Author Joanna Nadin discusses Books as beacons

February 12th, 2016

When I wrote Joe All Alone and its follow-up White Lies, Black Dare I had a checklist of “things I wanted to say” – about child poverty and child neglect, about toxic friendship and family breakdown, about bullying amongst children and adults alike. Fiction has the power to bring new light to these difficult subjects and illuminate not just gory details, but also paths out of the darkness, which is why I will always weave hope into a story, however bleak. But there is another idea lurking in both novels, one that paints books as beacons in a more profound capacity: that books make us who we are, and can change that too.

 

Books matter. Of course I’m going to say that: the ability to pay my bills depends on me writing and selling enough of them. But my belief in their transformative power goes far beyond personal monetary gain. And it’s not writers who think so. There are government studies that point to reading for pleasure as raising test scores in subjects as seemingly unconnected as maths and science. There is research that highlights how stories encourage empathy. But there is evidence too that books penetrate deeper than that, changing our very selves as they show us new ways to be, offering us a pick and mix menu of characters to incorporate into our own.

 

As a child I worked my way through an array of fictional role models – George from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, Velvet Brown from Enid Bagnold’s National Velvet, even Pandora from Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. The academic Francis Spufford describes this appeal in his homage to the power of children’s fiction The Child That Books Built: “Be a roman soldier, said a book by Rosemary Sutcliffe. Be an urchin in London, said a Leon Garfield… Be an Egyptian child beside the Nile, be a rabbit on Watership Down. Be a King. Be a slave. Be Biggles.” In other words, reading helps us try out new lives for size. It helps us try out being better or bigger or just different people.

 

It was this in mind that I gave both Joe in Joe All Alone and Asha in White Lies, Black Dare books not just as background reading, but as talismans, magic amulets that would change the course of their lives on and beyond the page. For Joe, the eponymous Huckleberry Finn gives him the courage to face up to his situation. It helps knowing that someone else has been where he is – been alone in the world – before. It helps him work out who he wants to be – brave like Huck. It helps knowing that Huck finds a friend. It helps knowing that Huck can evade the adults who are closing in on him.

 

For Asha it’s Sodapop and Ponyboy in S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders that drive her final dare and damnation, as well as her ultimate salvation. “So I do what I always do,” Asha says. “ I pick up my book and bury myself in story, glorious story. I read until it’s so real I can feel myself right there in Ponyboy’s house, smelling the eggs and chocolate cake he’s cooking for breakfast, and smoke from Two-Bit’s cigarettes. McCardle’s right, I think, that books get you through stuff.”

 

This is what books can do. They can teach us, they can show us the way. They can give us hope. And more than that they can make us. They have certainly made me – I am part George, part Velvet, part Pandora, and so many others besides. I am even part Asha now, and all the better for it.

Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival 16-24 April 2016

February 10th, 2016

Star Storytellers Set for Next Chapter of Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival

A programme of over 50 exciting events featuring a literary line-up including multi-best-selling children’s favourite Jacqueline Wilson will be welcomed at this year’s fourth Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival.

The popular family event will return to the capital from 16-24 April 2016 featuring local and national, English and Welsh speaking authors and illustrators. Events will take place at iconic venues across the city centre including City Hall, Cardiff Central Library, Cardiff Castle and Reardon Smith Theatre, National Museum Cardiff.

As this year’s festival coincides with the Centenary of Roald Dahl, one of the most famous children’s writers of all time, celebrations will include a host of themed events such as ‘Word Wizards Guide to Roald Dahl,’ craft sessions, and a free, jump-squifflingly fun treasure hunt across the city centre.

More free activities include Storytime sessions held in the Children’s Department of John Lewis, where throughout the festival weekends children can enjoy listening to stories and even meet some very special guests including Maisy Mouse, Kipper and Walker Bear.

Cerrie Bernell

The festival’s biggest line-up yet also includes Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh Children’s Poet Laureate) Anni Llŷn, CBBC’s Sam and Mark and CBeebies’ Jess French and Cerrie Burnell, Kristina Stephenson and Kes Gray. Once again the festival hosts a week of free sessions for school children, which includes Tony Bradman on Shakespeare, Simon James, Jon Mayhew, and the Welsh Poets from Stomp Fach.

There are also events for adults, which include Writing for Children with Barry Cunningham the man who discovered J.K . Rowling and author Jon Mayhew, literary discussions with Catherine Butler and the chance to hear from the publisher and contributors to the forthcoming University of Wales Press publication Roald Dahl: Wales of the Unexpected.

All of these events, aimed at young people and grown-ups, aim to inspire, nurture and encourage a life-long love of reading and books.

The festival has continued to grow over the years and will now run across two weekends with the free school sessions, supported by the John Lewis; Bringing Skills to Life project, being held during that week.

Cabinet Member for Community Development, Co-operatives and Social Enterprise, Cllr Peter Bradbury said: “Since the first Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival in 2013, over 5000 school children have attended free sessions with a further 5000 book lovers – from toddlers to teens – attending public sessions across the festival. The 2016 festival will be even more special as we celebrate the centenary of Roald Dahl, the world’s number one storyteller.”

Leading up to the Festival, primary school children from across Cardiff and the surrounding areas will take part in Roald Dahl Themed workshops in storyboarding, scriptwriting, poetry and prose. Workshops are supported by Literature Wales and will be led by six writers and illustrators from Wales: Dan Anthony, Francesca Kay, Mike Church, Mab Jones, Huw Aaron and Casia Wiliam.

The work produced will be celebrated in a free exhibition supported by John Lewis and Genesis Marketing at Cardiff Central Library and The Place to Eat Restaurant on the third floor of John Lewis from 1 April – 24 April 2016.

Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales said: “Literature Wales is delighted to support the Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival’s outreach programme for the fourth consecutive year. At these workshops high-profile Welsh writers will share their skills and their passion for words with children all over the capital, enabling them to engage with literature in all its forms and develop the skills they need to create their own stories.”

The festival aims to create lifelong readers with tickets currently on sale via Ticketline UK (02920 230 130 or www.ticketlineuk.com ) and www.cardiff-events.com

See www.facebook.com/CDFKidsLitFest (English) or www.facebook.com/GwylLLenPlant or follow @CDFKidsLitFest or @GwylLlenPlant on Twitter for more information.

Longlist for the 2016 Branford Boase Award announced

February 4th, 2016

The longlist for the 2016 Branford Boase Award is announced today (Wednesday 3 February 2016). The Branford Boase Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children. Uniquely, it also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.

 

In what chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare describes as “an extraordinary year for debuts”, 23 books have made it onto the longlist. These include Lisa Williamson’s much acclaimed story of transgender teens The Art of Being Normal and Aubrey and the Terrible YootHoratio Clare’s sensitive tale of depression, from new Welsh publisher Firefly Press. Comedians turned children’s authors Julian Clary and Danny Wallace have both made the longlist with The Bolds and Hamish and the Worldstoppers respectively.

 

Frances Hardinge last week announced as Costa Book of the Year winner won the Branford Boase Award in 2006 with Fly By Night and said that the award made her feel “a real writer” for the first time. The BBA judging panel has an extremely successful record in picking future best-selling and critically acclaimed authors. Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Kevin BrooksSiobhan DowdMeg RosoffMal PeetPhilip ReeveFrank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness who all went on to win the UK’s most prestigious children’s book award, the CILIP Carnegie Medal; 2011 winner Jason Wallace won the Costa Children’s Book Award.

 

This year the judges are Russell Allen team leader for children’s services across the West Sussex Library Service, recently awarded Public Librarian of the Year; Simon Key, bookseller from the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green; Marion Lloyd, former children’s editor; and Rosie Rowell, author of Leopold Blue, winner of the 2015 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of The Guardian.

 

Julia Eccleshare says: “It’s been an extraordinary year for debuts, and our longlist includes an enormously varied collection of interesting, well-written books. The boundaries of what is possible in books for children seems to be ever expanding. We read fantasy adventures, mysteries, time travel stories, political satires and more – all of which are designed to entertain children, for sure, but also to help them navigate the complexities of growing up in this hectic decade. As ever, the longlist demonstrates the might of children’s publishing in the UK, and the healthy state of what Frances Hardinge calls ‘the beautiful jungle’ of fiction for children and young people.”

 

The shortlist for the Award will be announced on 4 May 2016.  The winner will be announced in early July at a ceremony in London.

 

The Branford Boase Award longlist in full:

 

Othergirl by Nicole Burstein, edited by Charlie Sheppard (Andersen Press)

Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare, edited by Penny Thomas (Firefly)

The Bolds by Julian Clary, edited by Charlie Sheppard (Andersen Press). Illustrations by David Roberts

The Baby by Lisa Drakeford, edited by Rachel Leyshon (Chicken House)

The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon & Schuster)

Captive by A J Grainger, edited by Elv Moody and Christian Trimmer (Simon & Schuster)

Seed by Lisa Heathfield, edited by Ali Dougal (Egmont)

Deep Water by Lu Hersey, edited by Sarah Stewart (Usborne)

Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr, edited by Ben Horslen (Penguin Random House)

13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt, edited by Jessica Tarrant (Hachette)

The Next Together by Lauren James, edited by Annalie Grainger (Walker)

The Unlikely Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt, edited by Ben Horslen (Penguin Random House). Illustrated by Ross Collins.

Me and Mr J by Rachel McIntyre, edited by Stella Paskins (Egmont)

The Accidental Prime Minister by Tom McLaughlin, edited by Clare Whitson (Oxford). Illustrated by the author.

Girl on a Plane by Miriam Moss, edited by Charlie Sheppard (Andersen Press)

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury, edited by Genevieve Herr (Scholastic)

My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons, edited Kirsty Stansfield (Chicken House)

Birdy by Jess Vallance, edited by Emma Matthewson (Hot Key Books)

Hamish and the Worldstoppers by Danny Wallace, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon & Schuster). Illustrated by Jamie Littler

One of Us by Jeannie Waudby, edited by Rachel Leyshon (Chicken House)

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford edited by Nicholas Lake (HarperCollins)

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson, edited by Bella Pearson (David Fickling Books)

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine, edited by Alison Dougal and Hannah Sandford (Egmont)

February 3rd, 2016

Fun-filled February is fizzing with fantabulous frolics for your family’s favourite fledglings. Whatever their age or ability, we have some ice-cracking recommendations to keep them aglow with inspiration this winter. Read on to see what’s hot for tots to teens this month.

Top of the Class – February Books of the Month

Every month we identify the cream of the crop, so that you can be guaranteed a great read. This month, don’t miss:

Awful Auntie by David Walliams (9+) – One of the UK’s leading children’s writers on his very top form and full of ghosts, mystery and adversity! Plus you can win a signed book! And for teens, How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne – No one speaks to this audience better than Holly Bourne. This is a relatable, heart-rending, exhilarating and captivating relationship tale. Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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Feb’s Fantastic Firsts! – Debuts of the Month

Yet again, we have scoured the shelves to bring you the very best of first time authors for children to fall in love with! especially MEGA DEBUT I am Bear by Ben Bailey Smith & Sav Akyuz (3+) – With funny word play and bold imagery, actor Ben Bailey Smith and artist Sav Akyuz introduce a trickster to remember.

Also Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den by Aimee Carter (9+) – Superbly satisfying, shapeshifting story of gifted kids and powerful adult adversaries. Super stuff! And Zoo Boy by Sophie Thompson (5+) – Hilarious and delightful animal-adventure debut from the Olivier award winning actress (yes, sister of Emma).

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Valenteeny’s Day! – Sharing the love with your Youngsters!

As Wet Wet Wet once reminded us: “Love is all around”. Especially near Valentine’s Day. This year, why not share the love with these fantastic timeless tales for toddlers all celebrating the loveliness of love. Aaaah!

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Not Sure What Pet to Get? Ask Dr. Seuss!

Just don’t expect a straight-forward answer in this recently discovered rhyming romp of a picture book from the one and only Dr Seuss of Cat in the Hat fame!

Firing their imaginations and helping them understand that decisions can be difficult, this is a thought-provoking and conversation initiating fun-filled foray that will doubtless be a firm favourite for years to come. Learn more here and have the chance to win a special Gift Edition of a Dr Seuss book.

Chocolate Box Girls Series of the Month!

We think it’s time to celebrate Cathy Cassidy’s brilliant, soulful and sweet series; Chocolate Box Girls as the final one is published in paperback. From the first title Cherry Crush, readers have loved following the hopes, dreams, trials and tribulations of this wonderful group of sisters. Our Kids Reader Reviewers adored them. “I loved (Cherry Crush) … so much, I borrowed the next book Summer Dream from the library!” (Jenny, aged 9). The sixth and final book, Fortune Cookie, in paperback now, is an insightful, captivating and thrilling end to the series. See the whole lot here.

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More Winning Ways

A cracking bunch of goodies up for grabs, this month including:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (13+). To mark the release of the movie (the 3rd in the series) we are giving away a whole box set of the Divergent books. Don’t miss your chance to win. And

Books by Rob Biddulph. The author of the awesome Grrrrr! (3+) is a firm favourite with kids and parents alike. Here’s a great chance to win signed copies of this modern kids’ classic! Find them all in our Free Prize Draws category.

An unmissable award-winning story for 13+ readers

From the author of Lovereading4kids favourite We Are All Made of Molecules, Susin Nielsen, this is another book from her that grips from the first chapter. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (13+) is a heart-breaking yet uplifting story of survival and recovery through friendship. Tackling tough subjects it still manages to make readers laugh and leave them feeling better about the world. Find out what our Teen Reader Reviewers thought

Badge of Honour! – Blue Peter Book Award

One of the leading book awards for Children’s writing, the Blue Peter Book Awards, which aims to guide kids towards quality literature, is celebrating its 16th year! The 2016 shortlist is out now and it’s as strong as double-sided sticky-tape! Here’s some we prepared earlier:

And so to Bed! – Great Bedtime Reading continues

Our category of favourite bedtime books to share with your kids had a refresh in January but these two slipped a little in the schedule but are out now. We love bedtime books and as George Bernard Shaw said: “Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself”. Among the new night-time stars is:

I Want a Bedtime Story by Tony Ross – Even the most demanding princess can discover the joy of reading for herself! and Dozy Bear and the Secret of Sleep – A calming story that uses tried-and-tested relaxation techniques to help both adult and child unwind at bedtime. And from the horse’s mouth, the author said: “This book is born out of many a night of desperation and panic trying to get my own child to sleep, I really hope it helps parents everywhere.”

And talking of Books for Bedtime …

Why not rediscover the work of superlative pen-smith, Jean Julien? The illustrious illustrator who created Hoot Owl (one of our Books of the Year 2015) has brought to life a new adventure for little ones.

Ralf is a charming and quirky picture book which parents have described as; “hilariously funny” and “memorable” (see other Parent/Toddler Reader Reviews here). Find out more.

Positively Blooming! – Wild Lily by K.M. Peyton

From the author of Flambards and more than 70 years since her first novel was published for a fee of just £75, K M Peyton sees her 70th novel published by the brilliant publisher David Fickling who also discovered Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Wild Lily is vivid story telling at its very best. Readers will grab the hand of Peyton’s heroine, Lily, and experience every rush and whirl in this coming of age tale and literally grow up with her. Read more here.

Read on for our hand-picked selections of February books in the age ranges you have said you would like to be kept up to date with, to change them just Log in to your account

Lovereading4kids. Most popular books, by age range, 24 – 31 January 2016

February 1st, 2016

Books for Babies and Toddlers

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We're Going on a Bear Hunt Buggy Book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Buggy Book
Michael Rosen
You’re never too young for the brilliance of a book such as We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Walker Books have taken Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s classic picture book and condensed it into a chunky board book. The illustrations …
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Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep!
Lucy Cousins
Smiling, cheerful, independent, no wonder toddlers everywhere love Maisy, and she makes all early learning experiences fun and exciting. This story sees her helping Mummy Hen find her ten chicks, who are hiding around the farm. There are flaps on …
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Five Minutes' Peace Five Minutes’ Peace
Jill Murphy
Celebrate thirty years of the Large family in this stunning anniversary edition of a modern picture book classic.
There can’t be a mum in the country who doesn’t identify with Mrs Large, wrapped in her comfortable dressing gown, doing her best …
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Featured Books for Young Adults

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Not If I See You First Not If I See You First
Eric Lindstrom
An incredibly uplifting, thought provoking and sharply beautiful debut. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop and when I turned the last page I could quite easily have turned back to the beginning and started all over again. The first …
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Rebel of the Sands Rebel of the Sands
Alwyn Hamilton
February 2016 Debut of the Month  Smart-talking, sharpshooting Amani Al’Hiza is desperate to flee dead-end Dustwalk to make a better life for herself. While her prospects seem pretty much limited to being married off, the arrival of an enigmatic stranger …
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Flawed Flawed
Cecelia Ahern
Set in a society in which those deemed ‘flawed’ are branded and ostracised, Celia Ahern’s debut YA novel will talk directly to its readers. Every teenager wants to be perfect, to fit in and look like they know what they’re …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

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Blue and Bertie Blue and Bertie
Kristyna Litten
January 2016 Book of the Month  The adventures of giraffes Blue and Bertie make a comforting, humourous story that explores themes of friendship, independence and embracing the unexpected. Bertie is content to spend his days with his herd, crunching leaves, …
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The King Cat The King Cat
Marta Altes
This is the perfect book for anyone who shares their house with a cat (or indeed a new sibling). In lively, varied double page spreads Cat describes his life as undisputed king of the house until – terrible day – …
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Odd Socks Odd Socks
Michelle Robinson
Everyone will enjoy this epic tale of true love and steadfastness, no less heroic or inspiring for starring a pair of woolly socks! Sosh and Suki are made for one another and their life on a fresh pair of feet …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

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How to Find Gold How to Find Gold
Viviane Schwarz
January 2016 Book of the Month  It has a publication date of January, yet How to Find Gold is already likely to top my list of picturebooks of 2016! Anna is a wonderful picturebook star: she’s eager to find gold …
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The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head
Daisy Hirst
Inventive and witty, this is a story that is full of ideas and imagining rather than neatly tying up loose ends. Told more through the pictures than the words, the story of Isabel’s happiness as she plays with her friend …
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10 Ten-Minute Stories 10 Ten-Minute Stories
Various Authors
If your New Year resolution was to spend ten minutes a day reading to your children, then this attractive collection of fairy stories from around the world would be a very good book with which to start. It contains ten …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

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The Dragonsitter to the Rescue The Dragonsitter to the Rescue
Josh Lacey
Josh Lacey’s Dragonsitter books pack really quite huge adventures as well as a lot of laughs into a very short extent, and are perfect for young readers. The Smith-Pickles are still baby-sitting Uncle Morton’s dragons and Eddie takes two, Ziggy …
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Timmy Failure We Meet Again Timmy Failure We Meet Again
Stephan Pastis
Loveable world-class detective Timmy Failure is back for a new adventure. And his business partner and side-kick Total, a.k.a. the polar bear is with him, too. Timmy’s problem is that not everyone – and certainly not those who try to …
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100 Science Experiments 100 Science Experiments
Kate Knighton, Georgina Andrews
Combine hands-on fun with scientific investigation using this action-packed collection of 100 simple science experiments. Use easily-sourced materials to make crystals, electrical circuits, kaleidoscopes, balloon rockets, and much more. Internet links go to specially selected websites with more activities, and …
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Featured Books for 9+ readers

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How to Look for a Lost Dog How to Look for a Lost Dog
Ann M. Martin
February 2016 Book of the Month  The heroine of Ann M Martin’s fine novel has a unique voice, and the story she tells is very touching. Rose (rows) has a diagnosis of autism and struggles to understand the unspoken social rules …
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Hamish and the Neverpeople Hamish and the Neverpeople
Danny Wallace
February 2016 Book of the Month Hamish and the Worldstoppers was one of my favourite kids’ books of 2015, and the follow up is even better. The world is in danger again, or should that be still, and the monsters …
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Time Travelling with a Hamster Time Travelling with a Hamster
Ross Welford
January 2016 Debut of the Month  This clever, touching time travel adventure owes as much to The Railway Children as it does to Back to the Future! Al (for Albert, after Einstein) Chaudhury’s dad is dead but – and here’s …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

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Grandpa's Great Escape Grandpa’s Great Escape
David Walliams
One of our Books of the Year 2015 – October 2015 Book of the Month  There’s no doubt that this will be at the top of the bestseller lists, at least until Christmas and probably well beyond. In a relatively …
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The Icarus Show The Icarus Show
Sally Christie
January 2016 Book of the Month   There’s something appealing just about the format and feel of this book – a small hardback, it looks inviting and eminently readable. And it is just that. Alex is getting by at school through …
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The 5th Wave The 5th Wave
Rick Yancey
A film tie-in version of The 5th Wave, a novel that packs a punch on every page with hope and despair in equal measure alongside life and death. It will leave you gasping for breath and keep you hooked to …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

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The Lie Tree The Lie Tree
Frances Hardinge
WINNER of the 2015 COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR and Winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award – Andrea Reeces’s Pick of the Year 2015 – Shortlisted for the 2015 Guardian Children’s Book prize – Julia Eccleshare’s Pick of the …
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The Art of Being Normal The Art of Being Normal
Lisa Williamson
This is a sensitive, often funny and thoroughly engaging story of teenagers coming to terms with who they are. It’s easy to think in these liberal times that anything goes, but teens will be quick to point out that growing …
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Spook's: The Dark Army Spook’s: The Dark Army
Joseph Delaney
Following the shocking final events of A New Darkness, fans of the Spook’s series will be desperate to find out what happens next. The opening chapter is riveting as Tom Ward, slaughtered at the end of the previous book, is …
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January 2016. Major New Children’s Book Award Announced

January 22nd, 2016

The Klaus Flugge Prize for the Most Exciting Newcomer to Picture Book Illustration

An important new prize in the UK children’s book world is launched today: the Klaus Flugge Prize will be awarded to the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s book illustration. It honours venerable publisher Klaus Flugge, a supremely influential figure in picture books: who this year celebrates the 40th anniversary of his publishing house Andersen Press.

It will be the only prize specifically to recognise a published picture book by a debut illustrator; the winning illustrator will receive a cheque for £5,000.

Klaus Flugge was born in Hamburg in 1934, apprenticed to a bookshop and sent to Book Trade School in Leipzig. He emigrated to America at the age of 23 as an East German refugee who spoke only German and Russian. After a variety of jobs, and two years as an American GI, he was offered a job working as a Personal Assistant to Lew Schwartz, owner of Abelard-Schuman publishing in New York. After only a year and a half Schwartz suggested he go to Europe to build up the very small list they had there and came to London in 1961. He launched Andersen Press – named after Hans Christian Andersen – in the autumn of 1976.

The roll call of artists Klaus Flugge has worked with at Andersen Press reads like a textbook on illustration: David McKee, Tony Ross, Satoshi Kitamura, Michael Foreman, Susan Varley, Emma Chichester Clark, Sir Quentin Blake, Chris Riddell, Ruth Brown and David Lucas to name but a very few.

The prize, which will be run entirely independently from Andersen Press, will be administered by Julia Eccleshare, Anne Marley and Andrea Reece, who run the Branford Boase Award for debut authors, now in its seventeenth year. Julia Eccleshare said: “The UK has long provided a home for some of the very best illustrators in the world, and UK publishers are adept at discovering and nurturing new talent. It is wonderful to have an award to highlight the gifted illustrators working in picture books and put them in the spotlight. We are delighted too that the award will recognise the extraordinary contribution Klaus Flugge has made to illustration and children’s picture books. Not only did he launch the careers of giants such as David McKee, Tony Ross, Ruth Brown, Chris Riddell and Satoshi Kitamura, but he continues to this day to champion original, creative and bold new illustrator talent.”

The Klaus Flugge Prize will be open to all picture books illustrated by a debut or first time illustrator first published by a UK publisher during 2015.  The panel of judges will be announced in February when submissions will open. The shortlist will be announced at the end of April and the winner will be revealed in September 2016.

Mid-January email Update

January 21st, 2016

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to get your kids reading more then don’t miss our tips to do just that on our Facebook Page as a great book really is the best antidote for cold days indoors and video game dependence. For recommendations this month why not start with our Books of the Year, our Experts Favourite Picks of 2015

Sneak Peek on our Favourite February Books

Picture Book Pre Pub Purrfection! – Lionheart (3+) by Richard Collingridge

From the author of the beautiful wintery adventure When it Snows, comes a fabulous new tale about courage and exploring the unknown. Lionheart is a delightfully illustrated adventure which will make your youngster’s eyes light up as you read with them.

Truly magical and other worldly, yet grounded in reality and self-assurance, this is a wonderful addition to any nursery shelf.

More February books you can start reading today…

Hamish and the Neverpeople by Danny Wallace.
Quirky, original, clever, fast-paced and very funny indeed, this book, 2nd in the series will be another huge hit.
Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den by Aimee Carter.
A new series. Imaginative and vivid with themes of bravery and loyalty perfect for fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson.
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.
A rollicking romp of a debut, the first in a trilogy, is an intoxicating blend of steam punk-esque Western and Arabian epic
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Ghost Writer! – Joseph Delaney’s ‘Spook’s’ Series

Part of the Starblade Chronicles, the Spook’s series by Joseph Delaney is a ghostly, epic, light vs dark fantasy adventure, riddled with supernatural beings, battles and the will to survive. It is a lightning-burst of a read that will have you white-knuckled until you reach the thrilling end.
A New Darkness is the first in this gripping ghost-hunt, devoured by our Kids Reader Reviewers and with an ending that will have you clambering for the sequel. Luckily, the second,The Dark Army is released this month! For more info click here.

Reluctant Readers? We’ll put you in the Picture!

Reading can be a challenge for some, but we are dedicated to helping reluctant readers to love reading. So, fresh for 2016, we have a challenge for you. Why not have a look at our superlative section of graphic novels. These filmic gems are so evocative and can be a different reading experience from long pages of writing so perfect for even the most reluctant or struggling reader. They can escape into their own world with titles such as the brilliantly visualized versions of the bestselling spy series featuring Alex Rider (9+) from Anthony Horowitz. Click here to get started!

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Plus check out these Super-Readable books

Barrington Stoke specialises in ‘cracking reading’, publishing super-readable children’s books that break down the barriers that can stop kids getting into reading. Their first-rate short fiction brings together the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK with a host of unique accessibility features to offer cracking reads accessible to more children including those with dyslexia or visual stress. You can see all the latest books in our Super Readable and Dyslexia Friendly category but below we have also brought together the 2015 Books of the Year plus this month you also have the chance to win one of 3 signed copies of Gawain Greytail and the Terrible Tab by Cornelia Funke.

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Unmissable Prize Draws

This month we have some amazing free to enter prize draws that we would be remiss not to draw your attention too!

First up you can win a SIGNED hardback copies of the hilarious Awful Auntie by David Walliams!

Next we have SIGNED copies of the Dyslexia Friendly picture book Gawain Greytail and the Terrible Tab by super author Cornelia Funke!

And finally the whole family could go and see the brilliant Horrible Histories live on stage!
All you need to do is click and enter.

The fascinating story behind The Red Abbey Chronicles

The unusual and powerful debut by Maria Turtschaninoff has, we have found out recently a fascinating story behind it that we thought more people would like to know about. It began in 2007 when the author went to see an exhibition in Helsinki on Mount Athos, an all-male monastic community, which still prohibits women from visiting its peninsula. She felt this was the ultimate hypocrisy, as the monks worship the Holy Virgin, a woman.

The experience was the catalyst for her to create The Red Abbey Chronicles where the worship of the Virgin Mother by women creates an exclusively female stronghold. Turtschaninoff  said “I want Maresi to enlighten every reader, normalising that women are powerful, strong, intelligent and most importantly, that they matter.” Click here to find out more.

Geek Girl Fans take Note

If your child is a fan of the brilliant (and Award winning) Geek Girl series by Holly Smale then we can highly recommend Accidental Superstar (11+) by Marianne Levy.

Offering a fresh take on the rags-to-riches archetype, this highly entertaining novel is laden with laughs and touching insights into friendship and family life. One of our Kids Reader Reviewers summed it up by saying ‘This book is properly funny! I could not put it down!’

And that, book fans, is January at Lovereading4kids. We’ll be back next month with more recommendations to keep you lost in words! Happy Reading!

P.S. Don’t miss the shortlisted titles for the Blue Peter Book Award and the chance to vote for the winner which will be announced on World Book Day (3 March 2016).

P.P.S. Just published is a book that our teen and YA (and even some sneaky adults) reader review panel members absolutely ‘devoured’. Alison Goodman’s The Dark Days Club combines the high society world of Jane Austen with the supernatural underworld of Cassandra Clare to create an epic and addictive series. Find out more today

Quick Reads announces 2016 titles

January 19th, 2016

The youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai, is amongst the authors featured on the 2016 Galaxy® Quick Reads title list.

Quick Reads celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2016 with a diverse collection of titles which will be  sponsored by Galaxy® for a sixth year:

  • Agatha Christie (edited by Sophie Hannah and John Curran) – The Double Clue: Poirot Short Stories
  • Ann Cleeves – Too Good to be True
  • Lucy Diamond – A Baby at the Beach Café
  • Veronica Henry (editor) – The Anniversary: Ten Tempting Stories From Ten Bestselling Authors
  • Andy McNab – On the Rock
  • Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb – I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban (An Abridged Edition)

One in six adults in the UK struggles with reading, whilst one in three does not read for pleasure, and Quick Reads will next year continue its work to break down barriers to reading. Ninety-seven per cent of literacy practitioners report that using Quick Reads has been effective at raising learners’ confidence to read, whilst 95% say that the books have been effective at improving readers’ literacy skills.

Lovereading4kids most popular books, by age range, 10 – 17 January 2016

January 18th, 2016

Books for Babies and Toddlers

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Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep!
Lucy Cousins
Smiling, cheerful, independent, no wonder toddlers everywhere love Maisy, and she makes all early learning experiences fun and exciting. This story sees her helping Mummy Hen find her ten chicks, who are hiding around the farm. There are flaps on …
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Five Minutes' Peace Five Minutes’ Peace
Jill Murphy
There can’t be a mum in the country who doesn’t identify with Mrs Large, wrapped in her comfortable dressing gown, doing her best to get away from her children for just five minutes peace (and managing a scant three minutes …
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Grrrrr! Grrrrr!
Rob Biddulph
One of our Books of the Year 2015 -Andrea Reeces’s Pick of the Year 2015  Rob Biddulph’s prize-winning picture book Blown Away is near perfect, and his new book Grrrrr! is too! It’s the story of Fred, who is champion …
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Featured Books for Young Adults

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Not If I See You First Not If I See You First
Eric Lindstrom
An incredibly uplifting, thought provoking and sharply beautiful debut. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop and when I turned the last page I could quite easily have turned back to the beginning and started all over again. The first …
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A Monster Calls A Monster Calls
Patrick Ness
Winner of the 2012 Carnegie Medal
Rachel Levy chair of the 2012 CILIP Carnegie judging panel said: “A Monster Calls” is an exquisite piece of writing. It is a beautifully economical, structurally brilliant and lyrically descriptive account of a challenging …
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The Red Abbey Chronicles: Maresi The Red Abbey Chronicles: Maresi
Maria Turtschaninoff
January 2015 Debut of the Month  What an unusual and powerful novel. The setting is an island in an unspecified fantasy world inhabited by a community of women who live separate from men, dedicating themselves to the worship of the …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

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Blue and Bertie Blue and Bertie
Kristyna Litten
January 2016 Book of the Month  The adventures of giraffes Blue and Bertie make a comforting, humourous story that explores themes of friendship, independence and embracing the unexpected. Bertie is content to spend his days with his herd, crunching leaves, …
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Odd Socks Odd Socks
Michelle Robinson
Everyone will enjoy this epic tale of true love and steadfastness, no less heroic or inspiring for starring a pair of woolly socks! Sosh and Suki are made for one another and their life on a fresh pair of feet …
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The Bus is for Us! The Bus is for Us!
Michael Rosen
Former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen will delight all readers with this hugely enjoyable and easy to chant rhyming picture book. Riding a bike, going far in a car or, when it starts to rain going in the train are all …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

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How to Find Gold How to Find Gold
Viviane Schwarz
January 2016 Book of the Month  It has a publication date of January, yet How to Find Gold is already likely to top my list of picturebooks of 2016! Anna is a wonderful picturebook star: she’s eager to find gold …
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10 Ten-Minute Stories 10 Ten-Minute Stories
Various Authors
If your New Year resolution was to spend ten minutes a day reading to your children, then this attractive collection of fairy stories from around the world would be a very good book with which to start. It contains ten …
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The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head
Daisy Hirst
Inventive and witty, this is a story that is full of ideas and imagining rather than neatly tying up loose ends. Told more through the pictures than the words, the story of Isabel’s happiness as she plays with her friend …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

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The Dragonsitter to the Rescue The Dragonsitter to the Rescue
Josh Lacey
Josh Lacey’s Dragonsitter books pack really quite huge adventures as well as a lot of laughs into a very short extent, and are perfect for young readers. The Smith-Pickles are still baby-sitting Uncle Morton’s dragons and Eddie takes two, Ziggy …
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Timmy Failure We Meet Again Timmy Failure We Meet Again
Stephan Pastis
Loveable world-class detective Timmy Failure is back for a new adventure. And his business partner and side-kick Total, a.k.a. the polar bear is with him, too. Timmy’s problem is that not everyone – and certainly not those who try to …
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The Adventures of Miss Petitfour The Adventures of Miss Petitfour
Anne Michaels
One of our Books of the Year 2015 – A Staff Pick of the Year 2015, chosen by Shelley Fallows – December 2015 Debut of the Month There is something quite wonderful about indulging in your favourite cake, beautifully decorated …
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Featured Books for 9+ readers

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How to Look for a Lost Dog How to Look for a Lost Dog
Ann M. Martin
January 2016 Book of the Month  The heroine of Ann M Martin’s fine novel has a unique voice, and the story she tells is very touching. Rose (rows) has a diagnosis of autism and struggles to understand the unspoken social …
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Time Travelling with a Hamster Time Travelling with a Hamster
Ross Welford
January 2016 Debut of the Month  This clever, touching time travel adventure owes as much to The Railway Children as it does to Back to the Future! Al (for Albert, after Einstein) Chaudhury’s dad is dead but – and here’s …
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Haunters Haunters
Thomas Taylor
The dead and the living exist side by side in this thrilling time-travelling adventure. In David’s recurrent dream, Eddie seems real and it seems like he’s got something to tell David. That’s scary enough but then David gets picked up …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

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The Icarus Show The Icarus Show
Sally Christie
January 2016 Book of the Month   There’s something appealing just about the format and feel of this book – a small hardback, it looks inviting and eminently readable. And it is just that. Alex is getting by at school through …
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The 5th Wave The 5th Wave
Rick Yancey
A film tie-in version of The 5th Wave, a novel that packs a punch on every page with hope and despair in equal measure alongside life and death. It will leave you gasping for breath and keep you hooked to …
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Beswitched Beswitched
Kate Saunders
One minute Flora is dreaming on a train heading back to boarding school and the next a magic spell has spun Flora into the past.  She’s mysteriously swapped lives with a schoolgirl in 1935!  What a nightmare: no iPod, no …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

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The Lie Tree The Lie Tree
Frances Hardinge
Andrea Reeces’s Pick of the Year 2015 – WINNER of the 2015 Costa Children’s Book Award – Shortlisted for the 2015 Guardian Children’s Book prize – Julia Eccleshare’s Pick of the Month, May 2015  Award-winning Frances Hardinge is spellbinding is this …
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Spook's: A New Darkness Spook’s: A New Darkness
Joseph Delaney
Dreadful monsters abound in this new chapter of the Spook’s saga and as ever Delaney’s storytelling will catch many readers. Tom Ward is now the County’s Spook and when reports come in of a series of horrible murders it’s his …
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Never Evers Never Evers
Lucy Ivison, Tom Ellen
January 2016 Book of the Month  As warming as a cup of hot chocolate on a winter’s day, Never Evers is guaranteed to leave readers happy and smiling. The story of two groups of teenagers on a school ski trip …
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January eNewsletter

January 11th, 2016

Happy New Year, book lovers! We’re on a mission to make 2016 a year of good reading and we’re excited to be starting with a cracking month of terrific titles for all ages and tastes for youngsters to enjoy. From tots to teens, we have recommendations to fit the bill. Let’s make 2016 an un-put-down-able year from cover to cover! Read on to see what’s new this month.

New Year, New Heroes – January Books of the Month

Every month, we put aside our top recommendations for kids of all ages and abilities and parade them proudly on our B.O.M bookshelf. Here it is! Two brilliant picture books worthy of special mention are:

Blue and Bertie by Kristyna Litten. A gorgeously illustrated story about finding friends in unexpected places. And How to Find Gold by Viviane Schwarz one of the most innovative and creatively inspired picture book makers of today.

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So Last Year! – The Very Best Books of 2015

You probably know that all year long we make a special fuss about the books that we think are top of their class. The must reads. Well this is where you can see the real dazzlers from our Class of 2015. These are our top picks, handily arranged by reading age, so that you and your kids can find the best books that you may have missed. Click here to get started.

And, if you like catching up on the best books of 2015, have a look at our special category where we have a handful of personal Picks of 2015 from our Editorial Experts and our Kid Reader Reviewers … we really are spoiling you now.

New Year’s Debuts

What a great way to kick off the year. New writing from new talent. Your new favourite authors! Don’t miss:

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (13+). We are beside ourselves with excitement about the launch of the first in a fantastic, demonic, passionate, period trilogy.

Set in 1812, Alison Goodman’s Dark Days Club series combines the high society world of Jane Austen with the supernatural underworld of Cassandra Clare. The tightly corseted constraints of Regency England are smashed against the wonderful wildness of the dark abode in this epic and addictive series.

Our teen and YA (and even some sneaky adults) reader review panel members absolutely devoured it. Check out their views here.

 Other favourite debuts are:

Anyone but Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp (9+) now in paperback. An original and entertaining story with a truly irresistible heroine. One of our 2015 Books of the Year! The Red Abbey Chronicles: Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff (YA). A Powerful and unusual, vivid and engrossing fantasy novel with strong themes of sisterhood, brotherhood, community and survival. Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford (9+). A Clever, touching time travel adventure owes as much to The Railway Children as it does to Back to the Future!
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Costa Book Awards Children’s Winner

Just announced, the 2015 Costa Children’s Book Award and the winner is a book we have been raving about since it was published in May 2015, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (13+).

The Costa Judges’ said of it ‘A dark, ingenious tale oozing gothic atmosphere.’ Our Kids Reader Reviewers said things like ‘a completely original read…’ and ‘simply captivating, a truly fantastic book’. Either way a Must Read for all teens.

One Night. One Wizard

With thousands of magical events and activities planned worldwide, Harry Potter Book Night 2016 on 4 February is a chance to flex your wand arm and join a truly spellbinding celebration of the World’s wonderfullest wizard! It’s a great opportunity for fans to pass on the magic to younger readers new to Hogwarts too. Visit the Bloomsbury website to find out how you can get involved in this year’s “A Night of Spells” celebration. Go on, it’s a wonderful excuse for a party!

And speaking of Magic … Is there Room on that Broom?

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have (almost) together transformed the children’s picture book market over the last decade or so and it is hard to believe (as we remember it well) that the classic Room on the Broom, a marvellous story of the scatty witch and her animal friends, is 15 years old! While we recover you can catch up with a special anniversary edition for a new generation of kids and parents to enjoy.

Teen Spirit! – Books for Young Adults to Cherish

It’s an incredibly formative and important time for reading. Early adulthood is often when we find books that inspire us for life and remain with us always. We have compiled a category of books especially for young adults that we feel fit this bill. Eva Ibbotson’s unforgettable love stories, highly relatable, running-away tales of coming of age and love are great examples. Truly, books to fall in love with on those cold and long winter evenings.

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Make Space for Orbiting Jupiter

Talking of great books for teens, Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D Schmidt is a wonderfully compact, heart-breaking and ultimately life-affirming tale of a life in transit. It beautifully illustrates that a person on an unlucky path can be inspired to reach their potential and live up to their responsibilities. It is a testament to the power of friendship and a book that will stay in the mind long after the final page. See more here.

Books of the Film

Finally, new films in January that, as all the best ones do, are based on even better books. Films like The 5th Wave. Find many more in the special category.

 


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