Back to School, College or University? Another day in the University of Life? Let’s explore some books I recommend as the autumn sets in and the school days begin!
Percy the Park Keeper by Nick Butterworth
I’d like to start by recommending a really lovely set of books I grew up with – Percy the Park Keeper. I loved them, and there was a cartoon series on the television at the time as well, which might just help for little ones to pick up the stories. With sweet illustrations and simple, warm stories, this is a cute collection to read to your kids, or to help them learn to read. Plus, adorable animals and a message of how we can keep our green land and wildlife protected.
Horrible Histories by Terry Deary
It seems everyone these days knows the television series, but it is a hugely successful set of books as well, and I read them over and over and over again when I was younger. I’m pretty sure I annihilated the spine of my copies of The Groovy Greeks and the Measly Middle Ages… Just like the series, it’s very silly but also full of historic facts that spans the entire age of Mankind, and even includes some diversions into linguistics and law for the slightly older reader. I learned so much reading them and I still have my full collection just waiting to be read again. Although, maybe I’ll need to replace some of the more well-read ones…
A Shakespeare … Any Shakespeare … In Performance!!
I am not one of those people who thinks everyone should read a Shakespeare. I think everyone should go SEE a Shakespeare! Ok, so not much of a book recommendation, but still. These are plays, designed to be seen, and my earliest introduction that I can remember is actually from two very different directions – A Midsummer Night’s Dream from the RSC in Stratford-Upon-Avon and Kiss Me Kate on VHS (ahh, the good old days!). Every kid will be forced into a Shakespeare at school, so why not introduce them to it as an exciting adventure before that time so they go into it more receptively? Lots of local theatre companies perform the Bard at some point, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money to see one. And having the visual performance makes the words easier to understand – something most people struggle with when it comes to Shakespeare (and some companies modernise the language too!). So, pick one of the comedies for a fun day/night out and then have a look at the play itself.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
Do you feel confident in your commas? Or tentative with your tenses? This is a book that breaks everything down in a clear, funny way that doesn’t feel patronising at all. If you need a hand with getting your grammar right for essays, reports or super important emails, this is a good guide to help you feel more secure in your writing.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
I love this book. From the author of that massive “self-help” memoir Eat, Pray, Love we have a frank and intriguing look at what makes a creative life and how you can live creatively: How to take what you love and integrate it into your daily life without worrying about any stupid consequences. Some people might find this a little too free-love, new age weird on occasions, but when taken in the context of one’s own personal faith (no matter what you believe in) I think it has a very strong message we should all listen to. Gilbert also has a podcast that features interviews and is pretty inspiring.
A small selection of recommendations for you there! What else would you recommend? What books got you through school/college/life? Let me know down below!