I’m still very new to this book blogging malarkey. There’s lots to learn and sometimes it can feel very overwhelming.
So I should probably be taking tips from Ruben. This bright young spark has been running the book review website Mango Bubbles Books for about three years – and he’s the grand old age of 12!
The blog is very simple but clever – book reviews by kids, either written, filmed or drawn. Any child can submit one and they are not edited.
Every contributor gets a special certificate for taking part and Ruben also raises money for the literacy charity Beanstalk, which sends volunteers into schools to support young readers.
Ruben says: “I asked my mum if I could set up a website. She said yes, as long as I kept updating it. Me and some of my friends said that we wanted to make a gaming website, where you could play a ton of games like Minecraft. I asked my uncle if that would be possible. He said yes, but it would be very hard and expensive.
“I broke the news to my friends and I was disappointed, but still wanted a website. So me and my mum set up Mango Bubbles Books instead and three years later, we are still running strong!
“I named the blog after a character in my favourite book, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton. One of the characters is called Friday O’Leary and his nickname is Mungo Bubbles. I love mangoes, so changed Mungo to Mango and hey presto!
“The first review I wrote when the site launched in June 2014 was of Mr Gum and I’ve met Andy Stanton a couple of times since (see picture below).”
For his favourite five, Ruben decided to pick five picture books that he loved as a little boy. Here they are, in no particular order…
The Flanimals by Ricky Gervais (Faber & Faber)
“This book is an encyclopaedia of made up characters, such as Grundit, Adult Mernimbler and Baby Munty Flumple. It is really funny, and the illustrations are great! There is even a quiz at the end. I made my mum and my granny read this to me so many times, the pages are crumpled!”
Q Pootle 5 by Nick Butterworth (HarperCollins Children’s)
“Q Pootle 5 is about an alien who has to emergency land on Earth, because his rocket boosters won’t boost. He is on his way to a moon party. But all there is on Earth is a frog, three birds, a cat called Colin. This is a great book.”
The Grumpalump by Sarah Hayes & Barbara Firth (Walker)
“This is such a funny book. It is about a thing called the Grumpalump, and a group of animals try to discover what it is. It is a repetitive, rhyming story, with a surprising ending.”
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson & Axel Schleffer (Macmillan)
“Everyone knows Room on the Broom. It must’ve been one of the first books my mum and dad got for me, and my mum says that at that time, she could nearly recite it!”
Peanut by David Lucas (Walker)
“Peanut is all about a little monkey, that was born in a flower, in a tree. When he opened his eyes, he was so small, he thought he was a peanut, therefore he called himself Peanut. So little Peanut doesn’t know how the world works, yet, due to this, he meets a Beetle called Beetle. These two then become friends.”
Check out Ruben’s blog at MangoBubblesBooks.com