Mid-April eNewsletter

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

More exciting books to start reading… before they are published

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bring Picture Books to Life with the Hopster App

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

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

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

WW1 through the eyes of the Heligan gardeners

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

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

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

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

April Mid-Month Highlights

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

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

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

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

Highlights from our Kids Reader Review Panel

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

Blade of Class! – Beast Quest is 10 years old







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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more.

     

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

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

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

Slumber Stories – Bedtime Reads category

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

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

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

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

Kipling & Grylls – Bear Necessities of Life!

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

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

Reluctant Readers Inspired!

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

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Mountainous Magic for the Modern Teen

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

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

Win an Award Winning Author! Seriously!

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

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

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