Today, we will be honouring those authors who try to please the fickle, little minds of children. I am in awe of children's books and they are so very important. A child who learns to read early has the entire world opened up to them and their imaginations and thought processes are stimulated greatly by the written word. Reading as a habit that is started early, will last a lifetime and, as authors, we all have a vested interest in children learning to read and acquiring that lifetime habit.
So, without further ado, let's move onto the nominees for Children's book of the year.
My Review at the time:
Possibly the best thing about being a reviewer of Indie fiction is the immense diversity of material that crosses my desk and my Kindle. Before becoming an author and a reviewer, there is little doubt I would never, in a million years, have picked up a children's/young adult's book like Dog of the Ancients and read it. I would have been poorer for having missed the experience.
Dog of the Ancients is an absolutely charming little tale of animals, magic, and the underworld. In Dog of the Ancients, the animals have been put on Earth to guard and protect humans against evil. Josie has always had a special connection with the animals on her farm, but it is only when she reaches the point of believing they can communicate with her, that she actually realises she can talk to the animals and they can talk back to her.
The author takes us on a journey meeting all the animals on the farm, each with their own unique identities and quirks from the plethora of cats right down to the field mice in the barn, every animal has a place in the grand scheme of things and every animal has purpose and dignity.
Most special, to Josie, of all the animals, is her dog, Brodie. The connection she has with Brodie supersedes that of a normal human/pet bond and it is Brodie that first makes communication with Josie.
With fairies, magical animals, and evil worms, this book has every element one looks for in a children's or young adult's fantasy novel. It is magical enough to be exciting and awe-inspiring. It is scary enough to make the young one's take notice, but not frightening enough to scare them off.
I loved the use of the "five-ever" tag in both the story and the blurb. Because it is so much longer than "four-ever"!
This book is magical and if you have young one's who like fantasy, rest assured they can read Dog of the Ancients, without getting terrified. There are plenty of life lessons to be imparted by these animals, fairies, and humans. A great story - want to read book 2 now.
My Review at the time:
What can you say about this simply, yet beautifully, illustrated book for children, that is really for each and every one of us. Yes, I can truly picture reading Teddy and Lily to any of my eleven grandchildren, at bedtime, but the message contained within the pages of this book is not restricted to age. The love of a stuffed toy (especially a favourite teddy bear) transcends gender, culture, age and education. A Teddy Bear is the universal symbol of love and cuddles and that is exactly what it feels like to read Lily Amis' fantastic story (based on her own experiences). It feels like you are being wrapped up in the loving arms of your Teddy.
Teddy & Lily is fundamentally a book about the values of love, friendship, respect, equality, and trust. It manages to convey these strong human emotions in a sweet, simple, and beautiful story.
One of the many great things about this book is the perspective from which the tale is told. The story is related through the eyes of Teddy.
From a souvenir shop in Singapore's Changi Airport, where Teddy waits on the shelves for that someone special to choose him, through to still being Lily's best friend twenty years later, we can follow the life of young Lily, a refugee from war-torn Iran and her mother as they seek out a new life on the other side of the world, in Switzerland.
Teddy is privy to and shares in all their moments of happiness and many moments of sadness and despair.
Look, this is a fabulous story to read to, or to have your children read, but it is equally wonderful for adults to read and remind themselves why they should still strive, every single day, to be happy and to do good for others.
As you may have guessed by now, I fell in love with Teddy & Lily and can't wait to read more on their adventures. A wonderful effort by Ms Amis.
My Review at the time:
Like all of Julie Elizabeth Powell's books that I've read to date, Maisie is something straight from the author's fertile mind and imagination. It is a delightful fantasy adventure about a young, blind, seven-year-old, orphan by the name of Maisie.
Maisie always wondered about her past, as she tries to cope with the difficulties of living in a foster home and attending sch0ol where she is mercilessly tormented and bullied by her peers. It is only at night, in her dreams, where Maisie feels free, where she is able to see and where she discovers that there may be more to her world than she first thought.
Finally, thrown into one of her dreams, she discovers herself in the magical world of Mageia, where it seems she is vitally important to the future of the world. Required to grow up and take responsibility very early, Maisie discovers she is so much more than she thought she was.
Powell's descriptive abilities are well displayed here as she gives the reader an incredibly vivid word picture of this new world, Maisie has found herself on. The collection of characters Maisie runs into and befriends are as weird as they are wonderful. Powell's imagination can never be faulted in the books of hers I've read thus far.
Maisie is a delightful coming of age story in a world of magic, where nothing is quite what it seems. This book has the ability to appeal to children, young adults, and adults alike. If you love magic and a cast of amazing characters, I know you'll enjoy Maisie.
the winner! drum roll please!
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE READER AT A TIME