Posts Tagged ‘Sita Brahmachari’

Look Beyond Your World

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Look Beyond Your World with Macmillan Children’s Books and discover a range of important and varied voices.

This overarching campaign spans seven books that explore diversity, other cultures and varied life experiences. We are keen to encourage broad reading for children aged eight to fourteen years old. The Look Beyond Your World campaign hopes to work with schools, libraries and bookshops to ensure maximum word of mouth, and draw important discussions to the fore.

Look Beyond Your World contains titles from seven key Macmillan Children’s Books authors: Sam Angus, Floella Benjamin, Sita Brahmachari, Emma Donoghue, Elizabeth Laird, Rachael Lucas and Kim Slater – with a combined sales track of over 1 million copies TCM.

Each of these authors has a new story to tell in 2017, giving readers a look into the lives of unfamiliar and new voices: from the war-torn streets of Syria and unconventional family structures to experience of life as a teenager with autism. We are proud to share these stories with the world, and even prouder to represent this range of experiences.

The Look Beyond Your World campaign encourages audiences, schools, libraries and bookshops to think a little differently and look beyond our own world to others. The campaign is targeted at Key Stages 2 and 3, but should appeal to all.

Discussion booklets are available to aid engagement with the campaign, along with materials including bookmarks, posters and supporting resources such as book synopses and author information. The campaign will run through May – September 2017.

If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved in the campaign, please email Kat McKenna at

Author Talk: Inspirations of the heart and home. Sita Brahmachari – Children’s Author

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

People often ask me about my writing routine.  I can’t truthfully say that every day it’s exactly the same but there are three constants.

The first is that I walk or jog with my dog, often in the woods where ‘Red Leaves’ is set. I find that being outside in nature, whatever the weather puts me in the right frame of mind to write. Ideas come to me as I’m walking or watching Billie our dog chasing squirrels! I try to get to my desk for around nine-thirty, turning my back on whatever domestic debris is still to clear. I check emails to see if anything needs dealing with straight away then I get down to … doodling!

Wearing the artichoke heart Charm….as well as some ‘Red Leaves’ at the Launch of ‘Red Leaves’ at Children’s Bookshop Muswell Hill, October 20014 (Photograph by Tanya Nash)

Many writers will tell you that they have little rituals that help them to begin writing. Mira in ‘Artichoke Hearts’ and ‘Jasmine Skies’ is an incorrigible doodler and day-dreamer and I too often begin by doodling a few random words or an image (I keep my doodle pads for reference). After the doodling, when I feel myself ready to write, it’s time for the third and what has become a rather superstitious ritual….touching my artichoke heart charm for luck…some writing days are more productive than others but I wouldn’t begin to write a word without the charm.

The artichoke heart charm began as a fictional piece of jewellery that Nana Josie gave to Mira her beloved granddaughter in ‘Artichoke Hearts’… for me as well as Mira it holds magical powers…it has made something as fluid and intangible as a dream or the imagination… real.

In 2011 my first novel ‘Artichoke Hearts’ was published by Macmillan Children’s Books. Just having my story published was a dream come true but when the story won The Waterstones Award I could not believe it.  On the evening of the ceremony my husband Leo presented me with a beautiful silver charm in the shape of an artichoke. He had sent the description of the charm from my novel off to a silversmith and commissioned the piece of jewellery.

So the beginning of my life as an author did feel completely magical….charmed even. I have placed this charm, which travels with Mira to India in ‘Jasmine Skies,’ into the hands of many young readers when I talk about my books and what inspires me to write. I have a ‘Notsurewhat’ sort of feeling that it might bring them luck too!

These days I can’t even think about sitting down and writing unless I am wearing my artichoke heart charm! Like all symbols the potent power I have come to feel that it holds for my writing requires unravelling and is not as superstitious as it might seem. The process of writing all my books has been to try to discover for myself first what’s at the heart of each story. I usually begin with an instinct to write that comes from feeling passionate about something, or a wish to better understand characters or situations.

The charm is a reminder that for every character I write I need to unravel the layers from the tough outer shell of protection that we all learn to wear, to the more tender vulnerable layers at the centre of the heart. Some people call this ‘back story’ – what has happened to a character In their lives to make them behave in a certain way… but I prefer to think of the artichoke layers because I see that in myself, and everyone I know and research, the back story is not something that is or can be confined to the past, but lives with you in every present moment of your life…it’s integral to the identity of each individual heart.

For me the charm that I wear whenever I write symbolises a gift of love from the heart of my family. So my husband, children, brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, friends and wider family are all layers of my heart that inspire. Without these particular layers the stories that I write could not have come into existence.

Part of my back story is of being of mixed heritage; my father from India, my mother from The Lake-District. It’s formed from all my work with young people in community theatre and in schools on creative projects, and from the experience of being a mother. I am drawn to research a wide range of stories like Jide Jackson (the Rwandan Refugee in Artichoke Hearts’ or Dawn (the girl who tragically takes her own life in ‘Kite Spirit’) or Janu (The orphan boy who runs a Children’s refuge in Kolkata in ‘Jasmine Skies) or Aisha (The Somali refugee) or Iona (The Scottish homeless girl in ‘Red Leaves’). All these characters and many others I have written about allows me and then readers to step into shoes of strangers and to take them to their hearts. The charm is a reminder to me that part of my work in writing a story is to peel away the layers of my own heart to understand why these characters and their stories are ones that need to be told. I know if something’s working when I find that a character moves me to tears or laughter.

In my most recent book ‘Red Leaves’ the characters who hide out together in a city wood may seem to have very little in common. Each of them begins with a tightly protected heart, each of them has their reasons to reject each other but the process of the story is one of unravelling the layers of each of their hearts until they’re open enough to meet each other. I can’t ever imagine sitting down at my desk without wearing my artichoke heart charm because it’s a constant reminder of all the landscapes, people and experiences that have so far contributed to the layers of my heart and fed my imagination. In ‘Jasmine Skies’ many readers are horrified when Mira, in an impulsive act of compassion, gives her charm away to a poverty stricken girl, but that reaching out to others – imagining what it’ like to face real poverty, the loss of your beloved grandmother, to be a refugee, an orphan or a homeless child, or a young person who feels the overwhelming pressures of life weighing them down –  entering these worlds is the process of telling stories for me and It can be heart-breaking. Sometimes, if I’m in the thick of it when one of my children comes back from school or college they’ll ask me ‘What’s the matter.’ I’ll often explain that I’m feeling sad for a character because I have just written the moment when she…. Then I’ll be reminded ‘Mum! They’re not real…. What’s for tea?’ and I snap out of it…. But actually the truth is if, after much coaxing, a character comes to life they really do become flesh, blood and heart-beat.

My youngest daughter is performing ‘Pinnochio’ for a Christmas show at school and I’m helping her with her lines…To the carpenter Gepetto the little wooden puppet he creates becomes real as soon as he takes him to his heart… It’s why in reality I’ll always wear the artichoke charm for every book that I write… to remind me where my stories come from and that no matter whatever the style, tone or subject, never to forget the heart. Will Mira’s artichoke charm ever return to her? I do know the answer and one day I might write it…

Most popular books, by age range, on Lovereading4kids 12 – 19 October 2014

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Books for Babies and Toddlers

Giraffes Can't Dance Giraffes Can’t Dance
Giles Andreae
A little encouragement was all that was needed to make Gerald the Giraffe realise that he could, after all, dance as well as any other animal in the kingdom.  So, for any child that suffers from a lack of confidence …
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Over the Hills and Far Away A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes from Around the World Over the Hills and Far Away A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes from Around the World
Elizabeth Hammill
A fine collection of poems and rhymes from all over the world, collected together by Elizabeth Hammill, renowned for her support and expertise in the world of children’s literature. A host of fantastic illustrators including Axel Scheffler, Robert Ingpen and …
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Bear and Hare: Snow! Bear and Hare: Snow!
Emily Gravett
October 2014 Book of the Month     Award-winning Emily Gravett celebrates all the delights of snow in this attractive picture book. Best friends Bear and Hare love playing in the snow. They make footprints and snow angels and have a wonderful …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

Bears Don't Read! Bears Don’t Read!
Emma Chichester Clark
October 2014 Book of the Month   George is sure there is more to life than fishing and chatting which is what the other bears do. When he finds a book he soon realises that it contains something very special. But …
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Monsters Love Underpants Monsters Love Underpants
Claire Freedman
October 2014 MEGA Book of the Month   Best-selling underpants are back! It all began with Aliens who love underpants. Then the Dinosaurs and Pirates showed that they do too. And now it turns out that even though the Monsters come …
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Seen and Not Heard Seen and Not Heard
Katie May Green
October 2014 Debut of the Month   Children’s imaginations will run wild after reading this delightfully spooky story. Katie May Green is a stunning new talent in the world of picture books. It is an evocative and magical book filled with …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat
Julia Donaldson
October 2014 Book of the MonthShortlisted for the Specsaver’s National Book Awards: Children’s Book Of The Year. In their best-loved original adventure the Owl and the Pussy-Cat danced happily on the edge of the sand after their wedding. Children’s Laureate …
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Hubble Bubble: The Pesky Pirate Prank Hubble Bubble: The Pesky Pirate Prank
Tracey Corderoy
The second in this humorous fiction series contains three stories of magical mayhem in one beautifully produced book.
Kirsty Stansfield, Nosy Crow Children’s Fiction says “All grannies are great, but one who can do spells, take you on their broomstick and …
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The Bad Trousers The Bad Trousers
Ros Asquith
Interest Age 5-8  Reading Age 6+ A charming birthday story about one boy and his Granny’s awful knitting, with artwork by Katie Morag creator Mairi Hedderwick.  Robbie is excited about his upcoming birthday and what he might get as presents…a …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

The Hero Pup The Hero Pup
Megan Rix
October 2014 Book of the Month   Can training Patch, a loveable Labrador puppy, help Joe find some happiness after the death of his father? Joe and his dad have always wanted a dog but, when his dad is killed Joe …
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The Time-Travelling Sandwich Bites Back The Time-Travelling Sandwich Bites Back
Matt Brown
October 2014 Book of the Month  A second hilarious and disgusting adventure wittily told in words and pictures making it perfect for all fans of the Wimpy Kid. A mouldy old sandwich has a remarkable impact on the life of Compton …
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Shouldn't You Be in School? Shouldn’t You Be in School?
Lemony Snicket
October 2014 Book of the Month   Madcap fun and mystery in this somewhat eccentric yet addictive series from the huge bestselling author of A Series of Unfortunate Events.  This is Book three in the critically acclaimed four-part mystery series.

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Featured Books for 9+ readers

Haunters Haunters
Thomas Taylor
The dead and the living exist side by side in this thrilling time-travelling adventure. In David’s recurrent dream, Eddie seems real and it seems like he’s got something to tell David. That’s scary enough but then David gets picked up …
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Mountwood School for Ghosts Mountwood School for Ghosts
Toby Ibbotson
October 2014 Book of the Month   Best-loved author Eva Ibbotson had a gift for making magical worlds both come alive and be wonderfully credible. Her hand guides this delightful story of a top-secret school for ghosts where anything and everything …
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Red Leaves Red Leaves
Sita Brahmachari
October 2014 Book of the Month   Award-winning Sita Brahmachari has a great gift of understanding for the confusions and loneliness of adoloescents and their need to be gently nurtured and cherished. Three young people are trying to find a way …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

Listen to the Moon Listen to the Moon
Michael Morpurgo M.B.E.
October 2014 Book of the Month   A beautiful and captivating tour de force of family, love, war and forgiveness, this is a major new novel from the author of War Horse and Private Peaceful, Michael Morpurgo and is set in World …
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The Piper The Piper
Danny Weston
October 2014 Debut of the Month   A haunting and moving story as something sinister from the past reaches out to two children evacuated to Romney Marsh in the Second World War. Newly arrived from London, Peter and Daisy are taken …
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Thirteen Chairs Thirteen Chairs
Dave Shelton
A spine-tingling collection of fearful stories, cleverly framed by an equally chilling storytelling device. Twelve story tellers sit around the table leaving one chair empty and one story still to be told. Each lit only by a single candle, one …
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Featured Books for 14+ readers

The Calling The Calling
James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton
October 2014 Book of the Month    Chosen from across the world, a fight to the death is the destiny of the twelve young people who have been selected to represent their families in the Endgame.  The Players know who they …
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Black Ice Black Ice
Becca Fitzpatrick
October 2014 Book of the Month   Black Ice is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller, set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Whether you’re new to Becca’s writing or a fan of the …
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Terror Kid Terror Kid
Benjamin Zephaniah
October 2014 Book of the Month   Perceptive, provocative and deeply moving, Benjamin Zephaniah tells a hard hitting story about how dangerous making one simple wrong choice can be. Rico loves computers and he is brilliant at fixing and developing them. …
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