Sunday, 16 December 2012

Q & A with Shropshire author and poet Hilary Jane Jones

Hilary Jane Jones is the author of The Wicked Wood, which was book of the week on the 28th October (which didn't seem that long ago) and I have been able to ask her some questions, here are the answers:

 1. MS: Why do you like nature so much?
 HJJ:I love the natural world because there is so much beauty in it and because it is NATURAL - it manages to be what it is without interference. From landscapes and seascapes to the creatures that inhabit them I find the whole of nature miraculous. It tends to be us humans who have created ugly blots on the landscape! I marvel as much at the shape, colour and texture of a tiny leaf as I do at the sweeping views from hilltops. I love the exquisite scent of flowers, the sound of water trickling down a stream or crashing against rocks, the wind rustling autumn leaves, and soft white snowflakes falling to cover the earth in a blanket of white. I enjoy watching animals in their natural habitat, and an constantly amazed at how they know instinctively what they need to do to survive: many newborn animals are up and walking within minutes of being born. I love to look closely at nature and let my imagination run wild - as you know from my poetry.

2. MS: Whats your favourite book?
 HJJ:“How Green Was My Valley” by Richard Llewellyn - I absolutely love it and have read it many times. I have a very old, battered copy that’s falling apart but I would never part with it.

3. MS:  What tips would you give to people who want to write stories-like me?
 HJJ:Let your imagination flow freely and write from the heart. Don’t try to copy someone else’s style, just be yourself. Write about things you enjoy, and read as much as you can - fact, fiction, poetry - it all helps to broaden your mind and fire your imagination. I studied English (language and literature) at ‘O’ level and ‘A’ level (didn’t go to university) and this helped too. I think spelling and grammar are important - I find myself getting very frustrated if I have to read something that is full of mistakes BUT when you are writing the first draft of your story it doesn’t matter as much - the most important thing then is to let your imagination flow because you can correct any mistakes when you edit it later.
I used to enjoy entering competitions and won quite a few prizes for short stories and poetry: my best achievement was winning the Sunday Express Children’s Christmas Story Competition when I was 14 (a long time ago!).

4. MS: Would you say boys should read more and play computer games less?
 HJJ:Well, I think both reading and computer games can help fire the imagination in different ways BUT with a book you have to use your imagination much more. With a written story it’s up to YOU to decide how a character looks or what a particular place may look like whereas when it’s presented to you on a screen you will only ever have that particular image of it. I find books much more relaxing than computer games (I hardly ever play them by the way - I don’t enjoy them!). It would be a great shame if boys stopped reading books and spent too much time playing computer games - it’s up to writers to keep bringing out good stories so that boys WANT to read them. As with all things, there needs to be a balance.

5. MS: Who would you recommend your book(s) to?
 HJJ:‘The Wicked Wood: Part One of The Journey’ (and subsequent books in this series) is enjoyed by children (probably from about age 8), teenagers, and adults because it tells a fantasy story in rhyming verse and is beautifully illustrated with photographs from the natural world. It teases the reader’s imagination, inviting them to look deeply into the photographs to see what their imagination can conjure up. It also makes people look at the natural world around them in a very different and more meaningful way when they go out walking after reading this book.
‘Shirelands’ is the first book in our ‘Dreamscapes’ series: rather than telling a story it is a collection of stunning landscape photographs accompanied by individual poems. Some poems describe the landscape itself, others describe the emotions that the photograph inspires. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the natural world: it is not really a children’s book though there are poems and photographs in there that older children and teenagers would enjoy.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Book of the week 15/12/12

I'm really sorry that I haven't written my blog for a few weeks but I have been really busy with school stuff. I've been to Young Voices, the pantomime, my school's Christmas party,homework, my school's Christmas fair the list goes on and on and I just haven't had time but I'm going to do lots of posts today. So anyway this weeks book of the week is...

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure The Machine Of Doom
Now I'm sure you've heard of Skylanders since it's become an international game craze but if you haven't it's about these magical creatures that live in a different universe called Skylands. They protect a special machine called the core of light along, with their portal master (their controller) called Eon. An evil portal master named Kaos wants to take over Skylands. In the game the player comes in, they play as the Skylanders and try to defeat Kaos. (I have the game it's really good!) In the book Kaos trys to get hold of an ancient and deadly weapon to destroy Skylands. Can Spyro (the purple dragon) and his friends stop Kaos or will he harness it and destroy Skylands? Find out!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Book of the week 25/11/12

The Golden Acorn
I have just read this book and it is FANTASTIC!!! Its about a young boy named Jack Brenin who after meeting a Druid (they are a bit like wizards and witches), a talking raven and a talking tree, he gets caught up in a extraordinary adventure which includes learning to fly, learning magic and travelling back in time. Catherine Cooper's  terrific tale of nature is highly recommended, its so good I didn't want to put it down! I would give this brilliant book a fantastic 9/10 because it is so good! I'm looking forward to reading the next ones!   

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Book of the week 18/11/12

I know, I know that's not the actual date but I've been engrossed in a really good book(I haven't read all of it yet, so no, it's not my book of the week) my family have been really busy with work, so I just haven't had the time to write it. Anyway the book of the week is...
It's getting round to Christmas, and I always get annuals for Christmas so this is what I've decided to write about. I have lots of annuals but my favourite annual is TopGear (if you've read my first book of the week you'll know I'm a TopGear boy!)
It contains all the fun and funny facts about the presenters and the episodes and I really like them because they've got puzzles, games, quizzes, competitions and that's what makes them so good! There are annuals for all children like: Angry Birds, Charlie and Lola and Transformers to Pokemon, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Peppa Pig. If  you are a child and you are reading this you should put them on your Christmas list, and if you are an adult you should get some for your children from Father Christmas!


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Radio Shropshire

I was asked to go on Radio Shropshire to talk about my blog, so I said yes. I went on it last week on the Vicki and Adam show in the afternoon and it was really good. I had a tour of the building (it was a bit like the Tardis. It looks small on the outside but its huge inside) and I met all the people who work there. The best bit was when I actually went on the radio, it was exiting but I was nervous, really nervous. There were loads of buttons and microphones and Vicki asked me lots of questions about all the books I like to read and Adam asked me about the letter from 10 Downing Street.  After a while my throat got a bit dry so I was glad when they started to ask my mum questions so I could have a drink of water, plus I had a cough and it was quite hard to not cough.

Unfortunately I can't find my interview, so you won't be able to listen to it, but I can tell you this, it was BRILLIANT!!!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Book of the week 11/11/2012

Dark Fire
I have been reading this book for the past week and it is brilliant. The fifth out of six dark fire is jam packed full of drama, action, adventure, sadness and actually quite a lot of gore. I would give it 8/10 because as I said at the beginning it is really exiting. Everything is getting really complicated now that David Rain (the main character) has returned and dragons all over the world are coming out of the ground! David's daughter (Alexa) is the key to everything. Can he solve the confusing mystery behind all this? With dark forces growing stronger every second everything is about to get much more complicated than it already is...
If all of this is your thing, pick up the first book (The Fire Within) and start reading!!!

Update on bullying

The two bullies have stopped now. I have told my teacher and the head mistress and they have spoken to them so hopefully that will be the end of it. They haven't spoken to me recently but I don't care as long as they leave me alone.

Thank you for all the support and comments I really appreciate it. I will post about it if anything starts to happen.

Back to posting about books and reading.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Today has not been a very nice day at school due to two boys who have decided to bully me. Its been going on for a few weeks but today has been a bad day. This is a list of all the things that the bullies have done to me:
  •  I've been called weird because I don't have an xbox or a  game called Halo. They also say I'm not cool because of this and laugh at me
  • At school we did projects on habitats and somebody brought some cactus in, and they started touching them. They stared to say things like "touch the cactus" and when I said no they started to say "your scared", I still refused and then afterwards they couldn't get the spikes out and they stared to sink in.
  • They both have alter egos for example at break we were playing tag and when I was "it". They both came up to me and said "tag me". I know better because they are either going to trip me up then tag me while I'm on the ground or tag the other bully and whisper "go and tag Matthew" And the person who got whispered to would trip me up. This has happened today. I have been tripped up a few times today
  • We have a school council at our school and one of the bullies was saying "don't vote for Matthew" and guess what? I didn't get elected for anything, all thanks to him. 

There are a lot of other things that they have done to me, but if I wrote all of them this post would be a mile long. All I want to do is go to school, enjoy myself and be left alone. I don't do this to others and I don't know why they have started picking on me. They know I won't do anything back, even though I want to.

There is one in particular that I want to go and tell him what I really think of him (which has nothing good in it), but he'll just go and tell the teacher what I said. I feel as if I tell the teacher I will be dobbing them in and it will be worse. It's really frustrating but my parents are sorting it out. I don't feel like going to school when things are like this so I hope its sorted quick.

If you think this bullying is wrong please comment. If you are doing this to someone then please stop. The person you are doing it to will be upset, sad and probably scared. Its really mean and cruel.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Book of the week 4th November 2012

I have read lots of Michael Morpurgo books which are all fantastic but my favourite is

KENSUKE'S KINGDOM is a great book because it's exiting and you never want to put the book down. Michael is a young boy with his mum,dad and dog. One day Michael's family decide to set sail to the sea to explore new and exiting countries. But one night a terrible storm rages and the Peggy Sue (the boat his family were sailing in) capsizes. Michael finds himself washed up on a beach with his dog. He curls up to die with his dog but later he wakes up with a plate full of fish, fruit and fresh water. Micheal is not alone...
Everybody including adults should try this book. If drama, action and adventure is your thing then you should DEFINITELY read it!!!   

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

October news update on the Boy Reader

My blog has only been going for 5 weeks and all of this has happened!!!

  • I was interviewed at school for a book show on County Channel TV which you can watch on the internet here
  • I got to ask Julia Donaldson The Gruffalo author three questions for my blog
  • I have got a reply from the Prime Minister's office
  • Alan Gibbons (an author) has put my a link from my blog to his blog
  • I met Hillary Jane Jones (The Wicked Wood author)
  • I now have followers on my blog and lots comments
  • Steve Wood (a blogger about translation) put a link on his website to my blog
There are other things going on that are yet to happen which I will tell you about in my next update. Thank you to all my supporters.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Book of the week 28th of October 2012

    The Wicked Wood
The Wicked Wood (which is book one of the series called The Journey) is a book which combines the beauty of the countryside in photography with poetic writing.The spookiness and magic in the photos and poems makes this a brilliant book! The photographs relate to the poems which get your imagination going. The author (Hillary Jane Jones) wrote the poems and Tracy Swain (the photographer) took the pictures. This book is for about aged 8 and upwards so you should read this if you are an adult too. Its really wicked!

The next part of The Journey will be out in   May 2013
Find out more: 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Doctor, Doctor Who, you just read it!

Doctor Who
Doctor Who is brilliant because it has action and adventure in it and you never know what will happen next. My favourite one is The Forgotten Army. It is about an archaeologist who finds a mammoth frozen in a block of ice, but little does he know he has discovered  a whole army of aliens. Only Amy and the Doctor can save they earth. Can they save the earth, or will it be taken over by aliens forever? Read it to find out!

I would give The Forgotten Army a big 7/10 because as I said it is brilliant!!!


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Book of the week 21st of October 2012

Tom Gates Genius Ideas (mostly)

I have chosen this book because it arrived from the book club where I had ordered it and I couldn't wait to read it. There are three other Tom Gates books before this one and  it is hilarious as the others, with great pictures too. The Tom Gates series has won FOUR AWARDS, Shrewsbury Bookfeast award, Roald Dahl funny prize award, winner of the Best Book for Younger Readers Red House Children's Book Award 2012 AND winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2012, PHEW! On a scale of 1 to 10 it would give it... 8.5 (if that comes in on the scale). Tom Gates is based on a boy named Tom going about his daily life (a bit like Diary of a Wimpy Kid).It's full of jokes and my mum and dad want to know why I'm laughing my head off at it. If you don't normally read much, I'll bet this will help you to start reading more because its so funny. It also includes a flip book with a bug dancing and at the back it shows you how to make a paper banger. Here is the 1st, 2nd and 3rd:
The next Tom Gates book (Tom Gates is absolutely fantastic at most things) will be out in April 2013. 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Calling all Scouts!

If you're in scouts, cubs or beavers give this book a try:

Survival Squad Out of Bounds
If you go to scouts, cubs or beavers you might like this. It is about a boy named Jay who joins the tiger patrol in scouts and meets Conner ( the patrol leader), Toby ( brilliant at navigation ) , Andy ( good at filming ), his sister Abby ( confident, energetic and sometimes acts before she thinks ) and Priya ( confident, energetic and sometimes acts before she thinks too). They go to the countryside to try and gain their orienteering badges but Jay runs away because he is angry. The rest of the group go after him but they all get lost. Can they survive? Who knows you'll have to read the book to find out.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A message from 10 Downing Street

My mum wrote to the Prime Minister to ask him if I could ask him a few questions about what he read when he was 10, and guess what? He replied! Unfortunately the answer was no but here is the reply we got

Here is the book which I'll try and read soon and do a review. Here some information about it

Our Island Story: A Child's History of England is a book by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall, first published in 1905 in London by T. C. & E. C. Jack. It is about the history of England up to Queen Victoria's death, with some myths and legends mixed in.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Book of the week 14th of October 2012

The Fire Eternal
This book is  the fourth book in The Last Dragon Chronicles series (as seen on my top 5 books) and is filled with jokes, horror, mysteries not to mention cliff hangers.
Back in he third book (Fire Star) David Rain (the main character) mysteriously disappeared into the arctic waters. David has a become bestselling author in Scrubbley where he used to live but  The Fain, which is the alien life form that David defeated in the last book, have returned but what are they planning?  Has David survived the freezing arctic waters? Can he ever return home?
Who knows, you'll have to read the book to read the book to find out. I can't put these books down because they always leave you on a cliff hanger and I just want to know what happens!

If you are looking for horror, comedy, mystery, romance and a bit of animal fiction give these a try.

These are pictures of the whole series

1                                                   2                                      

 3                                                                                       4                                             
5                                                        6                                         


Thursday, 11 October 2012

What do you get when you have the Olympics and books?

Did you enjoy the Olympics this summer? Are you a sporty person but not a good reader? Then why not try...

Olympic books!!!
These are great reads and all link with The Olympics. My favourite one is Parallel Lines because it has mystery, excitement and the end is a cliff hanger which leaves you hoping there is a Parallel Lines 2. I'm not very sporty but reading these books, and watching The Olympics has inspired me to try more sport. I'm trying basketball at the moment.
Wheels of Fire                               Parallel Lines                                 
Running in her Shadow                                                                          Deep Waters

Running For Gold                                                              Cycling for Gold


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Book of week 7th October 2012

I have decided every week to choose my favourite children's book of the week and tell you a bit about it & why I think you will like it.  So this week's book of the week is...

A Reasonably Priced Book Of Stuff.
I have chosen this book because it is funny, it actually provides some interesting facts, but the rest is just silly facts and information about the show.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give this book a rating of  7/10

This is what I liked about it: 
Discover facts about all the different Stigs across the world. Some say when he slows down, brake lights come on in his buttocks.
Vehicles that Jeremy destroyed ( a fair amount!)
Vehicles that have injured Jeremy  (The revenge of the cars. Payback for all the vehicles that Jeremy destroyed!)

What stuff you can turn into fuel (cow poo and beer are two things-yuk!)

You can also find out who the fastest people were in the reasonably priced car ( including Usain Bolt. But is he the fastest sports person in a reasonably priced car?)

Ever wondered who the best F1 drivers are? You can find out in this book
For a reasonable price all of that and more could be yours for £7.99. A book to save up for or you could just get it from the the local library like I did!  

Saturday, 6 October 2012

You don't have to just read stories

It isn't just stories you can read there is also annuals, comics ( which my mum complains about the price) , poem and joke books and more! I like annuals because you get them at Christmas and there is loads of things to do it them to keep you going for a while. I also like poems. You can always have a go a writing a poem. It doesn't have to rhyme.

Here are some poems I like which are funny:

Cool at the Pool

Roll my muscles
Round the swimming pool
Make the girls goggle
Feel real cool.

Flex my pecs
Swagger and pose
Look real tough
Look down my nose.

Walk to the deep end
They all stare
My red shiny trunks
My real trendy hair.

Stand on the diving board
Think I'll jump in
Just one problem
I can't swim.

By David Harmer

Who's who?

Jemima Pugh never knew
a crocodile from an alligator.
So poor Miss Pugh didn't have a clue
which wriggled up the bank and ate her.

By Alison Chisholm

Artificial Hip-Hop

Granny's groovy, Granny's cool,
she runs the discos at my school:
wrinkly reggea, blue-rinse rock,
false-teeth techno. Quite a shock,
she swings her zimmer-frame around:
"DJ Senior Citizen of Sound".
Artificial hip-hop bobbing,
spins like a 12". Never stopping,
turns her hearing-aid to LOUD;
this pensioned-punk makes me feel proud
she runs the disco at my school.
Granny's groovy, Granny's cool.

By Mike Johnson

Look at all of these!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Julia Donaldson Children's Laureate

Julia Donaldson a fantastic children's author, she has written over 165 books (64 of them can be bought in shops, and the other 101 are for schools.) Her most famous book is probably The Gruffalo but she has written a couple of books for older children which I will read and review then at a later date. I loved her books when I was younger because they are funny exciting and my mum and dad enjoyed reading them too. If fact they probably know them off by heart and my five year old brother now loves them. To find out more about Julia Donaldson here is a link to a website about her:

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask her a couple questions. She is currently touring the country and was in Shropshire on Wednesday and was interviewed by Jim Hawkins on BBC Radio Shropshire. Jim told Julia about my blog and asked her if I could interview her. She agreed to answer a couple of questions by email which was brilliant so a big THANK YOU. Here they are:

MS What gives you your inspiration for your books?
JD It is different for every book - but to choose one - sometimes an idea comes from my own children. My middle son loved collecting things and it gave me the idea for my novel The Giants and the Joneses where children are collected by a giant.  
MS What do you like to read? What do you think can be done to make reading cool for boys?
JD As I am the Children's Laureate, I have been reading lots of different children's books. Two books that I have especially enjoyed recently and ones that I think you and your blog readers would like are:Skyhawk by Gill Lewis
Mr Stink by David Walliams
We have combined questions 2 and 3 and I hope Matthew won't mind this. I am pleased that we have been able to add this to his blog in between events!

I will read Julia's recommended books and review them when done.
What is a Children's Laureate?
The role of a children's Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children's books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.
I thought I would add this in case you are wondering what a Children's Laureate is because I didn't know.

This is Julia Donaldson


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Meet the authors!

Have you got a chance to meet an author? If you have take it, I've met several, Alan Gibbons, Ian Whybrow, Lucy Hawking and more!

Alan Gibbons
Alan Gibbons is a very funny character and he has written some very good books. Once he came to my school and told us about his books. He then asked us to write a mini story which we did. He told us he was a really rubbish speller which I thought was funny for an author. With his help our class wrote some really good mini stories. He has written some award winning books, and here is a link to a website about him:
Lucy Hawking
Lucy Hawking is the daughter of Professor Stephen Hawking the great scientist. I went to hear her give speech in late 2011 where she was talking about space and aliens. She talked about the books she has written, George's Secret Key to the Universe, George's Galactic Treasure Hunt and George and the big bang. She signed a book for me and I have read them all which are brilliant if you want easier to understand information about space and the universe. Here is a website about her:
Ian Whybrow
I don't know much about Ian Whybrow because I was only 5 when I went to see him, but I do know that he has written loads of  books such as Harry and the Dinosaurs (I read these to my 5 year old brother), Meerkat Madness, Books for Boys and more! Here is a link to a website about him:   
I was supposed to go and see Mackenzie Crook the actor from Pirates of the Caribbean but he had to cancel because of filming he had to do. It was disappointing as the book Windvale Sprites is really good. I'm hoping he might decided to come to Shrewsbury again sometime. Here is a link if you want to look
All of these books and authors are recommended, but the books didn't quite make it in to my top five (I mean six!). 


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Fantastic books to read

1) Harry Potter. Great for adults and children so parents can read them together(including my Dad). Harry Potter is left on the doorstep by a mysterious man. He learns how to play quidditch at school which is a school of witchcraft and wizardry. He is nearly killed in a heated battle by an evil assassin.  A fantastic series of six books in total packed full of fun ,adventure and jokes.
2) The Brilliant World of Tom Gates. A hilarious book winning the Roald Dahl funny prize award and the 2012 Shrewsbury Book Feast award. A great book if you want a laugh.
3) The last dragon chronicles. A thrilling and mysterious series which are extremely good. Based on a boy named David, who is given a special dragon when he goes to live at Liz and Lucy's house, but is there more to this dragon that meets the eye?

4) Diary of a Wimpy Kid. A diary based series of books written by Gregg a middle school student who tells us about his life at school and at home.

5) Beast Quest. These books started me on my reading journey. The hero is Tom and in each book he goes on a quest to defeat a beast, along with his best friend Ellena and two trusty animal companions Storm the horse and Silver the wolf. Together nothing can stand in there way. Great stories to read if you are not a confident reader.

6) Horrid Henry. These books are easy to read and are really funny. Horrid Henry has absolutely horrid parents, a perfect brother called Peter, a moody neighbour called Margeret and a stuck up cousin named Steve. Henry really a has got a truly horrid life (this is according to Henry!).

I was originally going to do the top 5 but I just couldn't decide 5 so I went with 6.



Introduction to The Boy Reader

Hi I'm Matthew I'm 11 and I LOVE READING.I have decided to write a blog about reading from a boys point of view. My aim is to get boys to cut down on the video games and read a little bit more. To be honest I never used to like reading myself, the Biff and Chip books at school were boring, but the 2009 world book day is were it all began with a short Beast Quest book by Adam Blade which my mum bought for something differnt to read at bedtime. Mum or dad always read me a story at bedtime but I liked the look of this book and decided to try and read it myself. Ever since then I've never wanted to stop reading (and still don't) I've noticed that a lot of other boys prefer video games than reading and that is why I have started this blog to try and help them on the reading journey.