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The books in this section have been given a primary age range of 11+. 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. The books in this section are suitable for 11-12+ readers. The books in this section might also be given a secondary age range. Some are suitable for 9+ year olds reading above their age. Please note, content & subject matter will be suitable for a 9 year old. Where indicated, less confident teen readers will enjoy the stories. Non-Fiction in this section is often fascinating and educational to a wider age range.
January 2022 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2022 | With a strong Welsh setting and a deep sense of community When the War Came Home sensitively explores the impact of World War One on some of the survivors – both soldiers and civilians. Furious that she has to move home when her mother loses her job, Natty is sure that she is going to hate living with her cousins in a different Welsh valley. Everything, especially school, is very different. But Natty’s view of her new home is changed because she meets two young men who have come back from fighting in the First World War. The war may be over but her cousin Huw still suffers great grief from losing his best friend as well as terrible flashbacks when there are loud bangs while Johnny, a young boy from the local hospital for ex-soldiers, doesn’t even know who he is. Natty is determined to help both the boys and to solve a mystery. It is an excellent story which gives a thoughtful insight into the long term effects of war.
January 2022 Book of the Month | Patch Brightwater and his friend Barver, the dracogriff, are trapped on a mysterious island full of monstrous beasts. Their shapeshifting friend, Wren, is being held prisoner by the Piper of Hamelyn, but she's working hard to escape. Clad in his suit of magical black armour and with dragons and a growing army on his side, the Piper of Hamelyn seems destined to bring chaos and destruction down on the world. Can anything stop him? Three accidental heroes versus one legendary villain...the epic adventure that began with A Darkness of Dragons comes to a thunderous end.
January 2022 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2022 | Season of Secrets weaves the tale of a heartbroken child and an age-old legend into beautiful story of love, healing and strange magic. Resonant of classics such as The Owl Service by Alan Garner, Whistle Down the Wind by Mary Hayley Bell and Skellig by David Almond, the protagonist’s story is told in the pure, clear voice we have come to expect from this astonishingly accomplished and powerful young writer. Sally Nicholls is simply an exceptionally talented writer, who writes beautifully. Her intelligent, warm fiction is honest and profound, complex yet accessible
January 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | This second volume of Lize Meddings’ The Sad Ghost Club series of graphic novels is a beautifully original, beautifully told tale that will speak to readers who feel anxious, invisible or lonely. Its relatable portrayal of friendship offers hope and support, alongside an empathetic steer on how to find a way through social anxieties and insecurities. If that wasn’t enough, it’s completely compelling, and witty with it. “Being around people is so hard” - a sentiment many young readers might identify with through this story’s relatable “sad ghost” characters. While our two ghosts have become comfortable with their friendship, anxiety returns when a fellow lonely soul wants to join them. “Another person is going to be even more exhausting”. “What if this new person hates me?” What if they “forget I even exist”. After grappling with such insecurities, and navigating the complexities of relating to - and communicating with - other people, this glorious graphic novel concludes with a bolstering “I can do this” assertion, and more like-minded ghosts than you can shake a wand at. In a word - wonderful.
Exhilaratingly informative, compellingly personal, and outright inspirational (thanks to its practical “try this” activities and “over to you” calls to action), De Nichols’ Art of Protest is a must-read compendium for a new generation of change-makers. Exploring the history and transformative impact of protest art through the compelling lens of the author’s own activism experiences, this book about making a difference sure does things differently itself. Clearly framed in the context of why art matters to social movements, readers are presented with an overview of the history of protest art (from the anti-WWI activism of early-twentieth-century Dadaists, through the women’s suffrage movement, to current BLM actions), before embarking on a dazzling visual journey through key facets of design. We learn about symbolism, typography, the power and meanings of colours, and the role of tech, including memes, social media filters, and videos. With a feature on young contemporary climate activists, and tonnes of easy-to-follow suggestions for how to make your own change in the world, the book’s aims are perfectly précised by its final page: “Start making. Start creating the change that’s needed for a better world”.
Billy Smith is ordinary with a capital O, so how on earth does he end up as internet sensation Hashtag OrdinaryBilly, Hashtag Relatabill? All is revealed in The Boy Who Accidentally Got Famous, David Baddiel’s typically funny and engaging new adventure. Billy’s life is changed in totally unexpected ways when TOTALTV TV descend on his school to film reality show School Daze, resulting in him swapping fish finger teas with mum and dad for red carpet film premieres. Sort of anyway… The storyline is deliciously unpredictable, but Baddiel’s depiction of Billy and his friends is as accurate as ever, and his shots at TV producers very funny too. Could that be inspired by real life? Most of us will never know. A great read for anyone who’s ever imagined themselves famous for five minutes.
The Song That Sings Us is a dystopian novel with a difference. In the society Nicola Davies describes, a powerful, ruthless government is bent on destroying nature, but in this world some humans have always been able to understand animal thoughts. Imagine how different the world would be if we could listen to animal voices? No wonder the governing Automators want to destroy anyone who has this gift. At the centre of the story are three young people, siblings Harlon and twins Xeno and Ash; forced to flee their home when the Automators attack, leaving their ma alone to fight them off, the book follows their separate journeys, into a world of wild landscapes and even the heart of their enemy’s empire. Along the way, they are helped by desperate resistance fighters, and by animals themselves. Epic in scale, this adventure is full of fights, danger, near-misses and escapes as well as friendship and laughter. Davies has poured heart and soul into the book and its effect on readers will be huge. Full of hope and a sense of the power of singing with one voice, the book looks beautiful too with striking illustrations by Jackie Morris on the cover and as chapter heads.
Imogen and Marie return through the door in the tree to a whole new Yaroslav. Miro is king, but hates it. Anneshka is no longer Queen. . . and hates it. When Anneshka hears a prophecy that she will rule the Greatest Kingdom, she seizes Marie, believing her to be key to fulfilling it, and heads over the mountains. Imogen and Miro chase after them, in hot pursuit. But what they find in the lands beyond will change everything again, and see them facing dangers they could never have imagined, both human and otherwise. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Chris Riddell, exciting and funny, the Clock of Stars trilogy is a timeless fantasy from the most astonishing new voice in middle grade.
A brilliantly-conceived and hugely imaginative 'sequel' to Mary Shelley's masterpiece, Following Frankenstein is a hugely exciting and beautifully-written historical adventure, perfect for 9-12 year olds. Sometimes I was jealous of the monster of Frankenstein. I grew up believing my father cared more for him than he did for me. And was I wrong? Maggie Walton's father has dedicated his life to a single pursuit: hunting down the monster created by Victor Frankenstein. It has cost Maggie and her family everything - and now her father is staking everything on one last voyage to the Arctic, with Maggie secretly in tow, where he hopes to find the monster at last. But there they make a shocking discovery: Frankenstein's monster has a son... A breath-taking, epic adventure, spanning the icy wastes of the Arctic Tundra to the vaudeville circus of New York, from the award-winning author of No Ballet Shoes in Syria and Another Twist in the Tale.
Another in the excellent Super Readable Rollercoaster series produced in collaboration with Barrington Stoke, this is the story of Judy, returning to a completely unfamiliar London after five years of evacuation in rural Somerset. Taking a refreshingly different angle on an evacuee’s story, this deals frankly and authentically with the emotional difficulties that Judy faces. The years between nine and fourteen see a huge amount of physical and psychological development and there is an inevitable gulf in the relationship between her and her mother. Her mother is dealing with her own trauma after being bombed out of their family home and understandably jealous of the “aunties” who have shared her daughter’s childhood. Judy is torn between her love of the rural life and her desire to find a true home again. As she searches through the rubble of her old home, while her mother works, she meets a boy facing his own post evacuation difficulties. Together they are entranced by the way that nature is reclaiming the bombsites and Judy finds clues that help her understand what her mother has been through and what “home” really means. Although aimed at reluctant and dyslexic readers this a book with a depth and complexity that would reward any reader. The glossary and discussion questions that are a regular feature of this series are also an invaluable class or reading group support.
Dooley is an Irish autistic author and illustrator who writes with authority, empathy and humour about the world as viewed by Frankie. Frankie believes she is an alien; she is the smallest person in her class – and she is accused of talking too much! But really all she is different – neurodivergent, though it is not until nearly the end of the book that Frankie gets an insight into why she views things differently. Frankie’s Dad left when she was a baby and she, with friend Sam, decide to track him down. I found it refreshing that Sam is wheelchair bound but that no reference is made to this. This book so easy to relate to – the world from a child’s point of view is such a confusing place – but this helps us all see how it may be even more confusing if one’s reactions are different from other people. Plus, if we all give time and some empathy, we may be in a better position to befriend and understand. This sounds as if the book is preaching to us – it is most definitely not – it is a delight to read - funny, sympathetic, and ultimately uplifting. Drawn in a very simple two-colour cartoon style it should be easily accessible across a range of readers. Highly recommended for all readers offering perspective on autism whilst maintaining care and affection for the protagonists.
January 2022 Debut of the Month | From a fantastic new talent in middle-grade contemporary fiction, Sabine Adeyinka, based on her own experience of attending boarding school. A joyful, glorious collision of classic boarding-school story with vibrant 1990s Nigeria, irrepressible Jummy investigates an intriguing mystery as her best friend from home turns up at the school.
Having covered Amazing Birds and Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures with flair, acclaimed artist, illustrator and passionate bird-watcher Matt Sewell here turns his unique eye and brilliant brush-strokes to another of nature’s awe-inspiring phenomena - amazing migrations. Covering fauna (and flora) from all corners of the globe, this is a treasure trove of insights and visual delights that will have young animal-lovers poring over it for hours. Featuring all kinds of animals - mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and insects - Atlas of Amazing Migration is packed with fascinating facts delivered in an engaging, witty style. The painted lady butterfly, for example, is described as being “common as muck” but “a force to be reckoned with” before we learn about their epic 15,000 km cross-continental migration. The book also explains how such journeys are possible, with the inclusion of plant migrations (wild cherries, violets, and coconuts) an unexpected, interesting addition.
The second in a series, ‘(Im)Mortal Earth’ by J.J.Faulks sees Piprin and Orleigh set off to find the Seer in the hopes of a cure for Piprin’s sick mother. This journey raises more questions than answers and sends the pair of friends on a quest to save the Key of Life. I would recommend starting with ‘The Seer’s Curse’ to get to know Orleigh and Piprin properly, and understand the opening of ‘(Im)Mortal Earth’ and their previous quests. In a world of mythology, where suspicion of outsiders runs rife, the same suspicions that were directed at Orleigh in the first book are turned against those seeking asylum from the West, a land where crops are failing and famine runs rife. This is a well-written story, with detailed world building, gods and mythology to entertain young fantasy readers. I liked the way the author manages to incorporate folklore while also making sure that the pace of the story isn’t affected. There’s lots of action and interference from the gods, who I would have liked to know more about and why I recommend any reader start with ‘The Seer’s Curse’. There is a satisfactory conclusion with plenty of scope for a third book and more challenges for the young friends.
Find the courage to be extraordinary . . . Ema Vašková has always felt different. In a family of famous scientists, there's not much room for superstition or omens - but they seem to follow Ema wherever she goes. It doesn't help that she appears to predict events before they happen, and has a peculiar fear of shadows . . . When Ema is sent to stay with her eccentric uncle in Prague, she fears she'll lose the chance to ever fit in. But then she meets Silvie - a girl who finally sees Ema for the extraordinary person that she is. Soon the girls are meeting for secret midnight adventures, and facing Ema's fears together. But then disaster strikes. Silvie goes missing - and it's up to Ema to find her. Now she must gather the courage to hunt the city, find her friend, and uncover the secrets of the one clue Silvie left as to where she might be - inside the mysterious Midnight Guild . . .
Galloping gargoyles … 2022 is the silver anniversary of J.K. Rowling’s magical classic Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! In celebration of 25 years of Harry Potter magic, Bloomsbury is proud to be releasing a special commemorative edition featuring the much loved original cover design, with artwork by Thomas Taylor. After its first publication in 1997, the illustration of Harry Potter with his lightning bolt scar, standing next to the Hogwarts Express on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, would go on to become one of the most iconic book covers of the twentieth century, offering a tantalising first glimpse of J.K. Rowling’s endlessly spellbinding wizarding world. Since then, Harry Potter and his epic adventures have become a cultural phenomenon, bewitching millions of readers all across the globe. This irresistible anniversary edition – available for one year only – will bring back treasured memories for the fans who remember the excitement when Harry’s journey first began, as well as introduce a new generation to the unforgettable story of the Boy Who Lived. In addition to a bright dust jacket emblazoned with a removable silver sticker, readers will discover a wealth of celebratory bonus content inside. Decorated with the original hand-drawn Hogwarts crest, the inside pages also feature the fully updated and redesigned story text to provide the perfect reading experience. The ultimate Harry Potter gift and a must for any bookshelf, this once-in-a-generation collector’s edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will take you on the magical journey of a lifetime …
Against a huge sweep of the history of Greece including the stories of the ancient heroes, the occupation of Greece by the Germans in the Second World War and right up to the present-day of the arrival of Syrian refugees, at heart this is an touching story of Nandi, a teenager living in Australia, and the wonderful bond she has with her Auntie Ellie in Ithaca. Despite the distance between Australia and Greece, Nandi and her very special Auntie Ellie meet frequently. But then Auntie Ellie becomes too frail to travel. Now Nandi must go to Ithaca to find her. It’s a trip she is longing to make and, when she does so, she uncovers the remarkable story of Auntie Ellie’s life. A beautiful and touching story which speaks of love and care. And history.
The grand finale to the prize-winning adventure series that has changed the lives of millions of readers. Breathtaking world-building on an epic scale. Pure escapism at its best. It is early spring, a turbulent, perilous time of sudden storms, frozen river fractures and drifting ice. Fleeing from a demon intent on devouring his souls, Wolf is swept out to Sea far from the Forest and his pack. The ocean too teems with danger: sea wolves, sharks and hunters of the deep, and the demon is gaining ground. Torak and Renn must race to save their pack-brother, battling the harsh, icy waves and merciless torrents. If they can't find Wolf in time, the bond between them will be severed for ever... Run wild with Wolf Brother for the last time in a Stone Age world we all want to be part of, with three-million-copy-selling author Michelle Paver, Creator of Legends. Read Wolfbane as a standalone adventure or as part of the well-loved series. 'Can easily be read as a standalone novel, so skilful is the storytelling ... Paver powerfully presents a world view that's magical but never primitive' Financial Times on Skin Taker 'Meticulously researched, atmospheric [...] and relentless, this instalment deservedly introduces Paver to a new generation of readers' Guardian on Viper's Daughter
1945. War has ended, but for sisters Isobel and Flora the struggles still continue. They've lost their father and had their home destroyed in a bombing raid, and now they must go to live with their aunt and her awful husband Mr Godfrey in their ancestral home, Splint Hall. From the moment of their arrival it seems that this is a place shrouded in mysteries and secrets. Who are the strange men who arrive with packages at night? What is the source of the strange blue sparks coming from the ground? And why do the locals seem to hate their family so much? As the girls begin to unearth an ancient myth and family secret, the adventure of a lifetime begins.
Framed by a lyrical, mythological story of the Great Sky Wolf and every mother-dog’s desire to protect her pups (“she cannot know what lies ahead…when they are taken from her, into the world of man”), Gill Lewis’s A Street Dog Named Pup is a poignant tale of survival, and the lifelong, life-changing bonds that can be formed between humans and dogs. Brimming with empathy and understanding, it’s a thrilling and deeply moving novel that will be adored by animal-lovers and fans of adventure fiction alike. From the off, the special human-dog bond sits centre stage when Pup, “a dog with a big heart”, lovingly refers to “his boy, who held him tight and told him that one day he would grow into his big puppy paws.” But something isn’t right. Pup’s boy isn’t there, and in his place is a big man who abandons him in Dead Dog Alley, where the Street Dogs take him under their paws. Among them Frenchi, a French bulldog, imparts the wisdom that in order to survive, you need shelter and food, but “Pup wanted his boy. He wanted him more than ever.” While this desire to be reunited grows deeper each day, and no one else will do, hope fades as time passes. What’s more, Pup and his new-found canine crew have other pressing problems to attend to. At times gritty, and always gripping, this has all the hallmarks of an animal adventure classic - a story with the power to move readers in every possible way.
A thrilling graphic novel from comics creator and author/illustrator Neill Cameron. Previously published as Mega Robo Revenge but now reformatted in a longer, chunkier package with brand new content, Robot Revenge is an unmissable adventure for graphic novel fans.
Ride into danger with Hal and Uncle Nat on the fifth breathtaking Adventures on Trains Mystery, Sabotage on the Solar Express, from bestselling award-winners M. G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman. Perfect for readers of 8 to 12 and brilliantly illustrated in black and white throughout by Elisa Paganelli.
A family mix-up means Louie has to tag along with his engineer father and his team as they head for a routine job in the farthest flung and most neglected province of the Federation. A massive earthquake, with ensuing tsunami, devastates the entire isolated coastal region, laying bare the other-worldly manner in which the silent and strange Endlanders deal with life, death and the hinterlands of memory and loss. Their curious and unsettling ways raise ghosts for Louie, who has recently lost his own brother. This modern fable - part ghost-story, part coming-of-age novel and part astute social and family observation - explores the ways in which grief can affect not only individuals, but communities at large.
If you like books in which ordinary children suddenly have wonderful magical adventures and, in the process, realise just how much adults don’t know, or choose to pretend isn’t real, then you will love The Silver Arrow. Eleven-year-old Kate and her younger brother Tom are gifted an adventure by their rich and totally irresponsible Uncle Herbert. It’s Kate’s mum who labels him irresponsible, Kate and Tom have never even met him until he turns up on Kate’s birthday with an amazing present – a steam locomotive. That night the children climb on board, staying on even as the train starts to move and Uncle Herbert advises them they really should think about jumping off – and there begins the best adventure you could ever hope to have, in which the train turns out to be able to communicate, the passengers are wild animals who climb on and off at the stops, except for a small band including a porcupine, black mamba, fishing cat and a white-bellied heron, who become the children’s special friends. There’s so much that Kate and Tom learn, not just about driving steam trains but about our world, its animals, and humans too. It all makes for the journey of a lifetime, and this is one train adventure-loving readers mustn’t miss. There’s an important environmental message for all youngsters reading the book too, and it’s even better for that.
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