Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Published by Faber and Faber

This was a one sitting read, so you know this is a going to be a glowing review! Sophie is found as a baby floating in a cello case following a shipwreck which appears to have taken the life of her mother. Charles, a single academic, with a wonderful, joyful and inquisitive zest for life takes her in and raises her, much to the displeasure of the lady from the National Childcare Agency.  Charles allows Sophie to explore the world for herself, developing her own ideas, and most importantly, making sure she doesn't dismiss the impossible too quickly.

The impossible in this tale of course, is that Sophie's mother is still alive, and there are clues that she may be in Paris.  The pair set off across the channel to try and find her. In Paris, Sophie meets a group of street children who live on the rooftops of the elegant Paris buildings, and they help her in her quest to find her Mother. 

This has a true fairy tale element to it. The writing is beautiful, although the descriptions of the children travelling across the rooftops won't be good for anyone with vertigo! The relationship between Charles and Sophie is perfect and touching, both characters written with a really delicate touch. It is very different from a lot of recent children's literature in that it isn't set in a dystopian future, there are no vampires or other supernatural beings, and no violence, just a beautiful, and exciting story about a girl looking for her mother. 

The CLIP Carnegie Medal

The more observant of you will have noticed the appearance of an new button in the navigation bar. Clicking said button will take you a lovely new page listing the CLIP Carnegie Medal winners, and thus adding at least another dozen books to your wish list. 

I am a little late to the party on this one (I do seem to be dawdling over things of late don't I?), but the 2014 winners were announced in June, with The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks taking top place. 

For those not in the know, The CLIP Carnegie Medal was set up in 1936 memory of Andrew Carnegie, a wealthy industrialist who set up more than 2800 libraries across the world. Mr Carnegie was clearly an all round good egg.  Each year a book is chosen by librarians which is considered to be outstanding writing for children and young people, and the award winner given £500 to buy books for a library of their choice. 

When I saw the list of past winners I realised that I already had a few on my shelves and they had been books I had enjoyed immensely, so promptly decided I needed to read the rest of the list. Why am I so list obsessed? 

I know some adults are a bit sniffy about reading books for children and young adults, but frankly I can't see the problem. A good and well written yarn, is a good and well written yarn, and I don't see why I shouldn't enjoy them too. 

Do you have any favourite children's books?


Binge Reading

Picture from the BBC

Picture from the BBC

Well hello!  Did you enjoy my (rather tardy) book a day feature? Brave book bloggers have soldiered on with July, but I am going to have a break and get back to my more typical posts. I wrote all of the book a day posts in one sitting, which means that I have a whole month's reading to blog about over the next few weeks. 

There is no doubt about it, I have been binge reading of late. It started when The Delightful Mr F and I went on holiday. As always when we go on holiday, a large number of books were packed into the car which, on this occasion, were transported to Wales. Now, Wales is a really beautiful place, but one doesn't generally go there expecting good weather. But, oh how the sun shone! It was truly glorious, and we were installed in a cosy cottage with stunning views. It meant that we spent an entire week sat in the garden looking at the valley below, reading our way through the aforementioned literary delights. 

It was during this week that I discovered something rather intriguing... I am researching it a little at the moment, and will reveal all in a later blog post. However, this revelation has driven me to ditch many rather boring and irrelevant activities in favour of even more reading time. Consequently I have many a good book to recommend to you, once I have written the posts up. 

The books include, a wonderful and touching story about a girl who meets a vagabond, an obese ex-lecturer and his letter writing to an old friend, a man who is advised to carry a towel everywhere, and a young girl in search of her cello playing mother. 

So, what have you been reading over the summer?


#bookaday: Day 29 - The One I Have Re-read Most Often

Hmmm... I really don't know in all honesty. I have several books I re-read. If we count audio books then it is probably the Harry Potter series, as I have listened to the audio books very many times, especially when I am ill. There is something about Stephen Fry's voice which is so calming.

#bookaday: Day 25 - Never Finished It

Now, here is that admission I need to make which I referred to on Day 12... Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was an English GCSE text for me... I wrote my exam essay for that aged 15... and finished the book age 34. Yes, dear reader, I managed to write and pass an essay on a book I had only partially read. I managed an A- which isn't too shabby considering. All that without the internet too. Just goes to show, you can fool some of the people, some of the time.

#bookaday: Day 24 - Hooked Me Into Reading

I could repeat myself ad infinitum about how Over Sea Under Stone was a huge influence on me, but I suspect you are a bit sick of hearing about it now. Instead, here are a few other books which I liked when I was little. Malory Towers by Enid Blyton was a favourite, as was anything by Roald Dahl, especially The Witches. Judy Blume was another repeat read, although I was much older by the time I was reading those. 

I think, looking back, I was raised on standard, but very high quality children's books, so it was inevitable that I would end up a life long reader.