Book Monitor - books from across the world

Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Month: August 2011

When I Grow Up by Benjamin Zephaniah

bzWe met at Keat’s House with Benjamin Zephaniah and Prodeepta Das for the launch of their new book, ‘When I Grow Up’.

It’s a book about breaking down stereotypes and about opening up the world of opportunity.

Benjamin Zephaniah  talked about his childhood and the stereotypes which meant he could either have been a gangster or a painter and decorator. But he wanted to be a poet. It was not expected that black people should go to university. After some time in different jobs he decided to follow his dream and has indeed become a famous and brilliant poet.

bz groupThe book shows all kinds of different jobs, from the Sikh lollipop man to the black woman space scientist,the mathematical clown and the forest keeper. The photos are great and the poems fantastic. A real joy to read and a book to keep looking at.

On the journey back from the launch on the tube, other passengers were leaning over to read the poems.

Published by Frances Lincoln  it is part of their programme of books valuing diversity and difference. See more books by Benjamin Zephaniah here.

Dolphin Booksellers – the best in children’s books always on line

Norway- a land of fjords and islands but ….

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Grendel the monster stalks the land

After struggling to make any sense of the awful and indescribable events in Oslo and Utoya I happened to listen to a radio programme with Michael Morpurgo.

Legends and folktales, he said, “ are warning tales, to alarm and terrify us, and to remind us of our own frailty.
The tales of Beowulf and Grendel in Norwegian folklore are bold and scary, Grendel preys on people, bringing death and destruction. Beowulf confronts Grendel and kills him but this is not the end of it. Evil is not so easily vanquished.

‘Whatever the evil one is called, – witch,devil, troll or dragon, we have to be watchful and wary.”

The last in the Harry Potter series, The Deathly Hallows part 2 shows the horrors that confronting evil can bring.

Books for children have a way of dealing with this through story, adventure, spine chilling experiences. Not all children’s books are there for the happy ending, it is the way that children can understand the emotions that are most difficult. We put those emotions in the cupboard at our own expense.

As Michael Morpurgo says, “ The monsters are out there, and they are not like Shrek, they are like Grendel.”

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Sue Martin
Dolphin Booksellers the best in children’s books always on line

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