LoveReading4Kids

Becoming a member of the LoveReading4Kids community is free.

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

Ali Sparkes - Author

About the Author

Ali Sparkes meant to be a superstar singer and actress by now, but that never quite happened . . . probably because this was in the olden days before StrictlyPopXTalentIdol. She could have done it otherwise.

After many drama school rejections, National Service as a Pontin’s Bluecoat (where she became the spangle-clad assistant to a juggling unicyclist – frighteningly, there is photographic proof), a stint in cabaret and then singing in cheesy cover bands, Ali finally got a proper job in local newspapers before absconding to the BBC in the late 1990s. A bit of local radio presenting and producing followed before she chucked in the day job and started writing comedy stuff for Radio 4 (Woman’s Hour and Home Truths).

She also knocked out twenty-two quarterly magazines for BBC Radio Solent, prompting a series of similar BBC local radio magazines around the UK, and she learnt how to edit, take photographs, and create crosswords along the way. But since The Shapeshifter: Finding The Fox came out in 2006, she’s found her groove. If you were to snap her in half she would read CHILDREN’S AUTHOR through the middle like Brighton rock. Although it would probably be a bit difficult to read, what with the blood and entrails and all that . . .

Ali currently has 28 children’s fiction titles published by Oxford University Press including her Shapeshifter series, her Blue Peter Award-winning novel Frozen in Time, and her heart-stopping new adventure series about a group of teenagers with special powers - Unleashed.

Ali Sparkes...

On JOAN AIKEN

Most people know Joan Aiken for the Wolves of Willoughby Chase but for me her best was The Whispering Mountain, featuring the wonderfully bookish Owen, unloved grandson of a Welsh museum curator, caught up in a dark plot involving an ancient harp, dodgy Cockneys, a girl with a pet hawk and a travelling poet – to say nothing of the school bullies he has to enlist to help save the day. Joan inspired me so much, I know my stories bear her mark!

On ENID BLYTON

Without Enid I probably would never have become a bookworm or, eventually an author. Discovering Five Go to Smuggler’s Top in the back of a toy cupboard really changed my life. I understand when people say the characters are a little 2D and the plots a bit similar, but Enid knew exactly what young readers want – fast paced adventure, dogs, secret passages, midnight feasts. I still want all those things.

On JEAN CRAIGHEAD GEORGE

When I was nine our teacher read us My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George - the story of young Sam Gribley who runs away to the mountains to live on his own wits, armed only with a survival handbook and the peregrine falcon he trains to hunt for him. This brilliant book inspired the ‘survival’  and peregrine falcon elements of the Shapeshifter series…

On ANTHONY BUCKERIDGE

The Jennings books were serialised on the radio from the 1950s onwards. Anthony Buckeridge really knew how to write a brilliantly funny schoolboy story which could be read aloud. I loved all the Jennings books, about Jennings and his friend Darbisher, and their complicated and hilarious lives at Linbury Court Preparatory School. I read them aloud to our sons recently and they cracked up, just like I did.

On JEROME K JEROME

Now although this isn’t a children’s book, Three Men in a Boat is something that every bookworm MUST read by the time they turn 14. The story of the author, his two friends and Montmorency the dog, on a boating holiday is strewn with mad incidents involving cheese, scary unopenable tins and a dead dog floating by in the water. I laughed so much I nearly ruptured myself.

 

Q & A with Ali Sparkes


1.    What inspired you to write Frozen in Time?
Two things – 1. I’ve always had a thing about finding something spooky in the woods and 2. I’ve long pondered on what the Famous Five would make of the 21st century world. So I wanted some characters who were very 50s and rather proper – but with grit and courage – to encounter 2009 after being found in the woods.

2.    Describe it in two lines?

Freddy & Polly are discovered by Ben and Rachel, cryonically frozen in an underground chamber since 1956 – and woken up. What Ben and Rachel defrost is a mystery involving secret passages, missing scientists, international spies – and Pot Noodle.

3. How long did it take you to write?
Around four months of focused effort, but a much longer period of turning it over in my mind – three or four years.

4.    What do you think people will say about this book?
I hope they will say ‘Wow! Get me that book!’

5.    Are you working on something else at the moment?

Oh yes. A series of younger children’s books for Oxford, currently entitled CreepyCrawlers, out in 2010, is my main thing right now, but I am planning some other exciting projects with Oxford and Scholastic for 2009. It’s going to be a very busy year.

6.   What is your favourite food?
Slightly warm, home made lemon meringue pie. 

7.    What makes you laugh out loud?

My kids, frequently, The Mighty Boosh, David Mitchell, and people assuming that since I’ve been published I am filthy rich. I hope to stop laughing at that last one eventually.

8.    What is your one luxury item you would take with you on to a Desert Island?
My recorder. I am no major talent on it, but I would finally have the time to work out Faure’s Pavanne without making the neighbour’s cat go into spasms.

9.    What is your most treasured memory?
(Jointly) The first moment with each of my baby sons & their dad.

10.  What is your weakness?
Fondant creams. Especially the ones in the Burley Fudge Shop in the New Forest. I am working on the aversion therapy principal that if I eat enough of them this madness will eventually stop of its own accord – so if anyone gets the urge to send me a box or two, they will be assisting me greatly. (My agent will pass them on… vanilla and strawberry flavours are my biggest challenge.)

11.    What do you think your children would say about you?

Mum? Was that the lady we saw at 5am this morning..? Actually, no – I hope it’s not that bad! Jacob (14) and Alex (10) seem to be hugely enjoying all the book stuff (not least because they’re written in to the Shapeshifter series, from book two; see if you can find them!). They would probably say I’m ‘cool’ but there may be a pocket money dimension to this…

12.    Who is the person you most admire?

I admire anyone who has to battle through great adversary to get to their goal, and doesn’t give up. It’s a bit of a cop out, I know – there are too many of them to list! On a personal level, my mum and older sister have undoubtedly saved lives in their nursing careers and it doesn’t get much more admirable than that. I admire Johnny Depp too… but for altogether different reasons…

13.    What is your most embarrassing moment?
I once spent a day at a local radio station on work experience. It was going really well and I’d even voiced a news report which went out in their hourly bulletins. I felt pretty cool as I said goodbye to them all and caught the train home – and when I got back through my door my husband pointed out to me that I had a long tail of pink toilet roll hanging out the back of my trousers. I worked out that it had to have been there, floating gaily in the breeze behind me, for at least the last hour of my work experience day. I flushed.

14.   What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
When I was angsting as a theatre-struck teenager, over possibility of failing an upcoming audition, I would whine ‘Yeah but – why me?’. My parents would always answer ‘Why not you?’ It’s a way of thinking which has served me very well.

15.    What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone?
Do what you say you’ll do. Even if it’s only you that knows about it. Make this a habit (unless it becomes genuinely impossible or unwise). Most people talk about what they will do, but never actually do it. You’ll be way ahead of the pack if you just do what you say you’ll do.

16.    Define beauty.  
The faces of my children (obviously a fairly personal one, that!). A woodland at dawn. Most of Cornwall.

17.    What are you reading at the moment?

Hazel by Julie Hearne. It’s painfully frustrating because I can only grab snatched chapters while waiting at the dentist or in the car or something, but the little I’ve read so far is masterfully written. Very very good. Will have time to read it all soon. Not sure if it’s out yet, as mine is an uncorrected proof.

18.    What would be on the soundtrack of your film – and who would play you?
Feeling Good – the Muse version. No Surprises Please by RadioHead. Hmmm. Alex Kingston would be good (although a little unfeasibly attractive – but this is MY fantasy, yes?!)

19.    Favourite holiday destination?

Cornwall in good weather. With the sun switched on, there’s nowhere to touch The Lizard.

20.    Which authors have most inspired you?

Stephen King, Joan Aiken, Anthony Buckeridge, Douglas Adams, Jerome K Jerome… oooh – I could go on and on and o

21.   What is your favourite children’s book?
Tough to pick just one, but it would probably have to be The Whispering Mountain by Joan Aiken. On another day it might be Brendan Chase by BB.

22.    Most treasured possession?
Aside from family photos and my Apple Macbook, I have some little hematite hearts, gifts from my sons, which I would hate to lose.

23.    Where are you happiest?
In my wellies in a woodland stream, poking about with my family on a warm autumn day.

24.    Favourite biscuit?
Used to be Lemon Puffs until somebody changed the shape. Manufacturers please note – you can’t lever the top bit off properly with your front teeth when it no longer has corners! This was a vital part of The Lemon Puff Experience. Bring back the rectangle ones! Until they do, I will remain in the chilled, fresh-from-fridge Penguin camp.

25.    Pet hates?
The malicious content of newsagents shelves, Big Brother (although I’ll stoop to the celebrity version occasionally), Gordon Ramsey style on-screen bullying and mature male strangers who take it upon themselves to shout ‘left hand down’ and stand in your way while you are trying (perfectly ably!) to park.

26.    If you could change one thing about the world we live in today what would it be?

That people would be less easily offended. Too many people seem to have ‘Get offended, as quickly and irrationally as possible’ on their To Do list. Followed by ‘Stay offended, and if possible allow a mate/partner to further whip up your indignation, before nursing said offence for as long as possible.’ Let it go, people – let it go!

Featured books by Ali Sparkes

Alligator Action

Alligator Action

7+ readers 9+ readers

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2012

Petty's been kidnapped! Josh and Danny have already broken into her secret lab looking for her, and now they're going to brave all her anti-intruder traps and break into her house. There's no sign of Petty, but there is a very interesting little box ...containing the best SWITCH spray ever. Unable to resist the temptation, the twins head to the park to try out alligator SWITCH spray. But before they make it to the river, they're roped into being in the audience of a touring chat show, with some VERY interesting guests ...

ebook of the month

Other books by Ali Sparkes

Night Terrors

Night Terrors

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/11/2019

It's not every day a couple of eagles pay you a visit in the middle of the night and tell you your friend, who happens to be hundreds of miles away, is in terrible danger. But Matt and Elena are not everyday people. They're Night Speakers, with the ability to communicate with animals, and an uncanny habit of getting into save-the-world situations. But what is shaking the birds' world so much that it would drive them to fly hundreds of miles? Something huge and horrifying is happening, and Tima is in the middle of it. Can Matt and Elena get to her in time? Something is going on below the surface, and only the Night Speakers can stop us all from falling into the cracks. . . The fourth standalone adventure in the Night Speakers series - action adventures about contemporary children with extraordinary powers, told with award-winning author Ali Sparkes's classic humour and energy.

The Great Pebble Puzzle Band 10+/White Plus

The Great Pebble Puzzle Band 10+/White Plus

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/09/2019

Collins Big Cat supports every primary child on their reading journey from phonics to fluency. Top authors and illustrators have created fiction and non-fiction books that children love to read. Book banded for guided and independent reading, there are reading notes in the back, comprehensive teaching and assessment support and ebooks available. Nothing mysterious happens in Puggle ... that is until Dev finds a pebble - a pebble with a painting and the word HELP on it. Intrigue builds as more and more pebbles appear around the village. Who keeps sending them? And why? Join Dev and his friends as they seek to solve the Pebble Puzzle in this humorous mystery story by Ali Sparkes. White Plus/Band 10+ books provide challenging plots and vocabulary as well as opportunities to pratise inference, prediction and reading stamina. Pages 46 and 47 allow children to re-visit the content of the book, supporting comprehension skills, vocabulary development and recall. Ideas for reading in the back of the book provide practical support and stimulating activities.

Read with Oxford: Stage 6: Rhyme Slime

Read with Oxford: Stage 6: Rhyme Slime

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/03/2019

Jasmine can't help speaking in rhyme and it's quite inconvenient to rhyme all the time. When she gets to school she finds that it's worse. The whole of her class can only speak in verse! Books with short chapters are a great way for children who are reading independently to extend reading stamina and progress to the next step of their reading journey. This Read with Oxford Stage 6 book has rhyming verses, short chapters, an engaging story and humorous colour illustrations. Tips for parents and fun after-reading activities help you to get the most out of the story. Featuring much-loved characters, great authors, engaging storylines and fun activities, Read with Oxford offers an exciting range of carefully levelled reading books to build your child's reading confidence. Find practical advice, free eBooks and fun activities to help your child progress on oxfordowl.co.uk. Let's get them flying!

Night Walker

Night Walker

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/03/2019

Spin has always dwelled in the darkness. He was happy to lurk alone, until Elena, Matt and Tima came to disrupt his night-time world. Elena, Matt, and Tima are Night Speakers. They wake up at the same time, every night, and since the beginning of these wake-up calls they have all had the power to speak any language. And that doesn't stop with humans. Something weird is going on at the hospital-children are going in, and not coming out. The Night Speakers are investigating, but even they, with their incredible powers of communication with the animal world, are struggling to find out the truth. But Spin's got a ringside seat. Because Spin's got a secret, and he's about to come out of the shadows The third standalone book in the Night Speakers series - action adventures about contemporary children with extraordinary powers, told with award-winning author Ali Sparkes's classic humour and energy.

Night Raiders

Night Raiders

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/09/2018

Since the 1.34 a.m. wake up calls began, Elena, Matt, and Tima had all had the power to talk to animals, birds and insects like no other human could. None of them would ever trade that for a full eight hours sleep. It was too amazing. But an amazing life has its complications. Like finding a body in the dark. Like having to stop the world from ending. You can fit a lot in your day when you don't sleep. New from award-winning author, Ali Sparkes, with huge appeal for both boys and girls. Fast-paced action adventure about contemporary children with mysterious powers, told with Ali's classic humour and lightness of touch.

Night Speakers

Night Speakers

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/02/2018

Night after night Elena, Matt, and Tima wake at exactly the same time, with no idea why. It's messing them up and fracturing their lives . . . until they venture out into the dark and find each other. And then the sleepless trio realize their astounding power - they can speak any language; they can even communicate with animals. But something is happening over on the industrial estate-something which is emitting sounds that only they can hear, and killing any winged thing that crosses its path. There's nobody to fight it but themselves, for only they can possibly understand it and what it means to do . . . A new edge-of-your-seat series from award-winning author, Ali Sparkes, with huge appeal for both boys and girls. Fast-paced action adventure about contemporary children with mysterious powers, told with Ali's classic humour and lightness of touch.

Project X Comprehension Express: Stage 1: Earth and Sky Pack of 6

Project X Comprehension Express: Stage 1: Earth and Sky Pack of 6

Author: Ali Sparkes, Joanna Nadin Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/09/2017

The Earth and Sky collection of texts provides children with the perfect foundation for practising the 10 comprehension strategies in Project X Comprehension Express. There are 9 texts in the collection covering highly-engaging fiction and non-fiction. Each text is carefully levelled to be accessible to every child - including those just behind age-related expectations. This collection of texts is part of Project X Comprehension Express. It is a whole-class teaching programme specially built to help children in Years 4-6 (P5-P7) master comprehension and excel in the new National Reading Test. It includes Handbooks, Workbooks, Expert Tip flashcards and an Expert Tip poster. Online teaching resources and best practice films are available on www.oxfordowl.co.uk to ensure its easy implementation.

Thunderstruck

Thunderstruck

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/03/2017

What if your new best friend was a ghost? Getting struck by lightning whilst huddling under a tree isn't exactly the way Alisha and Theo would have chosen to get out of sports day . . . Surviving the strike makes them see life differently. It also makes them notice Doug and Lizzie. Struck by lightning under that same tree on the common in 1975, the two teenagers have been hanging out there ever since. Doug and Lizzie are funny, clever, brave - and quite happy about making friends with a pair of ten-year-olds. OK, fair point, they are dead, and Doug's trousers are worryingly flared. But you can't have everything. But something sinister is going on at school - although only Theo and Alisha seem to be able to see it. What can it mean when ragged faceless entities keep staring in through the windows? Not all ghosts are friendly like Doug and Lizzie . . . but are these phantoms really the harbingers of doom for all the kids at Beechwood Junior? A fun and fast-paced ghostly mystery with lightning strikes, floating phantoms, and four fantastic friends just trying to get on with their everyday lives . . . or deaths . . . From the prize-winning author of Frozen in Time, the Shapeshifter series, and many more!

Oxford Reading Tree All Stars: Oxford Level 12: A Sudden Drop

Oxford Reading Tree All Stars: Oxford Level 12: A Sudden Drop

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/02/2017

When the ground opens up underneath Bella, it's only the start of her adventures ... Oxford Reading Tree All Stars is an engaging chapter fiction series which combines age-appropriate content with imaginative stories, perfect for inspiring and stretching able infants. The series develops comprehension skills and provides a wide variety of fiction topics and styles, alongside illustrations that aid understanding. All the books in this series are carefully levelled, so it's easy to match every child to the right book - one which will develop their reading skills and fuel their love of reading. Help with children's reading development is also available at www.oxfordowl.co.uk.

The Shapeshifter: Stirring the Storm

The Shapeshifter: Stirring the Storm

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/10/2016

Ordinary kids: extraordinary powers: amazing adventures. There's a lot of strange stuff going on for Dax Jones. To start with there's the mysterious letter from his dad telling Dax to go to a secret location and find something from his dead mother. Perhaps it's a clue about how he became a shapeshifter. Then there's the weirdness at school. The scientists are up to something, but Dax is sworn to secrecy-he can't even tell his best mate. So when his classmates are suddenly taken away 'for their own safety', Dax's fox senses tell him all is not as it seems. If Dax continues with his quest to find out more about his mother he could be leaving his friends in danger. Is he really willing to risk their lives in his search for the truth about his existence? With appeal for both boys and girls, this exciting finale to the original Shapeshifter series is a fast-paced action adventure about contemporary children with super powers, told with award-winning Ali Sparkes's humour and lightness of touch. Perfect for fans of Alex Rider, Robert Muchamore's CHERUB series, and Young Bond.

The Shapeshifter: Dowsing the Dead

The Shapeshifter: Dowsing the Dead

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/10/2016

Ordinary kids: extraordinary powers: amazing adventures. The fantastic Shapeshifter series continues with Dax and his friends settling into their new secret hideaway in the Lake District. The whole place has been fortified so that the Children of Limitless Ability won't ever be under threat again. After dodging death once too often for his liking, Dax is looking forward to a quieter time-building a tree house in the grounds and shifting to a fox or a falcon and exploring the countryside. But all is not well in the spirit world-strange messages are coming through and Dax, Gideon, Lisa and Mia must once again join forces. Could the messages be coming from Luke and Catherine, Gideon's dead brother and sister? Perhaps they're even still alive? In which case, they have to rescue Luke from Catherine's evil clutches-but is Dax really a match for her? With appeal for both boys and girls, this is a fast-paced action adventure about contemporary children with super powers, told with award-winning Ali Sparkes's humour and lightness of touch. Perfect for fans of Alex Rider, Robert Muchamore's CHERUB series, and Young Bond.

The Shapeshifter: Going to Ground

The Shapeshifter: Going to Ground

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Ordinary kids: extraordinary powers: amazing adventures. When Dax receives an urgent call, he knows he has to drop everything and race to the aid of his friends. But that's not as easy as it sounds. Strange things are happening - unbelievable occurrences that seem to be following Dax and his friends wherever they go. And that's not all that's after them . . . Government agents are stalking their every move - tracking them down. The very people who are supposed to be protecting them seem to be the biggest threat. Who can they trust? Where should they run? Each of the friends must call upon their special powers to try to outwit their pursuers - but will these abilities spell the end for them all? With appeal for both boys and girls, this is a fast-paced action adventure about contemporary children with super powers, told with award-winning Ali Sparkes's humour and lightness of touch. Perfect for fans of Alex Rider, Robert Muchamore's CHERUB series, and Young Bond.

The Shapeshifter: Running the Risk

The Shapeshifter: Running the Risk

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/07/2016

Ordinary kids: extraordinary powers: amazing adventures. Dax is starting to get used to his life as a shapeshifter. At last he feels safe and secure, surrounded by people he trusts, and with real friends who understand what he is going through. But then everything changes, and Dax finds himself in danger beyond his wildest dreams. And just when he needs his best friend Gideon to be there for him, Gideon's life changes too. Dramatically. And forever. Now Dax feels more alone than ever. Because he can feel that something is very wrong - but no one will take him seriously. No one else can see the danger that threatens to destroy them all . . . With appeal for both boys and girls, this is a fast-paced action adventure about contemporary children with super powers, told with award-winning Ali Sparkes's humour and lightness of touch. Perfect for fans of Alex Rider, Robert Muchamore's CHERUB series, and Young Bond.

The Shapeshifter: Feather and Fang

The Shapeshifter: Feather and Fang

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/04/2016

Dax Jones will not be tamed. The Children of Limitless Ability can do all sorts of amazing things. Terrifying things too. Some can move things with their minds. Some can make themselves vanish. Dax Jones can change his form; can hurtle through the sky at 200km an hour, or swim underwater for minutes on end. But all is not well. Fenton Lodge, the school and home the COLA kids had grown to love over the past few years, is being turned into a prison. The new prime minister has set up a crack force of experts to manage, contain and use the COLA resource in the best interests of decent hardworking British people. And . . . if necessary . . . to shut it all down. Permanently. With all communication scrutinized, Dax's only option is to write to his spoilt little sister, Alice. Even she might notice something is amiss, if she reads his letters properly. And Alice, for all her annoying shallowness, does notice. And what she does about it is extraordinary. But then, she is the half-sister of Dax Jones.

The Shapeshifter: Finding the Fox

The Shapeshifter: Finding the Fox

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/04/2016

Adventure, conspiracy and shapeshifting - X-Men meets Alex Rider. Dax Jones is an ordinary schoolboy . . . until something extraordinary happens. Whilst frightened for his life, he inexplicably changes into a fox! He is offered a place at a secret government school where he can develop, and learn to control, his powers. But if Dax accepts, on no account can he tell anybody. Dax jumps at the chance of getting away from his unhappy home. But before long he begins to wonder who exactly is behind the school, and what they want from the pupils there. Suddenly Dax's fox senses are on high alert . . .

Oxford Reading Tree Story Sparks: Oxford Level 11: Rhyme Slime

Oxford Reading Tree Story Sparks: Oxford Level 11: Rhyme Slime

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/09/2015

Anita can't help speaking in rhyme and it's quite inconvenient to rhyme all the time. When she gets to school she finds that it's worse. The whole of her class can only speak in verse! Oxford Reading Tree Story Sparks is an emotionally-engaging fiction series that will fire children's imaginations. These 36 original stories will get children thinking, and develop and deepen their comprehension skills. The variety of authors and illustration styles broadens children's reading experience, with something to appeal to every child. All the books in the series are carefully levelled, so it's easy to match every child to the right book for them. They also contain inside cover notes, to enable parents and teachers to support children in their reading. Help with children's reading development is also available at www.oxfordowl.co.uk.

Wishful Thinking

Wishful Thinking

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/05/2015

It's just a regular trip for Kevin, and he comes back with just the regular sorts of things. Some local fudge, a scented candle for his mum . . . and his own personal god. It's Abandinus, a little-known Celtic deity, who has suddenly found a new purpose in his eternal life - sorting out Kevin's. With a god on your side, everything's going to get a lot easier, isn't it? After all, a god can get stuff done. The trouble is, it's not always the kind of stuff Kevin has in mind! Funny and exciting, this is an unputdownable adventure from the author of Frozen in Time - winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award!

Car-Jacked

Car-Jacked

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/05/2015

Jack Mattingly is a genius. He has an IQ of 170. He speaks fluent Mandarin and Latin. And he can calculate the square root of 1,673,549 in his head. But when Jack's parents' car is hi-jacked, with him inside it, for once he's as clueless as the rest of us. The car-jacker doesn't know Jack's in the car - yet. But it's only a matter of time before he's discovered. And then anything could happen. Only one thing's for sure: Jack's in for the thrill-ride of his life . . . A high-octane adventure from the winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award.

Oxford Reading Tree TreeTops inFact: Level 14: Step Away from the Kitten!

Oxford Reading Tree TreeTops inFact: Level 14: Step Away from the Kitten!

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/03/2015

Which animal do you think would be the most help in an emergency? Step Away from the Kitten! is a hilarious look at some of history's most helpful (and cutest!) animals. TreeTops inFact is a non-fiction series that aims to engage children in reading for pleasure as powerfully as fiction does. The variety of topics means there are books to interest every child in this compelling series. The series is written by top children's authors and subject experts. The books are carefully levelled, making it easy to match every child to the right book.

Oxford Reading Tree inFact: Level 11: Scratch's Bad Reputations

Oxford Reading Tree inFact: Level 11: Scratch's Bad Reputations

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/09/2014

Do you scream over spiders or bolt from bats? In Scratch's Bad Reputations, Scratch the rat looks at animals that have a reputation for being scary but are they really bad, or just misunderstood? Oxford Reading Tree inFact is a non-fiction series that aims to engage children in reading for pleasure as powerfully as fiction does. The variety of topics means there are books to interest every child in this compelling series. The series is written by top children's authors and subject experts. The books are carefully levelled, making it easy to match every child to the right book.

Destination Earth

Destination Earth

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/05/2014

Like Doctor Who? You'll LOVE the new action-packed adventure by Ali Sparkes - winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award! Imagine you are the only survivor from another planet. You've spent ten years on a spaceship learning how to be human, and now the end of your journey is in sight . . . All you have to do is land safely, convince the earthlings that you're a real teenager, and start your new life on Earth. No problem. Except that the killer alien responsible for wiping out your people has hitched a lift. And it's just a matter of time before it starts on the human race . . .

Dark Summer

Dark Summer

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/05/2014

When Eddie discovers a secret passage in Wookey Hole caves, he just has to find out where it goes. But his amazement quickly turns to horror when he gets lost in the dark. He's underground, on his own, and nobody knows where he is . . . Until a hand reaches out of the blackness. A strange, pale girl helps Eddie get back to the surface, but she can't seem to leave the caves herself. Who is she? Or rather . . . what is she? And what other secrets is she hiding? Only one thing is certain - this is a summer Eddie will never forget. A captivating adventure from the author of Frozen in Time - winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award!

Unleashed 5: The Burning Beach

Unleashed 5: The Burning Beach

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/12/2013

The final book in the mind-blowing Unleashed series. When Mia washes up on a remote beach, barely alive and suffering from amnesia, there's only one thing she knows for certain . . . everyone she loves is dead. Sheltered by a tiny Irish community, her healing warmth brings joy and relief to strangers . . . but her returning memory tells a different story; of terrible things she's done. All she wants is to disappear for ever, but the truth is catching up with her, a shadowy presence is messing with her mind, enemies are closing in. She can't stay hidden for long . . .

Unleashed 4:Speak Evil

Unleashed 4:Speak Evil

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2013

From the winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award comes the fourth book in the unmissable Unleashed series. A group of very special teenagers. Each with an incredible power, they live together, protected by the government. Out in the ordinary world they know they must not use their powers. But good intentions are easy . . . following them through is another matter. One moment Alex Teller is joking around with his brother Jacob. A split second later he finds himself thousands of miles away in the Dominican rainforest. Impossible, right? That's what Alex thinks. Until he meets Olu - a teenager with the paranormal ability to teleport anywhere in the world. With Olu, Alex can experience something he's not had for years - freedom. But at what price? A sinister presence is looming . . . someone who knows about their powers and wants to use them for evil. Soon Alex is literally clinging to life. And Jacob must do something terrible to save him . . .

Out of This World

Out of This World

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/06/2013

Tyrone Lewis is messing about in the woods, trying to keep out of trouble, when he stumbles upon something weird . . . a glowing lump of rock or metal or something. Whatever it is, it gives him an amazing power. Which is cool at first, until Ty's new powers start attracting attention, and soon he's being followed by two sinister agents who seem intent on 'collecting' him. But Ty has no intention of letting that happen. So now he's got to RUN . . .

Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/06/2013

1956 Freddy and Polly are used to helping their father with his experiments. So they don't mind being put into cryonic suspension - having their hearts frozen until their father wakes them up again. They know it will only be for an hour or two, so there's nothing to worry about . . . Present Day Ben and Rachel have resigned themselves to a long, boring summer. Then they find a hidden underground vault in the garden containing two frozen figures, a boy and a girl. And when Rachel accidentally presses a button, something unbelievable happens . . . Can Polly and Freddy adapt to the twenty-first century? Will their bodies survive having been in suspension for so long? And most important of all, what happened to their father - and why did he leave them frozen in time?

Unleashed 1: A Life & Death Job

Unleashed 1: A Life & Death Job

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/04/2013

A group of very special teenagers. Each with an incredible power, they live together, protected by the government. Out in the ordinary world they know they must not use their powers. But good intentions are easy . . . following them through is another matter. Lisa is one such extraordinary teenager. For her, every day is about life and death. Because she can hear the dead talking, and they never leave her alone. But on a short break in London, the tussle between life and death takes on a new twist. A brilliantly planned kidnap thrusts Lisa into the role of reluctant rescuer alongside Michael, a famous TV psychic. Together they set out to find a missing girl and walk straight into mortal danger. Now Lisa is in fear for her own life, is there anyone to help her?

Unleashed 3: Trick Or Truth

Unleashed 3: Trick Or Truth

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/04/2013

A group of very special teenagers. Each with an incredible power, they live together, protected by the government. Out in the ordinary world they know they must not use their powers. But good intentions are easy . . . following them through is another matter. With his supernatural ability to conjure spectacular illusions, Spook Williams knows he is destined for greatness. So when he's kidnapped by a celebrity magician claiming to be his real father, he can't help but be intrigued . . . Very soon, Spook is living the dream: bathing in a jacuzzi aboard a luxury yacht, rubbing shoulders with billionaires, and spending time with gorgeous magician's assistant, Kamilah . . . But when he is asked to take part in a daring heist, will Spook be able to resist this opportunity to flex his powers?

Unleashed 2: Mind Over Matter

Unleashed 2: Mind Over Matter

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/01/2013

A group of special teenagers, each with an incredible power. They live together and learn how to use their abilities, protected from those who wish to harm them. Now, for one short week they are let out into the world, with strict instructions that they must not use their powers. But good intentions are easy . . . following them through is a different matter. Gideon and Luke are spending some quality family time, playing at being normal teenagers for once. They have no real reason to use their telekinetic powers in the small seaside town, and there are enough bodyguards around to keep them safe, right? Wrong. Someone is stalking them. A man with the cool, calm air of a brutal killer and Gideon and Luke are in his sights.

S.W.I.T.C.H: Anaconda Adventure

S.W.I.T.C.H: Anaconda Adventure

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/04/2012

Josh and Danny have gone for a nice day out at the zoo. Or, should that be, a nice, experimental, day out at the zoo? Petty's developed a new SWITCH spray for snakes! And Josh and Danny are willing volunteers. Things start to go a bit wrong though when they fail to SWITCH back into boys, and are spotted by a whole class of girls on a school trip! Luckily, Charlie, an old friend from summer camp, is there to help, and the panic subsides. The trouble is not over yet though . . .

S.W.I.T.C.H: Alligator Action

S.W.I.T.C.H: Alligator Action

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/04/2012

Petty's been kidnapped! Josh and Danny have already broken into her secret lab looking for her, and now they're going to brave all her anti-intruder traps and break into her house. There's no sign of Petty, but there is a very interesting little box . . . containing the best SWITCH spray ever. Unable to resist the temptation, the twins head to the park to try out alligatorSWITCH spray. But before they make it to the river, they're roped into being in the audience of a touring chat show, with some VERY interesting guests . . .

S.W.I.T.C.H:Chameleon Chaos

S.W.I.T.C.H:Chameleon Chaos

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/02/2012

Petty Potts' most recent reptoSWITCH spray doesn't seem to be working . . . not that Josh and Danny were all that excited about being chameleons anyway-alligators would be way better! Plus, they're distracted by the mystery of who is sending them clues to find marbles filled with scientific code. But at school the next day, time seems to be going too fast for the twins, and when one of Danny's eyeballs rolls right round in its socket, they know things are getting weird. While Danny is distracted by the leafy coolness of his teacher's pot plant, Josh is causing a stir in PE, escaping the class bullies by climbing right up to the top of the gym ropes! How long will it be before the boys are boys again? And will they be able to find the next marble (and get their own back on those bullies) in the meantime?

S.W.I.T.C.H: Turtle Terror

S.W.I.T.C.H: Turtle Terror

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/02/2012

Josh and Danny are on holiday with their parents in Cornwall-so the last person they expect to see is mad scientist, and next door neighbour, Petty Potts! So when the twins see her on the beach - holding a turtle under each arm-they can't help but wonder what she's up to. The thing is, the boys have got other things on their mind. They've found another mystery marble clue, and need to get out to the ruined fort on the rocky island. But they take too long and the tide comes in, trapping them. Luckily, they have a bottle filled with SWITCH spray and turn themselves into leatherback turtles! Their swim back to mainland is filled with danger . . . Will Danny be able to save Josh from the fishing net before he SWITCHes back in to a boy?

S.W.I.T.C.H: Lizard Loopy

S.W.I.T.C.H: Lizard Loopy

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/02/2012

Petty's back with a new kind of SWITCH spray-reptoSWITCH! The lizard formula is ready for testing, and Josh and Danny are eager to help. But as Josh and Danny are trying it out in the safety of Petty's secret underground lab, they're interrupted by an intruder's attempt to get in to Petty's house! The intruder vanishes, but there is a package waiting for Josh and Danny at home containing a marble and a cryptic clue. Will Josh and Danny find the next mysterious marble? And will they be able to work out who sent the clue, and why?

S.W.I.T.C.H: Gecko Gladiator

S.W.I.T.C.H: Gecko Gladiator

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/01/2012

Petty Potts has vanished-at least it seems that way to Josh and Danny. In actual fact, she's just relocated her secret lab . . . to the VERY pink and VERY girly Princess Land! Reluctantly, the twins fight their way through hordes of excited girls dressed as fairies to the back of the shop, where a single door stands between them and Petty's new lab. SWITCHing into geckos, the boys have no problems getting under the door and up the walls. It's on the way out that things start to get really tricky . . . the SWITCH back hasn't gone well, and although Josh and Danny have normal legs, they're giant geckos from the waist up! How on earth will they escape from Princess Land now?!

Freak of Fortune

Freak of Fortune

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/09/2011

The fate of Fortunestone rests in the hands of Nic and Rav, two former friends. But it's not until a freak act of nature throws them together that they realise their importance. They must survive, only then can they begin a journey that will end up scarring them both for life. Blue Peter Book Award winner Ali Sparkes sweeps you away in this fantastic tale of survival, friendship and fortune. This title is published by Franklin Watts EDGE, which produces a range of books to get children reading with confidence. EDGE - for books children want to read, and books children can read.

S.W.I.T.C.H: Crane Fly Crash

S.W.I.T.C.H: Crane Fly Crash

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2011

Josh and Danny must go on a rescue mission to save their annoying big sister, Jenny, when she accidentally uses the S.W.I.T.C.H spray on herself and turns into a crane fly! The twins know there's only one thing for it - they'll have to change themselves into crane flies too, and try to keep their sister out of trouble. However risky . . . Can the boys resist the lure of the light bulb and stop Jenny from getting legless? And will Piddle the dog be able to resist a crunchy, bugtastic snack? Petty Potts's diary entry: Victor Crouch's spies could be anywhere! I keep imagining that old eyebrow-less freak staring through my windows . . . But I suppose I do have to remember that sometimes I see and hear things which aren't really there. That's all part of the package when you're a genius. I will make sure Josh and Danny keep very watchful, though. Ah ha! Ah ha ha ha ha! Erm. Scary powerful laugh etc. (It doesn't really work, typed out, does it?)

S.W.I.T.C.H: Beetle Blast

S.W.I.T.C.H: Beetle Blast

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2011

Josh and Danny are on a day out with the local nature group, but when they accidentally eat a chocolate muffin laced with S.W.I.T.C.H formula, they experience the real dangers of pond life first hand. Soon the boys are beetling about in a pond, breathing underwater, and creating the most almighty stench to scare off predators. But life as a pongy pond beetle is the least of their problems-there's a mysterious stranger hanging around-and he's out to get them. Will Josh and Danny find out who the stranger is before it's too late? And can they help Petty Potts in her mission to recover all of the REPTOSWITCH cubes so she can turn them into even more exciting beasties? Petty Potts's diary entry: I do hope Josh and Danny will come round tomorrow-they have to understand the DANGER we're all in! And of course, I really need their help. I'm sure I will manage to talk them around. After all, they both can't wait to try out being a giant python or an alligator or a monitor lizard.

SWITCH:Spider Stampede

SWITCH:Spider Stampede

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/02/2011

Josh and Danny have lost their dog, Piddle, and sneak next door to try and find him. They get more than they bargain for when they run into their next-door neighbour, Petty Potts - a mad scientist with a gleefully beastly serum. One accidental squirt of the S.W.I.T.C.H spray later and the twins find themselves with eight legs and the ability to shoot webbing out of their bums! Josh and Danny are in big bug trouble as they face a dangerous journey across their back garden in the hope that Petty can SWITCH them back. But it's a big bad world out there and the brothers are no longer top of the food chain. Petty Potts's diary entry: I think it's high time I had some assistance on the SWITCH PROJECT . . . If only I could remember what happened to the rest of my research! I know I put the code for SWITCHing creatures to reptiles in the crystal cubes, as I did for the bugs and insects formula . . . and I know I hid the cubes somewhere safe from even me! I just can't remember. Victor Crouch has a lot to answer for. I will get my revenge on him. For burning out chunks of my memory and trying to steal my life's work.

SWITCH 2 Fly Frenzy

SWITCH 2 Fly Frenzy

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/02/2011

Something precious has been stolen from Josh and Danny's garden and it's up to the twins to solve the mystery. They need a disguise and Petty Potts-the mad scientist from next door-is all too happy to help with her S.W.I.T.C.H spray. Soon the boys have wings, 360 degree vision, and a strange attraction to dog poo. Flying into enemy territory is a dangerous business. It's definitely snot funny when they encounter a hairy nostril but that's nothing compared to a sticky web and the power of the swat. Will they make it a flying a finish and save the day, or will the twins be turned into fly soup? Petty Potts's diary entry: Josh is the cleverest one and really knows his wildlife, so he should be quite a help in making notes. Danny is bright too, though, and very brave considering he is actually quite scared of bugs and insects. Of course, most importantly they are four extra eyes in the search for the missing REPTOSWITCH cubes ...if Josh and Danny can help me find them, I will be able to advance the project to the reptilian level!

SWITCH:Grasshopper Glitch

SWITCH:Grasshopper Glitch

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/02/2011

Josh and Danny let Petty Potts-their barmy next-door neighbour and scientist extraordinaire-give them a lift to school, but after a mix up with their drink and some S.W.I.T.C.H spray the twins suddenly have green feelers, ears in their abdomens and a strange ability to chuck up brown goo. The boys must SWITCH back before anyone notices they're not in class. But school is the least of their worries-they're just a whisker away from trouble-there's a grasshopper muncher on the loose . . . Petty Potts's diary entry: One day, I am going to find Victor Crouch-confront him-and make him confess that he stole my work and burnt out my memory. But in the meantime, as far as Josh and Danny are concerned, I will keep my promise and will never make them try any more spray or potion. Or trick them. Or bribe them. Or anything like that. Probably.

SWITCH:Ant Attack

SWITCH:Ant Attack

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/02/2011

Josh and Danny know that their day is going to be a nightmare when their mum invites Tarquin round from next door. But they have no idea exactly how deadly the day will become until they are accidentally turned into ants. Where's Petty Potts - their friend and mad scientist - when the twins need her to SWITCH them back? Armed with his magnifying glass, Tarquin can't wait to roast some insects. Danny and Josh may each have six legs but will they be able to get away in time? Petty Potts's diary entry: I have to warn Josh and Danny about the spies. I don't think they believed me. I might have to show them some evidence of my life before, when I worked with Victor Crouch in the government's secret underground labs. And I should probably show them his photograph. They need to be on their guard now. They may only be children, but that wouldn't stop Victor if he ever found out what they knew. That wouldn't stop him at all . . .

Wishful Thinking

Wishful Thinking

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/07/2010

It's just a regular trip for Kevin, and he comes back with just the regular sorts of things. Some local fudge, a scented candle for his mum ...and his own personal god. It's Abandinus, a little-known Celtic deity, who has suddenly found a new purpose in his eternal life-sorting out Kevin's. With a god on your side, everything's going to get a lot easier, isn't it? After all, a god can get stuff done. The trouble is, it's not always the kind of stuff Kevin has in mind ...

Dark Summer

Dark Summer

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/07/2009

It's the summer holidays, and Eddie finds himself strangely drawn to the famous caves at Wookey Hole. He makes friends with the ticket seller there, and before long is allowed to roam wherever he wants. He loves it ...until the day he gets lost. Just as panic sets in, his hand is taken by a strange girl, about his own age, who guides him to the surface. Gwerren is weird. She's extraordinarily pale with huge violet eyes and white hair - what's more, she won't come out of the caves. As she and Eddie become friends he starts to wonder if she's a ghost. Then Eddie nearly dies in a pothole - and discovers not only the truth, but life where nobody thought it could be ...A thrilling new novel from the author of the popular 'Shapeshifter' series.

Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/10/2008

1956 Freddy and Polly have always known their father is a genius. So they've never minded helping him with his experiments. Even when that means being put into cryonic suspension-having their hearts frozen until their father wakes them up again. They know it will only be for an hour or two, so there's nothing to worry about...2009 Ben and Rachel have resigned themselves to a long, boring summer. Then they find the hidden underground vault in the garden-and inside it two frozen figures, a boy and a girl. And as if that isn't spooky enough, when Rachel accidentally presses a button, something unbelievable happens...Can Polly and Freddy adapt to the twenty-first century? Will their bodies survive having been in suspension for so long? And most important of all, what happened to their father-and why did he leave them frozen in time?

The Shapeshifter 5 Stirring the Storm

The Shapeshifter 5 Stirring the Storm

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/01/2008

In this exciting finale Dax and his friends are moved to the country in a bid to keep their identities a secret, but are the special forces who are transporting them their allies, or are the Children of Limitless Ability being used as pawns in a much bigger scheme? Once again it is Dax who's at the centre of things - it's him they want most of all. But who are 'they'? And who's the brains behind this master plan? Dax must save his friends from being sold as commodities to the highest bidder, and in the process find out who his mother really is and how he and his friends ended up with such amazing powers.

The Shapeshifter 4 Dowsing the Dead

The Shapeshifter 4 Dowsing the Dead

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/08/2007

The fantastic Shapeshifter series continues with Dax and his friends settling into their new secret hideaway in the Lake District. The whole place has been fortified so that the Children of Limitless Ability won't ever be under threat again. After dodging death once too often for his liking, Dax is looking forward to a quieter time - building a tree house in the grounds and shifting to a fox or a falcon and exploring the countryside. But all is not well in the spirit world - strange messages are coming through and Dax, Gideon, Lisa and Mia must once again join forces. Could the messages be coming from Luke and Catherine, Gideon's dead brother and sister? Perhaps they're even still alive? In which case, they have to rescue Luke from Catherine's evil clutches - but is Dax really a match for her?

The Shapeshifter 3 Going to Ground

The Shapeshifter 3 Going to Ground

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/05/2007

When Dax receives an urgent call, he knows he has to drop everything and race to the aid of his friends. But that's not as easy as it sounds. Strange things are happening-unbelievable occurrences that seem to be following Dax and his friends wherever they go. And that's not all that's after them ...Government agents are stalking their every move-tracking them down. The very people who are supposed to be protecting them seem to be the biggest threat. Who can they trust? Where should they run? Each of the friends must call upon their special powers to try to outwit their pursuers-but will these abilities spell the end for them all?

The Shapeshifter 2 Running the Risk

The Shapeshifter 2 Running the Risk

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/01/2007

Dax is starting to get used to his life as a shapeshifter. At last he feels safe and secure, surrounded by people he trusts, and with real friends who understand what he is going through. But then everything changes, and Dax finds himself in danger beyond his wildest dreams. And just when he needs his best friend Gideon to be there for him, Gideon's life changes too. Dramatically. And forever. Now Dax feels more alone than ever. Because he can feel that something is very wrong-but no one will take him seriously. No one else can see the danger that threatens to destroy them all ...

The Shapeshifter 1 Finding the Fox

The Shapeshifter 1 Finding the Fox

Author: Ali Sparkes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/05/2006

Dax Jones is an ordinary schoolboy ...until something extraordinary happens one day. Whilst frightened for his life, he inexplicably changes into a fox! Before long, both a government agent and an ambitious young journalist are on his tail. The agent tells him that he is one of several children with special powers and he's been offered a place at a secret government school where he can develop, and learn to control, these powers. If Dax accepts, on no account can he tell anybody, especially not the journalist. Dax jumps at the chance of attending the boarding school. His home life is unhappy and he would do anything to escape it. And when he gets to the school, he is amazed to find himself amongst kids with all sorts of talents, from the ability to levitate to the ability to move things using only the mind. Dax immediately feels at home. But first the journalist tracks him down. And then he begins to wonder who exactly is behind the school, and what they want from the pupils there. Suddenly Dax's fox senses are on high alert ...

Author Info

Author's Website

https://www.alisparkes.co.uk/

Twitter Updates

If this is your author page then you can share your Twitter updates with your readers right here on LoveReading

Find out more

Facebook Updates

If this is your author page then you can share your Facebook updates with your readers right here on LoveReading

Find out more
LoveReading
LoveWriting
LoveReading4Schools
NEW INDIE AND SELF PUBLISHED BOOK REVIEW AND PROMOTION SERVICE LAUNCHED!    Read More
×