A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond (With illustrations by Peggy Fortnum)

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5stars

“Please look after this bear.”

Title: A Bear Called Paddington
Author: Michael Bond (With illustrations by Peggy Fortnum)
Good things about this book: Paddington!
Bad things about this book: Nothing comes to mind.
Do I recommend it? Yes, for young people and older ones, it’s for everyone to enjoy.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Give me a bear and you’ll make me happy! Teddy bears are my absolute favorites and bears in general make my heart go crazy. I just love bears so it was pretty obvious I’d love Paddington!

Paddington is from darkest Peru. He went all the way to London with his favorite hat and suitcase. He is polite and adorable, really curious and smart. Everyone meeting him for the first time is in love with him. It’s impossible not to love Paddington. Impossible!

“Things are always happening to me. I’m that sort of bear.”

I saw the movie and his adventures were a tiny bit over the top so I was afraid he was going to be super goofy in the book, making one disaster after the other. That was not the case. He is involved in many misunderstandings and peculiar adventures but they are not the disasters I was hoping not to read about. Paddington is adorable!

“It’s nice having a bear about the house.”

I am so glad he met by chance the Browns at Paddington station. They are really the nicest family he could’ve met.

I can’t wait to read more about his exploits and get to know him better. I think he is lovely and I will treasure him from today on.

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[ARC] All Birds Have Anxiety by Kathy Hoopmann

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3stars

Even thinking about being anxious can make you anxious.

Title: All Birds Have Anxiety
Author: Kathy Hoopmann
Good things about this book: It’s for children and it’s about mental health.
Bad things about this book: Would’ve loved some funny comparison between birds and humans.
Do I recommend it? Yes, everyone should read this even if you don’t have or know children.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

[ARC received via Netgalley]

This is a children’s book, a book that will help children realize that what they are experiencing is not abnormal; after all the birds have anxiety so why wouldn’t I?
It’s a very short book of easy comprehension and colourful pictures. It helps you identify if you indeed suffer from anxiety or you just experience anxiety caused by stressful situations.

But no one realises how hard it is to leave the safety of home if you are aware of every possible thing that can go wrong.

I did know I had anxiety so relating to so many parts of the book wasn’t a surprise. A lot of quotes from this little book were how I feel every single day. Unfortunately people don’t understand it’s not just you being asocial because you don’t want to hang out but so much more. I have cancelled so many plans because I felt save at home and, after playing in my head how things could go, the interactions with other people, I felt so overwhelmed I decided to stay at home with my safest sounds and space to breathe and be myself.

Even if we want company, the thought of being in a crowd fills us with fear. We have no idea what to say, where to go or how to behave.

Do you know how hard it is to plan things with me because of that? I have told my friend that if she tells me a week in advance to go eat out, my brain will search for an excuse not to go every day until I cancel the date in the end. So now I tell her to tell me to go out the day before so that I don’t have enough time to look for an excuse to sabotage the date. It is hard and I have to be sincere with her. I used to tell so many lies to avoid going places, now I am honest and tell her I just don’t feel like going and she understands. I’m glad she knows I’m not a bad friend and that I’m trying to go outside my comfort zone but sometimes it’s just too much and I need to recharge. I’m glad there are people who understand.

For a while, it helps to be by ourselves. Then we start to fear that we will be alone forever.

This book is important for a lot of reasons. Children don’t need to feel they are not normal. Children need to reach out and ask for help but they can’t do that if they think they are wrong for the world and they don’t belong. They will isolate themselves. We are not alone. What we feel, it is felt by many others and seeing people going on with their lives with problems like ours gives us strength and hope that everything will be ok even if our lives aren’t like the ones of our friends and family.

I enjoyed reading it and the cover is just perfect. Owls are the best!

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Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

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“She’d decided long ago that life was a long journey. She would be strong and she would be weak, and both would be okay.”

Title: Furthermore
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Why you should read this book: Because it is magical and who doesn’t like magic?

Read the summary from Goodreads here

This was a story unlike any other about a girl named Alice and her journey to accept the oddness of her appearance and her abilities and to find her beloved missing father. She has a companion, Oliver, a boy she hates, in this journey and the land in which this journey is set to happen is called Furthermore. Furthermore, a land Alice believed all her life was imaginary yet it is very real and full of magic and wonder and danger.

Alice is 12 years old. A girl just growing up to know how unfair life can be. She was born with no colors (skin and hair white as snow) and everyone in Ferenwood, the place she lives in, is born full of vibrant colors and everything all around her is magically colorful. Magic is color and color is magic. She is an outcast in her own home and she doesn’t understand why she is so different. Why indeed? I want to know why she is the way she is, I’m just curious but after reading the whole book maybe I have a theory.

Furthermore is no common magic land. It has tricks, strange people, overclothed citizens living in weird homes, pant-suited ladies who cry, paper-made animals, solitary doors standing in the middle of nowhere, and so many other peculiarities I found fascinating. This is a book for younger readers but older readers such as yours truly enjoyed it very much indeed.

I am known for never having abandoned the joys that being young bring to the soul. I am still amazed but the silliest things. I am forever in awe with what’s new. The world keeps surprising me just like it does to a child who discovers new things everyday. Never stop being amazed by the wonders of the world, even if you are old enough to know the awful things that keep happening.

The changing in scenarios reminded me of “Monsters, Inc.”, when they go door after door and find themselves in different places. Well, let me tell you, the places Alice and Oliver found weren’t nice like Paris or those paradisiac beaches, but they were interesting all the same. You have to find out for yourself.

Lose yourself in Furthermore but be careful, it is full of tricks and it seems it doesn’t like very much tourists touristing!

“Red was ruby, green was fluorescent, yellow was simply incandescent. Color was life. Color was everything.
Color, you see, was the universal sign of magic.”

Do I recommend it? Yes, it has magical worlds and that’s all you need to know to read it.
Rate: 4/5

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Jim Kay (Illustrator), Siobhan Dowd (Conception)

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“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

A Monster Calls

 

Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Illustrator: Jim Kay
Conception: Siobhan Dowd
Why you should read this book: Because it is a really good story about grief and loss and it touches your heart from the very first page.

Summary from Goodreads:

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”

Maybe I don’t know the real feeling of being slowly stabbed in the heart but I have a feeling that this book comes really close to that.
From the beginning I felt a knife slowly descending into my chest, slowly slowly, until that final sentence when it was all inside my heart. With that, I lost it.

How can a book so short reduce one person to this state is not easy to comprehend but then it is clear. This book is a truth that we don’t want to face. Just like Conor, 13 years old, tormented by a terrible nightmare and visited by a giant yew tree quite often, always 7 minutes after midnight.

We know Conor’s mum is sick, cancer; she is trying yet another treatment but it’s not going too well. Conor knows it but he doesn’t want to see it. Who will want to see that his own mother is not going to make it? Come on!

And if no one sees you, the monster said, picking up its pace, too, are you really there at all?

This monster, shaped like the yew tree he can see from his bedroom’s window, visits him claiming Conor called him. The monster will tell him 3 stories and the 4th will have to be told by Conor, it will be his truth, the one he doesn’t want to tell anyone, the nightmare he doesn’t want to acknowledge.

The stories the monster tells are complex and tricky. You get the meaning after a bit only to get it twisted completely in the end. There’s not only one way to see a story, there’s not only good or bad, black or white. Life is more complicated than that. Life is really hard.
I’m still a little bit shaken by all of it. I understand, that’s the problem, it’s not that I get what is going on in Conor’s mind but I feel his pain and it transferred to me so easily I didn’t even noticed.

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”

This book is too sad, too important, too touching, too real. The truth in this book is a truth we all, more or less, share. It’s part of being a person and we have to learn to accept it to be able to move forward.

I don’t know what else to say. Read it and share it. It’s important.

Do I recommend it? Of course, with tears in my eyes, yes.
Rate: 5/5

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Matilda by Roald Dahl

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“All the reading she had done had given her a view of life that they had never seen.”

Title: Matilda
Author: Roald Dahl
Why you should read this book: Because you will understand how reading and being optimistic can help turning your life around.

Matilda is a little girl living with her parents and older brother. Her parents treats her badly, her father insults her everyday telling her she is useless and stupid. She doesn’t react because she knows she is not. She learns to read by herself with the help of the newspaper, by the age of 4 she has read all the children’s books in the library and started reading the grown ups books as well. She knows math and it’s very clever, she is curious. By the time she goes to school she faces difficulties but maybe she finally found the right grown up who understands how smart she is and can help her be the best girl she can be.

“I’m afraid men are not always quite as clever as they think they are. You will learn that when you get a bit older, my girl.”

I can’t give this more than 3 stars because when there is so much bullying in one book I get so angry and can’t enjoy it fully. I just don’t understand and can’t believe how some people can be this mean for no reason!

Matilda is a brilliant little girl with awful parents. What makes me angrier is knowing that in the world there are such parents and not every child can be like Matilda, able to defend themselves. It makes me so mad! I can’t stand bullies. Matilda has to fight for herself growing up until she can go to school and learn as much as she wants. Guess what? Another bully in school, no other than the Headmistress. Can you believe a grown up woman, who hates children, is in charge of a school? She hates kids! The horrible things she does to those poor souls made me speechless. It took me so long to read it for that reason.

“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable.”

Luckily Matilda found very kind people on her way. The librarian who helps her choosing books to read when she was little and who tells her she can take them home, and Miss Honey, her teacher at school who understood from the very first day that Matilda was a very special girl. Miss Honey is a thin young woman who loves teaching. We learn that she is very poor and that her childhood wasn’t a happy one. Another bullied girl who couldn’t defend herself. I don’t care if I’m repeating myself but this makes me so mad!

I loved Matilda’s character, she is tough, clever, she knows what’s right and wrong. She knows she doesn’t deserve the things that are happening to her and is brave enough to do something about it. We all must learn from Matilda that if we see unfairness in the world we mustn’t look and do nothing, we must fight for what’s right, for our happiness and for the happiness of the people who deserve it!

Do I recommend it? Yes, you may get a little angry but it’s a nice read.
Rate: 3/5

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Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

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“You have your milk,” he said. “Where there is milk, there is hope.”

Fortunately, the Milk...

Title: Fortunately, the Milk
Author: Neil Gaiman
Why you should read this book: If you are a book lover then this is for you

Summary taken directly from Goodreads because it explains the book so perfectly and I didn’t want to ruin it:

You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back.

“If the same object from two different times touches itself, one of two things will happen. Either the Universe will cease to exist. Or three remarkable dwarfs will dance through the streets with flowerpots on their heads.”

I really like this book. The illustrations were on point, perfect!! The Edward Cullen look alike wumpire?? Hilarious! Misunderstood wumpires were really needed in this story. The plot twist about the stegosaurus? Who saw that coming? I didn’t!

Neil Gaiman can take you to so many worlds, imagine many realities even in only a few pages.
It’s amazing how many things can happen when you go out to buy the milk! The next time I go out to buy something and are a little late I will tell a crazy story, too. Maybe if aliens really do abduct me, it’ll be so much easier!

“But it’s not later yet,” said Professor Steg. “It’s still now. It won’t be later until later.”

Time traveling is so confusing!!

Do I recommend it? Yes, you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy this story.
Rate: 4/5
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George by Alex Gino

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“My point is, it takes a special person to cry over a book. It shows compassion as well as imagination.”

Title: George
Author: Alex Gino
Why you should read this book: It teaches you how the distinctions of genders are affecting young children with the acceptance of who they really are.

George sees herself in the mirror and sees a boy, but she is not a boy, she is a girl. She is only 10 and is surrounded by gender standards, like when her class is supposed to play “Charlotte’s Web” and she is denied the role of Charlotte because she is not technically a girl. With the help of her friend, Kelly, George is determined to play Charlotte and let her family and the entire world see her the way she has always felt, a girl!

“George stopped. It was such a short, little question, but she couldn’t make her mouth form the sounds.
Mom, what if I’m a girl?

Such a cute little book with an incredibly important message. Easy to read, easy to understand, it reaches the hearts of grown ups and little ones. It shows you how society makes kids feel uncomfortable because it makes them fit in certain boxes: boys line to enter school, boys roles to get in plays, boy characters to choose while playing videogames, etc.

George is only 10 years old and she feels out of place. Her body is male but she is a girl. How to make everyone understand and accept it? She wants to play Charlotte in the school’s play, she wants to wear girl clothes, she wants people to start seeing her as she really is.

This book doesn’t have major plot twists, parts in which you really hate someone, but it has a lot of parts where you clearly see how George is afraid of telling her family, friends and teacher the truth because tolerance and being open minded is not teached from a very young age, bullies and ignorants are everywhere. Reality is not teached to little kids, a reality with so many kinds of people in it. They grow up unaware of how different people are: they think there is only boy and girl, blue for boys pink for girls, pants for boys skirt for girls, etc.

I was really sad seeing George suffering and I was mad at the world for being such an inhospitable place for a pure little soul like hers.

Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s written really well and George is an adorable little girl.
Rate: 4/5
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