The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- Children’s classic #20MinuteThursdays

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- First edition cover published in 1900

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is a popular and much celebrated American children’s classic published in 1900 by the George M Hill Company. Written by Lyman Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W Denslow, the Library of Congress, declared it ‘America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale’. The book had sold 3 million copies by the time it entered public domain in 1956. You can listen to the Chapters 1 to 6 here or mute them and read along. Join us again next week for Part 7 & 8. Recommended for children aged 6 and above.

Key Vocabulary- Here is a list of key vocabulary words used in this original classic- get to know them before you listen to the story.

Cyclone, Whirlwind, Luscious, Plumage, Brook, Sorceress, Emeralds, Earnestly, Reproachfully, Anxious, Inconvenient, Comrade, Dwells, Coward, Courage, Hinges

Part 1- Chapters 1&2

Part 2 Chapters 3 & 4

Part 3 Chapters 5 & 6

A hopeful review of The Book of Hopes

The Book Of Hopes

The Book of Hopes is pioneered and edited by author Katherine Rundell with contributions from over a hundred acclaimed authors and illustrators and is dedicated to the real heroes of this unprecedented time – the doctors, nursers, carers, cleaners, porters and everyone working in the hospitals. The book is available for a limited time free of cost on the Literacy Trust website. You can access the link here.

The Foreword by Katherine Rundell

Katherine begins her foreword- A very short note about hope, to let us in on how this book came to be and we get to know that this book is created to make readers become like ‘possibilityists’ – someone who’s not a pessimist but not an optimist either. It’s someone who can appreciate the infinite possibilities in the world, to bring a laugh, a snort or a smile, even wonder about the wonderful history of our human species with endless possibilities of change. Over a hundred writers and illustrators came together, at the behest of Ms. Rundell, to seek these moments of hope out for us and catch them in between the pages of this book- aptly called The Book of Hopes. Click on the link to read now or read on and check out our review.

The artwork

The book is studded with some gorgeous illustrations. It starts off with The Hope Tree by Alex Scheffler and the world through a window by Lauren Child- portraying the life in times of lock-down- a sad looking girl stands behind the window and watches myriad color birds chirp on the a tree outside. Plumdog Delight by Emma Chichester Clark- a glorious picture of black dog with starbursts shooting out above his head and many more. Do take a moment for them.

The works

The book features a series of short stories, texts, poems and artworks of a variety of different genres, and generally 500-words a piece. It’s perfect for all animal lovers – dogs and cats, birds and insects, there are whole sections devoted to them. Generally, the text is suitable for 8 years and above with interest level of 12+ (except the animal section that I felt the younger readers will also quite enjoy) I read through the first 108 pages of the 377 in this book, and typed out my reviews as I went. For the rest of the book, I cherry picked texts at random, some because of a favourite author, the others due to the title or an illustration or because i couldn’t contain my excitement to rush to the ‘Magic’ section and read the story of ‘The Hummingbird’s smile’ by Sophie Anderson. I do look forward to reading all the rest in time, and will add to this blog. This is a book to be enjoyed in snack bites, as Rundell recommends – after breakfast, then lunch and then maybe some more after dinner. There is something in every story for someone so do read them all.

The Monk & the Armadillo by Onjali Q Rauf– an anecdote about finding purpose in one’s life. The story of an accomplished monk in the mountains, who thought he’d found everything there was to know in the world. Whilst waiting for a sign, he finds his purpose- his true find. Purpose can bring joy to every life even if it takes time. The story flows instantly and catches your attention, and before you know it, its over. The monk may be symbolic of Ms Rauf herself and the Armadillo from the deserts probably the refugee families she worked with and supported or maybe her glorious writing. What did you think?

Hope by Anthony Horowitz

A lovely rhyming account of a hopeless town, ironically called the town of Hope. Hope cannot exist outside in a town but it’s what lives inside your heart. The poem ends with meaningful message – “It’s so much easier to cope, when you decide to live in hope.

A way to the stars by David Almond

A free verse poem that urges you to dream on, shoot for the stars and truly hope to reach them one day. But remember, it reminds you, not overtly but through its account, to make the journey count, who knows when and where you might land?

Bag for Life by Joseph Elliott

A father and a child walk for days across a forest, clutching onto a bag of hope, saving it for when they’re truly desperate. The account foretold the end somehow, but i enjoyed it, it is an interesting read. A story of how this dad, uses a tiny glimmer of hope to help his little girl make it through a jungle of despair.

Searching for treasure by Annabel Pitcher

An endearing story of two brothers and their quest to find treasure at the end of the rainbow, there is surely one out there says the younger one, or is there? What stands out in this story is not an adventure of a treasure hunt but the two brothers, who’re usually annoying to each other, but then help each other find a rainbow.

The Lamagaia Nest by Jaspinder Bilan

Is a beautiful story of bonding and adventure. Asha and her Nanijee walk up the mountains looking for a Lamagaia’s nest. What I loved about this story was how beautifully, Bilan paints a picture with words, you can almost feel, hear and taste the place.

The Hungriest Caterpillar by Isabel Thomas

I totally loved this story of ‘serendipity’- a chance finding of the superpowers hidden inside the anatomy of wax moth caterpillars, using which they were found to digest plastics, notorious for being undegraded for hundreds of years. The nature continues to amaze, if you pause and care to look.

Moses and the Watering Can by William Sutcliffe

Such a delightful tale of a cat named Moses (how lovely) and a mouse (called mouse in the story) A true story from (I reckon) Sutcliffe household that, after a gushing narrative, leaves a priceless nugget behind- “Bravery often isn’t about noisy heroics, it’s about patience and quiet resourcefulness”, a reminder Mr Mouse left at some point for all of us to enjoy today.

The Hummingbird’s Smile by Sophie Anderson

I love Sophie’s ability to instantly create a magical adventure that builds from a legend and reads like a classic. This story will definitely bring a smile to your face, as joyful as a smile, you can get only when you spot a glowing hummingbird in a maze.

The Young Bird Catcher by Katherine Rundell

What begins with Rundell’s ‘Short Note about Hope’, also ends with a glorious story by her of hope, birds, love and freedom and of wishes coming true. It somehow reminds me of Rooftoppers, even though the plots are nowhere alike. There are two kindred spirits- Robert and Elizabeth and a zany rich man who collects ‘luxury birds’ but cannot stand them cheep or flit. Robert wishes for three things – to not have to peddle live birds for dead money, to get the attention of Elizabeth and to never see a cage ever again, and then three things happen in one magical instant. Don’t miss it.

This blog is written by Bhavna Mishra, founder of Browzly, a reading for pleasure focussed teaching and learning edtech. Browzly securely connects school communities-teachers, parents and students, to share what they read- create text and video reviews. Students get age and Lexile levelled reading recommendations. Members can take book and topic quizzes created by teachers or curated from Browzly. Readers can also list and swap books in their personal home collections with members in their school and gain points for the quizzes they take. Teachers can create or curate self-marking multimedia quizzes for their students, parents and peers on Browzly. Download the free app from Apple App store or Google Play or login on the website

The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse Video Story #20MinuteThursdays

The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse

The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse is a 1915 a classic children’s picture book written by Thornton W. Burgess and illustrated by Harrison Cady featuring on #20MinuteThursdays on Browzly. To help children read this classic and appreciate the beautiful original illustrations by Cady- we will bring you original text as as a video story in 4 parts. All the parts are now available here.


Danny Meadow Mouse starts with some inane worries about his short stubby tail that he fervently dislikes but soon comes to appreciate it as it helps him save his life is threatened by Reddy & Granny Fox, keen on his heels to make him their supper. Does Danny manage to escape? What new experience does friendship bring for Danny?

Start here with Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4 (Final Part)

This book was published a 105 years ago in 1915! In his lifetime, the author, Mr Burgess wrote over 170 books and 15000 stories, he must have been really popular in his time. What’s stands out when you read this story is how since its time, the English language has evolved. Many phrases used in this original unabridged story, although can be well understood, they have now gone out of practice. And quite a few words have a very different meaning to how they’ve been used here. There’re also a lot of similar events in the plot and proper nouns are repeated when they could have been shortened or replaced with a pronoun to make it a smoother read. The other thing we found quite different was how the plot and characters don’t carry through in the story. It appears that Mr Burgess thought pretty much like his main character Danny – who says – ‘if he thought too much about the things that had already happened, he couldn’t keep a sharp watch for the things that might happen’.

We hope you enjoyed listening to this story. Research shows that listening to stories read aloud fluently and fast- builds a more fluent and engaged reading experience for developing readers, even when texts are above the independent reading ability of the children. This helps them improve their own reading fluency and comprehension. So remember to read aloud to children and do sign them up on the Browzly app- so they can read with their school friends, share their text and video reviews, take comprehension quizzes, & discover and listen to many more books and stories.

The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse by Thornton W Burgess is in public domain and can be read, reproduced and shared freely. This story will be enjoyable for 5-8 year old children. Parents and Teachers can sign up their students on the Browzly app from App Store or Google Play to get reading recommendations personalized to each child’s age and reading level, listen to weekly audio stories and take fun book comprehension quizzes as they read.

How to support your students’ reading amidst lock downs

How to support Students’ reading practice amidst lock downs

If you’re a teacher or a parent, worried about how to support your students’ reading practice amidst the lock downs, we understand your pain. It’s not easy so we tried to make this post as a poem to help you easily understand how does Browzly work for you and your students? We hope in earnest that it at least brings a smile to your face and helps you support your student’s reading practice and learning wherever they may be at home or in class .

Hey! I’m Browzly, the cool guy who loves to read
If you want your students to do that too
you’ve come to the right app,
Browzly makes it fun to read 
coz, they do it with their school pals!

Discover books recommended just for them or swap one with the friends, see what Browzly recommends as per each student’s age & reading range
Not too easy not too hard, 12+ or primary class
Browzly shows what’s right for each child

Watch friends share what they’ve read, write or video a book review to present, 
then get a ready-made triangulation assessment.
Upload your school library or Search topic books for your class 
Track everyone’s progress, it’s easy and super fast. 

Teachers, choose any topic to teach, from a book, a video, sound byte, image or url please.
Share it on Browzly as a class assignment
Then add a quiz,
that marks itself without further involvement. 

When users share a book they read, 
a comprehension quiz could pop up to complete.
Grown-ups watch, support and track
It’s all automated, available through website and apps. 

Parents & teachers, register on the app, enroll your students for a reading challenge.
Win a title, make a personal record,
list all the books you’ve read since you were born!

Copyright 2020- Voice over of an upcoming demo video – written by Bhavna J Mishra

A Bett 2020 finalist and winner of Kids Judge Bett award, Browzly is reading for pleasure focused online teaching, learning & assessment technology personalized for schools and families and proven to improve reading engagement

If you have any feedback for us on the voice over shared above, we’d love to get your thoughts. As for Browzly, if you please do try it out today, download on the Apple App or Google Play to create your free account.

How does Browzly work

The Call of the Wild By John London on #20MinuteThursdays

Listen to Chapter 6 from The Call of the Wild writted by John London in episode 5 of #20MinuteThursdays narrated by Sumeet Mishra for Browzly. Up now on the Browzly app.


‘The call of the wild’ is an adventurous tale of suffering & fortitude of a sled dog called Buck. After multiple masters, who treat the sled dogs with utmost brutality, Buck finally finds Thornton, a master he can truly love and protects with his life. Author Jack London, was a maverick, macho young man. As a boy, he led a criminal life in San Francisco Bay. As a writer, he blazed briefly, lived hard and dangerously, and died from drink and drugs aged just 40, having written more than 50 books in 20 years. London uses complex vocabulary. The story is in parts violent & brutal showcasing human savagery against animals. Age rating 12+

If you listen on the app, audio stories are automatically filtered as per age of students so all content seen by the students is age appropriate. Download the app here- Apple App store and Google Play

Anne of Green Gables (Chapter 2)-20Minute Thursdays audio story

Listen to Chapter 2 ‘Matthew Cuthbert is surprised’ from the breathtaking 1908 novel- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Montgomerie in episode 4 of #20MinuteThursdays on Browzly. Up now on the Browzly app.

Parents & Teachers, try the free Browzly app and discover what all you can do to make your students’ online learning more engaging and fun. Teachers, you will be able to share lessons as audio, video or images and create self -marking multiple choice quizzes. Students will be able to watch the lessons and take the quiz, for you to be sure of their progress. You will be able to view quiz results for every child right from your app. Download the iOS app and try today. Android build is in process and should be up very soon.


Translated in over 36 languages and sold over 50 million copies, this episode brings alive the vivacious characters of both Anne Shirley and Matthew Cuthbert, as Anne is picked up from the train station by Matthew to spend a night at the Green Gables. After all, leaving her at the train station was not an option, now that the red-haired girl had accidentally arrived at the train station all the way from the orphanage instead of the boy that the Cuthberts had asked for. He would have to wait for Marilla to tell her about the mistake. The text here is the original text as first published. Lexile level 990. Age rating 8+

Browzly is a proven reading for pleasure program for families and classrooms, download the free Apple or Android app and try it now.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Part 1) 20-MinuteThursday audio story

|20MinuteThursdays bring Dracula (Part1) on Browzly

Click here to listen on YouTube

#20MinuteThursdays on Browzly present Dracula (Part 1) by Bram Stroker. This audio story is rated 12 years and above so it will be available to listen, in the post feeds of students from Year 7 onwards, on their Browzly app accounts. Teachers and parents will also find questions to discuss in class or at home in their post feeds.


When solicitor’s clerk Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania on business to meet a mysterious Romanian count named Dracula, he little expects the horrors this strange meeting will unleash. Thus Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel of blood and passion begins, rapidly accelerating from Harker’s nightmarish experiences in Castle Dracula to a full-fledged vampiric assault on late-Victorian London itself. Dracula is an example of an epistolary novel as the story is presented in a series of journal entries and letters-chronicles making it appear very realistic.

Signup on the Browzly app for your students to get age leveled audio-stories delivered to their feeds to listen and develop fluency, comprehension and a love of reading. A discussion question for teachers and parents to optionally use in class or at home is also shared. Teachers can create their account on the free Browzly app on ios devices, create posts such as this one and select classes/ parents or other teachers to share with. You may also create self-marking multimedia multiple choice topic or book quizzes with video, audio, pdf, url, image or books as attachments.

Audio Story: The Cursed Fangs & The Magic Paw

It’s the 5th of March 2020, Happy World Book Day, everyone! Today is an exciting day as we launch the very first episode of #20MinuteThursdays audio stories on Browzly. You and your students can listen to stories here on this blog, on our YouTube channel or get the ones that are just the right age level for your students by signing them up on the Browzly app. Play them to your class and spark a discussion, In this blog we recommend 2 questions you can discuss, when you play the very first episode of ‘The Cursed Fangs & the Magic Paw’. Written by Haneya Multani, this is an enthralling story with a heart and a message perfect for 8-11-year-olds.

Q1 Why did Whiskers turn into Whiskula? What do you think we can do to prevent such an incident from happening?

Recommended question for this audio story from Browzly

Q2 The story dramatizes the effect humans have on pets but do you think it might apply to humans themselves as well? For example- what do you think being uncared for, might do to people or children?

Recommended discussion for this audio story from Browzly

Next Thursday, we will bring to you yet another audio story with #20MinuteThursdays on Browzly.

Browzly is a proven reading for pleasure program for families and classrooms, download the free Apple or Android app and try it now.

Launching on World Book Day 2020-20MinuteThursdays

Join us every Thursday from the 5th of March 2020 to listen to some lovely audio stories

Share a Million Stories with Browzly, join us this World Book Day and listen to 20-minute-read-aloud audio stories from a variety of children’s books, every Thursday on Browzly

Make it easy and clock your 20 minutes of daily reading starting the 5th of March- World Book Day 2020. This year’s theme is Share a Million Stories and we want to celebrate this wonderful effort with you to promote the love of reading in every child and adult alike. Inviting all of you, especially teachers, parents, students, and authors to join us for #20MinuteThursdays from 5th of March 2020. Listen to 20 minutes of story reading from handpicked children’s books, bedtime stories, classics or picture books. Follow us here, or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram pages for updates. Download the Browzly ios or android app and sign up your students so stories that are of appropriate age level for them, get automatically filtered to their Browzly accounts and you can support and track their reading practice. 20 minutes of daily reading is highly recommended and beneficial for improving reading ability. Listening builds comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. It also encourages reluctant readers. If you are an author- do connect with us on, we would love to feature your stories on our channel.

If you are a parent or a teacher, you can register your students (6 years above) on Browzly iOS or Android apps. Download the app, its free for teachers and parents can avail a 1-week free trial. If you are an author or publisher, we would love to connect with you. You can write to us on to feature your stories and promote the work of your authors.

About Browzly

Browzly is a personalized and adaptive reading for pleasure program, proven to improve student reading engagement. Reading engagement grew 3X in a pilot school with students. Bett 2020 Edtech Awards finalist and winner of Kids Judge Bett awards, Browzly helps students across reading levels to experience & enhance their enjoyment of reading and improve their reading practice and comprehension by connecting them to other readers within their school community, share book and video reviews to create their reading records and take comprehension quizzes to show and measure their reading comprehension. For teachers, Browzly provides an easy platform to support and track each individual child, create self-marking quizzes, share assignments, videos, images and sound bytes to support and measure their reading practice & progress. Browzly, allows you to upload your school library, and filter recommended titles for each reader’s view. Every year readers on Browzly can participate in the popular Summer Reading Challenge, to stay connected with their friends and win some wonderful awards. Hit Follow now on Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, Facebook or Instagram for updates.

How to get boys interested in reading?

By Sumbhav M- 3 minutes read

Reading is a key life skill, it is required everywhere and in everything you do, however, certain studies depict boys as having much worse reading habits than girls! As a student, I have experienced similar things from my male peers who often look for more active sources of entertainment, this can leave a lasting impact on the reading ability of a boy. A study conducted by Keith Topping, professor of educational and social research at the University of Dundee, produced two research papers, one of them used data from 852,295 students from 3,243 schools which make up a considerable portion of school children in the UK. For more information on this study visit this article by The Guardian. Although for a quick summary, it shows that boys of any age read less thoroughly than girls and skip parts lazily, furthermore they do not pick challenging enough books not allowing them to progress as fast as girls their age do.

Through my own opinion and experience I made a list of five things to do to improve the reading engagement of boys:

1. Allow them to pick their books

Discovery of books that are interesting to boys is critical to their engagement, sometimes they may not be interested in topics that their mums or teachers think are good.  If they don’t like reading classics or any specific genre, forcing them to do so will just further harm their interest in reading. They should read books that appeal to their interests- comics, fantasy fiction, action-adventure authors, mangas, humour, anything, this will get them reading and allow them the opportunity to challenge themselves and progress to read books that are more difficult. In addition, try to keep up with their interests so that more meaningful books can be selected for them.

2. Make sure they have access to books

Reading interest will drop off if a child can’t access books, causing them to just forget about them after a while. Encourage boys to always take a book out from the library and make sure they have access to one, this makes reading a habit and more of a pastime showing that it is an acceptable hobby for boys.

3.  Try to set a reading routine

As a younger boy in primary years, I used to get to read more due to a set bedtime reading routine, however as time goes this routine is lost in the humdrum of homework, sport, friends and social networks, so I think having an agreement with your boy(s) about a set time or day when reading must happen, maybe over a weekend or on a lighter day- you could set a reward or negotiate a special treat for every week they do it, hopefully, soon it would become a hobby.

4.  Engage in discussion

After reading a book, discuss it with them and ask them about what they liked and disliked, these kinds of thought-provoking discussions will help organize the child’s thought about the books and will help them form an opinion about the kind of books they like, empowering them to read more. Moreover, these will help gauge the child’s reading comprehension so that it can be assessed whether the level of books the child is reading is appropriate to contribute to growth in their reading ability. Not only does this assist the child to move onto tougher material it also shows their overall interest in books.

5.   Set goals and keep them fun (especially since it’s Christmas)

Having something to work towards, really improves a child’s engagement in anything and is a strategy used by parents and teachers so the same thing can be applied to reading. Goals like ‘read three books during these Christmas holidays’ can be fun and get them a little competitive to read a book or more. You could also try playing this fun reading game for Christmas if you are getting together with family, and get a good laugh! When reading is enjoyable, achieving goals becomes easier even if it is something like go as fast as possible.

These things have worked for me in the past and I hope these can continue to do so. Thank you.

Sumbhav M is a KS3 student in Dubai. He has read over 500 books, his all-time favourite authors are- Anthony Horowitz and Rick Riordan. Sumbhav enjoys adventure and fantasy fiction, and true to his boyhood is looking forward to exploring more non-fiction texts in the coming months.