If you're looking for suitable books for your 9 - 10 year old, our extensive list of expert recommendations is sure to put you in the right direction. .
Embassy of the Dead is full of gruesome humour and non-stop adventure. Jake Green’s life changes when he runs into – almost literally – the ghost of a long-dead undertaker called Stiffkey. In a case of mistaken identity, Stiffkey entrusts Jake with the care of a highly dangerous object which, should it fall into the wrong ghostly hands, will cause real and terrifying problems for the living. This is the beginning of an adventure which sees Jake careering across the countryside at the wheel of his father’s campervan (scenes any right-minded child will love) pursued by some very unpleasant spooks, while gathering around him a band of dead companions including a fox, and a hockey-stick-wielding, school girl poltergeist. Will Mabbitt finds humour in the worlds of the living and the dead, and envisages the latter as governed by a mix of council-office bureaucrats and high-level spies. It’s great fun, but the action occasionally and momentarily slows to give readers a glimpse into the pain of losing someone, and there’s a real poignancy in some of the scenes.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019, Best Story category | May 2018 Debut of the Month | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | This sparkling debut weaves the captivating folklore of Baba Yaga with the thrills of a classic venturing-out-into-the-world quest, replete with primal conflicts, tantalising twists and an unforgettable protagonist that readers will truly root for. Twelve-year-old Marinka yearns to live in a “normal house” and to have a “normal family”, but instead her house has chicken legs, and her grandmother is a Yaga, a Guardian of The Gate between this world and the next. Worse still, in Marinka’s eyes, is that it’s her destiny to become a Yaga herself, to take on the duty of giving the dead “one last wonderful evening” before they “return to the stars”. Baba Yaga has long warned Marinka of the dangers of venturing too far in the world of the living, but her desire “to have friendships that last more than one night” is so strong that she’s prepared to risk everything. Teetering on the cusp of childhood and adulthood, Marinka’s frustrations and determination to find her own way in the world will truly strike a chord with the intended readership. This age-old conflict is delivered with heart and skillfully interwoven with the glorious trimmings of the original folklore. Add to this the twists, the unveiling of truths and the critical choices Marinka must make and you have a heartily satisfying novel that’s ideal for fans of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Older readers might also enjoy Circus of the Unseen, which offers an alternate re-working of Baba Yaga’s infinitely enthralling Slavic folklore. Radiant with wonder and wisdom, this is an exceptional debut.
January 2019 Book of the Month | The Heffleys head off on holiday in this latest Wimpy Kid adventure. It’s supposed to be a dream break but, as recounted by wimpy kid Greg in his usual doleful, deadpan way together with the action-filled comic-strip style illustrations, is pretty much a non-stop catalogue of disasters, from the moment the Heffleys pick up the wrong luggage on their (delayed) flight, to insect, bird and lizard attacks, a burst banana boat and nightmare cruise. It makes for very funny reading of course, and Kinney as ever absolutely nails family and teen life – I particularly enjoyed the subplot describing the miserable time had by big brother Roderick. Holiday reading doesn’t get any better than this.
January 2019 Book of the Month | Ross Welford has a knack for combining science and philosophical questions in stories that stem from things we all understand – family, friendship, self-discovery and love. Georgie and her friend Ramzy are fascinated by the eccentric Dr Pretorius and the amazing VR machine she’s created in her secret hideout on the Whitley Bay seafront. She claims it can send them into the future, something Georgie is willing to try, despite the dangers, if the future holds a cure for the disease that is threatening all dogs – including her beloved Mister Mash – and even humanity itself. Welford cleverly balances tension with humour and sets readers thinking about what’s really important in our lives. This is another warm-hearted, intelligent and gripping adventure from a consistently excellent author. Readers who enjoy this will also like Christopher Edge’s stories The Jamie Drake Equation and The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day.
When Ella's dad refuses to let her have cool school shoes or stay up later than 9:30, Ella decides to take things into her own hands. Being good hasn't gotten her anywhere, so why not try being bad for a while? It certainly looks a lot more fun and what's a few detentions here and there? But going bad is a slippery slope and soon things are starting to spiral out of control. Can Ella get things back on track? Or is she going to end up with egg on her face? A brilliantly funny new story from Catherine Wilkins, author of the much-loved 'My Best friend and Other Enemies' series.
January 2019 Debut of the Month | OK, here’s the plot of this hugely entertaining and very funny book: ogres that sleep under Britain’s standing stones have been awakened by a malignant gnome called Leatherhead Barnstorm. He has the Doomstone Sword and therefore control of all the dwarves and is marching on Perth. Out to stop him are our heroes dwarf Mossbelly MacFearsome and the eleven-year-old he’s appointed as the Destroyer, Roger Paxton. The stage is set for a thoroughly rambunctious fantasy adventure, packed with wonderful characters, unexpected moments, a bevy of fabulous fights and some very nasty little monsters. An ogre-sized helping of fun and adventure, this is one to push into the hands of fans of Danny Wallace, Shane Hegarty and Will Mabbitt.
The brilliant new book from Megan Rix, telling the story of Florence Nightingale through the eyes of her young ward. Florence loved cats, and had many during her lifetime. This is the perfect introduction to the Lady with the Lamp for young children, told with warmth, humour and adorable animals.
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2019 | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | 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.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019, Best Story category | | The arrival of a new boy in class sparks a funny, moving and quietly powerful story for young readers. Our narrator – we only discover her name in the last chapter – is immediately intrigued by her new classmate, who doesn’t speak, or smile, and disappears at break times. She’s determined to become his friend and as she gets to know him learns that Ahmet is a refugee from Syria. Finding out that his family are lost somewhere in Europe she decides to help – something that exposes both the prejudice and generosity of those around her. The plotline is very lively – it includes some excellent comic scenes at Buckingham Palace – and Raúf manages to keep the story positive and uplifting while still illustrating the cruelty and bigotry that refugees face.
January 2019 Debut of the Month | Shortlisted for the Peoples Book Prize 2019 | All the best adventures start with a map and there’s a corker in Clive Mantle’s new thriller. Freddie’s Uncle Patrick gives him a huge and beautiful antique map of the world as a birthday present, little suspecting – or does he? – that it will magically transport Freddie across the continents and through time, to the Himalayas. He shares the adventures that befall him there with his best friend Connor, who has his own challenges at home with a gang of bullies. The two plotlines connect and this is thoroughly satisfying edge-of-the-seat boys-own stuff. Readers who enjoy this stories should also look out for Josh Lacey’s Island of Thieves, or Tamsin Cooke’s Stunt Double series.
January 2019 Debut of the Month | It’s not every day that a magical train drives through your hallway but that’s what happens to Suzy at the opening of this terrific adventure story. She discovers it’s the Impossible Postal Express, responsible for making deliveries throughout the Union of Impossible Places. Being something of a scientist, and deeply inquisitive, Suzy can’t let this opportunity pass and climbs aboard. It’s not long before she’s been deputized as a Postal Operative (by the troll in charge), which in turn embroils her in an even bigger adventure, and one of those magical good versus evil power struggles that are central to all the best fantasy adventures. This rattles along at top-speed and features one of the most varied cast of characters since Hogwarts welcomed young Potter. Fans of magical stories mustn’t miss this train! One to recommend to fans of Nevermoor and The Last Chance Hotel.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019, Best Book with Facts | | Everyone's favourite cat-astronaut investigates the human body in this beautiful, graphically illustrated look at everything from eyes to muscles, genetics to reproduction and the immune, endocrine and lymphatic systems.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019, Best Book with Facts | | A fascinating information book, The Colours of History takes readers to different places at different times to show how humans have used colour in art, politics and trade. They’ll learn how indigo, made from plants that grow in Asia, began to be traded round the world in the 15th century, how hundreds of years later it was used to colour a type of cloth in Nîmes, which eventually became known as ‘denim’. It explains how pink has been regarded as a ‘boy colour’ and a ‘girl colour’, and why, in the US in the early 20th century, margarine was pink. And it describes how the discovery of a new mineral in a Russian gold mine transformed Van Gogh’s paintings. It’s an unusual and vivid way to demonstrate how interconnected the world has always been, and mankind’s endless ingenuity too.
Silver medal Winner at the International Moonbeam Children's Awards 2013 for Best Book Series & shortlisted for the Scottish Book Award 2010. A delightful, frothily fanciful story full of dragons, superstitions, epic battles and the kind of adventure that becomes the stuff of legends. Eleven year old Quenelda’s father is Commander of the Stealth Dragon Services and all her life she has longed to join him in the desperate fight against the hobgoblins. But no girl has yet won a place in the Stealth Dragon Services Battle Academy on Dragon Isle. Can Quenelda, with her very special skills, be the first?
There’s lots of adventure and laughs-a-plenty in this little story, which mixes magic into a tale of everyday school life. Eric is horrified to learn that if he doesn’t do well in a forthcoming test he’ll miss the football County Cup – and he’s the star player. Fortunately, the arrival of a special present from his aunty changes everything – a sweater knitted from Andes sheep wool it’s apparently got magical powers and will boost his brain. And it does – so much in fact that Eric is branded a genius and wins a place in a very different competition, Junior Brain of the Year. If only he can cope with the sweater’s terrible pong long enough to compete … Illustrations by the inimitable Tony Ross add to the fun and this will set all young readers chuckling.
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.
January 2019 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019, Best Story category | Beautifully written in prose that sparkles like the snow that provides its backdrop, this fantasy novel is practically perfect in every way. Young orphan Seren (it’s Welsh for star) is travelling alone through a winter’s night to her godfather and his family. They live in a big house in the heart of Wales and though she’s never met them before, a lifelong reader, she knows how this sort of story should go. Waiting for her next train on a freezing platform she meets a stranger. He’s flustered, clearly frightened of something, and leaves a bulky parcel in her care before disappearing. When she finally arrives at her destination, to find that her godfather, his wife and young son Tomos are absent, and that there's only a skeleton staff of servants to meet her, she assembles the contents of the parcel to stave off boredom and loneliness. It’s a clockwork crow – an awkward, clumsy-looking thing, yet magic: wound up it comes alive. Psammead-grumpy the crow becomes her ally and together they embark on a dangerous adventure to find out what has happened to Tomos, who disappeared mysteriously one frosty night a year ago. The story is rich with the sense of old magic and fairytale, yet is a totally original and particular bit of storytelling. At a time when books often sprawl over 300 pages or more, it is wonderfully concise too, and even better for that. A delight, and thankfully there should be more adventures for Seren to come. This review originally appeared in Books for Keeps.
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!
In a nice twist on the Pied Piper story, the children of Whiffington wake up one morning to discover that all the grown-ups have disappeared, stolen away in the night by – what? Amidst the chaos of unmade beds, unbrushed teeth and unwashed dishes, Lucy Dungston is determined to rescue her mum, even when she realises that the revolting Creakers are the kidnappers. There isn’t a child in the land who hasn’t imagined something lurking under the bed, and the idea of the bumbling, muttering, smelly Creakers will give them a delicious thrill. It’s a fun adventure with a great set of lively young characters and some very exciting scenes. One to recommend to fans of Hamish and the World Stoppers by Danny Wallace and The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt.
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+
It’s impossible not to be inspired by this picture book and the great women featured in it: their stories are told across bright spreads, which are enticing to look at, and packed with information all presented in a way that will make readers excited about the remarkable achievements described. It’s a varied line up of subjects, including a scientist, a writer, an athlete, an explorer and fashion designer alongside civil rights campaigner and even secret agent! Each page explains what these pioneering women did, and shows that everyone has the potential to change the world – just follow your heart and don’t listen when people say you can’t do something!
When the Whales Walked tackles a big, complex subject – the evolution of life on Earth – and succeeds in explaining it clearly, vividly and in way that will catch the imagination of young readers. It examines thirteen case studies, each describing the evolution of a different group of animals, from the earliest fish right up to modern Homo Sapiens. It explains the history of each group with the help of illustrations and diagrams, challenging children to spot the patterns in the ways that different animals have evolved. There’s a timeline of life on Earth, diagrams to explain the evolutionary tree and a cladogram, all there to help make the subject crystal clear. A book that thoroughly respects the intelligence and inquisitiveness of its readers and rewards their attention.
Clever, funny and on occasion just plain daft, this is the perfect stocking filler for kids and Terry Pratchett fans alike. Open the pages and find eleven short stories which have been fabulously illustrated by Mark Beech. The text marches up hill and down dale, in between, over and under the illustrations, shouting, bursting, capering across the page so the story and illustrations become a glorious Christmas pudding mix of a read, give it a stir and get ready to duck as the tales take flight. The stories made me chuckle, in fact as soon as I had read the first offering, ‘Father Christmas’s Fake Beard’, I promptly insisted my husband read it too (it’s always the sign of a good book when I do that!). Yes this is a kids book, and yes I fully expect that adults will get just as much enjoyment from the stories as the children. A Terry Pratchett book was always on my Christmas list, I treat each and every one of them with love… set a new fan in motion, or delight a well established one - this is a proper little gem.
October 2018 Book of the Month | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | The Timmy Failure books are works of absolute comic genius and Stephan Pastis succeeds with each new story in making the adventures of Timmy and his sidekick Total the polar bear funnier, even more satisfying, and still more poignant; never more so than this the last in the series. Timmy has decided to retire from detective work but has a new project: he’s writing the script for his form’s Christmas film show, and has decided it will chronicle his own greatness. Meanwhile he is also negotiating a new relationship with his dad, now permanently on the scene, and helping reunite Total with his long lost polar bear family. The gap between what’s real and what’s real in Timmy’s imagination has never been more acute, or more affecting. The story will have readers crying with laughter, while the ending may well bring tears of a different kind. Totally great.
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!
I If you want to guarantee smiles and laughter on Christmas morning, stick a copy of Hamish and the Terrible Terrible Christmas under the tree. It features three self-contained stories starring Hamish, Elliott and Alice, stars of Wallace’s Worldstopper series, and as with the longer novels each story serves up a brilliant helping of comedy and excitement live from Starkley. Officially Starkley may be the fourth most boring town in Britain but as fans of these books know, it’s often the scene for bizarre happenings and a magnet for marauding creatures including the beastly Terribles. Plenty of scope therefore for wild adventure and that combined with Danny Wallace’s humour make this irresistible reading. Jamie Littler’s illustrations are the icing on the Christmas cake.
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.
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 |One of our 2018 Books of the Year | 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. The Costa Judges said: ‘Chime, resonance and sparkle – a truly great read.’
Fur-raising tales of real-life Rebel Cats! Discover secrets, stories and facts about history's most fascinating felines! An engaging collection about cats who are the heroes of their own stories, Rebel Cats introduces us to fur-raising facts and adventures from around the world and across the centuries. With profiles of over 30 real-life felines, including WWII heroes, courageous adventurers, a Guinness World Record holder and even an astrocat that travelled in space (and made it back to Earth to tell the tale). Plus tons of information on cat activism, feline myths and more! Rebel Cats is the perfect gift for any cat lover, all year round!
This fascinating and highly pore-overable book maps the United Kingdom not via contours or motorway networks, but through its people, habits and history. It takes readers on a journey round our green and pleasant land region by region, packing colour double page illustrations of the relevant bit of sceptred isle with representations of notable people who were born or lived there, of important things that happened there, of notable places and quirky local customs – well-dressing in Nottinghamshire, bog snorkelling in Llanwrtyd Wells, the spring cuckoo festival in Marsden. It lists each area’s favourite dish too, in short giving readers a true flavour of Great Britain. The text is lively and thoroughly engaging and the pictures are equally energetic.
Anyone who fancies becoming a nature detective needs a copy of this book. Over pages packed with colour illustrations and animal facts, it explains how to read the signs that wild creatures leave, whether that’s paw tracks, a tuft of fur, a hole in the ground, or a pile of poo. The first section is poo based, with pages called Faeces Fun and Who Dung It?, but lots of other things are covered too including where and how animals build their homes and how you can spot who’s been eating what. Text and illustrations are engaging and lively and this is a book as entertaining as it is informative.
November 2018 Book of the Month | Fizzing with style, energy and charm here’s a new adventure for little witches Tiga and Fluffanora and it proves to be their most testing yet! Idabelle Bat has invited them to join The Points, here super-cool and exclusive gang – but why? The one thing they know about Idabelle is that she is NOT to be trusted … As ever the story zips along as though on fairy wings, sprinkled with fashion and fun, and these gorgeous little books are hard to beat for style and substance. Readers who like Tiga and Fluffanora will also enjoy the Amelia Fang stories by illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson, and Sibeal Pounder’s Bad Mermaids series.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick for November 2018 | Award-winning author Nicola Davies has a special talent for writing about the special bonds that can exist between children and animals. She also has a commitment to make sure that children of all kinds can find themselves in a story. In The Dog That Saved Christmas she brings the two strands together beautifully. The touching story tells of how Christmas is made happy for Jake by his friendship with a lost dog. For Jake, Christmas is not a time of fun but a time of huge anxiety as he copes with bright lights, loud noises and the unexpected behaviour of others and the changes in routines. But, when he finds a lost dog on the street, the two forge a very special bond. In the little dog Susan, Jake finds a companion who enables him to stay calm and to cope with the things he finds difficult. A beautiful story which is especially suitable for children finding reading stamina.
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.
Fact and 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 of important ecological issues in a light hearted perspective, reading at this stage grows opinions and ideas.
Click here to read some helpful tips from top childrens' publisher Egmont.
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.