By Celia J Anderson
It’s probably past the time for announcing New Year's resolutions but just for the record, 2014 is going to be my year of reading a whole heap more books aimed at younger readers.
OK, I guess this isn’t too much of a hardship for a teacher and a self-confessed children’s book addict, but I’ve been reading a lot of ... well ... grown up stuff in the last couple of years. A lot of you will sympathise here; it’s hard to keep up to date with literature when you write both for children and adults – whichever genre you’ve got your nose stuck in, you somehow feel you should be reading the other.
With my resolution already in mind, at the end of last term I asked my Year Five class which books they were determined to read either over the holidays or in the next few months. My promise to myself was to download The Hunger Games – just the first part. Having never seen the films or even read the blurb, the hype seemed enormous. They surely can’t be that good, I muttered, as I wrenched myself away from a particularly absorbing list of new crime and/or romantic reads.
A week later, I’d galloped through all three books in the set and was completely mind-boggled by the depth of the characters, the pace of the plot and the emotion packed into every chapter. I’d lived and breathed Katniss, Peeta and Gale to such an extent that real life seemed shadowy while I was reading – one of the true signs of an excellent book.
So how did Year Five get on with their own resolutions? Were they absorbed? Delighted? Disappointed? Read these short extracts from their reviews to find out:
Libby – Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
I chose this book because it sounded funny – you don’t get many Gangsta Grannies, do you? I wouldn’t change anything about it – I’ve also read Mr Stink and Billionaire Boy by the same author.
Aston – Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney
The best bit is when Greg thinks he’s allowed to torment his little brother. I read it because so many other people thought it was good.
Bella - Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
This was really funny but on the other hand it was quite serious. It’s a story about Greg at school but it also tells you about when Greg is walking home from school and then it’s talking about when he’s home! I liked the part where Greg walks across the boys’ den with his suitcase. I felt I was actually in the book.
Savhanna – Percy Jackson, Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
I chose this because I love Ancient Greece so it was awesome for me. I think the best bit is when Juniper sees Grover and takes a nose dive for him.To be honest, Juniper and Grover are my favourite characters and I have read all the other books before this one!
Jess – George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl
I thought this looked interesting but I would have liked the grandmother to be more of a pest and maybe for there to be more characters. The best bit was when George gave his grandma the medicine.
Cameron - Billionaire Boy by David Walliams
My favourite bit was the part where he gets on the Raj Mobile which is a little girl’s bike.
Eleanor Critchlow – The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson-Burnett
The front cover was just plain green but it just caught my eye and I picked it up straight away. I haven’t read it all yet but I liked the part where Mary first went into the secret garden.
So, over to you – what are you promising yourself that you’ll read this year?