Sunday 22 March 2020


Looking for a book to curl up with while the world around us goes mad? Reader Sasha reviews Cathy Cassidy's LOOKING GLASS GIRL... read on to see if it's the book for you!

Sasha says:
I've been a CC fan for quite a while now - it started with the beautifully illustrated covers of the earlier CC books and the stunning stories within. I even got the chance to meet Cathy back in 2010 in Dudley, and when I spotted her 'modern take on Alice in Wonderland', LOOKING GLASS GIRL, I knew I had to review it. In fact, I leapt at the chance! With my love of a good story, I have a very large to-read pile, but the moment I picked this book up from the library the beautiful cover just called out to me like the Cheshire Cat, asking 'Why haven't you stepped into my world?' I opened up the first few pages and before I knew it, I was completely and utterly... lost!

Many have attempted to re-tell Lewis Carroll's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, with its twisting logic and mythical creativity, and although LOOKING GLASS GIRL is not a re-telling as such, it has both of these two magical ingredients. When you are taking a classic and re-arranging it yourself, you have to flood each section with originality, a style of your own. That is definitely what happens here with LOOKING GLASS GIRL. It is now the 21st century and of course things are different, but small twists and turns and surprises create a book that will make you gasp.

I found it easy to soak into the story and connect with Alice in more ways than I ever expected. Alice's two friends from primary school have abandoned her, occasionally turning round to fake a sickly kindness. Many of us will have gone through something similar at some point, and now we see it from the perspective of a character we can trust. We even glimpse the viewpoints of less obviously likeable characters like Yaz, Lainey and Savvy - they have personas we can relate to, which makes the story stronger still.

LOOKING GLASS GIRL switches from one narrator to another with ease, and the Alice theme never feels forced. The book has a strong Wonderland theme, but switches back and forth with the present day too, which makes it unique. LOOKING GLASS GIRL is sure to put a smile on your face, tears in your eyes and a strong beat in your heart. Do not miss out. It's wacky, original and full of heart. I recommend very strongly!

Cathy says:
Wow... what a review! (Blush, blush!) Thank you, Sasha! Have YOU read LOOKING GLASS GIRL yet? COMMENT BELOW to have your say! 

Sunday 8 March 2020


We asked over on the FB fanpage what advice you'd have given to your teenage self... these are some of your replies!

Amanda says:
Buy shares in Apple. Everything else will feel a lot simpler after that!

Trish says:
Don't settle. You're worth more.

Lucy says: 
Don’t believe that men can touch you with impunity. Call them out loudly every time because your body is YOURS and nobody else’s.

Cara says:
Stop comparing yourself to others and judging yourself so harshly... the world will be a lot kinder to you than you are to yourself, if only you give it a chance.

Nicky says: 
Believe in yourself. You can do and be anything you want to be. Follow your dreams.

Vanessa says:
Trust your gut, you are good enough and don’t worry you will get to follow your dreams.

Kelly says:
Don't feel you have to agree with your friends on everything just to fit in. It's OK to be yourself, even if that sometimes means having a different opinion. Be brave. Speak your truth.

Sean says:
I think I would advise my self to read more. I only a few books as a child, Enders Game being my favourite. I've now started to read again about a year or so ago and I'm really enjoying it.

Jane says:
Take notice of your quiet moments. They speak volumes...

Jenna says:
Everything will be ok... and even the bits that aren't Ok aren't going to be as bad as you imagine. You're a whole lot stronger than you think, promise!

Krysten says:
Don't change who you are to fit in with a group. Find the group that appreciates who you are already!

Esther says: 
Everything happens for a reason - have faith.

Sarah says: 
Stop giving up so easily... listen to advice, not judgement.

Magi says:
Stay away from boys!!

Ruth says: 
Write books about boy wizards!

Cathy says:
I LOVE these... what advice would YOU give to your younger self? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Tuesday 3 March 2020


Reader Katy writes about the damage palm oil is doing to our planet... and why we should all care about it!

Katy says:
What is palm oil? It's an edible vegetable oil made from the fruit of an oil palm tree, and the truth is you probably consume it in several ways on a daily basis. It’s in everything from pizza, doughnuts and chocolate to deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and even lipstick! WWF (The World Wide Fund for Nature) claims that almost half of all supermarket products contain it. It is used as animal feed and bio-fuel in many parts of the world too. So what's the problem? Palm oil is one of the main reasons for the deforestation of our planet's vast, beautiful rainforests. It destroys the habitats of  endangered species such as the orang-utan and pygmy-elephant. The farming of palm oil produces many greenhouse gases and is a big contributor to climate change.

Efforts are being made to limit the damage palm oil farming creates, with demands that companies must not clear any primary forest, must check how much carbon they are emitting, treat workers fairly, and actively create wildlife zones... but only a few producers follow the guidelines. It has been claimed that palm oil supplies 35% of the world’s vegetable oil demand on just 10% of the land, so if produced sustainably, it is actually very efficient. Perhaps true, but does this justify our use of palm oil? It's time to start asking what is more important to us - our environment and the habitats of endangered animals or products like supernoodles and peanut butter? 

What CAN we do to help? Supermarket brand Iceland have issued a complete ban on palm oil use in their own-brand products until more evidence is shown that 'sustainable' means no deforestation, and some brands of peanut butter and chocolate have stopped including it in their products. Be aware and raise awareness… tell your friends, tell your family, read labels, and cut back on junk food as this is often where palm oil lurks - bake your own treats, it's much more fun! If you're buying something with palm oil in it make sure it has the 'sustainably produced' label. 

If you discover palm oil in a favourite product, write to the manufacturer to ask if they can drop the palm oil or at least switch to sustainably produced. If we refuse to buy it, companies will stop using it... and the rainforests and the orang-utans may yet survive.

Cathy says:
We try not to buy products containing palm oil... it really is a huge cause of rainforest destruction and destroys the habitat of orang-utans, so well done to Katy for flagging this up. What do YOU care about? Want to write a blog post about it? COMMENT BELOW with your suggestions!


Reader Emily, aged ten, explains how a Cathy Cassidy book inspired her to raise money for a refugee charity... Emily says: The Cathy Cassidy...