Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2018

Masterworks: Legacy - Samantha Wilcoxson - Interview

  Today is the last of a series on nine interviews I'm sharing on the Crowvus Book Blog. These are from the authors of the short stories included in the  Masterworks  anthology by the  Historical Writers Forum . We're running through chronologically, some are video interviews, others are written. I am delighted to welcome the fantastic Samantha Wilcoxson, who is sharing the artist inspiration for her short story Legacy , as well as the appeal of James A. Hamilton, and the delights of researching. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself, what you write (besides Masterworks!), and what inspired you to begin writing. I was inspired to write by my love of reading. After watching me read, write reviews, and keep journals for twenty years, my husband asked me why I didn’t try writing, so I did! Without really planning on it, I ended up writing historical biographical fiction. I’m drawn to a tragic tale but also to lesser known historical figures with emotive stories to tell

Teaching Tips from 'Harry Potter'

When I was at primary school, I liked Harry Potter. I wasn't really crazy about it like some of my classmates were, but I liked it. My sister and I used to act out what we thought should happen (not all the books had been released at this point) and we got parts of it startlingly correct. I've got lots of happy memories of playing in the bedroom or in the garden. Now I'm a teacher, I am beginning to appreciate the series more and more as I see my pupils encouraged to read the books having enjoyed the films so much. We recently dressed up for World Book Day and (aside from myself - a proud Hufflepuff) there were plenty of Harrys and Hermiones. But aside from being a great story for adults and children, the series can also give teachers some great tips. I recently sent a Harry Potter clip to a teacher friend to cheer her up, declaring that it was classic active learning! (Active learning is one of those buzzwords that educationalists love . And it's a gre

"Night of the Victorian Dead" Book Review

Night of the Victorian Dead by Amber Michelle Cook "Night of the Victorian Dead" Book Cover "Inspired by beloved works of literature from Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, and in tribute to the delightful terror of first encountering classic undead creatures comes Night of the Victorian Dead, in which a rich collection of characters - with the endearing manners, gentility and sensibilities of that era - meet the unthinkable horror of an outbreak of the supernatural in the form of Re-risen Dead." 3 Stars When I got the review request for this novel, the first thing I thought was "Oh no. I hate zombies!" It's not that I have anything against zombies (I'm sure some of them are very decent) but ever since my sister used to chase me around the room in a Hallowe'en mask pretending to be a zombie, I have been really scared of them. I'm pleased I agreed to review this book, however. It is a really interesting

"The Storyteller" Book Review

"The Storyteller" Book Cover The Storyteller by Chris Trotter " It's just another summer holiday at the caravan park, and thirteen-year-old Jamie is feeling unloved, unwanted and thoroughly confused. With a recovering alcoholic mother, unresponsive sister Lauren, and aggressive father, he has little to celebrate. But at the park's funfair, a hidden secret comes to light which will change his and Lauren's lives forever. Reeling from this disclosure, Jamie stumbles into a never-explored area of the park. Here he meets a gypsy whose gift in storytelling might give him the insight to support his  sister when she most needs it and help the teenager make sense of his life. Or is that lives? In this innovative first novel by Chris Trotter, The Storyteller explores the poignancy of friendship and love, and how in the cycle of life, there may be more than one chance to make things right. Using a unique blend of traditional fiction and fantasy, Chri

Crowvus Classics Book Review "Wuthering Heights"

Welcome to the first of the Crowvus Classics Book Reviews! "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte isn't just one of my favourite classic books, it is my favourite book of all time. So it is no wonder that I have chosen to start this new series of book reviews with this amazing novel. "Wuthering Heights" Book Cover Although it is a fabulous book, I have never seen a screen version that I liked. To me, they are all dry and lifeless in comparison. So if you've watched a version of this and thought that you wouldn't like the book, try reading it all the same. Emily Bronte transports us to the wild, dismal yet beautiful world of the Yorkshire moors where she develops characters so 3D that it's like they are reading the book with us. I am left wondering as I reach the last page, whether this story came entirely from imagination or if, in the depths of history long forgotten, there really were Heathcliff and Cathy-like characters in Emily&

"Children of Green Knowe" Lesson Plan

Happy Weekend, Teachers! Have a lesson plan for a suggested class novel to celebrate. If you'd like to read a bit about the novel, click here . "Children of Green Knowe" by Lucy Boston The Curriculum Experience and Outcome for this lesson is: I am developing an interest, confidence and enjoyment in using drawing and colour techniques, manually or electronically, to represent ideas in different learning situations. TCH 1-15a Having evaluated my work, I can adapt and improve, where appropriate, through trial and error or by using feedback. TCH 1-14b / TCH 2-14b This novel is all centred around the castle-like house Green Knowe. It is a very old house which has been added to at various times in history. Because the house and the garden are the setting for the entire story, there is a lot of description of the rooms, and the outside of the house itself. Test your class' design skills with this lesson. Learning Intention To understand how to u

"First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts" Lesson Plan

Here is the first lesson plan I'm posting on this blog! Hopefully, it will be the first of many. "First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts" by Lari Don The Curriculum Experience and Outcome for this lesson is: Inspired by a range of stimuli, and working on my own and/or with others, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through musical activities. EXA 0-18a / EXA 1-18a / EXA 2-18a For each topic, I try and do a composition lesson. The class have to create a piece of music in their group that is inspired by their topic. Why not do this with a book too? Learning Intention: To understand how to work in a group and create music for a book. Success Criteria: I can use my body to make 4 different sounds. I can talk about my feelings towards the book. I can listen to others in my group. I can create a 1 minute piece of music about the book. Introduction Talk about different ways you can make sound with your body (clappin

Happy World Book Day - Class Novel 2

As promised, here is my 2nd class novel suggestion for a primary school classroom. It has been tried and tested in my own classroom and the children loved it. "Children of Green Knowe" by Lucy Boston is a really great story to read in the lead-up to Christmas. Here is the blurb from Goodreads: ""Tolly" Toseland 7 is rowed up to great-gran Linnet Oldknow by servant Boggis - there has always been a Boggis at Green Knowe. The real "castle" is over 900 years old. Gran tells old family stories, and songs. Over the generations there have been many who can see, hear, and feel the ghosts, evoked by white-on-black illustrations. Toby 14, Alexander, and Linnet 6 linger after the Plague, as does the cursed topiary Green Noah." While it is my policy to use the blurbs from Goodreads on my blog, quite frankly, I don't think this blurb does the book justice. It seems to have been written by someone who is trying to bring the book up to date