Make your child part of a beautifully illustrated story… the perfect Christmas Gift

October 20th, 2016

We have come across a beautiful ‘bookie’ idea that we think is a brilliant Christmas gift, so we wanted to share it with you.

miab1It’s called Message in a Bottle and your personal message (the actual message in a bottle) including date, text and an optional picture seamlessly becomes part of the story. Educational, enchanting and full of adventure we can see it being read many many times.

With words by Tom Percival and illustrations by Tuire Siiriainen each book is digitally printed and is unique and the feedback from readers is lovely…

miab2‘Read mine to the kids today and had to stop self from crying – it really did make me very emotional! Very special book indeed.’Kelly Allen

‘Oh my goodness!! Our book just arrived!! It’s incredible!! The quality is superb. The story and illustrations… Ah. It really is amazing. To think what I’ve paid for personalised books in the past that don’t even come close. This really is something special.’Rebecca Taylor

miab3‘Message in a Bottle would make a wonderful gift for any young child.  It’s particularly special for those you don’t see quite as often as you’d like.  The online ordering process is very simple and the book was delivered quickly, it even came with a sheet of beautiful wrapping paper so I could gift wrap it myself.  This really is a lovely way for a child in your life to become part of a delightful story and receive a rather special gift from you.’ Shelley

Find out more at messageinabottlebook.co.uk. Softcover books are £19.95 and Hardcover £29.95 and to get one in time for Christmas order by 16 December.

Also we have just heard that the lovely people at Message in a Bottle have added some ‘Christmas Templates’ – find out more on their blog

miab_christmas_post_feat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a video that explains a bit more

Find out more on their facebook page facebook.com/messageinabottlechildrensbook/

 

See below for an article on the book written by the author Tom Percival.

Words (and Pictures)

I’ve always loved stories—reading them, making them, hearing them, illustrating them… you get where I’m going with this, right? I love stories. And I’m not alone, our whole lives are built around stories. We listen to stories in songs, read them in books, share them when we talk with our friends. Even a simple question like,

‘How was your day at school today?’ is an invitation to tell a story (one that my children usually decline by just saying, ‘Yeah… good.’

We build up our personalities from the continually evolving stories that we pull from our different memories and experiences. Rolling it all up into a big ball of story dough that we can mould into whatever shape we like and then bake into, err… story bread? Story cakes? Hmm, I don’t know, I think I might have pushed the whole story-baking thing a bit too far there.  Let’s move on…

It was my love of stories that led me into the career that I now have as a children’s author and illustrator. I believe that stories have the power to communicate a truth, to help you form a better picture of the world. Although the actual events in a book of fiction are made up (you could even say a sort of lie), what they actually do is communicate a truth about the world. Truth out of lies—I like that idea. And that’s not to mention the sheer fun involved in making up characters and worlds that you can explore and introduce other people to as well.

Initially I started out illustrating other people’s stories. I spent most of my time drawing as a child, (lots of pictures of He-Man, Transformers and skeletons since you asked) and so it was drawing that I first became good at. Just as a quick note to all you aspiring writers, illustrators, musicians, footballers, astronauts, or anything else, if you want to get good at doing something, just do it a lot – you get there the end, I promise!

I was lucky enough to create the cover art for the Skulduggery Pleasant series (I knew all those skeleton pictures were a good idea!), which gave me a kick-start to my illustration career and meant that I got to illustrate books for lots of other fantastic authors.

After a couple of years of illustrating I also started writing my own stories and I’ve now had lots of picture books out, including Herman’s Letter, Jack’s Amazing Shadow and most recently, By the Light of the Moon

2016 then saw the launch of the Little Legends series of illustrated chapter books for newly independent readers. It’s been great to have a few more words to play with, and to be able to explore a world and the characters within it in a bit more detail. Not only that, 2016 also saw the arrival of an email from Tuire Siiriainen, with an invitation to collaborate on a personalized picture book that she was developing with her company Blueberry and Pie. Now, this was all very exciting because Tuire was asking me to write a story that she would be illustrating. I was so used to writing and illustrating my own work that at first I wasn’t sure how it would all pan out. When I usually write a picture book, I have in mind what will happen in the illustrations, right from the start, but that wasn’t going to be possible with this book. Any concerns I had about how the interpretation of the text would work were washed away when Tuire sent over the character designs and sample spreads she had already worked up—they were absolutely fantastic, and I knew straight away that it was going to be a great partnership.

After I’d written the story, Tuire would send through each one of her bright, fun-packed illustrations as she finished them. It was so exciting to see the book come together in that way. Ordinarily, the illustrating phase of a picture book is something of a blur for me as it’s a really intensive period of work, so it was great to be able to sit back and see it all just ‘happen’ in front of me without having to pick up a single pencil! We also had a great team working with us, helping with the design, editing and packaging of the book. It felt as though everyone realized it was a really special project to work on.

Working on a personalized book held a few new challenges for me, mainly creating a story with all the required personalization details that still felt engaging in it’s own right. In this case, the story is about the discovery of a message in a bottle that is found floating halfway around the world and is addressed to the reader. So the child’s name and address features throughout the story and then at the end, the message that was in the bottle is revealed to be whatever you chose to write to the person you are giving the book to. It’s a great way of personalizing a book and will make all young readers excited to feature so prominently in a book.

My most important contribution to the project was the creation of Kiki, a lively and irrepressible young bird who has never seen much of the world before she sets off on an epic journey to deliver the message she has found to the reader’s home.  So as far as I was concerned, the story is about Kiki’s journey of discovery as she tries to do something that she has never done before. New challenges are always daunting and Kiki has moments of over-confidence and also self-doubt, which I’m sure anyone who has ever tried to do anything new can relate too! Eventually she manages to overcome all the obstacles and meets lots of different and exciting characters, some of which are more helpful than others. I would tell you more, but I think you should read the book for yourself—it’s far more fun like that!

I really enjoyed writing Kiki’s story and I hope that you and your children enjoy reading it and being part of the adventure too.

Lovereading4kids most popular books, by age range, 20 – 27 November 2016

November 28th, 2016

Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
Gordon's Great Escape Gordon’s Great Escape
Sue Hendra
November 2016 Book of the Month  Hurrah for Gordon the Balloon! Gordon’s life story, including time at balloon-school learning just what a balloon does, his first true love whose pets are porcupines and his important role in rescuing his friends …
Download free opening extract
2
Wolves Wolves
Emily Gravett
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Celebrating 10th Anniversary of Wolves!  Rabbit borrows a book about wolves from the library. He can’t put it down! But soon a sinister figure with sharp claws and a bushy tail …
Download free opening extract
3
Dinosaur Roar! Single Sound Board Book Dinosaur Roar! Single Sound Board Book
Henrietta Stickland
Dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak! This fabulous rhyming book of opposites is deservedly recognised as a classic and this new edition comes complete with a fantastic dinosaur sound. A herd of dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes and temperaments race or lounge …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for Young Adults

1
The Sun is Also a Star The Sun is Also a Star
Nicola Yoon
November 2016 Book of the Month
In a Nutshell: Race against time | Racing hearts | The difference a day makes |   Intense tale of fate, fraught families and migrant lives told over the twelve hour period in which a teenage girl …
Download free opening extract
2
The Diabolic The Diabolic
S. J. Kincaid
In a Nutshell: Intergalactic Identity Epic     Action and intrigue abound in this high-stakes, high-concept sci-fi thriller from the acclaimed author of Insignia.
Nemesis is a Diabolic. They ‘look like us, but they aren’t truly human beings.’ They’re predators who must kill …
Download free opening extract
3
Dear Charlie Dear Charlie
N. D. Gomes
November 2016 Debut of the Month
In a Nutshell: Shocking school shooting | Heartache behind headlines    A thoroughly thought-provoking tale of a family’s struggle with grief and guilt in the aftermath of an atrocious act committed by a loved one.
It’s …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 3+ readers

1
The Christmas Eve Tree The Christmas Eve Tree
Delia Huddy
Get into the Spirit of Christmas!  This absolutely beautiful book will really instil the true Christmas spirit in all who read it. Planted carelessly, the little fir tree has no chance to grow, so stays small and stunted. No wonder …
Download free opening extract
2
Snowflake in My Pocket Snowflake in My Pocket
Rachel Bright
Get into the Spirit of Christmas! This charming story of a little squirrel’s first adventure in the snow is also a gentle reflection on the things we should really treasure. Little Squirrel lives in an oak tree with wise old …
Download free opening extract
3
Blue Penguin Blue Penguin
Petr Horacek
November 2016 Book of the Month   There are some breathtakingly beautiful illustrations in Petr Horacek’s new picture book, and a story to bring a lump to the throat. Blue Penguin does the same things that the other penguins do but, …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 5+ readers

1
Magnificent Creatures Magnificent Creatures
Anna Wright
In a nutshell: patterns and personalities in the animal world captured in words and beautiful pictures.
This beautiful book will inspire children to look at the world around them with new eyes. Anna Wright is fascinated by the extraordinary patterns and …
Download free opening extract
2
Pandora Pandora
Victoria Turnbull
Victoria Turnbull is a very gifted picture book creator and Pandora is a beautiful story of friendship, hope and renewal. All alone, in a land of broken things, lives Pandora, a little fox. She spends her time gathering and repairing …
Download free opening extract
3
Penguin Problems Penguin Problems
Jory John
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2016      Ever thought you had problems? Try being a Penguin! There’s too much snow, it’s too cold, the sea has too …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 7+ readers

1
The Giant's Necklace The Giant’s Necklace
Michael Morpurgo
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2016    Former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo’s short story is a small gem. Part adventure, part ghost story it slips easily between past and present as a little girl, determined to collect all …
Download free opening extract
2
The Snow Cat The Snow Cat
Holly Webb
In a nutshell: a seasonal story of snow, cats and happy endings!
Young readers will very much enjoy Holly Webb’s typically touching new story, in which a mischievous cat works magic across the generations. Bel is staying with her grandma in …
Download free opening extract
3
The Fox and the Star The Fox and the Star
Coralie Bickford-Smith
October 2016 Debut of the Month  This is such a charming and gloriously delightful short tale, about friendship, facing your fears and looking beyond the obvious. The Fox and the Star is a visually stunning story book; the illustrations are fabulous, …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 9+ readers

1
There May be a Castle There May be a Castle
Piers Torday
November 2016 Book of the Month
In a nutshell: the unbeatable power of the imagination  |   Piers Torday’s beautifully written book is an extraordinary allegory, a story of courage and love, and of the life-affirming importance of stories. It’s Christmas …
Download free opening extract
2
The Song from Somewhere Else The Song from Somewhere Else
A. F. Harrold
A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month November 2016   Award-winning A.F. Harrold blends reality and imagination in a moving and thought-provoking story about friendship, loneliness and being brave when things are difficult. Bullied at school and unsupported at home, …
Download free opening extract
3
Winter Magic Winter Magic
Amy Alward, Emma Carroll, Berlie Doherty & others
Get into the Spirit of Christmas!   I’ve always thought books were magical.  It’s always a wonder that a simple combination of words can have such meaning, take us on so many adventures. This short story collection encapsulates that belief perfectly. …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 11+ readers

1
The Midnight Gang The Midnight Gang
David Walliams
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | November 2016 Book of the Month  | In a nutshell: comedy capers on the NHS from everyone’s favourite storyteller!
The spirit of Roald Dahl lives on in David Walliams, and Dahl’s influence …
Download free opening extract
2
An Eagle in the Snow An Eagle in the Snow
Michael Morpurgo
November 2016 Book of the Month   A ‘what if’ story based on a true life events, full of descriptions of heroism and selflessness: for any good writer this would make excellent material for a book, but in Michael Morpurgo’s hands, …
Download free opening extract
3
Spirit of the Jungle Spirit of the Jungle
Bear Grylls
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | October 2016 Book of the Month  | In a nutshell: jungle survival in the footsteps of Mowgli  |  More than 120 years after publication of The Jungle Book, and following the …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
Black Light Express Black Light Express
Philip Reeve
November 2016 Book of the Month
In a nutshell: dazzling journeys into other worlds  |   Philip Reeve continues to turn us all into railheads in his glorious new sci-fi adventure. The follow up to Railhead, this is set in a gleaming …
Download free opening extract
2
The Lie Tree: Illustrated Edition The Lie Tree: Illustrated Edition
Frances Hardinge
A beautiful illustrated gift edition of Frances Hardinge’s hugely entertaining and dramatic Victorian thriller. When Faith’s father dies suddenly she knows she must try to find out exactly what he was hiding in the local caves she had recently visited …
Download free opening extract
3
Reckless III: The Golden Yarn Reckless III: The Golden Yarn
Cornelia Funke
November 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: mesmerising tale of love and adventure set in a dark fairy tale world  |  Cornelia Funke has an extraordinarily fertile imagination, which is fed and inspired by the old fairy …
Download free opening extract

November 25th, 2016

See below for four scrumdiddlyumptious recipe ideas based on Roald Dahl books

roald-dahl-recipes

HARINGEY CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD SHORTLIST 2017

November 25th, 2016

What is the HCBA?

haringeyThe Haringey Children’s Book Award is now in its 3rd year, set up by the librarian community in Haringey to promote literacy across the borough through interaction between schools. The award aims to get more children reading and share fantastic books with them that they may have not noticed. Organised via school bookgroups, children from (mostly) school years 5 – 7 read the shortlist of books, do various activities on them, and then join altogether for workshops and the award ceremony itself, where they vote on the winner. We are seeing a growing community of schools taking part, with 10- 15 schools each year. Our vision is to eventually see all Haringey schools take part in some way.

2017 Shortlist
The Best Medicine by Christine Hamill, Little Island Books Catching Falling Stars by Karen McCombie, Scholastic
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, Usborne
The Imaginary by AF Harrold & illustr. Emily Gravett, Bloomsbury Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill, Piccadilly Press
Strange Star by Emma Carroll, Faber & Faber

Previous winners
2016 SF Said for ‘Phoenix’ 2015 Gill Lewis for ‘Scarlet Ibis’

 

The HCBA Award Ceremony

The award ceremony will be at Heartlands High School, Haringey (N22 7ST) on the afternoon of Monday 24th April 2017. We would like to welcome all authors, illustrators, publishers & associates to join us for the ceremony. Please let us know if you would like to attend by using the email below.

The award ceremony itself is a fantastic afternoon – last year saw a keynote speech from MP Catherine West, book signings by 9 authors and a Q&A from 3 of the shortlisted authors. Since voting by participating children takes place at the ceremony, organisers genuinely have no idea as to the winner of the award which is very exciting!

Authors

We would love authors to run a workshop for of 30 children approx on the morning of the award ceremony at the same venue. This is funded through an Arts Council grant via ‘Haringey Literature Live’. Authors will be further contacted by Kate Pemberton about furter details. Please also let us know if you have space in January – March for school visits, as participating schools sometimes like to do this themselves.

Publishers

Please can you send publicity material for the shortlisted titles to the address below. Award ceremony attendance is around 100 – 150 students and we do like to give attendees a few goodies to take home / to their schools.

Helen Swinyard
Library Manager
Heartlands High School
Station Road
London N22 7ST

helen.swinyard@heartlands.haringey.sch.uk

Lovereading4kids most popular children’s books, by age range, 13 – 20 November 2016

November 21st, 2016

Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
Wolves Wolves
Emily Gravett
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Celebrating 10th Anniversary of Wolves!  Rabbit borrows a book about wolves from the library. He can’t put it down! But soon a sinister figure with sharp claws and a bushy tail …
Download free opening extract
2
Gordon's Great Escape Gordon’s Great Escape
Sue Hendra
November 2016 Book of the Month  Hurrah for Gordon the Balloon! Gordon’s life story, including time at balloon-school learning just what a balloon does, his first true love whose pets are porcupines and his important role in rescuing his friends …
Download free opening extract
3
The Storm Whale The Storm Whale
Benji Davies
A beautiful slipcase edition of The Storm Whale and The Storm Whale in Winter from the award-winning author and illustrator Benji Davies. Follow Noi’s story in these poignant and moving books, now in a slipcase – the perfect gift for …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for Young Adults

1
The Sun is Also a Star The Sun is Also a Star
Nicola Yoon
November 2016 Book of the Month
In a Nutshell: Race against time | Racing hearts | The difference a day makes |   Intense tale of fate, fraught families and migrant lives told over the twelve hour period in which a teenage girl …
Download free opening extract
2
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman
In a Nutshell: Epic illustrated short stories |  A colossal collection of illustrated short stories about the star of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series.
Previously released separately in eBook format, this lavish volume of short stories makes a great gift for …
Download free opening extract
3
The Diabolic The Diabolic
S. J. Kincaid
In a Nutshell: Intergalactic Identity Epic     Action and intrigue abound in this high-stakes, high-concept sci-fi thriller from the acclaimed author of Insignia.
Nemesis is a Diabolic. They ‘look like us, but they aren’t truly human beings.’ They’re predators who must kill …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 3+ readers

1
The Christmas Eve Tree The Christmas Eve Tree
Delia Huddy
Get into the Spirit of Christmas!  This absolutely beautiful book will really instil the true Christmas spirit in all who read it. Planted carelessly, the little fir tree has no chance to grow, so stays small and stunted. No wonder …
Download free opening extract
2
Snowflake in My Pocket Snowflake in My Pocket
Rachel Bright
Get into the Spirit of Christmas! This charming story of a little squirrel’s first adventure in the snow is also a gentle reflection on the things we should really treasure. Little Squirrel lives in an oak tree with wise old …
Download free opening extract
3
Robin's Winter Song Robin’s Winter Song
Suzanne Barton
Beautifully illustrated, this buoyant and cheerful story captures Robin’s delight as the new season arrives! There’s a chill in the air and all of Robin’s friends are flying away to somewhere warmer. They make winter sound scary, greedy and cold. …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 5+ readers

1
Penguin Problems Penguin Problems
Jory John
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2016      Ever thought you had problems? Try being a Penguin! There’s too much snow, it’s too cold, the sea has too …
Download free opening extract
2
Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World
Kate Pankhurst
It’s impossible not to be inspired by this picture book and the great women featured in it: their stories are told across bright spreads, which are enticing to look at, and packed with information all presented in a way that …
Download free opening extract
3
Magnificent Creatures Magnificent Creatures
Anna Wright
Anna Wright’s stunning introduction to non-fiction and the natural world is enlivened by her gorgeously sophisticated and fun art style which mixes pen and ink, watercolour and fabric collage.
Lovereading Review to follow. …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 7+ readers

1
The Snow Cat The Snow Cat
Holly Webb
In a nutshell: a seasonal story of snow, cats and happy endings!
Young readers will very much enjoy Holly Webb’s typically touching new story, in which a mischievous cat works magic across the generations. Bel is staying with her grandma in …
Download free opening extract
2
The Fox and the Star The Fox and the Star
Coralie Bickford-Smith
October 2016 Debut of the Month  This is such a charming and gloriously delightful short tale, about friendship, facing your fears and looking beyond the obvious. The Fox and the Star is a visually stunning story book; the illustrations are fabulous, …
Download free opening extract
3
The Giant's Necklace The Giant’s Necklace
Michael Morpurgo
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2016    Former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo’s short story is a small gem. Part adventure, part ghost story it slips easily between past and present as a little girl, determined to collect all …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 9+ readers

1
The Song from Somewhere Else The Song from Somewhere Else
A. F. Harrold
A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month November 2016   Award-winning A.F. Harrold blends reality and imagination in a moving and thought-provoking story about friendship, loneliness and being brave when things are difficult. Bullied at school and unsupported at home, …
Download free opening extract
2
The Midnight Gang The Midnight Gang
David Walliams
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | November 2016 Book of the Month  | In a nutshell: comedy capers on the NHS from everyone’s favourite storyteller!
The spirit of Roald Dahl lives on in David Walliams, and Dahl’s influence …
Download free opening extract
3
There May be a Castle There May be a Castle
Piers Torday
November 2016 Book of the Month
In a nutshell: the unbeatable power of the imagination  |   Piers Torday’s beautifully written book is an extraordinary allegory, a story of courage and love, and of the life-affirming importance of stories. It’s Christmas …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 11+ readers

1
An Eagle in the Snow An Eagle in the Snow
Michael Morpurgo
November 2016 Book of the Month   A ‘what if’ story based on a true life events, full of descriptions of heroism and selflessness: for any good writer this would make excellent material for a book, but in Michael Morpurgo’s hands, …
Download free opening extract
2
Spirit of the Jungle Spirit of the Jungle
Bear Grylls
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | October 2016 Book of the Month  | In a nutshell: jungle survival in the footsteps of Mowgli  |  More than 120 years after publication of The Jungle Book, and following the …
Download free opening extract
3
Mistletoe and Murder A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery Mistletoe and Murder A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery
Robin Stevens
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | November 2016 Book of the Month  A festive feast of ghastly goings on for fans old and new of the A Murder Most Unladylike series. Astute, smart and daring they may …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
Reckless III: The Golden Yarn Reckless III: The Golden Yarn
Cornelia Funke
November 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: mesmerising tale of love and adventure set in a dark fairy tale world  |  Cornelia Funke has an extraordinarily fertile imagination, which is fed and inspired by the old fairy …
Download free opening extract
2
The Light That Gets Lost The Light That Gets Lost
Natasha Carthew
In a Nutshell: Raw revenge | Exploitative institution  |  Brightening bonds  |   An unforgettable novel about revenge, abuses of authority and the redemptive power of friendship.
After witnessing his parents’ murder, Trey is sent to bleak Camp Kernow, a correctional institution for …
Download free opening extract
3
I'll be Home for Christmas I’ll be Home for Christmas
Benjamin Zephaniah, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Cat Clarke & others
In a nutshell: heartfelt stories of home by top authors| Home – it’s a powerful concept, never more so than at Christmas. In association with homeless charity Crisis – £1 from every copy sold goes to them – publisher Stripes …
Download free opening extract

Christmas Books

November 15th, 2016

It’s Mid-November (already!) and in the blink of an eye, the bonfire night firecrackers have been replaced by shop fronts full of sparkly lights. So, as Christmas looms large over a frosty horizon, let us warm your cockles and please your budget with some great value gift ideas for little Christmas Elves of all ages! And free 2nd class postage on all UK orders over £20!

Fizz, Bang! – November Highlights

With all the great new books this month here are a couple of the literary rockets and roman candles that may have whooshed over your heads and we think it would be a huge shame for your kids to miss. Books like:

Double Down by Jeff Kinney (7+) – The Wimpy Kid is back for an 11th time! Sharp as ever and full of scenes that will have children doubled-up with laughter.

Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoe Sugg (11+) – The 3rd instalment in super-realistic teen tribulations from visionary vlogger, Zoella.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare (YA) – Demon hunting, courage, friendships and a massive dollop of self-discovery!

Fool-proof Festive Finds for Kids!

Christmas is coming! Let us help you turn your festive Fear to festive Cheer and give kids you know gifts that last forever!

A good book is a flight of fancy, a fantastic personal journey and can spark the imagination. And it’s pretty good value too! Win, win! See some highlights below or click here to see all our seasonal recommendations broken down by age range.

“Books for Book Lovers” – New ‘Walker Studio’ Imprint

A good book engages all the senses. This new imprint from leading independent children’s publisher, Walker Books, is focused on design, high-quality illustration and superlative content. Books that will entice readers from a distance and fill them with the urge to hold, open and devour them (metaphorically speaking!). It brings one-of-a-kind books together in one place and celebrates a love for the printed book.

0579

2016’s Final Fruits – Julia Eccleshare’s Last Selection of the Year

This is it, the last list of stellar must-reads for kids from Guardian Children’s Book Editor Julia Eccleshare. Don’t panic, though, it’s only the last list of 2016! Click here to find out what’s hot this side of Christmas.

Irresistible Reading – James Patterson’s Middle School Series

Passionate about helping kids to enjoy reading and one of the biggest-selling writers of all time, James Patterson is a very good thing in our book! We just love his Middle School Series for kids aged 9+. Perfect for Wimpy Kid fans, these are fast-paced, funny, adventurous page-turners. The latest title is; Dog’s Best Friend, which is brilliant. Don’t just take our word for it, read the Reader Reviews! Oscar aged 8 said; “This is a laugh your socks off book with lots of wacky hijinks and cheeky puns”. Find out more.

Stockings are all booked up this year!

Ever heard of ‘big-sock shock’? It’s the anxiety caused by an empty stocking. Fear not fellow sufferers, we have just the thing to fit. Perfect pressies to light up their faces from Santa’s little helpers.

Prying Eyes, Eyeing the Prize! – Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

As prizes for children’s writing go, they don’t come bigger. The shortlist for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2016 was announced this month.

Four fabulous novels vie for the top honours in an unenviable job for the judges. Why not check out the hopefuls here and judge for yourself?

Wizard World Spin-Offs!

JK Rowling’s Wizard World is filled with magical curiosities. Now fans can celebrate and explore with two spellbinding titles.

First, J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World: A Pop-Up Gallery of Curiosities will provide a lasting, truly interactive and ornamental 3D showcase of some of the best-loved peculiarities from the Harry Potter movies. And talking of films, don’t miss the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, movie scrapbook! It’s an artifact-filled adventure through the latest Newt Scamander movie.

Happy Hamster Birthday Humphrey!

Can you believe it? Humphrey the Hamster (9+) is 10! What better time to catch up with the hilarious adventures of the classroom pet? It being November an’ all, a good place to start might be Christmas According to Humphrey, which you can find here!

100 Years of Wow! – Chronologica (9+)

From the makers of Whitaker’s Almanack, an addictive, informative and unrivalled journey through time, from the foundation of Rome to the creation of the internet. Chronologica The Incredible Years That Defined History (9+) is an entertaining and beautifully illustrated glimpse into where we are and what’s gone before us. Find out more here.

Next Steps! – If They Like, They’ll Love

The final page has turned on the last in a series by a favourite author. Where do you turn now? Well, here actually!

If they like Patrick Ness they’ll Love The Light that Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew. An unforgettable novel about revenge, abuses of authority and the redemptive power of friendship.

And if they are fans of The Hunger Games series they’ll Love the dark fantasy that is Diabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith, part of the Tantalize Series.

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. New yet classic blood like; The Tigerboy by Ted Hughes (9+), a tale of difference and self-realisation from a former Poet Laureate.

Can’t Read, Won’t Read? – Think Again!

One of our missions is to help reluctant readers to gain the confidence to love reading and discover wonderful stories. That’s why we’ve dedicated a whole category to the fantastic books that are designed to help with exactly that! Books like:

Diary of a Trainee Rock God by Jonathan Meres (9+) and Jake McDonald – First-class, fact-filled story of ambition and aiming high.

And

The Sticky Witch by Hilary McKay (7+) – A gooey ‘let’s get out of here!’ tale of witchy hospitality and reluctant guests.

Book Week Scotland!

Nov 21-27 sees a week-long celebration of books and reading! People will be coming together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy. They’ll be joined by many of Scotland’s leading authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life. Don’t miss the ‘Authors Live’ broadcast with Charlie and Lola and Ruby Redfort creator Lauren Child. This and much, much more! Find out how you can get involved, here.

November email update

November 4th, 2016

November, with its crisp dark nights and the afterglow of fireworks scattering magic in the air just long enough for hearts to fill with wonder and excitement in the lead up to Christmas, is one of our favourite months! One of our other favourite things is helping you find the perfect fodder for your book hungry youngsters! So, here are our top tips for some cracking reads this winter and maybe a few little things to fill your stockings too! Read on for more.

A November to Remember! – Books of the Month

The fireworks may have fizzled, but our bookshelf is still bursting with colour. Here are the sparklers:

There May Be a Castle by Piers Torday (9+) – Beautifully written allegory about courage, love and the unbeatable power of imagination.

The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon (13+) – Timely and breathtakingly smart story about love, identity, displacement and the changing relationships between young adults and their parents.

Reckless III The Golden Yarn by Cornelia Funke (11+) – Imaginative. Mesmerizing adventure through dark fairy tale worlds that will ‘make you breathless’ (Reader Review

tod09
912
1214ya

First Words

It’s a fine duo of fledgling fablers this month as we celebrate the best of the best in debut titles.

Dear Charlie (YA) by N. D. Gomes – A big-hearted book that doesn’t shirk from tackling big issues, emotions and questions – how do we survive and recover a sense of hope through the most destructive personal tragedies?

The Liszts (5+) written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Julia Sarda. Wonderfully dark, even gothic, completely original, wonderful to look at, funny and intriguing, this is one to add to your list of must-haves.

Fancy Winning Limited Edition Signed Books?

Don’t miss your chance to win exclusive signed copies of brilliant books. We’ve already brightened cloudy days with signed editions of books like Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, Chris Riddell’s eccentrically charming, Ottoline and the Purple Fox, The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop by Clare Balding and Young Bond: Strike Lightning. There will be more and more chances to win more and more great titles, so: “if at first … ” and all that. Just keep coming back for more!

Out of the Mouths! – Reader Review Highlights

Here they are, the best book about right now as chosen by our highly discerning group of young reviewers. Books like:

The Road to Ever After by Moira Young (9+) – ‘Step into a world of adventure, magic and friendship. I loved this book, once you have read it you will remember it forever.’ (Anya Fuller, aged 9).

Christmas! – Have you Booked?

It’s the same every year. The mad rush to find the right gifts for the kids. Whatever you get them, you run the risk that once the paper is ripped off and what’s inside is not the next big thing anymore, it’s gathering dust under the bed with the Connect 4, a mini skateboard, some Lego and the discarded clothes of a mermaid doll. You know what you need? You need the peace of mind that you get from giving a jolly good book! Click here for inspiration.

 

Seasonal Delights from Matt Haig

Last year Matt Haig brought us a brand new Christmas story, A Boy Called Christmas, his tale of how a weedy little boy called Nikolas became the jolly bearded figure we know as Father Christmas.

This year he follows it up with another festive treat, The Girl Who Saved Christmas, a magical story of hope, faith and Father Christmas with an evergreen message for one and all.

These are wonderful seasonal adventures, exciting, often very funny though not without its darker moments, and never sentimental.

Treat time for Toddlers

November sees a plethora of beautiful new picture books – see below for three highlights…

Bedtime Reads Refresh

Books at bedtime are such a vital part of growing up. A treat for parents and children alike. This colourful category celebrates the best in books to share and this month; there are even MORE to choose from.

Like; Goodnight World (3+) by Debi Gliori, a lovely lullaby to bid the day ‘goodnight’ and cuddle up with Mum or Dad.

Stories Without Words

Wordless picture books can create an incredible story experience, leaving the nuances of interpretation to the reader. The drawings inspiring children and parents to find their own narrative. Have a look at Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (Baby & Toddler), a witty, warm friendship tale.

Picture Perfect Pet… It’s a Dog’s Life

Kate Prendergast’s incredible wordless picture-stories speak a thousand words, combining a loveable character with beautiful observations of the world around us. A delight to read again and again. Meet ‘Dog’, the eponymous hero! In Dog on a Train, he tries to reunite ‘Boy’ with his favourite hat. But will he find him in the midst of rush hour madness? Dog on a Digger and is another compelling comic adventure for our cunning canine, cleverly told with pictures. Books for 3+yrs readers to cherish!

Well, I did NOT know That!

Whatever age you are, it’s always great to find out something mind-blowing! That’s why we’ve compiled a Fascinating Facts category; jam packed with noggin expanding nuggets for kids of all ages.

Parents of kids aged 9+, for example, should look at The Survivors: And Other Incredible Stories of Extreme Survival by David Long (9+), an astonishing selection of real-life survival stories.
Book the Cinema! – Film Tie-Ins

Every now and then great books get made into great films. Some greater than others! This category is about the books that inspired some of your favourite films. And you know what they say! “The Books is (always) better!”. Books like, Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism (9+) by Georgia Byng, a rags to happiness tale of the power of dreams.

Lovereading4kids. Most popular children’s books, by age range, 23 – 30 October 2016

October 31st, 2016

Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
Gordon's Great Escape Gordon’s Great Escape
Sue Hendra
November 2016 Book of the Month  Hurrah for Gordon the Balloon! Gordon’s life story, including time at balloon-school learning just what a balloon does, his first true love whose pets are porcupines and his important role in rescuing his friends …
Download free opening extract
2
Wow! Said the Owl Wow! Said the Owl
Tim Hopgood
Owl decides to wake up during the day and sleep at night.  A very odd thing for an owl to do.  But he discovers the world of colour and he’s in awe.  A really lovely and original picture book.
Shortlisted …
Download free opening extract
3
The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water
Gemma Merino
Longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014  Could it be that this little crocodile isn’t a crocodile at all? He might just be a DRAGON! A funny, unique and uplifting story from a debut author-illustrator and perfect for giving a …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for Young Adults

1
Lie Kill Walk Away Lie Kill Walk Away
Matt Dickinson
A non-stop, action packed, thrilling tale of a race to save humanity from a deadly virus. 15 year old Rebecca Eden and 16 year old Joe Fontana tell their own tales in alternate very short punchy chapters. Each has suffered …
Download free opening extract
2
The Deviants The Deviants
C. J. Skuse
October 2016 Book of the Month |  In a Nutshell: Revelations | Revenge | Rebuilding relationships
Masterfully suspenseful rollercoaster of a read, with a genuinely jaw-dropping finale.
Once thick as thieves and known as “The Fearless Friends”, the light of Ella, Max, …
Download free opening extract
3
As I Descended As I Descended
Robin Talley
September 2016 Book of the Month
In a Nutshell: Deadly Ambition |  Scheming with Spirits |  Descent into Darkness
Thrilling, chilling, supernaturally-charged retelling of Macbeth set in a prestigious southern state high school.
While Lily can’t wait to try out her antique Ouija …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 3+ readers

1
There's a Snake in My School! There’s a Snake in My School!
David Walliams
October 2016 Book of the Month    David Walliams has his finger firmly on the funny bone of the nation’s youth, and little children will love this story of school turned upside-down by an unexpected visitor. It’s bring-your-pet-to-school day, and a …
Download free opening extract
2
We Found a Hat We Found a Hat
Jon Klassen
A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month October 2016   Award-winning Jon Klassen is as witty, engaging and subtle as ever in this delightful story with a very big theme but told in only a very few words. Two Turtles find …
Download free opening extract
3
Time Now to Dream Time Now to Dream
Timothy Knapman
There’s a dreamlike quality to this beautiful picture book. Two young children, painted by Helen Oxenbury with typical sensitivity, leave the safety of their garden to explore the forest when they hear a mysterious noise coming from the trees. Taking …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 5+ readers

1
Queen Munch and Queen Nibble Queen Munch and Queen Nibble
Carol Ann Duffy
Queen Munch has cheeks as red as tomato ketchup, eyes the colour of chutney and a laugh as loud and deep as the moo of a cow on its way to be milked; Queen Nibble on the contrary, is as …
Download free opening extract
2
They All Saw a Cat They All Saw a Cat
Brendan Wenzel
October 2016 Book of the Month A stylized, colourful picture book that highlights the power of perception and will gently introduce young readers to the concept that we all see the world a little differently. It harnesses not only the visual …
Download free opening extract
3
Motor Miles Motor Miles
John Burningham
October 2016 Book of the Month  There’s a perfect simplicity to this book, the work of a picture book genius. Miles is a difficult dog, won’t come when called, doesn’t like walks or other dogs, barks too much. The only …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 7+ readers

1
The Fox and the Ghost King The Fox and the Ghost King
Michael Morpurgo
A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month October 2016  Award-winning Michael Morpurgo weaves a charming and witty story around sport and history as they have come together in the recent twin triumphs of the City of Leicester with the discovery …
Download free opening extract
2
The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner
Terry Pratchett
Special Slipcased Edition | In a nutshell: inventive | readable | hilarious   |  This collection of 14 rip-roaringly funny stories is a great way to introduce children to Terry Pratchett – indeed, each story is just the right length for bedtime reading – …
Download free opening extract
3
The Pumpkin Project The Pumpkin Project
Katie Smith
Winner of ITV Lorraine’s Top Tales 2016 | In a nutshell: growing vegetables grows confidence and puts nasty Penelope in the shade
Katie Smith’s story beat 3000 others in Lorraine’s Top Tales competition on ITV, winning the approval of Lorraine …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 9+ readers

1
The War Next Door The War Next Door
Phil Earle
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2016  A pacey new story set in Storey Street featuring a cast of outrageous characters doing a host of amazing and extraordinary things. Masher’s dad is determined to get his greedy hands …
Download free opening extract
2
The Secret of Nightingale Wood The Secret of Nightingale Wood
Lucy Strange
October 2016 Debut of the Month    Debut author Lucy Strange tells a touching story, rich in atmosphere and with a strong historical background capturing a young girl’s need for courage and her way of finding it. Henry’s (short for …
Download free opening extract
3
The Christmasaurus The Christmasaurus
Tom Fletcher
Get into the Spirit of Christmas! A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2016   Celebrity Dad of the Year 2016, Tom Fletcher brings Christmas and Dinosaurs together in a warm hearted, rollickingly magical story inspired by his love of …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 11+ readers

1
Clover Moon Clover Moon
Jacqueline Wilson
October 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: gripping historical drama with an irresistible heroine |       Clover Moon is a typical Jacqueline Wilson heroine: she’s bright, more than able to think for herself and stands up to the …
Download free opening extract
2
Spirit of the Jungle Spirit of the Jungle
Bear Grylls
October 2016 Book of the Month  | In a nutshell: jungle survival in the footsteps of Mowgli  |  More than 120 years after publication of The Jungle Book, and following the new live action film version, Bear Gryll’s adventure story …
Download free opening extract
3
Blink and You Die Blink and You Die
Lauren Child
October 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: Nobody beats Ruby Redfort! |      Blink and You Die is the very last book in Lauren Child’s superb Ruby Redfort girl detective series, and what a finale it is! Someone, someone …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
The Wrong Train The Wrong Train
Jeremy De Quidt
In a Nutshell: Sinister short stories
Sublimely spine-tingling, this evokes all the dread of an ominous tap-tap-tapping on your door in the dead of night.
Picture this. You rush to catch your usual train but your relief at making it in time …
Download free opening extract
2
One One
Sarah Crossan
Winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. Joint Winner of the CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award). Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Awards. Shortlisted for the Children’s category of the Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2016.
Award-winning Sarah Crossan …
Download free opening extract
3
Reckless I: The Petrified Flesh Reckless I: The Petrified Flesh
Cornelia Funke
Best-selling author Cornelia Funke, whose Inkheart was a world-wide phenomenon, has created a wonderful imaginary world peopled with a gigantic cast of original and outlandish characters. Searching for his missing father, Jacob Reckless steps through the mirror into a strange, …
Download free opening extract

Issue Two of SCOOP a new magazine for children aged 8 – 12 out this month

October 24th, 2016

Serving a feast of thought-fizzling fiction, features, creative competitions and awesome activities in every collectible forty-page launched with a big fanfare in September 2016 and Issue 2 is out this month .
scoop2
What?

Scoop is an exciting new monthly print magazine for children aged 8–12. Perfect for collecting, sharing and inspiring discussion and creativity, Scoop will publish ten times a year and feature:

★ Spellbinding stories, poetry and graphic fiction from top children’s writers and illustrators. Confirmed contributors include:
Neil Gaiman Eoin Colfer Laura Dockrill Abi Elphinstone
Emerald Fennell
David Roberts John Agard Catherine Johnson Gareth P. Jones Lucy Coats Chris Priestley A. F. Harrold Philip Womack
★Brain-boggling non-fiction covering current affairs, science, sport and MORE! ★Inspiring illustrations by leading artists
★Cool comic strips and cartoons
★Entertaining activities, puzzles and jokes
★Rousing reviews and recommendations
★Engaging reader contributions and competitions
★Kids book reviews from Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel

scoopreviews

Why?

The seeds of Scoop were sown when founder and publisher Clementine Macmillan-Scott discovered the Children’s Newspaper while researching a book for her mother, Juliet Nicolson. Inspired by its thought-provoking content and popularity (it sold 500,000 copies a week in its heyday), and by her own literary background, Clementine began to explore the possibility of creating a child-focused print platform for the twenty-first century – a collectible, gorgeously designed magazine that celebrates the creative spirit in this Golden Age of children’s literature and illustration. After months of planning and fundraising, Clementine assembled a small team of respected publishing and design professionals and formed Curious Publishing Ltd as a platform through which to publish Scoop.

How? 

Scoop will be available in print editions and primarily sold through subscription, but also available in selected independent bookshops from October. The digital strategy is also being developed to create a online platform. Subscriptions can be purchased from www.scoopthemag.co.uk from September. Scoop costs £40 for an annual family subscription for ten issues, and £160 for an annual school subscription (five copies of ten issues). Trial offers are also available to early subscribers.

Who? 

Founder and Publisher: Clementine Macmillan-Scott. Clementine was Coordinator of the Galle Literary Festival and the Galle Children’s Festival. She has worked in books all her life, except for a brief stint as a costume designer.
Editor-in-Chief: Sarah Odedina. Formerly Editor-in-Chief for Bloomsbury Children’s, where she oversaw Harry Potter, Sarah launched Hot Key Books and is now Editor-at-Large for Pushkin Press. ★Marketing and Publicity Direction: Joanne Owen. Joanne is a writer and reviewer who has previously held marketing roles at Bloomsbury, Macmillan, Walker and Nosy Crow.

Art Direction: LOVERS Agency (Alex Ostrowski and Arthur Carey). ★Original Co-founders: Anna Baddeley and Philip Womack.

For further information, please sign up at scoopthemag.co.uk ★Email: joanne@scoopthemag.co.uk Follow us on Twitter: @scoop_the_mag ★ Instagram: @scoopmag 

Most popular books on Lovereading4kids, by age range, 16 – 23 October 2016

October 24th, 2016

Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
Wow! Said the Owl Wow! Said the Owl
Tim Hopgood
Owl decides to wake up during the day and sleep at night.  A very odd thing for an owl to do.  But he discovers the world of colour and he’s in awe.  A really lovely and original picture book.
Shortlisted …
Download free opening extract
2
The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water
Gemma Merino
Longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014  Could it be that this little crocodile isn’t a crocodile at all? He might just be a DRAGON! A funny, unique and uplifting story from a debut author-illustrator and perfect for giving a …
Download free opening extract
3
Gordon's Great Escape Gordon’s Great Escape
Sue Hendra
Hurrah for Gordon the Balloon! Gordon’s life story, including time at balloon-school learning just what a balloon does, his first true love whose pets are porcupines and his important role in rescuing his friends from an island is a roller-coaster …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for Young Adults

1
The Deviants The Deviants
C. J. Skuse
October 2016 Book of the Month |  In a Nutshell: Revelations | Revenge | Rebuilding relationships
Masterfully suspenseful rollercoaster of a read, with a genuinely jaw-dropping finale.
Once thick as thieves and known as “The Fearless Friends”, the light of Ella, Max, …
Download free opening extract
2
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 …
Download free opening extract
3
Darkness Follows Darkness Follows
L. A. Weatherly
October 2016 Book of the Month  Absolutely thrilling! This is the second in the truly wonderful ‘Broken Trilogy’ and is just as captivating and if possible, even more gripping than the first. This world must be entered through Broken Sky, …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 3+ readers

1
There's a Snake in My School! There’s a Snake in My School!
David Walliams
October 2016 Book of the Month    David Walliams has his finger firmly on the funny bone of the nation’s youth, and little children will love this story of school turned upside-down by an unexpected visitor. It’s bring-your-pet-to-school day, and a …
Download free opening extract
2
We Found a Hat We Found a Hat
Jon Klassen
A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month October 2016   Award-winning Jon Klassen is as witty, engaging and subtle as ever in this delightful story with a very big theme but told in only a very few words. Two Turtles find …
Download free opening extract
3
Time Now to Dream Time Now to Dream
Timothy Knapman
There’s a dreamlike quality to this beautiful picture book. Two young children, painted by Helen Oxenbury with typical sensitivity, leave the safety of their garden to explore the forest when they hear a mysterious noise coming from the trees. Taking …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 5+ readers

1
They All Saw a Cat They All Saw a Cat
Brendan Wenzel
October 2016 Book of the Month A stylized, colourful picture book that highlights the power of perception and will gently introduce young readers to the concept that we all see the world a little differently. It harnesses not only the visual …
Download free opening extract
2
Queen Munch and Queen Nibble Queen Munch and Queen Nibble
Carol Ann Duffy
Queen Munch has cheeks as red as tomato ketchup, eyes the colour of chutney and a laugh as loud and deep as the moo of a cow on its way to be milked; Queen Nibble on the contrary, is as …
Download free opening extract
3
Motor Miles Motor Miles
John Burningham
October 2016 Book of the Month  There’s a perfect simplicity to this book, the work of a picture book genius. Miles is a difficult dog, won’t come when called, doesn’t like walks or other dogs, barks too much. The only …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 7+ readers

1
The Fox and the Ghost King The Fox and the Ghost King
Michael Morpurgo
A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month October 2016  Award-winning Michael Morpurgo weaves a charming and witty story around sport and history as they have come together in the recent twin triumphs of the City of Leicester with the discovery …
Download free opening extract
2
The Christmasaurus The Christmasaurus
Tom Fletcher
Get into the Spirit of Christmas! A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2016   Celebrity Dad of the Year 2016, Tom Fletcher brings Christmas and Dinosaurs together in a warm hearted, rollickingly magical story inspired by his love of …
Download free opening extract
3
The Racehorse Who Wouldn't Gallop The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop
Clare Balding
October 2016 MEGA Debut of the Month |  In a nutshell: follow your dreams  |  Young readers will gallop through Clare Balding’s utterly delightful book – in fact, they’ll be smiling from the very first sentence. Steeped in farm and …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 9+ readers

1
Clover Moon Clover Moon
Jacqueline Wilson
October 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: gripping historical drama with an irresistible heroine |       Clover Moon is a typical Jacqueline Wilson heroine: she’s bright, more than able to think for herself and stands up to the …
Download free opening extract
2
The War Next Door The War Next Door
Phil Earle
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2016  A pacey new story set in Storey Street featuring a cast of outrageous characters doing a host of amazing and extraordinary things. Masher’s dad is determined to get his greedy hands …
Download free opening extract
3
The Secret of Nightingale Wood The Secret of Nightingale Wood
Lucy Strange
October 2016 Debut of the Month    Debut author Lucy Strange tells a touching story, rich in atmosphere and with a strong historical background capturing a young girl’s need for courage and her way of finding it. Henry’s (short for …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 11+ readers

1
Spirit of the Jungle Spirit of the Jungle
Bear Grylls
October 2016 Book of the Month  | In a nutshell: jungle survival in the footsteps of Mowgli  |  More than 120 years after publication of The Jungle Book, and following the new live action film version, Bear Gryll’s adventure story …
Download free opening extract
2
Blink and You Die Blink and You Die
Lauren Child
October 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: Nobody beats Ruby Redfort! |      Blink and You Die is the very last book in Lauren Child’s superb Ruby Redfort girl detective series, and what a finale it is! Someone, someone …
Download free opening extract
3
Time After Time Time After Time
Judi Curtin
September 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: touching, gentle timeslip adventure |   Judi Curtin has been described as the Irish Jacqueline Wilson and it’s easy to see why: she writes warm, convincing contemporary stories about girls, friendships …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
The Wrong Train The Wrong Train
Jeremy De Quidt
In a Nutshell: Sinister short stories
Sublimely spine-tingling, this evokes all the dread of an ominous tap-tap-tapping on your door in the dead of night.
Picture this. You rush to catch your usual train but your relief at making it in time …
Download free opening extract
2
Reckless II: Living Shadows Reckless II: Living Shadows
Cornelia Funke
Best-selling Cornelia Funke has an exceptional gift for creating gloriously gothic otherworlds in which the unusual and seemingly impossible can – and does- happen. Part two of the Mirrrorworld series, Living Shadows, follows The Petrified Flesh and catches up with …
Download free opening extract
3
Reckless I: The Petrified Flesh Reckless I: The Petrified Flesh
Cornelia Funke
Best-selling author Cornelia Funke, whose Inkheart was a world-wide phenomenon, has created a wonderful imaginary world peopled with a gigantic cast of original and outlandish characters. Searching for his missing father, Jacob Reckless steps through the mirror into a strange, …
Download free opening extract

Meet the Illustrator – In conversation with Helen Oxenbury

October 21st, 2016

Helen Oxenbury chats to Shelley Fallows from Lovereading4kids.

I (Shelley) have a nine year old son.  Those nine years have flown by in a flash as I was warned they would and yet one of the most endearing memories I have of his younger years is reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, over and over.  The book had been a gift from a friend who also had wonderful memories of reading it to her by then teenage children.  This is the beauty of a great picture book, quiet moments shared with you and the child in your life that become special.  So it was an absolute delight for me when I was asked to interview author and Illustrator Helen Oxenbury on behalf of Lovereading4kids to celebrate the publication of Time Now to Dream written by Timothy Knapman which is packed full of Helen’s beautiful, illustrations.

Time Now to Dream is a beautifully atmospheric story about two young children confronting their fears and supporting each other as they explore a mysterious noise in the woods close to where they live.  Timothy’s prose is perfect for sharing with young ones as it gently explores the fear of the unknown and inspired the illustrations Helen has created.  Her instantly recognisable style fits perfectly with the story.  I wanted to gain a better insight into this mother and grandmother who has made such a great contribution to children’s books – she is even the creator of the iconic bear symbol that graces all of Walker’s Books. She has been drawing since she was a child, discovering her love for it when she was forced to often stay home from school due to asthma.

Where did you take your inspiration from as a child?

I remember drawing endless bunches of flowers.  We had a lovely garden with a pond which I spent most of my time with my hands in.  I had no fear of frogs or toads.  That’s what I remember mostly of my childhood.  We often had friends over who all fell in but my brother and I never did because we grew up around it and knew not to.

What was you earliest book related memory?

You have to remember it was during the war and you couldn’t get books, you couldn’t buy your own books.  My father worked for the East Suffolk County Council and they had a library.  There was a shelf full of children’s books.  It was just awful but these were the only books I had really.  The one I can remember, that I just loved was quite a big book of photographs of Shirley Temple in different outfits, such as red wellies, a yellow raincoat and big yellow hat.  The book was in lovely, bright colour.  All the other books were just black and white.  We were quite starved of books really.  We had comics such as the Beano which was printed in black, red and white but if you had one with colour it was just wonderful.

Can you explain a little about your creative process? For example which medium do you like to work with?

time-to-dream-3It depends on the story, depends on the text.  If it is something like ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ or ‘Time Now to Dream’ that involves a rather English landscape then I’ll use watercolour.  However when I did the illustrations for ‘So Much’ which is about a West Indian family, well it just didn’t seem right in watercolour because they wear these wonderful, vibrant colours, so I used gouache.  It’s usually the text itself that will suggest to one which medium to use.

 

Do you have a specific routine you follow when working and do you tend to draw every day?

I take a flexible approach depending on what I’m working on.  I don’t always draw everyday though.  There’s not always enough time.

 

Do you usually meet the author before you begin work on the illustrations for a project?

No never. I receive just the manuscript to work from and then meet the authors once it is done.

 

Where did you take your inspiration for the illustrations in Time Now to Dream?

I took a lot of walks on Hampstead Heath but not with a notebook, but I wouldn’t do any drawing at this stage.  I would then draw the pictures from memory.

 

Your drawings are wonderfully expressive, are the children based on anyone in particular?

They are a culmination of children based on the age of those who will be reading it.  It helps the children to be able to identify with the characters.  I love to try and put over the emotions the text invokes.  We have to enhance the text but not slavishly illustrate every word.  I also like to add a little something that features throughout the book.  In ‘Time Now to Dream’ for example there is a bird who appears all the way through.  At times you are unsure what his purpose is.  Is he a little sinister or is he watching over them?  It’s another element to talk about when you’re reading the book.

 

How closely do you work with the publisher on the finished book?

I work very closely with the art director on the book itself.  For example with ‘Time Now to Dream’ I didn’t want the foliage and text etc. to be on a white background so we chose a softer colour that supported the illustrations better and provided a softer, more comforting feel to the book.  I also like to include a mix of coloured illustrations with black and white images to also enhance the visual aspect.  Walker Books are particularly good at getting it right.  There is definitely a Walker look.

 

How important do you feel illustrations are to building a child’s love of books and reading?

time-to-dream-4Terribly important and not only for the reading but looking at things, giving them a sense of colour and form.  For example when they see a wolf they’ll recognise it for what it is.  I see them also as a stepping stone to reading.  Illustrations also make a book so much more interesting.

 

How vital do you feel the role of Children’s Laureate is to Children’s literature today?

Well, it certainly can’t do any harm especially if it gets more children reading!

 

Do you have any advice for parents who want to encourage their children to read?

They’re never too young to start.  It’s amazing how much they can absorb right away.  Holding books, looking at pictures, hearing the words and of course having that precious time with mum and dad.  Always make time to read.

 

What are you reading at the moment?

Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens, it has the most wonderful illustrations!

 

Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

I am but I’m afraid I can’t say too much about them at the moment.  I still love what I do and will keep on doing it until I fall off my perch.


LoveReading.co.uk Privacy Policy Disclaimer