Books, Glorious Books!

Holidays are the best times for you to READ! Don’t just sit around playing games, spend time with your nose in a phone or watch Netflix day in, day out! Make the most of that free time and get stuck in a good book! And if you’re travelling to spend the holidays someplace away from home, even better! Kill time by reading a book! Whether you’re on a plane, in a car, travelling by bus or cruising in the sea, read! You can read anywhere: in the kitchen, in the garden, at the park, at the beach, or even in the bathroom!

Here’s my latest catch, some of which were bought by Mr Dad (thank you so much!), but most borrowed from my local library. So far, I have managed to read 8 of them, which leaves me with another 9 to go! Stay tuned for my next posts, I’ll be sharing more about the books I’ve read with all of you fellow bookworms!

“When people ask me if I like reading, it’s like asking me if I like breathing.”

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Here’s a complete list of the books as seen in the picture, from top to bottom:

  1. Through The Mirror Door – Sarah Baker
  2. Grandpa’s Great Escape – David Walliams
  3. The Wonderling – Mira Bartok
  4. The Bolds In Trouble – Julian Clary
  5. Book 3 of All The Wrong Questions: “Shouldn’t You Be In School?” – Lemony Snicket
  6. Wildwood – Colin Meloy
  7. Under Wildwood – Colin Meloy
  8. The Midnight Gang – David Walliams
  9. My Arch-Enemy is a Brain in a Jar – David Solomons
  10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
  11. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  12. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  13. The Song From Somewhere Else – A.F. Harrold
  14. The Tiffin – Mahtab Narsimhan
  15. Wilderness – Roddy Doyle
  16. Where The World Ends – Geraldine McCaughrean
  17. Where My Wellies Take Me – Michael Morpurgo *missing from the picture*
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Officially A King Edward’s Boy!

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It’s official! I am finally a King Edward’s boy! 😆 I’m going to go to King Edward’s School (KES), my dream school! I am more than over the moon right now, and all the hard work and sacrifices that led up to this moment have paid off!

When I was in Year 5, my class teacher, Mr Webster, said I had the potential to apply for a grammar school. At the time, I was clueless as to what a grammar school was. I had never heard of it. All I knew was that after Year 6, I’d be going to a normal secondary school. Mr Webster then gave me a leaflet for an open day at King Edward’s School. I went home and did some research, and I found out that KES was one of the best schools in the UK and one of its famous alumni was the author of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’, J.R.R. Tolkien himself! That’s when I decided that I had to attend their open day!

It was 18th March 2017 when I first set foot into my dream school for their open day. It was like I was Harry Potter stepping into Hogwarts! The building looked old and grand, and almost castle-like – just the way I like it! I felt that connection between us as soon as I stepped through the front doors. KES was the only grammar school I visited, and I didn’t want to go anywhere else. Whenever people asked me what my school choices were, I always said KES and only KES! Everybody was surprised because the other students had at least 3 choices of schools that they wanted to go to…but not me! I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else other than KES!

The entry requirements to join a grammar school were not easy! First, I had to take and pass a test called the 11+ to be considered for a place at any of the grammar schools, and a separate entrance test for KES. And I couldn’t just pass the test! The results had to be outstanding because there were thousands of students like me sitting for it too! However, Mrs Mom was gravely ill at the time and Mr Dad had his hands full with taking care of Mrs Mom and Fatimah and Ali, so, unlike the many other people who started preparing many years back, I had to start a few days into the summer holidays when the 11+ was less than one month away in September (2017)! 😰

Preparing for the 11+ was hard enough as the things I had to learn were not covered in school, but the search for someone to become my tutor was FRANTIC. Almost everybody turned me down because it was seemingly impossible when everyone had started two or three years back when I had to cover everything in less than a month, but one person had gone beyond the act of kindness and took me as a student of her own – Auntie Shaheen. We didn’t even know her. She was a complete stranger to us but she was like a God-sent angel! She was willing to give me some guidance and support so that I could do the test! I couldn’t have done it without her and I will never be able to thank her enough! Not only that, she also guided Mrs Mom and Mr Dad and told them what they could do to teach me from home!

The whole family was super supportive too! Dadajee and Dadijee flew all the way from Malaysia to help us! Mrs Mom and Mr Dad taught me all they knew, Dadajee always sat by my side every day to help me and time my practice tests, and also made sure that I had enough rest, Dadijee took over the kitchen and made sure all the food was ready and everybody else encouraged me to keep on working hard! Dr Auntie and Mamajee also played their part in assisting me in my studies! I studied from morning to evening and we didn’t go on holiday anywhere during that summer! But I think that the hardest thing I had to sacrifice was reading! I have Obsessive Reading Disorder😁, and giving up my books was like TORTURE!!! There were days when I found myself reading the back of cereal boxes at breakfast time – that was how desperate I was to find something, ANYTHING to read! 😂

After plenty of preparation, the day of the 11+ finally arrived, and I wouldn’t say I whizzed through it with ease, but I was feeling pretty confident! Soon, it was over, and there was nothing I could do other than pray and wait for the KES test. That came in a matter of a couple of weeks, too, and the anxiety was getting to me. 😞

Then, one fateful day, I was at school when I was unexpectedly called out of class by Mrs Chesney-Ly, my school’s English Leader. She told me that Mrs Mom had called. I wasn’t that sure about why. Maybe something serious had happened at home. But then, I put the phone to my ear and when the conversation ended, I was speechless. I had passed the 11+ – with flying colours! I nearly burst into tears of joy! This was basically a dream come true! Now I could go to any grammar school I wanted to! I can still remember that moment when I broke the news to Miss Patrick, my class teacher, she jumped up, waving her hands in the air, and shouted my results out to the whole class!

I thought that this was the last of God’s blessings because this was much, much more than I asked for! I quote what Auntie Shaheen said: “Now you don’t have to worry about anything! No school will reject you!” I had hoped to just pass the 11+, but I had excelled! But later on, we got a phone call from none other than King Edward’s School…my dream school! Apparently, I had done extremely good in their entrance test, and had been offered a school place with a chance to get a scholarship out of the 125 students! In order to actually get the scholarship, I would have to attend a separate interview at the school. The funny thing is that the results for the 11+ were released on Mrs Mom’s birthday (10th October 2017), the call was on Mamajee’s birthday (10th November 2017), and the interview was scheduled on Dr Auntie’s birthday (14th November 2017)! I had a good feeling about this, and when the interview was over and done with, I was glad that I had done my best. But deep inside, only God knew how anxious I was about not being able to get the scholarship because the yearly school fees for KES were extremely high! 😳

Then, the awaited day came when we were all waiting for a letter from King Edward’s School. It was the day before the deadline date for the outcome of the scholarship interviews. The night before, me, Mrs Mom and Mr Dad were discussing that it was fine if I didn’t get the place, even if it did break my heart 💔. KES seemed far out of my reach, and we were grateful that we wouldn’t have a problem to secure a place at any normal grammar school. I was restless, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then when I came home from school that day (Thursday 7th December 2017), I found a letter on the fireplace addressed to me and it had a KES stamp on it. Both Mrs Mom and Mr Dad were there too. They were both waiting for me to open it. I opened it nervously…and I couldn’t believe my eyes! Suddenly all the tension melted away, as if a weight had been lifted off my back. I had been awarded the full scholarship! It was one of the happiest days of my life – I burst into tears of joy! I was going to be able to go to my dream school, where one of my idol authors studied, where I would be able to do great things! I am truly blessed!

So only a few days ago, on Thursday 28th of June, me and the family were invited to the Admissions Ceremony, where I was formally welcomed into the school! Walking up onto the stage to shake the Chief Master’s hand – Dr Mark Fenton – feelings of nervousness overwhelmed by excitement passed through me. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening, that I actually had the chance to go to my dream school and make my family proud! 😊

Dear Future Pawsome Lion,

You may be reading this in 10 years or so from today, Sunday 1st July 2018, and if you are, then never forget all the people who sacrificed things for you! Remember what your family has done for you, what Mrs Mom and Mr Dad have been through, what Fatimah and Ali have had to sacrifice for you, all the prayers family, friends and teachers have sent for you, and all the hard work everybody has done for you, because without everything, you wouldn’t be who you are today! And most importantly, please remember to stay humble, be thankful to God as He has given you more than you wished for, and be a great person in this world so that hopefully one day…YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

From The 11-year-old Pawsome Lion

Sunday 1st July 2018

Dear God,

Thank you for all the blessings You have bestowed on me and my family. I can’t thank You enough! Please restore all world peace so children across the world can have happy moments like this too and can grow into wonderful people who can make a good difference in this world and SHINE…

p/s: Feeling:

  • Blessed 😇
  • Grateful 🙏
  • Excited 😜

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123 Countries…And Counting!

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Did you know that my blog has been read by 123 countries and counting till date? Unbelievable, right? There are a total of 195 countries in the whole world, and 123 of them have read my humble blog!

I started blogging way back in 2015 at the age of 9. I’ve been through such a long journey since I started, and learnt so much along the way! For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to write. I recall writing from as young as the age of 4! And before I could even write, I expressed my passion of writing through drawing! From there, I built up my skill in writing. I can see now why Mrs Mom says I was ‘BORN TO WRITE!’

The main purpose of me launching this blog was to encourage more people to read and write. Reading and writing open up the imagination and increase creativity, which is why I think it is very vital in today’s modern society. It’s important to challenge ourselves to read every day, however much you do, because reading leads to writing. Whether you read one page a day or one chapter, you just need to remember to keep it consistent, the same way with writing too.

I Thank God for blessing me with my greatest skill, writing, because without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today! Also, I want to take the opportunity to THANK all the people who have been reading my blog and showing me immense support! I mean, 123 countries? I couldn’t ask for more! I can still remember when I went for my interview at King Edward’s School, the interviewers were surprised to find out that an 11-year old boy could attract readers from all over the world! To be able to write is one thing, to get people from over 100 countries to read your work is a completely different story!

Without my family, teachers, friends, and of course, you PAWSOME readers, I wouldn’t be where I am today! I really appreciate all your kindness and PAWSOME support. Keep calm and carry on reading so that TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

Into The Forest, But Never Out…

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The sun was high in the sky, but did not illuminate the dismal forest much, as its shine was filtered through the foliage of the dense forest canopy, leaving only a few rays of light touching the ground. Even so, there were many things to keep me relaxed while walking through such a place. The psithurism, for instance, was very calming as it travelled into my ears. The sweet scent of flowers and wild berries was quite soothing too. Other than the fact that the rest of the forest was not quite pleasant, one could agree that it was quite an enjoyable walk.

But, there is always a chance of an unexpected event ( a abad one, too, that is) happening at a time like this. And so that was the case for me. I realised that the air wasn’t quite as warm as it was before. I pulled my coat tighter around my body. The lovely aroma which had so wonderfully tantalised my nose whilst wafting through the air no longer lingered near me. It seemed unearthly for everything to change so suddenly. But then, I was walking through the forest in the middle of nowhere; anything could happen, what with the lack of light and vast air space. I told myself that I was just imagining things. I shook the thought off.

I continued on my journey for about 10 minutes, maybe 20, and just when I thought everything was going fine, I came face to face with another obstruction, the biggest one of all.

CRUNCH! The leaves behind me rustled. A few bushes shook. Somewhere in the forest, I heard the unmistakeable cry of a human. Now I was worried. My rapid breathing filled the air: it seemed to encourage the trees to whisper back. SNAP! A twig broke. Another scream. All my surroundings seemed to revolved around me, and just as I was about to turn and run, I met the worst thing I could have ever imagined: Him…

11 Fun Facts About Fatimah & Ali!

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Fatimah and Ali are two cute, lovable kiddies, and an interesting brother and sister! Their charm just gets to everyone, and they are full of personality. There is so much to know about them, but here, I’ve listed the 11 fun facts that you probably didn’t know about Fatimah and Ali!

  1. Bread is their favourite, but Fatimah prefers toast (she calls it ‘roti keras’) whereas Ali likes soft bread.
  2. Fatimah is more fond of Malaysia but Ali is all about Thailand.
  3. They both love animals so much!
  4. Fatimah is more mature and serious, but Ali is a jolly kind of person and likes to crack a joke and make people laugh!
  5. Fatimah prefers hot weather, but Ali can’t stand the heat at all! Winter is like summer for him!
  6. Fatimah has always spoken her own mind from a very early age, while Ali is the master imitator – he mimics Fatimah most of the time!
  7. They love reading a lot – we have to read them 4-5 books (or more) every day! The library has become their new favourite place!
  8. Both Fatimah and Ali enjoy swimming.
  9. Meat is a must-have for Ali, while he does like eating his greens. However, Fatimah prefers vegetables more than meat.
  10. Yoga is something Fatimah can’t live without! She also likes to do kickboxing with Mr Dad.
  11. Ali is CRAZY about elephants! He even calls himself ‘Ali Chang’ (‘chang’ means ‘elephant’ in Thai)!

#my11things

Want To Write? Start With Reading!

I’ve received many requests to share my writing tips. Well, to be honest, I don’t really have any, but I’ve always loved to read. It’s been a major part of developing my writing skills and I have to admit, I have ORD – Obsessive Reading Disorder! Just one book a day can stimulate my mind into creative mode and get those imaginative juices flowing. So no, I don’t really have any tips, but I believe there is one core, essential practice which is the foundation of writing.

You. Need. To. READ.

Seem daunting? It might sound like that at first, but it is the key to writing. You’ll need to read to find ideas and check your work. It happens whilst you’re writing! When I say read, I don’t mean read for a day or two then stop, I mean read everyday! Make it part of your daily routine. Make it part of your LIFE! Keep a book close wherever you go, so if you have spare time, you can open it up and peruse with ease.

At an early age, we all learn to read and as we get older, we start to read more difficult texts. We’ve been reading naturally all this time, and yet some people sweat at the thought of having to read something. If you could do it so young, why can’t you do it now?

The action of reading has many benefits. Books can teach us grammar and punctuation skills and language basics. Your vocabulary will be enriched too. Books are like dictionaries – there’s bound to be new words on show! The human brain is similar to a sponge, so it will absorb everything it reads. For me, reading also enlarges my imagination and stimulates my creativity. Books have many other benefits, such as improving your health, helping growth and much more. It’s clear that books are a writer’s best friends!

So now you see why reading is so crucial. We shouldn’t just give up reading because it seems hard or boring. If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this right now! But then there’s the choice of what to read and what’s good to read and what’s bad. Well, like I have said in the previous post, there is nothing good or bad, it’s just what you personally prefer! I love reading science fiction and fantasy, but other people might not. However, even though I like these specific genres, I still read a broad range of books. It’s great to read many books, but if you want, you can find the genre that suits you. The best way to find your perfect genre is to read a range of them, and work out their pros and cons so you will be able to find the one that you like the most. Once that’s done, you can read with relaxation and soon write! Remember, reading is an important step towards making yourself a better writer!

Yes, I think it’s great to read, but when I say ‘read’, I don’t mean just in English. You can read in your own mother tongue or your preferred language! Be it Malay, Urdu, Thai, Arabic, Gaelic, Chinese…you can read in any language you want! Don’t let language be a barrier that stops you from reading! And of course, remember to be bold, be brave, challenge yourself to read, readREAD and never stop reading! Now, if you’ve managed to read up to this point, then you’ve successfully read 581 words! So that’s me sharing my experience with you. Hope you find it useful.

Keep calm and carry on reading so that TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

– Lemony Snicket

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11 Things To Do in a Tech-free World…

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Technology is a wonderful thing and is probably the vital core of today’s society. It has many great features and has helped innovate scientific progress; Thomas Alva Edison couldn’t have invented the light bulb without a little (or maybe a lot) of knowledge in this great scientific study! But tonight, Mrs Mom asked me an unexpected question:

“What would you do if you woke up one day and technology was gone?”

Now this was a very interesting question, and I replied, “For this, I will give you not one, but 11 answers!”, and so here they are!

  1. Convince my friends that they are not living in a nightmare
  2. Run for Prime Minister
  3.  If I do become Prime Minister, create a new law that states:     “Subjects are required to partake in a daily writing session of 5 minutes (or, in some cases, less) in length. If the subject is unable to write, they may read as another option, or vice versa.” ———–Gov. Law Act No. 105
  4. Interview Raymond Briggs
  5. Vote for free Harry Potter books
  6. Cross-breed an apple with a peach
  7. Adopt a pet panda and name him Noodles
  8. Sleep with a book in my bed
  9. Mail my friends a book each month
  10. Add an extra September to the calendar
  11. Devote a room to stationery

These are the 11 things I would do if there was no technology in this world. What about you? Share your 11 things and don’t forget to use the hashtag #my11things .

11 Things I Love About You

Dear Mr Dad,

The 17th of June has always been a date that our family looks forward to. Yes, it’s your birthday and it’s right next to Father’s Day (Lucky you!)! That’s why I’m writing this post!

Over the years, you’ve been a PAWSOME father and a great husband for Mrs Mom, and you’ve made a lot of sacrifices for us. Ever since I was born, you’ve been like my best friend and you haven’t failed to keep Little Miss Diva and Ali the Salt Bubba happy too! You’ve got a great sense of humour and you’ve got a heart of pure gold! You’ve supported us and loved us with all your heart and you’ve always stood by our side. You are a very -and I mean VERY – PAWSOME dad! After all, you are the one and only Mr Dad! So, we’d all like to say THANK YOU for everything you’ve done! We really appreciate it! And since it’s such a special occasion, I’ve written a lovely (hopefully you’ll find it that way) poem, just for you!

11 Things I Love About You

A poem written by Omar Mukhtar, The Pawsome Lion on behalf of the whole family

Fatimah The Little Miss Diva, Ali The Salt Bubba and Mrs Mom

I love the way you keep us happy,

The way you sing to us,

I love how you smile at us in the morning,

The way you advise us

I love the way you play chess with me,

The way you comb our hair,

I love how you know how to make us laugh,

The way you help with your great sense of fashion

I love the way you love Mrs Mom, 

And how you care for her,

But most importantly, I love the way you stand by our side

Which makes you a PAWSOME father!

And on this special day, I’d like to say…

Happy Birthday! Happy Father’s Day!

From your loving family!

Happy birthday and Happy Father’s Day, Mr Dad! We hope they both turn out to be great days! May God grant all of your wishes and make them the best days ever! 😀

p/s: Dear God,

Please reserve my dad the best place in heaven coz he totally deserves it!

The BFR – Summer Reading Challenge

Hey pawsome peeps! Hope all is well…

Yesterday was officially the first day of the Summer Holidays! Yay!!! 😎 I have got a very jam-packed plan to keep me busy all throughout the summer, and I’m sure your schedule is too. Talking about keeping ourselves occupied, a PAWSOME challenge was recently launched last week on Saturday 16th July. It was called…The Summer Reading Challenge!  📚 It is a reading challenge that takes place in the summer holidays every year.

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Since The Summer Reading Challenge is a yearly thing, there is a theme for each one. This year the theme is called The Big Friendly Read and it is marking 100 years of the world’s famous storyteller, Roald Dahl! That’s why the title sounds like one of Roald’s well-known books, The Big Friendly Giant or The BFG!

Moving on, I will tell you the purpose of this challenge. Nowadays, children are playing video games and watching TV. The aim of the challenge is to encourage children to drop everything, grab a book and start reading! Believe it or not, reading can take you on the journey of a lifetime! If you want to find out more details about it, you can visit the website: http://www.summerreadingchallenge.org.uk  On their website, you will find a book count and till now, 543, 877 books have been read! WOW!!! That’s a lot! I bet that when summer ends, we can reach a million!

To complete this challenge, you will to have to read 6 library books of your choice and visit the library 3 times. As you progress throughout the challenge, you will be rewarded with amazing things like rainbow glasses and wristbands. And, at the end of the summer holidays, your local library’s representative will go to your school and give you 2 final awards, a medal and a certificate! 🏆

Last week, me and Little Miss Diva already signed up for The Summer Reading Challenge at Thimblemill Library, our local library, and we borrowed 2 books each. We also got a cool folder called The Collector Card Folder. It will be used to store our collector cards each time we visit. I have already finished my first book and I’ve just got a few more pages left in my second book. I’ll be going back tomorrow to exchange them for another 2 new books. Maybe I’ll get some collector cards then!

To end this post, I am pleading to everyone, spend your summertime wisely! Don’t waste it away, sign up for The Summer Reading Challenge! That means less time on Minecraft and Pokemon Go! 😉 Don’t delay, read today so TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD! 💪

p/s: Please kindly visit my YouTube channel – The Pawsome Lion, to watch my brand new VLOG! Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE 😁