Hello 2023!

I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling very cautious about the start of 2023; like many of the memes doing the rounds on social media, I would be thrilled with a year that was fine, uneventful, even, dare I say it, boring! I’m very pleased to report that so far 2023 has been ok for me, and I hope it has been for you as well.

A new month also means new books to share with you all, which will never not be a wonderful thing! On this month’s blog we have a lovely picture book about grief and love; an introduction to important money concepts; and a thrilling YA novel.

Walking Grandma Home introduces children to the concept of death in an age-appropriate, honest and straightforward manner. Lee loves his grandma and is honoured to be both her helper and the keeper of her stories. But now she tells him it’s time to go home. At first, he doesn’t understand what she means – isn’t she already at home? – but with the help of his family, he comes to see that while death is sad, he can help his grandmother to let go as well as be part of his family’s healing. Written by a child psychologist, this book is simply told with lovely illustrations. At the back of the book there is information to help adults assisting children to deal with death and grief.

When you think about it, money is a bit weird, especially as we now often don’t use notes or coins; we quite literally use something invisible to purchase goods and services. This also means that introducing the concept of money to children can be tricky, and trying to instil good habits can be even harder. Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers about Money is a great place to start. Covering everything from why coins have pictures to what a sale is, and how to work out if something is really ‘free’, this is a great starting point for young children whose main exposure to money may be the magical card that adults use to get them stuff.

As one of the few scholarship students at the exclusive Heybuckle School, Jess Choudhary is used to being ignored by everyone. But then the wealthy, good-looking Hugh is murdered… in the exact same way as Jess has described in a short story she wrote, and in an anonymous text the perpetrator has thanked her for the inspiration. When it becomes apparent that not only is Jess’ place at Heybuckle School in danger, but her life could be as well, it seems the only thing to do is to find out who the murderer is. This Book Kills has a great time playing with the tropes of a locked room crime, while making some interesting commentary on class, race and family. This is a fun read that will keep readers guessing till the very last twist!

Read of the Month – The Bingo Hall Detectives

Jason Brazel was a journalist on the local newspaper until he was made redundant six months ago. Since then he’s struggled to find his feet, although he been spending a lot more time with his mother-in-law, Amita. The two of them find each other immensely annoying; she thinks he’s lazy, and he thinks she’s too nosy.

When one of Amita’s bingo-night friends, Madeline, is found dead, Amita thinks that something doesn’t seem quite right; why would a woman who wears Chanel be cleaning her own upstairs windows? Soon enough Jason is drawn into Amita’s sleuthing, and they are caught up in discovering more secrets in a small Lake District village than one would think possible! By turns heart-warming and hilarious, Jason and Amita are truly an odd couple, but seeing their understanding of each other grow across the course of the novel is wonderful.

Cosy crime is apparently here to stay, and this is a very pleasant way to while away a few hours while meeting some fantastic characters, all while Amita and Jason figure out if there is even a crime to investigate. For those of you still on holiday, or looking for something undemanding to read as you return to work, The Bingo Hall Detectives comes highly recommended.

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