Acknowledging the challenges we've each had to face in the past few months, this week I've been reminded of teachers, in all that they have had to deal with, and how they have contributed.
There was a powerful article in the 'Guardian' yesterday detailing the experiences of three 'ordinary' people at the frontline of our current crisis.
It included a moving account of a headteacher who spoke openly about his struggles leading his school and his community. You can read it here.
I've heard of headteachers who have taken time to write to parents every day giving them encouragement in home schooling but also suggesting topics for conversation at mealtimes, and books to read together at bedtime. That contact and reassurance has, I'm sure, been invaluable.
Teaching has always been more than lessons in the classroom. There was sad news this week of the death of Wendy Cooling, a former teacher who spent her life reaching out to families with books. She founded the BookStart initiative providing books for babies and toddlers, to encourage a lifelong love of reading.
So my recommended non-fiction title this week is the memoir of poet Kate Clanchy recalling her teaching career. Scroll down for more details.
While the weather doesn't really support this statement, we're now in the summer months and, due to lockdown, we are being treated to lots of great novels whose publication dates were delayed due to the crisis.
I've listed a number of new titles on my website, so I hope you'll take a look when you're seeking ideas for your next book.
Among this week's releases, you might like to consider 'Rodham', a fictionalised alternative life for Hillary Rodham Clinton by Curtis Sittenfeld. And Meg Rosoff's new book 'The Great Godden'. We'll have more news of that next time.
For a fun read, I highly recommend 'The Shelf' a debut novel by Helly Acton about a reality tv programme with a difference.
Whether you're a fan of reality tv or not, a series on Radio 4 investigating the impact of the genre is worth a listen. Called 'Watching Us', you can listen to it here. It's 20 years since 'Big Brother' was aired. It's a programme "which changed history, revolutionised TV and transformed our ideas about truth, surveillance, technology and politics". Fascinating.
One last thing to mention - I'll be joining Lesley Dolphin on BBC Radio Suffolk on Tuesday afternoon, and it would be lovely if you can listen in, or email or text if you have read this month's book 'The Hunting Party'. If you want to catch past programmes, they're all archived on my website here!