Posts Tagged ‘lovereading4kids’

The Sleighmaker: A Christmas Story That’s Never Been Told By Ian Shepherd

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

As warming as a hot minced pie and mulled wine, this unashamedly traditional Christmas story will delight children and adults alike.

Set in the late 1800s, it’s a bitter-sweet tale that harks back to the traditional yuletide tales of the Victorian era.

An impressive debut novel by Ian Shepherd, The Sleighmaker is ostensibly aimed at children aged seven and up, though it will certainly appeal to kids in a higher age bracket. While it might be a little challenging for seven-year-olds to read by themselves, grown-ups are sure to enjoy reading it to younger children.

The main character is Drummond, a master-craftsman once known as the most talented sleighmaker in the land.

After a tragic event, Drummond turns his back on his trade and leads a lonely life, shunning the company of others, before an old friend manages to get him to agree to work on the estate of the local gentry, Lord and Lady Harrington.Here he labours alone, embracing the solitude his new work gives him, until his life is changed by the arrival of a cheerful young boy known only as William, whose way with animals manages to prevent a riding accident involving the Harrington’s young son, Henry.

Wise beyond his years, William comes to work as Drummond’s apprentice and, along with his close companion, kitchen maid Marny, manages slowly but surely to bring a warmth back to the sleighmaker’s life.

William discovers a magnificent sleigh that Drummond had once built, now mothballed in his workshop, and eventually convinces his master to restore it for the coming winter parade.

Filled with a real sense of purpose for the first time since the tragedy, Drummond gets to work on the sleigh, enlisting the help of his friend and artist, Auguste.

It’s not easy for Drummond to continue, given his traumatic experiences, but with the loving support of William and Marny he fashions a sleigh fit for a king.

There’s a magical twist to the tale that I won’t spoil, but it’s enough to say that Drummond’s sleigh gets to serve its purpose with aplomb and is finally rekindled with the Christmas spirit and the promise of a bright future.

The Sleighmaker is an unashamedly traditional Christmas tale a million miles away from the typical modern children’s books, and is all the better for it.

The sad but ultimately uplifting story of Drummond is rich with description and nuance, presents engaging characters with depth, and though dealing with some dark issues, does so in a sensitive way.

Ian Shepherd revels in the sights, sounds and tastes of a Victorian Christmas, with readers almost able to taste the rich cakes and chocolates, fresh-baked bread and hot soups that the author so evocatively describes.

And he is confident to take his time with the narrative, building up to the wonderful and memorable ending without ever rushing and forcing things.

It’s a charming, classic Christmas story that celebrates all that is good and true about this most special time of year and it would no doubt work very well on the big screen.

For anyone who yearns to return to a simpler, less commercial time; when Christmas was still a magical occasion about family and enjoying your time together as opposed to staring zombified into digital devices; this novel will be sure to delight.
The Sleighmaker by Ian Shepherd is out now through Raj Joshi Publishing and priced £11.99 in hardback, £6.99 paperback and £4.60 as a Kindle eBook. Visit Amazon UK.

An exclusive Q&A with Annabel Pitcher

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

The Last Days of Archie Maxwe​ll: Annabel Pitcher published by Barrington Stoke

Could you introduce The Last Days of Archie Maxwell to us in less than ten words?
A boy, a girl, a secret, a suicide.

What drew you to writing for young adults in particular?
It was never a choice. It was something subconscious; some inner, unknowable desire to pick up a pen and start creating stories about, and for, young people. I am simply not drawn to writing for adults. It has never been an ambition of mine, but since my early twenties, I have felt utterly compelled to write for children and young adults. I can’t really describe it. I don’t do it out of duty, or some lofty desire to make sense of my own childhood, or to reach out to children who might be struggling. I do it because I am meant to do it, and because it fascinates me, and moves me deeply.

What did you begin with; the characters or the sense of the driving force of the story?
This is so tricky to answer. It is different for every book, and it is hard to put into words that first, mystical flicker of inspiration. With Archie, it was a number of things. The location was important. I walk my dog by a train track, crossing it several times, always surprised and a bit unnerved by how easy it would be to not get off the track when the signal turned from red to green. The rumble of the trains accompanied my thoughts for many long hours, and slowly, the vague outline of a story about a boy who lives by a track and is tempted to do the unthinkable started to emerge. I had also, somewhere, had an idea for a book that began with a boy and a girl going to a bridge to commit suicide on the very same morning. What would they do? What would they say? Would they still feel a duty to save each other, even if they were about to die themselves? Some of these questions found their answers in The Last Days of Archie Maxwell. One thing I can say for sure is that I am not a plotter. I don’t like to have a hard and fast plan when I write. I rely much more on feel and instinct, and allow the characters to drive the story as much as possible.

Is this the first novella length story that you’ve written?
It is, and I absolutely loved the experience. It was wonderful to get the chance to focus on something smaller, where each word, and the position of each word, has a huge part to play. It felt a little like writing poetry at times.

  • Why did you decide to write for Barrington Stoke?

I used to be an English teacher, so I have seen first-hand how daunting reading can be for many students. If words are frightening, picking up a book crammed full of them is a huge ordeal. But stories are for everyone. And everyone, no matter what their reading ability, has the right to access good stories, and hard-hitting stories, which aren’t dumbed down in anyway. That’s what Barrington Stoke represent and I was honoured to be asked to write for them.

What is your writing day like?
Unfortunately there is no such thing! I am a mum of two boys (3 and 1) so my life is happily chaotic at present. I squeeze my writing in wherever I can, so I find myself writing at 4am, or midnight, or during nap times, or at the weekend when my husband takes our sons swimming. It is a tough juggling act, sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

All about The Last Days of Archie Maxwell (13+) by Annabel Pitcher is a super readable YA novella – Dads leave home all the time. It’s not that unusual, really. Leon’s dad walked out. So did Mo’s. But Archie’s? Well, that’s a different story – a story that Archie must keep secret at all cost. Archie knows he should accept Dad for who he is, so he hides his turmoil until he can stand it no longer. With nowhere else to turn, he finds himself at the railway track. The track has been calling to him, promising escape, release. The only problem is, it’s been calling to someone else too…

To read an extract ahead of publication on 1st November, click here.

Top 3 books, by age range on Lovereading4kids 14 – 21 May 2017

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
Grumpy Frog Grumpy Frog
Ed Vere
Join Grumpy Frog as he learns about compromise and tolerance, friendship and the power of saying sorry. A hilarious book with a twist in the tail about getting – and getting rid of – the grumps from New York Times …
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2
Elmer Elmer
David McKee
The wonderfully colourful story of Elmer the patchwork elephant has been a nursery favourite since this first book was published in 1989. A modern classic, the story of Elmer is known to millions, and continues to be one of the …
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3
Hello, Mr World Hello, Mr World
Michael Foreman
The future of the world is in our children’s hands says this beautiful and sensitive picture book. ‘Let’s be doctors’ say two little children in front of a dressing up box. In their white coats they meet their first patient, …
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Featured Books for Young Adults

1
Release Release
Patrick Ness
***Recommended for 16+ due to content.
May 2017 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: love, truth and the power of release  |  A gripping, soulful novel about a life-changing day, which will surely change the lives of those who …
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2
Encounters Encounters
Jason Wallace
May 2017 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Alleged alien encounter inspired by true events |   An utterly absorbing novel based on the real-life phenomenon of a group of Zimbabwean schoolchildren claiming to have experienced an extra-terrestrial encounter.
With …
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3
After the Fire After the Fire
Will Hill
In a nutshell: tense, super-suspenseful novel based on harrowing real life events
After the Fire was inspired by the Waco siege in Texas 1993 when 82 members of the Branch Davidian sect and four US government agents died in a fire …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

1
King of the Sky King of the Sky
Nicola Davies
May 2017 Picture Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2017  |
In a story full of hope against adversity, King of the Sky tells how flying a homing pigeon helps a young boy …
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2
The Treasure of Pirate Frank The Treasure of Pirate Frank
Mal Peet, Elspeth Graham
Unusually clever and skilfully told this pirate story has echoes of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt both in the way that the narrative grows and builds from page to page and in its lovely surprise ending. A young boy …
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3
Just Like Daddy Just Like Daddy
Lucy Freegard
May 2017 Debut of the Month
This charming picture book delivers messages that children always need to hear: that daddy loves them no matter what they do; that grown-ups are playful and sometimes silly too; that everyone makes mistakes, and if …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

1
Superdad's Day Off Superdad’s Day Off
Phil Earle
May 2017 Book of the Month | Interest Age 5-8 |  In a nutshell: the best laid plans of mice and supermen …|  Stanley is as normal a kid as you can meet, but his dad, well, he’s a superhero, Dynamo …
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2
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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3
All Aboard the London Bus All Aboard the London Bus
Patty Toht
Both an engaging guidebook to the major sights of our capital city and a collection of new London poems, this is a lovely book to read aloud and to look at. Sam Usher’s attractive pen and watercolour illustrations catch the …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

1
Timmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants Timmy Failure: The Cat Stole My Pants
Stephan Pastis
In a nutshell: Hilarious sleuthing with boy detective and his sidekick polar bear…  |   A new Timmy Failure book is always a cause for celebration and this is another glorious mix of humour, surrealism, incompetent detection – and chickens. Timmy is …
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2
King Coo King Coo
Adam Stower
May 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2017  |
A glorious romp of a story full of confusion and chaos but with a strong message about trusting yourself and standing up to bullies. …
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3
A Song for Will and The Lost Gardeners of Heligan A Song for Will and The Lost Gardeners of Heligan
Hilary Robinson
May 2017 Book of the Month |  This deeply moving story 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 …
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Featured Books for 9+ readers

1
Wave Me Goodbye Wave Me Goodbye
Jacqueline Wilson
In a nutshell: an evacuee story as imagined by the one and only Jacqueline Wilson
Queen of contemporary fiction, Jacqueline Wilson is now setting her stories in the past, but they’re not one bit less lively, immediate or relevant to young …
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2
Where the World Ends Where the World Ends
Geraldine McCaughrean
May 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: beautifully written, totally original, mesmerising storytelling |
In the summer of 1727 a group of men and boys, there to harvest birds and eggs, were stranded on Warrior Stac, a pinnacle …
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3
Moonlocket Moonlocket
Peter Bunzl
In a nutshell: child-centred adventure where the action runs like clockwork.
Peter Bunzl continues the adventures of the stars of the hugely popular Cogheart in his new adventure which has all the charm and appeal of his debut. Robert is now …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

1
The Dark Prophecy The Dark Prophecy
Rick Riordan
May 2017 Book of the Month |  In a nutshell: epic adventure, story-telling genius
It’s not easy being immortal in Rick Riordan’s Greek-myth inspired sagas, and Apollo has every right to feel fed up in this one. As punishment for misdemeanours, he’s been …
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2
The Island at the End of Everything The Island at the End of Everything
Kiran Millwood-Hargrave
In a nutshell: beautifully told story of courage and hope and an unforgettable setting
Kiran Millwood Hargrave follows up her award-winning debut The Girl of Ink and Stars with a story set in the real world, though one still filled with a …
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3
Cogheart Cogheart
Peter Bunzl
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2017 |  September 2016 Debut of the Month
In a nutshell: tick-tocking frequently airborne adventure   From its opening scene aboard an airship harpooned in mid-air, Cogheart is filled with fabulous visual images and a …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
The Bombs That Brought Us Together The Bombs That Brought Us Together
Brian Conaghan
Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016
Charlie’s life should be pretty miserable: he lives in Little Town, where everyone spies on everyone else, and the population is caught between their oppressive rulers and violent criminals who …
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2
Between the Lies Between the Lies
Cathy MacPhail
In a Nutshell: Devastating deceits and sanity-shattering set-ups | Tense, twisty thriller in which a girl’s disappearance spirals into a snare of manipulation and lies..
Fourteen-year-old Jude has gone missing from Port Glasgow. No one has heard from her until she …
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3
Spellslinger Spellslinger
Sebastien de Castell
In a Nutshell: Witty fantasy anti-hero forges his own path
There’s trickery, traps, and action aplenty in this vividly conjured magical fantasy – the first in a series – about finding your place and discovering who you really are.
Soon-to-be-sixteen, Kellen is …
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Harpercollins Children’s Books Have Arrived on the Hopster app

Monday, 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

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
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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2
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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3
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

1
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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2
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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3
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

1
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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2
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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3
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

1
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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2
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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3
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

1
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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2
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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3
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

1
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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2
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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3
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

1
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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2
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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3
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

1
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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2
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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3
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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Lovereading4kids top 3 books, by age range, 12 – 19 March 2017

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

1
Funny Faces Funny Faces
Pat-a-Cake
This bright and bold, high-contrast novelty board book stimulates a baby’s developing vision as they look at the funny animals, play peek-a-boo, and giggle as they see themselves in the mirror.
Babies are able to react and respond to simple patterns …
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2
Are You Sitting Comfortably? Are You Sitting Comfortably?
Leigh Hodgkinson
March 2016 Book of the Month   Leigh Hodgkinson’s picture book is a stylish investigation into how and where to read a book. Goldilocks-like, a young boy tries out a variety of chairs and reading locations. Not one of them suits: …
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3
A Great Big Cuddle A Great Big Cuddle
Michael Rosen
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 | Joint Winner of the CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award).    Children’s Laureates Chris Riddell and Michael Rosen combine here to create a beautiful collection of ebullient poems for the very young.  …
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Featured Books for Young Adults

1
How Not to Disappear How Not to Disappear
Clare Furniss
Shortlisted for YA Book Prize 2017 | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award  |  August 2016 Book of the Month  Hattie’s life changes forever when she meets the great aunt …
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2
The State of Grace The State of Grace
Rachael Lucas
In a Nutshell: Living with Asperger’s * Dealing with change * New beginnings    “Being human is a complicated game”, and that’s certainly the case for fifteen-year-old Grace, the sparkling protagonist of this gorgeously heartfelt and often hilarious novel.
Grace is bright and …
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3
Black Moon Black Moon
L. A. Weatherly
March 2017 Book of the Month A fitting and truly fabulous end to the breathtaking Broken Trilogy. It’s 1942, nearly two thousand years after time was reset and war and atomic weapons were banned, yet a terrifying regime is attempting …
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Featured Books for 3+ readers

1
Sunk! Sunk!
Rob Biddulph
March 2017 Book of the Month | No child’s bookshelf is complete without one, and preferably more than one of Rob Biddulph’s joyful, dazzling picture books. Sunk! is a new adventure for Penguin Blue, star of the award-winning Blown Away. …
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2
Triangle Triangle
Mac Barnett
A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month March 2017  Brilliant and hilarious, award-winning Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett’s Triangle is the gem of a book. Spare and sophisticated at one and the same time it tells how Triangle plays a …
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3
The Giant Jumperee The Giant Jumperee
Julia Donaldson
A new read-aloud classic from internationally bestselling author Julia Donaldson, beautifully brought to life by award-winning illustrator Helen Oxenbury.
Lovereading Review to follow. …
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Featured Books for 5+ readers

1
Many Moons Many Moons
Remi Courgeon
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2017   Beautifully produced to make the most of its clever design, this is a book whose charm lies in its visual simplicity which leaves space for readers to dream their own dreams …
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2
Revolting Rhymes Revolting Rhymes
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl takes on the likes of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Goldilocks and The Three Little Pigs and brings us a brilliant collection of comic and often gory versions of popular fairy tales.  Dahl’s Gobblefunk is brought to life …
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3
Life on Earth: Farm Life on Earth: Farm
Heather Alexander
March 2017 Book of the Month   Unless they are regular visitors to the countryside it can be hard for children to connect the milk in the two litre cartons on the supermarket shelves or in their fridge with a cow …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

1
Hamish and the Gravity Burp Hamish and the Gravity Burp
Danny Wallace
March 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: original, clever, fast-paced and very, very funny |   With no messing about at all, Danny Wallace gets straight into the comedy action in this the third adventure for Hamish …
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2
Black Cats and Butlers Black Cats and Butlers
Janine Beacham
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2017  Fun to read, this is a sprightly told tale of murder and trickery with a twisty plot and a cast of unlikely characters led by the smart and determined Rose Raventhorpe. …
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3
The Clubhouse Mystery The Clubhouse Mystery
Erika McGann
In a nutshell: gang of three have hi-jinks in their very own clubhouse |   Cass is super-excited when she and her best friends decide to form a secret club, and even happier when they find the perfect place to build …
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Featured Books for 9+ readers

1
The Wolf Wilder The Wolf Wilder
Katherine Rundell
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | September 2016 Book of the Month  Wolves, wildness and freedom are at the heart of this thrilling story. Wolf wilders are employed to …
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2
Just Call Me Spaghetti-Hoop Boy Just Call Me Spaghetti-Hoop Boy
Lara Williamson
March 2017 Book of the Month A touching and amusing story about belonging and the search for an heroic identity. Adam has always known that he was adopted and it never seemed to matter. After all, he loves his mum …
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3
Women in Science Women in Science
Rachel Ignotofsky
March 2017 Non Fiction Book of the Month | In a nutshell: an inspiring introduction to 50 pioneering women scientists |     Hopefully everyone has heard of Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin and Ada Lovelace, pioneers in science. But what about Grace …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

1
My Name is Victoria My Name is Victoria
Lucy Worsley
A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month March 2017  | Revered and deservedly popular as a Queen, Victoria was much less successful or celebrated when she was still a princess. TV historian Lucy Worsley spins a wonderful adventure around the …
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2
Survivors Survivors
David Long
Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2017 – Best Books with Facts
In a nutshell: jaw-dropping true stories; survival against the odds  |    Proof that true stories can be every bit as remarkable as the most fantastic fiction, David Long …
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An Eagle in the Snow An Eagle in the Snow
Michael Morpurgo
Shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award 2017 – Books for Younger Readers  |  November 2016 Book of the Month   A ‘what if’ story based on a true life events, full of descriptions of heroism and selflessness: for any good writer …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
The Monstrous Child The Monstrous Child
Francesca Simon
January 2017 Book of the Month |  Shortlisted for 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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Anna and the Swallow Man Anna and the Swallow Man
Gavriel Savit
Written in spare beautiful prose, this extraordinary story will haunt readers. It begins in Krakow in 1939. Seven-year-old Anna is left to fend for herself when her father fails to collect her at the end of the day. Though Anna …
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Every Hidden Thing Every Hidden Thing
Kenneth Oppel
March 2017 Book of the Month |  In a Nutshell: Romancing the Bones | There’s rivalry, romance and skullduggery galore in this rip-roaring read following two epic expeditions to unearth an extraordinary dinosaur skeleton in the Badlands of early twentieth …
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UK Literacy Association Book Awards 2017

Monday, March 6th, 2017

SHORTLISTS ANNOUNCED FOR THE UNIQUE AWARDS FROM TEACHERS

  • For the first time illustrated books in all three age categories
  • Past winner Philip Reeve shortlisted in two categories with Brian Selznick, Gill Lewis and Benji Davies each with potential second award
  • Debut authors challenge medal winning heavyweights in each category

 @The_UKLA  #UKLA17   #teachersbookawards

For the first time ever the awards that come with the teachers’ guarantee that these are the books which get their classes reading have an author shortlisted simultaneously in two age categories. Philip Reeve’s creative partnership with Sarah McIntyre will be looking to repeat their 2015 triumph in the 7-11 category. But they face stiff competition from another previous winner Gill Lewis who won with her debut novel, Sky Hawk in 2012. Debut authors Ross Welford and S.E.Durrant will see that as a very good omen. Completing the 7-11 list is the 2014 shortlisted author Katherine Rundell and the Kate Greenaway longlisted title The Journey by Francesca Sanna: a powerful picturebook which teacher judges described as “taking children to new experiences outside their own”.

Philip Reeve’s science fiction Railhead secured his second shortlisting in the 12-16 category, but once again he is up against stiff competition with the previously Highly Commended Brian Selznick. They both face competition from a cosmopolitan list which features Selznick’s American compatriot Gary.D.Schmidt, Canadian Susin Nielsen and Alaskan Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s Carnegie longlisted debut title. Joining Philip in representing home grown talent is previously shortlisted award winner Jenny Valentine .

The 3-6 category sees Benji Davies repeating his 2016 shortlisting and hoping to improve upon his Highly Commended award. He will be up against Greenaway winner Emily Gravett, the inaugural Amnesty CILIP Honour winner, Ross Collins, Roald Dahl Funny Prize winning Jim Field in a new partnership with Rachel Bright and impressive debuts from Lucy Ruth Cummings and David Litchfield.

All three age categories once again show the fresh perspective that class teachers can bring to the judging process in their search for books which can “enhance all aspects of literacy learning”,  as required by the criteria. This makes them particularly useful as co-sponsor Peter Crawshaw, Director and Co-founder of Lovereading4kids said:

“Lovereading4schools and its sister site Lovereading4kids are delighted to support the UKLA Book Awards. The fact that the teacher judges reflect on their students’ responses to the books gives the award huge credibility and trust that schools use to know the books will be loved by their own pupils. The awards are equally valuable for parents. We can’t wait to see the eventual winners as the shortlisted books are all simply excellent.”

The enthusiastic judging discussions revealed how much teachers welcomed the opportunity to widen their knowledge of recent children’s titles and enjoyed talking together in order to decide which books would best match the criteria for the award:

There have been so many great spin-offs from that initial decision to get involved: seeing teachers who had never been big readers catching the reading bug, avid readers who found a whole new treasure trove of books to keep them up reading till the small hours, colleagues queuing up to borrow the books and so many children inspired to share this reading journey with them. Jess Anderson, Group Leader

For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read a number of new quality children’s books is as important as finding an overall winner. Research carried out by members of UKLA (Cremin et al 2008) clearly demonstrated the links between teachers’ knowledge of children’s books and the likelihood of pupils becoming successful readers. Despite this evidence, teachers are seldom given time to read new books or funding to purchase them when they do. As Awards Chair Lynda Graham said:

Teacher judges in education authorities across Scotland clearly delighted in opportunities to discuss the best of newly- published, quality books with teacher colleagues and to share these books with children and young people in their classrooms. 

12 teachers nominated from the 55 involved in the shortlisting, who came from Aberdeen City, North Ayrshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, East Lothian, Falkirk and Renfrewshire, will now form the final judging panel and have the challenging task of reading all the shortlisted books in all three age categories, which will mean nursery teachers reading fiction for teenagers and secondary teachers reading picturebooks!

The winners will be announced on June 30th at the UKLA International Conference, University of Strathclyde

For further information and to request an interview with the shortlisted authors and illustrators, or for images, please contact fao Lynda Graham awards@ukla.org
The Shortlists in full

3-6

The Lion Inside written by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Jim Field (Orchard Books)

There’s a Bear on MY Chair written and illustrated by Ross Collins (Nosy Crow)

A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals written and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Simon & Schuster)

Grandad’s Island written and illustrated by Benji Davies(Simon & Schuster)

Tidy written and illustrated by Emily Gravett (Two Hoots)

The Bear and the Piano written and illustrated by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln)

 

7-11

Little Bits of Sky written by S.E Durrant and illustrated by Katie Harnett (Nosy Crow)

Gorilla Dawn written by Gill Lewis(Oxford University Press)

Pugs of the Frozen North written and illustrated by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)

The Wolf Wilder written by Katherine Rundell and illustrated by Gelrev Ongbico (Bloomsbury)

The Journey written and illustrated by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books)

Time Travelling with a Hamster written by Ross Welford (HarperCollins)

 

12-16

The Smell of Other People’s Houses written by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber &Faber)

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen written by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)

 Orbiting Jupiter written by Gary .D. Schmidt (Andersen Press)

Railhead written by Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)

The Marvels written and illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)

Fire Colour One written by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)

March eNewsletter

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

World Book Day and March is ‘hare’! And a Wonderland of ‘wordery’ awaits you this month. A top-notch tea party of jabber-rocking reads to send you on a whole new world of adventures, as we look forward to Spring. From tots to teens and everything in between, we’ve just the thing to keep your children loving reading.  We hope your children had a great WBD. Why not share your experiences at @lovereadingkids?

March’s Must-Reads – Books of the Month

A bookshelf burgeoning with bookie brilliance this month. We especially recommend:

Sunk! By Rob Biddulph (3+) – Characterful, swashbuckling, High-seas adventure for Penguin Blue and friends.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers who Changed the World (8+) – Our non-fiction B.O.M: inspiring, informative and gloriously illustrated celebration of female role models for the next generation.

My Name is Victoria (9+) by Lucy Worsley – Unique childhood friendship tale in the grand setting of the British monarchy, by one of TV’s favourite experts!

Following Ophelia by Sophia Bennett (11+) – Poverty, paint and heady romance. Glamour and excitement among the dirt and distress of the Pre-Raphaelite world.

Every Hidden Thing (13+) by Kenneth Oppel – Dusty adventure, danger and romance abound in this energetic, elegant and engrossing period piece. And look out for the paperback edition of remarkably original The Nest coming in April.

Optimists Die First (13+) by Susin Nielsen – ‘A wonderful novel. There is tragedy, but it’s sweetened it with laugh-out-loud moments and a great understanding of what it is to be a teenager.’ (Rosa, Reader Reviewer).

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First Things First – Debuts of the Month

A first novel is a magical thing. These are the first-timers lining up to be your new favourite authors this month. Don’t miss:

The Silver Unicorn (7+) by Jessica Ennis-Hill – Inspirational, magical adventure tale, another first in a planned series, of ordinary people doing extraordinary things: from someone who should know!

Black Cats and Butlers (9+) by Janine Beacham – Darkly different, hugely enjoyable, witty mystery, the first in a planned series called Rose Raventhorpe Investigates.

See You in the Cosmos (9+) by Jack Cheng –  An unforgettable, poignant and inspiring story of a boy’s brave journey for the truth.

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Well, I Never! – Fascinating Facts category

It’s always good to learn something mind-blowing. That’s why we’ve revamped our Fascinating Facts category! It’s more crammed than Dhaka (the world’s most populated city, don’t ya know?) with noggin-expanding nuggets for kids of all ages. We’ve split them into handy age-appropriate sections, so you can get straight to the right sort of ‘OMG!’. Try 101 Brilliant Things for Kids to do with Science by Dawn Isaac: creative and occasionally outrageous ideas for the scientifically curious. Click here to find it and all the new finds in our facts family.

ExperiMENTAL! Geek Chic for Science Week!

Everyone who’s anyone knows it’s SCIENCE that makes the world go around! Time to celebrate that.  10 – 17 March is British Science Week. How do I get involved you ask? – Clicking here. That’s how.  Become a ‘Citizen Scientist’, join activities, or even run your own event!  You’ll need a good book in your lab-coat though. Try George’s Marvellous Experiment by Roald Dahl: a must-have book for budding scientists, it features (completely safe) do-at-home experiments with simple, easy-to-follow, illustrated instructions to fire your passion! Find out more. Also check out our Fascinating Facts category where you will find some other fun and relevant reads too

   

Up For Grabs! – Free Prize Draw

This month we’re positively showing off with the calibre of prizes up for grabs. Sorry about that. Ignore our smugness and try and win a copy of Worst Years of my Life, part of the Middle School series by James Patterson and shortly to be a major film.  Or a copy of The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Dowd signed by the illustrator, Emma Shoard. Finally, you could be skipping away with copies and beautiful prints from Mac Barnett’s Triangle (3+) – a perfectly paced, picture perfect book for pre-schoolers. Click here for more!

Still Munching After All These Years – Very Hungry Caterpillar 20 March

What is it about the permanently peckish wriggly little chap that has captured our imagination for so long? Maybe it’s his voracious and varied appetite (who wouldn’t admire the eating of a lollypop and salami in one sitting?). Or perhaps we admire and envy the cocoon he gets to sleep the binge off in. Or the beautiful butterfly he leaves it as? Whatever the reason, it’s VHC Day on 20 March and you can celebrate with us, here!

Booked up for Mother’s Day?

Mum’s the word in our book! That’s why we believe that all Mums deserve to be shown just how much we love and appreciate them. And what better way than a well-chosen book? We’ve done a lot of the work for you to be honest. All you have to do is browse our top ideas and see which one suits her best!

The Latest Children’s Book Award News

Just announced are two prestigious children’s book awards. The Blue Peter Book Awards, uniquely voted for by children, went to Podkin One Ear by Kieran Larwood and the winner of the Best Book with Facts was Survivors by David Long.

Also, the winner of The Scottish Teenage Book Prize was announced 1 March and the deserved winner was Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall.

P.S. Top Drawer!  Illustrator of the Month – Sophy Henn

Brighton-based illustrator Sophy Henn escaped an accidental career in advertising to indulge her loves of tea and drawing. She now attends to both in her home where she happily writes wonderful stories for young children. Books like award-winning Where Bear? (3+) and the hilarious take on toddler tantrums: Pom Pom Gets the Grumps. Find out more.

P.P.S. Do you know a child who loves writing stories? Then click here to find out more about the 2017 Henrietta Branford Writing Competition. But don’t delay entries close 22 April 2017.

P.P.P.S How well do you know your children’s stories? Could you identify books and authors from just the opening line? Take our World Book Day Quiz and find out.

Finish a story started by Branford Boase Award winner Horatio Clare

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Call for entries: 2017 Henrietta Branford Writing Competition.  For young people who enjoy writing stories!

 

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, the annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, is now open.

 

The Branford Boase Award recognises a debut children’s author and their editor and was set up in memory of the outstanding children’s writer Henrietta Branford and the gifted editor, Wendy Boase, Editorial Director of Walker Books. They both died of cancer in 1999.

 

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition aims to find and encourage writers of the future, something Henrietta Branford was always keen to do.

 

‘The night we left was wild, clouds dashing across the moon and trees rocking and shushing in a wind so strong is seemed to make the stars blink and spin…’

 

The 2017 competition is open now and anyone under the age of 19 can enter. Entrants are invited to complete a story begun by last year’s winner, author of Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, Horatio Clare.

 

The story should be no longer than 1000 words, must follow on from the starter paragraph, and have a title. All entrants must live in the UK and be under 19 years of age. Entries will be judged by Prue Goodwin,consultant and lecturer in children’s literature. She says: ‘We are looking for stories that keep the reader wanting to know what is going to happen from beginning to end, are imaginative and unpredictable, and are written with a genuine reader in mind’.

 

Six winners will be invited to attend the Branford Boase Award celebration party in London in July. There they will meet Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Horatio Clare and the authors shortlisted for the 2107 award as well as editors, publishers, agents, and other professionals in this field. They will receive a copy of each of the books shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and be able to have their books signed.

 

The closing date for the competition is Saturday 22 April 2017.

 

For more information about the award and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition visit www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk . 

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

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Books for Babies and Toddlers

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

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

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

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Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves Zoo Boy and the Jewel Thieves
Sophie Thompson
In a nutshell: charming story of boy who can talk and joke with the animals | Lucky Vince – not only is his dad a zoo keeper but Vince has inherited the family trait and can talk to the animals. …
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Jim Jim
Hilaire Belloc
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017    Award-winning Mini Grey pulls no punches in her brilliant illustrations to this classic cautionary tale. Jim’s parents give him everything but, even so, he has a dangerous tendency to run …
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Revolting Rhymes Revolting Rhymes
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl takes on the likes of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Goldilocks and The Three Little Pigs and brings us a brilliant collection of comic and often gory versions of popular fairy tales.  Dahl’s Gobblefunk is brought to life …
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Featured Books for 7+ readers

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

1
What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible
Ross Welford
January 2017 Book of the Month  |  In a nutshell: invisible girl finds herself in the spotlight |   Ross Welford is making a habit of putting his characters in unusual situations: the star of his prize-shortlisted debut went time travelling, …
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Haunters Haunters
Thomas Taylor
The dead and the living exist side by side in this thrilling time-travelling adventure. In David’s recurrent dream, Eddie seems real and it seems like he’s got something to tell David. That’s scary enough but then David gets picked up …
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Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake Jake Atlas and the Tomb of the Emerald Snake
Rob Lloyd Jones
In a nutshell: two kids on a death-defying treasure hunt through Egypt’s ancient monuments.   Adventure stories don’t come more action-packed than the exploits of Jake Atlas. As the book opens, the Atlas family are about to fly off to Egypt …
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Featured Books for 11+ readers

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Welcome to Nowhere Welcome to Nowhere
Elizabeth Laird
In a nutshell: the lives of a Syrian family brought vividly and sympathetically to life for young readers |   This is an excellent book for young people who want to know what is happening in Syria and why – serious, …
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2
The White Tower The White Tower
Cathryn Constable
In a nutshell: a beautiful old school is the setting for a story of magic, mystery and redemption |    There’s a world within a world for readers to explore in The White Tower. Livy is upset when her father gets …
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The Goldfish Boy The Goldfish Boy
Lisa Thompson
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017   A gripping debut middle-grade story skilfully told by debut novelist Lisa Thompson. Trapped indoors by his obsessive fears of germs and much else Matthew watches his neighbours’ lives and details their …
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Featured Books for 13+ readers

1
The Monstrous Child The Monstrous Child
Francesca Simon
January 2017 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016 – May 2016 Book of the Month Francesca Simon has chosen a singular heroine for her first novel for teenagers. Hel is Queen of …
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2
The Bombs That Brought Us Together The Bombs That Brought Us Together
Brian Conaghan
Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Children’s Book category, 2016     Charlie’s life should be pretty miserable: he lives in Little Town, where everyone spies on everyone else, and the population is caught between their oppressive rulers and violent criminals who …
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3
Spook's: The Dark Assassin Spook’s: The Dark Assassin
Joseph Delaney
In a Nutshell: Classically creepy supernatural struggles   Exquisitely chilling and brimming with beasts, this third book in the Spooks’ Starblade Chronicles series is an utterly enthralling, spine-tingling treat.
Tom Ward is now a fully-fledged Spook and, as such, his life is …
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