New review: Goodnight, Boy by Nikki Sheehan

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Nikki Sheehan has written fantastic books for middle grade children including Swan Boy recently nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017.  Her new novel, Goodnight, Boy, is her first for Young Adults and written in both prose and verse and is published by Rock the Boat.

Goodnight, Boy by Nikki Sheehan

The kennel has been JC’s home ever since his new adoptive father locked him inside. For hours on end, JC sits and tells his dog Boy how he came to this country: his family, the orphanage and the Haitian earthquake that swept everything away.

When his adoptive mother Melanie rescues him, life starts to feel normal again. Until JC does something bad, something that upset his new father so much that he and Boy are banished to the kennel. But as his new father gets sicker, JC realizes they have to find a way out. And so begins a stunning story of a boy, a dog and their journey to freedom.

Told in a mixture of verse and prose, Goodnight, Boy describes a life that no child should ever have to live.  Rescued from the streets of Haiti by a Haitian-American Doctor, Melanie, and taken back to the US to start a new life, JC finds himself yet again being dealt the hand of injustice with no idea when he will escape.  Stuck in the kennel with his dog Boy, it is through ‘conversation’ with Boy that JC shares his life story and we hear of the traumas he has experienced. Stolen from his family at a young age, thrown in an orphanage to be sold, enduring disease and totally unwanted; it is more than most could ever survive.  How unfair that JC now finds himself stuck in a nightmare again and with his new ‘mother’ Melanie seemingly disappeared.  Kept a prisoner by his ‘adoptive’ father, it’s impossible to know how or when he’ll escape.  But his relationship with Boy, who provides companionship, keeps JC from being completely alone.

Goodnight, Boy is quite an incredible, poignant story. The strength of the writing is demonstrated by the empathy you feel whilst reading; it’s achingly real. With pacing that gives time for moments of reflection and to draw breath, and with the mix of verse and prose Goodnight, Boy is like nothing you’ve ever read before.  There are moments of humour and the relationship between JC and Boy is utterly endearing.  You can’t help but feel JC’s sharing is actually a kind of emotional healing for him – even if he is stuck in a dog kennel.  As he talks, he works his way through the horrors of his life but also reflects on those moments of hope that have given him courage.  JC’s stream-of-consciousness show the complex nature of love, family life and remind us of the turmoil of natural disasters and the extreme poverty many people live in. His resilience is a lesson to us all. How does one boy survive such terrible times?  If you come from nothing, then there’s everything to hope for. And with a little bit of hope, perhaps anything is possible. A fantastic YA novel.

For more information visit www.nikkisheehan.co.uk/

Supporting creative writing at the Bookchat Roadshow!

 

The Bookchat Roadshow celebrates children’s creativity and inspires parents and carers with ideas to support their child’s reading for pleasure and creative writing.

inkpots.smallWith this mind, I’m pleased to welcome Inkpots Writing Workshops who are participating in the Roadshow and will be on hand to give advice about encouraging creativity through stories. Founded by Gill Pawley, Inkpots Writing Workshops offer children age 7 – 12 the opportunity to express themselves through words and pictures in a secure, supportive environment. Their fun workshops are open to all young writers and artists; they provide after school clubs, workshops and specially-designed sessions for schools. New for 2017 is their online club, Inkpots Inc.  Gill presented on creative writing at the inaugural event last October and will be exhibiting at this event:

“Inkpots is delighted to take part in the second Bookchat Roadshow. It’s a real pleasure to support this initiative to encourage children’s reading and writing”

For more information, you can visit their website www.inkpots.org or email gill@inkpots.org.

Parents and carers in the Sussex area can register for FREE to attend the Bookchat Roadshow, an event bringing together authors, industry experts and people passionate about children’s reading and writing for pleasure.  With inspirational talks and an author panel bookchat, plus a selection of exhibitors, we give parents and carers a huge range of ideas to help them support their children’s creativity. Speakers include author Nikki Sheehan and also the team behind Scoop Magazine. The next event takes place on 20th July 2017 at Harlands Primary School, Haywards Heath, West Sussex.  

For more information please visit www.thebookactivist.com.

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Celebrating nature and creativity at the Bookchat Roadshow!

Spending time in the great outdoors can be a great way to encourage children’s creativity, so I’m delighted that Nature Nuture Sussex are participating in the Bookchat Roadshow next month.  Nature Nurture Sussex provide forest school sessions for pre-school and primary aged children, and their families in Mid Sussex and will be sharing their ideas and work with Roadshow visitors:

Nature_Nurture_Sussex_logo_RGB“We are delighted to be a part of the Bookchat Roadshow! At Forest School children have the freedom to explore, have fun and be inspired by the natural world around them – the ever changing natural classroom definitely feeds their imagination and their creativity. We love to hear the children talk about their time in the woods, and the real (and imaginary!) creatures they find there, making up stories, games and art outside.”

Parents and carers in the Sussex area can register for FREE to attend the Bookchat Roadshow, an event bringing together authors, industry experts and people passionate about children’s reading and writing for pleasure.  With inspirational talks and an author panel bookchat, plus a selection of exhibitors, we give parents and carers a huge range of ideas to help them support their children’s creativity. Speakers include author Nikki Sheehan and also the team behind Scoop Magazine. The next event takes place on 20th July 2017 at Harlands Primary School, Haywards Heath, West Sussex.  

For more information visit www.thebookactivist.com.

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Countdown begins….

Exactly one month from today, the Bookchat Roadshow will be rolling into town!

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The Roadshow brings together a whole host of wonderful people to inspire parents and carers with ideas for supporting their children’s reading for pleasure and creative writing.    Visiting Harlands Primary, in Haywards Heath on 20th July, it’s an event not to be missed!  After the success and positive feedback of the inaugural event last year, it was clear to me that parents and carers welcome this support. We all like to be inspired, especially when it comes to helping our children.

Nikki Sheehan, the Carnegie nominated author, will be sharing her experiences and talking about creative writing.  The team behind Scoop Magazine will be talking all about their love of stories and how they encourage creativity.  I’ll be sharing lots of ideas for encouraging a love of reading. And most exciting of all, Nikki Sheehan will be joined by Jenny McLachlan, Jamie Thomson and A. F.Harrold for an author panel bookchat.  I cannot wait to ask our fabulous panel to share their insight into stories, reading and writing.

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As if this wasn’t enough, there will be a group of brilliant local organisations exhibiting with advice for parents and carers covering a whole range of areas from creativity through nature to dyslexia.  And all parents and carers attending will receive a wonderful goody bag filled with giveaways from children’s publishers.  So what are you waiting for?! Register online now! For more information visit www.thebookactivist.com

 

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Scoop at the Bookchat Roadshow!

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Two of the fantastic team behind Scoop magazine will be sharing their passion for stories with parents and carers at the Bookchat Roadshow!
Clementine Macmillan-Scott and Kate Manning will no doubt inspire the audience and encourage them to “Dig into the Story”:
“Scoop is a new magazine for children aged 8+. Launched in September 2016 and created by a small Hackney-based team, we boast some of the biggest names in children’s literature amongst our contributors – including  Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, Neil Gaiman, Catherine Johnson, Jacqueline Wilson, Raymond Briggs, Celia Rees, Tom Stoppard, Joan Aiken and Diana Wynne Jones. Each issue includes short stories, poetry and graphic fiction that will excite and entertain.
We offer our readers the opportunity to explore everything from history and science to art and the unexplained through a vibrant range of amazing stories – and on top of that there are comic strips, activities, puzzles and jokes in every issue. We offer different types of stories for different types of readers.  And it’s this love of getting different types of stories to different types of readers that means we want to be part of the roadshow.”
They will also be exhibiting at the event giving parents and carers the opportunity to find out more about Scoop.

The Bookchat Roadshow is an event designed especially for parents and carers bringing together authors, industry experts and people passionate about children’s reading and writing for pleasure.  With inspirational talks and an author panel bookchat, plus a selection of exhibitors, we give parents and carers a huge range of ideas to help them support their children. The next event takes place on 20th July 2017 at Harlands Primary School, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Read all about our last event here.

For more information about the Bookchat Roadshow visit www.thebookactivist.com.

Jamie Thomson at the Bookchat Roadshow!

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 Helping parents and carers encourage their children’s reading and creative writing for pleasure.

Completing our fantastic author panel at the Bookchat Roadshow is none other than the Dark Lord’s minion himself, the brilliant Jamie Thomson!  jamie1

Supporter of the Book Activist since it’s launch in 2015, Jamie delighted the audience with his dark humour and tales of boyhood reading at the inaugural Roadshow last year.  I’m so pleased he will be joining us again to inspire – and scare! mmwwahhhhh! – more parents and carers into encouraging their children’s reading and creative writing.

Jamie has a diverse background in writing having created stories in many forms from computer games to gamebooks to comics to novels.  His book The Dark Lord: The Teenage Years won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and his most recent instalment Dark Lord: The Headmaster of Doom was released in February this year.

Jamie’s insight into working as an author and in the creative industries will be hugely helpful to parents and carers looking to encourage their children’s creativity.

The Bookchat Roadshow is an event designed especially for parents and carers bringing together authors, industry experts and people passionate about children’s reading and writing for pleasure.  With inspirational talks and an author panel bookchat, plus a selection of exhibitors, we give parents and carers a huge range of ideas to help them support their children. The next event takes place on 20th July 2017 at Harlands Primary School, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Read all about our last event here.

For more information about the Bookchat Roadshow visit www.thebookactivist.com.

A.F. Harrold at the Bookchat Roadshow!

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 Helping parents and carers encourage their children’s reading and creative writing for pleasure.

The brilliant poet, performer and writer of children’s fiction A.F. Harrold is joining the line-up at the Bookchat Roadshow!

This event is especially for parents and carers to help them encourage theirA magnificent beard - AF Harrold by Naomi Woddis children’s reading and creative writing, and I am so excited A. F. Harrold is going to share his amazing imagination with all those attending.

He has written numerous wonderful books for children including the Fizzlebert Stump (illustrated by Sarah Horne) series – a particular favourite of mine to read aloud in the library! The first Fizzlebert Stump book was chosen as 2017’s Young City Reads book in Brighton and Hove. He has also written thought-provoking books such as The Imaginary (illustrated by Emily Gravett, longlisted for both the Carnegie and Greenaway Awards 2016)) and The Song From Somewhere Else (illustrated by Levi Pinfold). His children’s poetry collection, Things You Find In A Poet’s Beard is illustrated by Chris Riddell.  His new book, Greta Zargo and the Death Robots from Outer Space (illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton) comes out in September.

A.F. Harrold will be participating in the author panel bookchat and sharing his experiences as a writer and thoughts on reading and creativity – and maybe even a line of a poem or two!!  He says:

“I’m very pleased to be taking part in the Roadshow, because I like to read and I liked to read when I was younger too, and sometimes it’s nice to share those things that make you happy. In this day and age the empathy and other-person’s-shoe-ness that reading, both fiction and non-fiction, can help nurture and grow inside a human heart cannot be a bad thing to encourage, so let’s encourage it.”  

The Bookchat Roadshow is an event designed especially for parents and carers bringing together authors, industry experts and people passionate about children’s reading and writing for pleasure.  With inspirational talks and an author panel bookchat, plus a selection of exhibitors, we give parents and carers a huge range of ideas to help them support their children. The next event takes place on 20th July 2017 at Harlands Primary School, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Read all about our last event here.

For more information about the Bookchat Roadshow visit www.thebookactivist.com.