No Ballet Shoes In Syria – Catherine Bruton

No Ballet shoes in Syria is a beautifully written book which illustrates the impact of war on a young child. The book follows Aya (an 11 year old girl) as she flees her home in Syria, makes her way through Europe and eventually arrives in the UK. Whilst applying for asylum, Aya has nowhere to practise ballet until she finds Madam Belova’s ballet class.

Flashbacks of her previous life and journey to the UK show how Aya’s life has turned upside-down since the war broke out and the struggles she has faced. Some of the flashbacks are heartbreaking but are dealt with in an appropriate way for upper school-aged children and could be discussed at length in class.

Another point for classroom discussion is the way Aya is treated by adults and other children. In my opinion, this is a perfect way to introduce discussions about respectful treatment of all individuals despite differences. No Ballet Shoes in Syria is a heartwarming book that I am really looking forward to using in future classes!

No Ballet Shoes in Syria will be published in April 2019. Thank you to Nosy Crow Publishing and Clare Hall-Craggs for my proof copy.


Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy

Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy is a fast-paced and addictive book aimed at upper primary school-aged children.

Arthur and Maudie – the two main characters – are brave, resourceful and in my opinion they are brilliant role models for children. Set in a magical world of sky-ships and thought-wolves, Brightstorm has lots of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. I loved how Vashti Hardy portrayed Arthur’s disability in a positive way and sensitively dealt with sad moments in the story which may otherwise upset some children. 

I would highly recommend it and look forward to any future sequels!

The Longest Night of Charlie Noon by Christopher Edge

After reading Christopher Edge’s The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day, I was eager to get my hands on a copy of this book. The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day gripped me from the very beginning and continued to puzzle me with each passing chapter – Charlie Noon is no different! Whilst trying to solve the mysteries within the woods, three kids are faced with a challenge they did not expect. They must wrestle to escape the clutches of the woods and time itself before it’s too late!

Christopher Edge has a fantastic ability to explain complex scientific concepts and weave them into a compelling storyline. This book is packed with codes to crack, clues to find and shocking twists that made me audibly gasp. Each time I thought I knew what was going to happen next, the story flipped on its head which just made me want to read more. I absolutely could not put it down and read it in one sitting. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Christopher Edge’s previous books or likes a good puzzle!

The Longest Night of Charlie Noon will be published on 6th June 2019.

Thank you to Nosy Crow Publishing for sending me the proof copy.