Fantastic Reads
25 totally normal things I’ve never done

I should stress here that I have nothing specific against any of these activities. I’ve just never got round to them.

  • Eaten a doner kebab
  • Bought a car
  • Watched The Wire, Mad Men, Breaking Bad orTwin Peaks 
  • Been to Ireland
  • Watched a DVD as a date night
  • Bought anything off eBay
  • Eaten a steak
  • Been to a theme park as a punter. I used to work at one.
  • Watched Mean Girls
  • Eaten a McFlurry
  • Played a console game
  • Eaten a Big Mac
  • Made a successful white sauce
  • Eaten ribs
  • Played Candy Crush or Angry Birds
  • Cooked a Sunday roast dinner
  • Mowed a lawn
  • Drunk a Frappuccino or flavoured coffee
  • Baked cup cakes
  • Watched any of the Twilight films
  • Been to the horse races
  • Bought a lottery ticket
  • Been to a bookies or visited a betting website
  • Played a role playing game
  • Sung a karaoke solo
A Helpful List of women in music for BBC 6 Music

I am a huge fan of 6Music, the BBC digital music station. It plays an interesting mix of music, has championed women presenters- albeit mostly at the weekend, with the exception of wonderful Lauren Laverne- and while I’d like more non-western music and a more ethnically diverse presenter line up, I adore it, was devastated when it came under threat of closure and joined in the campaign to save it.

However, the lack of diversity in the Sunday lunchtime special programmes and the playlist shows is beginning to seriously concern me. 6Music has been at Glastonbury and is going to Latitude, where it curates a stage. In celebration there were playlist shows. All of them were hosted by male artists.

The only woman on the First Time show (sort of like Desert Island Discs, where an artist is interviewed and choose the first song they remember, first single they bought, first gig they went to etc) was Emily Eavis, who took over management of Glastonbury from her dad. I admire her, but could ^ Music really not find another woman?

A few months ago I tweeted Pete Paphides, who hosts Vinyl Revival, to ask whether women had been approached and not been available: he said that this was the case. However, no women. None have ever been on Paperback Writers.

This article in the Independent I think highlights a wider issue of women in radio, but demonstrates an issue with women’s recognition:

So to help 6Music, I have this helpful list. Thank you, @GypsumFantastic, @SaxyLizabeth, @ellibin, @sawatkiss and @here_comes_B for suggestions.

Siouxsie Sioux

Viv Albertine

Karen O


Pauline Black

PJ Harvey

Rhoda Dakar



Kate Bush

Charlotte Hatherley

Joan Jett

Beth Ditto

Mavis Staples

Chaka Khan

Missy Elliot

Martha Reeves

Shahin Badar

Kristen Hersch

Tanya Donnelly

Kim Deal

Kim Gordon

Sister Bliss


Tina Weymouth

Ani DiFranco

Gaye Advert

Alice Nutter

M’Shell Ndegeocello

Regina Spektor

Josephine Oniyama

Martha Wainwright

Suggested genres and authors for Primary teacher training students

By no means exhaustive! These are simply suggested authors.

Picture books

Julia Donaldson

Mary Hoffman

Shaun Tan

Anthony Browne

Neil Gaiman

Quentin Blake

Allen and Janet Ahlberg

John Burningham

Lauren Childs

Babette Cole

Carrie Weston

Mick Inkpen/ Nick Butterworth

Graphic Novels

Tony Lee

Marcia Williams

Art Spiegelman’s Maus

Raymond Briggs

Dav Pilkey

Sarah McIntyre


Michael Rosen

Jackie Kay

Benjamin Zephaniah

Kit Wright

Allen Ahlberg

Brian Patten

Stories with familiar settings

Jacqueline Wilson

Helena Pielichaty

Dan Freedman

Jamila Gavin

Anne Fine

Gillian Cross

David Almond

Fiona Dunbar

Lauren Childs

Folk/ Traditional/ Fairy tales

Berlie Doherty

Jamila Gavin

Madhur Jaffrey

Richard Mente

Nathan Kumar Scott

Petronella Breiburg

Oxford Collections (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales)

Usborne collected fairy tales

Alexander McCall Smith

Jamila Gavin

Philip Pullman

Alan Garner

Mysteries and Adventures

Lauren St John

Antony Horowitz

Michael Morpurgo

Tom Palmer

Eoin Colfer

Charlie Higson

Gillian Cross

Helen Moss

Graham Marks

SF Said

Beverley Naidoo

Malorie Blackman

Fantasy/ Science Fiction

Philip Pullman

Jenny Nimmo

Liz Kessler

Malorie Blackman

Eoin Colfer

Philip Ridley

Eva Ibbotson

Garth Nix

Joan Aiken

Philip Reeve

Neil Gaiman

Ann Jungman

JK Rowling

Robin Jarvis

Diana Wynne Jones

Historical Fiction

Caroline Lawrence

Berlie Doherty

Rosemary Sutcliff

Michael Morpurgo

Michelle Magorian

Nina Bawden

Jamila Gavin

Judith Kerr

Ann Jungman

Animal Stories

Dick King- Smith

Lauren St John

Philippa Pearce

Michael Morpurgo

Daniel Pennac

Jill Tomlinson

Funny Stories

Roald Dahl

David Walliams

Andy Stanton

Philip Ardagh

Liz Pichon

Kjarten Poskitt

In addition, look for good quality information books on the following commonly taught topics:

Romans in Britain            The Seaside                   Homes and Houses

The Victorians                 Maps and Journeys        Rocks and soils

Ancient Greece                Local History                 The Earth in Space

Ancient Egypt                  The Great Fire of London    Growth

The Tudors                      Forces                          Britain in the 1930s

Storify: #fedbkgrp chat: Children’s and YA books with positive portrayals of disabled characters

Please join us! Alternate Sundays on Twitter, 8-9pm UK time. #fedbkgrp


A couple weeks ago, I wrote about challenging my class of seniors to read 100 books. I finally got a chance to read through all of their review cards and compile a list of their top fifteen books/series. These are all books that the students gave 5/5 stars and…

5 stages of tweets marking Charles Dickens Bicentenary

1. Happy Bicentenary Charles Dickens
2. Why is Charles Dickens trending?
3. #dickensinasongtitle
3. I hate Charles Dickens
4. Will everyone STOP tweeting about Charles f’ing Dickens?

Seasonal reading

I have a series of posts on by blog about winter reads, including Arthur Ransome’s Winter Holiday, Clement Freud’s Grimble at Christmas and Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith. You might want to read it:

Big Green Bookshop’s Children’s Book Grop

We met on Saturday to discuss Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. One of the joys of the group is that the books are brand new to the children; since they choose the books (despite gentle lobbying for a favourite from me!) they choose what looks interesting rather than what they feel they “should” read. Anyway, they LOVED Northern Lights. They were intrigued by Lyra: she does bad things, she lies, and yet in many ways she is admirable. We talked about favourite characters: Ma Costa, Iorek Byornson, Lee Scorsby as well as Lyra. We discussed what a daemon represents and what ours would be: a golden eagle, a humming bird and a big cat were some suggestions. We tried to get our heads round the nature of Dust. All in all, we gave the book 10/10. And I remembered what I love about working with children- their lack of cynicism, their enthusiasm and seriousness. We meet again at 10:30am on 19th November to discuss Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Midnight Palace. Join us at Big Green Bookshop, Wood Green, London N22. We have squash and biscuits, and a chance to win the new Percy Jackson book!

Book seller Twitter love

















Bookish Haringey

I had a brilliant time at the Haringey Children’s Literature Festival on Saturday, at the Marcus Garvey library. I heard SC Ransom talking about her YA book, Small Blue Thing, which she kindly signed for me, and it made me eager for the two bookish events happening this week that I’m involved with: Bookswap Haringey and Children’s Book Group.

Bookswap Haringey is on Thursday at the Duke of Edinburgh, Coburg Road, N22 (off the High Road). Please bring a book you want to swap. It’s a good opportunity to chat to fellow Haringey readers (we may even let in some Enfield/Barnet/Hackney/Islington people!) and have a drink. 7:30 onwards.!/event.php?eid=259166740769732

Saturday is the Children’s Book Group at the wonderful Big Green Books, Brampton Park Road, N22, near the 02 shop on Wood Green High Road, Turnpike Lane end. We’re reading Katherine Langrish’s fantastic Troll Blood, but please come even if you haven’t read it and are 8-12 years old and like reading, as you can help us choose the next book. Parents are welcome to stay but don’t have to. We have a drink and (hopefully) some biscuits. Last month was Jammie Dodgers! 10:30-11:30am.

 Hope to see you at one of these events.