THIS week sees a national celebrations of everything literary, with Libraries Week. ADAM CAILLER spoke to Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School Year 5 and 6 pupils about their favourite books
IS IT possible to speak to school children about books and not mention Harry Potter? Apparently not.
Rebecca Ross, Sophia Minkoff and Amaya Elfassy all love the JK Rowling-penned series. They were joined by classmates Eva Newman, Isabella Ross, Abigail Lever and Lucy Cohen.
Rebecca, nine, is currently reading Wonder by RJ Palacio. Wonder, which was turned into a film, focuses on August Pullman, who has a facial disfigurement. It touches on themes such as bullying and acceptance.
And that is why Rebecca chose it. She explained: “It teaches you not to look at people even when they look different to you.
“I like how it’s split into different points of view — August’s, his sister’s and others. I can see each situation from each side.”
She added: “It was good to learn how someone who does look different sees themselves and others.”
Classmate Amaya, who also loves the Harry Potter series, is currently reading A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale.
This series of books takes classic Disney stories and turns them into darker, more sinister versions.
The nine-year-old’s current reading material is about Aladdin.
She said: “It’s about what would happen to Aladdin if he never found his magic lamp.
“I like how there are lots of different, unexpected adventures in it. A few people get killed, which I don’t like.
“My favourite character is Jasmine, but, like with the original, my least favourite is Jafar.”
She added: “I like it when people go on trips and strange things happen.”
For 10-year-old Eva, books don’t always have to be about stories. She has chosen an advice book called You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything.
Written by Matthew Syed, it aims to help young people build resilience, fulfil their potential and become successful, happy, “awesome” adults.
Eva told me:“It’s inspiring and uplifting. Each chapter focuses on a phrase, such as ‘practice makes perfect’ etc.
“I think I have a good amount of confidence already, but it has helped to give me more.
“My mum Claire picked it for me because she thought it would be nice, having read Dermot O’Leary’s autobiography in which he wrote about this book.
“Sometimes I don’t have confidence with certain things, but I feel this book has inspired me to do other things.”
But, she admits, some of it is a bit “hard hitting”.
She added: “It’s very long and has a lot of words which I don’t yet understand.
“I love reading books, but I’m also obsessed with The Beano comics.”
“I also like when a book is turned into a film because sometimes you have to read the book and watch the film to truly understand what it’s all about.”
Sophia Minkoff is yet another Harry Potter fan. She loves the books so much that she is now reading the series all over again.
Her favourite is the third one, The Prisoner of Azkaban.
She said: “It’s a mix of fantasy and adventure, which features really cool stuff that doesn’t happen in real life.
“I get really immersed in it, which is why I’ve decided to read the entire series again.
“Every time I read them I want to be inside the Harry Potter world. My favourite character is Luna Lovegood because she is cool, quirky, witty and interesting.”
Her least favourite character is Dolores Umbridge, because she is “mean and horrible”.
Sophia isn’t a fan of the deaths in the series. She said: “All of my other favourite characters die really early on in each book.”
Abigail Leaper also likes the Harry Potter series, but is a bigger fan of the Percy Jackson books.
The pentalogy of fantasy adventure novels, written by American author Rick Riordan, focus on the life of demigod Percy, son of Greek God Poseidon.
Abigail said: “They are very exciting books and are always full of adventure.
“My favourite character is Annabelle. You never know what she’s going to do next.”
Lucy is a fan of The Bolds by Julian Clary. The book is about a family of hyenas pretending to be humans, who try to keep their identities secret.
She said: “My favourite character is Mr Bold because he always makes jokes. It’s a funny book.”
Isabella is a big fan of the Chocolate Box Girls series of books about sisters, named after chocolates and sweets, who have different life adventures.
She said: “I enjoy them. Each book is different and surprising.”
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