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If you're looking for suitable books for your 11, 12 or 13 year old, our extensive list of expert recommendations is sure to put you in the right direction.
When Peter comes to live with his aunt and uncle at the shop on Peculiar Hill, he has a lot to learn. What are bogeys and heeble-greebs and the other fierce creatures which live in the nearby Vale of Strange? Why is it so important to wear a hat and sturdy boots? And what is this stuff called strangeness which comes bubbling out of the ground? When Peter discovers the dark secret which lies at the heart of this place, he finds his efforts to make things better do not go according to plan. He sets out to make amends with the aid of his new friend Amanda, but how can he know that requesting her help will prove to be such a very big mistake?
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 | The Weight of Water is a startlingly original piece of fiction written in verse; most simply a brilliant coming of age story. First love, friendship and quiet courage combine in this spare and beautiful story that will leave you sad, happy and wanting more from this fantastic new voice in children's fiction. It tackles the alienation experienced by many young immigrants. Moving, unsentimental and utterly page-turning, we meet and share the experiences of a remarkable 12 year old girl who shows us how quiet courage prevails. A truly special and remarkable read that should not be missed and, Bloomsbury the publisher has done a wonderful job on the book itself - the best things come in small packages - and this is abslutely no exception, so buy the physical book and not the ebook.
Winner of the Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Older Readers category - Longlisted for the 2015 Guardian Children's Book prize - Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal | Apple is sure that one day her mother will return. And when that happens she is sure that everything in her life will be good again. But when Mum does return, Apple finds that what you wish for may not always be what you really want. With the arrival of mum, Apple’s life is turned upside down. Home, school and most of all, what she really thinks about all those around her, are all thrown into confusion. Can Apple find happiness in a new way of life? Apple’s poems help her to tell this touching story of an unhappy and complicated family life.
Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2019 | UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019, Best Story category | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 | May 2018 Debut of the Month | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | This sparkling debut weaves the captivating folklore of Baba Yaga with the thrills of a classic venturing-out-into-the-world quest, replete with primal conflicts, tantalising twists and an unforgettable protagonist that readers will truly root for. Twelve-year-old Marinka yearns to live in a “normal house” and to have a “normal family”, but instead her house has chicken legs, and her grandmother is a Yaga, a Guardian of The Gate between this world and the next. Worse still, in Marinka’s eyes, is that it’s her destiny to become a Yaga herself, to take on the duty of giving the dead “one last wonderful evening” before they “return to the stars”. Baba Yaga has long warned Marinka of the dangers of venturing too far in the world of the living, but her desire “to have friendships that last more than one night” is so strong that she’s prepared to risk everything. Teetering on the cusp of childhood and adulthood, Marinka’s frustrations and determination to find her own way in the world will truly strike a chord with the intended readership. This age-old conflict is delivered with heart and skillfully interwoven with the glorious trimmings of the original folklore. Add to this the twists, the unveiling of truths and the critical choices Marinka must make and you have a heartily satisfying novel that’s ideal for fans of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Older readers might also enjoy Circus of the Unseen, which offers an alternate re-working of Baba Yaga’s infinitely enthralling Slavic folklore. Radiant with wonder and wisdom, this is an exceptional debut.
Twelve-year-old Ankido is on a quest to save his missing father through the magical realm of Mesopo, the land where all fantasy originates, a land whose words and language are in peril. Can Ankido save his father and restore all these words in time? It was a red velvet box, the size of a school book. Ankido lifted the lid, revealing an old-fashioned quill made out of a reed. It smelled remote and otherworldly. Ancient. And for a reason he couldn’t explain, everything felt all right for a moment. He thought he caught a sound flowing out of the quill, a word maybe. He wasn’t sure and he shook his head. This was ridiculous. No, he surely must have been mistaken. But there! There was the sound again. This time Ankido was sure of it.“Mesopo” … whispered in a way that slipped around the room like the warm breeze of the desert.
Hilarious, touching and thought-provoking, Hoot is a modern classic, now celebrating its fifteenth anniversary. Winner of the Newbery Honor award and a New York Times bestseller, Carl Hiaasen's first novel celebrates the natural world with his trademark wit and warmth. Roy Eberhardt never wanted to move to Florida. In his opinion, Disney World is an armpit. Roy's family moves around a lot so he's used to the new-kid drill - he's also used to bullies like Dana Matherson. And anyway, it's because of Dana that Roy gets to see the mysterious running boy who runs away from the school bus and who has no books, no backpack and, most bizarrely, no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy starts to trail the mystery runner - a chase that will introduce him to many weird Floridian creatures: potty-trained alligators, cute burrowing owls, a fake-fart champion, a shoeless eco-warrior, a sinister pancake PR man, new friends and some snakes with sparkly tails. As the plot thickens, Roy and his friends realise it's up to them to save the endangered owls from the evil Mother Paula's pancake company who are planning to build a new restaurant on their home . . .
When it comes to periods, we're often expected to cope with it quietly. But our periods and our hormones affect every area of our lives - so I am done with scuttling to the toilet with a tampon up my sleeve. I vlog about periods and hormonal contraception, and it's clear that I'm not the only one aching to be more open about this. When I reached out to my online community, I received an outpouring of raw, real and hilarious stories about what we through simply for having a uterus. From first periods to first coils, pimples to hot-water bottles and PCOS to endometriosis, The Hormone Diaries is your essential companion on the hormone rollercoaster. Filled with Hannah's insights, fascinating research and those priceless crowdsourced stories, it's the reassuring hug we all need. At least 50 per cent of the world has to deal with this stuff - it's time we started talking about it.
The Merrybegot casts a powerful spell over its readers. Utterly bewitching. Abi Elphinstone In a remote west-country village, all is not as it seems. Rumours of bad magic and witchcraft are spreading. The piskies are whispering in the orchard and an ill wind is blowing. The fingers of blame are all pointing to Nell, the cunning woman's granddaughter. With the Witchfinder General on his way, Nell is alone, trapped, and in fear for her life. Who can she trust? And who will save her? This amazing story is being reissued with a stunning new cover by Karl James Mountford for a new generation of readers to enjoy.
Tom is one of the Tribe. But he is not like the others - he is clumsy and heavy, and the Tribe drive him away into the demon city. But Tom can't live with demons either - they are so hot, so foul, and he knows they are trying to enslave his mind. But there is nowhere else to run. Between the savage Tribe and the stifling demons, is there any way out for Tom? This beautiful story about Tom, caught between his elfin home and the world of humans, is being reissued with a stunning new cover by Helen Crawford-White for a new generation of readers to enjoy.
Multi-award winning series, published in 10 countries, movie rights optioned! Continuing the dark adventure that begins with The Devil's Apprentice and The Die of Death. An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.
Freddie Jones is lonely, friendless and misunderstood. His father has gone missing and his wicked grandmother is now in charge. Only eleven years old, yet feeling like he wants to give up on life, Freddie opens his heart to the universe… and the universe hears him. To his amazement, Freddie is carried off to a strange world where he forges new friendships. However, even his newfound friends can’t replace his dear father; he longs to see him again. But perhaps his friends can give him some clues about his father’s sudden disappearance… Armed with some terrifying and unbelievable information, will Freddie dare to go on the adventure of a lifetime… and will he survive it?
The Devil’s Apprentice is a YA fantasy novel written from the viewpoint of a 13-year-old boy who finds himself in hell – literally. It’s an adventure story with a twisty mystery to solve, with some innocent early-teen romance and historical references as well. It’s the first book in The Great Devil War series. The book is very well written and well translated from Danish, with plenty of dark humour. It features impressive world building through vivid imagery, and I enjoyed visualising the author’s clever concept of Hell and its occupants. The Devil’s Apprentice reminded me of the Harry Potter series, as the plot is complex enough to satisfy teenagers and adults (of all ages), yet simple enough to entertain pre-teens. It covers some moralistic themes, including good versus evil, knowing right from wrong and that even the most angelic people can have a dark side, so its suitability will depend on a child’s maturity. As expected, the book focuses mainly on death, with a mention of suicide and punishment/redemption in the afterlife. Some adults may disagree with certain concepts, but the book would provide a good starting point for discussions. I’m not surprised The Devil’s Apprentice is a popular series in Denmark and I can see it potentially doing well in the UK too. I found it highly compelling and raced through it. As soon as I finished, I eagerly looked forward to the next one, which is always a sign of an enjoyable read.
Continuing the dark and humorous adventure that begins with The Devil's Apprentice. Philip's adventures as the Devil's apprentice have changed him—in a good way. Although he misses his friends in Hell, he has made new friends in life. But when the future of the underworld is threatened once again, Philip’s help is needed. Death's Die has been stolen and immortality is spreading across the globe. Philip throws himself into the search—and discovers a horrible truth about his own life along the way. The Great Devil War is a gripping and humorous tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective, making the reader laugh and think. It’s filled with biblical and historical characters and set in a world beyond your wildest dreams. Or nightmares …
Shakespeare's timeless tale of tragic romance comes to life in this graphic retelling for kids. When Romeo and Juliet meet, it's love at first sight. But their families, the Montagues and Capulets, are locked in a deadly feud, and the teens' feelings could lead to disaster. Can the two find a way to be together without risking their love, and their lives? With extra background on the original play and its author, plus discussion questions and writing prompts, it's easy to introduce young readers to this dramatic literary classic.
June 2019 Book of the Month | Vita set her jaw, and nodded at New York City in greeting, as a boxer greets an opponent before a fight. Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack's spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home. She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan. Katherine Rundell's fifth novel is a heist as never seen before - the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong.
June 2019 Book of the Month | Squirm is a funny, wildly entertaining adventure about the great outdoors and protecting the environment, from New York Times bestselling author Carl Hiaasen. Some facts about Billy Dickens: * He once saw a biker swerve across the road in order to run over a snake. * Later, that motorcycle somehow ended up at the bottom of a canal. * Billy isn't the type to let things go. Some facts about Billy's family: * They've lived in six different Florida towns because Billy's mum insists on getting a house near a bald eagle nest. * Billy's dad left when he was four and is a total mystery. * Billy has just found his dad's address - in Montana. This summer, Billy will fly across the country, hike a mountain, float a river, dodge a grizzly bear, shoot down a spy drone, save a neighbour's cat, save an endangered panther, and then try to save his own father.
June 2019 Book of the Month, A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2019 | Daisy's hero is Florence Nightingale, and she hopes to one day become a nurse just like her. But as a girl growing up in the East End of London in 1912, it seems like all her future holds is dropping out of school to work a tough job in a factory for very little money. Then Daisy meets the suffragettes, who are fighting for the rights of women and the poor. They show her that she might be able to achieve her dreams after all. But being a suffragette is dangerous, and Daisy must risk getting in trouble with her dad, neighbours and even the police if she wants to do her bit. Perfect for fans of Opal Plumstead and Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.
Adventures are unpredictable and often terribly badly behaved - a bit like pickled onions if you've ever tried to fork one on a plate - but they have a way of unlocking people and turning them upside down so that all the astonishing things fizzing around inside them start to tumble out...
Challenged to go on a `survival' reality TV show, fifteen-year-old make-up vlogger Tulip only accepts to escape her mother's money-making schemes and protect her younger brother and sister. Set up to fail, can she prove to the TV show, to Harvey - the cute but annoying boy who got her on there - and most importantly to herself, that she's more than just a pretty face? As Tulip puts down her phone and heads for the hills, she finds she has both the courage and insight to take on each new challenge. But as 'reality' gets ever more crazy, will either teen escape their families and their time in the spotlight unscathed?
Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2019 | April 2018 Debut of the Month | April 2018 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Inspiring WW1 against-the-odds adventure | It’s 1916 and fourteen-year-old Angelique is working on the family farm when she learns that her detested father has been killed in action, while her beloved brother Pascal is still at war. To Angelique, Mother’s grief seems excessive - “How could she have loved father so?” she wonders, and so we wonder what kind of man he was while she focuses all her energy on keeping the farm afloat. Angelique’s strength is formidable. She’s admirably forthright, a force to be reckoned with, especially when adversity escalates and so, with the support of her dear Uncle Gustav, she hatches a plan that might just save the farm. They will venture through France to sell her brother's flock of glorious geese to the Commander-in-Chief of the Somme. Blending real-life hardships and the horrors of WWI with an overarching fairy tale-esque adventure, this is a classic David versus Goliath story in which a girl steps up to fight multiple Goliaths with large doses of determination, wit and a willingness to take risks. Highly recommended. ~ Joanne Owen
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2019 | Winner of the Branford Boase Award 2018 | Like lots of kids in this country, Budi lives for football, training with his friends whenever he can, following his team with a passion and dreaming about playing at the top level. But Budi lives in Jakarta and works ten hours a day making the football boots his sporting heroes wear, and earning just pennies for doing it. The descriptions of his working conditions will shock readers, but Budi’s acceptance of them as inevitable is almost more upsetting. Lively, funny, always optimistic, Budi will win readers’ hearts and his positivity ensures the book remains an accessible page-turner even as his life gets very bleak indeed. A vividly told story that has lots to say about the world, and the importance of hope and fate, represented here by Real Madrid.
WILLA: Drama queen Fashion guru Spontaneous Looks like Alice ALICE: Bookworm Allergic to fashion Planner Looks like Willa LAX Departure Lounge. Two girls board the same flight to London as complete strangers. When the plane touches down, it's the beginning of the craziest plan ever. Can Willa and Alice really swap lives for the summer? Things are going to get complicated... The first in a fun new series, this summer read is The Parent Trap meets Freaky Friday and is perfect for fans of Geek Girl and Super Awkward.
A lyrical and dreamlike story of two brothers in conflict amidst the devastation of WWII London. Harry Black wakes in hospital to learn that his brother Ellis has almost certainly been killed by a V2 rocket falling during a German air raid on London. In a state of wounded delirium, Harry's mind begins to blur the distinctions between the reality of the war-torn city, the fiction of his unpublished sci-fi novel and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Driven by visions of Ellis still alive and a sense of poetic inevitability, Harry discharges himself from hospital and begins a search for his brother that will lead him deep into the city's Underworld...
Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love's bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn't playing Cupid. Instead, they're turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren't bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn't find the arrow by the next full moon, she'll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good. But, for better or worse, she won't be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy wholives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they'll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn't at all who they expected.
May 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | Join these two unlikely heroes on the most amazing of adventures and discover the impact of hundreds of men and women that helped Hillary and Tenzing achieve their goal. But triumphs can be marred with tragedy as not everyone who climbs Everest survives ... In the late morning of May 29th 1953, the sun was shining brightly on the roof of the world, a gentle breeze was blowing and two men were there to witness it for the first time ever ... Their names were Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay and the roof of the world was Everest. This is the breathtaking story of how two very different yet equally determined men battled frost-biting temperatures, tumbling ice rocks, powerful winds and death-defying ridges to climb the world's highest mountain. With a beautiful foreword by the greatest living explorer of our time, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, this brilliant book combines fresh and contemporary illustrations by Joe Todd-Stanton with Alexandra Stewart's captivating writing and publishes in time to celebrate the centenary of Edmund Hillary's birth. This unique narrative tells the story of how Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made their mark on the world from birth right up to their final days and the impact they've had on Nepal today.
Exciting, touching and with a real sense of magic, Pog is exactly the kind of story readers love. David and Penny move into a new home in an ancient forest after their mother’s death. Unbeknownst to them, the grief they are feeling makes them prey to dark forces from a different world and they are in real danger. Fortunately they have a protector in the small, hairy figure of Pog, last of the Fairy Folk, who is assigned to guard the door between this world and the dark, other one. But the threat is greater than any of them realise, and the adventure that develops is full of tension and drama as well as moments that are deeply moving. There are shades of classic magical stories – Narnia even – though this feels completely original, and it touches sensitively on issues of loss. Highly recommended.
UKLA Shortlist Book Awards - 2019 | S E Durrant writes convincingly and movingly about ordinary young people in extraordinary situations, and Running on Empty finds beauty and certainty in an apparently bleak situation. Eleven-year old AJ’s parents both have learning difficulties and he becomes their main carer when his grandfather suddenly dies. It’s a struggle, especially at first when no-one at his new secondary school realises just what AJ has to cope with. His love and tenderness towards his parents is beautifully described, as is the warmth of his extended family and things slowly sort themselves out. Somehow too his grandfather – who loved running as much as AJ does – is never really far away. Without a trace of sentimentality, this ends on a note of hope and happiness that is both believable and uplifting. This is one to recommend to fans of Susin Nielsen and even R J Palacio.
May 2019 Book of the Month | No matter how exciting, zany and surprising the action, you can always be sure that Frank Cottrell-Boyce will build his stories on real human emotions, and that’s as true of this brilliantly funny, original and touching novel as of any of its predecessors. Alfie ‘swerves’ both school and the Limb Lab, where he should be going to learn how to control his state-of-the-art new hand, by hanging out at the airport. But everything changes when, through various happy accidents, he finds an enormous robot called Eric in Lost Property. Eric holds the Allen key to the book’s mysteries, both a generations-old legend, and the secrets that Archie is keeping from the reader and himself. Beautifully told and full of characters readers will love, this book will have you laughing out loud one minute, in tears the next. Robot Eric, unfailingly polite, kind and helpful and trying to explain himself through misremembered jokes is an iron man for our time. Unmissable. Once readers have finished this, point them in the direction of Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s other books including The Astounding Broccoli Boy and books by Ross Welford. Peter Brown’s story The Wild Robot is another great automaton adventure. **Head over to our LoveReading4KidsLoves Channel to find out more about Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Author of the Month.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2019 | Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she's an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja's turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat. A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder. For Sally Jones this is the start of a harrowing quest for survival and to clear the Chief's name. Powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their secrets.
Baldur, Odin's greatest son, is a leader of men - and loved by all. So when a prophecy is made that the end of the world, Ragnarok - the Twilight of the Gods - will occur when Baldur dies, Odin imprisons all those who might be involved in the death of his beloved son. But fate is fate. Baldur will die. The only question is how - and the only result is the beginning of the end for all of creation.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | The wolf star, brightest of all in the summer sky, shines over my home ground. I know every hidden lake and rocky ridge, but if my pack is not in the mountains, then it is no home to me. I feel a howl deep inside, but dare not let it out. Swift lives with his pack in the mountains, until one day his home and family are lost. Alone and starving, Swift must make a choice: stay and try to eke out a desperate life on the borders of his old hunting grounds, or strike out and find a new place to call home. The journey Swift must go on is long and full of peril for a lone wolf, and he'll need to take every chance he can. Will he find the courage to survive all by himself? Inspired by a true story, A Wolf Called Wander is about family, courage and survival. With beautiful illustrations from artist Monica Armino and an extra factual section about wolves and their environment, this book is perfect for animal lovers.
A fast-paced read packed with historical detail In the Shadow of Heroes is a clever blend of intrigue, politics, crime, history and a bit of fantasy. Set in Rome at the time of Emperor Nero, it weaves some Greek mythology – the tale of the Golden Fleece – into the world of the Roman elite. When unexpected visitors turn up at Tullus’s house one night, his slave Cadmus, an educated boy slave who was taken in by Tullus after having been abandoned as a baby, knows that something dangerous is afoot. The visitors bring a box with something that is clearly very desirable in it. What can it be? When Tullus disappears and Cadman is given a message by a slave who was formerly a British princess he set off on a trail to find out what is going on. The plot is twisty and inventive ensuring that the reader remains enthralled through out.
Jacqueline Wilson is as at home writing about the past as she is writing about contemporary times and this story of Mona growing up in the 1920s is full of her trademarks: a booky little heroine, an unconventional family, creativity rewarded, and the importance of love and honesty. Mona lives with her aunty who works her fingers to the bone as a seamstress to support her niece. Their home is the gamekeeper’s cottage in the grounds of the local landowners’ estate and as the story unfolds Mona’s life becomes intertwined with the aristocratic Somersets, for all her lowly birth. The post-war period with its new sense of freedom and expression is brilliantly evoked, and Mona’s journey of self-discovery perfectly matches the new era. With a special guest appearance by Hetty Feather this is classic Wilson and will thoroughly enchant her legions of fans.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | The Peachey family enjoy fine meals each night now that everyone takes turns cooking. Everyone, that is, except grumbling Pa Peachey - until some unsatisfactory bread pushes him to try baking. Convinced that he has found his true calling, Pa sets his sights on winning the town Bake Off. Unfortunately, his great ideas far surpass his skills, and soon Pa's ambitions are crumbling under the weight of 3,784 pieces of gingerbread ... McTavish smells disaster in the making, and it looks like he's going to have to save the day - again.
Prue is a young farm girl whose older brother, Francis, had a natural talent for engineering. But after his untimely death, the family have been shattered by grief. Everything changes when a stranger arrives at the farm. A new, incredible technology has been discovered in the city of Medlock, where a secretive guild of inventors have found a way to bring spirits of the dead back into the world, capturing their energy and powering animal-like machines. Unaware that Francis has died, the Ghost Guild wants him to join them as an apprentice. Prue poses as "Frances" and goes to Medlock to learn the craft - but she's on a mission of her own, to bring her brother back home. And to find Francis, she needs to find a way to help the ghost machines remember the people they used to be. But if she succeeds, the whole society could fall apart.
UKLA Shortlist Book Awards - 2019 | Winner of The Costa Children's Book Award 2017 | After crashing hundreds of miles from civilisation in the Amazon rainforest, Fred, Con, Lila and Max are utterly alone and in grave danger. They have no food, no water and no chance of being rescued. But they are alive and they have hope. As they negotiatethe wild jungle they begin to find signs that something - someone - has been there before them. Could there possibly be a way out after all?
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2019 | From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide. By turns funny, moving, surprising and dramatic, this is a novel that is as thought-provoking as it is enchanting.
May 2019 Book of the Month | Like all classics of American middle grade fiction - as this may well be esteemed in future - this is radiant with humour, heart and a whole lot of indelibly authentic child-centred observations and emotions. With his dad away on army service, and faced with being plunged into the jungle of middle school, Carter already has plenty on his plate when his family inherits the services of an eccentric British butler. While Carter is quick to revolt against the butler’s rigorous regime of tea-drinking, homework and housekeeping (including folding underwear, can you believe it?!), the butler’s ways, wisdom and polite-but-firm guidance (AKA being “a pain in the glutes”) casts a healing spell over the family’s soul, exactly when they need it most. Then, as the butler shares his love of “the most lovely and sportsmanly game that mankind has yet conceived” (AKA cricket) with Carter’s schoolmates, Carter himself comes to share his troubles and release his anger and grief so he can keep the metaphoric “bails from coming down”. Suffused with the same warmth, compassion and originality of the author’s stunning debut, Orbiting Jupiter , this funny, moving middle grade novel is a true treasure with broad appeal and rich rewards.
Shortlisted for the Children's Book Awards 2019, Books for Older Readers Category | Interest Age 8-10 Reading Age 8 | World War One remains a subject of fascination for readers of all ages, but Tom Palmer finds an original way in to the topic in this poignant new story. Lily is a keen fell runner, though she’s fed up of coming in as runner up in races. A visit to her grandparents reveals a surprise: her great-grandfather ran on the fells too. His experiences are recounted vividly in his diary, both his runs in his beloved Cumbria and his experiences as a soldier, recruited to run between positions on the front line, carrying crucial information to the allies. Their shared experiences form a powerful connection, and help Lily to understand herself better, and also to help her grandma when she needs it most. Today and yesterday are seamlessly woven together in a story that will move readers in lots of different ways.
April 2019 Book of the Month | Lauren St John knows just how to create the perfect children’s adventure stories. Her junior detectives Kat Wolfe and Harper Lamb return for a second outing in this new book, another enthralling adventure that combines crumbling cliff edges, dinosaur bones, an A list celebrity who isn’t what she seems and, of course, lots of glorious animals. As they investigate a suspicious death, Kat and Harper face real dangers, but quick-thinking and teamwork, not to mention a bit of luck, see them through. There’s an important eco-message contained in the adventure too and this is exactly the kind of book to encourage children’s interest in the environment and their world as the pages keep turning. Thoroughly recommended.
A beautifully written, incredibly original and wickedly funny novel for readers of 10 and older - Bloom is for everyone who has ever felt like they didn't fit in, and for anyone who has ever wanted a little more colour and wildness in their lives... Sorrel Fallowfield is growing up - in a REALLY surprising way . . .
April 2019 Debut of the Month | Marcia Williams is best known for her beautifully illustrated retellings of classic stories. For her first novel she has found inspiration in a true story. Cloud Boy takes the form of a diary written by a girl called Angie throughout a year in which her best friend Harry becomes seriously ill. Interspersed with her entries are readings of her grandmother’s letters - very like diary entries - which were written though never sent when she was a child prisoner in the notorious Changi WW2 camp in Singapore. As things get very difficult for Harry, Angie is by turns sad, scared, frightened and angry. Her grandmother’s letters provide distraction and comfort, especially the descriptions of a quilt the girls in the camp made in secret. The two stories are told with great sensitivity and despite the suffering being described the overwhelming sense is one of resilience and hope.
Following hot on the heels of Resurrection, this eleventh instalment of Skulduggery Pleasant’s incomparable exploits offers everything devoted fans have come to expect - all-out action, astonishing twists, riotously witty repartee – and more, for this latest epic ramps up the stakes on the emotional front. Intrepid, intelligent, endlessly entertaining Valkyrie Cain is no stranger to fighting to keep her friends and family from harm, but this gripping story sees her having to face her biggest battle yet when a cruel killer captures her little sister, Alice. Worse still, she has just twelve hours to track her down. The sense of urgency and anxiety is heart-poundingly evoked, and I thoroughly enjoyed discovering more about Omen.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2011 | Philip Reeve’s epic Mortal Engines series has set the imagination of many a child completely wild since it first began. This is the 6th novel to be set in the awesome world of Mortal Engines and the sequel to Fever Crumb. Every one of his Mortal Engines titles stands out as a truly special read. With Web of Air you will be taken on an emotional journey as well as an enthralling one that’s full of surprises. Above all it will make you think about life as you know it and what could happen to it if it were ruined.
A fabulous new adventure to add to his best-selling Mortal Engines fantasy sequence. Fever Crumb, heroine of previous adventures, comes back to London and finds much has changed. Casting off its old image, London has been rebuilt ready to fight the mammoth-riders who are set to attack. The battle will be bloody; to prevent the worst, Fever Crumb must move quickly on her mission to find an ancient technology hidden in the wastelands of the Scriven mutants.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2010 | Reeves' post-apocalyptic world where mobile cities fight for survival has brought many a child into the world of reading for fun. Now Fever Crumb, the stand-alone prequel to the quartet and set many generations before the events of Mortal Engines comes alive for an expectant audience. A dazzling world where a terrifying new enemy is on the attack and buried in London's past is a secret that may save it from destruction. And the key to unlock it is an orphan called Fever Crumb. It's a secret so explosive that you struggle to breathe as you read this utterly compelling adventure thriller.
April 2019 Book of the Month | Blimey, but can Anthony Horowitz pack huge amounts of tension, excitement and humour into his short stories! He shows off a breath-taking ability to conjure adventure out of the most unlikely beginnings, and in his hands even a trip to the dentist turns into a full-on, peril-laden caper. There’s everything in this collection that makes the Alex Rider novels so addictive: dangerous situations, daring escapes, gadgets galore. And of course, there’s Alex himself – super-smart, super-resourceful, super-cool. Irresistible, unbeatable reading. LoveReading4Kids Loves Alex Rider! Find out more about Alex Rider in our Series of the Month feature.
April 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | The inspiring story of Mary Anning who, born at the end of the eighteenth century, fought against all the odds to become a pioneering scientist and fossil hunter. Inspired by her father who took her out on fossil hunting expeditions on the cliffs and beaches around Lyme Regis, Mary was fascinated by the beauty of the finds and by what they said about the past. Her exceptional curiosity was matched by incredible courage which led her to take dare-devil risks as she searched for rare examples. She also knew their worth and was never shy in selling them well to the many visitors to the area who came to wonder. Anthea Simmons tells Mary’s story as an exciting adventure and also as a rousing story of what an intelligent and brave woman can do.
Following the four March sisters for a year, and narrated by candid, clumsy Jo, the story begins at a time of great upheaval for the March family. Dad is working away as a humanist minister in war-torn Syria, Mum has recently lost her job as a social worker and, consequently, they’ve had to move house. Sensitive, shy Beth just wants “Daddy to come home”. Fashion mad Meg is frustrated by not being able to buy new clothes, while trying to figure out what to do with her future. Sharp-tongued, artistic Amy constantly bickers with Jo, who’s doggedly determined to become a novelist. Despite their own troubles, the family volunteer at a centre for Middle Eastern refugees on Christmas Day. It’s here Jo meets Lateef, a refugee who’s been adopted by a wealthy lawyer, and she immediately senses that he’s “going to be my best friend in the whole world”. In fact, he becomes close to the entire family as they ride a rollercoaster of worries and coming-of-age revelations alongside a whole lot of love and friendship. Written in a highly accessible style, this affectionate update re-maps the personalities, aspirations and uncertainties of the original March sisters to create a new landscape of their lives, one that’s suffused in the spirit of the original and a contemporary freshness as it explores the timeless themes of sibling strains and solidarity, and feeling a sense of home.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | November 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2017 Award-winning Kate Saunders takes readers on a wondrous fantasy adventure in the best tradition of children’s stories in which there is another world to ours in which strange and silly things can and do happen. The story is tinged with sadness as the adventures stem from beautifully conveyed feelings of grief that it is often hard to express. Mourning the death of her much-loved sister, Emily finds herself having the most curious dreams in which soft toys came alive and do the most extraordinary things. When Ruth, a neighbour whose son died as a child, dreams the same things, the pair begin an adventure in which the worlds of reality and storytelling and make-believe seem to flow together effortlessly and the absurd becomes the everyday. For both Emily and Ruth, learning to laugh again at the happenings in the imaginary world of Smokeroon provides them with exactly the comfort and imaginary release they so badly need.
The reading world now lies wide open.
Individual choices of genre become more significant as readers become more discriminating. Readers develop their critical faculties as they weave their way towards the kind of readers they are growing into.
You could also check out our latest highlights such as 'new voices', which showcases some of the brightest new talent from Walker Books, or our 'prizewinners' section where we can help you and your child discover authors currently in contention for and/or winners of the most prestigious awards.
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