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The most romantic lines in literature

February 11, 2016

The most romantic day of the year is just around the corner, and we’re definitely feeling loved-up as the Liverpool launch of A Little, Aloud with Love is taking place this evening at Waterstones Liverpool One with guests including the editor of all of our A Little, Aloud books Angela Macmillan and Gogglebox stars and one of Liverpool’s favourite couples June and Leon. A few tickets are still available and can be purchased on the door or by calling Waterstones Liverpool One on 0151 709 9820.

One of the most romantic lines in the English language is featured in Far From The Madding Crowd - and A Little, Aloud with Love!

One of the most romantic lines in the English language is featured in Far From The Madding Crowd – and A Little, Aloud with Love!

Our hearts have been thoroughly warmed by the results of a poll to find the most romantic line in the English language, carried out by the TV channel Drama. Quotes from not one, nor two but three classic novels made the Top 10 with lots of competition also coming from film and TV – and what’s even better is that extracts from two out of the three listed books are featured in A Little, Aloud with Love.

Topping the literary words of love at number 5 is Cathy’s declaration that Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” about Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.

Making number 8 in the poll isAnd at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be. And whenever I look up, there will be you” as said by Gabriel Oak to Bathsheba Everdene in Far From The Madding Crowd – and the very same quote appears in the extract from the book in A Little, Aloud with Love, no less!

Finally, rounding off the romantic utterances are Darcy’s immortal words to Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice: ‘In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Topping the list is ”My heart is, and always will be, yours” from the film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Even though the line doesn’t appear in the book, as Sense and Sensibility is another of A Little, Aloud with Love‘s chosen texts we’re willing to bend the rules slightly…

The spellbinding ballroom scene between Natasha and Prince Andrei in War and Peace

The spellbinding ballroom scene between Natasha and Prince Andrei in War and Peace

Hearts have also been racing with BBC One’s adaptation of War and Peace, which has attracted millions of viewers and came to its conclusion on Sunday night. The twists and turns in romantic affairs amidst the backdrop of the 1812 French invasion of Russia have captivated audiences, with the ballroom scene between Natasha Rostova (as played by Lily James) and Prince Andrei Bolkonsky (portrayed by James Norton) being one of the most memorable and spectacular moments. An extract following the famed scene of Natasha and Andrei’s first meeting is also featured in A Little, Aloud with Love, so for those of you having withdrawals of not yet brave enough to commit to the entirety of the novel, it’s the perfect place to begin – and what’s more it’s paired with a beautiful poem by Andrew Marvell, which is a definite bonus.

With all of these extracts combined packed into one book, we think we can safely say that the romance rating of A Little, Aloud with Love is very high indeed!


Launching A Little, Aloud with Love

February 5, 2016

A Little, Aloud with Love may have been on sale for over a week, but we decided we’d wait a little bit longer to launch it – seeing as it’s February and a certain romantic date is approaching…

If you’re in Liverpool next Thursday 11th February, we’d love for you to celebrate A Little, Aloud with Love with us in Waterstones Liverpool One from 6.30 – 8pm at the book’s special launch event. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, get in the mood for love – no matter if you’re single or coupled-up – as we present an magical evening of live reading and music to pluck at your heart strings.

The night will be hosted by none other than BBC Radio Merseyside’s Roger Phillips and will feature a special guest appearance from Channel 4’s Gogglebox stars and Liverpool lovebirds June and Leon. Having met in 1955 at teacher-training college and being married for over 60 years, there couldn’t be a better couple to help us celebrate the power of love in literature. You can read more about June and Leon’s love story over on The Guardian website.

You’ll also get the chance to pick up your copy of A Little, Aloud with Loveif you haven’t got it already – at the store on the night: a perfect choice for a Valentine’s gift.

Tickets to the A Little, Aloud with Love launch are £3 each and can be bought on the door or in advance by ringing Waterstones Liverpool One on 0151 709 9820. For more information, visit the Waterstones Liverpool One website.

Liverpool's favourite couple June and Leon will be joining us for the A Little, Aloud with Love launch at Waterstones Liverpool One

Liverpool’s favourite couple June and Leon will be joining us for the A Little, Aloud with Love launch at Waterstones Liverpool One

Introducing: A Little, Aloud with Love!

January 28, 2016

We’re delighted to have a new addition to the A Little, Aloud series, as A Little, Aloud with Love is published today!


Literature is not short of lovers and odes to the great emotion itself, and A Little, Aloud with Love celebrates love in all its forms, from the heady first flush to the agony of heartbreak, joyful reunions with loves lost and the endurance of love through the years, as well as the kinds of love shared between friends and families and the love of a parent for their child. With the wealth of stories and poetry on the subject vast, narrowing down the selection wasn’t an easy task but our editor Angela Macmillan has chosen carefully from a diverse range, with texts both classic and contemporary filling the pages and warming the heart. Read Romeo and Juliet alongside John Clare, combine the quirkiness of Haruki Murakami with the wisdom of Walt Whitman, bring Emily Bronte together with the romance of Shelley. Within the book you’ll be able to revisit old favourites as well as make new discoveries, and find lots to love.

As with both of the previous A Little, Aloud anthologies, the book is designed to be read aloud and shared with someone you love – whoever they may be. Each section of prose and matched poem has its own heading – ranging from ‘Our places by the fireplace’, ‘My love is come to me’, ‘Most near, most dear’ and ‘A need to reach out sometimes’ – and the poems and stories are given added emotional power by the accompaniment of the thoughts and reactions of the members of The Reader’s Shared Reading groups from around the UK. Humorous, poignant, sweet and real – all of the personal observations and connections come entirely from the texts themselves, and may act as conversation starters while you’re reading.

‘Her name was Ruth and I was mad about her for two years and never plucked up the courage to even speak to her,’ said a man in a nursing-home reading group. 

‘Reading that poem left me feeling tearful,’ said a woman in a library group. ‘I’m not sure why because weddings are happy occasions, aren’t they?

‘It’s true that we can’t help falling in love, but of course we are to blame if we cause damage as a result,’ said a man in a community group.

We’re feeling even more love as Chatto & Windus, the publisher of A Little, Aloud with Love, are donating all royalties from the book to support The Reader’s Shared Reading groups, allowing more loving connections to be made each week.

A Little, Aloud with Love is available to buy now – just in time to sort out those Valentine’s Day gifts…

With the arrival of A Little, Aloud with Love we’re also relaunching the A Little, Aloud blog. Make sure that you keep us bookmarked for lots of A Little, Aloud with Love news, announcements and treats, and you can also let us know what you think about the book and what your favourite pieces are over on the Your Comments page. Perhaps you even have a story of how reading has played a part in one of your own relationships – we’d love to hear those too.


A Little, Aloud for Children at Just So Festival

July 24, 2013

just so festival logoA Little, Aloud for Children will be going on an adventure this summer to the wild woodlands of Cheshire, where we’ll be Telling Tales tucked away in the heart of the forest…

The Reader Organisation will be heading down to the Just So Festival 2013 on Saturday 17th August and we’ll be sharing stories from A Little, Aloud for Children in special family storytelling sessions throughout the day.

ALittleAloud for Children cover onlineJust So Festival is a weekend-long festival aimed at children, young people and their families, promising three jam-packed days full of imagination, magic and fun. The natural environment of the festival allows kids to experience the arts freely and safely, while there’s lots for adults to enjoy too. Over the three days, the festival will feature a broad range of musical, theatrical, visual and aural performances, workshops and installations, with creativity around every corner of the campsite for families to discover and delight in.

On Saturday 17th, we’ll be in the ‘Telling Tales’ area of the festival campsite reading A Little, Aloud for Children to little and big kids alike. Come and find us for a magical adventure!

For more information about the festival, ticketing and full line-up, see the Just So Festival website. You can also keep up with what’s happening in the run-up to the festival on Just So’s Twitter and Facebook pages.


You can also now buy your copy of A Little, Aloud for Children on The Reader Organisation’s new look website. Haven’t got yours yet? What are you waiting for? Head to our Anthologies section to snap one up – and don’t forget to come back to the blog to tell us what you thought!

Upstairs Downstairs Crossword

May 7, 2013

Visitors to Croxteth Hall in Croxteth Park, Liverpool, have the opportunity to win a copy of A Little, Aloud for Children as the Croxteth crossword celebrates its 100th anniversary!

Croxteth Hall and Country Park from the airAs part of Liverpool’s In Other Words Literary Festival, Croxteth Hall are offering a puzzle with a difference; the Upstairs Downstairs Crossword features clues uncovering the hall’s great history As visitors explore ‘upstairs and downstairs’ in the Earl of Sefton’s home, they can fill in the crossword sheet to reveal the mystery name of a famous children’s author.

Correct entries will enter a prize draw to win a copy of our anthology of stories and poems specially selected to read aloud with young people, A Little, Aloud for Children. The book includes a rich and wide-ranging set of extracts from timeless classics such as Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens and Edith Nesbit, to stories from modern-day favourites including David Almond, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Neil Gaiman, and featuring a foreword from Michael Morpurgo, the book offers a truly magical melting-pot of prose and poetry that will delight every child.

The Upstairs Downstairs Crossword is free with entry to Croxteth Hall and runs until 19th May. Good luck!


Happy World Book Day!

March 7, 2013

Dracula celebrates World Book Day in with a great costume and his favourite book

Happy World Book Day to all our readers!

World Book Day 2013 is being celebrated in great style, with lots of great book events happening in the UK, as well as an online festival that can be caught from anywhere in the world. ‘The Biggest Book Show on Earth’ is happening for one hour only, 11am-12pm today, featuring nine big name bestselling authors and illustrators, including Liz Pichon, Francesca Simon and Anthony Horowitz. A show not to be missed! As ever, school kids can also get their hands on £1 World Book Day tokens which will allow them to get one of eight special World Book Day titles for free or money off a wide range of other books and audiobooks.

It’s the perfect day to pick up a book, and one ideal choice is A Little, Aloud for Children. There’s plenty of great stories to share, all packed into its pages. If you’ve been enjoying a Little, Aloud for Children for a while now, or if you’re just discovering it in just in time for World Book Day, why not tell us about your favourite bits over on our A Little, Aloud blog? We’d love to know what you’ve been reading, and who you’ve been reading it with. Perhaps you’re even celebrating World Book Day by dressing up as one of the characters in the stories – maybe a Mr Toad or even a certain gentleman named Dracula?

Of course, World Book Day is just as much for adults as it is for kids. Though we’re certain that grown-ups will love A Little, Aloud for Children, there’s lots of brilliant stuff in A Little, Aloud too – a book so full it’s guaranteed to keep you going for well more than a day.

To start you off on your celebration of all things books, here’s some of our team having lots of fun reading ‘The Secret’ from A Little, Aloud for Children to celebrate World Read Aloud Day, which took place yesterday:

Happy reading!

Guest blog: Helena Pielichaty, Patron of Reading

January 15, 2013

We have a special guest writer on the blog today, children’s author Helena Pielichaty. She is the Patron of Reading at Ysgol Esgob Morgan in Denbighshire and was recently featured (along with A Little, Aloud for Children!) on BBC Wales Today.

I am a children’s writer and an important part of that, for me, is visiting schools and libraries. I love doing visits as they bring back all the happy memories I had from my teaching days. For me, the best memories of all come from the times we just read; either me reading to the class or all of us reading our own books in silence. Magic.  However, I’ve noticed on my school visits that many schools have misguidedly dropped the class reader through ‘lack of time’. How sad is that?

patron-school-pupilsOne school that wasn’t like that was Ysgol Esgob Morgan. ‘You’ll like this lot,’ Bethan Hughes, the head of Denbighshire Library Services told me as we waited for Y6 to arrive at St Asaph Library. She wasn’t wrong; they were fabulous. The children were keen, motivated readers who lapped up everything I gave them. At the end of the session it was obvious that their teacher, Tim Redgrave, was largely responsible for their positive response. Talk about enthusiastic! I’ve done hundreds of sessions in schools, before and since, but that was one of the best. So when I received an email from Tim at the end of 2010 telling me he’d had this idea about a patron of reading and asking me if I’d take on the role, I didn’t hesitate.

It’s a wonderful idea and I share Tim’s vision that every school should have one. The joy of the initiative is that it’s about helping schools to create life-long readers. Children who’ll willingly go to the library, choose a book, lose themselves in it, tell their mates about it, then go back for more. It’s also cheap. Apart from paying my fees as a school would for any author visit, there’s no cost involved. Schools who’ve ever had an author visit will know what impact that one hour or day can have; imagine if you had your own, special author for three years!  ‘Magic dust that lasts’ indeed.

The school has to be behind the project wholeheartedly for it to work, as does the patron. Luckily Tim has an amazing staff, headed by Lit Co Jenny Ritchie whose classroom is always a pleasure to enter. Last time I visited there was a display of giants on the wall as a result of a book I’d sent at Christmas (The Giant Book of Giants); the time before that a life-size model of a Tardis.

What’s great is the patron of reading shares many of the aims of The Reader Organisation, something I realised when I first heard Frank CottrellALittleAloud for Children cover online Boyce talking about The Reader Organisation at a conference.  That’s where I first heard about A Little, Aloud for Children, too.  What a great book. I’ve been recommending it to everyone since and chose it to read in front of the TV cameras last week. Stupid, I know. Most writers would have used the opportunity for mass product placement of their own stuff but for me, the patron idea isn’t what it’s all about. I knew A Little, Aloud for Children contains perfect bite-sized extracts ideal for a short reading on t‘telly. ‘The Snooks’ was perfect – just check out the expressions on the kids as I read it to them in assembly. Afterwards, one TA who’d have to leave before I’d finished asked how it ended and the head of governors bought it for her daughters. Any chance of commission?

Click here to watch the full BBC TV news clip.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Patron of Reading initiative, please visit


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