Everything else

Wales is done!

Breaking news of the breakingest kind! Remember that Read Your Way Around the UK project I’ve been working on? The one with a book located in every county of the UK?

Thanks to a suggestion from the amazing @yayeahyeah, the Wales section is now FINISHED.

You can view the spreadsheet here as it currently stands, but I am very, very pleased to say that you can now officially read your way around the whole of England and Wales. Come on Scotland and Northern Ireland!!

Everything else

The best of 2013 : a look back

Hurrah! It’s that time of year when we look back at the most popular posts on DYESTTAFTSA. In no particular order, here’s the top five most read posts in 2013

1. I was so pleased to be able to share this post with you. It’s an interview with Allan Laville of the University of Reading, all about how children distinguish between fantasy and reality. His work is utterly fascinating, and if you didn’t catch the interview first time round, here’s your second chance.

2.  Following the departure of Amanda Craig from The Times, I wrote about the marginalisation of children’s literature. The full post is available here.

3. Read Your Way Around The UK launched this year! It’s a project that involves finding a book based in every county of the UK. You can read the introductory post here and view the current spreadsheet here. England’s done, and I’m working on the others!

4. In August, I found out the truth about Anne from the Famous Five. You can find out what I mean here.

5. And finally, there’s the post where I told you all some exciting behind the scenes news about me and that.

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Read Your Way Around the UK (England’s done!)

Do you remember that whole mad ‘can you read your way around the UK’ idea? We got England completed! Thank you so much if you’ve been a part of this!

You can view the current state of the spreadsheet if you click on the below image. Which, coincidentally, is all the England titles and authors word-cloud-i-fied. You can also see a map of all the books in England here!

(And here’s to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland!)


Everything else

#ReadyourwayaroundtheUK – London roundup



@wesatdown: “Fireweed” Jill Paton Walsh

@yayeahyeah: “Skulk”  Rosie Best and “The City’s Son” Tom Pollock.

This blog: “The Disgrace of Kitty Grey” Mary Hooper,

Further Reading:

A Children’s Literature Tour of the UK (part 2)  (@playbythebook)

Literary London: Jenny Valentine (video: The Guardian)

“The Children’s Book of London” (Project Gutenberg ebook)

NB: This reflects the titles at point of posting. For the most up to date list of books set in London, please view the #readyourwayaroundtheUK spreadsheet.

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#readyourwayaroundtheUK – an update, a thank you and a challenge!

Just in case you missed it, I have been working on a project recently. I wondered whether it would be possible to read your way around the UK in children’s / YA books, and you know something? You pretty much can. After a busy, busy week of googling, map reading, and tweeting, the Read Your Way Around the UK spreadsheet is getting very, very full. (Which is AMAZING).

Thank you so much if you’ve given me a title suggestion or confirmed whether book  X is set in Village Y. Thank you also if you’ve tweeted me sympathetically and gone, “Yes, Bangor is in Wales love” when I’ve lost track of what my name is, let alone borders and counties and that. Thank you if you’ve helped me clear up my geography. Basically, thank you for getting involved in this fascinating project and for helping it out.

So here’s the first part of the challenge. I want to know if you’ve read / reviewed any of the books of the list. I reviewed my first this morning but I want to know if anybody else is having a go. Will you let me know if you are? I’ll keep an eye on the #readyourwayaroundtheUK tag on Twitter but if I miss it, let me know!

And here’s the second part of the challenge. We have gaps. Gaps are bad. Can you help with any of the below queries? Is there a county on there that doesn’t exist currently? Have I put Narnia in Wales by mistake? Are you an author who writes books solely set in Rutland?

Give me a bell or comment here or on Twitter. I would so love to be able to get a book for every county in the UK…!

Thank you! 🙂

England: Books still needed for Rutland and Hertfordshire

Scotland: Books still needed for Aberdeen, Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Moray, Perth and KinrossSouth Lanarkshire and West Lothian

Wales: Books still needed for AngleseyBreconCaernarfonshireDenbighshire, DyfedFlintshireMid Glamorgan, Montgomeryshire, Powys, Radnorshire, West Glamorgan, South Glamorgan and Wrexham

Wales: Can anybody confirm the settings of the following books / series? Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs, Whistler’s Van – Idwal Jones, The Magician Trilogy – Jenny Nimmo, The Seeing Stone – Kevin Crossley Holland

Northern Ireland: Books still needed for Amagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry

Everything else

Read Your Way Around the UK

You can blame David Almond for this. I was reading one of his rich nuanced books, that sing of love and of humanity and of life, and I thought wait a minute. Wait a minute, I thought, I wonder if these books that are so richly of his North (and not in the Game of Thrones style, of his Actual North), I wonder if there’s something in that.

I wondered if it was possible to read your way around the UK? And not just any old books. Children’s books. Anything from board book up to Young Adult. Bath books, even, whatever, as long as it had a suitably county-specific identity.

Firstly, I congratulated myself for thinking it in such a Seussical manner that I had a rhyming name for the challenge. And then I thought, wait, that’s a lot of counties.

And then I thought, well, I do enjoy a challenge…. 😉

This, therefore, is your official announcement of the DYESTTAFTSA READ YOUR WAY AROUND THE UK Challenge! The challenge itself is split into three parts; the sourcing of the titles (which will all live here in a handy spreadsheet), the actual reading of the books, and the posting of the review. I would LOVE it if people were to join in with this so please do tweet me (@chaletfan), comment or send a carrier pigeon with your recommended books and reviews.


(Also while I have your attention, may I ask ‘what are you and yours doing November 9th 2013? David Almond aka one of the greatest writers of children’s literature of our time is speaking in Birmingham at this festival and you really, really ought to be there to hear him and also spend the day wallowing in children’s books with some very like-minded folk. I am going. I am very excited about it.)