Calling all Young Creative Writers

May 22nd, 2017

CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS SEEK BUDDING HISTORICAL WRITERS

AS 2017 YOUNG WALTER SCOTT PRIZE OPENS FOR ENTRIES

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Mid-May eNewsletter

May 18th, 2017

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

     

Mid-May Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Infected! – Contagion by Teri Terry

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

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

Award-winning Aubrey is back!

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

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

     

Why Wait? – More May Pre-Publication Exclusives

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

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

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

Patchwork Works! – Elmer the Elephant

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

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

What Next? If they Like They’ll Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

No Binoculars Needed!

 The Big Bird Spot (5+) by Matt Sewell

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

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

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

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

Well Versed! – Our Poetry Section, Refreshed

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

The Spellslinger Series (YA) is Pure Magic!

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

Let your child become a Superhero

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

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

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

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

May eNewsletter

May 5th, 2017

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

‘May’ we Suggest? – Books of the Month

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

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

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Darling Buds! – May’s Debuts of the Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Famous Five at Seventy-Five!

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

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

     

Why Wait? – May Pre-Publication Exclusives

A superior selection of sneak peeks this month includes:

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

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The Plight of Others – Books about Refugees

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

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

Getting our Facts Straight!

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

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

Boy Zone!

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

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

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

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

Oh My Goth! – Goth Girl by Chris Riddell

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

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

Friends Forever, Enemies Never

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

Scroll down for our hand-picked selections of May books in the age ranges you have said you would like to be kept up to date with. To change them just Log in to your account. Log in to your account.

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

Mid-April eNewsletter

April 19th, 2017

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

More exciting books to start reading… before they are published

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bring Picture Books to Life with the Hopster App

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

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

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

WW1 through the eyes of the Heligan gardeners

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

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

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

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

April Mid-Month Highlights

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

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

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

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

Highlights from our Kids Reader Review Panel

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

Blade of Class! – Beast Quest is 10 years old







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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more.

     

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

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

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

Slumber Stories – Bedtime Reads category

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

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

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

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

Kipling & Grylls – Bear Necessities of Life!

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

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

Reluctant Readers Inspired!

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

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Mountainous Magic for the Modern Teen

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

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

Win an Award Winning Author! Seriously!

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

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

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

April 11th, 2017

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Harpercollins Children’s Books Have Arrived on the Hopster app

April 10th, 2017

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find out more about Hopster now:

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

April 10th, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

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

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

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

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

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

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Cream Buns and Crime Cream Buns and Crime
Robin Stevens
April 2017 Book of the Month  |   In a nutshell: a tasty treat for would-be sleuths and fans of Wells and Wong  |    Young readers everywhere are hooked on Robin Stevens’s Murder Most Unladylike series starring schoolgirl sleuths Daisy Wells and …
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Good Dog McTavish Good Dog McTavish
Meg Rosoff
April 2017 Book of the Month | Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: dog to the rescue in witty domestic satire |  This characteristically sharp and witty comedy of modern life by Meg Rosoff stars a rescue dog who …
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Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers' Club Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers’ Club
Robert J. Harris
In a nutshell: ingenious and atmospheric adventure story starring a young Arthur Conan Doyle | Sending its young protagonists creeping round Edinburgh’s graveyards at dead of night and posing all sorts of mysteries for them to solve and codes for …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

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

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

April 6th, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

April eNewsletter

April 5th, 2017

April brings a glorious shower of great reads for kids. We’ve more spring in our step than a jack-in-the-box as we bring you the best of the best for your brood of blossoming readers. Whatever their tastes, ages or abilities we have a truly exciting array of books for boys and girls to enjoy anywhere from the bus to school to bedtime! Read on for more.

No Fooling! – April Books of the Month

Top titles to tantalise every taste jostle jubilantly on our BOM bookshelf this month. Books like:

The Giant Jumperee (3+) – The first collaboration by picture book royalty Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury- Our MEGA Picture Book of the Month. Read-a-long repeatable loveliness, perfect for sharing with pictures. The Barefoot Book of Children (5+) – A stunningly illustrated, jubilant celebration of what makes us different and what unites us all. – ‘A wonderful book.’ Mrs Dewsbury… – ‘Wonderful… very informative Sam Briggs (and mum).
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Books! Books! Books! (7+) by Mick Manning – A unique book that lets the reader discover some of the amazing treasures Inside the British Library the greatest on Earth. Good Dog McTavish (9+) by Meg Rosoff – This characteristically sharp and witty comedy of modern life about a dog who saves his new family, not from fire or external threat, but from themselves.
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Back to Blackman! – Malorie Blackman, Author of the Month

With her heart-rending story of love and space exploration Chasing the Stars out in paperback this month, there’s no better time to dive into the wondrous world of Malorie Blackman. She is also the author of the groundbreaking and award-winning Noughts and Crosses series which has had a brilliant makeover with some new jackets. Her unique blend of wit, thrill and emotional realism have won her acclaim and young fans the world over. We heard that one avid reader even spent her lunch money on Malorie’s books rather than eat! We don’t suggest you do this. Instead, check out the special category and choose your next favourite ever read!

April the Firsts! – Debuts of the Month

Here they are, this month’s fabulous first-timers just in time for Spring! We particularly love:

Old Macdonald Heard a Parp (3+) by Olaf Falafel – A side-splitting sing-a-long tribute to a very noisy famous farm!

The Hate u Give (YA) by Angie Thomas – ‘A novel that will be remembered as a classic of our time… even if you don’t love books you are going to love this.’ John Green.

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What an Egg-cellent selection

Chocolate aside there is still time to pick up some Easter themed reading choices… see the shelf below.

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Some Awesome April Highlights

Such a busy month this month but below are a few books we think are unmissable.

The Ravenmaster’s Boy (11+) Mary Hoffman – Bring Tudor history to life with this novel described by Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall) ‘as a dark but charming Tudor tale.’ The Snowdonia Chronicles (13+) by Sara Mussi – Merlin-esque mythology in the modern world full of adventure and a love story of legendary proportions. The Pavee and the Buffer Girl (11+) by Siobhan Dowd – Vivid, affecting and, though it has more than its share of sadness, ultimately uplifting. This is a book to treasure.
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Shortlist Superstars! The Carnegie and Greenaway Book Awards

One of the hottest awards for children’s literature, the Carnegie and the Greenaway Medals honour the very best of the best in books for kids. We’re delighted to feature the sparkling shortlist of story-telling hopefuls who have satisfied the judges’ strict criteria. Take a look between the covers of our special category and choose your own medal-winners!

A Class of their Own! – UKLA Awards

The UK Literary Literacy Association (UKLA) book awards are the only awards judged exclusively by active classroom teachers. Covering age groups from 3+ to YA, these awards honour the books that teachers believe to be the best at every stage in a young reader’s life. And it’s not just the teachers; the pupils have their say too! We’re delighted to sponsor these awards and very excited for you to see the shortlists. Just click here to get started.

So they Sent Me a Dear Zoo 35th Anniversary Edition!

Delightful and fun, Rod Campbell’s interactive story of one child’s search for the perfect pet is 35 this year!

To celebrate this landmark, in the life of one of the most popular lift-the-flap adventures for little fingers, there is a wonderfully special 35th Anniversary Edition which would be a much-loved addition to any bedroom bookshelf and something they’ll love to read with their own kids when the time comes! Find out more.

Tomorrow’s Number Ones Today! – April Pre-Pubs

Get ahead of the game with free extracts of a superlative selection of brilliant books before they hit the shops! Don’t miss:

Timmy Failure the Cat Stole My Pants (7+) by Stephan Pastis – Dastardly dealings for the world’s best worst detective to solve in the 6th book of this mega-selling series. The Girl in Between (11+) by Sarah Carroll – A deeply moving story of family, homelessness, loneliness and grief and the ghosts that won’t let us go.
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Putting the ‘cool’ in ‘School’ – The School of Series (7+)

School has never been so much fun with this awesome series. With two books so far, taking readers on a journey of learning in the worlds of Art and Music. In 40 fun lessons, you’ll discover how to write, listen to and love music; or how to create and understand more about wonderful pieces of art.

Both are a must for every home and a great aid to independent learning or something to share! Find out more.

Series of the Month! – Mango & Bambang (7+)

One Reader Reviewer said about Mango and Bambang: The Not-a-Pig; “I couldn’t get my nose out of it!”. And neither could we. One of our staff picks of 2015 it is a wonderful, witty and original tale of friendship and adventure with characters so loveable, you’ll consider them friends.

Since then, the series has gone from strength to strength and is set to become a modern classic. If you haven’t discovered it yet, you’re in for a treat! Click here to start.

Top Drawer! – The Picture Books of David Litchfield

Avid Indiana Jones and Star Wars fan, the young David Litchfield spent hours drawing and drawing. Time well spent! His debut picture book The Bear and the Piano won the Waterstones Prize and was one of our Books of the Year 2016. It’s a big-hearted tale of the power of friends and family over fame and fortune.

New for April is Grandad’s Secret Giant, a book about believing, belonging and big secrets! Find out more.

Julia Eccleshare April selections

Sharing is caring! Especially when it’s top recommendations from our very own Editor-at-large Julia Eccleshare. Check out her April top tips for great reads below.

Actual, Factual and Fantastic! – Fascinating Facts category

In a world with so much to know, from the small to the very large, is it any wonder we seem to be refreshing our ‘fact-abulous’ Fascinating Facts Category every month? April is no exception with even more factual forays into fascination to blow your mind. And perfect timing for the Easter holidays particularly if you have a reluctant reader as factual books can often provide the stimulus to get kids reading.

Don’t miss: Lesser Spotted Animals (7+) by Martin Brown, a colourful, clever, funny and informative introduction to all the animals you’ve never heard of! Find it and more, here.

Get Out of Here! – Out and About Category

With the Easter holidays here or soon to start and the promise of brighter weather ahead, what better time to take a peek at our Out and About category? It’s awash with great ideas to get kids outdoors and having fun! This month, check out Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Bold Engineers by Andrea Beaty (7+) and enter a draw to win copies (and other goodies) of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen’s wonderful tale of an adventurous, fearless family day out.

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This is a Must! – Essential Reading for Kids Category

We love recommending the best books for children of all ages. Often, these include the latest fantastic reads to hit the shelves. However, there are some books that stand the test of time and speak to kids, generation after generation. This is our category dedicated to the must-reads for children, whatever their age. Books like: Each Peach Pear Plum (3+) Janet & Allan Ahlberg, a fun, interactive, read-aloud ‘I-Spy’ search for famous fairytale folk from the creators of Peepo! (3+). Find out more.

A Man for all Seasons – Walter de la Mare
One of the greatest poets of the 20th Century and author of the children’s classic Peacock Pie, Walter de la Mare’s work has been turned into wonderful picture books by illustrator Carolina Rabei. In a series follows the seasons of the year, Carolina has painted the words to Summer Evening, Snow, Silver and The Ride-by-Nights. Truly transportative and a great way to introduce children to the power of poetry. Find out more.

Scroll down for our hand-picked selections of April 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.

Win a Wheatle

March 21st, 2017

Win award winning Alex Wheatle visiting your school in 2017! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate the release of Straight Outta Crongton, the new book from award-winning author Alex Wheatle, the publishers, ATOM, are giving you the chance to win him! Well, not forever, but to have him come to your school for a visit!

He’ll be able to join your class, after which, the possibilities are endless …

Maybe you’d like to ask him questions about his books and how he writes; maybe you’d like him to help you write a story, or get involved in a project you’re working on; maybe you’d like him to read from your favourite book, or get him to make something up on the spot! We even hear he’s a pretty good rapper…

In addition to winning Alex, they will furnish your library with copies of all three of his Crongton books – the Carnegie Prize-nominated Liccle Bit, the Guardian Children’s Prize-winning Crongton Knights AND a hot-off-the-press edition of Straight Outta Crongton.

To find out more and enter CLICK HERE to visit the publishers blog page. Entries close on 30 April 2017.


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