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.
This is the story of a ten-year-old orphan and a 10,000-year-old mammoth... Read all about it! Read all about it! ICE MONSTER FOUND IN ARCTIC! When Elsie, an orphan on the streets of Victorian London, hears about the mysterious Ice Monster - a woolly mammoth found at the North Pole - she's determined to discover more... A chance encounter brings Elsie face to face with the creature, and sparks the adventure of a lifetime - from London to the heart of the Arctic! Heroes come in all different shapes and sizes in David Walliams' biggest and most epic adventure yet!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2018 | Stunning, large scale illustrations capture some of the most thrilling places to visit in the world. Broad in its vision and range, this incredible Atlas includes both natural and man made places. The juxtaposition of the two is an excellent way of celebrating both. Readers can be amazed by Pantanal, the astonishing tropical Brazilian wetland with its vibrant and original wildlife. And they can be equally impressed by the Great Wall of China or Machu Picchu, two man made structures that have survived over hundreds of years. Examples of Wonders of the World are taken from all around the world making this an exceptional journey of exploration and adventure in a visual format that makes it fun to visit and re-visit looking for cleverly illustrated details on every spread.
Interest Age 7-12 Reading Age 7 A brand new 4u2read edition celebrating the 20th anniversary of this touching tale by Michael Morpurgo. Dilly's life was great until he found the wart growing on his knee. When lying doesn't work out and George the wart is revealed to the world, poor Dilly becomes one easy target. Can a little bit of magic help Dilly get his life back on track? Beautifully crafted story from a multi award- winning and bestselling author. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 7+
Interest Age 7-12 Reading Age 8+ | When Christine finds an abandoned fox club she cares for it herself. But can she keep it secret from her Dad? This is a wonderfully touching and beautifully crafted story about growing up and learning about real life from one of our best-loved authors.
December 2018 Book of the Month | This special adventure for Hetty Feather plunges young readers into a Victorian Christmas celebration, and introduces them to or reunites them with some other favourite Wilson characters too, including Clover Moon and Rose Rivers. Hetty’s Christmas at the Foundling Hospital seems set to be horrible: she gets into a fight with arch enemy Sheila and is locked into a cupboard for the day as punishment, but the new governor, kind Miss Smith rescues her and takes her to tea with her friends the Rivers – a setting Hetty feels is straight out of The Arabian Nights. The afternoon’s activities will delight readers too, while Hetty, of course, is fiercely herself, commenting astutely on everything around her. A festive treat!
Interest Age 9+ Reading Age 8 | Set in a future world in which kids risk their lives for real playing an online fantasy game, Virus is a nerve-tingling combination of science-fiction and martial arts extravaganza. Scott knows that playing Virtual Kombat will put his life in danger, but the only way to destroy the game is from the inside, and he really wants to avenge the death of his friend. In this he’s helped by a group of techno-hackers, but when it comes to the crunch, his tae kwon do skills mean he’s on his own against powerful opponents. Chris Bradford is an expert at keeping the tension high and this is page-turning, super-readable adventure.
A truly wonderful kick of escapism, ‘Truckers: The First Book of the Nomes’ may be aimed at children, however you don't have to be a kid to read this (adults can get just as much enjoyment, possibly even a little more). These books are also known as the ‘The Bromeliad Trilogy’, the reason for which will become abundantly clear as you read further into the trilogy. Masklin, Grimma and their rapidly diminishing band of four inch high Nomes (they aren't shrinking in height, but numbers) leave their home in order to survive. They find themselves in a department store, among Nomes who no longer recognise that there are outsiders, or even an outside. When they discover that the department store is closing down and being knocked down, can they persuade the rest of the Nomes that they need to leave? Terry Pratchett has the ability to make words sing together, in such a way, that they make you stop and think. He may excel in fantasy, yet it’s fantasy firmly based in fact, and it’s fantasy that makes you look at life from a new perspective. ‘Truckers’ is eye opening, laugh inducing and sometimes jaw dropping stuff and I absolutely loved it.
In this mind-blowingly beautiful book comprising twenty-five tales, visionary artist and writer Shaun Tan turns his attention to the relationship between humans and animals in varied urban contexts. A rhino on a motorway. An owl at the side of a hospital patient. An eagle spied at multiple international airports. Giant snails declared “indecent” by the public. Dreamlike, mysterious and poignant, this is a book to pore over. Both words and illustrations lend themselves to multiple readings, each experience unearthing alternate interpretations, new discoveries, fresh ways of seeing the world. What a sublimely strange feat this is.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick for November 2018 | December 2018 Book of the Month | An outstanding book for everyone who has enjoyed We’re Going on a Bear Hunt or any of Helen Oxenbury’s other wonderful books from her board books capturing the smallest details of toddler life to her witty and sophisticated illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Distinguished children’s book critic Leonard S. Marcus takes reader’s behind the scenes of Oxenbury’s life as he recounts the major moments which mark out her career of such exceptional originality and sets it firmly within the publishing context of the period. The wealth of Oxenbury’s exquisite illustrations that have been reproduced in the highest possible quality make it a book that gives hours of enjoyment and inspiration.
Adapted for a younger readership from the author’s celebrated adult book of the same name, this illustrated history of the Silk Roads, bound in a majestic gold and blue package, is the perfect present for fledging historians. The book’s journey leads armchair adventurers along thrilling, far-reaching roads, taking in the history of ancient Persia, Constantinople, Rome, Attila the Hun, the emergence of Islam, Viking slavery, Genghis Khan, Columbus - and more - from a holistic perspective. “You might even think of the Silk Roads as the world’s central nervous system, linking all the organs of the body together”, the author suggests in the introduction, and his engaging exploration of the interplay between politics, science, religion and trade certainly gives this book far greater tang than your standard textbook. Indeed, generously spiced with exquisite illustrations and maps that inform as they enthrall, young history buffs will undoubtedly devour this pitch-perfect treasure, and grown-ups will get much from it too.
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | Author of the Year, British Book Awards 2018 | | Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | More than two decades after Northern Lights the first book of Pullman’s world-famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which has sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages comes, La Belle Sauvage, the first volume in his 'The Book of Dust' series. #BookofDust will return to the parallel world that has enthralled readers young and old. La Belle Sauvage is set 10 years before Northern Lights and centres on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, dæmons, and the Magisterium all return to play their part. Since the ‘equel’ (as Pullman likes it to be known) to His Dark Materials was announced, fans around the globe have cheered the return of Lyra Belacqua, heroine of His Dark Materials. In a short film released by his publisher, Pullman revealed the ingredient for success behind His Dark Materials: Lyra’s ordinariness. He says: “When I wrote the first book of His Dark Materials - Northern Lights - I certainly didn't anticipate that so many people would find Lyra as interesting a character as I did.” “The thing about Lyra is that she's not a special child. She's not especially gifted or talented - she's a very ordinary child. When I was a teacher, I taught many girls who were like Lyra. They were brave, inquisitive, curious, disobedient: all those interesting things for storytellers. I think the reason that people have read this long and complicated story is because they're with Lyra. She doesn't know the things that are threatening her and she's in the same position as the reader, because the reader shares her sense of danger and excitement and curiosity about what's going to happen next. I hope the same thing will be true of Malcolm in La Belle Sauvage.” A Piece of Passion from Francesca Dow, Managing Director, Penguin Random House Children’s (UK): “La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One is a story for our time, with themes that resonate with our world today. It is a story for everybody: a much longed-for treat for established fans of His Dark Materials as they meet Lyra Belacqua again and the chance for new readers to step into the magical world of Philip Pullman for the first time. Pullman is a master storyteller, and Lyra has established herself firmly as one of the most-loved characters in literature, a worthy contemporary of the likes of Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series), Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games). In this book, she is joined by a new hero readers will love: an ordinary boy who steps up to the challenge of a lifetime.” Photo credit: Philip Pullman at a press conference held in Convocation House to launch his new novel La Belle Sauvage. © Ant Upton_Photocall Productions.
This classic quest story is perfect for animal-loving adventure-seekers, replete with a kaleidoscope of characters and a high-stake journey driven by the colossal courage of one small creature. Byx is the lowliest member of her dwindling dairne pack, a mythical doglike species that’s on the verge of being hunted to extinction. While she was “used to being last”, she “did not want to be the last to live”. She “did not want to be the endling” of the dairnes and so when she finds herself alone, indomitable Byx embarks on a perilous quest to find others of her kind, encountering new allies as she braves war-ravaged lands. The writing is pacey and infused with much courage, compassion and hope, and a sparkling sense of legend. This is a heartily nourishing novel for 9+ year-olds with a thirst for fantasy, and readers who love animals and nature.
November 2018 Book of the Month | Wonder was a sensation when it was first published in 2012, and the story of Auggie and his fight to be accepted as a normal boy has now hit the big screen in a movie starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Daveed Diggs, and Mandy Patinkin. This is a special film tie-in edition. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, Wonder is a book you'll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page. This is a wonderful debut from a storyteller with a great future if this book is anything to go by and her characters are intensely likeable.
The Wizarding World journey continues . . . The powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most of whom are unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second screenplay in a five-film series to be written by J.K. Rowling, author of the internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Set in 1927, a few months after the events of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and moving from New York to London, Paris and even back to Hogwarts, this story of mystery and magic reveals an extraordinary new chapter in the wizarding world. Illustrated with stunning line art from MinaLima with some surprising nods to the Harry Potter stories that will delight fans of both the books and films.
She’s back - Tracy Beaker, star of the dumping ground and daydreamer extraordinaire, and what a joy that is! She may be grown up and with a daughter of her own, Jess, but she’s still our Tracy: generous, quick to lose her temper but just as quick to apologise, always hoping for the best and coping with the worst. Life with Tracy is all highs and lows, and it’s wonderfully described by Jess – the new boyfriend who seems set to make Tracy’s dreams come true, the special relationship between mother and daughter, and their version of happy ever after. Funny, touching, true, the story will appeal to Tracy Beaker fans old and new.
In a sleepy Old Vicarage in deepest Kent, Frank Hinks is preparing his three young sons, Julius, Alexander and Benjamin for bed, but as the sun goes down in Shoreham the adventures are just beginning in the riotous world called Ramion that Frank creates for the boys in his nail-biting bedtime stories... ...In which the boys and their warrior Dream-Lord cat Snuggle have wild escapades and meet all sorts of strange creatures from Racing Racoons and the half demented rabbit Scrooey-Looey to Eric the Dragon and his son Drago.
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. ~ Andrea Reece
November 2018 Book of the Month | Max Einstein is a genius; aged 12 she’s already enrolled herself at university, where she’s careful to score perfect Cs in every test (she doesn’t want to stand out). She’s also an orphan who lives in a squat. Two very different groups of people have plans for Max though – the CMI (Change Makers Institute) and the equally mysterious but far more sinister Corp. Whisked away to study with other super-brainy kids, she’s challenged to bring about real change for good. The spirit of Einstein runs through this – it’s endorsed by the Einstein Archives – and in particular his belief that the imagination is more important than knowledge. Max uses her imagination and compassion together to dream up ways to improve the world. If anyone’s going to save the planet it will have to be the next generation, and this book could be the inspiration they need. As with lots of Patterson’s children’s books, this is smart, funny and fast moving, with real heart beneath the slick packaging.
This fascinating book tells the true stories of more than 100 inventive, positive young people who dreamed big and somehow changed the world for the better. It’s divided into seven sections: STEM, film and music, the environment, sports, business, art and literature, and politics. Some of those featured will already be well known to readers, for example, Mark Zuckerberg, Taylor Swift, Malala Yousafzai, but most of the others won’t be, yet all the stories are equally inspiring because they prove that with good ideas, determination and dedication, young people really can make a difference. Best of all it includes practical suggestions on how children can be heroes in their everyday lives. Full colour illustrations make it even more appealing and attractive.
Amy Wilson continues to make her mark as an author of sparklingly original fantasy adventures for the young, and Snowglobe makes magical reading. Clementine’s mother disappeared when she was just two, and now ten years later, Clem is a shy, lonely girl, bullied at school for some unpindownable otherness. Wandering alone through the small town where she and her father live, she discovers a strange old house, and in it an even stranger woman. In rooms filled with enchanted snowglobes Clem makes a friend, and is offered the chance to bring back her mother too, if she is brave enough. A story of spells and sibling rivalries, of embracing who you are no matter what others think, and as much about loyalty, steadfastness and love as The Snow Queen or Tam Lin, this story will envelop readers in its beautiful icy world.
Set in a land evocative of Russian folk tales, a land frozen in a “winter that came and never left”, this atmospheric adventure swirls with middle grade magic. Three sisters and their brother are parentless in a wintry wilderness when a mysterious man appears. A stranger who doesn’t sink into the snow as others do. A stranger who jokes that Oskar must be cursed to have three sisters. Soon after, Oskar vanishes, as do the other boys of their village, and Mila is convinced that he’s been taken by the fabled bear of her Papa’s tales, and so she bravely ventures north, desperate to find him beyond the winter world they’re bound in. Elaborately embroidered with lyrical conjurations of landscape, and a sense of grief and sorrow, above all else this exudes sisterly strength and comes recommended for fans of traditional tales, and those who enjoyed The Wolf Wilder.
Divided into seasons, and woven through with Zoe's own stories and memories, this book reveals her favourite events - big or small - throughout the year and how to celebrate them in style. From practical ideas for how to feed your guests and hacks for unexpected get-togethers to simple but impressive DIYs and those personal touches people will remember, Cordially Invited is Zoe's blueprint for making an event and a memory out of each day.
The history of rock is chronicled through forty world-famous artists and groups in this stylishly designed and illustrated book. It begins with Elvis Presley, whirls through the psychedelic 60s and the protest songs of the 70s, then via glam rock and reggae takes us into the punk era, new wave and hip hop, leaving us with Beyoncé and Arcade Fire. It’s clearly a personal choice (Blur but not Oasis? And where are the queens of soul and disco?) but covers a huge range of styles and movements, and gives a real sense of the evolution of popular music. Each artist has a double page and they are represented via stylish, graphic illustrations accompanied by useful captions – dotted lines lead from Bob Dylan’s head to the words ‘Politically engaged’, while Elvis’s hips are labelled ‘provocative’. Fun, stylish and informative.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | The horrors of World War One and the huge demands it made on the young men who fought in it are explored in this thought-provoking and moving ghost story. It’s the end of the war but Tony and his mother have no reason to celebrate: Tony’s big brother Charlie was killed in France, shot by his own side as a deserter. His mother is heartbroken, but few of their neighbours are sympathetic and indeed, Tony’s old teacher presents him with a white feather. Tony can’t believe Charlie would run away and when he receives a final coded letter from his brother determines to find out what really happened. Economically told, this is a powerful story that raises issues of courage and responsibility.
Packed with fabulous photos and page after page of facts, stories and behind-the-scenes information on the making of the films, this is a treat for any Harry Potter devotee. Life at Hogwarts is its theme and it gives us close ups of school life, from the sorting ceremony to the teachers and lessons, and the school ghosts. It’s a fun way to test your knowledge of the Harry Potter world, while the information on how the scenes, props and costumes were created is fascinating. Little extras including a page of stickers and packs of pull out postcards make it even more fun.
November 2018 Book of the Month | The weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit the Harry Potter universe are a huge part of its appeal, fascinating fans or sending shivers down their spines. This book features some of the most amazing, including those that live in the Forbidden Forest and the Dark Lake, the dark creatures, and – of course – the dragons. Interspersed between pages of illustration and photographs, alongside information on how the creatures were created for the films, are beautiful, three dimensional dioramas, delicate layered paper cut-outs creating scenes of excitement and adventure, that themselves feel genuinely magical. A very handsome book.
Best known for his action-packed Alex Rider series, Anthony Horowitz is also a master of the macabre, as evidenced by these ten terrifying tales. Take the gruesome opener, “Bet Your Life”, that sees 16-year-old Danny participate in the finale of a TV quiz show in which there’s much more at stake than the multimillion pound prize. Other sources of shock include the sinister sat nav in a stolen BMW, a rogue Robo-Nanny, a monumentally messed-up French exchange, and a deeply disturbing incarnation of eBay on which people bid to buy humans. Then there’s the centrepiece of “Are You Sitting Comfortably?”, a monstrous massage chair that serves a generous helping of just desserts to an exploitative stepdad. The stories are sharply crafted, and the writing wryly amusing, with “Note from the Chairman of Walker Books” providing a deliciously dark denouement, and added in-the-know gallows humour to those in the children’s book world. This is a tense, twisted, treat for fans of frightsome fiction, with the bite-sized narrative bursts making it ideal for reluctant readers.
Readers first met Louisiana Elefante in Kate DiCamillo’s unforgettable Raymie Nightingale, now she has her own story, and what a tale it is. Louisiana has always believed that her parents were high wire stars, killed in an accident when she was very young, but driven by terrible toothache and an urge to come to terms with her own past, her granny suddenly reveals that everything Louisiana knows about her life is a lie. Abandoned in a motel miles from her old home in Florida, Louisiana is left to decide who she wants to be. She is befriended by a boy called Burke Allen and his family including his seventeen cake baking mother, and the kindness of strangers helps her to new happiness and security. A story of grief and confusion becomes one of love, hope and resilience. DiCamillo writes with extraordinary sensitivity and perception, and readers of all ages will be touched and moved by Louisiana’s story. Readers who enjoy this book should also read The Road to Ever After by Moira Young.
Lively and cannily told, this rollicking adventure mixes sci-fi, fantasy and ancient mythology. Aidan and his mum have a secret, a very unusual one: she is part dragon, able to breathe fire and with sharp, scaly claws for fingers. They’ve managed to keep this hidden, but just after Aidan has started school after years of home-schooling, someone finds out and Mum is kidnapped. With the help of his new friend Charlotte, Aidan sets out to rescue her. It turns out Mum is in real danger, along with some other unusual prisoners… The mix of ordinary life and fantasy is very well handled, and the narrative – mostly handled by Aidan but with interjections from Charlotte, and a mysterious third voice – will keep everyone on tenterhooks.
Bart self-describes as boring – in a school full of high-achieving middle-schoolers, he only stands out because he’s so dull. But if that’s so, how come his story involves bizarre creatures, last-minute escapes, daring computer hacks, double crosses, and even the threat of total global destruction? The only way to find out is to read it… No-one knows more about the creation of unputdownable fiction than James Patterson, and this is another sure-fire hit combining sharply observed school life with computer game action and surprisingly touching family dynamics. Boring it ain’t, and despite the easy-reading feel there’s lots to get kids thinking as they race through the pages.
STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are important to all aspects of our lives, from construction to space exploration, from the digital world to caring for the natural one. Here are 40 quick, easy to access STEM activities that can be done just as easily at home as at school; you don’t need to be an expert to carry them out, and yes, they really do take just 15 minutes. They are all hands on and will encourage curiosity, for example, experimenting with soap bubbles explains tensile structure, Newton’s third law of motion is demonstrated using a balloon and some bits of cardboard, while you can find out about kinetic energy while making a catapult. Practical, fun and instructive.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | | Best friends Molly and Beth have a very special power: they can time travel! When Molly’s dad comes to live nearby, the girls realise that he is very lonely. He doesn’t see his only brother and he flatly refuses to have any kind of pet. How can the girls help him? Going back in time to the 1970s, Molly and Beth try to find out something from the past that can help them to cheer Dad up. Arriving at the time of Dad’s childhood they find that much was very different in the 1970s – cassettes for playing music, unfamiliar groups like The Bay City Rollers, some very weird hairstyles and clothes and no mobile phones! They also find out the misunderstanding when they were little boys that explains why Dad and his brother aren’t friends. A great new adventure for Molly and Beth who previously appeared in Time After Time and Stand By Me.
Scottish islands have provided the background for some great adventures recently, from Geraldine McCaughrean's Carnegie winner Where the World Ends to Julia Green's To the Edge of the World and Kerr Thomson's The Sound of Whales. Barbara Henderson takes readers to just such a remote island and stages a tense and exciting confrontation between humanity - represented by the narrator, Em, her family and others involved in the creation of a new luxury hotel - and nature, represented by the island's furred and feathered inhabitants. There's a very good sense of the wild and scary power of the natural world, and it puts human behaviour in the spotlight too. Em is a strong central character, a good companion for readers throughout her intriguing, often scary adventure.
What an interesting and original way to think about important people! This book picks out fifty men and women from different centuries and continents and gives them ‘awards’ for their achievements. Most get very specific awards just for them – Einstein for example gets the Curiosity Award – but there are categories too: the Brilliant Idea Awards recognise Isaac Newton as well as Sejong the Great who created the Korean alphabet. All sorts of people feature from David Bowie and Simon Bolivar to J.K. Rowling and Ana Nzinga. Most are represented with full page portraits opposite smaller pictures showing scenes from their lives. A useful timeline at the back puts everyone in their place chronologically. Here are stories to entertain as well as inform, and maybe to inspire too.
Stylish and artfully designed, this book is jam-packed with enough information on the Greek gods and heroes to satisfy even the most inquisitive reader. Forty different characters, from Gaia, Cronus and Zeus to Electra, Achilles and Odysseus, are featured on double page spreads; boxes of text tell their stories with impressive brevity, while extra gobbets of information are conveyed via shorter text boxes or in captions that accompany the stylised, colour illustrations. It’s a book that encourages browsing, while simultaneously making clear the timeline and interconnectedness of the various gods and heroes. This is the latest in an eye-catching and effect series.
The thirteenth instalment in the bestselling DORK DIARIES series, now with over 30 million books in print! OMG! Nikki's birthday party is going to be beyond awesome! Her BFFs are planning a SUPERcool pool party, with a cake, a DJ, and the perfect invitations. Organizing a big party for one hundred people is easy, right? UMMM wrong! When Mom says it's too expensive, soon it's looking like Nikki's dream party will be a total dorky disaster - cringe! Can Nikki and her BFFs come up with a plan to save the day, or will there be major birthday drama?!
October 2018 Book of the Month | This is a reinvention of the most radiant, vital kind; an inspirational re-working of The Twelve Dancing Princesses to devour over and over, and to share aloud. Following the death of his wife, Queen Laurelia, King Alberto “became the sort of person who ate a whole cake without offering anyone else a slice, and who punished his girls for things that weren’t their fault at all.” While Queen Laurelia had “been the one watching them, nurturing their imaginations, their educations”, the King takes away his daughters’ freedoms in the name of keeping them safe. The palace is transformed into a tomb, and “only melancholy was allowed to illuminate the girls’ days”. But brave, clever Frida stands up to her father. “This isn’t fair, and you know it,” she protests. “You cannot tell us how to grieve”. And then, with the grace and strength of a lioness and the potency of her imagination, Frida leads her sisters in a fight to re-find life. The writing pirouettes with the lithe power of a devoted dancer, with Angela Barrett’s elegant illustrations in perfect accord. What a sumptuous, stirring celebration of sisterhood this is.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 Former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman tells a gripping adventure story of a school trip that goes horribly wrong. Sam longs to go on the school trip to the Highlands but he is sure his parents will say no as he has a long term sickness - sickle cell disease – which means he needs to be looked after carefully. When they surprisingly say yes, Sam is thrilled. But his delight soon turn to fear as he realises that the class bullies are planning something that is designed to humiliate him but which will end up putting them all at risk. How Sam deals with the bullies, including showing incredible courage in rescuing one from real danger, and how he deals with his own illness with another kind of bravery is all brilliantly captured in Malorie Blackman’s vivid drama.
October 2018 Book of the Month | | Susin Nielsen’s new novel features unforgettable central characters, and is beautifully written; her ear for dialogue – young teen to teen, young teen to parent, young teen to emergency services – pitch perfect. Despite being a story of homelessness and poverty, it will leave readers cheered and thoroughly reassured about the strength and resilience of the human spirit. Twelve-year old Felix lives with his mother Astrid, only rarely seeing his dad. Astrid has a flexible attitude to truth and Felix has developed a chart to measure the lies she tells as they navigate their lives. These range from ‘the invisible lie’, through the ‘no-one gets hurt’ to the biggest, the ‘someone might lose an eye’ lie. As they struggle to cope living in a (stolen) camper van, Astrid uses her panoply of lies to the full and Felix reluctantly goes along with it, ready to support his mother even when it’s really difficult. Nielsen gives him good friends, and a talent for memorising facts, both of which help to set up a better future for him. Both painful and funny, this is a book that will have readers alternatively shouting at its central characters, and cheering them on.
October 2018 Book of the Month | | The dazzlingly brilliant Chris Riddell brings his magical illustration talents to J.K. Rowling's gloriously inventive The Tales of Beedle the Bard in a fully illustrated colour edition of this essential classic for Harry Potter fans. Full of magic and trickery, these classic tales both entertain and instruct, and remain as captivating to young wizards today as they were when Beedle first put quill to parchment in the fifteenth century. A world of magical adventure awaits! Visit Bloomsbury's Harry Potter website for magical downloads, games, videos, and more Harry Potter fun!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | | Award winning Hilary McKay tells a captivating and deeply moving story of three young people growing up in the years before and during World War One. How their lives were totally changed by the War, how what really happened to the soldiers could never be talked about and how a girl like Clarry suddenly had opportunities because of the war are all touched on in a story that is also about universal adolescent relationships and the timeless concerns of being a teenager. Following their mother’s death at her birth, Clarry and her older brother Peter live a joyless life with their gloomy father. The pair live for their summer holidays in Cornwall with their grandparents which they share with their older cousin Rupert. Here, the trio are free to be themselves and to begin to break away from the constraints of family expectations. When war is declared Rupert enlists: his family is horrified and Clarry and Peter are left trying to work out where he might be, how they themselves should react to the war and, above all, whether Rupert is safe. Hilary McKay has a rare gift for novels about families and their interplay. Here, she weaves her story round one of the most powerful backdrops in history. And she does so with the lightest of touch which makes her history come alive.
October 2018 Debut of the Month | | Karolina is a living doll who’s been transported from the Land of the Dolls on a “kind wind” following a cruel war with the rats. She wakes “in her new world with a glass heart”, in the workshop of a dollmaker in Krakow, Poland. When Karolina speaks to him, the Dollmaker is certain that he’s lost his mind. He made her, after all, “and I can’t make something that comes to life,” he reasons. But Karolina explains that “gardeners do it all the time with flowers”. Through shimmering, lyrical language, and Karolina’s consummate compassion, we are witness to a transformation in the crotchety widower Dollmaker. He begins to smile, to make friends, to feel light and hope. And then, when darkness descends on their city in the form of the Nazis, together they must use their newfound magic to save their friends, no matter what. The author does not shirk from relating the brutal realities of the Jewish experience in Nazi-occupied Poland, yet the overriding message is one of hope and love, and the wondrousness of acts of kindness. This is a sublimely big-souled book, with an exquisite ambiance of timelessness.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | Illustrator and author Chris Riddell has created a rich anthology of poems from the past to the present all of which have a special meaning for him. Grouping them under headings including ‘Musings’, ‘Youth’, ‘Imaginings’, ‘Nature’ and ‘Endings’ he has added an illustration to each often giving an insight into his own reading of it. Passages from Shakespeare and classic poems such as John Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale and Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky sit comfortably alongside contemporary poems such as Rachel Rooney’s The Language of Cat and Jackie Kay’s Something Rhymed while the inclusion of the words of Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne and Nick Cave’s Love Letter adds a refreshing fresh touch.
This informative armchair guide will have readers on their feet and itching to try new activities. It features more than 60 different sports, in nine different sections: ball sports, racket sports, athletics and gymnastics, plus water sports, motor sports, target sports and combat sports, with a final section on sporting events rounding up anything left out, such as cycling, skiing and show-jumping. Entries tell you everything you need to know, with general descriptions, explanations of the rules, kit and positions, plus interesting facts. Bright bold illustrations, rather than photographs, fill the pages with life and movement making each spread really attractive to look at. It explains why humans value sports so much for being about play, teamwork and taking part. It reminds us too that sport doesn’t discriminate, something born out in the text and illustrations, which feature men and women from all backgrounds, able-bodied and Paralympians alike. Champion!
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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