Peachy Books July in Review: The Drowning Kind Jennifer McMahon, Aliens on a Rampage Clete Barrett Smith, This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, showing the covers for each book on two shelves
Blog Roll, book reviews, Monthly Reading Recall

Peachy Books’ July in Review

I’m noticing that six books a month is the best I can manage given my busy schedule, so I suppose I’ll finally accept this and stop making excuses for a slow reading month, as I did with the last two Month in Review posts. Gone are the days when I could spend endless hours reading books while my son toiled away at his computer for virtual school, and I could be flexible with my time. Instead we get to enjoy bike rides, gardening, and trips to the lake, so all is well that ends well.

I’m pleased to report there were a couple of thought-provoking reads this month. I also read my first horror fiction since my Stephen King days back in my youth, and enjoyed it far more than I’d anticipated. I’ll be working on detailed reviews for Klara and the Sun and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, so watch for them in the coming weeks, along with my thoughts on some other fabulous books.

Stephen King was one of my go-to authors in my youth. It was thrilling to spook my teenage self with stories like Christine, Carrie, Cujo, and Pet Sematary. I had an obsession with Anne Rice for a few years while enamoured with The Witching Hour and the Mayfair Witches, when all of a sudden, that was it; creepy tales were banished from my reading list in favour of the classics, contemporary and literary fiction.

Intending to expand my horizons and see what modern horror fiction looked like, I decided to dive into this morbid tale, and I am glad I did. Thankfully I wasn’t traumatised but instead shuddered through an appropriate level of hair-raising and devilish delight as McMahon twisted together the frightful past of the cursed Bradenburg Springs with its modern-day horrors.

The Drowning Kind doesn’t shy away from difficult topics, so be forewarned that this story shines a blinding light on mental health, infertility, and self-harm.

What a hoot! Aliens on Vacation was the hilarious first book in the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast series (review for it here), and this gem was the second. I dare say it was better than the first, which, given how rarely I’ve experienced this phenomenon when reading or watching films, is quite the honour for the second novel in a series to obtain.

David is super excited to be back at his grandma’s B & B for another summer, but when things don’t start off on the right foot between him and the new crabby off-world employee Scratchull, he begins to feel differently. With the help of David’s new ravenous alien-pet Snarffle, there may be hope for the summer, and humanity at large.

This is Where it Ends is the miss of the month for me. I struggled to take in the first 50 pages with its slew of characters, changing viewpoints, and info-dumping. In hindsight, I should have quit while I was ahead, but I restarted and felt confident enough to keep going the second time and saw it through to the end.  

Although the theme of a school shooting is an intense one, I was bored when reading this. I had no attachment to the characters who felt fake and forced, as did their connections to each other. I read that this author is part of an initiative for inclusive YA publishing, and quite frankly, was left feeling that this goal ended up taking over the story to the point where all else was lost. Tokenism is not the road to inclusivity.

I’m still feeling a bit hazy weeks after reading Ishiguro’s latest. I’m not sure that I fully grasped all that he was trying to convey. Artificial intelligence is the way of the future, and I have mixed feelings regarding this technology and how it will interact with the easily swayed masses. I was hopeful that I would come out the other side of this novel with a clearer picture of what AI can and might do for society, but, alas, I am just as befuddled as when I went in.

Klara is an AF (artificial friend) commissioned to keep 14-year-old Josie company as she struggles with her health and tries to maintain her education via a tutor on her oblong (something similar to a tablet, if I’m guessing.) This thought-provoking novel is presented through Klara’s naïve first-person narrative while she attempts to navigate life amongst the humans in this apparent dystopian society. I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to hash out more of a coherent understanding once I start dissecting my notes and working on a full review, so stay tuned.

Read the full review here.

Listen to the full review here.

This tragic tale of unrequited love, denial, and self-loathing is heartbreaking. Paradoxically, I despise David whilst harbouring a sadness in my heart for the man he never truly allows himself to be.

My head is foggy amidst the desolate exploitation that permeates this story and its characters as I recognise the societal fear, opposition, and hatred that pushes it to the fore.

I have so many thoughts still swirling that this review will likely become more detailed with time. For now, I will continue to process this heartbreaking and ugly tale while I wallow in the gloomy yet masterful prose of James Baldwin.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia series as far as the storyline but is the first published and most beloved of the seven fantasy tales. There has been much contention in literary circles over the years regarding which order is most appropriate to read them in, but we just made it simple and went in keeping with the plot. 

This internationally renowned children’s classic is a magical tale of adventure that unfolds in the wintry fantasy land of Narnia, where the children learn lessons about life and themselves. Reading this is a reader’s rite of passage, so I hear, but although I will admit to enjoying this book, some parts set off my creep metre. I’ll save these thoughts for my detailed review. 😉

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series that I have enjoyed reading aloud to my son, thanks to all the animated voices I can use for the talking animals and bold characters. To hear my dramatic reading of Chapter 11 of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Aslan is Nearer, click here.

Have you read any of these titles? What was your favourite read from July?

Coming Soon To Peachy Books!

Graphic showing acrobats performing: Book Review The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell
Blog Roll, book reviews, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Book Review: The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

Book cover for The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell, depicting a huge a canoe filled with four children, in a lake before a large castle, with a backdrop of a starry sky.

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

“But it’s not always sensible to be sensible.”

Katherine Rundell, The good Thieves

Historical fiction is one of my top genres, so I was eager to read this book set in depression-era New York City with my Li’l Peach. Just like mum, the budding bookworm is a lover of history. We had only ever read non-fiction books about the past, so this was an exciting read that introduced him to a beloved genre.

At the commencement of this fast-paced story, Vita and her mother had just traversed the ocean from England to assist her ailing grandfather. Her mother was hopeful that with the clearing up of his financial affairs, he would return to the UK with them in the coming weeks. The loose ends would take a little more work to clear up than anyone had imagined, least of all Vita.

The frail man defeatedly admitted that for a mere two hundred dollars, the equivalent of three thousand today, he had been scammed out of ownership of the historic family castle by a bulldozing, real-estate mogul. Although her grandfather seemed resigned to this fact and his inability to do anything about it, Vita had other plans.

If she could get into the castle and dig out some abandoned treasure, they would use the proceeds from the sale of the gem to get a fancy lawyer and set things straight. This lofty goal would seem all the more difficult to achieve given her apparent limitations: the painful and maldeveloped foot she acquired from her battle with Polio years earlier and her ignorance about the big city that she now must expertly navigate.

Possible impediments aside, our fearless heroine ventures out on her own to do a recognisance mission when she ends up crossing paths with my favourite character of the book. Silk, a homeless young teen, rough around the edges and tough-as-nails, is a hustling pick-pocket, the perfect match for the courageous Vita. As fate would have it, she also befriends Samuel and Arkady – performers in a travelling circus running temporarily at Carnegie Hall, just across the way from where her grandfather lives. Together they form a tattered yet tenacious crew of ‘good thieves,’ and the story jets off from there.

Bravery, ability, and determination are the guiding forces for this talented gang of kids as they seek to defeat the scoundrel Sorratore as he stealthily attempts to snatch up historic properties across New York City. Thanks to their diverse skillset: Samuel the acrobat, Arkady the animal whisperer, Silk the street hustler, and Vita with the expert aim – a skill she picked up when she was a small child, under the tutelage of her now infirm grandfather – a tightly-woven plan was all they would need to succeed.

The all-important red notebook held the path to victory as Vita prepared every step needed for things to come together. Unfortunately for them, they met much friction along the way. Vita is an admirable role model for young readers, as her organisational skills and strong leadership are matched only by her grit to fight through the discomfort and pain of her mission.

There were teachable moments throughout the story, as themes of family, friendship, loyalty, racism, crime, and dishonesty are in abundance. Visually evocative scenes play out as Rundell transports us through the bustle of Manhattan, the landscapes of suburban New York, and the majesty of the decaying castle.

Quote from The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell with a circus back drop and the shadow of two acrobats hanging from the top: "Racism can't be cured by black excellence when it's caused by white ignorance."

Endearing characters, an exciting plot, appropriate pacing, and sheer enjoyment have me rating this middle-grade fiction gem 4.5 peaches and adding Rundell’s other popular offering, Rooftoppers, to my list without delay.

Have you or your little ones read The Good Thieves or Rooftoppers, and if so, what did you think?

Here is the bookmark I was inspired to make whilst reading this fun novel.

Graphic for the Peachy Books Post: 5 Books I'd Take To The Tokyo 2020 Olympics showing a Japanese night market in the background with lanterns and signs with Japanese writing
Blog Roll, Lists

5 Books I’d Take To The Tokyo 2020 Olympics

If I could go. What a strange time we are in when the Olympics are live sans visitors. After already having postponed the games last year, this is where we’ve ended up, all thanks to the blasted Coronavirus pandemic. 

Summer ’21, the world is still floundering, but it seems the powers that be have deemed the sporting ritual must go on. Not much different than the major leagues, I suppose. And while it fulfills its role as an anesthetic to the masses, we’ll cruise through the summer, headlong into the inevitable fall ‘variants-wave.’ 

I wouldn’t have been able to go to the Games even if the pandemic hadn’t bulldozed the world, so it isn’t much of a difference to me if I’m honest. But when I think about the athletes who are risking their health to compete, I wonder how many of them will miss their friends and family being there to support them as they live their dream. Or maybe they feel safer knowing their loved ones are home and less vulnerable? The whole thing is unfortunate. 

Was it wise to go ahead with the Olympics? I don’t know. I do know it’s nice to have something to look forward to entertainment-wise. I am perplexed, however, as to how the Japanese government and The Olympic community would allow such an abysmal national vaccination rate in the country hosting the Games. If I were a citizen of Tokyo, I would be none too pleased over this data. The necessary quarantining of those who catch the dreaded virus could result in no players for the games, and what kind of a competition would that be? Time will tell how the variants might spread or how hard it will be to maintain healthy athletes.

Lost in my thoughts as I often am, I have found myself imagining a world where none of these variables were at play, and I would be able to attend the Tokyo Games. In the spirit of authenticity, I’ve created a reading list to assist me with my fantasy trip; a literary companion to draw from regarding the culture, tastes, sights, and sounds of the Japanese capital city I would scour from top to bottom. These carefully selected books would keep me company and help align me with my surroundings, as I soak them up whilst riding transit or waiting in the stands for an event to start! Hey, it’s 2021, all a gal can do is dream. 

These are the 5 Books I’d Take To The Tokyo 2020 Olympics! 

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata with a yellow cover and a clip on identification for a young Japanese woman

Keiko is an odd duck. Socially awkward, as she is, she could never quite fit in with her family or at school. At 18 years old she gets a job at a convenience store which opens her eyes to what is ‘normal.’

Through spending 18 years as an employee of Smile Mart, we observe this eccentric yet happy heroine, as she is educated in the ways of society and finds her place in a rigid world that presses upon her its idea of what a woman should want.

I had seen Convenience Store Woman bouncing around the blogosphere and was intrigued by the cover and premise, but it wasn’t until digging a little deeper when compiling this list that I decided to add it to my TBR mountain. Sayaka Murata offers us a gender-based perspective on the Japanese experience while tackling conventional wisdom that is common to us all.

Book Cover for Manga comic: Oishinbo A la Carte by Tetsu Kariya Art by Akira Hanasaki showing a comic book style cover with sushi chefs preparing Japanese Cuisine

No Japanese reading compendium worth its salt would be complete without a manga selection, and a trip to Tokyo would be ill-prepared without a lesson in the delicacies of Japanese Cuisine. The graphic novel Oishinbo: A la Carte: Volume 1, part of the highly acclaimed series by Tetsu Kariya, checks off both of these boxes.

Although I have never read any graphic novels, I have always been curious about them, so this plot-driven and informative manga series might be just the ticket for my inquiring mind. Our protagonist, a culinary journalist, Yamaoka Shiro, is assigned to discover the ‘ultimate menu’ in Japanese Cuisine. I’m hungry just thinking about reading this one!

Book Cover for After Dark by Haruki Murakami with a blurred picture of a walkway between two rows of Pachinko machines

One of Japan’s most celebrated contemporary Japanese writers, Haruki Murakami, has at least six books on my TBR list. I enjoy well-executed magical realism and have wanted to read one of his novels for a while now, but I have yet to take the plunge. Norweigan Wood1Q84, and Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World could all have been great additions to the Tokyo 2020 compilation, but I chose After Dark to get a sense of the nightlife in Tokyo. 

Rainy Day Ramen and the Cosmic Pachinko by Gordon Vanstone gets an honourable mention here, as I was considering it as my window into the Japanese underworld but decided, for this list, to choose a book written by a native instead. 

In After Dark we follow two sisters, a fashion model, and a student, as Murakami cleverly binds their lives and the various ‘night people,’ they encounter through space and time, memory, and perspective. This is the book I look forward to the most on this list. 

Book Cover for I live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi showing a Japanese boy and girl admiring a flagpole displaying 4 kites, 3 of which appear to be fish

I Live in Tokyo makes the cut as it’s an educational and cultural book I can share with my little one who, not unlike his mum, is always eager to learn about new (to him) places and customs.

Mari Takabayashi’s beautifully detailed illustrations coupled with seven-year-old Mimiko’s narration as she treats us to over a year’s worth of celebrations, food, and festivals offer the author’s first-hand perspective of this buzzing metropolis through the wide-eyes of a child.

Book Cover for Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri

As worldwide disasters would have it, Japan’s Olympics were not only postponed in 2020 but also, for the first time, in 1940 when they were delayed because of World War II. I came across Miri Yu’s Tokyo Ueno Station when searching for books written about the rescheduled Tokyo 1964 Olympics. Although this story isn’t necessarily about those Games, it bonds both the first and the second within its narrative.

Kazu was born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Emperor. Yu uses the art of magical realism to share with us this commoner’s life, so intertwined with the Imperial family as it is, and his connection to the park near Ueno Station. From labourer for the 1964 Games in Tokyo to someone traumatised by the devastation of the 2011 tsunami, being left homeless, Yu’s story provides us with two sides of the Olympic medal.

Are you excited for last year‘s Summer Games this year? Have you been to Japan; how did you enjoy it? Or maybe you know of another book that you think should be on this list? Let me know, let’s chat!

Blog Roll, Classic Fiction, Kids Books, Middle Grade, Storytime

Peachy Books | Storytime Sunday | Read-a-Loud: James and the Giant Peach, Chapters 1 & 2 – by Roald Dahl

Book Cover for James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl showing a small James in the bottom left corner, staring up at a giant peach taking up the majority of the cover

Please enjoy this week’s Storytime Sunday edition where I’ll be reading Chapters 1 & 2 of James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.

Poor James must live with his beastly aunts after the tragic loss of his parents, who had the misfortune of being eaten up by an escaped rhinoceros from The London Zoo!

Please visit the Peachy Books YouTube Channel to see all of the Peachy Books Read-a-Louds, or click on the video below to hear this one.

If you enjoy this reading and use YouTube, please ‘like’ my video and subscribe! It is really helpful for my channel to grow, and lets me know that I should keep going. Thanks for listening!

Advertisement for the Peach Books post in The Cookery this week that says: This week in The Cookery at, get to know the LI'l Peach in the family, and visit MD Diner for some Peachy Books Sorbet! with a glass dish of peach sorbet with a garnish of mint, sitting atop at white plate beside a metal spoon.
Blog Roll, The Cookery

The Cookery: Peachy Books Sorbet

Today I am posting about a boy, not a book.

Cooking is an activity that I’d shared with my son as soon as he could stir with a wooden spoon. I was hopeful that he would develop a fondness for nurturing through food, as I have, but more importantly, it was a way to keep him busy and out of trouble! 

As luck (or mirroring?) would have it, the Li’l Peach developed a similar coping mechanism for these long and lonely Covid-summer months and decided to learn to cook independently! Such sweet music to my busy ears, especially since we have made a deal that sees him clean the dishes he uses afterward. 😉

With signs donning our walls advertising his ‘MD Diner,’ we have had a delectably delicious time tasting his wares in exchange for the loose change in our wallets.

It is such a joy to watch his confidence soar as he pulls off the recipes he attempts with gusto and finesse. 

For the past few days, he has been treating us to Greek Week. He started with some scrumptious Koulourakia (twisted sugar cookies) because who doesn’t like to start with dessert? 

Picture of Koulourakia Greek sugar cookies on a metal cooling rack

Dinner the next night was the best Makaronia Me Kima (pasta with minced meat) that I’ve ever had. Granted, he used the recipe of a renowned Greek chef, but for him to plate up a dish that tasted better than what my beloved mother-in-law has been serving me for a couple of decades (which I LOVE), well, that truly blew me away. Of course, in his signature loyal-hearted fashion, he is quick to deny that his pasta surpasses his Yia Yia’s!* 

Pot of Makaronia me Kima with a cinnamon visible within the red meat sauce, and a wooden spoon resting atop

The following day was Koulouria (bread circles covered in sesames), which we continued to enjoy the day after that with his Fakes (lentil soup). 

Bowl of fakes (lentil soup) with a Koulouria (bread circle with sesames) resting on the spoon

The last item to be devoured as of the polishing of this post is Peach Sorbet. He found the recipe for the sorbet on the blog of the Greek Chef I mentioned – Akis Petretzikis – so even though it isn’t known as an authentically Greek food, we are naming it as such in keeping with our Greek Week theme. 

A bowl of homemade peach sorbet in a glass ice cream dish with a metal spoon stuck into it

He chose and proudly named this tasty and refreshing treat Peachy Books Sorbet in honour of my blog, haha. With this pleasing accolade bestowed upon Peachy Books, I thought nothing more important than to share it within her pages, and this is how I ended up blogging about a boy instead of a book. 

*Yia Yia is Greek for grandmother 

Do you like to cook with your kids? Have they acquired a taste for it and cook independently? What is your son or daughter’s favourite dish to make, and have they created any of their own recipes? My son is curious to know, as am I, so say hello in the comments.

Bon Appetit or as they say in Greece, Kali Orexi!

Image of a crochet bookmark red DNA strand, sewn on a black and white rectangle, beside the book cover for The One by John Marrs, with a maple tree base of bark as the background. Beside it says: What if you could take a simple DNA test and be matched with your soulmate? Would you give everything you already have up to be matched with 'The One?' Read the review for this fast-paced thriller which follows 5 couples that take the test!
Blog Roll, book reviews, Contemporary Fiction

Book Review: The One by John Marrs

White book cover with red lettering, where the centre of the 'O' is a thumb print that appears to be depressed into a drop of blood: The One by John Marrs
Listen to the review here

Ooh, I ripped right through this wild ride, and no amount of ruckus from my little lad, ringing from the telephone, or beeping from the oven timer *insert photo of burnt rolls here* was able to break my concentration!

The One was a timely read for me, given I had recently read The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson. The latter is a non-fiction book about Jennifer Doudna, one of the pioneering scientists behind the RNA CRISPR technology used for gene editing, and John Marrs’ offering is an inventive fictional story about soulmate matching via DNA chemistry. Not the same in premise, but with both selections, I found myself lost in thought about the ethics of scientists being able to play God, so to speak, and the unintended consequences of tampering with our genetic makeup.

Sure, it might seem like a splendid proposal, being matched with your soulmate, therefore bypassing all the wasted dates with Mr. or Ms. Wrong, and instead, being fast-tracked to blissful happiness…but what of the Mr. or Mrs. Mediocre that you love and were already married to – with 3 kids and a mortgage – before the advent of this Machiavellian scientist’s discovery? What about the people that don’t have matches, and become the lower tier of society: the ‘unmatched,’ and consequently, unloved? Damn, those unintended consequences sure can do a number on the innovations of society.

Ethical debates aside, this is one of the fastest-moving novels I have ever read. I’m sure that the adeptly crafted point-of-view changes between five different clients that were ‘matched’ with their DNA soulmate had a lot to do with this, but it is also an intensely suspenseful thriller that kept me fully immersed. It is like reading five independent books simultaneously, as each person’s story follows its ups, downs, and plot-twisting climaxes, but there is no struggle to keep them straight.

Each tale is unique and inspires reflection, yet my only contention with this style of writing in an average-sized novel is that there is no chance for any substantial character development. Maybe I’m just loyal to an aspect of a story that I cherish, though, and this isn’t required for all books, as clearly the entertainment value was not lacking.

There is a whole lot of crazy in these characters, as well as some exceptionally creative plot lines that challenge conventional wisdom. This had me curious about Marrs’ other books and what unique perspectives they may offer, so halfway through The One I took a trip to his Goodreads Author page, where I promptly added all of his books to my queue, haha. I’m not sure when I think I’m going to read all of the thousands of books on my growing TBR list, but I digress.

The themes offered throughout, however succinct in their delivery, are surrounding love, manipulation, desperation, mental illness, and revenge. Although you won’t find any earth-shattering quotes to pin up on your mirror, the writing is sound and the flow is smooth. I’m going to give this one a 4.5 peaches, with that half a peach remaining for the loss I felt of not being invited to know the characters and their motivations more keenly.

So, the next time you find yourself in the dreaded reading rut, give this one a go, it will blow your mind!

This is the DNA Strand bookmark I was inspired to make after reading The One.

Crochet black and white rectangular bookmark with a red dna strand crocheted on the top, photographed at the base of a maple tree on the bark.

Advertising the Peachy Books Review Read-a-Loud for The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson with a background picture of mountains
Blog Roll, Historical Fiction, Saturday in Stereo

Saturday in Stereo – Book Review Read-a-Loud: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

This week Saturday in Stereo brings us the reading for the Peachy Books review of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, a harrowing tale of courage, loyalty, and resilience.

Please visit the Peachy Books YouTube channel or click on the video below to check it out. If you enjoy the reading, I’d be thrilled if you would ‘like,’ subscribe, and hit the notification bell; it will help my channel to grow, and you’ll be the first to know when the latest read-a-louds are available. Thank you so much for your support!

To find the written review for The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and see the Junia (ornery mule) bookmark I was inspired to make, please click here.

Advertisement for the Peachy Books review of Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith
Blog Roll, book reviews, Middle Grade

Book Review: Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith

Summer at the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast with his estranged grandmother was not what David (aka Scrub) had in mind for his summer. There was the basketball team to practice for and his best friend to do dares with, yet he was shipped off so his parents could focus on their work. But that was nothing new for Scrub, as they did this to him most summers, sending him many places over his childhood years.

When he arrives, Scrub encounters a strange towering fellow in front of his grandma’s B & B, and it is quickly apparent that things will be anything but boring this summer after all. Mr. Harnox might be the unlucky guest of the inn but proves to be a killer on the basketball court, as Scrub is fortunate to find out. 

As fate would have it, Amy, a bubbly lover of all things alien, happens upon Scrub around town, and they become fast friends. She knows of his grandma’s place and is eager to learn more, which could make it difficult for him to keep the secret of what’s going on within its walls. It won’t be any more difficult than staying off the radar of her father: Sheriff Tate. 

David’s grandmother entrusting him with secrets and responsibility offers him a new sense of confidence, and even as he tests the limits of what he has been charged to do, by the novel’s nail-biting conclusion, his ingenuity and ability take centre stage. 

Clete Barrett Smith is a creative and thoughtful writer. This middle-grade story offers quirky, richly drawn characters, and I had a blast narrating their different voices to my howling 7-year-old son. You can listen to an excerpt I posted for Storytime Sunday last month here

There are important lessons to be learned while the themes of family, friendship, responsibility, and acceptance fill the pages. If was fun to watch the whole thing come together at the end, although I wasn’t at all sure how that would be until it was upon us. We were also thrilled to see this was the first in the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast Series, when stumbling upon the first chapter of the second volume, Alien on a Rampage, in the back of the book. We were sure to add it to our library queue post haste! 

Below you’ll find Zarnox, the alien bookmark I was inspired to design after meeting all the extraterrestrial travellers in Aliens on Vacation. This cutie was lucky enough to holiday in our backyard here in sunny Canada, and I can tell you, more fun has never been had this side of the Milky Way! 

Yellow and blue advertisement for Storytime Sunday Read-a-Loud at for The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 11, Aslan is Nearer, by C.S. Lewis, with a background of a field full of small yellow celandine flowers
Blog Roll, Classic Fiction, Kids Books, Storytime

Peachy Books | Storytime Sunday | Read-a-Loud: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 11 – Aslan is Nearer by C.S. Lewis

Book Cover for The Chronicles of Narnia book 2, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, with a blue cover and a lion in the middle

This week on Storytime Sunday I am pleased to read to you Chapter 11 – Aslan is Nearer of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

I had too much fun recording this! Reading stories to my son is one of my most cherished pastimes, and narrating the voices for the characters often leaves us in stitches.

Please visit the Peachy Books YouTube Channel to see all of the Peachy Books Read-a-Louds, or click on the video below to hear this one.

If you enjoy this reading and use YouTube, please ‘like’ my video and subscribe! It is really helpful for my channel to grow, and lets me know that I should keep going. Thanks for listening!

Advert for the Friday Favourites Top 5 Picture Books About Grandmas with a plate of chocolate chip cookies in the background and a crochet tablecloth
Baby Books, Blog Roll, Friday Favourites, Kids Books

Friday Favourites: Top 5 Grandma Books For Kids

Advert for the Friday Favourites Top 5 Picture Books About Grandmas with a plate of chocolate chip cookies in the background and a crochet tablecloth

I miss my grandparents. Even though the themes were dark, it was comforting to remember my grandfather through my ‘child’ eyes when reviewing Say Nothing. So, with a nod to my Gram as well, I’m dedicating this Friday Favourites list to her. I’m certain that I will again write of our closeness and the unique relationship we shared, as she is often on my mind. Until then, please enjoy this list of the Top 5 Picture Books About Grandmas, in honour of mine.

You might have seen me say this before, but it bears repeating: books are my favourite things to give as gifts. These storybooks are the perfect presents for new moms, young children, and even grandmas who will love to read them to their dear grandkids every time they see them. 

From sensitive topics like Alzheimer’s and death to carefree adventures through magical realism or a day at the beach, each book offers its unique perspective on the relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild. 

Book Cover for Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola showing a little boy sitting with his chairbound great grandmother and his standing grandmother

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola

If there was a story on the list that hits me dead centre of my heart, it’s this one. My son had such a special relationship with my grandmother, so seeing little Tommy fastened in his chair alongside Nana upstairs made me melt.

This heartfelt tale is a tear-jerker, so be prepared before you brandish it at bedtime to an unsuspecting little one. It’s never easy to talk to a child about death, but a simple, beautifully illustrated book like this can be just the thing to assist a child’s understanding of something that we as adults struggle to comprehend. I feel similarly about I’ll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.

Book Cover for the book Abuela by Arthur Dorros showing an Abuela and grandchild flying above the colourful city below

Abuela by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Elisa Kleven

Abuela is flying high above New York City with her granddaughter Rosalba in this richly detailed and colourful story.

Magic is suffused with history, culture, and devotion to family as we follow this beloved pair along their journey. Readers are treated to a mix of English and intuitive Spanish, making this a super choice for teaching little ones the family language, and who better to learn with than Abuela?

Book Cover for the board book Go Grandma Go showing grandmas and grandchildren playing with a push car and a kite

Go Grandma Go! by Lynn Plourde, illustrated by Sophie Beer

Go Grandma Go! is the only board book on our list and appeals chiefly to babies. Bright colours, fun activities, and never-ending energy are on the agenda in this adorable little book, as each page shares a different grandma and her grandchild having a blast together.

Book Cover for Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer showing grandma and little boy critter at the beach under a yellow and white striped umbrella; grandma reading a book and little critter playing in the sand with a pail and shovel

Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer

My son and I have been reading Little Critter stories by Mercer Mayer since the beginning – and I mean since he was in the womb, haha. Reading these books now provides him a window to nostalgia at the ripe old age of 7. Short, sweet, and funny like most Little Critter adventures we know and love, this one was sure to make this list.

Book Cover for A Doll For Grandma: A Story About Alzheimer's Disease by Paulette Bochnig Sharkey showing a grandaughter having a picnic with her grandmother infront of a pond and ducks.

A Doll For Grandma: A Story About Alzheimer’s Disease by Paulette Bochnig Sharkey

What a great story! Alzheimer’s is an invasive disease that can rip the minds of the people we love away from us like a greedy thief in the night. Explaining to a child that someone who looks the same as they always had physically, isn’t mentally, can be a tall order, and I wouldn’t know where to start.

Both brilliant and educational, author Paulette Bochnig Sharkey shares with us the ingenuity of a child as Kiera comes up with a creative solution to bonding with her changing grandmother.

Included at the end of the story is a page that explains to parents how best to help their children understand Alzheimer’s, making this book an absolute treasure for those in need.

Do you know any more great tales about grandmas, whether they be picture book or novel? Who are some of your favourite grandmas in fiction? My son and I really enjoyed the hippie grandmother in Aliens on Vacation which we read recently. You can hear her character in the excerpt I read here if you’re interested.