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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.
Adventurous and inventive, this second book in Patience Agbabi’s The Leap Cycle is a highly readable time travel adventure that shares information about Black British history and inclusive representations of autism through a zippy page-turner of a story. Endearing, brave thirteen-year-old Elle Bibi-Imbele is a Leapling - one of the rare people born on the 29th February, who’s all the rarer since she also has The Gift of being to leap through time. And beyond that, she’s also an Infinite: “I LOVE being an Infinite. The Infinites are a youth group who fight crimes on the timeline for a better, greener future”. The story begins when an Intercalary International school trip to the Museum of the Past, the Present and the Future goes awry when the museum’s Infinity-Glass vanishes. Worse still, Elle’s friend MC ² is arrested for the theft of this extra special exhibit - it was “purchased by Dr Johnson, the famous lexicographer, writer of dictionaries, and given as a present to his young black servant, Francis Barber”. Naturally it falls to The Infinites to solve the mysterious case of the missing Infinity-Glass, and during the course of their investigation Elle and co whizz back to Dr Johnson’s London. On arrival, she feels uncomfortable, and it suddenly hits her that “they’re staring because I’m black…I wonder how many black people live in London in 1752 compared to 2021?” On learning that Dr Johnson had given Francis a safe haven from enslavement, Elle realises that slavery happened not only in the Caribbean and America, but also in Britain - “maybe that’s why that couple were staring so hard at me earlier - they wanted to BUY me. I could be in terrible danger!” With menace encroaching from every angle, Elle must muster all her strength and skills to save her friend, to save the day, and the future.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Shane Logan hits Peter’s school like a hurricane. He’s big, loud and doesn’t like being told what to do. He plays football like he does everything: with lots of energy and very little control. Then Peter suggests that Shane goes in goal, and he turns out to be the best goalie they’ve ever had. Now the problem is Shane’s aggressive stepdad; can Shane control his temper and keep Mick onside too? As with all Alan Gibbon’s stories, this feels completely authentic, as it celebrates the boys, their approach to life and their love of football. In between the chapters are facts about famous goal keepers and the goals the saved, or didn’t, and these real life stories add to the sense of football as an alternative family. Published by Barrington Stoke, this is dyslexia-friendly and accessible to the most reluctant reader.
As we know, Marie Curie was a trail blazer in so many ways – a woman in science, the first woman to win Nobel Prizes, a major protagonist in the discovery of radiation and x-rays. We may know much less about her background and her family history. This graphic novel shows us just some of the many problems Marie Curie had to rise above in her native Poland - where women were not allowed at the Universities. Told through a series of panels this biography includes all the scientific discoveries in a simple, easily accessible format that exposes the dangers, as well as the advantages of radiation. The illustrations are clear with plenty of room given to the text so that is easy to read and follow. A good addition to classroom collections – and will have special appeal for those pupils who may prefer a graphic approach or be less enthusiastic readers. There is a companion graphic book from Sunbird Books, It's Her Story: Rosa Parks, the hero behind the Montgomery Bus Strike.
This short (44 pages) graphic novel on the life and impact of Rosa Parks – the woman known as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA - packs in a huge amount of information simply and clearly. The author commented she decided that It’s Her Story: Rosa Parks would celebrate a lifetime of activism versus a single moment. And that she would depict late nights, setbacks, and moments of doubt so that children … learn that while change is possible, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to put in the work. This book does just that – it shows with commendable brevity the many sides of the struggles that Rosa and the movement in the USA faced. The story develops as a young girl is taken to see an exhibition by her grandmother – who tells her granddaughter the story of Rosa’s life. The novel is a model of brevity but which packs in the information we all need to know and remember about Rosa and her struggles. Illustrator Shane Clester has produced Graphic novels for Marvel and Nick Jnr, as well as publishing his own picture books. A book that needs to be on book shelves – not only in Black History Month. There is a companion graphic book from Sunbird Books, It's Her Story: Marie Curie, a biography of the trailblazing scientist.
Kirsty Applebaum’s The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke takes a timeless folkloric concept and transforms in into a heartfelt contemporary story that will surely grip readers who enjoy adventures infused with magic. “The buzzing shifts. Shudders down my neck. Squeezes past my shoulder, my elbow, my hand. Pushes out through the ends of my fingers.” That’s how Lonny Quicke experiences his special, secret gift. He’s a lifelong, which means he has the power to heal and bring creatures back from the dead. But, as he explains, “talents like this don’t come free, you know. There’s always a price. Give a bit of life, lose a bit of life.” That is to say, by extending the lives of others, he shortens his own, which is why Lonny’s watchmaker dad keeps him and his little brother in the forest, safe from the rest of the world. The thrilling climax that surges during the Farstoke Lifeling Festival will keep readers on the edge of their seats, willing all to be well for Lonny and Midge as they face tremendous decisions and high-risk situations. Exploring loss and illness within its folkloric premise, this is a thoughtful tale, told with clarity and heart.
Translated by Rachel Ward | The world needs a smart, resilient, lucky little hero right now, and Nibbles the mouse fits the bill perfectly. At the opening of the story, Nibbles is living quietly but happily with his family in Munich but redevelopment means they have to move somewhere a lot less comfortable and when Nibbles gets the chance to hop on a train to Switzerland (aka mouse heaven) he takes it. All sorts of adventures follow – he even finds himself performing in a circus – and his travels take him to France and England too before he makes his way home to his family. Nibbles is a great storyteller and his adventures are both comic and thrilling, while he meets some wonderful characters on the way. The telling is enlivened further by Axel Scheffler’s colour illustrations which are a perfect match for Nibbles’ plain but heartfelt narrative. Thoroughly charming, this is a great little book and perfect for shared or solo reading.
A breathtaking tale of the rich, wild world and all its wonder from acclaimed nature writer and Costa Award-shortlisted novelist, Melissa Harrison - the perfect read for children for spring and summer! Three tiny, ancient beings - Moss, Burnet and Cumulus, once revered as Guardians of the Wild World - wake from winter hibernation in their beloved ash tree home. When it is destroyed, they set off on an adventure to find more of their kind, a journey which takes them first into the deep countryside and then the heart of a city. Helped along the way by birds and animals, the trio search for a way to survive and thrive in a precious yet disappearing world ... The breathtaking children's debut from acclaimed nature writer and literary fiction novelist, Melissa Harrison,. Inspired by 1942 classic The Little Grey Men by BB, with shades of The Borrowers. A tale of disappearing wilderness that couldn't be more relevant in today's environmental crisis, brought to life for children by three tiny, funny, eternal beings - the hidden folk.
Set ten years after the events of Dragon Daughter, which featured revolutionary dragon-rider Milla, this sparkling sequel tells the story of Milla’s cousin, Joe. On his twelfth birthday Joe is out-of-this-world excited about attending the Hatching Ceremony, desperately hoping that this is the day he’ll be bonded with a dragon. But when Joe inadvertently ruins the ceremony and Milla must step in to rescue the situation, “Joe fled from his parents’ home, knowing he’d never be able to return.” Ashamed to his bones, Joe has an epiphany after taking refuge in a cavern (“a home for a monster”) and meeting a stranger named Winter: “His old life was over. He’d messed it up spectacularly, but it was finished. He couldn’t hurt his parents any more. This was the new start he’d been looking for… Until he had become someone his parents could be proud of, he would stay dead.” With the sweeping atmosphere of a classic hero story, Joe’s story is shot-through with themes of acceptance, making amends, courage and concord, against a backdrop of political - and volcanic - eruptions. What’s more, the author’s vibrant, visual storytelling paints a truly sensory picture of a world and its compelling cast of characters. Read more about the series as we chat with Liz Flanagan
The Branford Boase prizewinning author has produced another winner with his second book. This is the thrilling story of Queenie de la Cruz, an ordinary girl who happens to be a big fan of world’s most popular fizzy drink. When a bottle washes up at her feet on the beach near her run-down house, this is not unusual- the beach is so covered with rubbish she hardly notices it. But this bottle contains the top-secret recipe for her favourite drink. Priceless information that the big corporation wants back at any cost! The way they manipulate the media and instigate a world wide search for Queenie is genuinely scary and thought provoking. While on the run Queenie comes to realise a lot about the world and the threats it faces from big business and consumerism. She also realises the value of friendship, finds her courage to stand up for what is right and that some things are more important than money. The suspense filled plot will keep readers guessing and the powerful underlying environmental message will strike home. A story which, like his debut novel Kick, looks at the darker side of consumerism and big business and its worldwide affects, but this is so successfully wrapped up in a really great story that this will be a really popular read as well as a valuable discussion starter.
34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists from past and present | In this important new resource, author Cerrie Burnell has put together a fascinating collection of inspiring stories. As she says in her introduction when she was growing up as a child born with just one hand “there just weren’t enough books with a disabled protagonist” and “Everyone deserves to see someone like them in a story and achieving something great” Her own achievements are themselves inspirational and she has long been a disability rights campaigner as well as much loved CBeebies presenter and children’s author and so the whole book is infused with authenticity and passion. A double page spread for each of the 34 role models and two special sections on mental health and “invisible disabilities” are all evocatively illustrated by comic artist and graphic designer, Lauren Baldo capturing the time and spirit of the featured individual and giving real context to the highly readable and fascinating life stories. Starting in 1770 with Beethoven and finishing in 2001 with the birth of black, transgender disabled model superstar Aaron Philip, the life stories are commendably international and wide ranging, challenging our preconceived ideas of what is possible. From the familiar Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder to the less well known like break dancer Redouan Ait Chit, mountaineer Arunima Sinha, lawyer Catalina Devandas to celebrities like Lady Gaga,whose disability was a complete surprise to me, these stories will open eyes and minds. A comprehensive glossary and helpful discussion of language choices around disability and representation throughout add even more usefulness to this essential and attractive resource.
Billy Chan and his friends are not having a very relaxing summer. Their friend, Dylan, has been kidnapped by the evil Dragon of Death and it's up to them to travel through time, back to the dangerous Dragon Realm, in order to save him. Luckily they have their own dragons on side, but they'll need to collect eight magical pearls if they're to amass enough power to destroy the Dragon of Death and her followers for good. So begins an epic quest that will take them to the depths of the Frozen Wasteland and the imperial palaces of Ancient China. But can good triumph evil...?
May 2021 Debut of the Month | There are two central characters in Roderick O Grady’s book, and we see the story through their eyes, the same incidents from their different perspectives. One of these is Minnie, who has recently lost her mother and is struggling to reset her relationship with Dan, her mother’s partner. The other is Kaayii, a young Sasquatch, or Yeti or Bigfoot as they’re often known. Kaayii and his family have been forced into close proximity with Minnie and her neighbours due to forest fires and he too is trying to find a new way to live. Their stories combine and Minnie is able to learn new ways of being from her (enormous) friend and protector while Kaayii finds peace too. The setting for the story is the wild forests and mountains of North America and they’re beautifully described, an exhilarating breath of fresh air for UK readers, and the relationship between Minnie and Kaayii is full of the compassion, shared understanding and awareness of nature that characterises the best of these kind of stories (think The Butterfly Lion or The Scarlet Ibis). A story full of heart and wonder.