World Book Day

Hello all, 

I’m back after my Covid Vaccine, but that’s to be written about in another blog. I am feeling very grateful though that I received the vaccine. 

Today is World Book Day and for as long I can remember I have loved books. I always enjoyed English at school and it was probably one of my favourite subjects. No wonder I opted for an English based Degree in Media Studies. 

Do you remember in primary school when you used to get a new book? There was one occasion I remember trying to pick a book and putting it back and choosing from another basket. The teacher told me I had to chose a book which went alongside my reading level. This irritated me. I told them what kind of books I was reading at home and didn’t understand why I had to chose from the book box with my reading level. Eventually we came to a decision. If I read the books and brought them back quickly then I could move up the levels quicker. I did this and got to read harder books and proved a point which we all knew I could do, but for the sake of the system I had to have it noted down. 

Looking at a  book shelf, there isa clock on the all above.

Reflecting on this and the fact that it is World Book Day I have been wondering how many books was I aware of when I was younger which featured Disabled people? What is that representation like now? 

Looking back I do not really remember that many books, especially from when I was younger which featured Disabled characters. Thinking about this I have just asked my Mum if there was a character in the Biff and Chip books who was a wheelchair user. She says there was. 

For World Book Day I have done a bit of looking around and found that there are some great books available which represent Disabled Children. A great article I found was in the HuffPost about a variety of books which feature Disabled people as the main characters. In the article there are a number of different representations, the best part is that in some of the books the Disability isn’t even the main plot line. Which is fantastic. After reading it I sent the article to a friend who teaches in a primary school and they loved it.

Part of the problem is not just having books about Disabled people, but also having them be written by Disabled people as well. So you know that as a Disabled child  ‘hey this book has someone in it like me’ then they can be told the Author is like them too. It is about allowing people to see themselves in stories and know that the person behind the story is able to understand how they feel. 

Whilst looking at wether representation is better today than it was when I was in school I came across Pablo and the Noisy Party. There is a TV series linked with the book which is brilliant because as we all know everyone learns differently. Written on the books Trust Website is ‘This empowering series competently reflects neurodiversity and like the TV series, has been developed by writers who are themselves on the Autistic spectrum, and is based on real-life experiences.’ When I saw this quote on Books Trust it made me smile to know that the comment I made in the previous paragraph is trying to be addressed. Children need to not only see themselves in books, but know those writing them are like them too. 

The other part of the problem is having access to these books for all children. It can not just be the case that we talk about them only to parents of Disabled children. They need to be in book boxes in every school. Otherwise how does it just become the norm that the woman in the street is using her white stick to feel the floor beneath her feet and get around safely? Or that the man wears headphones in the supermarket and hums quietly as he puts his items into his basket because he could be Autistic? 

These questions need to be addressed and by writing this blog have made you a bit more aware that these books are out there. You just need to look. But them being out there is not enough. They need to be in classrooms and libraries and they need to be seen as the norm. Hopefully by writing this and also in sharing the book list with my friend I have done something to help make a difference. 

Here are the links below to some of the things I discovered whilst doing this blog. 

Until next time,

Philippa B.

If you have enjoyed this blog and would consider donating to my fundraising for The British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, please click here

Pablo and the Noisy Party https://www.booktrust.org.uk/book/p/pablo-and-the-noisy-party/ 

Fun in the Sun https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/storybooks-featuring-disabled-children/ 

Disability Horizons- https://disabilityhorizons.com/2019/09/8-books-with-a-disabled-character-as-the-lead-or-focus-of-the-story/

Finished Reading Debbie Harry Face It

Hello again, 

How are we all?

One of the things I decided to do more of last year was read. I didn’t read as much as I would have liked. So I’m going to try again this year. My brother bought me an Audible subscription and I really enjoy it. 

I have been told that with Audible you don’t actually buy the books. So that’s a bit of a downer. But it’s still a good subscription service. 

The book I have just finished reading is ‘Face It’ by Debbie Harry. I love Blondie and I think Debbie Harry is wonderful. It was really nice to read more about the band and how they evolved and changed so much over time. 

The thing which I did not check out before buying the book, because I was so excited it was there, was who was reading it. Which made for a wonderful surprise when I heard Debbie Harry’s voice. I’ve always loved Blondie and I think their music is brilliant. To be able to read about her life and the band was great. 

Seeing how much of an impact she herself had on the music industry and how Blondie changed and grew over time made it difficult to stop listening. The amount of women who were lead singers in Rock bands at that time was quite limited. So I think that is one of the reasons why I like Debbie Harry so much. She wasn’t afraid to try new things and she wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. It was great how she says she did what she did because she enjoyed it. She did it for herself. But it was said in a way that was not self righteous. She is a woman who is amazing at what she does and she isn’t afraid to go for what she wants. 

It was interesting to hear how Punk started to grow and evolve around the 70s and how she describes the difference between the scene in New York, LA and London. It was interesting because I don’t know much about Punk. I don’t know much about the culture. But to learn how she and Blondie were such a force in helping to shape that genre and culture was pretty cool. 

I genuinely enjoyed the book and I would urge people to read it. It came out in 2019 and is available on Audible. You get an accompanying PDF with fan art people have sent her over the years. The way she discusses her fans and the fans of Blondie is so nice. She loves receiving the art work from people and you can really tell that in her voice. 

In the book she also talks a lot about her relationship with Chris Stein. His book is one I will be putting on my reading list. 

Anyway, it was an amazing book, I loved it and I think you should read it too. Debbie Harry is incredible and I need to take a look online and see if I can find that Barbie Doll of her. I never knew there was one. 

One more thing, if you have enjoyed my blog please follow this link to my fundraising page. I’m in the process of using the bike in the garage and counting my daily steps to cycle 660 miles in about 200 days to raise money for The British Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. 

Hello 2021

Hello 2021. 

So last year was a bit of a wash out wasn’t it? I wrote a blog about the books I’d read, looking back on it now I did not read that many. Although the ones I did read were very good. So this year I’ll try read some more. 

One of the good things to come out of last year was purchasing my own domain name, pipxar.com. It was a really pleased with this as it got me back into blogging. After looking at a variety of websites to host my blog and talking to different people I settled on wordpress.com. I think it was a good choice. I didn’t bother with the email address though. I just kept using the old one I had. The main issue I had setting up my domain was that I used to call my blog Random Musings. This domain was already taken though so I had to come up with something different. For a bit of a joke me and my bother thought Pipxar might be a funny choice. Turns out it was an unregistered domain and I went with it. 

The other good thing to come out of 2020 was my decision to start a bit of fundraising for two amazing charities. One is The British Heart Foundation and the other is The Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. They are incredible charities which exist to help support those living with heart conditions. If you’re interested then click here and you can follow my journey as I aim to raise £3000 by the 21st of August 2021. 

Whilst writing this blog I took the opportunity to partner with my friend Beth, who is a completing her BHF funded PhD. I would definitely check out her blog. She’s very passionate about what she does and about getting more women into science. Check out her blog, it’s pretty cool. 

I think this year I will just continue with my blog and fundraising. I also aim to continue reading more. I use Audible because I’m Visually Impaired and it really does help me get more joy out of reading. I used to love wandering around Waterstones and buying books, but I soon realised audiobooks would have to be the way forward. Reading has always been something I enjoyed, but I slowly started to realise that the reason I was not reading as  much as I liked was because my Nystagmus was playing up even more if  I read physical books. Nystagmus, for those who don’t know, is an involuntary eye movement. It makes you feel like you’re living life on a roundabout and you feel sick. Check out my blog here

Anyway, thats me for now. I’m going to go. I’ll check in again later. There are a few ideas I have for my blog, with the help of my new moleskin notebook I will hopefully be a bit better this year at planning out my posts and getting them scheduled. 

I wish you all a happy and safe 2021!

See you soon, 

Philippa B.