Mid-February eNewsletter

February 20th, 2017

Half term already! Read on for lots more kids’ book recommendations, from children’s book experts like Julia Eccleshare and catch up on the latest book related news. And parents with young children need to have a look at our charmingly brilliant Illustrator of the Month Sophy Henn.

 


February’s Children’s Highlights

Our highlights can point you on the path of perfect reads for kids of all ages that might have gone under your radar this month. Brilliant books like:

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (YA) – Devastatingly honest, powerful and emotional coming of age tale of self-knowledge and the trials of sexual identity.

The Night Gardener by Terry & Eric Fan (3+) – In delicate images and compositions, this breathtaking book makes us see the beauty of the world around us. And more on the shelves below.

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Bring Non-Fiction to life

The What On Earth? Series from Christopher Lloyd bring facts to life! Each book contains a fold-out timeline, with intricate illustrations and bitesize pieces of information, which show the complete story of a range of popular non-fiction subjects including Science, History, Sport, Shakespeare and Nature.

Find out more about these books in our special category. And visit the whatonearthbooks website to download a FREE Activity Book which contains ten creative learning activities linked to the books in the Wallbook Collection. You can also buy the whole set in a brilliant slipcase edition – it’s stunning.

One. Step. Ahead, Baby!

This is your chance to read a free, fantastic first few chapters of brilliant books BEFORE they hit the shelves. 

The Fearless Travellers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler (9+) – Beautiful, terrifying and in part comic magical fantasy about being true to who you are.

Black Moon by L.A. Weatherly (YA) – Thrilling, breathtaking conclusion to the Broken Trilogy. An expertly-crafted dystopian adventure, crammed with suspense, espionage, courage and romance.

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A Love Story Like No Other

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan (YA) – Our MEGA Book of the Month, a first collaboration between two major award-winning novelists. ‘A wonderful love story, told in prose, featuring two very damaged young people who blossom when they find one another. A gem.‘ (Rosa 17).

The authors first met at a dinner to celebrate their respective books being shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Soon after the two of them began sending chapters back and forth on WhatsApp.

     

Julia’s Jubilations! – Julia Eccleshare Recommends

Who better than the Guardian Children’s Books Editor who also happens to be our Editor-at-Large to suggest the books that are truly worth reading right now for kids of all ages? See what Julia Eccleshare has in store for us this month.

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Talent to Draw On

Relatively new kid on the block, the work of Morag Hood has already won her acclaim and the love of very young children and parents everywhere. Her first story; Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea is a brilliant tale of unlikely friendship and was one of our Books of the Year 2016. Her latest title is When Grandad was a Penguin, a charming, original and quirky swapping-places story that is hilarious and wonderfully surreal. Find them here.

Great Scot! – Scottish Teenage Book Prize shortlist

Drawn from a sky-scraping pile of hopefuls, the shortlist for this highly coveted award is a mere three books long! With the winner announced on 1 March, you have just enough time to read them all and judge for yourself! Find out more here.

What Now? – “If they Like, They’ll Love”.

They’ve devoured a whole series by a favourite author and are hungry for more. But where can they turn to find their next great read? Our If They Like, They’ll Love section introduces them to other authors who are right up their street.

For instance; fans of Percy Jackson will love Who Let the Gods Out by Maz Evans (11+) – First in a four part series full of hilarious and addictive adventure bringing classical gods to the 21st Century! We can’t wait for more.

If they like The Fault in our Stars by John Green they’ll love The Memory Book by Lara Avery. If they like Geek Girl by Holly Smale they’ll love Waiting for Callback by Perdita and Honor Cargill. If they like books by Jacqueline Wilson they’ll love Born to Dance by Jean Ure.
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New vivid other-world YA series

Josh Martin is an author dedicated to writing for young adults. He is fascinated by fantasy, environment, gender studies and strong heroines. His stunning new series for teens embodies all of these and more.

Ariadnis
is a dystopian exploration of society and the trails of growing up. It’s perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and promises to be just as popular. Find the first in the series here.

A Fantastical feast of espionage, revenge, rebellion and romance

What started with Rebel of the Sands (13+) continues with Traitor to the Throne. Steeped in magic and myth, this series tingles with tension and the potent appeal of a heroine whose wit and power never let up.

Lauren 16, one of our Reader Reviewers said  ‘The plot twists are frequent and beyond anything I could have imagined, making for a wonderfully unpredictable and unforeseen story that will surely satisfy even the wildest of imaginations.’

Take a Gobb Stop! Michael Rosen’s Uncle Gobb is BACK!

Former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen’s uproarious series about the boy Malcolm and the un-get-rid-of-able and incredibly strange Uncle Gobb was described by one of our Reader Reviewers as ‘talking to me rather than me reading it’ (Amisha 13). That’s about as good as it gets, we reckon!

The latest title is: Uncle Gobb and the Green Heads which sees both Gobb and Malcolm going to extraordinary, hilarious and mega lengths to get rid of each other. Don’t miss it!

More Delightful Picture Books from Rob Biddulph

Observer Magazine art director by day, creator of silly stories and pictures by night, Rob Biddulph is a favourite presence on children’s bookshelves the world over. His first book Blown Away won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2015 and we loved his glorious self-discovery tale; Odd Dog Out.

Now he has a new adventure to thrill us with and we have an exclusive extract for you Sunk!, sees the return of Penguin Blue in a swashbuckling new adventure about pirates, treasure, and friendship. Find out more.

Out of the Mouth of Babes. Reader Reviews

Who better than kids to recommend the books for kids? These are the honest opinions of children and if candidly shared with the kids will help you choose their next great read. Books like:

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth (9+) – ‘Exciting and full of adventure’, ‘… there’s no putting it down’, ‘… a funny, heartwarming tale’. Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles – ‘combines fantasy, romance, tragedy and teenage desire into one amazing read that I am still unable to forget.’ Rebekah 14. Broken Heart Club (9+) by Cathy Cassidy – the author has a gift for capturing the turbulent emotions of young adolescents… no longer children, yet not very adult.
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The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart (9+) by Stephanie Burgis – A delicious fantasy adventure with a fine mix of dragons, heroines and – chocolate! I Can Only Draw Worms (3+) by Will Mabbitt – A counting book and picture book like no other. ‘Brilliantly simple idea, fabulously executed’ (Parent Review).
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Page Boys! – Great Books for Boys Category

This month is our Great Books for Boys category which now has even more boys’ own adventures and tales that might appeal to boys, especially those that struggle to find a way in too reading. Of course, girls may love them too! New this month:

House of Robots: Robots Revolution by James Patterson (9+) – Super readable secondary-school robot rumpus! And we have THREE fantastic goody bags filled with Middle School treats as prizes in a free to enter competition linked to the upcoming film The Worst Years of My Life.

And Radio Boy (9+) Award-winning broadcaster Christian O’Connell’s hugely entertaining debut novel is power charged!

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Flip Flap to create hilarious combinations

The publisher Nosy Crow has created some very silly but compelling books that will charm the whole family and in particular young toddlers. Open a page to find one animal – but flip the top half or flap the bottom half and hilariously unique combinations are created such as the goreleon, half gorilla half chameleon, or the equally bright parrakog – half parakeet, half frog! New this month is Flip Flap Dogs.

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Where’s Wally? He’s Here! And He’s 30!!

Can you believe that the stripy topped lad that we love to look for is 30 this year? Well, it’s true.  The worldwide phenomenon started 30 years ago with the classic picture book. Now there’s a celebratory, gold and shiny 30th-anniversary edition with even more fun features. Find out more and find Wally!

Book it in the Diary! – World Book Day 2017

We LOVE World Book Day! More than 15 million £1 book tokens given to children to exchange for wonderful books to read from award-winning authors. You can find this year’s list of available books here, so all you need to do is go to your local bookseller (find your local bookshop here) and swap your token for one of the TEN exclusive, new and completely free World Book Day books! Lovereading? Love World Book Day!

And that is February at Lovereading4kids. We’ll be back in March, with a spring in our step, with even more hand-picked recommendations for kids of all ages!

P.S. Mother’s Day Recommendations Just a little heads-up as Mother’s Day is just around the corner in March that a book can be a thoughtful, affordable and lasting gift. For gifts from little ones, we would like to recommend:

Bing: Something for Mummy by Ted Dewan (3+) – It seems that making something nice for Mum is a Bing Thing too!

February 2017 eNewsletter

February 6th, 2017

Frosty February is a book-filled festival of fun for the young. We’ve got plenty of ‘Thaw’tful recommendations to warm the hearts of burgeoning book-fans everywhere! Read on for what else is hot this month.

A Shelf Above! – February Books of the Month

Every month, we identify the top titles for kids from tots to teens. A great read, guaranteed! This month, don’t miss:

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan (YA) – Our MEGA Book of the Month, a first collaboration between two major award winning novelists. ‘A wonderful love story featuring two very damaged young people who blossom when they find one another. A gem.‘ (Rosa 17)

Flip Flap Dogs by Nikki Dyson (0-3) – Crazy canine combinations will have you all giggling in this flip-flap fun board book for babies and toddlers.

Uncle Shawn and Bill and the Almost Entirely Unplanned Adventure by A. L. Kennedy (7+) – hilarious and heartwarming animal rescue adventure by a Costa award-winning author and the start of a brilliant new series.

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson (13+) – Another insightful and unputdownable teen drama from the author of The Art of Being Normal.

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Learning the power of Love

With Valentine’s Day looming, we’ve got some sweet suggestions to share the lurve.

Like the wonderful Bing: Bing Loves Flop, a charming list of reasons to love someone and a perfect way to celebrate the important people in your life. Or, I Love You by Clemency Pearce, a super celebration of the power of love.

Fab. Feb. Firsts! – Debuts of the Month

Yet again, we have scoured the shelves to bring you the very best of first time authors for children and teenagers to fall in love with!

Radio Boy (9+) – From leading breakfast radio star Christian O’Connell comes a brilliant and laugh-out-loud story of an ordinary boy with an extraordinary secret radio show. It is a hugely entertaining shoot-for-the-stars tale of friendship, ambition and standing up for what’s right.

Who Let the Gods Out by Maz Evans (11+) – A rollicking, super funny, first. A supernatural series to savour – well past bedtime!

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (YA) – ‘I loved this book …This book has it all; fantasy, contemporary, romance, action, darkness, family. If you only read one book this year, let it be this one.’ (Talia 15)

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit (13+) – A powerful and deeply moving WW2 story, highly recommended for mature, resilient readers.

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The Best Things Are Free! – Prize Draw Round-Up

Some smashing freebies to get your mits on this month. Not least of all: signed copies of the amazing, absurd and anarchic Tree House series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton; PLUS, 5 copies of the hilarious Bolds by Julian Clary and many others. Click here to try your luck!

Top Drawer! Illustrator of the Month – Sophy Henn

Brighton-based illustrator Sophy Henn escaped an accidental career in advertising to indulge her loves of tea and drawing. She now attends to both in her home where she happily writes and illustrates wonderful stories for young children.

Her two latest Pom Pom Gets the Grumps and Edie are both delightful, hilarious and heartwarming and if you haven’t discovered her we recommend you do now.

Who would have thought worms would be so funny!

I Can Only Draw Worms is an hilariously surreal and superbly silly new picture book that will have children (and adults!) laughing out loud, holding their sides, and snorting in public.

Visually striking, enticingly simple and genuinely funny; Will Mabbitt has, without a doubt, created something curiously unique and extraordinarily bizarre.

Let’s Hear it for the Boyce! Frank Cottrell Boyce

A former Author of the Month (April 2016) and famed for his wit, warmth and superb sense of story, Frank Cottrell Boyce is a writer whose experience spans many formats. He even wrote the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony! Winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, we love all of his imaginative stories for kids. Launched in paperback this month is:

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth (9+) – Inventive, insightful and original story about the meaning of ‘home’.

Coming Soon… Start reading them now

Extract your digits and download an extract! Get free extracts of super stories BEFORE they’re even published! Why not try:

Following Ophelia by Sophia Bennett (13+) – A dazzling, vibrant and colourful journey into the scandalous world of Pre-Raphaelite art. Waking in Time by Angie Stanton (YA) – Grief, secrets, promises and a handful of time travel twists. What’s not to love? A favourite of our Reader Review Panel. Pigeon P.I. by Meg Mclaren (3+) – A lighthearted detective story featuring a pigeon who solves crimes with the help of his feathered friends.

Scroll down for our hand-picked selections of January 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. Grown-ups might like to have a look at the winner of the Costa Book of the Year, Days without End by Sebastian Barry, but our favourite remains the entertaining and highly original winner of the Costa Children’s Book of the Year The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan.

Loverading4kids. Top 3 most popular books, by age range, 15 – 22 January 2017

January 23rd, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

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Picken Mix and Match the Farm Animals! Picken Mix and Match the Farm Animals!
Mary Murphy
January 2017 Book of the Month  Mix and match the split pages of this ingenious board book to make your own amazing farmyard creatures! So whether it’s a Picken or a caglet or a chicken or a piglet babies and …
Download free opening extract
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I'll Love You Always I’ll Love You Always
Mark Sperring
The passage of time and the everlasting nature of a parent’s love for a child are intertwined in this charming picture book. Big Mouse answers Little Mouse’s question ‘how long will you love me?’ using the natural world to demonstrate …
Download free opening extract
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This is the Kiss This is the Kiss
Claire Harcup
A big bear and a little bear are getting ready for bedtime – a process with lots of lovely stages. They wave goodbye to their snowman, hold hands for the walk home, smile, have a last play, tickle and giggle, …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for Young Adults

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The One Memory of Flora Banks The One Memory of Flora Banks
Emily Barr
January 2017 MEGA Debut of the Month |  In a nutshell: the unforgettable story of a girl with no memory
Can there ever have been a heroine like Flora Banks? She’s 17 when the book opens, but an accident aged 10 …
Download free opening extract
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Bone Gap Bone Gap
Laura Ruby
January 2017 Book of the Month | Winner of the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award | In a Nutshell:  Unconventional magic realist thriller |  A entrancingly unique novel about a boy’s search for a young woman who’s disappeared from their eccentric …
Download free opening extract
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A Tragic Kind of Wonderful A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
Eric Lindstrom
January 2017 Book of the Month  |  In a Nutshell: Coping with bipolar disorder | Finding the courage to shed secrets  |   Intense, insightful exploration of how it feels to live with bipolar disorder, and finding the strength to reveal …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 3+ readers

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Also an Octopus Also an Octopus
Maggie Tokuda-Hall
January 2017 Book of the Month An octopus playing a ukulele is just the start of this witty and unlikely story that will inspire imagination. While having a character is a good start for a story what happens next is …
Download free opening extract
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Captain McGrew Wants You for His Crew! Captain McGrew Wants You for His Crew!
Mark Sperring
January 2017 Book of the Month   In suitably jolly rhyme Ed Eaves describes just what joining Captain McGrew’s pirate crew entails, from the reasonably easy – climbing the rigging, shouting ‘Land Ahoy!’ – to the downright difficult – digging up …
Download free opening extract
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Odd Socks Odd Socks
Michelle Robinson
Everyone will enjoy this epic tale of true love and steadfastness, no less heroic or inspiring for starring a pair of woolly socks! Sosh and Suki are made for one another and their life on a fresh pair of feet …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 5+ readers

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Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves
Sophie Thompson
In a nutshell: charming story of boy who can talk and joke with the animals | Lucky Vince – not only is his dad a zoo keeper but Vince has inherited the family trait and can talk to the animals. …
Download free opening extract
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Jim Jim
Hilaire Belloc
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017    Award-winning Mini Grey pulls no punches in her brilliant illustrations to this classic cautionary tale. Jim’s parents give him everything but, even so, he has a dangerous tendency to run …
Download free opening extract
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Revolting Rhymes Revolting Rhymes
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl takes on the likes of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Goldilocks and The Three Little Pigs and brings us a brilliant collection of comic and often gory versions of popular fairy tales.  Dahl’s Gobblefunk is brought to life …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 7+ readers

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Worst Ever School Trip Worst Ever School Trip
Barry Hutchison
January 2017 Book of the Month |  In a nutshell: In all honesty, a book to have readers laughing aloud |    Poor Beaky Malone: once an accomplished fibber, he’s now condemned to be completely, even brutally honest at all times thanks …
Download free opening extract
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Nancy Parker's Spooky Speculations Nancy Parker’s Spooky Speculations
Julia Lee
In a nutshell: a diary of detection from our favourite 1920s housemaid  |  With the current craze for historical mysteries and clever girl detectives, readers will be delighted to make the acquaintance of Nancy Parker, bright young maid and experienced …
Download free opening extract
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Who Stole the Hamster? Who Stole the Hamster?
N. Griffin
In a nutshell: a clever bit of detection in the classroom |    This satisfying, entertaining classroom crime caper thoroughly respects its young readers’ intelligence. Smashie and Dontel are smart as they come and when the school hamster disappears from his …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 9+ readers

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What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible
Ross Welford
January 2017 Book of the Month  |  In a nutshell: invisible girl finds herself in the spotlight |   Ross Welford is making a habit of putting his characters in unusual situations: the star of his prize-shortlisted debut went time travelling, …
Download free opening extract
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Haunters Haunters
Thomas Taylor
The dead and the living exist side by side in this thrilling time-travelling adventure. In David’s recurrent dream, Eddie seems real and it seems like he’s got something to tell David. That’s scary enough but then David gets picked up …
Download free opening extract
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Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake
Rob Lloyd Jones
In a nutshell: two kids on a death-defying treasure hunt through Egypt’s ancient monuments.   Adventure stories don’t come more action-packed than the exploits of Jake Atlas. As the book opens, the Atlas family are about to fly off to Egypt …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 11+ readers

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Welcome to Nowhere Welcome to Nowhere
Elizabeth Laird
In a nutshell: the lives of a Syrian family brought vividly and sympathetically to life for young readers |   This is an excellent book for young people who want to know what is happening in Syria and why – serious, …
Download free opening extract
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The White Tower The White Tower
Cathryn Constable
In a nutshell: a beautiful old school is the setting for a story of magic, mystery and redemption |    There’s a world within a world for readers to explore in The White Tower. Livy is upset when her father gets …
Download free opening extract
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The Goldfish Boy The Goldfish Boy
Lisa Thompson
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017   A gripping debut middle-grade story skilfully told by debut novelist Lisa Thompson. Trapped indoors by his obsessive fears of germs and much else Matthew watches his neighbours’ lives and details their …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 13+ readers

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The Monstrous Child The Monstrous Child
Francesca Simon
January 2017 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016 – May 2016 Book of the Month Francesca Simon has chosen a singular heroine for her first novel for teenagers. Hel is Queen of …
Download free opening extract
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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 …
Download free opening extract
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Spook's: The Dark Assassin Spook’s: The Dark Assassin
Joseph Delaney
In a Nutshell: Classically creepy supernatural struggles   Exquisitely chilling and brimming with beasts, this third book in the Spooks’ Starblade Chronicles series is an utterly enthralling, spine-tingling treat.
Tom Ward is now a fully-fledged Spook and, as such, his life is …
Download free opening extract

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Mid January e-Newsletter

January 20th, 2017

If you made ‘getting your kids to read more’ one of your 2017 resolutions we are here to help with virtual shelf loads of expert recommendations for children of all ages. Read on…

   

Follow the Lights! – January’s Highlights

Excellent and all in one easy-to-find place, these are the highlights of this month’s recommendations to find your next great read!

Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves (5+) by Sophie Thompson – Hilarious and delightful animal adventures for our loveable zoo-bound boy and his friends! Lyttle Lies: The Pudding Problem (5+) Joe Berger – Cheekily funny tale about honesty and the webs that lies can weave. But do we ever learn? Jake Atlas & the Tomb of the Emerald Snake Rob (9+) Lloyd Jones – ‘This daring adventure  brought my imagination alive. I can’t wait to read more of Jake’s adventures!’ (Alex 10)
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Who Stole the Hamster? (7+) N. Griffin; Kate Hindley – super sleuthing in school corridors, perfect for pet lovers and those fond of a good laugh! The White Tower (9+) Cathryn Constable – Alchemy meets dreamy reality in an atmospheric adventure from the author of the bestselling, The Wolf Princess. Wed Wabbit (9+) by Lissa Evans – A tour de force! Lissa Evans’s hilarious, madcap adventure is both effervescent and tautly plotted making it impossible to put down.
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A Debut YA novel you shouldn’t miss and you won’t forget

An accident aged ten has left Flora with no short term memory. Then a secret kiss on the beach – with her only friend’s boyfriend – lodges in her mind. Inspired, she sets off alone to follow him, a heart-stopping journey that takes her deep into the Arctic landscapes of Norway, scribbled messages she writes to herself on her arms her only reassurance or guide.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr is a unique mix, part coming-of-age, part psychological thriller, with an almost fairy-tale setting that we think will be one of the books of 2017.

That is SO Last Year! – 2016 Books of the Year

Why not start 2017 catching up with the best books that your kids may have missed in 2016?

We’ve painstakingly compiled (actually we loved every minute of it) the cream of the crop of last year’s releases for kids of all ages, so your New Year can begin with a bang! Click here for more.

What Next? … “If they Like, they’ll Love”

We want to make finding truly enjoyable books for your kids as easy as possible. What happens when a beloved series comes to an end? Our If They Like, They’ll Love section is designed to help you put your finger on fantastic new titles for kids that will be right up their street.

For instance: Fans of Murders Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens will love:

Nancy Parker’s Spooky Speculations (9+) by Julia Lee – A diary of detection and ghostly goings on from our favourite 1920s housemaid. St Grizzles School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys (9+) by Karen McCombie – A lively book that puts a 21st century spin on the boarding school story. What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible (9+) by Ross Welford – An unforgettable, surprising, beautiful, funny and loveably inventive invisibility tale.
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AND, Kids who loved Wonder (film release scheduled April 17) by R. J. Palacio or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime will love:

The Goldfish Boy (9+) by Lisa Thompson – Heartbreaking, mysterious and life-affirming story of finding hope in fear and friendship in loneliness.

Supernatural Struggles from Joseph Delaney

Oh, this is something else! Exquisitely chilling and brimming with beasts, the Spooks’ Starblade Chronicles series (11+) is an utterly enthralling, spine-tingling treat. Walk shoulder to shoulder with characters so real you’ll know them like siblings, as they face dangers and trials in the wildest of worlds.

The latest title, The Dark Assassin, is out now and the stakes for the future of humanity are higher than ever! Find out more.

Hilo There!

If laugh-out-loud school adventures are your thing, you’ll LOVE the hilarious Hilo series (7+) by Judd Winick, the first two of which have just been released.

The first, Hilo: The Boy who Crashed to Earth is a fantastical tale of friendship and identity. Hilo: Saving the Whole World sees our hero settling into life on earth when all of a sudden, a galactic situation needs handling!

And coming in February is Hilo: The Great Big Boom which is packed with humour, danger and a warrior cat! Click here for more.

Bookbug Picture book Prize 2017

An excellent picture book is an enjoyable, shared experience that can stay in the heart from nursery to dotage! The Scottish Book Trust award celebrates the best of the new heroes on the nursery shelf. Check out the shortlist which are waiting for your love and Author Nick Sharratt who has been announced as the winner of the very first Bookbug Picture Book Prize for his picture book Shark in the Park on a Windy Day.

     

Best by a Whisker! – the books of Sam Gayton

Sam Gayton is a big kid. He’s in 7 different rock bands, loves a board game and most importantly, has a very, very good sense of fun. His latest title, His Royal Whiskers follows hot on the paws of his other acclaimed works: Hercufleas, Lilliput and The Snow Merchant. One of our kids reviewers described His Royal Whiskers as: ‘pure adventure, it’s very exciting, a story that will stay with you a lifetime.’ Praise indeed, and well deserved. Find out more about these 9+ reads.

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Dystopian Delights!

Searingly real, the writing of bestselling Veronica Roth has earned her myriad fans and followers.

So, we are delighted to announce this celebrated author of the heart-pounding Divergent series has now come up with a world equally dark and treacherous in a new, stunning teen/YA sci-fi series called Carve the Mark. A galactic-scale imagining of the fight for survival and truth in a world where vengeance and violence rule. Terrific stuff! Click here for more.

From the Horse’s Mouth! – The Best Kids Reader Reviewer Recommendations for January

Do your kids like advice from a someone their age? Kids Reader Reviews can get right to the point. This is a section filled with the books that are read and reviewed by kids on our reader review panel! Books like:

Life in a Fishbowl (YA) Len Vlahos – A book that asks big questions! ’Fast paced and unexpected … an incredibly moving book.’ (Aimee 15) Spy Toys (7+) Mark Powers; Tim Wesson – James Bond meets Toy Story! ‘This book is amazing from start to finish; I read it in one day’. (Stanley 9) Trouble Next Door (5+) Chris Higgins – An enduring and endearing friendship tale about real affection and being led astray.
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A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard (13+) – ‘Never have I read a book as sweet as this! A perfect read for cold winter days, when the words can warm your soul.’ (Izzy 16) The Bone Sparrow by Zana Frallion (13+) – A heartfelt, harrowing insight into life as a Rohingya refugee, told through the unforgettable voice of an unforgettable boy. Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird (9+) – The lives of a Syrian family brought vividly and sympathetically to life. ‘Takes you on a journey, one that is impossible to forget.’ (Jasmine 12)
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Let’s Get Dotty!

Loved by Julia Eccleshare and a big favourite with many young readers, Dotty is a detective with a difference!

Bouncily witty stories give the reader the impression of having a ‘book-best-friend’ and the end of the adventure comes all too quickly! Fret not; there are now three books in the series! Third book Midnight Mystery (7+) is a funny puzzle you’ll love being mystified by! Click here for more.

13, 26, 39, 52, 65, 78 stories… Welcome to a Crazy Treehouse

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sleep in a room full of pillows, drink from a lemonade fountain or swing from vines? Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton bring this to life in the hilarious, incredibly popular and seemingly unstoppable large Treehouse series of books. See the six adventures so far on the shelf below. We also tracked Andy down to ask him a few questions. Find out more here.

Love is in the ‘Share’ – Gifts for Valentine’s Day from Little Loved-ones

You may be a Valentine’s enthusiast or staunch denier. Either way, we love any excuse to suggest gift ideas that brim with parental love to share with your kids! Here are some ideas to get you going but please don’t miss the joyfully warm and reassuring board book. I Love You by Clemency Pearce.

And that, book fans, is January at Lovereading4kids! See you next month with more recommendations to keep you buried in a book!

Lovereading4kids Q & A with Andy Griffiths

January 18th, 2017

Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths is the author of the hilarious, incredibly popular and seemingly unstoppable large Treehouse books. We tracked him down to ask him a few questions. Find out more below.

 

What were you like at school?
I really enjoyed school—had a lot of fun with my friends and my teachers often commented that I had a good sense of humour. When I was in Grade 4 I found an old typewriter at a junk shop and taught myself to touch type. I wrote and printed a magazine which I used to sell to the kids in my year level.

 

Were you good at English?
Yes, I loved reading and had a natural interest in language—particularly playing around with words and ideas for comic effect.

 

Which writer inspires you the most?
Well, I’ve always loved Lewis Carroll and his Wonderland/Looking Glass books. The combination of philosophy, wordplay and sheer nonsense has always amused, excited and inspired me.

 

So, tell us a little about the Treehouse series and what inspired you to create it?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with Terry, the illustrator, for twenty years now and together we love entertaining each other and seeing just how far we can push our humour. The treehouse series grew out of this process of constant experimentation and play. And, I guess, my love of Enid Blyton’s ‘Faraway Tree’ books were probably responsible for the idea of a magical tree filled with unpredictable things and people.

 

Give us an insight into the latest book in the series, ‘The 78-Storey Treehouse’? 
It’s all about a Hollywood director coming to the treehouse and attempting to make a blockbuster movie. Needless to say it all goes horribly wrong in an horribly entertaining way. Oh, and there’s spy cows. A spy cow on every page in fact.

 

How do you and Illustrator Terry Denton make the words and illustrations come together so perfectly? 
It starts by me throwing Terry a few ideas and then him responding by drawing some pictures of those ideas which helps me to develop the ideas further and then his drawings become more detailed and include elements I hadn’t considered so I have to change and develop the story accordingly and so on and so on. The process takes a whole year for each book and Jill, my wife, editor and co-writer is there helping us to sort it out at every step of the way.

 

What made you want to choose this theme for the story?
Everybody is always asking us if the treehouse books are going to become a movie but, given the dreamlike structure of the treehouse and everything that happens there, we’re not so sure it would be even possible to make a movie and we’re not in any hurry. Our ambivalence about the treehouse series and movies is reflected in the plot.

 

What are you working on at the minute?
The 91-Storey Treehouse: Andy and Terry have to babysit Mr and Mrs Big Nose’s grandchildren. What could possibly go wrong (apart from everything?!)

 

How much research do you do?
I am constantly reading books, watching movies and keeping my eyes open for potential levels and story ideas.

 

Do you write full-time or part-time?
Full time.

 

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I like to begin each day with an hour of reading, an hour of exercise and then a good breakfast. I generally aim for around 5-6 hours of writing most days, with the evenings free to just mess around and read some more.

 

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
No, sometimes it comes fast and other times painstakingly slow. I generally know whether I’m on track to deliver the manuscript on time, and if not, I need to work harder until I’m back on schedule.

 

Where do your ideas come from?
Absolutely everywhere. But reading extensively is one of the best ways to encounter a never-ending kaleidoscope of ideas.

 

What is the hardest thing about writing?
Rewriting it for as many times as it takes until it’s as clear and as funny as possible. The rewriting process never stops and occasionally it can become quite exhausting. But it’s one of the most important parts of the process.

 

What is the easiest thing about writing?
Sitting around pitching silly ideas to Terry and Jill. Occasionally one of the ideas is so outlandish that it sparks a whole new level, character or plot.

 

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I read a wide variety of both fiction and non-fiction for at least two hours every day. My all time favourite authors are Lewis Carroll, Dr Seuss, Enid Blyton, Franz Kafka and JD Salinger.

 

What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m reading ‘As I lay Dying’ by William Faulkner and revisiting some of the short stories of the southern gothic writer, Flannery O Connor.

 

What is your favourite book and why?
As per question 3: Well, I’ve always loved Lewis Carroll and his Wonderland/Looking Glass books. The combination of philosophy, wordplay and sheer nonsense has always amused, excited and inspired me.

 

Do you have a favourite genre?
Comedy!

 

What is your favourite quote?
‘A man’s got to know his limitations’ – Clint Eastwood in one of his ‘Dirty Harry’ movies.

 

What is your favourite film and why?
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. A fantasy wonderland of complete nonsense starring one of the funniest comedic characters ever created.

 

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
At this rate—adding 13 storeys to our treehouse each year—I’ll probably be working on the 156 Storey Treehouse.

 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Stay away from man-eating sharks.

 

Do you have a favourite positive saying?
When the chips are down, go eat some chips (Read the 78-Storey Treehouse and you’ll understand.)

 

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Actually, I met a lot of famous dead people when I went time travelling in the wheelie bin with Terry in the 65-Storey Treehouse.

 

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Because it’s perfect.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Research the type of books you love reading and direct your efforts towards learning how to writer your own versions. That way you’ll be gaining a huge amount of enjoyment and satisfaction. whether they get published or not,

 

Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Nowhere. Books still offer a particularly personal pleasure for the reader that movies and computer games—whatever their other merits—just can’t match.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Reading the books is the best way. And if that’s not enough you can visit www.andygriffiths.com.au

Q&A with Alison Goodman Author of The Lady Helen series for YA readers

January 16th, 2017

Humaira Kauser – Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel Member recently interviewed Alison Goodman.

I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to the author herself but due to being in the midst of writing book three I was limited to asking five questions. I hope you like the questions I have chosen and enjoy the answers that Alison Goodman replied with! It was great fun thinking of and asking these questions so enjoy!

 

1. Who would be your dream cast if ever your book was adapted to a film?
I love making up dream casts! Let’s see now…first pick for Lady Helen would be Daisy Ridley, from Star Wars  She has a great face – strong, angular and fiercely intelligent — and the  athleticism that Lady Helen needs.  For Lord Carlston, I would cast Aidan Turner from Poldark: dark,  brooding and so, so handsome. He also looks great in period costume. When I first imagined the Duke of Selburn, I thought of Laurence Fox (D.I. Hathaway in Lewis) – he has so much charisma and is a brilliant actor. A friend of mine also suggested Tom Hiddleston, and let’s face it, you can’t go past a bit of Tom and he would make a superb Duke. I think Nell Hudson from Outlander would be a great Darby, and Dwayne Johnson would be a truly magnificent Quinn, although his star quality might be rather overpowering in a supporting  role. Mr Hammond would be beautifully portrayed by Nicholas Hoult and Emilia Clarke  would be an awesome Lady Margaret.

2. Is there any particular reasoning or meaning behind names?
For me, the ‘music’  of a name  is very important – I listen to the  number of syllables and how they run together. I also prefer strong endings such as the hard n in Helen and Carlston because, for me,  it  gives a sense of strength and boldness to the name. I  also try to marry the name to the personality of the  character  e.g. I think of  Hammond as a  straightforward, reliable kind of name, which is how I think of Michael Hammond in the books.  In terms of finding names, I collect them from all over the place — street names that I pass, people I meet (I’ve discovered some great names in the signing lines for my books!), and most productively, the end credits of movies

3.What do you like most about the Regency setting?
I like the veneer of civility over raw human emotions, the elegant and opulent surroundings, the fashion,  the dancing, and how meeting the eyes of someone or the fleeting touch of their hand can take on enormous meaning. As a writer of historical fiction, I also love  how the Regency is like a mirror for today’s society- excessive consumerism, huge divide between rich and poor, and a lot of civil unrest.

4. Aside from being in a modern Dark Days Club, what would Lady Helen be doing now in today’s world?
I think Helen would be studying Chemical Engineering at Oxford University and fencing on the University team!


5. Which of the new characters are your favourite and why?

I think my favourite new character is Sprat, a twelve year old girl living  in a bawdy-house. She is sly and funny and a bit of a hustler –so  much fun to write!
I also really like Martha Gunn, who was a real dipper at Brighton Beach during the Regency. A dipper’s job was to hold on to a lady who could not swim, and literally dip  her into  the sea and out again, rather like a tea bag, so that the lady could  “take the waters” for her health. Martha Gunn was the most famous dipper in England  and was a favourite of the Prince Regent. She is in a sea-bathing scene with Lady Helen, and it is my favourite scene in the whole of The Dark Days Pact.

Most popular books by age range 8 – 15 January 2017

January 16th, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
This is the Kiss This is the Kiss
Claire Harcup
A big bear and a little bear are getting ready for bedtime – a process with lots of lovely stages. They wave goodbye to their snowman, hold hands for the walk home, smile, have a last play, tickle and giggle, …
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2
Picken Mix and Match the Farm Animals! Picken Mix and Match the Farm Animals!
Mary Murphy
January 2017 Book of the Month  Mix and match the split pages of this ingenious board book to make your own amazing farmyard creatures! So whether it’s a Picken or a caglet or a chicken or a piglet babies and …
Download free opening extract
3
I'll Love You Always I’ll Love You Always
Mark Sperring
The passage of time and the everlasting nature of a parent’s love for a child are intertwined in this charming picture book. Big Mouse answers Little Mouse’s question ‘how long will you love me?’ using the natural world to demonstrate …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for Young Adults

1
The One Memory of Flora Banks The One Memory of Flora Banks
Emily Barr
January 2017 MEGA Debut of the Month |  In a nutshell: the unforgettable story of a girl with no memory
Can there ever have been a heroine like Flora Banks? She’s 17 when the book opens, but an accident aged 10 …
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2
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
Eric Lindstrom
January 2017 Book of the Month  |  In a Nutshell: Coping with bipolar disorder | Finding the courage to shed secrets  |   Intense, insightful exploration of how it feels to live with bipolar disorder, and finding the strength to reveal …
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3
Bone Gap Bone Gap
Laura Ruby
January 2017 Book of the Month | Winner of the 2016 Michael L. Printz Award | In a Nutshell:  Unconventional magic realist thriller |  A entrancingly unique novel about a boy’s search for a young woman who’s disappeared from their eccentric …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

1
Captain McGrew Wants You for His Crew! Captain McGrew Wants You for His Crew!
Mark Sperring
January 2017 Book of the Month   In suitably jolly rhyme Ed Eaves describes just what joining Captain McGrew’s pirate crew entails, from the reasonably easy – climbing the rigging, shouting ‘Land Ahoy!’ – to the downright difficult – digging up …
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2
Also an Octopus Also an Octopus
Maggie Tokuda-Hall
January 2017 Book of the Month An octopus playing a ukulele is just the start of this witty and unlikely story that will inspire imagination. While having a character is a good start for a story what happens next is …
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3
Odd Socks Odd Socks
Michelle Robinson
Everyone will enjoy this epic tale of true love and steadfastness, no less heroic or inspiring for starring a pair of woolly socks! Sosh and Suki are made for one another and their life on a fresh pair of feet …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

1
Revolting Rhymes Revolting Rhymes
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl takes on the likes of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Goldilocks and The Three Little Pigs and brings us a brilliant collection of comic and often gory versions of popular fairy tales.  Dahl’s Gobblefunk is brought to life …
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2
Trouble Next Door Trouble Next Door
Chris Higgins
In a nutshell: new house, new friend, new adventures |    There’s something fascinating about naughty children, and readers will be captivated by Magda, the co-star of Chris Higgins’s new book. Bella and her family are just moving into a new …
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3
Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves
Sophie Thompson
In a nutshell: charming story of boy who can talk and joke with the animals | Lucky Vince – not only is his dad a zoo keeper but Vince has inherited the family trait and can talk to the animals. …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 7+ readers

1
Worst Ever School Trip Worst Ever School Trip
Barry Hutchison
January 2017 Book of the Month |  In a nutshell: In all honesty, a book to have readers laughing aloud |    Poor Beaky Malone: once an accomplished fibber, he’s now condemned to be completely, even brutally honest at all times thanks …
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2
Nancy Parker's Spooky Speculations Nancy Parker’s Spooky Speculations
Julia Lee
In a nutshell: a diary of detection from our favourite 1920s housemaid  |  With the current craze for historical mysteries and clever girl detectives, readers will be delighted to make the acquaintance of Nancy Parker, bright young maid and experienced …
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3
Who Stole the Hamster? Who Stole the Hamster?
N. Griffin
In a nutshell: a clever bit of detection in the classroom |    This satisfying, entertaining classroom crime caper thoroughly respects its young readers’ intelligence. Smashie and Dontel are smart as they come and when the school hamster disappears from his …
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Featured Books for 9+ readers

1
What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible
Ross Welford
January 2017 Book of the Month  |  In a nutshell: invisible girl finds herself in the spotlight |   Ross Welford is making a habit of putting his characters in unusual situations: the star of his prize-shortlisted debut went time travelling, …
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2
Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake
Rob Lloyd Jones
In a nutshell: two kids on a death-defying treasure hunt through Egypt’s ancient monuments.   Adventure stories don’t come more action-packed than the exploits of Jake Atlas. As the book opens, the Atlas family are about to fly off to Egypt …
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3
The 78-Storey Treehouse The 78-Storey Treehouse
Andy Griffiths
In a nutshell: surreal, kid-pleasing comic adventures set in an ever-growing treehouse |   Andy and Terry’s treehouse keeps growing, to the delight of its army of devoted readers. It’s now 78 storeys high (new additions include an ALL-BALL sports stadium …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

1
The Goldfish Boy The Goldfish Boy
Lisa Thompson
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017   A gripping debut middle-grade story skilfully told by debut novelist Lisa Thompson. Trapped indoors by his obsessive fears of germs and much else Matthew watches his neighbours’ lives and details their …
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2
Welcome to Nowhere Welcome to Nowhere
Elizabeth Laird
In a nutshell: the lives of a Syrian family brought vividly and sympathetically to life for young readers |   This is an excellent book for young people who want to know what is happening in Syria and why – serious, …
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3
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 …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
The Monstrous Child The Monstrous Child
Francesca Simon
January 2017 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016 – May 2016 Book of the Month Francesca Simon has chosen a singular heroine for her first novel for teenagers. Hel is Queen of …
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2
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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3
Wing Jones Wing Jones
Katherine Webber
January 2017 Debut of the Month |  In a Nutshell:  Losing your way  | Running for your life  | Finding your feet   | 12+   A beautifully bittersweet debut in which a teenage girl discovers a latent talent that shines light on the …
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Live in or near Dorset? Discover a delightful play coming to a local venue near you in half-term

January 13th, 2017

‘The Fisherman’s Daughter’ Part I& II by The AsOne Theatre Company

‘Heart-warming, intimate family theatre with song, music, and puppetry dusted with AsOne magic.’

 

The Fisherman’s Daughter – is an adventure-packed double bill of plays** for all the family to enjoy with an unlikely hero, Harold, a joker of a one-legged seagull.  Using classical marine literature in an inspiring way; all ages have found this cleverly layered play enthralling.

“My daughter loved it and even her grumpy grandpa thought it was brill’, especially making the sea noises”

 

*Part I: Sea-Monsters & Pirates Ten year old Jess nightly worries about the return of her fisherman father. Then colourful, Moira arrives with her one-legged seagull friend, Harold; a rollicking, affecting adventure, & an unlikely friendship.

 

**Part II: Jess’s OdysseyThe Fisherman’s Daughter Jess loves reading but Homer’s Odyssey confuses her. Up pops a stranger, who just happens to have the same name as the author Homer, a Greek boy from a trawler in the harbour, holds a very bedraggled one legged seagull he has rescued from the water. All three embark on an Odyssey searching for the missing Moira.

AsOne theatre company presents in association with Arts Council England/ Dorset Libraries

Music – Joe Butcher     Written & Directed – Peter John Cooper   Puppet – Polly Beeston

 

FD Part I only*/ FD Part II**/Double bill ***

             Tour List February – March 2017

Sun 12 Feb 2.30 pm ***The Regal Theatre Minehead TA24 5UQ 01643706430
Tues 14 Feb 2.30 pm **Gillingham Library Gillingham SP8 4UA 01747822180
Wed 15 Feb 11.00 am **Weymouth Library Weymouth DT4 8NN 01305762410
Thurs 16 Feb 11.00 am **Bridport Library Bridport DT6 3NY 01308422778
Fri 17 Feb 11.00 am **Dorchester Library Dorchester DT1 1EF 01305224440
Sat 18 Feb 3.00 pm *The Mowlem Theatre Swanage BH19 1DD 01929422239
Sat 25 Feb 2.30 pm ***The Princess Theatre Burnham-on-Sea TA8 1EH 01278784464
Sun 26 Feb 3.00 pm *The Athenaeum Centre Warminster BA12 9AE 01985213891
Sat 4 Mar 3.00 pm ***Groundlings Theatre Portsmouth PO1 3BS 02392737370
Sun 5 Mar 3.00 pm *Shelley Theatre Bournemouth BH5 1LX 01202413600
Sat 18 Mar 2.30 pm *St Francis Church  Weymouth DT3 6SB  01305815366

January eNewsletter

January 10th, 2017

Happy New Year to all our young book fans! There may be things you’d rather not look back on from 2016, so it’s onwards and upwards! BUT, it was such a fab-tastic year for children’s books that you’d be mad not to squidge a sneak peek at our Books of the Year round-up. Find the top titles that you may have missed, all recommended by our dedicated experts AND our ardent army of Reader Reviewers. For that and more, read on, MacDuff!

January Children’s Books of the Month

What better way to kick off a word-guzzling 2017 than with January’s tips for top titles. This month, we love:

The Monstrous Child (11+) by Francesca Simon – Extraordinary, dark, grim Gods-and-Giants tale and a singular heroine brimming with energy, vitality and wit.

Also Picken Mix and Match the Farm Animals! (Baby and Toddler) by Mary Murphy – brilliant split page board book of adorable creatures and an hilarious new series by Judd Winick for 7+ readers about Hilo an alien boy who lands on earth wearing just silver underpants!!

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New Yearlings! – Debuts of the Month

The first month of a new year and the first chance to find your next favourite authors. Fantastic first-timers fighting for your fandom! We love:

MEGA Debut… The One Memory of Flora Banks (YA) from Emily Barr, bestselling adult author but her first YA novel A unique, unforgettable and wondrous tale. Part coming-of-age, part thriller and part fairytale. Brilliant!

Wing Jones (YA) by Katharine Webber & Luke Lucas – ‘expansive, heartfelt tale of loss, first love and self-discovery.’ And This is a Serious Book (Baby and Toddler) by Jodie Parachini – brilliantly silly and surprisingly sophisticated animal led picture book fun!

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Costa Fame! – Children’s Winner

The wait is over! The winner of the Costa Award for children’s writing has just been announced and you can find it, as well as all the other great titles shortlisted, here. That should keep you going until the Spring!

The winner was The Bombs That Brought Us Together (11+) by Brian Conaghan and The Costa Judges said of it “Reflecting the disorder that conflict brings, Bombs shines a light in the darkest corners, finding humour in the most extraordinary circumstances.”

That was the Year, that was! – 2016 in Books

The only review of 2016 worth looking at! (apart from maybe the Olympics). This is a category brimming with the best books of last year in the humble opinion of our editorial experts and Reader Review panel.

Top titles, age ranged, for tots to teens that our dedicated experts reckon are the cream of the crop! Find out what you might have missed.

January Pre-Pubs

A chance to dip your toe in the warm waters of wonderful works of fiction before they’ve even appeared in the shops! There is an Exclusive extract for most of them right here on Lovereading4kids together with an honest review from one of our editorial experts and Reader Review panel.

And don’t miss: The Dark Days Pact (YA) by Alison Goodman. Sequel to the popular Dark Days Club and the 2nd in the compelling, regency with a touch of supernatural, Lady Helen series.

And the follow on to the ‘compelling, intriguing and magical’ The Witch’s Kiss, melding ancient witchery with modern-day dilemmas of the heart is The Witch’s Tears (13+) by Elizabeth and Katharine Corr.

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Express Yourself… Dork style!

A brilliantly accessible, interactive, fun way to help youngsters explore their talents for creative writing. With Dork Diaries OMG: All About Me Diary! (9+) you can create your very own Dork Diary by following the leading questions that Dork Diarist Nikki Maxwell poses to you. You could be on your way to being the next teen writing sensation!

Also the first in the Dork Diary series has been reissued as a limited edition with a new cover and updated contents – a great one to get 9+ readers, especially girls, hooked.

Julia Eccleshare’s January Picks

Back for a first selection of 2017 unmissable Children’s books. See the shelf below.

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And So to Bed! – Bedtime Reads Refresh

A book before bedtime happens in almost every small person’s room in almost every house in almost every country in the world. This section celebrates the best books to share with your young children and has just had a refresh!

Try This is the Kiss (Baby and Toddler) by Claire Harcup and Gabriel Alborozo, a delightful tale of the bond between parent and child where every experience of the day leads to a kiss before sleep.

Reluctant Resolutionaries? – Reluctant Readers Refresh

If your kids struggle to engage with reading, why not resolve to help them this new year by browsing our category dedicated to finding accessible and enjoyable books for kids who for whatever reason find it hard to read? It’s brimming with brilliant books for boys and girls of all abilities and could help make 2017 the year they started to Lovereading!

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Scroll down for our hand-picked selections of September 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.

P.S. Don’t miss The Big Spell a spectacular new family entertainment series that will uncover the nation’s best young speller. Supported by Oxford Childen’s Dictionary and hosted by Sue Perkins, Joe Lycett and Moira Stuart. The Big Spell, which has been a smash hit in Australia, will see twenty children aged nine to thirteen go word to word in the ultimate spelling showdown. It started on 8 Jan, 5pm, Sky 1 and runs for eight weeks.

P.P.S. Fans of The Worst Witch should tune into CBBC this Wednesday (11 January) at 4.30pm when the new TV show starts. And, of course, we have all the books on our website.

Lovereading4kids post popular books, by age range, 1 – 8 January 2017

January 9th, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

  1. This is the Kiss by Claire Harcup
  2. Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
  3. Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer

Featured Books for Young Adults

  1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  2. Cradle and All by James Patterson
  3. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Featured Books for 3+ readers

  1. Captain McGrew Wants You for His Crew! by Mark Sperring
  2. Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
  3. Odd Socks by Michelle Robinson

Featured Books for 5+ readers

  1. Jim by Hilaire Belloc
  2. Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves by Sophie Thompson
  3. Trouble Next Door by Chris Higgins

Featured Books for 7+ readers

  1. Worst Ever School Trip by Barry Hutchison
  2. Who Stole the Hamster? by N. Griffin
  3. Spy Toys by Mark Powers

Featured Books for 9+ readers

  1. What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible by Ross Welford
  2. Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake by Rob Lloyd Jones
  3. The Great Shelby Holmes Girl Detective by Elizabeth Eulberg

Featured Books for 11+ readers

  1. Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird
  2. The Midnight Gang by David Walliams
  3. The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Featured Books for 13+ readers

  1. The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon
  2. The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
  3. Spook’s: The Dark Assassin by Joseph Delaney

MAIN SITE TOP 10

1
Lyrebird Lyrebird
Cecelia Ahern
One of our Books of the Year 2016.
Just so, so gorgeous! Laura lives on her own in the woodland wilds of South West Ireland, a film crew discover she has a special gift, will she be exploited or set free? …
Download free opening extract
2
When I Was Invisible When I Was Invisible
Dorothy Koomson
One of our Books of the Year 2016.
May 2016 MEGA Book of the Month.
An absolute page-turner of a novel, at times uncomfortable, yet powerful and oh so compelling. Roni and Nika meet when they are 8 years old, as the …
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3
Behind Her Eyes Behind Her Eyes
Sarah Pinborough
Oh my word, this book is devious, twisted, and an absolute knockout! The story, revolving around love, passion, suspicion, and deceit kept me teetering on a razor sharp wire of uncertainty. Sarah Pinborough’s writing is sublime, it’s shrewd, artful, cunning, …
Download free opening extract
4
The Beautiful Dead The Beautiful Dead
Belinda Bauer
One of our Books of the Year 2016.
December 2016 Book of the Month.
Oh my, this is a clever, chilling, and penetrating read. 29 year old TV crime reporter Eve Singer looks for murder and mayhem, but she needs to watch …
Download free opening extract
5
The Spy The Spy
Paulo Coelho
One of our Books of the Year 2016.
December 2016 MEGA Book of the Month.
A short, emotional and entirely captivating novel based on the real events that surrounded, enclosed and smothered the notorious Mata Hari. Mata Hari is a name that …
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6
I'm Travelling Alone I’m Travelling Alone
Samuel Bjork
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.
Already a bestseller in over 30 countries, this stunning Norwegian debut finally appears in English. Such was its impact elsewhere that it will now be the subject of a forthcoming ITV series. When a young girl …
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7
Where My Heart Used to Beat Where My Heart Used to Beat
Sebastian Faulks
The recurring themes of Sebastian Faulks’s fiction are here brought together with a new stylistic brilliance as the novel casts a long, baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand. Daring, ambitious and in …
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8
The Crow Girl The Crow Girl
Erik Axl Sund
If you thought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was the epitome of Nordic noir’s savage darkness, think again. Graphic, violent and weaving a thread of evil with the dexterity of a malevolent spider, this Swedish trilogy by a collaborative …
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9
The Gustav Sonata The Gustav Sonata
Rose Tremain
Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2016.
Fierce, astringent, profoundly tender, Rose Tremain’s beautifully orchestrated novel asks the question, what does it do to a person, or to a country, to pursue an eternal quest for neutrality, and self-mastery, while all …
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10
The Hanging Club The Hanging Club
Tony Parsons
One of our Books of the Year 2016.
June 2016 Book of the Month.
The third in the London based detective series featuring a man I really like, one Max Wolf, second in command in the Saville Row Crime Squad. His very …
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KIDS SITE TOP 10

1
Worst Ever School Trip Worst Ever School Trip
Barry Hutchison
January 2017 Book of the Month |  In a nutshell: In all honesty, a book to have readers laughing aloud |    Poor Beaky Malone: once an accomplished fibber, he’s now condemned to be completely, even brutally honest at all times thanks …
Download free opening extract
2
What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible
Ross Welford
January 2017 Book of the Month  |  In a nutshell: invisible girl finds herself in the spotlight |   Ross Welford is making a habit of putting his characters in unusual situations: the star of his prize-shortlisted debut went time travelling, …
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3
Jim Jim
Hilaire Belloc
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017    Award-winning Mini Grey pulls no punches in her brilliant illustrations to this classic cautionary tale. Jim’s parents give him everything but, even so, he has a dangerous tendency to run …
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4
Welcome to Nowhere Welcome to Nowhere
Elizabeth Laird
In the winter of 2015, Elizabeth Laird travelled to Jordan to volunteer in two refugee camps. Elizabeth couldn’t help but be moved by the plight and the stories of the people she met, and Welcome to Nowhere is a result …
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5
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 …
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6
Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake
Rob Lloyd Jones
In a nutshell: two kids on a death-defying treasure hunt through Egypt’s ancient monuments.   Adventure stories don’t come more action-packed than the exploits of Jake Atlas. As the book opens, the Atlas family are about to fly off to Egypt …
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7
Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves
Sophie Thompson
Another hilarious and delightful story for 6+ readers by actress Sophie Thompson, with black and white illustrations by the wonderfully talented Rebecca Ashdown.
Lovereading Review will follow. …
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8
Who Stole the Hamster? Who Stole the Hamster?
N. Griffin
In a nutshell: a clever bit of detection in the classroom |    This satisfying, entertaining classroom crime caper thoroughly respects its young readers’ intelligence. Smashie and Dontel are smart as they come and when the school hamster disappears from his …
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9
The Monstrous Child The Monstrous Child
Francesca Simon
January 2017 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016 – May 2016 Book of the Month Francesca Simon has chosen a singular heroine for her first novel for teenagers. Hel is Queen of …
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10
Trouble Next Door Trouble Next Door
Chris Higgins
In a nutshell: new house, new friend, new adventures |    There’s something fascinating about naughty children, and readers will be captivated by Magda, the co-star of Chris Higgins’s new book. Bella and her family are just moving into a new …
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1
The Great Shelby Holmes Girl Detective The Great Shelby Holmes Girl Detective
Elizabeth Eulberg
January 2017 Debut of the Month |  In a nutshell: Sherlock and Watson as you’ve never seen them before  | The Sherlock Holmes stories are given a lively twist.
Eleven-year old John Watson has recently moved into 221 Baker Street, New …
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2
The Secret of Nightingale Wood The Secret of Nightingale Wood
Lucy Strange
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | 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 …
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3
Beetle Boy Beetle Boy
M.G. Leonard
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Shortlisted for the Children’s category of the Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and March 2016 Julia Eccleshare’s Debut of the Month A …
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Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
This is the Kiss This is the Kiss
Claire Harcup
A big bear and a little bear are getting ready for bedtime – a process with lots of lovely stages. They wave goodbye to their snowman, hold hands for the walk home, smile, have a last play, tickle and giggle, …
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2
Lost and Found Lost and Found
Oliver Jeffers
Winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards – Best Illustrated book to read aloud. Celebrating the value of friendship, this is an exquisitely illustrated picture book with a simple story line. Opening his door and finding a penguin on it, the little …
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3
Imaginary Fred Imaginary Fred
Eoin Colfer
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2016 There are so many adjectives you could use to describe this book – extraordinary, dazzling, original, funny, irresistible, quirky, imaginative, clever, stunning – but none go …
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Featured Books for Young Adults

1
A Monster Calls A Monster Calls
Patrick Ness
Winner of the 2012 Carnegie Medal
Rachel Levy chair of the 2012 CILIP Carnegie judging panel said: “A Monster Calls” is an exquisite piece of writing. It is a beautifully economical, structurally brilliant and lyrically descriptive account of a challenging …
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2
Cradle and All Cradle and All
James Patterson
January 2017 Book of the Month |   A book to make you flinch! Virulent diseases and natural disasters are sweeping the world, the church and a private investigator seek the truth behind the reports of two pregnant virgins, can …
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3
The One Memory of Flora Banks The One Memory of Flora Banks
Emily Barr
January 2017 MEGA Debut of the Month |  In a nutshell: the unforgettable story of a girl with no memory
Can there ever have been a heroine like Flora Banks? She’s 17 when the book opens, but an accident aged 10 …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

1
Captain McGrew Wants You for His Crew! Captain McGrew Wants You for His Crew!
Mark Sperring
January 2017 Book of the Month   In suitably jolly rhyme Ed Eaves describes just what joining Captain McGrew’s pirate crew entails, from the reasonably easy – climbing the rigging, shouting ‘Land Ahoy!’ – to the downright difficult – digging up …
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2
Also an Octopus Also an Octopus
Maggie Tokuda-Hall
January 2017 Book of the Month An octopus playing a ukulele is just the start of this witty and unlikely story that will inspire imagination. While having a character is a good start for a story what happens next is …
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3
Odd Socks Odd Socks
Michelle Robinson
Everyone will enjoy this epic tale of true love and steadfastness, no less heroic or inspiring for starring a pair of woolly socks! Sosh and Suki are made for one another and their life on a fresh pair of feet …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

1
Jim Jim
Hilaire Belloc
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017    Award-winning Mini Grey pulls no punches in her brilliant illustrations to this classic cautionary tale. Jim’s parents give him everything but, even so, he has a dangerous tendency to run …
Download free opening extract
2
Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves
Sophie Thompson
Another hilarious and delightful story for 6+ readers by actress Sophie Thompson, with black and white illustrations by the wonderfully talented Rebecca Ashdown.
Lovereading Review will follow. …
Download free opening extract
3
Trouble Next Door Trouble Next Door
Chris Higgins
In a nutshell: new house, new friend, new adventures |    There’s something fascinating about naughty children, and readers will be captivated by Magda, the co-star of Chris Higgins’s new book. Bella and her family are just moving into a new …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 7+ readers

1
Worst Ever School Trip Worst Ever School Trip
Barry Hutchison
January 2017 Book of the Month |  In a nutshell: In all honesty, a book to have readers laughing aloud |    Poor Beaky Malone: once an accomplished fibber, he’s now condemned to be completely, even brutally honest at all times thanks …
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2
Who Stole the Hamster? Who Stole the Hamster?
N. Griffin
In a nutshell: a clever bit of detection in the classroom |    This satisfying, entertaining classroom crime caper thoroughly respects its young readers’ intelligence. Smashie and Dontel are smart as they come and when the school hamster disappears from his …
Download free opening extract
3
Spy Toys Spy Toys
Mark Powers
In a nutshell: band of toy superheroes conquer all in a doll eat doll world  |  The Spy Toys are quite possibly the unlikeliest band of superheroes you could to hope to read about: Dan is a teddy bear accidentally …
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Featured Books for 9+ readers

1
What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible
Ross Welford
January 2017 Book of the Month  |  In a nutshell: invisible girl finds herself in the spotlight |   Ross Welford is making a habit of putting his characters in unusual situations: the star of his prize-shortlisted debut went time travelling, …
Download free opening extract
2
Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake
Rob Lloyd Jones
In a nutshell: two kids on a death-defying treasure hunt through Egypt’s ancient monuments.   Adventure stories don’t come more action-packed than the exploits of Jake Atlas. As the book opens, the Atlas family are about to fly off to Egypt …
Download free opening extract
3
The Great Shelby Holmes Girl Detective The Great Shelby Holmes Girl Detective
Elizabeth Eulberg
January 2017 Debut of the Month |  In a nutshell: Sherlock and Watson as you’ve never seen them before  | The Sherlock Holmes stories are given a lively twist.
Eleven-year old John Watson has recently moved into 221 Baker Street, New …
Download free opening extract

Featured Books for 11+ readers

1
Welcome to Nowhere Welcome to Nowhere
Elizabeth Laird
In the winter of 2015, Elizabeth Laird travelled to Jordan to volunteer in two refugee camps. Elizabeth couldn’t help but be moved by the plight and the stories of the people she met, and Welcome to Nowhere is a result …
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
The Goldfish Boy The Goldfish Boy
Lisa Thompson
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017   A gripping debut middle-grade story skilfully told by debut novelist Lisa Thompson. Trapped indoors by his obsessive fears of germs and much else Matthew watches his neighbours’ lives and details their …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
The Monstrous Child The Monstrous Child
Francesca Simon
January 2017 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016 – May 2016 Book of the Month Francesca Simon has chosen a singular heroine for her first novel for teenagers. Hel is Queen of …
Download free opening extract
2
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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3
Spook's: The Dark Assassin Spook’s: The Dark Assassin
Joseph Delaney
In a Nutshell: Classically creepy supernatural struggles   Exquisitely chilling and brimming with beasts, this third book in the Spooks’ Starblade Chronicles series is an utterly enthralling, spine-tingling treat.
Tom Ward is now a fully-fledged Spook and, as such, his life is …
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