Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: February’s Book of the Month in-depth – review and a writing activity adaptable for KS3-5

Age range: YA (12+) Themes: identity, diversity/ethnicity/race, protest & politics Genre: fantasy + western  Narrative style: first-person past tense with plenty of pace and an engaging voice with plenty of ‘sass’ and wit. It’s really easy to root for Amani as she tries desperately to escape her situation by dressing as a boy and entering a shooting […]

Recommendations: Writing/Poetry as a hobby in YA

To go with the creativity buzzzing through this week’s reading recs on the slide, here are three great titles that feature characters who enjoy writing as a pastime in YA novels: Haunt Me, Liz Kessler In this beautifully-written dual-narrative romance, writing is a key thing joining the two together. Joe wakes up to find his […]

Writer’s Wednesday: A ‘Filling the Well’ Trip – The British Library’s Harry Potter Exhibition

A few weeks ago, I went with my younger daughter to the marvellous British Library’s Harry Potter exhibition, and it was such an inspiration! I’ve always been a fan of our folkloric and mystical heritage, and that is what this exhibition celebrates – the ideas, stories and rich mythical background on which Rowling draws in […]

Stationery Addict: Organiser Tips

OK, I’ve titled this post organiser tips, but really I’m just showing you my favourite ever bit of stationery/planning tool: my gorgeous personalised planner from Cordwain HIggler. This was a birthday present and I’ve had it for three and a half years now and it’s showing no signs of wear, although it’s popped into my […]

Blog Tour: Flexing Your Creative Muscle with Maz Evans

Today, I’ve got Maz Evans here as part of her Who Let the Gods Out blog tour (see below for more on the fab Greek-mythology-based romp for 9+) As our heartfelt New Year promises to nurture physical muscles languish at the bottom of a selection box, I propose that now is a good time to turn […]

Guest Post from Emma Carroll, author of Strange Star: Why Gothic Fiction Is Still Relevant Today

Today I’m very pleased to welcome Emma Carroll to the Hearthfire. She’s here for the last stop on her blog tour for the fabulously gothic middle grade novel Strange Star, inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and highly recommended. It could be the blurb for a YA novel: a group of friends on holiday, a thunderstorm, a […]

URTS blog tour: Where I Write by Louise Gornall, author of Under Rose-Tainted Skies

I am so excited to have the fabulous Louise Gornall, author of the equally fabulous Under Rose-Tainted Skies here today (and it’s the first day of my summer holiday today – how symbolically freedom-celebrating is that?). If you haven’t heard of this book, (where have you been?) there is some info at the end of […]

UKYA Extravaganza Blog Tour: Q&A with Alan Gibbons

As you may know, there is a very special event taking place on the last day of this month: the UKYA extravaganza, with 35 UK authors of YA books at Waterstones Birmingham. Tickets sold out within 24 hours, and it looks like this will be the first of many, rather than a one-off event. Today the […]

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