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The books in this section have been given a primary age range of 9+. At 9 most children are independently reading and fact or fiction make equally good choices as part of a growing reading repertoire. Whether it’s taking off on a high fantasy where new worlds open up endless possibilities, or giving serious consideration to important ecological issues, reading at this stage grows opinions and ideas. The books in this section are suitable for 9-10+ The books in this section might also be given a secondary age range. Some are suitable for 7+ year olds reading above their age. Where indicated, less confident 11+ readers will enjoy the stories. Non-Fiction in this section is often fascinating and educational to a wider age range.
May 2022 Debut of the Month | Dealing with big emotions, bravery, bullying and harnessing an extraordinary gift to “make people’s lives that bit better”, Ellie Clements’ The Wondrous Prune is a heartfelt joy. Readers will be moved by adorable Prune’s magical, courageous superhero-esque quest. Talented artist Prune and her big brother Jesse have just moved into her grandparents’ old house with their mum, which means starting at a new school, where the horrid, bullying Vile-let girls make her life miserable. This move also heralds the start of Prune’s incredible gift — whenever she feels big emotions, incredible colours swirl before her eyes. What’s more, if she focuses on her emotions while drawing, her images come to life! When her gift starts to make mayhem, Prune sets about learning to control it, and realises that “there was a lot of good I could do with my power”. This becomes all the more pressing when a bully leads Jesse off the rails, and it falls to the Wondrous Prune to harness her talent to save the day.
May 2022 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Ending with a call to readers to change the world, this handsomely illustrated book tells the story of the first Greek gods. We see it all from the viewpoint of Gaia, the goddess who created the world as a beautiful, peaceful place only to watch in anguish as her husband and then her children squabble, fight and even infect the mortals with their greed and jealousy. The stories are full of drama - Cronos swallowing his children, the gods of Olympus battling giants - and the book also describes the creation of the Furies and the Fates, giving us a different view of them. Told via a striking graphic novel format, it’s a visual treat while the direct, straight to reader text is very engaging. Much more than an introduction to early Greek myths, it will make readers see the world and their role in it differently.
First published in Ukraine in 2017, Maya and Her Friends tells the story of nine-year-old Maya and her 16 classmates, all with different backgrounds and upbringings. It is the story of ordinary Ukrainian children and who have lived in the shadow of the constant threat of war following the occupation of Crimea in 2014. Maya and Her Friends was written to highlight the fact that children should be allowed to live in safety and love, no matter how many parents they have, whether they may be orphans, have been separated from their parents by war or migration, or have had to flee their homes.
Catch the wind. Find your freedom. A riveting, magical adventure set deep underneath a richly reimagined London for 9+ readers. Kidnapped and forced to shovel coal underneath a half-bombed, blackened power station, 12-year-old Luke's life is miserable. Then, he discovers he can see things others can't. Ghostly things. Specifically, a ghost-girl named Alma. Alma, who can ride clouds through the night sky and bend their shape to her will, befriends Luke. And with Alma's help, Luke discovers he is in fact a rare being - half-human and half-something else ... Then Luke learns the terrible truth of why children are being kidnapped and forced to work in the power station, and he becomes even more desperate to escape. Can Luke find out who he really is ... and find his freedom? A riveting, magical adventure set deep underneath a richly reimagined London by exciting debut author Michael Mann.
May 2022 Debut of the Month | Cassie Morgan has three wishes — to have more books, to go on an adventure, and to see her mother again. So begins the intriguing opening of Skye McKenna’s magical five-book series that’s pitch-perfect for readers who loved The Worst Witch and are ready for something a dash edgier. Seven years have passed since Cassie’s mother left. At her austere boarding school, she tries to make herself invisible while wondering about the key her mother left. It was “a treasure chest, a secret vault, the door to the home she and her mother would someday return to”. On the verge of being sent to an orphanage, Cassie seizes an opportunity to escape, determined to find her mother. Soon after her flight, readers are drawn into the realm of the fantastical when a talking cat by the name of Montague saves Cassie from the clutches of “goblin nabbers” who are “in the business of stealing babies to sell to the gentry of Faerie”. Montague takes her to the village of Hedgely, where she meets the family she never knew existed and learns she’s from an old line of important witches - her aunt is the current Hedgewitch and protects England from the dangers of the Faerie realm. Hedgely is conjured with chocolate-box English quaintness - think cooked breakfasts, sweet treats, village shops, opulent orchards, fragrant honeysuckle and roses. It’s a place lovers of timeless fairy tale worlds will be utterly entranced by, not least when Cassie is confronted by shapeshifters and the threat of the Erl King who wants her mother’s key. With a thrillingly twisting climax, this first book in a quest quintet will leave readers hungry for lashings more magic.
May 2022 Debut of the Month | Set in modern day Stockholm, where this debut author and winner of the Bath Children’s Novel Award currently lives, this enthralling and original novel starts with mysterious footprints in the snow spotted by 10 year old Anna. A solitary only child living with her single parent Mum and very close to her beloved Grandpa, she is determined to follow the trail which leads to a girl, her disabled brother and an island in a frozen lake. Rebecca and Samuel are Jewish refugees from World War Two, although it takes several meetings for Anna to realise they are from a different time. She is able to take food from her own time to keep them alive until eventually it becomes clear that Rebecca is in an endless time loop trying to ensure Samuel can escape and that Anna must somehow help her to succeed. The stars in the sky above help identify which period they are in and in themselves represent the fluidity of time as explained by Anna’s stargazing Grandpa. The clever and intricate unveiling of the plot is completely convincing as it interweaves themes of loneliness and bullying in Anna’s life with the genuine peril and trauma of wartime. Every character comes vividly to life in this extraordinary and memorable novel. Highly recommended.
Illustrator Katie Scott returns to the Welcome to the Museum series with exquisite, detailed images of some of the most fascinating living organisms on this planet - fungi. From the fungi we see on supermarket shelves to fungi like penicillium that have shaped human history, this is the definitive introduction to what fungi are and just how vital they are to the world's ecosystem. Created in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
This is the latest book in Ben Garrod’s excellent series, Extinct. Previous books have examined mass extinctions and the creatures that disappeared from Earth as a result, from Hallucigenia to the Megaladon, and we’ve learned that extinction can be a natural process and can even help evolution. But the mass extinction he’s examining in this book is different, because the Anthropocene has been caused by humans. The subject of this book, the Hainan gibbon, is not extinct but it is critically endangered. With the help of experts, Garrod explains the impact humans have had on habitats and species and how it’s still possible for us to save the Hainan gibbon and other endangered species. As with all the books in the series, it’s full of information and the latest scientific thinking, explained with real clarity and quite a bit of humour, the text accompanied by wonderful full colour illustrations. Garrod’s passion and enthusiasm shines through and readers of any and all ages will benefit from reading this series.
A cracking quest with writing that crackles, fizzes and dances off the page, Jasmine Richards’ The Unmorrow Curse presents a world that’s rich in Norse myth and magic, with a cast of larger-than-life characters whose sparkling dialogue adds to the pace and suspense. The day Buzz meets new girl Mari in the school canteen turns out to be monumental. A “tall Black girl with hundreds of long thin braids twisted up in a bun”, a girl who “dressed like no one he’d ever seen”, Mari reveals that her mum went missing on the last Friday 13th. Shortly after, the duo discover a weather woman tied to a tree in the woods. In amusing, matter-of-fact fashion, the woman reveals that she is, in fact, the Norse Goddess of the Sun and shares responsibility for maintaining the order of time. As for her current predicament, she explains that “the trickster god has escaped his prison and is searching for the Runes of Valhalla right now. If Loki manages to activate them and absorb their power, we are all lost.” With the order of things well and truly upset, and humanity subject to the Unmorrow Curse that means the same Saturday must be relived over and over, Buzz and Mari embark on a quest to claim the Runes. Riveting stuff for fans of myth-driven fantasy, with whip-smart dialogue to boot.
Part of the Very Short Introductions for Curious Young Minds series, The Secrets of the Universe tackles big questions in manageable bite-sized chunks. This colourful, compact book can’t be beaten on the accessibility front as it answers questions like “what is the universe?”, “how big is it?”, “what’s our place in it?”, with “Speak like a Scientist” boxes highlighting key terminology budding scientists will relish adding to their vocabulary. As the book takes us through the history of studying the universe, and explains everything from gravity, galaxies and the lives of stars, to the Big Bang, the infographics, photographs and cartoons make digesting big concepts a tasty delight. And, like all the books in this impressive series, The Secrets of the Universe was created by experts. In this case, the book was written by a doctor of astrophysics in consultation with a Cambridge University cosmologist.
Part of the Very Short Introductions for Curious Young Minds series, The Invisible World of Germs delivers fascinating information in engaging style. Kicking off with a clear explanation of what germs are, and an intriguing history, colourful cartoons introduce us to the different types of germ - bacteria, fungi, protists and viruses. At every stage, readers are armed with terminology through “Speak like a Scientist” features as we discover how germs are transmitted, our natural defences, and the future of germs. Like all the books in the series, The Invisible World of Germs was written in consultation with an expert in the field, and presented in a cute, colourful, compact format that makes exploring the subject a rewarding breeze, with plenty of easy-to-digest infographics, photographs and fun dialogue boxes.
This is adventure number three for Joy Applebloom, her family and friends but, gloriously, things show now sign of calming down. Indeed, to Joy it seems exciting new things are ‘fizzing like just discovered comets through our sky.’ Her grandad and big sister have new relationships making them happy, her parents are enjoying their new jobs, but for Joy there is a new teacher – the dazzling Mr Suarez – and a new girl in class, Phoebe Dark. Joy is determined they’ll be friends, she just needs to find the key to Phoebe. Elegantly told, full of humour, insight and memorable characters, Planet Joy is heavenly reading. A series to recommend to fans of Lara Williamson and Lisa Thompson.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2022 | Award-winning Sharon Creech has an exceptional gift that enables her to tell her stories lightly and with humour. Gina Filomena has always been different from her classmates. She sees things when others can’t, she wears amazing, vividly coloured clothes sent by her grandmother, she plays wildly inventive games with her father. Teachers have always told her that she has an overactive imagination but then Miss Lightstone, a teacher who encourages creative thinking and writing, arrives and, coincidentally Antonio a boy with an imagination that is equal to her own joins the class and Gina finds that imagination can be a wonderful, transformative new power. In a story that takes the same imaginative leaps in its telling as Gina, Antonio and their classmates take under Miss Lightstone’s inspirational teaching this is an inspirational novel that sings to its readers while also encouraging them to us their imaginations and to have the courage to be free.
Stirring, honest and deeply compassionate, Jane Mitchell’s Run for Your Life tells the powerful story of an endearing, relatable refugee as it reveals the realities of Irish Direct Provision centres. Run for profit, the centres were, as the author explains, “designed as a short-term emergency measure to provide for the basic needs of people who are awaiting decisions on their applications for international protection. Instead, it has lasted more than 21 years”. This novel is a pertinent, personal, beautifully-crafted account of a girl’s experiences of this system. Azari and her mother have fled to Ireland to escape the unimaginable brutality of her father and uncle. On arrival, they’re terrified when they’re brought to the authorities’ attention: “My only constant is my mother, and I am hers. We cling to each other like two people drowning.” Azari’s mother is struggling more visibly — she can’t read and won’t speak to men, so Azari translates, talks to officials, fills out complex forms, and handles crucial interviews as they’re shunted through the system, sharing rooms with strangers, uncertain of their futures. The finely-woven narrative slips between the present and Azari’s earlier life, to a time of hope: “When I was seven years old…the famous runner Jinani Azad won gold for my country in the summer Olympic Games…I wanted to be the next Jinani Azad. I wanted my village to celebrate my achievements as a famous woman”. But, like her older sister whose tragic story compelled Azari and her mother to leave, Azari’s father forced her to abandon school (and running) to work in a factory when her periods begin. In Ireland, the welcoming book club she’s invited to join and the friend she makes through running contrast with the racism of some locals, among them Azari’s school peers. But, after hostilities reach a terrifying crescendo, beams of hope and humanity glint through the darkness. Run for Your Life comes hugely recommended for young readers interested in world affairs and social issues, both for reading at leisure and in the classroom.
Ed and his sister Roo face an awful half term break when they unexpectedly must be looked after by their neighbour Miss Filey and her extremely smelly old cat! Nothing, it appears can save their break until they find some very old birthday candles which they and their new friend Willard decide to light and make wishes – like everyone does on birthday cakes! It turns out, though, that the wishes they get are not entirely their own and they must work together – including the smelly cat Attlee – who it turns out can talk – to solve the situations they find themselves in! All the elements are here for a series of adventures where our trio discover a huge amount about themselves – and Miss Filey – whilst surviving amazing escapades. Each person discovers a great deal about themselves, and about their friends as they explore, but have fun and laughter along the way. I was particularly pleased to see the way Evans writes the fact Ed is in a wheelchair as he has a condition which makes it hard for him to walk – the way this is handled makes a refreshing change. Ed is fiercely independent, and hates being discussed by others – which feels very authentic. All the characters are well drawn – even the adults, who in some books end up more like ciphers than people. This should most definitely be an instant classic – an overused term but one that is truly meant here. Buy it, read it – you will love it!
May 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | First published in the brilliant Phoenix Comic, Jamie Smart’s stories of Looshkin aka ‘the maddest cat in the world’ are now gathered together in a bumper collection of stories, all full colour comic strips, all outrageously funny. In fact, the book should come with a warning – readers are in danger of laughing themselves into an injury. Looshkin may look like a little blue cat but is in fact a ball of explosive energy and mischief who knows no bounds and is prepared to do absolutely anything! Flood the house? Tick. Drag a canvasser knocking on the door into an impromptu séance? Tick. Invent International Pants Day? Go for it! Each one of the self-contained stories is a work of invention and comic genius, and gloriously silly. Make sure you have these on the shelf next to Jamie Smart’s equally fabulous Bunny Vs Monkey series too.
I can’t imagine why such an informative book hasn’t been written before! Looking at how the animal kingdom builds its homes and the ways this has influenced people to look at new construction methods and ways of living. A simple but fascinating story plays out here arranged into five different areas – looking at construction methods, the materials used, the shapes that nature produces, energy use and water use – all vitally important topics in modern construction. Animals and insects covered include the well-studied bee, termites, and coral as well as the wonderfully named Diabolical Ironclad beetle. Light is explored through the peacock and energy through the prairie dog and the tree. Who knew that the camel was fast becoming more famous for the way it’s nose works - by condensing the vapour it breathes out back into water and keeping it within its body? Or that this technology could now be used to help deserts bloom? This is a fascinating look at all sorts of animal builders and their legacies to us – arranged in such a way that it can be dipped into or read cover to cover. The bright illustrations and text blocks provide lots of information in a very accessible format. As is always vital in a book like this a detailed contents page and index help students find what they are looking for and a fun quiz finishes off the read. A book that will be used again and again.
March 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | Young readers meet Amelia Earhart in the new book in this lively and inspiring graphic novel series, and what a character she was. If you don’t know much more about her other than the final tragic details – she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 attempting to become the first woman to fly around the world – then this short but information-packed biography fills in the rest brilliantly. It quickly paints a picture of a determined, adventure-obsessed young woman who would do whatever it took to fly aeroplanes and whose courage and determination opened up the way for other women fliers to achieve their dreams. While we encounter other people who helped Amelia on her way, including the redoubtable Neta Snook, who taught her to fly (and drive), it’s clear why Amelia became the poster girl for women in aviation and the quote which ends this story of her life, is as inspiring today as it was when she said the words, ‘Adventure is worthwhile in itself.’ There are some great illustrated biographies of famous figures from history being published at the moment, look out for the Little People, Big Dreams series as well and the First Names books.
‘Shirley Chisholm was one of those people who didn’t look left or right – but just looked straight ahead’ said President Obama of the extraordinary woman whose life-story is told in this inspiring, short graphic novel-style book, and readers will understand exactly how accurate his statement is. Growing up in Brooklyn after a childhood in Barbados, Shirley worked hard at school and college, but still found opportunities for her and other Black people were limited. She set out to change things, entering politics and making a difference locally before winning a seat on the New York Assembly in 1964, only the second Black woman ever to do so. She carried on getting things done, breaking rules when necessary, and taking ‘unbought and unbossed’ as her slogan. She became the United States’ first Black congresswoman and then, in 1972, broke the biggest (unspoken) rule of all: she ran for President. Though she didn’t win, Shirley Chisholm changed the way her country looked at women in politics, and her story, as told here, will prove to today’s young readers that it is possible to change things for the better with determination, hard work and by refusing to accept the status quo.
What a treat it is for a Rosemary Sutcliff treasure to be newly presented to the world, and in a beautiful package that befits the story’s historic charms and thrills, with charming chapter heading illustrations by Isabel Greenberg, and an introduction by Lara Maiklem, the acclaimed author of Mudlarking. This Manderley Press edition of The Armourer’s House will make a glorious gift for fans of historic fiction who relish intrigue and atmosphere, and comes highly recommended for readers who love Eva Ibbotson’s writing, and contemporary writers like Celia Rees and Katherine Rundell. First published in 1951, The Armourer’s House is set in London during the reign of Henry VIII, and rich in the engaging period detail Sutcliff is renowned for. When her grandmother dies, Tamsyn leaves her Devonshire seaside town and ship merchant Uncle Martin to live with Uncle Gideon in his armourer’s house on the Thames. Having a wife and large family, Gideon is deemed a more suitable guardian, but Tamsyn “did not want to be brought up properly, she only wanted to be happy”. She also longs to “have adventure and sail the seas of the world” — how on earth will she manage so far from the sea? Though something of a fish out of water in London’s chaos, Tamsyn’s imagination and heart are captured by the river traffic that passes Dolphin House, with her new excitement engagingly evoked alongside details of life in Tudor London — the Royal Dockyard, Billingsgate fish market, the autumnal “pink-flushed sky” behind Westminster, King Henry VIII himself travelling in the Royal Barge with Queen Anne Boleyn. Tellingly, Tamsyn “liked the Queen best, observing how her eyes were “terribly unhappy”. Then, on magic-charged Midsummer’s Eve, a Wise Woman presages that Tamsyn will find her “heart’s desire”, enhancing the novel’s aura of enchantment, and leading to a delightful denouement. Heartily satisfying for 9+ year-olds who love historic fiction, this also comes recommended as wonderful book to read together — no one is too old for the joys of reading aloud and being read to, and this ideal for exactly that.
Soar into a breathtaking world of heroes and ferocious unicorns in this first book in the hotly anticipated fantasy adventure series for 9+ fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and Amari and the Night Brothers. Thirteen-year-old Skandar Smith has only ever wanted to be a unicorn rider. To be one of the lucky few selected to hatch a unicorn. To bond with it for life; to train together and race for glory; to be a hero. But just as Skandar's dream is about to come true, things start to take a more dangerous turn than he could ever have imagined. A dark and twisted enemy has stolen the Island's most powerful unicorn - and as the threat grows ever closer, Skandar discovers a secret that could blow apart his world forever . . . Get ready for unlikely HEROES, elemental MAGIC, sky battles, ancient secrets, nail-biting races and FEROCIOUS UNICORNS, in this EPIC ADVENTURE series that will have your heart soaring.
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.
Benefitting from very clear and attractively designed pages to highlight information and with quirky appealing illustrations and a friendly, informative, but non-patronising and non-lecturing tone, this is a book which will attract readers to pick it up and engage with it. The tone of voice is particularly important to the sensitive pre-teen age group it is aimed at. They are growing up fast and want to be treated with respect and not just given stern warnings and rules they should stick to. In this case while dealing comprehensively with topics such as privacy settings, direct messaging, bullying, appearance-enhancing filters, influencers and fake news, it is taken for granted that the reader will make up their own minds and have their own choices. By using open ended questioning, literal screen shots of conversations and interactions and explaining how things work and what impact and consequences your actions can have, the reader feels respected. A popular additional feature of Usborne books has been the Usborne.com/Quicklinks facility where useful websites and other resources linked to book can be found. This used to particularly good effect with this title. Throughout the book you are pointed towards additional information and support around topics such as body image, bullying and mental health, as well as direct links to the tools for reporting inappropriate behaviour and images. Safety, mental health and wellbeing are prioritised throughout this extremely useful guide. A must for school libraries and one that parents will want to have available in the home for their own information too- the excellent glossary will be very helpful to the less media savvy amongst us!
With this art journal for kids aged 7+ from Xavier Leopold, AKA Xavi Art, young readers can use art to brighten their day, find calmness and confidence, and show how they really feel. Xavi uses his unique story to show readers how to use art for self-expression and wellbeing. When city trader Xavi picked up a brush during lockdown in 2020, he found a whole new world of communication for feelings. Throughout this journal, he explains how anyone can put their thoughts and dreams on paper, no matter what training they have. Themed around key wellness topics like healthy living, positive thinking and expressing emotions, each chapter contains lots of inspiration for art from the heart. Plus, there's ample room for readers to make the journal their own by filling the pages with their art - and there's even a free online art club to join.
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
Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2022 | A prize-winning picture book author and illustrator, Nadia Shireen is just as skilful at writing junior fiction, as this inventive, hilarious story shows. Fox siblings Nancy (the tough one) and Ted (the sensitive one) are forced to flee the big city for the countryside after Ted accidentally bites off pussycat boss Princess Buttons’ tail. Grimwood, where they find themselves, is a kind of paradise it seems, full of friendly if eccentric animal residents who love nothing better than a good game of treebonk. Ted feels right at home, Nancy needs convincing, but when Princess Buttons arrives, bent on revenge and armed with a Brain Zapper 3000, and their new friends step up to help, she changes her mind. It’s gloriously silly but still totally credible and a proper page turner, while Nancy and Ted are real characters. Watch out for the wonderful asides from woodlouse Eric Dynamite, and Princess Buttons’ comeuppance is an absolute treat!
A colourful middle-grade adventure. Twelve-year-old Bertie Allbright has a unique gift that allows him to see people’s auras. His mum falls ill, opening Bertie up to a world of healing crystals, dangerous, aura-sucking Ampires, the Inspectrum and Jett Black, who has plans to rule a world filled with darkness. With the help of Stu, his best friend and Jasper, Stu’s energetic and lovable dog, Bertie set’s out to find a crystal that will hopefully help to heal his mum, and perhaps even his sister. I thought that ‘True Colours’ by T. J. Healy was a brief and entertaining adventure story. There’s lots going on to keep the reader turning the page, with mystery, action and adventure as Bertie and his friends try to find Solas and evade the Hertzers and Ampires (a great name and play on words). I liked Stu’s character, his naïve comments as he cannot see auras but unwavering support of Bertie. Like his sunny yellow aura, Stu brings a lightness and levity to the storyline even when injured. ‘True Colours’ is just the start of this adventure, with mysteries surrounding the whereabouts of Bertie’s dad, what Bertie’s special, rainbow aura means and of course what will happen to Jett Black and the Inspectrum. An entertaining and easy to read beginning to an adventure series. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Daft adventures and evil siblings abound in this zany story. ‘The Very Dangerous Sisters of Indigo McCloud’ by John Hearne follows the acrobatic Indigo as he tries to put a stop to his sisters' dastardly deeds and horrid acts of intimidation. This is a whacky narrative, with Indigo and his friend Polly working together to prevent Peaches from threatening their new neighbours the Tripes, over a girl scout contest to sell the most calendars. In classic children’s fiction fashion, all the adults are easily manipulated by the evil Peaches, oblivious to the goings on or, in the case of Peaches hired henchmen, a little bit useless. It’s up to Indigo to continuously put himself in harm's way to foil Peaches’ plans. There’s plenty packed into this middle grade story, with lots of action and jeopardy. Indigo and Polly are very well-equipped to try and take on Peaches, with Indigo’s urban gymnastics and Polly’s seemingly endless supply of spy-style earpieces. The town of Blunt is unusual, with places like the Big Hairy Spider Emporium and events like the Ingratitude Parade which I’m sure will entertain readers. Descriptive and quirky, this is a jam-packed chapter book that fans of David Walliams’ books would enjoy. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Lucy and the Secret Room is a unique book aimed at 9+ ages. The glossary at the end encourages independent reading, it brings STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) to the foreground in a fun way, potentially making the subjects much less intimidating. Darren John Charlton writes with a mixture of humour, mystery and excitement and is highly relatable to young readers. It touches on dealing with the death of a parent and friendships, and how to be a good friend. The illustrations add authenticity to the story and bring the imagination of the author to life. Really excited to read more from the author and I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others. Lydia Roshanzamir, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Amy and Liam Bell have been packed off to stay at Gran's house in the wilds of Connemara for the summer. Out for a walk on the first morning of their holiday, they trace the flight of a hawk to a nearby waterfall – only to watch the bird disappear through it. Intrigued, the children follow and soon realise they've discovered the entrance to Tír na nÓg, the legendary land of eternal youth. But they’ve been tricked. Almost immediately Liam is captured by a troop of headless horsemen who take him to Finnegas, the ruling sorcerer of Tír na nÓg, who is seeking the bones of a human child for a sinister new spell. Packed with edge-of-your seat adventure, incredible imagination, humour and warmth, The Lost Girl King is the rare kind of story that has you reading long past lights out.
A brilliantly funny story of what happens when a galactic princess moves in next door and almost brings about the end of the world. Exciting new fiction from the bestselling, award-winning author of My Brother is a Superhero. Gavin's got a new neighbour and she's really annoying. Niki follows him everywhere, bosses him about, and doesn't care that her parents will obliterate Earth with their galactic warships if she doesn't stop running away from them. Can Niki and Gavin sort out the alien despots (aka Mum and Dad) and save the planet? Possibly. Will they become friends along the way? Doubtful.
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 . . .
Black Panther meets Percy Jackson in this action-packed and empowering middle-grade series about a British-Nigerian girl who learns that her Afro hair has psychokinetic powers. I close my eyes, trying to push the power bubbling in me back down . . . Hairbands snap as my hair shoots out like superfine arrows, tearing through everything in its path. Onyeka has a lot of hair – the kind that makes strangers stop in the street. She’s always felt insecure about her vibrant curls, until she makes an important discovery: she can control her hair with her mind! Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari – children with superpowers – are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the Academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves embroiled in a momentous battle between truth and lies . . .
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 …
Elsie witnesses the rise of antisemitic fascism in 1930s London in this gripping new story from award-winning author Tanya Landman. Life has always been tough on the streets of Stepney, where Elsie and her brother Mikey are growing up in a vermin-infested slum nicknamed Paradise . But the rise of antisemitic fascist Oswald Mosley and his Blackshirts in the 1930s stirs up trouble between families who have lived closely together for years, and Elsie sees friendships torn apart. When Elsie and Mikey attend a Mosley rally, intending to heckle and cause trouble, they soon see how dangerous the situation has become, but out in the streets the fascists find that people will stand and fight against them and against hatred in what becomes the dramatic Battle of Cable Street.
Cassie's older brother Byron has fallen in with the wrong crowd - it's soon clear these boys are wild, reckless and not human at all. They are tylwyth teg - Fair Folk, who tempt humans down into the dark places of the world. And Byron is tempted. When he goes missing, Cassie and her cousin, Sian, follow his trail to an old abandoned railway tunnel which goes down and down into Annwn, the underworld. Here they find that the tylwyth teg are restless - and angry. Their leader, Gwenhidw, wants to protect Annwn from the damage humans are doing to the world. Byron is part of her plan. But Cassie won't let her big brother be part of anyone's plan. Can she rescue her brother before it is too late?
A thrilling, unputdownable adventure, from the highly-acclaimed author of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize-shortlisted Orion Lost and the Blackwell's Children's Book of the Year, Adam-2. The world of Colony is in ruins. No one knows what caused society to begin tearing itself apart - but the secret may lie with Cora, a girl living on the mountainside far away from others. Cora possesses an extraordinary gift: the power to see back in time, from an event back to its causes. Even more incredibly, sometimes she can change events. But the present is looking for Cora, and she is forced on the run - and must decide who she is, what she can do ... and how to fix the future. With incredible twists and turns, and a hugely gripping story, The Consequence Girl is a brilliantly-imagined, ambitious and high-concept adventure from one of the most exciting new voices in children's fantasy and science fiction.
This is adventure number six for the Bolds, a family of hyenas living happily in Teddington disguised as humans. Let’s hope there will be more too, because there are very few stories more joyful, cheering and entertaining than these and only Paddington to compare for characters as lovable and inspirational. If you’ve read previous Bolds books, you’ll know that they’re always ready to help other animals and to open their doors to those in need. Of course therefore they give homeless aardvark Annika a warm welcome and set out to track down her missing friends, escapees from the same zoo, Charlie the skunk and Fergie the fruit bat. The latter, we discover, have been camping out in Parliament Square with friendly eco-warriors. Can the Bolds find them somewhere permanent (and quieter) to live? This is the Bolds, so of course the answer is yes. Gloriously silly, genuinely heart-warming and beautifully plotted, it all ends with a special party for twins Betty and Bobby Bold, and an ‘au revoir’ to another friend, Fifi, the singing poodle superstar. She promises to return, ‘Wherever life might take me, my heart belongs with the Bolds.’ That will be true for all the dear readers too, this one included.
Caribbean folklore meets futuristic fantasy in Alake Pilgrim’s Zo and the Forest of Secrets, an exhilarating Middle Grade adventure driven by the determination of its endearing heroine and the shocking secrets she finds in the forest. This is heartily recommended for readers who are into adventure, fantasy and ecological issues – it’s an an absolute page-turner with real-life resonance. Zo is staying in Samaan Bay on Trinidad’s northeast coast with her mum, baby brother and stepdad, and she’s not happy. Missing her dad and friends, she decides to run away. What could go wrong? Zo’s dad has taught her everything about the forest. At least, that’s what she thinks until it takes a strange and sinister turn, and Zo must summon all her courage to find a way home, save a lost boy and navigate the unsettling truths of an abandoned research facility. The landscapes of the author’s beloved Trinidad are brilliantly evoked — rushing rivers and tangled mangroves, mountainous rainforests teeming with plants and creatures of both the familiar and fantastical variety, among them a talking pirate spider (Cap’n Peg), robotic gnats, and the fearsome Flesh-skinner. The novel also interweaves ecological topics, with Zo mentioning the devastating effects of large-scale logging and mining, and lamenting how companies have “destroyed the rich plant and animal life of the forest”. As Zo faces a thrillingly relentless succession of challenges, she makes a shocking discovery that splendidly sets the scene for the second book in this duology.
A marvellous must-have book for STEM fans. Containing 100 words from science, technology, engineering and maths, this illustrated A-Z of STEM takes you on a journey from adaptation, to zoology through fibonacci, metamorphic and olfactory. If you don't know your algorithm from your ytterbium, and you love science, then this is the book for you! With a contents list at the front and a full index at the back kids can research to their heart's delight. Beautifully produced by STEM expert Jenny Jacoby and illustrated by Blue Peter Book Award winning Vicky Barker, this book is a non-fiction delight for kids aged 7+.
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