'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Look What I'm Reading! Sue Warren

Hey there, Sue Warren here! I’m a teacher-librarian and have been for many years. Currently I’m in charge of the library service at a large independent college on the south side of beautiful Brisbane. 

Nobody in my family was at all surprised when my classroom teaching progressed into the library as I have always read voraciously since I was three years old. I love the variety involved with the teacher-librarian role and have worked and taught in many different settings.

Which children’s book are you currently reading?
I’ve just started Listen, Layla - Yassmin Abdel-Magied, for review. This is the second book about Layla and I’m loving it! The first one was You Must be Layla.

Can you tell us in two sentences what the book is about?

In this narrative Layla is struggling to reconcile an urgent trip back to Sudan, to visit her ill grandmother, and her potential trip overseas with her Grand Designs Tourismo inventions team, plus her selection as Australian representative for the Special International Invention tour. The political unrest in Sudan is confronting and makes Layla’s internal conflict about her own identity more intense.

How much did you enjoy/are enjoying this title?
Layla is Australian/Sudanese and Muslim and this own voices book (and its predecessor) gives real insight into straddling two cultures from a teen perspective. From this point of view I feel it’s extremely relevant, particularly in my own college where we have a predominantly non-Anglo population.

I particularly love that it’s set in Brisbane as our city often seems to get left out of YA. Besides all this Layla is great fun and a wonderful role model for young women.

What made you choose this title? Was it a review, advertising, the cover, the blurb, the author/illustrator, or the subject/genre?

This is a review title sent within the last week and because I enjoyed the first so much, it was bumped up to the top of my TBR pile! It does have a great cover too as well.

What other titles are on your bedside table /To Read Pile?
Too many to mention! I’ve been very busy during the school holidays but still have approximately 40 books – YA, non-fiction, picture books and junior fiction to try to get through – and lo! The courier just delivered another box. But next on my bedside table is The Court of Miracles Trilogy: Book 1 – Kester Grant.

How did you come by these titles: personal choice/request, publisher’s review copy, or other?

I’m sent many review books from a number of publishers – most are just sent out to me as they are well aware that I review a wide-ranging array of genres and levels and I have now been doing reviews for about nine years. I will sometimes specifically request a title though, which are usually adult books that I’m dying to read. 

Do you have a favourite genre? If so, what is it, and why do you prefer it?
I love historical fiction. I’ve always been a bit of a history nerd and I absolutely love that I can read quality historical fiction and not only engage with the narrative but learn more about the particular period. Without doubt, Jackie French is my dead-set favourite for these – who could not fall in love with Miss Lily or the Matilda series? I also love biographies – probably because I’m essentially a sticky-beak! The last one I requested, gobbled up and reviewed which was just splendid was Wild Thing: the short, spellbinding life of Jimi Hendrix – Philip Norman. I’d previously read other bios by Norman and knew it would be excellent.

Do you read from printed books or some other medium? Please expand a little on the why of your choice.
I prefer print – I’m old school that way. I love the smell of new books and the anticipation of turning each page. That being said because I have a one hour commute each way to school I do get through a lot of audio books as well – these most definitely are generally adult books and often something quite light and entertaining like ChickLit.

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