• Emily

From the bookshelf

I’ve recently moved to Dundee and now I live just a couple of streets away from a beach. I’ve lived in Glasgow ever since I moved up to Scotland as a teenager, but I have always dreamed of living by the sea – and I’m loving it! As well as beach-combing and swimming and exploring, I’ve also been reading a lot more. Firstly, because this has meant I’ve been doing a four-hour round trip to my work once or twice a week, which gives me a chance to read lots on the train, and secondly, because I still can’t believe how lucky I am to be this close to the sea, so I’m determined to spend as much of my time as I can on the beach and I always think stories are better when they’re read outside. You can find me by the sea at all times of day and in any weather curled up on the sand with a book! Here are some that I’ve really enjoyed recently…


Danny Chung does not do Maths book held up against a sandy beach

When Danny’s old Nai Nai (Granny) arrives from China to stay in his top bunk, Danny’s life is turned upside down. This is Not the surprise he wanted! But is there more to Nai Nai than meets the eye…? I really loved “Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths” by Maisie Chan. It’s funny and warm and I raced through it with a huge smile. This is a story with a massive heart, filled with flying lychees, bingo balls and brilliant, hilarious characters. I really recommend it to everyone 9+!


I’ve recently started listening to audio books, and hearing The Shark Caller by Zillah Bethel read aloud by Kathryn Drysdale was such an immersive experience. The Shark Caller is a story set on the shores of Papua New Guinea about a young girl called Blue Wing, who is intent on becoming a Shark Caller and avenging her parents’ death. Blue Wing is drawn into a reluctant friendship with a newcomer, Maple, but soon they realise they have more in common than they thought and a lot to learn from each other. But the more they learn, the more secrets they uncover, and the mystery around why Maple’s dad brought them to the island deepens… This is a really intricate story with threads that flow between each other like water. It is an emotional tale of forgiveness, guilt and letting go and I really liked the difficult questions that Blue Wing and Maple asked of themselves and each other. I’ll be recommending this wise, beautiful book to lots of young readers!


A series of books by Tamora Pierce: The Magic in the Weaving; The Power in the Storm; The Fire in the Forging; The Healing in the Vine

And finally, I’ve been returning to a quartet that I loved when I was younger: The Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce. This is a series of books about two things I love: crafts and magic. The quartet centres around four characters who are each fantastically flawed and fantastically brilliant and extremely loyal to each other. Sandry, Tris, Briar and Daja couldn’t be more different but they all have something in common – they each possess a strange and wonderful power. Sandry’s power is tied up with threads, Tris’s is in weather, Briar’s is in plants and Daja’s is in metal, so these are stories about magic and power, but also about weaving, and gardening and metalwork and I fall under their spell every single time I pick them up. I think they are as relevant as ever and as imaginative as ever and I will continue re-reading and re-reading them for a long time to come!


I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading recently and if you have any recommendations for me!