This blog tour is the brainchild of Toi Thomas and started yesterday.

This is a blog tour with a twist. Each participant gets to post the answers to 10 questions about books and teachers. This is a great opportunity to promote a book and/or praise a teacher and have a little fun. Plus, everyone is welcomed to enter the giveaway, though the prizes are for teachers. Toi Thomas is a teacher and author who wants to support other teachers. Please consider buying one of her books and or entering her giveaway to support a teacher of your choice.


Teachers and books: Q&A with Jemima Pett

Here are the questions everyone is answering on this tour.  I had a little trouble with it, since I have very vague memories of my teachers and my school days, nowadays!

  1. Did a teacher ever introduce you to a book; which one(s)?
    • Not that I can remember, although of course we read lots of books in class. I’m racking my brain to think if there was anything that I read simply because a teacher suggested it, but I’m failing.  We read Memoirs of a Foxhunting Man as a set book for O levels (national age 16 exams) and that got me reading Siegfried Sassoon’s other works, about World War 1.
  2. What was your favorite book(s) as a kid?
    • Anything with horses in it.  Although I did go for Enid Blyton’s Adventure stories and later the school stories (Malory Towers and St. Clare’s), which put me onto other school stories like the Chalet school.  But I read fiction and non-fiction and classics with horses in it.  One of the best was The Horseman’s Bedside Book, which had short stories and articles by famous writers and journalists, and introduced me to The Maltese Cat (Kipling) as well as all sorts of useful things for trivia quizzes.
  3. Who was your favorite teacher at any point in your youth; why?
    • At primary school Mrs Bassett, although I also remember another teacher who I can visualise but can’t find her name.  They were lovely people, very wise and encouraging. My most vivid memory of Mrs Bassett was her managing a class of 46 (normal in those days), setting the seven of us that were a bit ahead (Rosemary, Pauline, me, Richard, Michael, Russell and John) some extra targets to get on with while she gave extra attention to the Armenian twins, who were still working out this funny western alphabet.  I often wonder how they got on in life.
  4. What popular book have you never read and/or faked reading?
    • I know there are a couple more that are less notorious, but I can give opinions on Fifty Shades of Grey based entirely from other people’s reviews!
  5. Did you ever do any creative projects in school based on a book; what?
    • We did lots of painting and collage and stuff like that.  I remember a class project on the Great Fire of London (1666) which (with the English Civil War which preceded it) has always remained the only period I really knew anything about till I got into historical novels relatively recently.  Children of the New Forest was the pony-related book of the period 🙂
  6. What book(s) has had the greatest influence in your adult life?
    • Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson
  7. What words or advice from a teacher has had the greatest influence in your adult life?
    • Funnily enough, it was a negative one.  Mrs Bilsborrow, in answer to a class question in which it was suggested that Anna and I would go on to be mathematicians (or something like that), said that Anna might, but that I had the wrong sort of brain.  WHAT?!!  Well, what sort of brain did I have?  I didn’t find out till I was in my forties.  But I did find out.  I should have studied engineering or applied science at Uni, not maths.  If she’d been more forthcoming maybe I’d have got here sooner.
  8. What book have you read as an adult that you wish you’d read as a child or teen?
    • Most teen books published in the 60s.  For some reason they just didn’t get into my radar – maybe the library didn’t get them or I was too busy studying.  Wrinkle in Time, for example.
  9. If you were a teacher, what book would you recommend to a student and why?
    • Black Beauty, still as relevant today as ever, although War Horse would do as a substitute.  How to treat other people kindly, the consequences of capitalist greed, care for animals….
  10. What would you write about or have you written about in a children’s book?
    • I hope that the messages from Castle Marsh about living within one’s means, thinking things through, and caring for others come through.  If they don’t, I’d better rewrite some of them.

Now for the Giveaway!

Click to enter.

Toi said ‘the prizes are for teachers, but everyone can have fun with it’.

Ends 31st December.

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Teachers and Books Make A Difference
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11 thoughts on “Teachers and Books Make A Difference

  • 16 November, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Good Q&A! I remember being in classes of 40+ too, and we were made to sit in order of our results in class tests. Horrifying. I remember Miss Kidd in first year juniors reading us The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which sent me to the rest of the Narnia Chronicles. I reread them every few years until well into adulthood. In third year, Mrs Reid introduced us to The Secret Garden. We took turns to read aloud until it got to a piece of Yorkshire dialect which she always did to my annoyance. Other than that, I can’t remember teachers influencing what I read till it got to set books in secondary school. I hope it’s much better today!

    • 16 November, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Maybe we just had plenty to read and access to it, and not to other things, Anabel. There wasn’t really that much television when I was at primary school. The radio was more important. The library was still the centre of the universe – and not ‘child-friendly ‘ by today’s standards, yet we all used it.

  • 16 November, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Thank you so much for participating and for sharing your thoughts. The only horse book I think I’ve read is Black Stalone. I love the movie Black Beauty, though it would probably do me well to read the book. I’m sure it’s even better.

    • 16 November, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      The book is pretty much a different story from the film – as with the story of National Velvet.
      Thanks for doing this, Toi – I really enjoyed thinking about the questions.

  • 16 November, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Nice thing to do! Our teachers spend more time with children than their parents do and have a huge impact on their development. Fun Q and A!

    • 16 November, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      True – and maybe in my day although we were at school from 9 till 4, I spent a lot of time with my parents, or at least with them around. Although then I think that wasn’t true, since my dad was away for months at a time.

  • 16 November, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Great Q&A. I laughed at #4–me too.
    And I don’t think I could do any better at remembering.
    I’m glad we are able to give our kids somewhat smaller classes that what you (and to some degree I, though I think my primary classes ran more to 30 or 35) had! I entered for and am rooting for my favorite kindergarten teacher 🙂

    • 16 November, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      Ours have been capped at 30 for some years, although there is overcrowding in lots of schools still.
      I do remember my kindergarten teacher with affection, Mrs Stevenson, although I just wish I could remember the fable of ‘how the blackbird got his yellow beak’ better. I’ve fudged it in one of Willoughby’s stories – all I can remember is something about a sack of gold he put his beak in to prove the robbers were lying.
      (weird things stuck in our memories!)

    • 16 November, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      Thank you so much for entering. I wish your favorite the best of luck.

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