Bookshop Crawl for a bookshop haul

OK, so if you’ve got any spare £££s you might choose to spend them on

photo (41)

orflower stall

or even (it won’t work).UK national lottery signBut let’s face it…these will last you a lot longer.books

And they’re more nourishing (yet non-fattening). So I went to hunt some down.

It’s been Independent Booksellers Week 2014 and today book obsessives and book bloggers are celebrating with the IBW Bookshop Crawl. You can follow events on Twitter at #bookshopcrawl. I did cheat a bit, though. I knew I couldn’t make Saturday so went out and about on Thursday when the sun was shining!

I decided to hit the independent bookshops of Brighton & Hove, which are all just a street away from the sea, and I started at the Kemptown Bookshop. Kmeptown Bookshop book bag This guy keeps watch from just over the way statue of David and this is the view from the end of the street. sea view Brighton pier Inside three floors of beautiful books kemp town books plus 20th century prints from Bookroom Art Press prints

and delicious stuff for stationery freaks (which means all writers).


and a busy children’s department downstairs where I found this!

The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth by Julia Lee

and bought this gorgeous book. A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies & Mark Hearld

Then a bus hop across town to City Books on Western Road

City Books, Brighton which is full to bursting with city fiction and gardening even books about bookshops.The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

They run lots of author events which is why they have a great many signed copies.

city bookshelf

And downstairs (again) a children’s section with lovely picture books

city pic books   and this! city me In the end I succumbed to these…

city pile


And just round the corner there’s this, so I sat in the sun to check out what I’d got so far.

city view

Last stop was The Book Nook in Hove, a dedicated children’s bookshop with a little cafe, too. The Book Nook bookshop, Hove

This is at the end of the street (not gloating or anything).

sea view Hove Inside there’s fun fun factual non fict and all kinds of gorgeous fiction, new gorgeous and classic.classics Plus a book boat boat and on the walls some special artwork from visiting authors and illustrators. Liz Pichon artwork for The Book Nook, Hove

And finally, essential to all book browsing… (I can recommend the flapjacks)



The haul in my Gruffalo bag:



The books I ended up with were A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Mark Hearld; Unexploded by Alison Macleod; Goth Girl & The Ghost of A Mouse by Chris Riddell; The Ocean At The End Of  The Lane by Neil Gaiman; The Jade Boy by Kate Cain; Small Blue Thing by S C Ransom; The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper.

Sigh of satisfaction. Money well spent. Indie bookshops still there. My work is done. ‘Til the next book binge.



How A Story Became A Board Game

I was delighted to discover that Jacqson Diego Story Emporium, a lovely independent children’s bookshop in Westcliff on Sea, Essex, chose to read The Mysterious Misadventures… with their Story Bites book club in October. Then they tweeted a picture of a work in progress – Clemency Wrigglesworth: The Game – which they were making over a couple of sessions.

The game invites players in with the banner: ‘Frightening Miss Claw is coming your way so roll high to get away’. ‘Make one step back if you meet a bad person.’ Yes, there are plenty of baddies to get in the way! I can see the ship at the start which Clemency has to board to come to England, the sweet shop where Gully learns something important, and The Great Hall where Clemency and her enemies – and friends – finally tangle up.

I can’t seem to include the picture but you can see it here –

In the classic board game set-up, you progress along a path from start to finish, step-by-step, helped by bursts of good fortune and thwarted by setbacks just lurking in wait. Up the Ladder – hurrah! – but suddenly down a Snake. You might be ahead of your competitors with the end in sight, but suddenly you’re back far behind them. In games like Monopoly you even choose a ‘character’ to be – the top hat, the boot, the racing car. You come into money, then have to blow it all to Get Out of Jail. Something familiar here, isn’t there?…it’s just like a story.

This brilliant idea for making a children’s book come even more alive made me think that so many adventure stories, from Famous Five to His Dark Materials, are structured like a board game. A journey to be undertaken, a goal to be reached or someone to be rescued, snags and setbacks encountered on the way, enemies met, but also helpers. No matter how clever and brave the protagonists try to be, a sudden twist of fate can turn everything on its head. Two steps forward, one step back. Or more like ten steps back and down a dark chasm with no apparent route out. Now I’m wondering about my favourite stories and how they might be transformed into games.  This would be such a wonderful rainy-day activity for children, with drawing and cutting and sticking, and remembering what came when and deciding what the key settings are. I feel like getting the colouring pens out right now!

Thanks to Jacqson Diego and their Story Biters for a great idea. I haven’t visited (yet) but it sounds like the perfect inspiring children’s bookshop, with so much going on to bring stories and children together and instil a lifelong love of books.