Earlier this year Pan Macmillan South Africa invited us to their Children’s Book Show of the year… and the theme was ZOMBIE… not an easy one to dress up for (just saying), but oh my goodness they went all out and there are books and books and books that we really really can’t to be reading this year…


To be honest we couldn’t imagine why you would have a book themed party for Zombies, until we heard this genius storyteller tell us all about Jaco Jacobs and his new book for kids Grandpa Zombie, which my child has since inhaled and loved… but that’s in another post.

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Two other local books we have to read. The first one is Small Mercies, by Bridget Krone… it’s a heartwarming story about a South African girl called Mercy, who is growing up in Pietermaritzburg… it looks like a coming of age story and a home life that is more than a little challenging.

The second book is called Cape to Cairo: The Megan Werner Story… a true story…


Meanwhile, my gang settled down to enjoy all the treats and even a Zombie shooting range, nerfs for the win!!! And of course… to talk about books…

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Let’s Talk About the Books


Books from with Jemima James

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Would you just look at that dress, can you even… Miss Frizzle in real life!!! Let’s get straight to the books. Firstly, there is a fourth and gasp “final” in Cressida Cowell’s The Wizards of Once Series called Never and Forever… I want to read it so so badly, and yet don’t… I can’t stand it to be the final… I have grown so fond of Xar and Wish, and their wild adventures year after year.


Otherwise, we are so excited about a new Nevermoor coming out this year, called Hollowpox. Nevermoor is a middle grade adventure series, about a girl called Morrigan Crow, it sparks imagination and Hood 7 adores them. Otherwise all the Oi love… and there is a lot of Oi to love!!! Also look out for middle grade titles: Jack’s Secret Summer by Jack Ryder, a classic middle grade adventure story looks fabulous and so does The Proudest Blue, by Olympic Athlete Ibitihaj Muhammad. And for the teens in your life there is a new Teri Terry coming out, her books are simply unputdownable… the pace is incredible, her stories a little dystopian, and yet somewhat believable… excellent, excellent reading.

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Read Along with Rachel…

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Can we just say… there is a new Emily Gravett coming out, following on from TIDY, and its called Too Much Stuff. Emily Gravett has been doing amazing work throughout the lockdown, if you don’t follow her on instagram already then follow this link… she reads a story book once a week and has a draw along… every week, she is just fabulous (you can read about our visit with her here).


Picture books like: Ninja by Arree Chung… just the best… Otherwise, picture books like Spaghetti Hunters, where a duck and a miniature horse go on a spaghetti hunt, by Morag Hood are going to feature… and how beautiful does Wild City by Ben Hoare look… it is a look at urban spaces around the world, with a conservation and environmental theme…

Stories from Fiona

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Great news: because Anthony Horowitz, the great, was missing Alex Rider so much… there is going to be a new Alex Rider, called Nightshade… and of course it will be packed with all the thrilling espionage and excitement of a typical Alex Rider. I know my kids are going to about die fo excitement when they hear this, not to mention that there is going to be an Alex Rider TV series.


How absolutely stunning are these little board books, about great artists and great eco-warriors… I love them, even after a really quick flip through them. And from board books to hot topics.

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I am Change by Suzy Zail, is not going to be an easy read… but definitely one I am dying to read. This is the story of Lillian, a young girl growing up in a Ugandan Village, she has dreams that don’t fit the cultural norm… this is a story that needs to be told. The author apparently interviewed thirty young village girls to create her character, an enormous number of girl children never get to go to school, but Lilian wants too… this book is quite harrowing and recommended for older teens, it is tragic and I love that this book is giving a voice to these girls. I have to read it.


Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be fair to attend a Pan Macmillan event and not mention our friend Chris Riddell… you know this is an absolute illustration winner, every detail of this book is going to be stunning.
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I have to say that I think this lion, adorable Arlo, from the Lion who couldn’t Sleep by Catherine Rayner, is definitely going to be Picture book of the Year.
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Thank you so much Pan Macmillan South Africa for the invitation… we can’t wait for a year of happy reading.

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Blast from the Past

We would really like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa for this fantastic event, for the invitation and of course the extra special treatment. This post is not sponsored in any way and the opinions expressed are as usual our own.

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