Once upon a time on a cold January day in a building in the middle of the Bard’s county, there was a librarian.

Her mission?

To help everyone access books and reading and learn to love stories.

Luckily as well as a whole team  of lovely dedicated library people, there was a supporting cast of plucky characters from within the pages of infinite books to support this mission, as well as the well stocked imaginations of… well, EVERYONE.

Unluckily, like all good pantomimes, there is a villain in this tale and its name is Doubt AKA Self Belief or Confidence.

Yes, good readers, it is true. Some people think that they are not ‘good’ readers or that reading and reading aloud have no benefits and are in fact (close your eyes) a waste of time. As I shed a quiet tear, I’ll ask you all to think about why we judge ourselves so harshly. All of our reading and storytelling skills are learnt and developed – we are not born with these abilities. Reading aloud has been shown to aid memory and helps you remember information more clearly whereas reading for pleasure has innumerable benefits and unlike nearly everything else that is enjoyable – has no harmful side effects (except maybe your book hitting you on the end of your nose if you fall asleep while reading in bed)!!!

I think we would all be uncomfortable reading aloud to ourselves as we have ‘learnt’ that you read aloud TO someone and that you read silently to yourself. Therefore, right now this minute, I urge you to pick up the closest text and read aloud the first few lines.

Okay so I know that you all just pretended to do that so, as an alternative to you all worrying your co-workers, family member or pet tortoise when you suddenly start blurting out your shopping list or news headlines, why not try reading something aloud when you’re safely alone? How about a recipe or the ingredients of your bath bubbles (though this might actually scare you) or perhaps something more interesting – this blog post!

I would argue that there is no such thing as a ‘good’ reader or indeed a ‘bad’ reader – everyone is a reader and everyone reads in their own way. If you think reading is not for you then rather than prescribing penance in the form of making you read Dr Seuss’s ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ fifty times over, I would encourage you to just have a look and see what else the library has to offer – we don’t just have books! (I am not going to list our services here, just give a simple link to our lovely catalogue pages so that you can nose around.)

This story seems to have veered off course and is suffering from a distinct lack of plot twists! Let’s try again:

Once upon a time there was a librarian who found an unassuming red box all closed up tight. She poked the box and it didn’t make a sound. She didn’t think there was a tiger inside. She opened the box and it was full of books, each with a different story to tell. The books were on their way to libraries. Some books will be lonely on the shelf by themselves whilst others will be read to children over and over again. Some will be read by children and some will be read by you and me. Some will wait a long time to be read whilst others will be passed from reader to reader without a chance for rest. The librarian knew that if just one person took courage from her work and picked up a book to read aloud to their child or loaned an audio book to listen to whilst running or found some reading inspiration in the library then she could go home (and read her book) happy and safe in the knowledge that her work was done (for the day). The End.

Well not quite The End as what kind of a post would this be if I didn’t mention some books? Today I am simply going to tell you about the books I found in the aforementioned red box, random I know and very unlike me as usually I can’t wait to share with you my favourite treasures but today I am letting the books out of the box!

Hilary McKay – The Skylark’s War9781509894963

The Skylarks’ War is a beautiful story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the harsh backdrop of World War One, from the award-winning Hilary McKay. It recently won the Costa Children’s Book Award, 2018.




Hilda and the Great Parade9781912497799

Meet Hilda–explorer, adventurer, avid sketchbook-keeper, and friend to every creature in the valley! Well, almost every creature. We rejoin our favorite blue-haired heroine to find her warding off the nightmarish Marra, rescuing weather spirits, and searching for the elusive black hound. And she’s still got to make it to the Sparrow Scout badge ceremony on time! There is no shortage of unexpected twists, turns and new friends in this latest installment of the Hilda fiction series.


9781789290387Take a Moment

Modern life isn’t just stressful, it can be overwhelming. With expert support from Mind, these short, simple techniques will help you take a moment and find calm wherever you are and whenever you need it.

Developed in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity, Take a Moment is here to help you do just that. It’s here when you need a break, just five minutes to yourself, for yourself. Whether you need to decompress, refocus or just relax, each page has a different technique or exercise, providing expert support and inspiration on the go. 

Beautifully designed with hand-made watercolour illustrations and small enough to be carried around, Take a Moment is the self-care companion for anyone who could do with a little help putting their wellbeing first.

Star Friends Poison Potion – Linda Chapman9781788950244

Do you believe in magic? 

Maia and her friends do! And when they meet the Star Animals, a whole world of magical adventure unfolds.

The Star Friends still don’t know who is using the woodland plants to create dark magic potions. Could it be the grumpy new school secretary? Meanwhile, Lottie’s friend Essie is being mean at school, and none of the adults want to go to work! The girls must combine their powers to unmask the potion-maker – and defeat them once and for all.

9781788540100A time-travel murder mystery from a brilliantly original new voice. 

1967: Four female scientists invent a time-travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril…
2017: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future – a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady…
2018: When Odette discovered the body she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, flesh. But when the inquest fails to answer any of her questions, Odette is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?

Proof that it is not fake news! Check out some of the articles below if you are interested in the evidence:

Thanks for reading – I’d love to hear what you have been reading and whether you routinely read aloud!