Title: Rick

Author: Alex Gino

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Scholastic

The Blurb

From the award-winning author of George, the story of a boy named Rick who needs to explore his own identity apart from his jerk of a best friend.

Rick’s never questioned much. He’s gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff’s acted like a bully and a jerk. He’s let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn’t given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.

But now Rick’s gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that … understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.

As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world … and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Set a few years after George, Rick focuses on a different character – our eponymous character, Rick.

In George, Rick comes across a little boy. He follows the crowd and hasn’t quite figured out who he is yet. He makes poor decisions but we see a kindness in him. Therefore, he is the perfect tertiary character to focus the follow on story about.

In the sequel, we see just how much he has grown. We see him start to question his actions, the actions of others and what (and who) is important in life. More than that we see him realise how his actions impact others.

Rick is a beautiful story which, unlike George, is more about relationships with others rather than acceptance of oneself. It is the relationships that he cultivates in this novel that make his life better.

Alex Gino is brilliant at creating LGBTQIA+ stories and a community of middle grade readers will be the richer for reading Rick and George.

Rick by Alex Gino is available now.

For more information regarding Alex Gino (@lxgino) please visit www.alexgino.com.

For more information regarding Scholastic (@scholasticuk) please visit www.scholastic.co.uk.

Title: George

Author: Alex Gino

Pages: 213 Pages

Publisher: Scholastic

The Blurb

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy. 

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Poor George. George is struggling. George knows what the world expects – an interest in sport, getting messy, boisterousness. However, George likes fashion, femininity and the colour pink. You see George knows she is a girl. George is Melissa.

Alex Gino has written an absolutely gorgeous novel bit being transgender. What is brilliant is that Gino has targetted this story at middle grade readers. It is a beautiful story of being unwilling to compromise on who you are and it shows what with the right support just ow much easier life can be for transgendered people.

I devoured George. It was a one-sitting read and one that I wish was on the curriculum.

George by Alex Gino is available now.

For more information regarding Alex Gino (@lxgino) please visit www.alexgino.com.

For more information regarding Scholastic (@scholasticuk) please visit www.scholastic.co.uk.

Title: The World Cup of Everything

Author: Richard Osman

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Coronet

The Blurb

In The World Cup Of Everything Richard Osman* gives you and your friends the chance to vote on some of the most controversial, and funniest arguments of our time.

What is the greatest chocolate bar of all?

It’s the Twirl surely? Maybe Maltesers?

What are the greatest crisps of all time? 

Frazzles of course! Anything but Ready Salted Walkers

Best sitcom ever?

Hmmm, ‘Only Fools And Horses’ or ‘Blackadder’

Best animal?

Dog!, No wait, cat! No wait, dog!

Hold on, you disagree? You think that Pickled Onion Monster Munch are the best crisps? And ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys’ is the best sitcom?

Play along with The World Cup Of Everything and you and your family and friends can decide these things once and for all. You will be arguing about, then voting on, the best crisps, the best chocolate, the best sweets, the best sitcom, the best Christmas songs, the best Disney films, the best biscuits and so much more.

It is also packed with amazing stories and incredible facts on everything from Nandos to ‘Die Hard’ to Jammie Dodgers.

And who wins? You decide!

*Richard from Pointless, you know the one.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Years ago, to keep my students entertained on a lunch period we decided to create the ‘League of Biscuits’. We measured he varies qualities of each biscuit – texture, dunkability, taste and we decided that the best biscuit is the ginger nut – not the favourite biscuit but it is the best.

Richard Osman’s book The World Cup of Everything is built on this premise – in this book you get a game and a really good book to read. It is a book that will keep you entertained for hours on end.

The World Cup of Everything by Richard Osman is available now.

For more information regarding Richard Osman (@richardosman) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Coronet (@CoronetBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

Title: Lessons I’ve Learned

Author: Davina McCall

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Orion

The Blurb

With her trademark humour, warmth and honesty, Davina McCall shares her life experiences.

“I am a work in progress. There are times when I feel in control and like I know what I’m doing…and there are times (quite a few) (actually lots) when I’ve got no idea what’s going on, where to turn, what to do, how to behave, and those are the times I’ve sought help!

I have been helped by some extraordinary people. I’ve been supported and counselled through my recovery from drugs and alcohol. I’ve been hypnotised to get me through my ultimate fears. I’ve read a squibillion (that’s a lot) of fantastic self-help books and I have shared and shared with the greatest girlfriends, and family of all time. These nuggets of wisdom have, at times, literally kept me going, so I thought I’d pay it forward and she them with you…”

In this long-awaited book, Davina McCall shares the tips and wisdoms learned on her ‘work-in-progress’ journey through life.

Warm, engaging, honest and generous, this book will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. Lessons I’ve Learned is the closest thing to a Davina hug and we all need one of those…

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Davina McCall has been a staple of British TV for my whole life and I have always liked her. She is enthusiastic, funny and shows herself to be. A caring and compassionate person too.

I read her autobiography Lessons I’ve Learned and got a glimpse of the lady behind the TV personality. She is so positive, honest and expressive. She doesn’t shy away, in fact she reveals all of the colourful aspects of her life. 

To say that McCall speaks with candour is an understatement. She discusses her past drug use, her difficult relationship with her mother and the heartbreaking details of her sisters final days. I will admit that I cried as Davina McAll talks about her sisters illness and the impact hat t had on her. It was utterly tear-jerking. 

If someone were to ask me if my opinion of Davina McCall has changed after reading Lessons I’ve Learned  then Would have to say not really. I already liked Davina. If anything her autobiography has endeared me to her much much more. I am so glad that I to know the person behind the personality. 

Lessons I’ve Learned by Davina McCall is available now.

For more information regarding Davina McCall (@ThisisDavina) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Orion (@orionbooks) please visit www.orionbooks.co.uk.

Title: The Enchanted Hour – The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction

Author: Meghan Cox Gurdon

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Piatkus

The Blurb

A Wall Street Journal writer’s conversation-changing look at how reading aloud makes adults and children smarter, happier, healthier, more successful and more closely attached, even as technology pulls in the other direction.

A miraculous alchemy occurs when one person reads to another, transforming the simple stuff of a book, a voice, and a bit of time into complex and powerful feel for the heart, brain, and imagination. Grounded in the latest neuroscience and behavioural research, and drawing widely from literature, The Enchanted Hour explains the dazzling cognitive and social-emotional benefits that await  children, whatever their class, nationality or family background. But it’s not just about bedtime stories for little kids: Reading aloud consoles, uplifts and invigorates at every age, deepening the intellectual lives and emotional well-being of teenagers and adults, too.

Meghan Cox Gurdon argues that this ancient practice is a fast-working antidote to the fractured attention spans, atomised families and unfulfilling ephemera of the tech era, helping to replenish what our devices are leaching away. For everyone, reading aloud engages the mind in complex narratives; for children, it’s an irreplaceable gift that builds vocabulary, fosters imagination, and kindles a lifelong appreciation of language, stories and pictures.

Bringing together the latest scientific research, practical tips, and reading recommendations, The Enchanted Hour will both charm and galvanise, inspiring readers to share this invaluable, life-altering tradition with the people hey love most.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

As a person who writes book reviews it seems a bit redundant for me to read a book extolling the pleasures of reading. It seems to be pretty much a given. At times, I could be accused of pushing my book agenda on everyone else. Read because it is boss. It is almost like my life motto – my own version of Hakuna Matata…or something like that.

However, one of my favourite types of book is a book about books and reading. Is that a little warped? I don’t know why but I absolutely love them ad find them fascinating. They are almost memoirs told through h books. This was one of the reasons that I wanted to read The Enchanted Hour. Unlike other books I have read about this topic, The Enchanted Reader by Meghan Cox Gurdon the therapeutic qualities of reading – although this is discussed, it also loves and the neurological development that reading produces. It is the scene behind it that is truly fascinating. The blend of these two features really make The Enchanted Hour a fascinating read. It is enlightening and one that all educators should read. 

The Enchanted Hour is fascinating look at the importance of reading and creating an atmosphere of stories that is enjoyable – the impact of which will be felt far into adulthood.

The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon is available now.

For more information regarding Meghan Cox Gurdon (@MeghanGurdon) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Piatkus (@PiatkusBooks) please visit www.piatkusbooks.net.