No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
Polly Ho-Yen used to be a primary school teacher in London and while she was teaching there she would get up very early in the morning to write stories. The first of those stories became her critically acclaimed debut novel Boy in the Tower, which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award.
She lives in Bristol with her husband and daughter.
Framed in the context of a sweet grandfather telling a favourite tale to his library-loving granddaughter, Polly Ho-Yen's The Boy Who Grew a Tree is a pitch-perfect charmer for 5+ year-olds wondering what it will mean to have a new sibling. It’s also a beautiful book about the magic of nature, stories and libraries, and the coming together of a community, with Sojung Kim-McCarthy’s softly emotive illustrations adding further beauty and depth. Timi has always loved growing things, and now his mum is growing something too – his baby sister. While he imagines his sister “to be like one of his seedlings”, at the same time it was almost “impossible to believe there really was a baby in his Mum’s tummy”. Amidst this confusion, as the arrival of his little sister draws ever closer, Timi discovers something rather strange and magical in his local library – the little green shoot of a tree, which grows to an incredible size after he tends and waters it. Sadly, though, the library is due to close, but perhaps Timi, his friends, and the magic of the tree can convince the grown-ups to change their plans and protect both the tree and the library. Exquisitely simple and stirring, this will be a delight to share.
Once again Polly Ho-Yen shows her facility at injecting a thrilling element of sci-fi and mild horror into her stories of very real children and authentic depictions of relationships with family and friends. What could be a familiar tale of a young boy dealing with family break up and a parent with what we can see are mental health issues, becomes a nightmare battle for survival. Billy’s mum, Sylvia, is constantly teaching him the rules for how to survive alone, often taking him out of school for practical lessons. But one lesson gets life-threateningly out of hand and Billy is sent to live with his father while she is hospitalized. Billy has to learn to trust his father and his potential new family and also accept the true friendship offered by Anwar. They will all need each other when the doom that Sylvia seemed to be expecting arrives in the shape of a terrifying virus. Billy is a character that readers will really care about and admire his courage and resilience. He learns some valuable lessons about people being stronger together and finally understands what happened to his mother. While the resolution of the crisis might stretch credibility for adult readers, younger readers will gallop through to the nail-biting climax in this exciting adventure.
Book Band: Brown Ideal for ages 7+ | Polly Ho-Yen’s story presents readers with big questions about life and what’s really important to us. Mae suffers from severe asthma and often needs to make frightening dashes to the hospital with her parents. It’s on one of these occasions that she notices a strange black hole opening – it leads to a parallel universe, one where she doesn’t have asthma. That’s not the only thing that’s different however, and Mae has a decision to make about whether being asthma free is worth the other things that would change. In the new Bloomsbury Readers series, this story is written specifically for children growing reading confidence and understanding, with short chapters and frequent illustrations. The telling is simple, effective and guaranteed to catch and hold children’s attention, while the issues the story raises are complex and important, certain to prompt discussion (and there’s a list of questions to put to children at the end to help with this).
February 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | Charmingly produced, this is a beautifully illustrated and designed book which makes the very best use of its stylish illustrations and layout to tell an important story about friendship and its complications. Lula and Lenka enjoy and acknowledge their many differences while also remaining steadfastly good friends. It doesn’t matter that Lula loves talking and Lenka loves drawing. Or that Lenka loves cats and Lula loves dogs. But then they have an argument and words are said which hurt. Now they don’t want to play together or even speak to each other. But that feels all wrong too. How can the two girls make things better. Friends everywhere and of all ages will recognise the intensity of these two little girls’ friendship and will be willing them on to make it up!.
Shortlisted for Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Younger Readers category - Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Best Fiction for 5-12's Award 2015 - Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2015 Best Story From the seventeenth floor of the tower block where he lives with his mother, Ade watches as the buildings fall around him. The Bluchers - a strange and terrible kind of plant - are taking over the city, and everyone is being forced to evacuate, but his mother is refusing to leave her room. And so Ade watches alone as the city slowly empties, and the Bluchers creep ever closer...
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.