Share tales over tea to raise money for literacy

May 26th, 2017

The National Literacy Trust and Boots Opticians are calling on book lovers and baking enthusiasts to help give disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to succeed, by holding a Tales and Teapots party.

 

The fundraising initiative, which was developed by Boots Opticians, launched last year when hundreds of people held parties across the UK. It encourages friends, family and colleagues to come together and share books they’ve enjoyed over a slice of cake, while raising money to support the National Literacy Trust’s work in the UK.

 

This year Tales and Teapots is being supported by author and Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, who has provided an exclusive recipe for party hosts and is encouraging baking and book fans across the country to get involved. Nadiya said:

 

“Hold a Tales and Teapots party and celebrate two of my favourite things – books and baking!  The funds you raise will go to an incredibly worthwhile cause – the National Literacy Trust’s work to give disadvantaged children books and a path to a successful future. I love sharing stories with my children and I hope there will be many parties across the UK to ensure that all children have the opportunity to enjoy reading and the world of stories too.”

 

Tea party hosts can register for a free party pack, which contains posters, invitations, balloons and decorations, at literacytrust.org.uk/talesandteapots. Recipes and other useful resources will also be available on the website.

 

The National Literacy Trust and Boots Opticians have been working together since May 2015 to highlight the links between eye health and literacy. Their partnership aims to improve the literacy skills and life chances of the UK’s most disadvantaged children.

 

Amy Grilli, Project Manager at the National Literacy Trust said: “For many of us, sitting down to enjoy a good book with a cup of tea is one of life’s simple pleasures, but for one child in seven in the UK there are no books of their own to read at home.

 

A Tales and Teapots party is a great chance to catch up with friends and share your favourite stories, while helping the National Literacy Trust inspire more children to enjoy reading. After a successful first year, we are delighted to be working with Boots Opticians on this exciting initiative again and hope to see even more people enjoying parties this June.”

 

Demonstrating their commitment to the initiative, every one of Boots Opticians’ 600* practices across the UK will host a Tales and Teapots party on 2 June 2017. Everyone who hosts a party and sends in their donations before 30 June 2017 will have the chance to win exciting prizes, including a fantastic box of books from Walker Books.

 

The money raised at Tales and Teapots parties across the country will give children and young people books to keep and empower them with the literacy skills they need to improve their employability and reach their full potential.

 

To sign up for a free party pack, visit literacytrust.org.uk/talesandteapots.

Top 3 books, by age range on Lovereading4kids 14 – 21 May 2017

May 22nd, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

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Grumpy Frog Grumpy Frog
Ed Vere
Join Grumpy Frog as he learns about compromise and tolerance, friendship and the power of saying sorry. A hilarious book with a twist in the tail about getting – and getting rid of – the grumps from New York Times …
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Elmer Elmer
David McKee
The wonderfully colourful story of Elmer the patchwork elephant has been a nursery favourite since this first book was published in 1989. A modern classic, the story of Elmer is known to millions, and continues to be one of the …
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Hello, Mr World Hello, Mr World
Michael Foreman
The future of the world is in our children’s hands says this beautiful and sensitive picture book. ‘Let’s be doctors’ say two little children in front of a dressing up box. In their white coats they meet their first patient, …
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Featured Books for Young Adults

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Release Release
Patrick Ness
***Recommended for 16+ due to content.
May 2017 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: love, truth and the power of release  |  A gripping, soulful novel about a life-changing day, which will surely change the lives of those who …
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Encounters Encounters
Jason Wallace
May 2017 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Alleged alien encounter inspired by true events |   An utterly absorbing novel based on the real-life phenomenon of a group of Zimbabwean schoolchildren claiming to have experienced an extra-terrestrial encounter.
With …
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After the Fire After the Fire
Will Hill
In a nutshell: tense, super-suspenseful novel based on harrowing real life events
After the Fire was inspired by the Waco siege in Texas 1993 when 82 members of the Branch Davidian sect and four US government agents died in a fire …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

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King of the Sky King of the Sky
Nicola Davies
May 2017 Picture Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2017  |
In a story full of hope against adversity, King of the Sky tells how flying a homing pigeon helps a young boy …
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The Treasure of Pirate Frank The Treasure of Pirate Frank
Mal Peet, Elspeth Graham
Unusually clever and skilfully told this pirate story has echoes of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt both in the way that the narrative grows and builds from page to page and in its lovely surprise ending. A young boy …
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Just Like Daddy Just Like Daddy
Lucy Freegard
May 2017 Debut of the Month
This charming picture book delivers messages that children always need to hear: that daddy loves them no matter what they do; that grown-ups are playful and sometimes silly too; that everyone makes mistakes, and if …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

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Superdad's Day Off Superdad’s Day Off
Phil Earle
May 2017 Book of the Month | Interest Age 5-8 |  In a nutshell: the best laid plans of mice and supermen …|  Stanley is as normal a kid as you can meet, but his dad, well, he’s a superhero, Dynamo …
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The Barefoot Book of Children The Barefoot Book of Children
Tessa Strickland, Kate DePalma
April 2017 Book of the Month  Innovative and inclusive, The Barefoot Book of Children empowers young readers to learn about the different lives of children around the globe.  Whilst being gently encouraged to ponder their own place in the world – …
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All Aboard the London Bus All Aboard the London Bus
Patty Toht
Both an engaging guidebook to the major sights of our capital city and a collection of new London poems, this is a lovely book to read aloud and to look at. Sam Usher’s attractive pen and watercolour illustrations catch the …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

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Timmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants Timmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants
Stephan Pastis
In a nutshell: Hilarious sleuthing with boy detective and his sidekick polar bear…  |   A new Timmy Failure book is always a cause for celebration and this is another glorious mix of humour, surrealism, incompetent detection – and chickens. Timmy is …
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King Coo King Coo
Adam Stower
May 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2017  |
A glorious romp of a story full of confusion and chaos but with a strong message about trusting yourself and standing up to bullies. …
Download free opening extract
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A Song for Will and The Lost Gardeners of Heligan A Song for Will and The Lost Gardeners of Heligan
Hilary Robinson
May 2017 Book of the Month |  This deeply moving story perfectly conveys the devastating impact of the First World War both on those who took part and those they left behind. Though the story is fiction, many of those …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 9+ readers

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Wave Me Goodbye Wave Me Goodbye
Jacqueline Wilson
In a nutshell: an evacuee story as imagined by the one and only Jacqueline Wilson
Queen of contemporary fiction, Jacqueline Wilson is now setting her stories in the past, but they’re not one bit less lively, immediate or relevant to young …
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Where the World Ends Where the World Ends
Geraldine McCaughrean
May 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: beautifully written, totally original, mesmerising storytelling |
In the summer of 1727 a group of men and boys, there to harvest birds and eggs, were stranded on Warrior Stac, a pinnacle …
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Moonlocket Moonlocket
Peter Bunzl
In a nutshell: child-centred adventure where the action runs like clockwork.
Peter Bunzl continues the adventures of the stars of the hugely popular Cogheart in his new adventure which has all the charm and appeal of his debut. Robert is now …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

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The Dark Prophecy The Dark Prophecy
Rick Riordan
May 2017 Book of the Month |  In a nutshell: epic adventure, story-telling genius
It’s not easy being immortal in Rick Riordan’s Greek-myth inspired sagas, and Apollo has every right to feel fed up in this one. As punishment for misdemeanours, he’s been …
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The Island at the End of Everything The Island at the End of Everything
Kiran Millwood-Hargrave
In a nutshell: beautifully told story of courage and hope and an unforgettable setting
Kiran Millwood Hargrave follows up her award-winning debut The Girl of Ink and Stars with a story set in the real world, though one still filled with a …
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Cogheart Cogheart
Peter Bunzl
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2017 |  September 2016 Debut of the Month
In a nutshell: tick-tocking frequently airborne adventure   From its opening scene aboard an airship harpooned in mid-air, Cogheart is filled with fabulous visual images and a …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

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The Bombs That Brought Us Together The Bombs That Brought Us Together
Brian Conaghan
Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016
Charlie’s life should be pretty miserable: he lives in Little Town, where everyone spies on everyone else, and the population is caught between their oppressive rulers and violent criminals who …
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Between the Lies Between the Lies
Cathy MacPhail
In a Nutshell: Devastating deceits and sanity-shattering set-ups | Tense, twisty thriller in which a girl’s disappearance spirals into a snare of manipulation and lies..
Fourteen-year-old Jude has gone missing from Port Glasgow. No one has heard from her until she …
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Spellslinger Spellslinger
Sebastien de Castell
In a Nutshell: Witty fantasy anti-hero forges his own path
There’s trickery, traps, and action aplenty in this vividly conjured magical fantasy – the first in a series – about finding your place and discovering who you really are.
Soon-to-be-sixteen, Kellen is …
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Calling all Young Creative Writers

May 22nd, 2017

CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS SEEK BUDDING HISTORICAL WRITERS

AS 2017 YOUNG WALTER SCOTT PRIZE OPENS FOR ENTRIES

 

The Young Walter Scott Prize, the UK’s only creative writing prize for young people dedicated to historical fiction, is now open for entries. Budding young historical novelists aged between 11 and 19 have until 31 October 2017 to enter the creative writing competition, with a chance to win a £500 travel grant and a VIP invitation to one of the UK’s best book festivals.

 

This prestigious prize has also programmed a series of Imagining History creative writing workshops, taking place across the UK in June and July, created specifically to give young people a chance to immerse themselves in historical places from the point of view of the writer.  The Young Walter Scott Prize writing competition and Imagining History workshops aim to inspire young writers to play with ideas, to explore the cracks between historical facts, and to become the historical novelists of the future.

 

Participants in the creative writing workshops will be encouraged to enter their stories for the prize, now in its third year.  Judges are looking for a piece of creative writing between 800 and 2000 words, inspired by any aspect of the past – an actual historical event, place or person. It simply has to be set in a time before the writer was born – a time recognisably different from the present.

 

Entries will be judged in two categories – 11 to 15 years and 16 to 19 years. The winners of each category win a £500 travel grant to enable them to visit the historic site of their choice anywhere in the UK, and a VIP invitation to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland, in June 2018, to receive their prizes. Two runners-up in each category receive a book token, and all four winning stories are published in a special YWSP anthology book.

 

The 2016 YWSP winners Demelza Mason (15), from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire (winner in the 11-15 age group) and Alice Sargent (16), from Carmarthenshire, (winner in the 16-19 age group) will be presented with their prizes at Borders Book Festival on Saturday 17 June.

 

The Young Walter Scott Prize was set up two years ago by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, and is named after Sir Walter Scott, who as a boy sent to live in the Scottish Borders, set about exploring the countryside and listening to the stories of the people he met there. This inspired him to write, and to later become the most celebrated author of his time.

 

The workshops will led by writers and experts in interpreting historical places, who can help young writers see the past in new ways, and to begin writing or developing their work further. The YWSP is building partnerships with organisations such as the National Trust, Historic Environment Scotland and the Heritage Education Trust to create unique access-all- areas opportunities for young writers, all over the country.

For full details of workshop bookings and how to enter the prize, please visit the YWSP website or social media channels:

www.ywsp.co.uk  twitter @waltscottprize   facebook @walterscottprize  instagram walterscottprize

Mid-May eNewsletter

May 18th, 2017

Welcome to our mid-May update full of the latest, best and most exciting Children’s books. And whatever you do don’t miss the shortlist for the most prestigious children’s debut fiction award, the Branford Boase.

     

Mid-May Highlights

These are the hand-picked heroes of the month that you may have missed. We love: The Treasure of Pirate Frank (3+) illustrated by Jez Tuya – An imaginative tale of friendship, courage, sharing and treasure! And The Imagination Box Series (9+) by Martyn Ford – Mind-expanding, action-packed comedy adventures.

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A Little Bit of What YOU Like! – Reader Recommended Highlights

Who better to recommend books than the kids and teenagers who read them? These are the top tips from the horses’ mouth! Books like:

The Bombs That Brought Us Together (11+) by Brian Conaghan – Thought-provoking and entertaining dystopian drama. ‘I was so glued to this book’ (Jack, aged 11) The Crystal Run (11+) by Shelia O’ Flanagan – High-octane, heart-rending high-stakes fantasy quest with compelling action in a vividly evoked world. The Island at the End of Everything (9+) by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave – A beautifully told story of courage and hope full of memorable scenes and characters.
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Where the World Ends (9+) by Geraldine McCaughrean – An unmissable totally original, mesmerising story of love and faith; of myth and imagination. Lottie Solves a Mystery (5+) by Lucie Braveheart – A brilliant and different outdoorsy adventure story featuring real life rather than fantastical adventures.
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Gods and Monsters! Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo

Redefining the epic ancient god sagas for 9+ readers, Rick Riordan stands alone in the genre. The creator of Percy Jackson, the unwitting teenage demi-god with greatness thrust upon him, has turned his unique talent to imagining a full God among us.

A teenage Apollo, in disgrace for angering father Zeus, is cast down to modern day New York as a lowly teenager to face gargantuan and often hilarious tasks: with a little help from his friends! The series began with The Hidden Oracle and continues with The Dark Prophecy. Find out more

Get Infected! – Contagion by Teri Terry

Author of the international sensation, Slated, Teri Terry is deservedly regarded as the queen of the teenage psychological thriller. Her vivid imagination and the well-oiled wheels in the dark corners of her mind have been working overtime recently to produce her new extraordinary trilogy Dark Matter.

The first book, Contagion is a tale of survival against all odds in a desperately dangerous world of fear, alienation and suspicion. Find out more.

Award-winning Aubrey is back!

Horatio Clare’s first children’s book Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot  won the Branford Boase Award and Michael Morpurgo said of it ‘Well, this was a joy! Here is writing and storytelling at its best’.

The sequel Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds tells an entertaining tale of how Aubrey uses his gift of talking to animals to try and save the world! Funny and gripping! I loved this book! Lewis (10)… This book is awesome and gave me a different view about insects Erica (11). Find out more.

     

Why Wait? – More May Pre-Publication Exclusives

Dip your toe in the wondrous waters of ‘wow’-inducing works before they hit the shelves! Books like:

Troublemakers (13+) by Catherine Barter – A searingly heart-breaking coming-of-age tale set against an all too plausible backdrop of terrorism and political darkness. After the Fire (YA) by Will Hill – Inspired by the Waco siege in Texas 1993 and one of the most gripping and suspenseful books they’ll read all year. Never Say Die (11+) by Anthony Horowitz  – Alex Rider is back for more adrenaline-filled, action-packed, stylish and addictive adventures.
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Pictures Win Prizes! The Klaus Flugge Prize for Illustration

Klaus Flugge is one of the greats of children’s publishing. Born in 1934, in 1976, he set up his own publishing company, Andersen Press, named in tribute to none other than Hans Christian Andersen. He continues to champion bold, original and creative talent with a prize to honour the best of them. The Klaus Flugge Prize rewards the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s book illustration and the shortlist has just been announced! Find out more and don’t miss the chance to win all the shortlisted titles.

Patchwork Works! – Elmer the Elephant

27 May is Elmer Day! First published a whopping 28 years ago, David McKee’s multi-coloured and much-loved, Elmer the Elephant is still a firm favourite among 2-5-year-olds!

There are so many wonderful, colourful and educational stories to choose from. Plus, all the stories come in a variety of formats; from buggy books and button pressing books, to touch and feel versions. There’s a lot of elephants to go around! Get more.

What Next? If they Like They’ll Love

Our If They Like They’ll Love category points the way to other authors just like the ones your kids love, so they won’t wearily wonder where to turn when their favourite book ends.

If they like Frank Cottrell Boyce they’ll love The Incredible Billy Wild (9+) by Joanna Nadin. If they like Jon Klassen they’ll love The Cave (3+) by Rob Hodgson. If they like Sarah Crossan they’ll love Countless (13+) by Karen Gregory.
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If they like Louise Rennison they’ll love Chloe Snow’s Diary (13+) by Emma Chastain. If they like Squishy Mcfluff they’ll love Cowboy Pug by Laura James.
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Good Enough for Julia!

Lovereading4kids Editor-at-Large Julia Eccleshare is well placed to identify the best books for budding readers out there right now. Click here to see what’s caught her eye this month.

Living like Clockwork – The Cogheart Adventure Series (9+)

A tick-tocking and often airborne adventure that sees a girl searching for her missing father. Accompanied by a clockwork fox (designed by her dad before he went missing).

The Cogheart Series by Peter Bunzl have been described by our reader reviewers as ‘ … a thrilling, magical journey of adventure … (that) will leave you spinning’ (Isabella, aged 11) and ‘A steampunk fantasy … that had me gripped with its brilliantly woven characters and cast of mechanical wonders’ (Rohan aged 10).

Latest title Moonlocket is out now and you can find it here.

     

No Binoculars Needed!

 The Big Bird Spot (5+) by Matt Sewell

Wildlife artist Matt Sewell’s very first children’s book is a super fun foray into the world of birds. From deserts to woodland and oceans to mountains you’ll love trying to spot the hidden birds (it’s harder than you think) and learning loads about them.

Colourful, vividly detailed and with so much to see, it’s a book to treasure time and time again.

Every Dad has his Day – This Year it’s 17 June! Father’s Day

A day for all dads to get the love they deserve, Father’s Day is just a month away. What better way to show you care than a good book and the peace and quiet to read it in? Or just the book. Up to you. We have a superlative selection of super ideas for Dads and you can find them here!

Well Versed! – Our Poetry Section, Refreshed

Our poetry section is filled to the brim with words to inspire kids of all ages, covering all kinds of subjects from the fun to the philosophical. This month we’ve added to the party with fabulous new titles like: All Aboard the London Bus (5+) by Patty Toht  a jump on, jump-off ride through London and: All the Wild Wonders, Poems of our Earth (7+) by Wendy Cooling, a clever exploration of the wonders and the woes of the world.  There’s something for everyone. Click here to get started.

The Spellslinger Series (YA) is Pure Magic!

Fans of The Guardians of the Galaxy or The Dark Tower will NOT want to miss this! The head-spinning first book of a spell-binding new series! Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell is a YA fantasy novel that keeps you guessing on every page, filled with wit and adventure and strong characters that you’ll love to follow. Oh, and just a bit of magic too! Rich and compelling and bursting with tricks, it’ll have you on the edge of your seat. Find out more.

Let your child become a Superhero

The Superhero Handbook (7+) written by James Doyle and illustrated by Jason Ford is an unusual information activity book that cleverly mixes science learning with the allure of superhero-dom. The book contains all you need to set yourself up as a superhero, from finding your secret identity to employing a sidekick, plus 20 innovative activities to help you do everything from making yourself invisible to learning to defy gravity. And each activity comes with a ‘Superhero Secret’ showing you the top secret science behind each one. It’ll make for a truly super summer!’

Well, that’s May at Lovereading4 Kids! See you next month for some summery selections for your tribe.

P.S. Don’t miss the chance to win a family pass to The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival, worth £40!, that is running 26 June – 2 July in Wiltshire. It’s full of exciting and absorbing activities for schools and families.

P.P.S Join in the adventures of The Famous Five, relaunched for their 75th birthday and have the chance to win a complete set of 21 books!!

May eNewsletter

May 5th, 2017

Welcome to May at Lovereading4kids, where there’s a sniff of summer in the air and a refreshing breeze in our book-ship’s sails!  In the month that saw the birth of Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie, we have a forever-young selection of brilliant book recommendations to tinkle the bells of any young reader. Read on for more.

‘May’ we Suggest? – Books of the Month

A bookshelf more inviting than a big bucket of blossom this month! Great escapes for tots, toddlers, tiddlers, teens and tweenies! We love:

Windfall (12+) by Jennifer E Smith  – witty friendship tale about kindness, excess, adventure and unrequited love admired by our Reader Reviewers ‘Heartwarmingly good!’ – Megan ‘Sweet and sad’ – Jenny.

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Darling Buds! – May’s Debuts of the Month

More fantastic first timers vying to become firm favourites! This month, we love:

MEGA DEBUT The Girl in Between (11+) by Sarah Carroll – A deeply moving story of family, homelessness, loneliness and grief and the ghosts that won’t let us go. Haunting and unforgettable.

Llama United (7+) Scott Allen – Impossible dreams and hilarious adventures of unlikely football heroes.

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Every Smart Kid’s Smart Kid! – Ruby Redfort Series (9+)

Everyone loves a good spy adventure and as heroines go, 13-year old super sleuth Ruby Redfort is pretty unique. Lauren Child’s loveable eponymous secret agent is a genius code cracker and very adept at finding herself in extreme danger! Latest title, Blink and You Die, is the eye-opening finale to this un-put-down-able series and is out in paperback now. Click here for more.

His Word is Our (James) Bond – Steve Cole’s Young Bond Series (11+)

Before the man became the legend, before the boy became the man. This is the take-the-world by storm series that charts the adventures of the young James Bond. The early days of Ian Fleming’s legendary spy brimming with danger, intrigue and explosive action. Latest title Red Nemesis is a nail-biting and all too personal journey to the brink! Click here for more.

Famous Five at Seventy-Five!

75 years since Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog first found excitement and adventure wherever they went, Enid Blyton’s quintessential series is being relaunched. All 21 books have been given a new cover look and the titles themselves sensitively edited for today’s reader and are just as heart-stopping and impactful as they ever were.

We are giving away a set of all 21 in a celebratory competition so click here for more info and your chance to win. High Five!

     

Why Wait? – May Pre-Publication Exclusives

A superior selection of sneak peeks this month includes:

Crazy House (YA) by James Patterson – thrilling and thought-provoking mistaken identity tale of crime, punishment and the strong bond of siblings.

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The Plight of Others – Books about Refugees

Hard to imagine having to leave everything you know and seek a new home in a foreign land. To lose everything and rebuild. These are the stories of the people who’ve done just that. People just like us. Parents; siblings; friends.

They are personal experiences (My Name is Not Refugee by Kate Milner), communal stories told on a boat (A Story Like the Wind by Gill Lewis) and collections of stories that highlight Human Rights atrocities (Here I Stand by Amnesty International).  They are the stories that need to be told. Find out more.

Getting our Facts Straight!

Whatever age you are, it’s always great to find out something mind-blowing!  Our factaculous Fascinating Facts category, has had a refresh this month and is jam-packed with even more noggin nourishing nuggets for kids to know.

If you have kids that are always asking; “Why?” and “How?” and find yourself stumped for an answer, this category is your new best friend! Find out more.

Boy Zone!

Nope, not the ‘90s Irish – take-home-to-meet-your-mum – boy band. This is about our brilliant Great Books for Boys category, which has been injected with new blood this month. Even more superlative adventures that are perfect for boys of all ages all in one place. And girls will love them too! Click here for more.

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Nursery Crimes! –  ‘Sky Private Eye’ series (5+) by Jane Clarke

We love this clever series for very young readers where baking, detection and fairy tales are all whisked together in this appealing story to make a tasty picture book.

Follow the mystery-solving Sky as she is joined by some favourite fairytale and nursery rhyme characters to get to the bottom of some of the nursery world’s most dastardly crimes.

Oh My Goth! – Goth Girl by Chris Riddell

Chris Riddell is Children’s Laureate and a supreme illustrator. He’s the creator of the fabulous Ottoline series and a master of quirky and surreally wonderful story-telling. If you haven’t discovered Goth Girl (7+), you’re in for a treasure box of characterful fun!

There are three imaginative, witty dramas in the series and if you read them now, you’ll be ready for the brand new title due out in the autumn! Find out more.

Friends Forever, Enemies Never

If you have teenage children, it can be hard watching them go through all the trials and tribulations that life can hurl at them. Nicola Morgan’s The Teenage Guide to Friends is essential reading for teens and parents alike, tackling the all-important subjects of making and keeping friendships, as well as what to do when they break down (as they do). It’s a truly illuminating read that you will want to dip into over and over again. Get it here

Scroll down for our hand-picked selections of May 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. Log in to your account.

P.S. Don’t miss the chance to win a family pass to The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival, worth £40!, that is running 26 June – 2 July in Wiltshire. It’s full of exciting and absorbing activities for schools and families.

Mid-April eNewsletter

April 19th, 2017

With Easter Eggs and chocolate excesses behind us for another year, why not browse our mid-month email for treats of the reading variety and indulge your kids with none of the guilt!

More exciting books to start reading… before they are published

This month we have a lovely selection of books you can start reading before they hit the bookshop shelves.

One of our favourites is the hilarious and beautifully presented King Coo by Adam Stower. A glorious romp of a story with a strong message about trusting yourself and standing up to bullies. Our editorial expert loved it but children on our reader review panel were completely bowled over… ‘An amazing and fun book! I can’t wait to read more!’ Eleanor 10… – ‘It is hilarious…I highly recommend this book.’ Erica, 11

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What’s in a Library? Books! Books! Books! g (7+)

Explore inside the British Library the greatest library on Earth with this extraordinary, informative and inspiring book by Mick Manning, illustrated by Brita Granstrom. You’ll be amazed what you find.

Books! Books! Books! will show you a huge atlas that takes six people to lift it; a tiny prayer book carried by a queen to her execution; the original handwritten manuscript of Alice in Wonderland; books so rare and valuable they are kept in a bomb-proof store-room. Find out more.

Nursery Crimes! –  ‘Sky Private Eye’ series (5+) by Jane Clarke

We love this clever series for very young readers where baking, detection and fairy tales are all whisked together in this appealing story to make a tasty picture book. Follow the mystery-solving Sky as she is joined by some favourite fairytale and nursery rhyme characters to get to the bottom of some of the nursery world’s most dastardly crimes.

Will Grandma be found, or the missing biscuit for that matter? Find out, here!

Bring Picture Books to Life with the Hopster App

Reading for fun is a brilliant way to entertain and inspire your toddler – and we’ve found the perfect new app to help! Full of well-known books – along with TV episodes, nursery rhymes and games – Hopster provides a great interactive learning environment that pre-schoolers will love to use.

In the newly-launched Book Boat section of the Hopster app, kids can now find all their favourite HarperCollins stories, including Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Rachel Bright’s Love Monster and Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers.

Find out more about Hopster, and get a free picture book here.

WW1 through the eyes of the Heligan gardeners

A Song for Will and The Lost Gardeners of Heligan (7+) is a deeply moving story that perfectly conveys the devastating impact of the First World War both on those who took part and those they left behind.

Though the story is fiction, many of those who feature were real people, gardeners at what became known after their deaths as the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Beautifully told and illustrated, this is a book for children and adults to treasure.

Dormitory Detectives! – Murder Most Unladylike books. (9+)

Set in the 1930s in the dusty halls of an English girls’ boarding school, this exciting, fabulous and gripping series is awash with mystery, derring-do and friendship, elating highs and sorrowful lows. You’ll love the wonderful duo who must stay one step ahead of the clues in the labyrinthine halls of Deepdene.  The latest title, Cream Buns and Crime is an invitation to delve into the casebook of our plucky heroines and wrangle with a collection of short stories of as yet unsolved mysteries so it’s the perfect starting off point to someone new to the series.  Find out more.

April Mid-Month Highlights

A chance to see, all in one place, some of our highlights of the month that you may have missed.

Gaslight (9+) by Eloise Williams – Explore the rich darkness of Victorian Cardiff, the underworld of the theatre, the grief of a mother’s death and the desperate quest for answers. Beetle Queen (9+) by M.G. Leonard – Sequel to lively and original Beetle Boy loved by our Reader Reviewers. ‘A hilarious, thrilling adventure.‘ Liam 11. ‘What a fantastic story.’ Tomasz 10.
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A Magical Must! – Dragon’s Green: Worldquake Book One (11+)

Heralded as ‘the most exciting debut in children’s fiction since Harry Potter’ the first title in Scarlett Thomas’s new Worldquake adventure series, Dragon’s Green, is a book to get lost in, literally.

Brimming with shady foes and terrifying teachers, firm friends and other worlds, it’s an edge-of-your-seat saga that kids aged 11 and up will love to read. Prepare to be enchanted, bedazzled, mystified and more. Click here to get started.

Highlights from our Kids Reader Review Panel

It’s all well and good if one of our children’s book experts raves about a book. But when our kids reader reviewers do as well perhaps it’s time to find out more? This month two stand-out titles are:

The Giant Jumperee (3+) written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Asrah (5) said it was his new favourite book and Abigail’s mum said – ‘My girls all loved it (aged 6, 4 and 2) and it had great repeatability in our house! The Mummy’s Revenge (9+) by Andrew Beasley. Sam Harper (11) said ‘This unputdownable mystery is stuffed full of witty jokes and fast-paced action.‘ And Bella (10) – ‘The Mummy’s Revenge is funny, scary and creepy all at the same time.
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Like that? LOVE this! – If they liked, they’ll Love

This is where we get to suggest authors we think you’ll love based on the ones you already like. Nothing makes us happier!

If they liked Murder Most Unladylike they’ll love Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers’ Club by Robert J. Harris. If they liked picture books by Jon Klassen they’ll love I’m Going to Eat this Ant by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros. If they liked Holly Smale or Louise Rennison they’ll love Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan. If they liked books by Nicola Yoon they’ll love Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer.

#TotesAmaze! – Girls Can Vlog Series by Emma Moss (9+)




Emma Moss loves books, cats and Youtube. “In that order”. She’s also the author of the fantastic tales for teens of today; Girls Can Vlog. The trials, tribulations and triumphs of teen life with hints for fledgling vloggers amid the action!

The latest title, Hashtag Hermione: Wipeout is a handful of holiday hilarity. There are two others in the series, including Lucy Locket: Online Disaster, which Reader Reviewers called; “super fun” and “exciting, fun and unexpected [a] book that encourages people to express themselves by doing something they love.” Find out more.

Blade of Class! – Beast Quest is 10 years old







Growing up surrounded by paintings and living with history teachers, is it any wonder Adam Blade is a world class storyteller? His awesome Beast Quest series (7+) celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and to join in, we’re offering the chance to win copies of these magical adventures.

Brimming with courage in the face of evil, with wizards and deadly beasts at every turn and stakes higher than the sky, they are a rollercoaster flight of fantasy for young book fans.

Aliens have Loved Underpants for 10 Years now! (3+)

Aliens Love Underpants! With terrific illustrations and hilarious rhyme, Claire Freedman will make you fall in love with underpant-stealing aliens. After all, they can’t get them in space!

Turns out you really need to take care of your pants, because it seems that Dinosaurs may love them too!  Find out more.

Earning her Stripes! – Catherine Rayner’s Tiger Picture Books

Kate Greenaway Medal winner Catherine Rayner is famed for her large, bold pictures bursting with soul and character.

One Happy Tiger will help little ones learn to count while they enjoy a board-book journey through happiness, friendship and the natural world. Augustus and His Smile explores the opposite emotions of sadness and happiness and is a beautiful tiger-trail on the hunt for a lost smile.

Find out more.

     

Splattery Will get you Everywhere! – Splat! (3+) by Jon Burgerman

Splat! and just like that, you’re laughing!

This brilliantly original book which reinvents the physical books with a side-splitting splat on each page build and builds until your kids are in hysterics. Unique and deeply silly, this book is so much fun to share. See more.

Slumber Stories – Bedtime Reads category

A book before bed is a childhood joy as old as stories themselves and a habit that can stay with them all their lives. Our brilliant Bedtime Reads category, celebrates and showcases the best books to share with your little ones before the Sandman comes.

Creative Frighting! – Write Your Own Mystery & Ghost Stories (9+)

What a brilliant idea this is! A fabulously spooky study in skullduggery! Learn to build characters and stories and set them in haunted houses, cursed tombs, curdling crimes and more.

This is a whole load of frightening fun! Perfect for budding writers and story-tellers – and maybe even you!

Kipling & Grylls – Bear Necessities of Life!

Loved the world over, the writing of Rudyard Kipling has captured imaginations for generations with stories such as Kim, Puck of Pook’s Hill and of course The Jungle Book (recently made into a major new film).

Now the franchise has been given a reboot by TV survival guru, Bear Grylls. Spirit of the Jungle (9+) is a thrilling adventure story in the footsteps of Mowgli, but with details that only a Bear like Grylls can provide! Amazing and unique, it’s a must for adventurous young minds! Find out more.

Reluctant Readers Inspired!

Many kids struggle to engage with reading. It can be a vicious circle, undermining confidence and making reading an undiscovered joy. We are here to help! Our Reluctant Readers category is dedicated to finding accessible and enjoyable books that just might fit the bill. It’s brimming with brilliant books for boys and girls and could help them to start a lifetime of loving reading! Start their journey here.

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Mountainous Magic for the Modern Teen

Sarah Mussi’s Snowdonia Chronicles series combines Merlin-esque magic with enticing romance in a stunning setting to create an adventure that feels Arthurian and intensely modern all at the same time.

The latest title and sequel to Here be Dragons, is Here be Witches. Heroine Ellie is caught in a classic clash between good and evil in her quest to be reunited with her true love. Shimmering with adventure and atmosphere, it’s a tale of heart, courage and legendary love. Find out more.

Win an Award Winning Author! Seriously!

Actually, what you win is the chance to have Guardian Fiction Prize winner Alex Wheatle (Liccle Bit, Crongton Knights and Straight Outta Crongton) visit your school. You can ask him lots of questions about his books and how he creates his characters. He could even help you create a story of your own. All you have to do is tell your teachers and get them to enter the competition. As well as the visit, you will get copies of all of his brilliant books for your library! Click here to find out how to enter and then FORCE your teachers to do it by 30 April! Good luck.

So, that’s April all wrapped up in a yellow ribbon and popped into the book basket! See you in May with a whole new bloom of brilliant books!

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival, London SW13 Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May 2017

April 11th, 2017

London’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival will be returning to south west London for the third year, on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May, and tickets are in demand, with some sessions already sold out!

 

Bigger and better than ever, the programme includes more than sixty events for children of all ages, including author talks, workshops, story time and craft sessions, music, film and much more.

 

There is an exciting mix of bestselling authors and illustrators, up and coming new writers, and household names. Highlights include the former Children’s Laureates Michael Rosen and Anthony Browne, star author-artist Nick Sharratt and Horrid Henry creator Francesca Simon. They’ll be joined by a few famous faces including comedians David Baddiel and Adrian Edmondson, popular television presenters Clare Balding and Lucy Worsley, and radio personality Christian O’Connell. Other authors and illustrators on the programme include Ed Vere, MG Leonard, Michelle Robinson, Lisa Stickley, Sophy Henn and Book Trust Illustrator in Residence, Sarah MacIntyre.

 

Special events this year include illustrator, Axel Scheffler appearing alongside Barnes Resident and Mog creator, Judith Kerr in an event called When Zog met Mog – not to be missed! Another exclusive is an interview with Little Princess creator and top illustrator, Tony Ross. You can also experience the interactive Harry Potter show, a new production of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes set to live music, and an exclusive screening of the short animation based on Jon Klassen’s award-winning I Want My Hat Back.

 

Tickets are on sale now at: barneskidslitfest.org/ where the full programme can be found.

Harpercollins Children’s Books Have Arrived on the Hopster app

April 10th, 2017

To inspire toddlers to read for fun, Hopster, the preschool learning and entertainment app, has teamed up with HarperCollins Children’s Books to bring its little users a range of hit stories. UK subscribers to Hopster can now access and enjoy a selection of best-loved children’s books on the multi-platform service.

 

In the newly launched Book Boat section of the app kids can now find all their favourite stories including Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog and the Baby, Rachel Bright’s Love Monster, available in ebook, and Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers available in audio. The different formats allow children to discover their favourite characters as well as magical new stories in a multi-sensory way.

 

To celebrate the arrival of books on Hopster, for a limited time, subscribers will receive a HarperCollins picture book with their annual subscription for only £35. That’s a saving of over 27% and a free book that can be selected from a range of classic children’s books.

 

Hopster can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play, helping parents who are after a safe and ad-free platform. In one magical app kids will be entertained by hundreds of preschool TV episodes, nursery rhymes, games and now books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find out more about Hopster now:

Most popular children’s books by age range on Lovereading4kids 2 – 9 April 2017

April 10th, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

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Tip Tap Went the Crab Tip Tap Went the Crab
Tim Hopgood
Bubbling with energy, prize winning Tim Hopgood’s illustrations are also full of warmth and plenty of colour. A chirpy crab with very big eyes tip taps as it counts its way around the seashore in Tip Tap went the Crab. …
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The Gruffalo's Child The Gruffalo’s Child
Julia Donaldson
Former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson followed up her best-selling The Gruffalo with a story about The Gruffalo’s Child. Reissued in sturdy board back format, an entertaining story for the very young as the little mouse outwits the Gruffalo’s Child with …
Download free opening extract
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Gecko's Echo Gecko’s Echo
Lucy Rowland
A very small but very brave Gecko needs to think up a way of protecting her gecko eggs from nasty predators. How can she trick Snakey and Rat into thinking that she is not alone? Clever gecko comes up with …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for Young Adults

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Chasing the Stars Chasing the Stars
Malorie Blackman
April 2017 Book of the Month |  Shortlisted for YA Book Prize 2017 |  An innovative, ambitious page-turner in which the inimitable Malorie Blackman has entwined two of her great passions – Shakespeare’s Othello and science fiction – to create …
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The Hate u Give The Hate u Give
Angie Thomas
April 2017 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Fighting for Justice | Black Lives Matter | Stunning, vital wake-up call of a novel about racism, social inequality and not giving up told through the eyes of an incredible, unforgettable …
Download free opening extract
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Noughts & Crosses Noughts & Crosses
Malorie Blackman
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices – 50 of the best Children’s Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK.
Michael Rosen on a compelling favourite: “A book that dared to …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

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The Giant Jumperee The Giant Jumperee
Julia Donaldson
April 2017 MEGA Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2017  | Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury bring the very best of their award-winning The Gruffalo and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt respectively …
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Mrs Mole, I'm Home! Mrs Mole, I’m Home!
Jarvis
April 2017 Picture Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2017  | Morris Mole can’t find his glasses anywhere at the end of a long day at work. Luckily, he is sure he can …
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Can I Join Your Club? Can I Join Your Club?
John Kelly
April 2017 Book of the Month With a laugh-out-loud text from John Kelly and brilliantly quirky illustrations by Steph Laberis, Can I Join Your Club? is a heart-warming story which celebrates the importance of diversity and friendship. Perfect for little …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

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What's My Name? What’s My Name?
Wendy Finney
April 2017 Book of the Month  |  The Little Princess, star of Tony Ross’s much loved series, is growing up and she’s just as much of a character as she ever was. Now that she’s not so little her family …
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The Barefoot Book of Children The Barefoot Book of Children
Tessa Strickland, Kate DePalma
April 2017 Book of the Month  Innovative and inclusive, The Barefoot Book of Children empowers young readers to learn about the different lives of children around the globe.  Whilst being gently encouraged to ponder their own place in the world – …
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Grandad's Secret Giant Grandad’s Secret Giant
David Litchfield
This picture book from David Litchfield, author of the Waterstones-Prize winning The Bear and the Piano, is a GIANT story of belonging and friendship.
He has hands the size of tables, Grandad said, legs as long as drainpipes and feet as big …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

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Books! Books! Books! Books! Books! Books!
Mick Manning
April 2017 Book of the Month    Who better to take young readers on a guided tour of the British Library than Mick Manning and Brita Granström? Words and pictures work perfectly together to give children a vivid sense of the …
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The Earth Book The Earth Book
Jonathan Litton
April 2017 Fascinating Facts Book of the Month    This beautiful information book explores all aspects of our planet, this ‘tiny sphere that orbits an ordinary, middle-aged star in a quiet backwater of the Milky Way’. It examines the inner workings …
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Mango & Bambang: Superstar Tapir Mango & Bambang: Superstar Tapir
Polly Faber
April 2017 Book of the Month  Here are four more adventures for Mango and her best friend Bambang the tapir and they are if anything even more appealing than previous stories, perfect fiction for young readers. In this set of …
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Featured Books for 9+ readers

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Cream Buns and Crime Cream Buns and Crime
Robin Stevens
April 2017 Book of the Month  |   In a nutshell: a tasty treat for would-be sleuths and fans of Wells and Wong  |    Young readers everywhere are hooked on Robin Stevens’s Murder Most Unladylike series starring schoolgirl sleuths Daisy Wells and …
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Good Dog McTavish Good Dog McTavish
Meg Rosoff
April 2017 Book of the Month | Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: dog to the rescue in witty domestic satire |  This characteristically sharp and witty comedy of modern life by Meg Rosoff stars a rescue dog who …
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Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers' Club Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers’ Club
Robert J. Harris
In a nutshell: ingenious and atmospheric adventure story starring a young Arthur Conan Doyle | Sending its young protagonists creeping round Edinburgh’s graveyards at dead of night and posing all sorts of mysteries for them to solve and codes for …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 11+ readers

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The Girl of Ink & Stars The Girl of Ink & Stars
Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Winner in the Young Fiction category and the overall Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017  ‘Here be dragons’ it says  on old maps, but Isabella finds creatures even more terrifying in the unchartered lands of Joya, the island …
Download free opening extract
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The Owl Service The Owl Service
Alan Garner
Chosen as a favourite by Philip Pullman: “[this book] showed how children’s literature could sound dark and troubling chords.”
Carnegie Medal winner, 1967. An all-time classic, combining mystery, adventure, history and a complex set of human relationships. The author is …
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The Ravenmaster's Boy The Ravenmaster’s Boy
Mary Hoffman
In a nutshell: intrigue and treachery at the Tower of London, and a bird’s eye view of the end of Anne Boleyn  |   Three young people witness the fall and execution of Anne Boleyn in this gripping historical adventure. Chief …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

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The Nest The Nest
Kenneth Oppel
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | March 2016 Book of the Month A truly exceptional, uniquely unsettling work in which the stinging clarity and poignancy of Oppel’s writing is exquisitely …
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Beyond the Wall Beyond the Wall
Tanya Landman
In a Nutshell: Boudica-spirited slave girl fights to break the chains that bind her |  A sumptuous feast of historical fiction fuelled by drama, deception, and a young woman’s determination to find freedom.
To be born a slave in Roman Britain …
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The Monstrous Child The Monstrous Child
Francesca Simon
January 2017 Book of the Month |  Shortlisted for YA Book Prize 2017 | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category   Francesca Simon has chosen a singular heroine for her first novel for teenagers. Hel is Queen of the …
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Your chance to star in a comic!

April 6th, 2017

The Phoenix, the weekly story comic, is looking for the STAR of a NEW COMIC by Neill Cameron for its 300th issue this autumn. That’s right! The Phoenix is opening its pages so a new hero or heroine can be born! Children everywhere are invited to let their imaginations run wild!

The competition is open to all children. To win, entrants need to:

1) Get drawing and create a new comic character! This could be an alter ego, an awesome new hero/heroine or anything else, including them!

2) Show us what makes that character awesome – like a secret power or ability.

3) All great comic characters have an arch-enemy. Draw them too!

Entries can be drawings, a written story or comic, or even a video! The winner will see their character star a in a special 16-page comic illustrated by the amazing Neill Cameron, author of Mega Robo Bros and How to Make Awesome Comics. The new comic will start in Issue 300 and run for 4 weeks.

The competition runs from 6 April to 31st May 2017. Full details are available at thephoenixcomic.co.uk/superstar.

To hear more about the Phoenix Comic Super Star search or more about the amazing stories we publish each week, get in touch and help us celebrate the special place that comics hold in children’s reading and imaginations. Follow the competition at @phoenixcomicuk #phoenixcomicsuperstar.

 


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