Posts Tagged ‘Teaching English’


When I started this blog in 2013 I was a SAHM with 2 primary aged kids and a baby.  When I wasn’t cleaning up vomit and playing house, in those moments when my little one slept, I would write.  The product of this was a complete manuscript for my first YA novel Magpie Game.  I intended this blog as a place to write about my journey as a beginning writer aspiring for publication.  It also became a place to share some of my other creative endeavours (cake decorating and crafting) in addition to my general musings about motherhood.  At some point I started to review books and very quickly what was a blog about writing became a blog comprised mostly of book reviews.

I realised that I rather enjoyed writing reviews for other people’s stories.  I discovered that although there are plenty of people reviewing books online, many of these reviews are quite poor and too frequently they are not really reviews (rather they are plot summaries and re-tellings).  It became apparent that there was a distinct lack of reviews which were geared towards the needs of teachers and their students (Educational Reviews).  By this I mean reviews which identify:

  1. The appropriate age and grade for a title.
  2. Identification of the best use for the title in an educational setting (Shared class text, individual reading, reading circles)
  3. Cross curricular links for a title.
  4. Comparative titles (for pairing of texts or for linking students to new titles)
  5. Identification of theme and content
  6. Evaluation of literary merit of the title
  7. Other issues about the text which may be pertinent from a teacher’s perspective (ie comment on sensitive issues raised in a text).

I returned to teaching at the beginning of 2014.  I didn’t have much time (or indeed creative energy) for  my own creative writing, but I did find my list of reviews grow rapidly as I sought to keep abreast of the new texts being released each month.  It helped that the good people of Allen & Unwin and University of Queensland Press kept sending me things to review!  It rapidly became apparent that in order to do this properly I needed to create a new blog entirely devoted to this.  Of course, like most teachers, I was too tied up in the actual business of teaching to actually do this.  After a great deal of soul searching I made the decision to take some parenting leave for 2015 (at least).  I want to spend more quality time at home with my husband and three children and more time writing new stories, investigating publication options for these, blogging and writing reviews.

Now that the children have returned to school I find myself faced with the task of ‘getting on with it’.  I’ve spent the last few weeks creating my new blog and migrating all the reviews on here to there.  For the moment I’ve left reviews on here although they will slowly disappear over the next few weeks.  If you enjoyed my reviews I encourage you to head on over to the new blog  Here you will find old and new reviews neatly categorised by genre and grade band. Where possible I have included links to book trailers and appropriate author interviews that can be launched straight from the blog (for ease of use in the classroom).   I also have a friend (and awesome Early Years Educator), Kellie Moore who will be joining me to review picture books and titles for younger children.

This blog will remain, although it will again be focused upon my own writing journey.  In terms of this 2015 promises to be a busy year with me investigating publication options for Magpie Game, whilst starting work on a new and exciting project…..but more about that another time.

Wishing you a  happy and prosperous 2015!  May it be filled with delectable books with all the time you need to devour them.

Tanya Grech Welden