Library Loot: Witches and War

Library Loot: Witches and War


What did I get from the library this week?

As always, I have added quite a few titles to the tottering TBR (to-be-read) pile!

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

See my previous library loots here:

Mysteries, Paris and Hope

Feminism, Folklore and Body Positivity

Gymnastics, Mermaids and Achieving Your Dreams

Birds, Cages and Secrets

Dragons, Magic and Fairytales

Sequels and Secrets

Outer Space, Winter and Magic

Here’s what I picked up this week – lots that I am excited to read here and a few that I have already devoured!

(Digital picture this week as I have already taken two of the books into school to share with my pupils and had forgotten to take a photo!)


As you can see, there is immediately a clear theme in my recent reading – books about witches, which are generally popular with me anyway but particularly apt for Hallowe’en and books about the First World War as the centenary of the Armistice approaches next week.

When the Guns Fall Silent by James Riordan

Jack, standing among the war graves, sees a face he recognizes. Suddenly, it’s 1914 again and he’s a young lad back in the trenches. Visions of killing and misery come to him with horrible clarity.

But then Jack remembers too the incredible moment when the guns fell silent for a short time, and fighting gave way to football on the frozen ground of No-Man’s-Land.

This amazing story, based on true facts from the First World War, will transport readers back to the war fields of France and show that even in times of conflict and extreme sadness, there is always hope.

I actually picked this up after seeing it recommended for Year 6 – I wanted to read it myself before stocking it in the school library or using as a class reader when Year 6 studies the First World War. I’ve actually already read it – racing through it in no time at all! It is a very effective introduction to the First World War and doesn’t pull any punches with describing the horror of war. Teachers: I would recommend reading this first While learning about the horror of war is an important part of ensuring it doesn’t happen again, some of your more sensitive readers may find the imagery disturbing.

Poppy Field by Michael Morpurgo

Another that I’ve already read and will be sharing with my Year 3 class next week! This is the story of Marten, a little boy who has grown up next to ‘the poppy field’ one of many places where the trenches once were and near the graveyards of fallen soldiers. There is no summary for this on Goodreads, so here’s my review:

Beautifully-illustrated by Michael Foreman, this is a poignant and hopeful story from Michael Morpurgo and a fitting way to remember those who have fought for peace. I loved how the story gave us a back-story for the famous poem by John Mc Crae and explained the symbol of the poppy in a way that is accessible for younger readers, while also engaging older readers. I also really liked the Afterword where some more historical context is given, as well as discussing some of the recent controversies over wearing he poppy and how they hope it can be worn simply in remembrance rather than as any kind of political statement.
We read the poem and talked about Remembrance today in school – next I will be reading this book to my class!

Poems from the First World War selected by Gaby Morgan

Poems from the First World War is a moving and powerful collection of poems written by soldiers, nurses, mothers, sweethearts and family and friends who experienced the war from different standpoints. It records the early excitement and patriotism, the bravery, friendship and loyalty of the soldiers, and heartbreak, disillusionment and regret as the war went on to damage a generation. It includes poems from Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, Vera Brittain, Eleanor Farjeon, Edward Thomas, Laurence Binyon, John McCrae, Siegfried Sassoon and many more. The Imperial War Museum was founded in 1917 to collect and display material relating to the ‘Great War’, which was still being fought. Today IWM is unique in its coverage of conflicts, especially those involving Britain and the Commonwealth, from the First World War to the present. They seek to provide for, and to encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and wartime experience.

I’ve been dipping into this book all day and have already bookmarked about twenty poems to read with my class next week! This includes all of the classic and best-known poems, as well as others that are not so well-known. I was interested to see poems from women on life at home during the war. One thing I would have liked added to this collection was a short biography on each author, as that would help to bring these experiences to life even more.


The Hawkweed Legacy by Irena Brignull

Poppy Hooper doesn’t want to be the queen of the witches.
But some problems can’t be left behind.
Some love stories can’t be forgotten.
Some friendships won’t be broken.
And some enemies won’t stay dead…

The battle for the throne isn’t over yet.

This is the sequel to The Hawkweed Prophecy, which I recently read and really enjoyed! I think this is a duology so am looking forward to finding out what happens!

The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the sea witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whalers safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother – the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic – steals Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roe’s power.

The one magical remnant left to Avery is the ability to read dreams, and one night she foresees her own murder. Time is running short, both for her and for the people of her island who need the witches’ help to thrive.

I accidentally picked up Book 2 in this this duology in my Library Loot last week so ordered the first book – now looking forward to reading them both!

Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realize it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them toward secrets that were never meant to be found…

I’ve had this one on my reservation list for ages – I wanted to read it after enjoying The Accident Season from the same author, looking to support more Irish authors and the fact that it’s about witches. I am glad that I finally have my hands on a copy and am looking forward to reading it!


See any you want to read?

What do you think of the books I have chosen?

Would you like to read any of them?

Or are there any you would recommend me moving straight to the top of the TBR list?

Do you have a library near you?

How often do you borrow books?

Do you ever buy books after having already read them?

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram

Thanks for reading!

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Spellbooks of the Lost and Found looks AMAZING.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doesn’t it? I’ve been wanting to read it for ages!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So glad you got a copy then!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How wonderful that you’re incorporating these books into your classes! I remember there being lots of books about the First World War in my elementary school classrooms each November and that certainly encouraged my fascination with history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been sharing some poetry with my class and it has already lead to some interesting discussions. I think it’s really important to talk about war, peace and everything in between because most people don’t have any experience of it and, without learning about it, it could make us more likely to repeat the same mistakes. Do you have any particular books that stood out for you about the First World War? I am gradually building my collection to share with the children!


      1. I can’t think of any that really stand out, though I remember there being a picture book about the Christmas truce. Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery was probably my first really emotional encounter of the war in a novel. I remember crying buckets over it when I was nine or ten.

        I will throw in a recommendation for a few WWII books: The Guests of War trilogy by Kit Pearson is wonderful. It’s about English siblings evacuated to Canada and their experiences growing up so far from their family, in a world they would never otherwise have encountered.


      2. Thanks for the recommendations! Despite loving Anne of Green Gables (and reading the whole series multiple times as a kid) I can’t remember much about Rilla of Ingleside. I haven’t come across The Guests of War Trilogy before so will definitely look it up!


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