 year olds.  At Wokingham Library on Friday August 4 from 10.30am to 11.30am

Author visit from Sarah Barfield* – Come and meet the author of ‘The Adventures of Zed and Dez’ Sarah will introduce you to Zed and Dez, followed by a fun secret gadget activity. For children aged 5 to 9 years old.  At Wokingham Library on Saturday August 5 from 10.30am to 11.30am

Children’s Writing Course* Fun writing course with animal themes, for children aged 9 to 12 years old, £1 charge.  At Maiden Erlegh Library on Thursday August 3, 10, 17 and 24 from 2.30pm to 3.15pm

Doggy Tales and craft – Come along and here from the Dog Trust about how to look after your dog with stories and colouring activity. For children aged 4 to 11 years old.

  • At Woodley Library on Thursday August 10 from 11am to 12noon
  • At Winnersh Library on Thursday August 10 from 1.30pm to 2.30pm

Explore Learning – All sessions must be booked at the relevant library.

  • Telling the time-  For children aged 6 to 8 years old. At Lower Earley Library on Thursday July 27 from 9.30am to 10.30am
  • Space Mission  – For children aged 8 to 10 years old.  At Lower Earley Library on Thursday July 27 from 10.45am to 11.45am
  • Phonics For children aged 5 to 6 years old.  At Lower Earley Library on Thursday August 31 from 9.30am to 10.30am and at Woodley Library on Wednesday August 2 from 9.30am to 10.30am
  • Olympics – For children aged 8 to 10 years old.  At Lower Earley Library on Thursday August 31 from 10.45am to 11.45am and at Woodley Library on Wednesday August 2 from 10.45am to 11.45am
  • Shape and measurement  – For children aged 5 to 6 years old.  At Wokingham Library on Tuesday August 1 from 9.30am to 10.30am and at Woodley Library on Wednesday August 30 from 9.30am to 10.30am
  • Pirates – For children aged 8 to 11 years old. At Wokingham Library on Tuesday August 1 from 10.45am to 11.45am and at Woodley Library on Wednesday August 30 from 10.45am to 11.45am
  • Number bonds  – For children aged 5 to 7 years old.  At Wokingham Library on Tuesday August 22 from 9.30am to 10.30am
  • Money madness  – For children aged 8 to 10 years old.  At Wokingham Library on Tuesday August 22 from 10.45am to 11.45am 

Farmyard Fun – Come and hear stories and rhymes about farmyard animals and take part in a fun craft activity. For children aged 7 and under. £1.50 charge

  • At Arborfield Pop-Up Library on Monday July 31 from 2pm to 2.45pm
  • At Finchampstead Library on Tuesday August 15 from 2.15pm to 3pm
  • At Lower Earley Library on Friday August 11 from 10.15am to 11am
  • At Maiden Erlegh Library on Friday August 18 from  2.15pm to 3pm
  • At Spencers Wood Library on Thursday August 24 from 10.30am to 11.15am
  • At Twyford Library on Tuesday August 15 from 11am to 11.45am
  • At Wargrave Library on Wednesday August 23 from 9.30am to 10.15am
  • At Winnersh Library on Wednesday August 23 from 11am to 11.45am
  • At Wokingham Library on Wednesday August 16 from 2pm to 2.45pm
  • At Woodley Library on Monday August 14 from 10.15am to 11am

Fur and Feathers* – Come and meet some Birds of Prey with talk and hands on experience. For families with children aged 5 and over. £4 charge

  • At Finchampstead Library on Monday August 14               from 9.45am to 10.45am
  • At Wokingham Library on Monday August 14 from 11.30am to 12.30pm

Guide Dogs Morning – Just drop into learn and meet guide dogs and their owners. Take part in some fun activities.  At Woodley Library on Monday July 31 from 10am to 12noon.

 Mini Bug Models* – Come and create some plasticine bugs in this fun modelling session for children aged 8 and over. £2.50 charge.

  • At Finchampstead Library on Friday August 25 from 10.30am to 11.30am
  • At Lower Earley Library on Monday August 21 from 10.30am to 11.30am
  • At Maiden Erlegh Library on Tuesday August 22 from      2.30pm to 3.30pm
  • At Twyford Library on Monday August 21 from  2.30pm to 3.30pm

Pinocchio* – Summer Musical Theatre Show from The Enchanted Players. For all the family. £5 charge per person.  At Woodley Library on Monday August 7 from 2.30pm to 3.30pm

Rainforest Discovery * Quirks Animal Roadshow will take children on a journey through the rainforest, allowing children to interact with the animals that live there. For families with children aged 4 to 12 years old. Please phone to book a place, £ 4 per child.

  • At Spencers Wood Library on Thursday August 3 from 10am to 11am
  • At Lower Earley Library on Thursday August 3 from 1pm to 2pm
  • At Winnersh Library on Thursday August 3 from 3pm to 4pm
  • At Woodley Library on Tuesday August 8 from  10.30am to 11.30am
  • At Maiden Erlegh Library on Tuesday August 8  from 2pm to 3pm

Sand Art – Just drop in and create a sand art picture with Kids Bee Happy with Maddi. £3 per picture, For children aged 4 to 11 years old.

  • At Lower Earley Library on Tuesday August 22 from 10.30am to 12.30pm
  • At Wokingham Library on Wednesday August 23 from  10.30am to 12.30pm
  • At Woodley Library on Monday August 21 from 10.30am to 11.30am

What’s On for Teens

Winnersh Library Gaming Club* – Gaming Club for teens. £1 charge.  At Winnersh Library on Every Saturday from 10.30am to 12.30pm

Teen Writing Workshops* – Igniting Writing, for teens. £4 charge.

Keeping it Real – A full day workshop session on “A slice of life” realistic writing, for teens.   At Wokingham Library on Saturday July 29 from 10.30am to 3pm

Jokes Uncloaked – A full day workshop session on how to write stories with a sparkling sense of humour.  At Wokingham Library on Saturday August 5 from 10.30am to 3pm

All events marked with an * must be booked, please call the library involved. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

  • Arborfield Pop-Up Library 0780 166 4520
  • Finchampstead Library (0118) 908 8176
  • Lower Earley Library (0118) 931 2150
  • Maiden Erlegh Library (0118) 966 6630
  • Spencers Wood Library (0118) 988 4771
  • Twyford Library (0118) 934 0800
  • Wargrave Library (0118) 940 4656
  • Winnersh Library (0118) 979 7519
  • Wokingham Library (0118) 978 1368
  • Woodley Library (0118) 969 0304

 

Ready, Steady, Go event at Brambles Children’s Centre, Thursday June 22nd.

Ready, Steady, Go event at Brambles Children’s Centre, Thursday June 22nd.

ready steady go

Are you and your child ready for Early Years’ learning? Come and have a chat to find out about some top tips for helping your child get ready for learning.

Meet Early Years teachers, advisors, nursery nurses and family workers who can help and advise.

This event is taking place at Brambles Children’s Centre from 3.30pm to  4.15pm on Thursday June 22, 2017.

Fun activities for your children will be available too, with stories and rhymes from Wokingham Borough Libraries!

Children’s Summer Reading Challenge – Animal Agents

PrintThis summer there’s something strange happening at the library – and that’s where the Animal Agents come in!

The Animal Agents love solving mysteries and they need YOU to help them crack their biggest case yet.

Who has painted graffiti on the library wall?
Why are things suddenly going missing?

Join the Animal Agents for the Summer Reading Challenge 2017 and help them uncover the truth!

Taking part is simple – when your summer holidays start, you can sign up at your local library from Saturday July 1st, 2017.
Read six library books (or more!) over the holidays to collect special stickers and complete the Challenge.
Each time you visit the library, you’ll discover new clues and evidence that will help you solve this cryptic case.

You can use the summer reading challenge website to keep track of the books you read and write book reviews, enter competitions and much much more!

 

Coming soon…
Meet the Animal Agents, the coolest crime crackers on four paws.

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 winner announced next week, have you read the shortlist?

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist available to borrow from Wokingham Borough Libraries

The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955 for distinguished illustration in a book for children. Named after the popular nineteenth century artist, known for her beautiful children’s illustrations and designs, the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist

wildWild Animals of the North illustrated and written by Dieter Braun

A gorgeously illustrated study of the Northern Hemisphere’s wild animals, this biologically accurate encyclopaedia of beasts will enthral all. Through Dieter Braun’s beautiful and colourful illustrations, readers will be dazzled by the polar bears and orcas of the Arctic, Europe’s red foxes and swans, the pumas of North America, Asian pandas and many more!

These beautiful, expressive illustrations of animals capture their motion and personality in a way that is truly remarkable for such stylized images. The 3D effect of the stunning geometric line and use of colour makes them truly live and breathe on the page. The colour palette is subtle but beautifully suited to both habitats and the animals we meet there. The variety of layout makes every page turn a surprise and continually engages the reader’s interest. The interplay of text and images make this a really enjoyable and memorable learning experience.

tidyTIDY illustrated and written by Emily Gravett

Brand new from the critically acclaimed Emily Gravett, comes TIDY, a hilarious, vibrantly illustrated, rhyming tale about a badger called Pete, who is slightly over-zealous in his desire for complete cleanliness. Pete likes things neat, but unfortunately his forest home is not the tidiest of dwellings. As the weather, the Seasons, not to mention the other animals, hamper Pete’s dreams of a uncluttered existence, the crafty badger hatches a plan that is bound to keep everything permanently spick and span. But when Pete goes too far and concretes over his woodland home, he begins to realise that maybe his actions have caused more harm than good. And maybe a bit of mess now and again is actually rather a positive thing?

This charming and witty story perfectly delivers its message of environmental preservation with subtlety and humour. The depth of quality in its production is outstanding; the multi-layered hole on the front cover, the double sided dust jacket and the wonderful flaps draw in and delight the reader. Lush foliage and vibrant forest colours shine through, as the palette subtly changes to reflect the seasons. Full of humour and skilful comic visual details, such as the wonderful badger-like decoration on the vacuum cleaner, this is a book to delight readers of all ages.

wolvesThe Wolves of Currumpaw illustrated and written by William Grill

1892, New Mexico. A wolfpack roams the Currumpaw Valley, preying on the cattle and evading capture by the exasperated local ranchmen. Due to his knowledge of wolf behaviour, a British naturalist by the name of Ernest Thompson Seton is employed to hunt down their notorious pack leader, King Lobo… A moving re-telling of the first short story from Ernest Thompson Seton’s 1898 classic collection, Wild Animals I Have Known, this is the second book from CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal award winner William Grill.

The large format of this book allows the reader a great visual experience, echoing the vast plains of New Mexico. The beautifully rendered dust jacket and end papers, inspired by Navajo and Hopi designs, usher the reader into this atmospheric tale. The colour palette is chosen with utmost care and the technique of sweeping pencil strokes evoke the setting and easily allow the scale of the desert to show the insignificance of man and wolf in the whole area. This book works on many levels, from the unobtrusive typography telling the story, the tactile nature of the endpaper illustrations to the synergy between illustration style and the setting of the tale. Text and images and are all carefully placed on the page, underlining the scale of the desert; whilst the movement of the wolves is so simply expressed. Grill’s style is unique, distinctive and highly creative so much so that this books works on many levels, it is a deceptively simple medium showing a depth of richness and skill that is a testament to his skill.

harryHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone illustrated by Jim Kay, written by J.K. Rowling

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he’s the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous – or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

An outstanding illustrated version of a modern children’s classic, ready to bring a new generation of readers into the magical world of Harry Potter. These illustrations go back to the text and lure the reader away from the familiar film images. The artist has added so much more depth and detail to bring this world to life. For example there is a whole street worth of invented detail in Diagon Alley and we have intricate scientific drawings of the various species of troll that inhabit this world. There is an astonishing range of techniques and artistry shown throughout the book in a variety of full page portraits, small vignettes, chapter headings and the glorious end papers. This visualisation enhances the text and offers the reader a whole new, deeper and authentic experience.

cuddleA Great Big Cuddle illustrated by Chris Riddell and written by Michael Rosen

Two of the biggest names in children’s publishing, Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell, come together in a new poetry collection. The poems in A Great Big Cuddle fizz off the page with sound and rhythm, energy and laughter, as Rosen captures in the most remarkable way what it means to be very, very young. A child’s world with all its details and feelings – toys and games, animals and made-up creatures, likes and dislikes – is vividly conjured up in the most memorable, playful language, and Chris Riddell has produced some his most extraordinary pictures ever to bring this world to life. It’s a book that will be enjoyed by the oldest grown-up and the youngest child – and a future classic.

This is an unusual size for a picture book, but the layout of each poem works to give the reader a different experience every time a page is turned. The poems requiring movement have that in abundance in both typography and in the illustration. The simple primary colour palette makes the illustrations bold and engaging. There is a creative use of the vignettes that really adds to the textual experience. The illustrations underline the nonsense of the poetry making this a very satisfying and distinctive experience. Two people at the height of their powers combining to make a great book for very young people.

journeyThe Journey illustrated and written by Francesca Sanna

What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? A mother and her two children set out on such a journey; one filled with fear of the unknown, but also great hope. Based on her interactions with people forced to seek a new home, and told from the perspective of a young child, The Journey is full of significance for our time.

These timely and distinctive illustrations offer a deep and emotional introduction to the losses and experiences that immigrant families face. A strong sense of movement is achieved throughout, as the family journey onwards in a quest for safety. The menace of war and evil are particularly well depicted through the imposing black sea representing the approaching war, and dense black shadows that bring a real and deep darkness with them. A carefully chosen palette of colours, tones and techniques are used to great effect in the depiction of both physical and emotional landscapes. Impressive use of the endpapers is made, as they respectively introduce and then continue the story. An unusual typeface is used for the sparse, yet moving text, resembling handwriting this poignantly emphasises the personal nature of the story. This book will have a powerful impact on readers of all ages.

marvelsThe Marvels illustrated and written by Brian Selznick

In The Marvels, Selznick weaves together two seemingly unrelated stories- one in words, the other in pictures -with spellbinding synergy. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heart-rending beauty, and featuring Selznick’s most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story.

This visually stunning book invites exploration from the first page. The whole production is a work of art that is outstanding on every level. Detailed cross-hatched illustrations carry the reader’s focus to the heart of characters, action and drama through a near-cinematic zooming in and panning out. There is a strong use of space and a real awareness of how different forms. come together to produce a story, creating an innovative and fully immersive experience.

tribeThere is a Tribe of Kids illustrated and written by Lane Smith

Lane Smith takes us on a colourful adventure through the natural world, following a child as he weaves through the jungle, dives under the ocean and soars into the sky. Along the way he makes friends and causes mischief with a dazzling array of creatures both large and small – but can he find a tribe of his own? Full of warmth and humour, There Is a Tribe of Kids is a playful exploration of wild childhood – of curiosity, discovery and what it means to belong.

There’s a wonderful sense of movement, animation and life in the illustrations to this book. A palette comprised of muted earth tones emphasises and extends the natural tone and themes of the book. Use of sequencing is controlled and there is an impressive synergy and balance between text and illustration. There is a warmth and wit in the play and imagination shown in the final spreads showing how the children are influenced and inspired by the world around them suggesting ideas around the way nurture and environmental factors can be formative in growth.

You can borrow these books from our libraries, so check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you: http://bit.ly/1zSCJlf

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 winner announced next week, have you read the shortlist?

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist available to borrow from Wokingham Borough Libraries

The Carnegie Medal, awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children, was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). A self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA, Carnegie’s experience of using a library as a child led him to resolve that “If ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries.” He set up more than 2,800 libraries across the English speaking world and by the time of his death over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries.

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist

sputnikSputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Prez doesn’t talk anymore. He didn’t talk in The Temporary, where he was taken when his granddad started behaving oddly. He didn’t talk when The Family came, to take him to live on their farm in Dumfries for the summer. He is very good at listening though, which proves useful when a small, extremely talkative, mind-reading alien named Sputnik, arrives on The Family’s doorstep. Sputnik is on a mission; he needs Prez to show him ten reasons why Earth is worth saving, otherwise it will be shrunk to the size of a golf ball. Prez has no idea what to do – he can’t ask for help, because he doesn’t talk, and The Family also seem to think Sputnik is a small, yappy dog. Time is running out – how can Prez show Sputnik all the Wond

Wonderfully witty and wise this has the author’s trademark perfect blend of humour and pathos with realistic human characters existing within a tightly plotted, fantastically inventive and original adventure. There is a very satisfying complexity of ideas which make the reader think as well as laugh. This writer is particularly skilled at using fantasy to say something about the world we live in and how we relate to each other and it is the relationships which really matter. That between Prez and his grandfather with dementia is particularly well drawn and the ending of this uplifting story is both touching and credible.

boneThe Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he’s at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie. Carrying a notebook that she’s unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck – both talismans of her family’s past and the mother she’s lost – Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence. As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie’s family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.

Simply and innocently told from a child’s perspective this important and timely novel brings to life the risks people are willing to take to make their voices heard and the resilience of the human spirit. Subhi’s hauntingly evocative descriptions of life in the camp deftly capture the claustrophobic feel of the camp, whilst his vivid imagination and love of stories provide a much needed escape from the awful reality of his situation. The plot is skilfully executed, blending together the two different narratives of the main characters, allowing both to influence the other’s life and propelling the action forward. Finally, the credible and consistent ending offers hope, but no easy happy ending.

smellThe Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Alaska, 1970: growing up here is like nowhere else. Ruth wants to be remembered by her grieving mother. Dora wishes she was invisible to her abusive father. Alyce is staying at home to please her parents. Hank is running away for the sake of his brothers. Four very different lives are about to become entangled in these intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation. Because if we don’t save each other, how can we begin to save ourselves?

Not a word is wasted in these lyrical stories of family, romance, tragedy good fortune and redemption. Short chapters with alternating points of view immerse readers into multiple storylines where there is a tonal balance between a sense of urgency and great reflection. The four protagonists are subtly and so convincingly developed it is difficult to imagine they are not real people. The author has succeeded in creating a thoroughly convincing world.

starsThe Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard

Alice is 15, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone, but something inside her is broken. She has a brain injury, the result of an assault. Manny was once a child soldier. He is 16 and has lost all his family. Alice is reaching out to express herself through her beautiful-broken words, and Manny is running to escape his past. When Manny and Alice meet they find the beginnings of love and healing. The Stars at Oktober Bend is a powerful story about the strength of the human spirit.

Told in their distinctive and memorable narrative voices this is a wonderfully evocative tale of two damaged young people who find redemption and hope in their love for each other. The author’s use of poetry as a way for Alice to convey her innermost feelings and to reach out to the world around her, works extraordinarily well and the poems are simple and beautiful. The lyrical, outstanding writing throughout develops strong characterization and a vivid sense of place, as their tragic stories gradually unfold; building to a dramatic climax that brings each strand of the novel together in an intensely satisfying way.

railRailhead by Philip Reeve

Zen Starling is a petty thief. A nobody. Destined to ride the rails to nowhere special. That is until Raven, a strange and mysterious figure, enlists him for one small job. One small job that might just bring everything in this galaxy, and the next, to the end of the line.

The novel is difficult to characterise being a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and thriller. A whole world is built through very imaginative use of language which underpins a complex but well-constructed plot. A plot that is kept light, inventive and original, engaging and fast-paced throughout with clever use of humour and wit. The characters are easy to relate to; due to the realistic and interesting way they are portrayed, even minor characters are rounded and engaging. Through exploration of some of the non-human characters there is an exploration of what it is to be human whilst also exploring quite harsh criticisms of society in subtle ways. This is an engaging, emotionally satisfying read, using exciting language to draw the reader in.

beckBeck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff

The final novel from Carnegie Medal-winning author Mal Peet is a sweeping coming-of-age adventure, with all the characteristic beauty and strength of his prose. Born from a one-off liaison between a poor young woman and an African soldier in the 1900s, Beck is soon orphaned and sent to the Catholic Brothers in Canada. Shipped to work on a farm, his escape takes him across the continent in a search for belonging. Enduring abuse and many hardships, Beck has times of comfort and encouragement, eventually finding Grace, the woman with whom he can finally forge his life and shape his destiny as a young man. A picaresque novel set during the Depression as experienced by a young black man, it depicts great pain but has an uplifting and inspiring conclusion.

Gripping from start to finish, the writing in Beck is flawless, successfully balancing graphic cruelty with a gradual softening of tone as both the lead character and the story develop and grow. Beck himself, is witty, colloquial and utterly believable and heads up a cast of richly drawn, well rounded characters. This is a story that stays with readers reminding them that in spite of discrimination and hardship, there can be love, goodness and hope in the world.

saltSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

It’s early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. They converge in a desperate attempt to board an overcrowded ship in a Baltic port, which is tragically then sunk by a torpedo. Based on a true story, the incident was the worst maritime tragedy ever.

Mood is perfectly handled throughout this novel as we follow the characters, first through feelings of weariness as the journey towards the port, to anxiety at the prospect of not gaining a ticket to board, to sickness and overcrowding once on-board and, finally, to both desperation and hope in a traumatic conclusion. The structure of the book works exceptionally well as short chapters tell the interwoven stories and slowly reveal the secrets of our four distinctive narrators. Engaging, interesting and, at times, terrifying characters abound as historical events are brought to life through their collective stories. This is a haunting and beautiful novel that breathes life into one of World War II’s most terrifying and little-known tragedies.

wolfWolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Annabelle has lived in Wolf Hollow all her life: a quiet place, still scarred by two world wars. But when cruel, manipulative Betty arrives in town, Annabelle’s calm world is shattered, along with everything she’s ever known about right and wrong. When Betty accuses gentle loner Toby – a traumatised ex-soldier – of a terrible act, Annabelle knows he’s innocent. Then Betty disappears . . . Now Annabelle must protect Toby from the spiraling accusations and hysteria, until she can prove to Wolf Hollow what really happened to Betty.

The language used in this novel exquisitely conveys the atmosphere of the 1940s American rural setting. The naivety of the voice vividly conveys the mores of the time and the young narrator. Every character is believable, well developed and fully rounded, combined with well observed small domestic details. This is a truthful exploration of a small-time attitudes and injustice without being overly sentimental, and exploring questions of morality within the confines of the story. In places, it has shades of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, making it a rich and satisfying read.

You can borrow these books from our libraries, so check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you: http://bit.ly/1zSCJlf

Rhymetime at Dinton Pastures on Monday June 12, 2017

Libraries go outside to celebrate books and a love of reading this summer

Wokingham Borough Libraries is celebrating  National Bookstart Week 2017 with a Bookstart Rhymetime at Dinton Pastures Park on Monday 12 June from 10am to noon and a whole host of storytimes and rhymetimes in its libraries throughout the week.

This year’s theme is  ‘Let’s Explore Outdoors’. Children who attend any of the events will receive a free copy of the picture book Everybunny Dance! by Ellie Sandall.

National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of Book Trust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. It aims to remind families of the importance of reading for pleasure – even if it’s just for ten minutes a day.

Across Wokingham Borough the following events will take place:

  • Rhymetime in the Park at Dinton Pastures on Monday June 12 with Rhymetimes at 10.30am and 11.30am.   There will be activities and information from the Children’s Centre Family Workers.  The Early Years Team will be promoting their “Ready for School, Ready for Life” programme.  There will also be stands from the Community Wardens, NHS Nursery Nurses, Home-Start and First Days Charity with information about the services they offer.
  • There will also be an  Authors’ Corner with local authors Tina Stubbs and Layn Marlow who will be reading extracts from their books and  books will be available for purchase  on the day.
  • A libraries goody bag can be collected along with a free “Everybunny Dance” book.

If families are unable to make it along to their local event they can join in the fun at home, with plenty of lets explore outdoors arts and crafts, games and baking recipes all on the Bookstart website at: http://www.bookstart.org.uk/events/national-bookstart-week/nbw-2017

There will also be a Rhymetime in the Park at California Country Park on Monday 10 July and at Dinton Pastures on Monday 11 September, 2017.

Let’s Explore Outdoor Booklist for National Bookstart Week

To celebrate National Bookstart Week we have put this Let’s Explore Outdoors Booklist together for the under 5’s.

Look and Say What You See in the Countryside by Sebastian Braun

From summer in the meadow to autumn in the forest and lots of environments in between, this lookandsay book for little ones is a great way to start learning about nature and wildlife. What will you see down on the farm? Can you find the robin in the snow?

K9781406361513iki and Bobo’s Sunny Day by Yasmeen Ismail

Kiki can’t wait to get to the beach and swim in the sea. But why isn’t Bobo as excited for their sunny day out? Join Kiki and Bobo on a day at the seaside in this sweet and creative lift-the-flap book.

A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins9781406376548

Can you flap your wings, stand on one leg like a flamingo or waddle like a penguin? Your child will love joining in with this story full of action rhymes, noises and bright colours!  ,

9780552573108Shark in the Park on a Windy Day by Nick Sharratt

It’s a wild windy day and Timothy Pope is back in the park, looking through his telescope after the classic Shark in the Park… What can he see in the blustery park? Could it really be a shark?

Teddy Picnic by Georgie Birkettteddy picnic.png

Join in the fun with the teddies as they have a summer adventure. This book has lots of lovely gentle rhymes, perfect for very little ones.  Teddies walk, teddies skip, teddies on their way. Teddies on a picnic trip, Hip! Hip! Hip! Hooray! Join the teddies on their big day out!

All of the recommended titles can be borrowed from Wokingham Borough Libraries https://wokingham.spydus.co.uk  or visit www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries