Book Review: The Celestina Code by Nora Szanto

The summer holidays can be seen as much needed respite for children; the school term can be pretty full on. However, there is evidence to suggest that it might actually do their brains more harm than good. From learning everyday to then not doing anything, is a big change. So learning when they may not even realise it is key. Learning loss is often what this time is called when they have spent time learning something. Then not use that information in any way, meaning that they can lose levels of abilities that they once had.

One thing that really helps children to keep learning over the summer break from school is by reading. They are learning language and word skills, phonics, using their imagination, and spelling. This is especially true if they are reading the right kinds of books for their level, so that nothing is too easy and they are being pushed. Plus, when children want to read for pleasure, it not only means that they are away from screens, but it encourages a love of reading that will set them up for life.

Choosing a book to read

Books need to be at the right level, as has been mentioned. A book that my eldest son, age 10, has been sent to read over the summer is Nora Tollenaar-Szanto’s book, The Celestina Code.

The Celestina Code is aimed at tweens and teens, for children aged from 10-14. It is an adventure fiction book but it comes with a twist, making it a must read for children over summer. I really like that the book is aiming to inspire the readers to aim high for their dreams, achieve, overcome adversity, and reach their goals with integrity and dedication.

Social-Emotional Learning

Any parent will know just how much the pandemic has impacted children. But even that aside, before all of that chaos, one in seven teenagers are reported to suffer with mental health problems. A book that helps children to deal with these kinds of issues, and promote overcoming obstacles, then now is the time for one. The book is not overly ‘preachy’ or anything, but there are subtle things that can help children to have a positive attitude, all while enjoying the thrilling and gripping story.

The Celestina Code can help children when reading by:

  • Increasing self-confidence
  • Encourage a growth mindset
  • Develop emotional intelligence
  • Learn how to deal with things that lead to anxiety and when faced with limiting beliefs (from self or others)

Book Review

The story that helps that social-emotional learning is from the point of view of. Female protagonist, Abby. she wants to save her school, but it involves head-to-heads with competing local schools, as well as teleportation, looking for clues, and solving codes. The two worlds connect but with risks of things going wrong, there is a lot of pressure.

It is a book that is unlike anything Max has ever read before. He doesn’t mind reading a book with a girl as the main character, and he found the whole journey and twists and turns really interesting. Max is quite a keen reader as it is, but the book isn’t a mammoth read, so it fit in his bag when he went to stay with grandparents and didn’t take too long to finish. He enjoyed it and said he was glued to the pages, wanting to know what happens next and how the characters will react to what comes their way.

Max gave the book four stars out of five, so I’m quite keen now to finish it myself (I know I’m not the target market but thought I’d give it a go – am half-way through and enjoying it so far). It definitely is not like a book I have read before, which is fab.

Have you heard of this book before? It would be great to hear what you think. You can buy the book on Amazon, costing £10.67 (at time of this post being published).

*the book has been gifted in exchange for a review.

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