Archive for January, 2015

It’s Shaun the Sheep and he’s coming to the big screen in his very own movie!

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Shelley, who looks after our Reader Review Panel, and her family are great fans of Aardman Animations so were delighted to be invited by Walker and represent at a preview screening of the SHAUN THE SHEEP THE MOVIE. Read on for their review of the film.

Shaun is feeling mischievous and decides that the sheep of Mossy Bottom Farm deserve a day off.  He hatches a plan but it’s not long before things go wrong and the Farmer goes missing.

The film was full of adventure as we watched Shaun and his woolly companions take to the Big City in an attempt to find the missing Farmer and bring him safely home. The kids will love it and there’s plenty of clever wit and film references that the grown-ups will just love too.  There is also a very funny moment involving a toilet and a brick wall but you’ll have to watch it to find out more.

The SHAUN THE SHEEP THE MOVIE upheld Aardman’s high standard of quality, humour and fantastic animation. You can really see the passion and love that goes into these films.  They must be so much fun to make!  Full of lovable characters (younger fans will be thrilled to see Timmy too) this will soon be a firm favourite for all the family to enjoy.

And finally, a few words from Ben (who now can’t wait to go and see it again and again and again). ‘It was funny, it was hilarious and it made the grown-ups laugh even louder than me!  My favourite part was when Shaun whacked Timmy’s teddy bear in the baddies face.  It was so funny! Go and see it straight away! Now! Just go and if you want to see how movies are made there are some great Shaun the Sheep movie books with lots of fun-filled activities.  Creating a storyboard  was really fun’

HARRY POTTER BOOK NIGHT 5 February 2015 – vote for your favourite spell

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015



‘As you see, we are holding our wands in the accepted combative position,’ Lockhart told the silent crowd. ‘On the count of three, we will cast our first spells. Neither of us will be aiming to kill, of course.’ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


As part of the celebrations for Harry Potter Book Night: A Night of Spells, Bloomsbury Children’s Books is launching the first official global search to find the world’s favourite spell from the Harry Potter books.


The hundreds of amazing spells created by J.K. Rowling within the pages of the Harry Potter books are legendary. Full of inventiveness and cunning, these famous magical incantations protect and challenge Harry and his friends in all sorts of ways.


Bloomsbury has created a list of key spells from the books which can be found at where visitors can vote. The poll opens on Thursday 21st January and closes on Tuesday 2nd February. The results will be announced on Harry Potter Book Night, Thursday 4th February.


Will the favourite be a sly spell, a mysterious charm or a unforgiveable curse like Avada Kedavra? It’s over to the Harry Potter fans across the world to cast their vote. Vote for your favourite spell at


Excitement builds towards global celebrations on 5 February…



Excitement is building to the first ever Harry Potter Book Night on 5 February. This exciting event created by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc invites new and existing fans to share the wonder of J.K. Rowling’s unforgettable stories and, most excitingly, to introduce the next generation of readers to the unparalleled magic of Harry Potter.


Schools, bookshops, libraries and community groups throughout the UK & Ireland – and indeed the world – are currently refining their plans to make 5 February a night to remember! Twitter is buzzing with the#HarryPotterBookNight hashtag as hosts share news of their events. Over 8,500 Harry Potter Book Night event kits have been downloaded by event hosts in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Singapore, Germany, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Norway, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, and the Ukraine. In the UK and Ireland, ALL 1,000 Chatterbooks groups are holding Harry Potter Book Night events, as are 240 Brownie groups and 80 Girl Guide groups. Event kits will be available online for FREE download right up until the night itself so there’s still time to decide to host an event involving games, quizzes, activities and dressing up.


Waterstone’s Piccadilly – Europe’s largest bookshop – will play host to a very special WE LOVE HARRY POTTER! Event from 6:30 pm on 5 February with guests including NEW Harry Potter illustrator Jonny Duddle, STAR author Laura Dockrill plus members of the POTTERMORE team and fan community MUGGLENET. Guests are invited to dress as wizard, witch or muggle. Tickets are limited and selling fast at Earlier in the day, Jonny Duddle will be unveiling the secrets behind his amazing new illustrations to an invited schools audience at The Story Museum in Oxford.


Bloomsbury has launched a major competition for schools in the UK and Ireland to win an illustration workshop with Jonny Duddle plus a piece of exclusive money-can’t-buy Harry Potter wall art. For more information on this, plus other exciting Harry Potter Book Night treats, head to OR @KidsBloomsbury on Twitter.


Emma Hopkin, Children’s M.D. of Bloomsbury Children’s Books says, “We are well aware of the enduring love for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels so our aim for Harry Potter Book Night has always been to attract new readers to the books – and the overwhelming response from teachers, schools, libraries, Brownie and Girl Guide groups and bookshops will achieve just that so we couldn’t be more pleased.”

Longlist for the 2015 Branford Boase Award

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

The longlist for the 2015 Branford Boase Award was announced Tuesday 27 January 2015.

The Branford Boase Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children. Uniquely, it also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.

Once again, more than 60 books were submitted for the award; proof of the lively state of publishing for children in the UK, and of publishers’ eagerness to find talented new writers. 18 books have made it onto the longlist. These include Sally Green’s international bestseller Half Bad and Shadow of the Wolf by Tim Hall, one of the launch titles from three times winning editor David Fickling’s new publishing house.

The Branford Boase Award judging panel has an extremely successful record in picking future best-selling and critically acclaimed authors. To date seven previous winners and shortlisted authors have gone on to win the UK’s most prestigious children’s book award, the CILIP Carnegie MedalKevin BrooksSiobhan DowdMeg RosoffMal PeetPhilip ReeveFrank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness.

This year the judges are librarian and chair of Ibby UK Pam DixSue Jones, children’s books consultant; Clare Maltby, bookseller from P & G Wells in Winchester; and C. J. (Chelsey) Flood, author of Infinite Sky, winner of the 2014 Branford Boase Award.

The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of The Guardian and Editorial Director of Lovereading4kids.   Julia Eccleshare says“When we launched the award fifteen years ago, less than a dozen books were submitted. It’s been hugely encouraging to watch the submission numbers grow. The children’s book market today is extremely vibrant, and this longlist features 18 very varied books by interesting new authors.”  

The shortlist for the Award will be announced on 4 May 2015.  The winner will be announced in early July at a ceremony in London.

The Branford Boase Award longlist in full many of which have been read and reviewed by the Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel:  

Bone Jack by Sara Crowe, edited by Charlie Sheppard and Eloise Wilson (Andersen Press)

A Room full of Chocolate by Jane Elson, edited by Naomi Greenwood (Hodder Children’s Books)

Archie Greene and the Magician’s Secret by D. D. Everest edited by Alice Swan and Toni Markiet (Faber Children’s Books)

Broken Strings by Maria Farrer, edited by Helen Thomas (Scholastic)

The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon & Schuster)

Cowgirl by Giancarlo Gemin, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow)

Half Bad by Sally Green, edited by Ben Horslen (Puffin)

Shadow of the Wolf by Tim Hall, edited by David Fickling and Bella Pearson (David Fickling Books)

The Executioner’s Daughter by Jane Hardstaff, edited by Stella Paskins (Egmont)

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen, edited by Carmen McCullough and Lauren Buckland (Random House)

City of Halves by Lucy Inglis, edited by Imogen Cooper (Chicken House)

Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall, edited by Sarah Hughes (Egmont)

True Fire by Gary Meehan edited by Sarah Lambert (Quercus)

Trouble by Non Pratt, edited by Annalie Grainger & Denise Johnstone-Burt (Walker Books)

Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell, edited by Emily Thomas (Hot Key)

Valentine Joe by Rebecca Stevens, edited by Rachel Leyshon (Chicken House)

The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis, edited by Jane Griffiths (Simon & Schuster)

Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott, edited by Alexandra Antscherl (Puffin)  

Author Talk: One of Us by Jeannie Waudby @jeanniewaudby

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

We asked Jeannie to tell Lovereading4kids a little more about herself and her book One of Us.

I grew up in Hong Kong while the Cultural Revolution was happening a few miles away in China. Refugees from the turmoil over the border fled in large numbers to Hong Kong, often arriving with almost nothing, having paid all their money to ‘snakeheads’ or people-smugglers. I remember seeing whole hillsides covered in makeshift huts made of cardboard, mats and wood, and I knew that in typhoons sometimes they all got swept away. We had some friends who had come to Hong Kong to escape the Cultural Revolution, so from a young age I always wondered what it would be like to have to leave your home and go somewhere new where you had no roots, no job, no house.

I became an English teacher because I wanted to work in China. When I returned to the UK and started teaching English to people who had moved here, many of them refugees, I didn’t want to stop because the people I met were just so interesting. It’s always conflict that creates the need to become a refugee, and it’s also often a result of belonging to the wrong group. At first, I was sometimes very shocked by the stories people told me – of losing their family members, being captured and tortured, and very occasionally of terrible journeys fleeing a war-torn country. It made me realise that those who manage to escape and make a new life in another country are strong people – survivors, people who chose life and refuse to be defeated – and just the kind of people you want to make a strong society, surely. I also saw the huge value they often place on education so that their children go on to have great qualifications and make a very positive contribution. At the same time, in some newspapers I would see references to foreigners ‘flooding’ into the country, ‘swamping’ our culture and taking up resources. This kind of thing always makes me feel that these articles can’t possibly be talking about the people I meet every week.

In ONE OF US, K is a girl who is left without family; her parents were killed in a bomb during a time of conflict when K was only a child. When the uneasy peace process is threatened by a terrorist act and it looks like the civil war will return, K goes undercover in a Brotherhood school. The Brotherhood is a large minority who have been disadvantaged since a Brotherhood faction lost the last conflict. Since then, there has been a general assumption that all Brotherhood people are potential terrorists. K has only ever heard the official line story about what happened, so while undercover in the Brotherhood school, she hears the other side for the first time. Although she isn’t a prejudiced person, she finds it very shocking to discover that atrocities were committed by the ‘goodies’.

Like many survivors of conflict, K is much stronger than she would have believed possible. At times in my English class there have been students from countries currently at war with each other. But what has struck me is how rarely this is a problem, because the students have taken each other on face value, as human beings rather than members of a particular group. I find this hugely hopeful and I think it is the thing that we need to hold on to in times of fear and conflict – our common humanity.

Mid-January Email Update

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

A great book really is the best antidote for cold days indoors and video game dependence but why not kick start the upcoming kids’ half term with a visit to Corfe Castle to hear Martin Maudsley open the Purbeck Literary Festival (16 February-1 March) with a free magical storytelling event.…

Coming Soon

As always, we are delighted to be able to offer some exclusive downloadable extracts of leading new titles before they are published so you can whittle down your wish-lists to the cream of the crop! Ones we think are unmissable are: Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth (14+) – Maybe bullies and the people they target are both victims? A terrific debut novel from a unique perspective as the author says ‘Bullying is a real, on-going issue. It takes many forms, and it’s life-changing. There can also be more than one victim’ and from one of our teen reader reviewers – ‘I was hooked from the very first page and loved reading itThe Earth is Singing (14+) by Vanessa Curtis – hard-hitting and beautiful narrative of life lived in fear – so timely in the 70th anniversary year of the liberation of Auschwitz. Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty (9+) – Hilarious, heart-stopping terrifying fantasy with very real and resonant relationships. Great debut! Urban Outlaws Blackout (10+) by Peter Jay Black. – 2nd in the series (the first is called Urban Outlaws): High-tech, high-tension, high-octane teen crime hacking. A good one for even the most reluctant reader. I Was Here by Gayle Forman (14+) – A twisting journey of self-realisation, relationships and the burning pain of loss. From the bestselling author of If I Stay – last summer’s YA blockbuster film. Other brilliant reads are


Lifting the Flap on Fun Facts!

As part of our Fascinating Facts category, all frothy with fascinating factoid-filled fun for curious kids, we just love Lift-the-Flap General Knowledge (6+). It’s intelligent, informative, interactive, inspiring… and a lot of fun! For example did you know your right lung is larger than your left or that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old? Find out more.

The Chocolate Box Girls stories continue

Late tweens and early teens and their parents love this series from Cathy Cassidy, now into its fifth title following the ups and downs of the five sisters‘ lives. Julia Eccleshare said of the series ‘it has all the teenage humours of romance, jealousy, friendship and sorrow rage freely in this brilliantly observed story of contemporary life.’ Members of our kids reader review panel loved it as well ‘a fantastic read!‘ and ‘the characters were great and it was really well written‘. Discover more today.

Definitely one of our Favourite Books

Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (3+). With lots of reading jokes and stunning illustrations from the creator of The Gruffalo this is a book within a book, within a book and it has all the brilliance you’d expect from this author/illustrator combo and no poorer for being 10 years old! Our young reader reviewers loved it too. Liam, age 5 liked “all the rhymes and the ginormous spaceman’s cake“. Ellen, age 5 thought “all of the tales were really good especially the ghost story“.Get reading today.

Reluctant Reader? – James Patterson is your Man!

James Patterson, possibly best known for his adrenalin fuelled, page turning thrillers, is also an author who is passionate about getting children reading. So, he’s turned his hand to writing truly accessible, enjoyable and engaging fiction for children aged 8+ of all abilities. His mix of story and illustrations in each of his series’ is brilliant and we defy even the most reluctant reader not to love his books. And, the great thing is once hooked, there’s a whole series to get stuck in to. Take a look at: House of Robots: Brobots – the first in a new series – “Funny and Original. Brilliant Story Telling. I loved this story so much” (Cajsa aged 9). Save Rafe, 6th in the Middle School series. Rafe needs to prove to himself and others he can cope with an outdoor camping exersise to not fall back a year at school. And I Funny, first in a new series, 2nd I Even Funnier is out now too and the third one is published in February.

An Absolute Must Read for teens

First published in 2007 this award winning book has been re-released and it totally deserves to be on any 13+ reading list. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie features poignant drawings as it chronicles contemporary adolescence as seen through the eyes of one Native American boy. It resonated with our teen reader reviewers too – ‘heart-warming and funny‘ and ‘a gripping tale for boys and girls alike‘. Why not introduce your teens to this classic of the last decade?

Time to follow the flock

We all know that great books often inspire people to make great (and not-so-great!) movies. Sometimes it works the other way around and books can spring from celluloid. This month, ahead of the movie release on 6 Feb, look out for a whole host of hugely enjoyable Shaun the Sheep story books and activity books with fun things for kids to do centred on film production.

Join the Party – Picture Book Party 2015

We’re not drawing any lines under our hugely popular Picture Book Party section in 2015. On the contrary! It’s set to grow with even more wonderful, illustrated stories to share with youngsters. We’re very excited about this being the section where you’ll find the books that will plant the love of reading in your young children’s hearts with stunningly varied picture books that will live long in the memory. This month, we love: I am Henry Finch (5+) by Alexis Deacon and Viviane – Funny, inspirational, and profound tale about courage & making a difference.

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

You may be a Valentine’s enthusiast or staunch denier. Either way, we love any excuse to suggest gift ideas! Giving your partner, husband, wife, co-parent, ‘conscious coupling’, other half (or whatever you call them) a little book from your children is a great way to “do” Valentine’s Day. Here’s two (love-themed) ideas to get you going: Love Monster by Rachel Bright (3+) – Touching and heart-warming and much better than a box of heart-shaped choccies Love Always Everywhere by Sarah Massini (3+) – Uplifting, enjoyable, joyful and charming exploration of love in its many forms

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 or a favourite author doesn’t have a new title coming out for a while? Where do you turn for their next adventure? 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: if they liked The Fault in Our Stars (14+), by John Green, they’ll love All the Bright Places (12+) by Jennifer Niven – life-affirming, thought-provoking, lessons in life from a boy determined to die. Check out our If They Like, They’ll Love category for more ideas. Below you’ll find a wonderful reminder to ‘OUR Class of 2014‘ just for you to browse in case you missed any. And that, book fans, is January at Lovereading4kids. We hope you find what you’re looking for on the site and we’ll be back in February with more of the same carefully selected titles for you… but different!

Vote for Failure!

Friday, January 16th, 2015

For the first time ever, Walker Books is letting the kids make the call. Starting on 15 January and running until 15 March, readers will be able to log on to the Timmy Failure website and vote for their choice of the cover for the next book!

Vote now at Winning cover to be revealed on 15 April 2015!



Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth – the story behind the book

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

I’ve honestly always wanted to write a book about bullying. I think it’s something that so many individuals experience and the repercussions can be life changing.

Part of the problem is the isolation and stigma that it still causes. No-one chooses to be bullied – and if it happens, the victim can often feel too ashamed to talk about it. They blame themselves, internalise their worries and fears. Meanwhile the bully has latched onto something that makes them feel in control. Rather like a spider entrapping its fly, the bully almost seems to enjoy watching someone else suffer. It can become a performance, a show if you like. Look at me making you look worthless. At least I’m not like you…

But we understand why spiders make their webs, that’s nature. What is more interesting and perhaps more important is exploring what can make a person chose to bully another.

There is little doubt that bullying is a worldwide problem. It corrodes our schools and beyond. When you look at figures such as 45,000 children calling Childline last year about bullying alone (source, NSPCC website) it is quite alarming. You can’t always escape the nasty comments, the abuse. Even in the safety of your own home, it can continue online. Victims are truly trapped in the bully’s web – and from that, it is hard to escape.

Working in a school environment, I was exposed to different bullying stories on a daily basis – some more severe than others. I would sit and listen as student after student poured out their stories. Some were terrified and would speak in hushed tones, paranoid that just uttering their experiences would mean even more grief. Some would show me their phones, point out the messages that had been sent to them or about them. Others would be angry, would want to fight back. Sometimes they did and got into trouble themselves. One boy refused to speak at all, too frightened after experiencing extreme homo-phobic abuse online.

Speaking to the perpetrators was a mixed experience. Some would sob with remorse. Some had been drawn into it, encouraged by their peers. Others would look at you blankly and state that the target ‘got what they deserved’, to them this was natural state of things, survival of the fittest. I would see the impact of physical attacks, the slapped cheeks, the pulled hair – the fights outside school. I would see the emotional impact, the simple words that could tear through a person like a blade and leave them a crumpled wreck. I would also see the physiological damage – the shredded confidence, the isolation, the self-harm, the school refusing.

Hearing these stories was difficult but common themes developed. The target would always feel alone, confused and scared to speak up. But in many cases, the bully would be indignant, stubborn, frustrated by a weakness that they saw in the other. Often, I could identify what led to a particular student becoming a bully, I could see pressures (both internal and external) that they were being exposed to a daily basis and could begin to understand why someone might chose to exert their frustrations on someone else. I met angry young carers, victims of domestic abuse, girls in controlling/abusive relationships, students with underlying self-confidence issues, all of them terrorising someone else, somebody more vulnerable in their eyes.

All trying to detract from their own lives, their own worries, their own insecurities.

In Seven Days there are two victims. Jess is clearly the bullied one. She is struggling with many issues such as low self-confidence and negative body image. Her father is estranged from her and she misses him. She feels vulnerable. In many ways she is an easy target. Kez, on the other hand, appears to ‘have it all’, she is popular and pretty, she presents herself as self-assured and in control. But behind closed doors, Kez is battling to keep herself on track. In many ways, Kez is the real victim.

I believe that Seven Days would be a very inspiring book for any reader that has experienced bullying, or indeed been a bully themselves. The book is not looking to judge, it is simply providing a message that there are often two sides to every story. I also hope it will help anyone who has experienced bullying to have something to identify with, but also to see that they are not weak, or pathetic just because they have been targeted. Perhaps someone else will read my book and recognise their own negative behaviours. Perhaps they can question why they are doing it and seek the help that they need.

In Seven Days I wanted to keep the message alive. Bullying is a real, on-going issue. It takes many forms, and it’s life-changing.

There can also be more than one victim.

Lisa Williamson’s Blog Tour

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Monday 5 Jan 2015  get involved via #whatisnormal

Lovereading4kids are excited and delighted in equal measure to be the first stop on Lisa Williamson’s Blog tour promoting a book that everyone’s talking about. It’s called The Art of Being Normal and Andrea Reece, one of our expert reviewers said of the book ‘This ultra-readable, highly entertaining story could also provide readers with some much needed reassurance that normal is as normal does’.

This novel tackles important issues head on through the two protagonists David and Leo – and Lisa would love to talk to readers about them. Get involved via twitter using the hash tag #whatisnormal and find out more via Lisa’s twitter account @lisa_letters.


Watch the video of Lisa reading an extract of the book.

The blog tour continues on 7 January 2014 at and then The Guardian on 8 January Privacy Policy Disclaimer