Book Review: Monster in the Air

Monster in the Air by Donia Youssef

Monster in the Air

This is a sweet story about our current pandemic. It looks at the positive side of being in lockdown and the different things we can do to spend time at home with our families. It encourages kids to stay positive even in uncertain times. I also enjoyed the part about the various farm animals that get loose and start roaming around town, making the story entertaining and fun at the same time as you read to find out what happens.⁠
After almost one year since the pandemic broke out, there has been so many changes, unexpected turn of events and a lot of ups and downs. It’s hard to find the positive side of things when we continually see the worsening state of the world. However, we can’t lose hope and focus on the negatives. After some reflection, I realised that so much good has come about. I managed to make new friends and connections from all over the world in just a few months. The use of technology and social media allowed us to stay connected even though we are separated by oceans. Being in lockdown has given us some much-needed family time as well as time to discover new hobbies, interests and passions. All the new changes and challenges created new opportunities in every industry, and people are finding more ways to improve their businesses and the way they operate. Moving teaching online has been one of the biggest challenges for many teachers and students, but it has vastly improved the way we present and absorb information. We don’t know how long this will last, but I believe that it will only make us stronger and more determined to not give up, and keep making things better for the future.⁠
Check it out on Amazon!

Book Review: I’m Not Afraid!

I’m Not AFRAID! by Sarah Beliza Tucker
Ages: 4-9⁠

I’m Not Afraid!

Harry’s first sleepover is going GREAT until Ringo, Ricky, and Curly start telling scary stories!⁠
Harry’s imagination runs wild, and he wants to go home … but he doesn’t want to miss out on the sleepover! What will he do?⁠
‘I’m Not Afraid!’ is a book that shows children it’s okay to be afraid, but that real courage is being afraid and facing those fears head-on.⁠

This is another great book from the Harry and Friends series about how to overcome fear. It teaches a very practical strategy to stop our overactive imagination from taking over our minds and making us scared about something that isn’t real. I like that it teaches fear can also protect us from danger, but it is when fear is ‘false expectations appearing real’ that it is something we need to overcome and conquer. It’s a great lesson to teach kids and help them overcome fears.⁠
Harry is such an adorable character and this new addition to the series is a must-have! Check out the other books in the Adventures of Harry & Friends series too! You won’t regret it! This is a great series to add to your school or home library!⁠
Check it out on Amazon!⁠

Author’s Website:

Book Review: An Only Child’s Diary

An Only Child’s Diary by Audrey Lavigne⁠
Ages: 8-13⁠

An Only Child’s Diary

This is a lovely book written as a diary from an eleven year old girl’s perspective. She shares about her daily life from the happy and exciting moments to her struggles and uncertainties. Her feelings and thoughts are expressed in detail and readers can relate easily to what Alyssa is going through as she is adapting to a new school and environment. ⁠
Not only is Alyssa an only child, she is also a child of divorce. However, she has a great relationship with her mum’s partner Marcel. I like how the story is set in Seychelles and various aspects of the country’s culture are also included. The illustrations are quite unique too, pictures that Alyssa draws in her diary with captions which add a nice touch to make it feel like a real girl’s diary. The story also discusses bullying, how to be a kind and supportive friend, taking risks and overcoming challenges. Life as an only child isn’t always easy sometimes, and I love that Alyssa imagines a sister to write to and keeps it as a secret. It’s a very creative way to express one’s feelings and emotions and shows other kids who are an only child feel less alone.⁠
This is the first book in An Only Child’s Diary series and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!⁠

Check it out on Amazon!

Book Review: Big H and Little h Dog

Big H and Little h Dog by Victoria Smith
Ages: 3-8⁠

Big H and Little h Dog

This is a heartwarming children’s story, based on the real life endeavours of a father to save his son from the cruel muscle wasting disease ‘Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy’.⁠
The story provides a wonderful opportunity to spark conversations around disability/accessibility/inclusiveness, and that rather than being something to be dreaded, a wheelchair can open up a world of opportunity and adventure for children with a disability.⁠

Why I like this book: ⁠
This is such a great book about a little dog Little h with a disability and how he struggles with daily life and fitting in. Big H, his owner, takes great care of Little h Dog and starts travelling all around the world to find someone who could help him. It is such a sweet and heartwarming story. I love the illustrations and the way the text is laid out so creatively with different fonts, colours and sizes and even forming a ring! It makes the book so much fun to read! Kids would definitely enjoy this book and it has a great message too. It teaches readers to never give up and at the same time to be inclusive of others no matter their differences. It’s a great lesson in overcoming adversity. Highly recommend!⁠

Check it out on Amazon!

Sweden (Part 10 – Lunch cruise, and Pippi Longstocking at Junibacken)

Archipelago Tour and Lunch Cruise

After breakfast, we arrived at the ferry terminal in the city and boarded the Östanå I cruise ship for a 3-hour archipelago tour with lunch cruise. The ship is one of the traditional ships of the archipelago. It was very windy so after getting a few snaps on the deck, I stayed inside and waited for lunch to be served. There was a guide introducing all the sights and islands that we passed by but it was very difficult to hear anything that she was saying over all the noise on the ship. I just sat and chatted with a few other teachers and enjoyed the sea breeze and watching sailboats sailing back and forth. There wasn’t really much to do except for eating lunch and walking around the deck. It would be lovely to take the cruise with a special someone and enjoy a romantic dinner. For the price of SEK 390, it’s really not that bad.

Pippi Longstocking at Junibacken

As we were approaching the shore to disembark, I heard the guide say something about a Pippi Longstocking Museum! My eyes lit up and I began asking our tour leader where this museum was. He had no idea what I was talking about. I immediately Googled it and at first didn’t see anything such museum in Stockholm. Then I saw on TripAdvisor that it was called Junibacken. The tour leader did not know anything about this place and we had to get on the bus to go to some underground supermarket. After he said that we could have three hours of free time, I located the museum and found out that it was actually near the ferry pier where we were before, next to the Vasa Museum that we had visited on the second day. It was a half an hour walk but it looked simple enough. Another teacher wanted to join me as she didn’t have much interest in shopping either. We walked together and finally arrived 30 minutes later.

The museum was full of kids with their parents. We were probably the oldest visitors without children or parents! We bought our tickets and explored the different rooms and immediately felt like a kid again – it was a magical experience! I wish we had this kind of museum or cultural centre in Hong Kong. It’s hard to describe what it is like and there were a lot of scenes that I didn’t really recognise. They use Pippi Longstocking as the main attraction and we saw that they were having the live performance in the theatre.

There was a Storybook Train that you can only ride once with your ticket. I was so excited when I started lining up. The train takes you on a journey through some of Astrid Lindgren’s stories. The scenes are presented in tableaux with lighting and sound effects and dialogue which comes out from the speakers in the individual carriages, you can even choose from twelve different languages. The whole production of the Storybook Train took almost two years to create and it involved doll-makers, scenic artists, prop-makers, theatre carpenters, who were all under the direction and vision of the illustrator Marit Törnqvist. The result is truly amazing. It almost felt like it was a fairytale or adventure ride at Disneyland, but with a beautiful story. It was not easy to take photos or videos because it was quite dark in a lot of the scenes. The way each carriage moves in and out and through each scene is so well-planned and thought out. Hidden doors and windows would open suddenly and different figures would move unexpectedly. Check out some of the photos and video below.  

After the Storybook Train ride, we exited and arrived at the theatre room where Pippi Longstocking’s house, the famous yellow Villa Villekulla, was standing. We had arrived just in time for the next performance starting in a few minutes! We quickly sat down among all the cute toddlers and children and waited for Pippi, Tommy and Annika to come out. The show ‘Pippi Moves In’ is performed in Swedish but it really didn’t matter to me! The actors performed really well and really brought the characters to life. They climbed up and down the house, danced and jumped all around having the time of their lives! Knowing the story helped me to understand what was happening during the performance but it was the whole atmosphere, setting, music, dancing, all the kids chanting ‘Pippi! Pippi!’ that made the show so memorable and magical! I didn’t want to leave!

Finally, we went into the book and souvenir store and I bought a Pippi doll, a comic book version of the story, and some postcards. I would have bought more stuff if I had the money or the suitcase space!

End of Part 10

Back to Sweden (Part 9)

Continue to Sweden (Part 11)