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The books in this section have been given a primary age range of 7+. At 7 most children are ready to move to chapter books that have a wider range of characters and situations, with more challenging vocabulary but well illustrated. The books in this section are suitable for 7-8+ The books in this section might also be given a secondary age range. Some will be suitable to 5+ year olds reading above their age and the content will be interesting and relevant to a 5 year old. Where indicated, 9 year olds reading below their age will also find these books suitable.
A wonderful introduction to how a modern place somewhere in the UK will have been created over the centuries, this beautiful picture book cleverly records the history of a place as it would look from the perspective of an oak tree. Oaks are famous for the exceptional number of years that they live and their permanence makes an interesting contrast to how frequently humans change the landscape. “I first was an acorn, so tiny and round,/I fell from a branch and sank into the ground./ Then as I grew up, I turned into a tree…/ over hundreds of years! So, what did I see?” Taken together, the simple rhyming text matched by beautiful and carefully detailed illustrations offer a delightful history lesson. The book ends with a useful timeline: "What was happening in the world while the oak tree grew?". It comes right up to the present with the spreading of the Covid-19 virus!
January 2021 Book of the Month | Written and illustrated by Jion Sheibani, Sohal Finds a Friend is a sweet side-splitting story that will provide much comfort to little worriers as they enjoy an adventure in the company of an endearing boy and his furry friends. It’s a brilliant way to help children understand their anxieties and express themselves - think Pixar’s Inside Out in book form. Sohal is one of life’s worriers and dreads bedtime, when “the darkness would grow and grow, until it filled every part of his body”. His dad’s suggestion of calm breathing doesn’t help, and his mum’s suggestion of counting sheep is useless too, for in Sohal’s mind they’re transformed into mutant alien sheep fleeing a giant robot wolf! But everything changes when he draws the monsters that plague him and…THEY COME TO LIFE! With Hurt, Fail, Anger, Big, and Alone for company, Sohal’s attention is diverted to worrying about them - what will everyone at school think? – but it’s not long before The Worries help him understand and control his own worries, while providing a whole lot of fun. Funny, with thoughtful themes that foster off-the-page dialogue, this is a warm-hearted winner for 5+ year-olds. You can find more books on this theme in our Anxiety & Wellbeing collection.
January 2021 Book of the Month | The latest instalment of P G Bell’s Train to Impossible Places delivers its dose of excitement and adventure impeccably (as you’d expect in a book starring some of the most efficient and dedicated postal operatives you could ever hope to meet). In previous episodes, as crew member of the Impossible Postal Express, Suzy has befriended ghosts, battled a giant robot and saved an entire city from destruction. Now, in spite of the best efforts of her parents, who know what’s been going on and are, understandably, more than a little worried, she’s back on board with another challenging delivery to make: a book needs to be returned to its library. This being the Impossible Places, that’s a lot less simple and a lot more magical than it sounds, and the task will see Suzy sucked into a void storm, trapped at the bottom of the ocean - and almost eaten by a giant frog. PG Bell’s books overflow with invention and thrills and I defy anyone not to want to climb onboard with Suzy and her extraordinary friends. By the end of the story, our own world has been made just a bit more magical, and readers will feel that too as they close the book. Fans of trains and magical adventures will also enjoy Lev Grossman’s The Silver Arrow. Read more about The Train to Impossible Places series!
January 2021 Book of the Month | Everyone struggles to cope with their emotions, but it’s especially difficult for young children who often lack the vocabulary to express how they are feeling, even to themselves. Fearne Cotton is both a mum and a champion of mental health and wellbeing and her book cleverly provides children with practical ways to learn about their feelings and through that to understand why they feel the way they do, and to deal with emotions such as anger, sadness and anxiety. It does this through fun and engaging interactive exercises, which allow children to be creative and to play even as they work out what’s going on in their heads. It’s a book that very many parents will welcome and it will be a real boost for lots of children. Congratulations to Fearne Cotton for the lightness of touch she brings, and for keeping it all so friendly and accessible. Other useful books in this area include the new Happy Healthy Minds series edited by Alain de Botton for The School of Life, and for children even younger, we recommend Eva Eland’s award winning When Sadness Comes to Call and the follow up Where Happiness Begins. And you can also find a selection of books, to help build confidence and self-esteem, here.
January 2021 Debut of the Month | Alston is a debut author who looked in vain for a hero or heroine who looked like him in fantasy novels – and this delivers and so much more too. Amari is a child who attends a posh school on a scholarship – but really finds it hard to fit in and avoid the bullies. Her mother is a hard-working health worker, and her brother Quinton is missing – his disappearance seems be the root of Amari’s difficulties. As the holidays approach Amari receives an invitation via a mysterious messenger to be considered for something (at this stage unexplained) – by attending an interview. From here on the story becomes a hugely imaginative, funny and compelling adventure. Magic and mystery flow thick and fast from this point on – as Amari takes her chances to prove herself and to start finding out what happened to her brother. The story takes you through the development of some close and lasting friendships, against some awful magical bullies and monsters, to an exciting and nail-biting adventurous conclusion, though it leaves a possible opening for more books about Amari in future. A wonderful fun adventure addition to every child's bookshelf and any school library looking for more representation across all it’s genres.
P.G. Bell’s debut The Train to Impossible Places established him as a writer of hugely exciting, inventive and satisfying adventure, and its sequel, The Great Brain Robbery, is just as good, if not even better. Once again 11-year-old Suzy is aboard the Impossible Postal Express tearing through the fantastical realms that make up the Union of Impossible Places, and this time it’s a do or die mission to save Trollville from a thoroughly nasty villain. Suzy is much more at home now with fuzzics, the strange mix of science and magic that lies at the heart of troll technology, though there are still some fabulous surprises in store for her and readers. Adventure doesn’t come more exciting or entertaining, and this is one train young readers really mustn’t miss. Read more about The Train to Impossible Places series!
January 2021 Debut of the Month | Some readers will already be familiar with robot Freddy, who stars in Neill Cameron’s Mega Robo Bros cartoon strip, but everyone will find masses to enjoy in this new series. Freddy’s robot superpowers include the ability to fly, use lasers and super-strength but none of these talents are appreciated by the teachers at the primary school he attends and indeed, after he accidentally flies through the staffroom window, the head introduces a robotic code of conduct which forbids all of the above, with a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ penalty clause too. Freddy tries, he really does, but it’s not easy being the only robot in his class. Plus, his friend Fernando has lots of ideas for games that lead to trouble, and then when the two fall out, Freddy finds himself partnered with someone who instigates even more bad behaviour. The inevitable third strike comes at the school’s Project Outcome Evening but Freddy gets one amazing last chance to put his Awesome Robotic Abilities to the use for which they were intended. This action-packed story is wildly funny and school life brilliantly well observed (I love Freddy’s long-suffering human parents too). Through it all, Freddy is learning about himself and his friends, and readers will be too. With cartoon illustrations by Cameron on every page even the most reluctant reader will race through this. Superb! David Almond’s latest book Brand New Boy also uses a robot story to explore ideas of understanding, acceptance and human nature.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2021 | The story of the brilliant scientist Marie Curie, the chemist/ physicist who made life saving discovery in medicine and won the Nobel Prize for her work has long been an inspiration to all budding scientists. Marie Curie overcame much prejudice against women scientists to succeed as she did and, in doing so, opened the doors for future generations of women. But Marie Curie had another important role as an inspiration to future generations: she was the mother of two scientists who also grew up to become women scientists in their own right. This rounded life of Marie Curie and her daughters is beautifully realised in words and pictures by sisters Imogen and Isobel Greenberg in a book that will encourage all readers to take bold steps in life.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | The fragility of life underpins this heart-warming story from the start. Louie was born prematurely “a pitiful, scrawny, struggling thing”. Newcomer Nora lost a premature baby brother and this experience has left her anxious and slow to trust. The two children bond over Winslow, a frail orphaned baby donkey, not expected to survive, whom Louie adopts despite his poor track record with saving bugs, worms or goldfish. For both, saving the adorable Winslow helps them to feel less powerless about underlying anxieties, such as Louie’s fears for his beloved brother serving in the army who now signs his infrequent letters “remember me”. Carnegie medal winning Creech packs a real emotional punch into so few words of beautifully spare prose. This short novel would be an ideal read aloud with delightfully humorous scenes as Winslow grows stronger (and louder) as well as great pathos and a dramatic and satisfying climax. It is set in an unspecified past and would be a wonderful companion read to Charlotte’s Web or Eva Ibbotson’s One Dog and His Boy and is as deserving of classic status.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | You might think that this story is going to be an intergalactic adventure filled with UFOs, black holes, killer robots and some very foul-smelling aliens. And you'd be right. But it's mostly about a boy called Jake, his embarrassing dad, and the mind-boggling question . . . are we really alone in the universe? An out-of-this-world adventure publishing the day before David Bowie’s birthday, Space Oddity combines science, laughs and heart (or in Jake’s dad’s case, two of them) in a new younger story from acclaimed author Christopher Edge.
Following the success of her debut book How to be Extraordinary, which focused on inspiring children to be the very best that they can be, this important companion title shows the impact of people working together and what results they can thereby achieve. Once again this demonstrates that the author has a real gift for narrative nonfiction making these true stories really come to life with the selection of salient facts and lucid explanations setting the scene and explaining the issues so very clearly. The fifteen stories range from the origins of democracy in Ancient Greece and the mystery of just how the skilled workers of Ancient Egypt built The Great Pyramid to famous and not so famous campaigns for change. So alongside Greenpeace and Save the Whale we have the lesser known Tree Planters of Pipilantre and as well as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, we have the Singing Revolution in Estonia and as well as the Anti- Slavery Campaign we have the 1965 Freedom Ride campaigning for justice for indigenous people in Australia. There is also an obvious care taken to ensure the examples are as international as possible so the campaign for voting equality for women is not solely focused on the UK. The lively layout and illustrations make this an irresistible text for library browsers with appeal across many ages and the quality of the writing makes it one that would read aloud very well. Highly recommended.
Hope Jones is a smart 10-year-old who is determined to save the world. She’s already persuaded her family to change their shopping habits, now she wants them to turn vegetarian. And not just her family – Hope sets her sights on making her school cut out meat too. Winning her classmates round is one thing, the school dinner ladies quite another. The more Hope tries to change things, the more complicated she realises it is, but armed with facts and information, plus a huge amount of passion, Hope is able to persuade people to alter their habits and to make a real difference at home and school. The story is told via Hope’s blog and it makes for sharp, lively, often very funny reading. Readers will be gripped by Hope’s campaign and will finish the book just as well informed as Hope and fully aware of how the choices we make every day affect the world. The story will set readers thinking about how democracies work too and should spark all sorts of conversations.
January 2021 Book of the Month | It is their headmistress, Mrs Bottomley-Blunt, who describes 4B (repeatedly) as the ‘worst class in the world’, and you can see why she does: even when they are made playground monitors, 4B just can’t seem to avoid causing mayhem and the most logical-sounding decisions (stay in the toilets all break to avoid getting into trouble) result in calamity, or as Mrs Bottomley-Blunt would have it, ‘a hoo-ha’. It’s the delicious combination of wrong decisions, sincerely taken, and the scale of the hoo-has caused that make the stories such fabulously entertaining reading. There are two self-contained episodes in each book and the speedy narration, cleverly placed repeating phrases, short chapters and wonderfully lively illustrations by Rikin Parekh, make them perfect for newly independent readers. They are such a treat to read aloud though, it would be a shame not to make this bedtime reading so that all the family can enjoy the fun. Pamela Butchart (Wigglesbottom Primary) and Matt Brown (Mutant Zombies Cursed my School Trip) also write extremely funny school-set stories that revel in mischief caused inadvertently.
Fly into a fiery and fantastical future with No. 1 bestselling author David Walliams, in an epic adventure of myth and legend, good and evil, and one small boy who must save the world… Illustrated by the artistic genius Tony Ross! It is 2120 and London is in ruins. The young Prince Alfred has never known a life outside Buckingham Palace – but when strange goings-on breach its walls and stalk the corridors in the dead of night, he is thrust into a world of mystery, adventure and monsters. And when his mother, the Queen, is dragged away to the Tower of London, Alfred must screw up his courage and battle to save her, himself… and the entire city. In a future of myths and legends, join the bestselling David Walliams and venture forth into his most enthralling tale yet!
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Perfectly-pitched for fans of funny fiction who are ready to move on from early chapter books, Bethany Walker has hit the spot with her debut, Chocolate Milk, X-Ray Specs and Me! This is the kind of book laughter-loving readers of seven upwards will become drawn into and pore over, exhilarated by the silliness of the fast-paced story and absorbed by the ultra-energetic medley of words, pictures and design. Jack Noel’s illustrations do a stupendous job of bringing the craziness to life, with a fine use of typefaces, doodles, postcards and newspaper clippings among the book’s visual features. And what of that craziness? Well, it’s all centred around ten-year-old Freddy who exchanges drama-laden letters with his mum and dad who he thinks are working at a Brussels sprouts farm. In fact, the truth is much crazier…Then there’s the super-strange happenings at school, plus Grandad’s X-ray specs and impending wedding. In Freddy’s words, “OH NO! I’ve just realized I’m going to have to watch Grandad and Mrs Allbright KISS at the registry office. That might be EVEN MORE yucky than sprouts!” What a brilliant blast of a book this is.
The grounds of a country house in the summer months of 1914 provide the setting for Emma Carroll’s spooky novella and she uses it to explore themes of growing understanding and the awful, looming threat of war. Brought together after an accident puts him temporarily into a wheelchair requiring someone to push it, Leo and Fran form an upstairs-downstairs friendship. Fran is unsettled by a series of strange, seemingly supernatural coincidences that seem to be warnings of things to come, while Leo is obsessed by events in Europe and what they may lead to. Their different worries merge in a deliciously spooky scene where the two young people encounter the ghosts of an Anglo-Saxon army, something they interpret as a warning of what is to come; sure enough, the story concludes with the announcement of World War I. Despite a sense of foreboding, we know that their friendship will endure and feel certain that, whatever happens, the future will hold good things for both. Emma Carroll is one of our foremost authors of historical fiction for children and creates a tangible sense of the tension of those summer months as well as an appealing, believable set of characters. Published by Barrington Stoke, the book is accessible to all readers, including those with dyslexia, and highly recommended.
The Boy Who Grew Dragons Book 5 | The Boy Who Sang with Dragons is the fifth and final book in this outstanding series and in it Tomas discovers the final pieces of information about the amazing dragons that grow in his grandad’s garden on their wonderful dragonfruit tree. But Tomas can’t help feeling upset when he realises that his friend Aura’s links with the dragons go back further than his. Could she really be the Queen of the Dragons? Fortunately, Grandad is on hand for a chat and as the two chew things over (literally – Grandad’s pockets are always full of toffees), Tomas realises there’s nothing to worry about. All these stories are full of magic, adventure and comedy and this is a triumphant finish to a series that gives young readers dragon-sized helpings of pleasure and fun.
Aldrin Adams discovers that he has the world's most unusual and secret SUPER-POWER: By eating very stinky cheese before bedtime, Aldrin can enter people's dreams and nightmares, and help them with their problems. The trouble is, Aldrin has problems of his own. Dad's not been himself since Mum died, their cheese shop (C'est Cheese!) is under threat of closure, and Aldrin's struggling at school. But things go from bad to worse when Aldrin realises something - or someone - is trying to steal his cheesy super power for their own evil plan for world domination! And this time, Aldrin might need more than the stinkiest of Bries to save the day!
Enter the hilarious world of Billie Upton Green . . . The start of an exciting new series full of Billie's laugh-out-loud observations and doodles! There is a new girl at Billie's school, and Billie takes it upon herself to show her around, teach her the Biscuit Laws, and remind her that yes, two women can get married (after all, Billie's mums' wedding is the event of the year). But then suspicion sets in. The new girl seems very close to Billie's best friend Layla. And doesn't she know a little too much about the latest big school heist - the theft of Mrs Robinson's purse...?
Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human he doesn't know WHAT to expect. Certainly not FLOWERS. Or BEES. And he couldn't have even imagined MUD. Luckily he's got Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. But Jilly has a problem. Her puppies are going to be given to new owners far away. She'll never see them again! Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor but he's got a nose for a story, and a great idea to help Jilly. What if the dogs of Puddle had a newspaper? STOP PRESS! A charming and hilarious new illustrated young fiction series about the things dogs get up to when their humans aren't looking, from the author of The Adventures of Pug series. Perfect for fans of Toto the Ninja Cat and The Secret Life of Pets.
The tiny Tindims are like the Borrowers-on-Sea, who turn our everyday rubbish into treasure. Mother-and-daughter duo, prizewinning Sally Gardner and Lydia Corry, create a fun new world of characters and adventures in their empowering new series for 5-8 year olds inspiring conservation and inventive ways to recycle. In their third adventure Ethel B Dina, who looks after the fish hospital and loves to sing, needs ten green, glass bottles to complete her musical Bottleramma. But she is surrounded by too many plastic bottles which do not make music. Join the Tindims in their glass bottle hunt and meet the Tindims explorer, Tiddledum. Printed in dyslexia-friendly font with pictures on every page and perfect for the reluctant reader, the Tindims show keen young ecologists how to help protect our planet for the future.
Welcome to Little Snoddington, where nothing is normal and every day is magic . . . Nine-year-old Alfie Blackstack's parents have met a very unfortunate end. Now he's living in the SUPER CREEPY Switherbroom Hall with his mad-haired Aunt Gertie and warty Aunt Zita. The thing is, Alfie's aunts aren't just weird - they're WITCHES! When the circus arrives in town Alfie makes his first ever friend, the FEARLESS Calypso Fagan. But when Calypso's little sister Nova disappears, they must face the TERRIFYING Head Witch in a race to find Nova and stop the next Witch War.
What do you see when you look up at the sky? It may seem like a big, empty space, but it's busier than you think. From clouds and stars, to birds, planes and everything in between - there's a whole sky to explore. Skygazing is a double-sided book full of incredible cross-curricular information, fun activities, and beautiful illustrated scenes to enjoy. Discover why the sky is blue, early experiments in flight, and how helicopters stay aloft, before flipping the book to read all about the night sky. Find out how to read the stars, spot the night's flying creatures and see the colours of the aurora borealis.
Clementine - though she is usually called Oiya (Oy, you) by her dreadful Aunt and Uncle – has dreams of a magic place she may have once known. Her only friend is the cat Gilbert (called Giblets by Aunt Vermillia and Uncle Rufus) as Clementine has a Cinderella-like existence working all day and then being locked away in the cellar at night. She glimpses the sky through looking up the chimney in her cellar, until one day she looks out of a window in the house and sees the magic place she has imagined… Then follows a great adventure through the Great Black City as Clementine miraculously escapes and tries to find her magic place. Clementine is a very determined little girl, many would have given up in her circumstances, but she knows she can fine her magic place. The book is a very tactile object, a lovely size for smaller hands as they get involved in this wonderful adventure. Black and white illustrations on virtually every page – Wormell is feted for his wood cuts and lino cuts – with a nod to the style of Gustav Doré, give this an authentic Dickensian feel. The generous illustrations paired with the fast-paced story make this a book children will enjoy reading for pleasure!
In this beautiful and charming book, artist Yevgenia Nayberg, an immigrant to New York herself, shows young readers the city she has fallen in love with. Cleverly portraying da Vinci's iconic subject as a world-weary, know-it-all, Nayberg takes readers on a tour of New York. Mona Lisa and Tag eat pizza in the Bronx, listen to jazz in Harlem, dance to salsa music on the High Line, and swim at Brighton Beach. As Mona Lisa says goodbye to her new friend, she-and the readers-come away with a profound appreciation of the city and its wonders.
From the bestselling author and rewilding pioneer Isabella Tree, When We Went Wild is a heartwarming, sustainably printed picture book about the benefits of letting nature take the lead, inspired by real-life rewilding projects. Nancy and Jake are farmers. They raise their cows and pigs, and grow their crops. They use a lot of big machines to help them, and spray a lot of chemicals to get rid of the weeds and the pests. That's what all good farmers do, isn't it? And yet, there is no wildlife living on their farm. The animals look sad. Even the trees look sad! One day, Nancy has an idea... what if they stopped using all the machines, and all the chemicals, and instead they went wild? The author's own experience of rewilding her estate at Knepp has influenced conservation techniques around the world that are bringing nature back to the countryside and bringing threatened species back from the brink.
Mina Mistry, primary school pupil and would-be private investigator, is back and ready to tackle another criminal case, assisted as ever by her best friend (and toy), Mr Panda. The new mystery concerns pets, specifically missing pets. First, her friend Holly’s hamster Harriet disappears, then Danny’s toad, then all the animals from the local petshop. What, or even who, could be behind the thefts and why? You can rely on Mina to solve the puzzle! The mystery is convincing and Mina’s accounts both of her detecting and ordinary school life always very lively. It’s an entertaining and readable adventure with just the right mix of real life and Scooby Doo style meddling! If pint-sized detectives are your thing, look out too for Stephan Pastis’ brilliant Timmy Failure books and Serena Patel’s new Anisha Accidental Detective series.
February 2021 Debut of the Month | A heart-warming and magical story of a very special relationship between a child and a polar bear which will inspire readers of all ages to realise that they, like April, can make a difference in the battle against climate change. When animal loving April arrives on Bear Island in the Arctic Circle where she will live for the next six months while her father runs the scientific operations she is told that, despite the island’s name, there are no bears on it. The melting ice caps mean that the polar bears can no longer arrive from the nearest mainland near Svalbard. But April soon finds out that there is one bear left. And April needs to do everything she can to keep him alive. Confident of her ability to communicate with the bear and to feed him, April nourishes the bear and even plans his return to safety. Beautifully illustrated by Levi Pinfold, The Last Bear invites readers to care about the science behind the fate of an endangered species and to believe in one girl’s magical solution to the problem. **The images and illustrations in this extract are subject to copyright © Levi Pinfold and may not be used without permission.
Getting lost in a book is one of the great delights of childhood.