World Book Day: 6th March 2014


Next Thursday, March 6th 2014, is World Book Day.

As I work in a library and run a Chatterbooks group for 8-12 year olds I thought I would do something to mark the occasion when we met today. 

I decided the most appropriate activity was to go ‘Around the World in Eighty Books’ so

I made a list of 80 book titles that have place names in them.

I got a huge World Map poster which I put out on the desk.

I also put out a map of the United Kingdom. [Since several of the place names were towns in the UK to make it easier for the more geographically-challenged pupils]

Then I challenged the children to find the locations on the maps and see who could get them all in the shortest time. They had a maximum of fifteen minutes.

There was a clear winner, who got 75 of them in short order, and the others with a few clues.

I’ll admit I deliberately put in a few tough ones, such as countries that have changed their names.

I also put in a title that had two locations, one old and one current.

One lad struggled a bit, but got most of them in the end.

They all enjoyed the exercise.

When I started I was afraid I’d struggle to find 80, but in fact I ended up with 20 or so to spare, with lots of repeated locations to choose from.

What titles can you come up with?

Below is the list of the book titles I used.

They are a mixture of adult of children’s fiction, but all are fiction titles. I didn’t cheat and use travel guides.

1. Passage to India by E. M. Forster

2. Our Man in Havanna by Graham Greene

3. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

4. Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie

5. Little Coffee Shop in Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez

6. Out Of Africa by Isak Dinesen

7. Liverpool Vampire by Michael Pugh

8. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

9. Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

10. I Heart London by Lyndsey Kelk

11. Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson

12. It Happened in Paris by Molly Hopkins

13. A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian by Monica Lewycka

14. Dublin People by Maeve Binchy

15. Asterix in Spain by Goscinny

16. Ireland: Awakening by Edward Rutherfurd

17. Out of Egypt by Anne Rice

18. Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson

19. Italian Outsiders Stories by various

20. Yvonne goes to York by M C Beaton

21. Netherland by Joseph O’Neill

22. Belinda goes to Bath by M C Beaton

23. Penelope goes to Portsmouth by M C Beaton

24. Manuscript found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

25. Deborah goes to Dover by M C Beaton

26. Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham by M C Beaton

27. A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson

28. China Lake by Meg Gardiner

29. Wales by Terry Deary (Horrible Histories Special)

30. From Scotland with Love by Katie Fforde

31. A Burial in Portugal by Robert MacLeod

32. Mythic Greece by Aaron Allston

33. Digging to Australia by Lesley Glaister

34. A Death in Valencia by Jason Webster

35. Leaving Sardinia by Hans-Ulrich Treichel

36. Gold from Crete by C S Forester

37. A Surgeon in New Zealand by George Sava

38. 1, 2, 3, Suddenly in Mexico by Cristina Falcon Maldonado

39. Winter Tales from Poland by Maia Wojciechowska

40. Oklahoma Wedding Bells by Carol Finch

41. Christmas in Seattle by Debbie Macomber

42. Elissa or the Doom of Zimbabwe by H Rider Haggard

43. Thorkill of Iceland by Isabel Wyatt

44. Station Six Sahara by Michael Avallone

45. Meet Me in Mozambique by E A Markham

46. No-one Thinks of Greenland by John Griesemer

47. Gerda Lives in Norway by Astrid Lindgren

48. Nate the Great Saves the King of Sweden by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

49. Moonlight Over Denmark by J H Schryer

50. Three Go to Switzerland by Mabel Esther Allan

51. Mr Monk Goes to Germany by Lee Goldberg

52. Asterix in Belgium by Goscinny

53. Asterix in Corsica by Goscinny

54. Asterix Conquers America by Goscinny

55. Rendezvous in Russia by Lauren St John

56. Looking for Alaska by John Green

57. Washington Weirdos by Gayle Wigglesworth

58. Doctor in New Guinea by Dana James

59. Kidnap in the Caribbean by Lauren St John

60. Trouble in Tahiti (Nancy Drew Files) Author unknown

61. High Tide in Hawaii by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)

62. Japan Sinks by Sakyo Komatsu

63. Siam Miami by Morris Renek

64. Secret Mission to Bangkok

65. Biggles in the Gobi by Captain W E Johns

66. Tintin in the Congo by Herge

67. A Chalet Girl from Kenya by Elinor M Brent-Dyer

68. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa by J E Bright

69. Sweets from Morocco by Jo Verity

70. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

71. Togo Command by Harry Arvay

72. A Castle in Canada by Caroline Farr

73. Matti Lives in Finland by Astrid Lindgren

74. Nurse in Nepal by Irene Roberts

75.Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh

76. The Hermit of Turkey Hollow by Arthur Train

77. Israel Potter by Herman Melville

78. Marching Through Georgia by S M Stirling

79. Vietnam: Ground Zero by Eric Helm

80. Knife Song Korea by Richard Selzer

How many could you find?




Those who know me, whether personally or via other sites such as Twitter, know that I LOVE books and reading. I also work in a library – how perfect!

In the course of my work, I’ve been introduced to a wonderful website. It not only makes my job easier, but it has become a go-to site for my own literary enquiries.

What is this site, you ask?

Well, I’m here to tell you.

Enter a fiction author and the site will give you a complete list of their works – in order! If they have written several series, it will tell you which series a title belongs to, and where in the series it comes. No more reading out of order. It also tells you if there is a new work due out, and what the release date will be as soon as it is set.

It is a friendly, easy to use site. It is a mine of helpful information.

How many of you have used it before? Do you love it as much as I do?

If you’ve never heard of it, check it out and let me know what you think.

Do you have any other helpful sites like this you’d recommend? Tell me about them in the comments.

Daring to share


Now that I’m getting ready to field test my stories with some local children, I thought it was about time I posted a sample here and invited feedback.

So here is the first story of the five I have written so far.

Remember, the idea is to publish picture books, so that readers will ultimately have a fully illustrated book to enjoy. Right now you will have to use your imaginations.

Please be honest in your comments, but be constructive.




Ginny Giant



The Dragon


Helen Earl


There’s a Dragon in My Soup!

Ginny Giant sat down to tea:

Her favourite soup – ham and pea.

Her mother went to get some bread

“Careful, it’s hot!” her mother said.

Ginny sipped; but what’s this she’s found?

Something big and hard and round.

Ginny frowned, “That’s not a pea!”

“What is this inside my tea?”

As she looked, the round thing broke

And out of it came a puff of smoke!

“A dragon’s egg!” hear Ginny whoop

“There is a dragon in my soup!”

“Now don’t be silly, Ginny dear

What would a dragon be doing here?”

“The backstroke, mum, if I’m seeing it right

He’s really cute, but he gave me a fright.”

“Eat your tea, stop playing games.”

“Come see for yourself, he’s blowing flames!”

Her mother looked, and sure enough

The dragon gave another puff.

The dragon climbed from Ginny’s bowl

By using her spoon as a pole

He flapped his wings to get them dry

But though he tried, he couldn’t fly.

“Well, I never!” Mrs Giant said,

“He’s wearing a peapod on his head!

I wonder how I brought him home?

Dragons are not known to roam

Up in the mountains they survive

Where they are left alone to thrive

I’ve never seen one in the trees

Let alone in soup with peas!”

“He’ll never get back on his own

He’s only young; he needs a home.

Can I keep him? Let’s ask Dad

He’ll be the best pet I’ve ever had!”

Mrs Giant shook her head,

“I’m not so sure,” her mother said,

“A dragon would be hard to tame

And there is danger from his flame.”

“I promise, I will take great care,

To part with him I cannot bear.

“I’ll call him Sweetpea, my new friend,

We’ll stay together to the end.”

When Mr Giant got home that night

He was greeted by the strangest sight.

“Goodness gracious, look at that!

A baby dragon, with a peapod for a hat!”

By Helen Earl