Where did it all begin?
Five years ago, Mango Bubbles Boy (then aged 8) decided to set up a book review website. With a bit of help from Mum, the site was built and Mango wrote his first review: You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton. (Which by the way is still ranked by Mango HQ as the best book ever written.)
After that, things got a bit wild. Mango’s school friends started sending reviews. One was of The Mystery of the Cursed Ruby by the wonderful Helen Moss. Helen read it, left us a comment and wrote about it on her own blog. And we realised that – of course! – authors love reading reviews written by kids.
Since then authors, book festival organisers, teachers, parents, grandparents and even national newspapers have contacted us, and helped make Mango Bubbles Books what it is today.
Mango Bubbles Boy has written a LOT of reviews. But so has the super talented Banana Girl. Not only has she written loads of brilliant reviews, BG began a trend for DRAWN reviews. We love her pictures and are in awe of her.
In fact, Banana Girl got her whole class involved. And several other children since then have sent pictures inspired by their favourite books.
Over the past five years, we have published about 460 reviews by 147 children aged between 4 and 15 (actually more than that, as whole classes have sent reviews). People in countries all over the world have visited the website, looking for cool new books to read. We love this comment from one of our young visitors, a 9 year-old boy:
“I absolutely love this website you’ve made me want to read a lot of these books”
Mango Bubbles Boy has been asked to perform at and host events for Hertford Children’s Book Festival and the ChipLit Festival. He was a special guest at a House of Lords reception for literacy charity Coram Beanstalk. And he and Banana Girl introduced Robin Stevens and Katherine Woodfine at the Federation of Children’s Book Group’s annual conference. (In the lead-up to this event, Mango and Banana, with the help of author Alice Hemming, made a film explaining more about the website.)
Fundraising for Beanstalk
To mark Mango Bubbles Books’s first anniversary, we organised author visits to Mango’s school and an event at our local independent children’s bookshop Leaf – all to raise funds for Coram Beanstalk. The events were such a success, we did it again the next year, and the one after.
Top-notch authors have given their time and energy to help with this: Steve Cole, Abi Elphinstone, Polly Faber, Tatum Flynn, Alice Hemming, Anna Kemp, Helen Moss, Kate Scott, Robin Stevens, Piers Torday and Elli Woollard. We are so grateful for their support and generosity.
Mango Bubbles Boy and Banana Girl are heading into Year 10 in September and are studying hard. They are still reading loads of books, but don’t have as much time now to write reviews. But this little website has become an important place for children to find book recommendations, read reviews, and have their reviews and drawings published. So Mango Bubbles Books will continue for another five, ten, fifty years!
Reviews continue to be sent to us from children all over the UK and abroad. Each one is published, and every child receives a certificate and has their name added to our list of heroic book reviewers. They are all super stars. And we hope many more kids will find and use the site.
We welcome all support – from schools, teachers, parents and carers, librarians, authors and publishers. There is a serious side to this site. We want children to know the huge range of books out there and to fall in love with reading for pleasure, for life. If you have ideas or suggestions, or want to find out more, please get in touch or leave a comment below.
Happy birthday to us, thank you to you, and happy reading!