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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.
July 2021 Book of the Month | “Elizabeth North was one of the bravest and strongest women in the entire world. And I am going to tell you why”. Thus readers are introduced to How to Be Brave’s captivating story world in a manner that’s typical of its whimsical all-knowing narrative style. Adding to this, footnotes written in the amusing authorial voice are used to entertaining effect throughout the rip-roaring ride. To begin at the beginning, we are matter-of-factly informed that Elizabeth lived a charmed childhood that left to her muse “how much she loved her life. It was a strange thing for a child to think, but Elizabeth North was a strange child who lived a strange life.” Tragically, Elizabeth’s idyllic days are darkened by the unthinkable - both her parents die and she’s sent to The School of the Good Sisters, where an encounter with a rare duck - the Mallardus Amazonica - sets her on a path she will follow through her life. Skipping forward, we are introduced to Elizabeth’s daughter, Calla. Poor due to Elizabeth’s struggle to make ends meet as a scientist (and her lackadaisical approach to adulting), mother and daughter are dealt an unexpected hand when Elizabeth is invited to the Amazon to find the Mallardus Amazonica, resulting in Calla being sent to The School of the Good Sisters. The school’s old-fashioned quirks and cast of nuns and pupils are a delight. Edie is an especially fabulous creation - in her French-accented words, she’s “excellent at subterfuge and skulduggery”. When Calla uncovers shocking secrets, the adventure swells like the Amazon in rainy season. Given that “if there was a problem in Elizabeth’s life, Calla solved it,” that’s exactly what she sets out to do, in this case enlisting the help of her new friends and a Blessing of Nuns. What a marvellously rollicking story of a resourceful togetherness this is.
July 2021 Book of the Month | Written by an expert in dog training – Steve Mann is recognised all over the world for his expertise, he is also the author of the UKs leading dog training manual for adults. As you would expect from an author with such a pedigree this book is filled with useful information. Presented in short clear sections, with lots of cartoonlike illustrations, the book will not overpower any young dog owner, but sets out in a logical manner the how and why of dog (and human) behaviour – so that dog and handler are both comfortable, relaxed and learning. The book covers all the essential exercises for good dog ownership, how to read the dog’s body language (and how dogs read ours), clear instructions, as well as lots of fun activities and even some quizzes. An excellent choice for any young dog owner (and even some not so young ones!).
July 2021 Book of the Month | The Ordnance Survey Kids’ Adventure Book is an inspiration, guide and introduction to map-reading and navigation that will give both competence and confidence to young explorers. Ever since I was a kid, looking at a map has been imagining an adventure. Learning the symbols, colours, abbreviations, lines, dashes and fonts that illustrate an Ordnance Survey map is like cracking a secret code that makes it possible to visualise what is around and beyond. In this new Kids’ Adventure Book, OS has made the learning even more fun - packed cover to cover with puzzles, quizzes and tips that will keep the young adventurer in your family (and you!) entertained for days. Then, once they are ready to step out on their first expedition, the book also provides everything they need to know about how best to prepare, deal with difficult weather, injuries - and even where they might go in Britain and what to do if they get lost! Perfect to equip curious kids aged 8+ with the confidence and skills to explore the outdoors and get adventurous. Kids who love the outdoors will find more inspiration in our collection, A World of Adventure.
July 2021 Book of the Month | Aldrin Adams is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary superpower. When he eats cheese, just before he goes to sleep at night, he can enter into other people's dreams . . . and their nightmares! But why has he, of all people, been given this ability? What is he supposed to do with it? And why doesn't it come with some kind of instruction manual that explains how it works? There are so many questions that require answers. Luckily, Aldrin's dad owns the biggest and finest cheesemonger's for miles and miles around, offering him unlimited access to some of the stinkiest cheeses in the world as he tries to figure it all out. What Aldrin doesn't realise, as he embarks on his journey of discovery, is that he is being watched by Habeas Grusselvart, a mysterious, supernatural villain who creates nightmares for millions and millions of children every night. Suddenly, a young boy poses a threat to his plans to control the world through fear. Which is why he must be stopped - at all costs!
Two children, separated from their families and facing real dangers, connect and against all the odds become close friends in Sophie Kirtley’s new adventure story. They should never have met at all – Dara the 21st-century boy and 12-year-old Mothgirl, all the way from the Stone Age. Somehow though they do, and it’s testament to the power of Kirtley’s storytelling skills that we accept this completely, and feel the truth of their growing friendship too. Mothgirl is fleeing the bullying leader of a neighbouring tribe who has picked her out as future wife for his son, once he’s forced her to give up her independence that is, and fit into the role picked out as proper for girls. Dara meanwhile is determined to prove himself and experience the sort of bold adventures that his chronic illness has always prevented. Together they help each other find the strength they need to achieve their dreams, and the courage to make others accept them for who they truly are. Set mostly on a wild, uninhabited island this is rich with a sense of the natural world as well as being an exciting, positive, kids-on-their-own story, and highly recommended. It is a sequel to Kirtley’s equally good debut The Wild Way Home, but can be read as a stand alone.
Once again Polly Ho-Yen shows her facility at injecting a thrilling element of sci-fi and mild horror into her stories of very real children and authentic depictions of relationships with family and friends. What could be a familiar tale of a young boy dealing with family break up and a parent with what we can see are mental health issues, becomes a nightmare battle for survival. Billy’s mum, Sylvia, is constantly teaching him the rules for how to survive alone, often taking him out of school for practical lessons. But one lesson gets life-threateningly out of hand and Billy is sent to live with his father while she is hospitalized. Billy has to learn to trust his father and his potential new family and also accept the true friendship offered by Anwar. They will all need each other when the doom that Sylvia seemed to be expecting arrives in the shape of a terrifying virus. Billy is a character that readers will really care about and admire his courage and resilience. He learns some valuable lessons about people being stronger together and finally understands what happened to his mother. While the resolution of the crisis might stretch credibility for adult readers, younger readers will gallop through to the nail-biting climax in this exciting adventure.
A proper, old-fashioned (in the best sense) mystery story, A M Howell’s book poses a series of puzzles for its young protagonist Nancy to solve. It’s 1910 and Halley’s Comet is blazing closer to earth, provoking hysteria amongst some members of the public. It certainly seems to be having a strange effect on Nancy’s mother who suddenly takes her two daughters on a secret visit to their grandfather – the grandfather she’d told them was dead. His Sussex village seems normal but below the surface things are far from happy. As she finds out more, Nancy realises it’s in her hands to heal the village and the family she never knew she had. The story is clever, involving and delightfully atmospheric with the village providing some excellent settings – eerie old houses, gorgeous ballrooms, a dismal prison. With her new friend and associate grocer’s boy Burch, Nancy uncovers lies, deceit and corruption, and learns the power of speaking up.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2021 | A new hilarious adventure for the ever- engaging Anisha and her family. Life in Anisha’s family is never straightforward…This time, the whole lot of them are off to Leicester for a special festival. Luckily, Leicester is also the home of the National Space Centre which Anisha and Milo have always wanted to visit. The Mistry family journey would be a drama in itself but things get much, much more exciting when they get to Leicester and find that the famous, hugely valuable diamond that should be on display as the centre piece of the festival has gone missing. Can Anisha’s granny really be the person who stole it as the police think? Anisha needs her best detective skills to free her granny from suspicion and find the real thieves. Our Kids Reader Review Panel reviewed the second in this series, School's Cancelled - find out what they thought!
A set of 6 vocabulary workbooks to support home learning. This is quite a challenging task, but a much needed resource in the current times. Each book is geared to an age range from years 1 to 6 covering all classes in KS1&2 age range. The books cover the vocabulary expected within the National Curriculum, including words used in history, science and geography topics. The books are colourful and beautifully put together with imaginative and detailed graphics, making them appealing to children. There are some super creative ideas within the worksheets, with many fun exercises and act as a good first step to build literacy skills. All the pages are based on extending vocabulary, so anything new learned is a positive thing. Within a year of education, there is an enormous differentiation in ability which is a hard thing to tackle in a workbook with no teacher input, though the instructions are clear and helpful. Looking at the instructions, the children should be encouraged to attempt the first two levels, (grasshopper and Shinobi,) themselves without support, though this will obviously depend on the child’s ability. I think that children will enjoy the opportunity to discuss the pages with an adult, and the books provide lots of new ideas for the supporting adult which could be extended and developed. The idea of downloading a certificate of achievement is always a bonus and provides added incentive and motivation. In conclusion, they are a fun and engaging resource, providing much needed support for home learning.
July 2021 Book of the Month | Jamie Smart’s exceptional, exuberant comics are an addictive riot of fun and hilarity, and perfect for reluctant readers. This is the third volume in the newly formatted, chunky, pocket-sized series. Since he crash-landed to Earth in a rocket, Monkey has been causing absolute mayhem! Bunny and the gang (Squirrel, Pig [the Pig], Action Beaver, and Skunky the Inventor) have almost had enough. Monkey’s eternal struggle for world domination is getting more ridiculous every day, and it’s impossible to predict which bizarre plan he’s going to put into action next… The pint-sized friends must face a giant robot whale, a pig cannon… oh, and the actual end of the world!
In a medieval land where dinosaurs still roam, lowly stable boy Henry Fairchild joins the brave Dino Knights and rides into adventure on the back of a T-Rex. A fast-paced action adventure series about bravery, friendship, and being your best self.
July 2021 Book of the Month | It’s time for the sixth and final instalment of Julian Clary’s much-loved children’s book series The Bolds! Teddington’s wildest family of hyenas have decided to do their bit for the planet and go green. They're reducing, reusing and recycling as much as they can. Not all of their eco-friendly ideas are welcome, though - especially when it comes to 'watering' the neighbours' front garden with wee ....
50 True Stories of Football's Greatest Sides | If you like football, you’ll love the Football School series of books by Alex Bellos and Ben Lytttleton and this latest, Terrific Teams is another winner! As England falls deeper in love with the national team, Terrific Teams introduces 50 other great sides, from across the world and different eras, and explains just what made them so good. As a Red, I turned immediately to page 112, to read about the rebirth of Liverpool under the great Bill Shankley and how he developed their winning strategy not in the office, but in the tiny boot room under the main stand. It’s a fun fact, but it tells you a lot. The previous entry is tiny Lewes, saved from bankruptcy in 2010 with the introduction of an inspired share ownership scheme which means there are 1,500 owners; while the entry after Liverpool, is Lyon Women, a trophy-winning machine whose former players include Megan Rapinoe, Lucy Bronze and Dzsenifer Marozsán. This is a fantastic way of examining the variety of the beautiful game, its appeal and the players and fans who make it so special. Unbeatable!
July 2021 Debut of the Month | Set in the world of gaming, Jamie Russell’s SkyWake Invasion is packed with peril, quips and gaming blips that turn out to have real-life repercussions. Fifteen-year-old gamer Casey is a whizz at the SkyWake computer game and leads an online team. When invited to play at a live tournament in London she’s forced to come clean being a girl. With her adorable younger brother Pete in tow (he’s also a keen gamer), she disproves prejudice against girl gamers in the most unlikely and terrifying of circumstances when it turns out that SkyWake is far more than a game. It is, in fact, a training scheme for evil aliens looking to recruit top gamers to fight in a war. Worse still, they’ve captured Pete, and Casey must muster all her leadership and gaming skills to save him. Interwoven to the action-packed alien adventure are themes of friendship, teamwork and proving prejudice wrong, and a narrative that skips back to scenes of Casey with her deceased dad, a bomb disposal expert who had a passion for arcade games. All of which means the funny, fast-paced tale has emotional resonance. Ending on a heart-pounding cliff-hanger, the stage is set for what promises to be an epic second instalment of the SkyWake trilogy.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2021 | A welcome addition to the stories about Hope Jones, a feisty 10 year old campaigner who has a mission to save the world! Written as a blog, in previous titles Hope has campaigned against the use of plastics and eating meat. This time, especially after her friend Selma collapses with an asthma attack, she is determined to get everyone to cut the use of their cars. Hope’s campaign doesn’t always go smoothy, even her parents are not completely supportive. But Hope is a great fighter and she finds friends, like Harry, who help her in all kinds of ways. Following Hope’s activism through her blog and the excellent illustrations that accompany it, is an inspiring journey for all. Fun to read this is also a book that can change minds and attitudes.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Steve Cole’s gripping treasure hunt story is even more compelling because it is set in a real place, somewhere most of us have never heard of. Theo lives in the world’s biggest e-waste dump, Agbogbloshie in Ghana. The same age as readers, he makes a living sorting through the junk that people like us throw out – mobile phones, old DVD players, Xbox machines – and salvaging scraps of metal that he sells for cash, earning just enough to pay for food but nothing like what he needs to escape. So when Emanuel turns up asking Theo for help to find his big brother’s treasure, Theo is in; this could be his chance to escape Trashland. Their search is even more dangerous than Theo expects. Other people are after the hidden treasure too and Emanuel is anything but trustworthy. The story is tense and exciting, and readers will feel they are there with the boys, digging through the broken electronics, choking on the dump’s noxious fumes. Things work out well for Theo in the end – it would be too agonising for the readership if they didn’t – but readers will be very aware that there are many real life Theos and Emanuels still digging through the rubbish in Trashland. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+
Ahoy there! The Nine Sails is casting off for Madagascar so all aboard for a treasure hunt you'll never forget! Kintana has grown up listening to stories of life at sea from her pa, an ex-pirate turned pet shop owner. So when a tall ship - The Nine Sails - berths at Pirate Island she eagerly joins the motley crew as a cabin boy - even though her main duty will be to look after the pirate's pets. But someone on board is determined to disrupt the voyage, could the dreaded captain's curse be to blame? Or is it the lure of buried treasure that will draw the ship back? One thing is for sure, Kintana is about to discover that sometimes adventure is found closer to home.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2021 | Thoughtful and inspiring, Protest! covers the theory of protest – how it works, why people take part, why it is so important in bringing about change – and, above all, the tactics to bring about change that were used in any particular protest. The individual protests are grouped together under headings including: Independence and Resistance which contains ‘Resisting the Nazis’; Rights for Women from ‘Suffragettes’ to ‘Women’s Lib’ and, bringing the subject up to date, Global Uprising including ‘Arab Spring’, ‘Hong Kong’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ and New Grassroots including ‘Extinction Rebellion’ and ‘School Strikes’. In the text and illustrations, Alice and Emily Haworth-Booth make these campaigns from the past vivid. Through their telling of these stories – which they acknowledge are the campaigns that they themselves are committed to -they inspire all those with a cause to support to get involved.
Think opera and young children don’t go together? Think again! This liveliest of histories introduces children to Mozart, Rossini and Beethoven and their work, in an engaging and informative tour of the Classical period. It’s all facilitated through magical time travel: best friends Megan and Jack are on a school trip in London when they suddenly find themselves whisked back in time to eighteenth century Europe. Before you can say semibreve, they are face to face with composers and some famous royals too in a hectic adventure that is packed full of musical facts and information. Illustrations by Karl Davies do even more to bring the composers vividly to life. Wunderkind Mozart is bound to emerge the favourite but expect young readers to demand more information on the featured composers and to listen to their music too. Bravo!
Shortlisted for the Excelsior Award White 9+ KS2 | Created by artist duo Metaphrog, this version of the chilling story of Bluebeard plunges readers into a vivid fairytale world that swaps idyll for nightmare with the turn of a page. Eve’s dreams of a future with her childhood sweetheart Tom end when she is chosen by Bluebeard to be his wife. Her neighbours in the village are suspicious of him and believe the forest around his castle is enchanted but his wealth and apparent generosity win them and Eve’s family over. Trapped in his castle with its labyrinth of corridors and locked doors, Eve eventually finds herself at the room she’s been told never to enter and discovers her husband’s terrible secret. In this version, Metaphrog allow her a sister to help in her trial and the chance to win her happy ending. With a palette of brooding purples and blues and luminous reds, orange and pink - sunsets and sunrises - the book perfectly balanced menace and beauty in a story that will entrance readers of all ages.
Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2020 | Written for and about “the swift and sweet ones/who hurdled history and opened a world of possible”, for those who “survived America by any means necessary. And the ones who didn’t,” this is an inspiring ode to the author’s forebears and to the world-changing feats of unforgettable Black American figures. Author Kwame Alexander’s initial inspiration for this book came in the year his second daughter was born, the same year Barack Obama became the first African American president of the USA. As a result, Alexander wanted his daughters “to know how we got to this historic moment”, which is exactly what this stirring book does. The chained slaves who kept faith, the elite Olympians, the innovative musicians, the seminal scientists, the courageous activists - people from all walks of life are celebrated in Alexander’s poetically poised words, and gloriously illustrated by Kadir Nelson, with much for young children to ponder and ask questions about. As well as being a wonderful way for parents to explore Black American history with their little ones on a one-to-one basis, this will also work well with older children in a classroom context. Indeed, this is one of those rare and wonderful picture books that defies age boundaries - a radiant, resonant unforgettable tour de force, as befits its theme.
Welcome to the wise and wonderful world of everyone's favourite bear. Paddington Bear is a beacon of happiness - well meaning, funny and always kind. Explore Paddington's unique and universal take on life in this very special collection of warm words about friendship, family, love, laughter ... and everything in between.
What a perfect book to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Puffin and its founder Allen Lane and an intensely personal book for author, Michael Morpurgo, suffused with his love for the Scilly Isles and for his family history - his wife Claire being one of Allen Lane’s daughters. The utterly beautiful illustrations by Benji Davies evoke his own holidays with grandparents in Cornwall and one can see that this story of a boy who loved to paint is one that is very personal to him too. Every inch of this book is crafted with love (make sure that you look at the hardback cover beneath the dust jacket with its soaring puffin against a glorious blue background and the images of both author and artist at the end) The illustrations range from dramatic double paged spreads, to little sepia vignettes but every page illuminates the absorbing and heartfelt story which begins with the lighthouse keeper Benjamin Postlethwaite and a terrible shipwreck from which he singlehandedly rescues 30 people including the 5 year old narrator of our story. Recently fatherless and travelling with his French mother to grandparents in Devon, the rescue and Ben himself make a huge impact on the boy – not least because of the paintings which fill the lighthouse and the gift of a small painting which becomes his most precious possession. The portrayal of the grim and bleak life with unloving grandparents in Devon, the misery of boarding school and of an artistic child who was a bit of a loner is very moving. As soon as school is finished the boy retraces his steps to the now defunct lighthouse and discovers a home, a friend and an artistic vocation as well as an injured puffin that together they nurse back to health. A puffin who keeps returning and brings others with him. By the time the young man returns from the war he could not avoid - the island and Ben have become a sanctuary for these characterful birds as well as our narrator and his future family. A charming book which evokes a very real sense of place as well the importance of being true to yourself and finding your place in the world.
Generously illustrated by Timothy with greyscale images this book is the first novel from poet Camden – a performance poet known as Polar Bear, and prize winner of the CLiPPA poetry award. Beautifully written we are taken into Jay’s world – a ten-year-old who is uncool and mostly ignored. But when his dad just ups and leaves no-one will answer Jay’s questions. So, he makes up his own answers – and shares them with his classmates! This suddenly makes him one of the coolest kids in class! But little does he realise just how complicated it is to keep track of his stories, and who he might hurt, badly, along the way. For a book about the dangers of lying – with a moral heart at its centre – it is a very amusing, funny book which will keep readers enthralled to see if Jay and his friendships survive – or what he can do to save the day? A powerful look at the dangers of untruths – and no matter what, the reader roots for Jay as he is such a lovely character, well drawn and full of the chaotic emotions of pre-teens thrown into their often complex school relationships.
In a near future where a series of environmental disasters has left much of the country underwater, Pearl lives on a floating oyster farm with her father and younger sister, Clover. A thrilling and thought-provoking ecological adventure . Following her mum's death several years earlier, Pearl refuses to set foot on land, believing her illness was caused by the poisons in the ground. Meanwhile, Clover dreams of school, friends and a normal life. Then Nat comes to spend the summer at the sea farm while his scientist mum conducts some experiments. Leaving behind the mainland, with its strict rules and regulations, he brings with him a secret. But when the sisters promise to keep his secret safe, little do they realize that they may be risking everything... A thrilling and thought-provoking ecological adventure from the author of the highly acclaimed Where the World Turns Wild.
Where has Faith's dad gone? Why has he left his family living in an old house perched on a crumbling cliff top? A crack has appeared in the cliff and Faith watches anxiously as it gets bigger and bigger each day... Her brother is obsessed with the sea ghosts he claims live in the basement, and when he disappears as well, Faith starts to believe in the ghosts too. Can she find her brother and bring her father back before everything she cares about falls into the pitiless sea below?
Discover the history and meaning of the feminist movement through 15 reasons why feminism improves life for everyone. By exploring who has been left out of the movement historically, author Jamia Wilson makes sure everybody is included. “I am a feminist. I’ve been female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.” —Maya Angelou What have you been taught about who has power and who makes the rules? Have you ever been lost for words at an old-school family friend’s “kind” but sexist comments? Do you agree with equality and strive for justice, but struggle to take on the name “Feminist”? Then read on. In this new feminist classic, explore the points where sexism, ableism, racism, transphobia, and sizeism meet. This book's focus is intersectional from the beginning, not just as an add-on. Using the framework of “personal is political,” Jamia Wilson—director of the Feminist Press—analyses her own experiences, before expanding outwards and drawing on stats, quotes, and feminist firebrands to gain strength from. ? Expand what feminism means to you, your community and society by examining these 15 themes: feminism, identity, justice, education, money, power, health, wellness, freedom, relationships, media, safety, activism and movements, innovation, and an interactive exploration of what feminism means to you. You will close the book with an understanding that history and culture play a role in shaping systems of power and of what we can do with our strengths, community, and values to help change course when needed. You won't have read a feminist tome like this before.
Why the World is Not as Bad as You Think | From the same stable as the very excellent Dosh: How to Earn It, Save It, Spend It, Grow It we have a clear, accessible, fact packed analysis of the crises facing the world, charting the progress that has been made and the grounds for hope. I think everyone has recognised that this generation of young people may feel completely overwhelmed by what they have experienced and be suffering serious mental health issues as a result. This book aims to help re-set their view of the world. The fascinating introduction explains psychologically the human fascination for bad news and how media focuses on the memorable story, which is inevitably horrific. There is an excellent summation of what fake news is and the difference between disinformation and misinformation and then some brilliant tips on how to fact check and spot fake news. But this is by no means a recipe for complacency since every section: Humans, Politics, Planet, Health, Society and Arts, begins by outlining the problems, before the mix of quotes, anecdotes and fact boxes and case studies shows exactly what has been achieved already and what is in progress. This includes many projects that I certainly had never heard of, such as the Great Green Wall of Trees being built across the whole of Africa. Every section also includes Challenges – empowering ways in which an individual can contribute to solving and not being the problem. It is highly admirable that this book goes beyond the obvious environmental issues to include politics and society and it is salutary to remind ourselves of the progress made on human rights, education and equality. Also admirable and entirely fitting with the concept is a list of information sources and the origins of all the quotes used. An invaluable and much needed resource from an author with a real facility for straight talking and not talking down to young people.
Meet Myrtle Mathers and Sylvia Cartwright: two girls from different worlds bonded by a passion for fashion! They know that the perfect outfit can make dreams come true, and their dazzling designs are the talk of 1920s London... So when Agapantha Portland-Prince wants to escape her glamorous debutante ball for a life of adventure, it's their magical talents she needs. But can the girls make all their secret dreams a reality, or will this be the most stylish scandal of the century?
How to Be the Best You Can Be | Dedicated to every young person who is trying to find their way and his mum for helping him to believe that dreams can come true, this is a motivational book by the man of the moment, the inspirational Marcus Rashford, and co-writer Carl Anka. It’s a positive and inspiring guide for life, packed full of stories from Marcus’s own life and calling for the readers to be their OWN champion, and that if they believe in themselves, incredible things can happen. With engaging black and white illustrations and infographics, it’s a great book to inspire any child to be the best they can be. Marcus Rashford MBE is Manchester United’s iconic number 10 and an England international footballer. His lobbying of the UK government during the pandemic made Marcus a household name, outside of sports fans, as he successfully lobbied a u-turn of their policy around free school meals. Before he became a global star, Marcus was just a young boy, an average kid from Wythenshawe in South Manchester – with a dream. This book gives every child the tools they need to reach their full potential. With chapters covering everything from building your confidence to navigating adversity, finding your team, using your voice and stand up for other. And never stopping learning. With action points at the end of each chapter featuring brilliant advice and top tips from performance psychologist Katie Warriner, this is a practical guide for every child to believe that their dreams can come true.
'I'm Proud of Who I Am: I Hope You Are Too' is a series of 15 books by Barbara Woster, for young readers of eight to 12 years. They take the format of a one page 'letter' from a young inhabitant of a country, region or state somewhere in the world, in which they describe unique facts about where they live and share their hopes and aspirations for the future. In Book 5, for example, the areas covered range from Aruba to Wyoming, Japan to Venezuela and each 'letter' is accompanied by an artistic impression of the contributor superimposed on an actual image or images of things that have been described. I particularly liked and related to the page from Izan, a Spanish teenager, who describes the tradition of eating one grape on each of the 12 strokes of midnight on New Year's Eve (which I've tried and failed to do myself!) and La Tomatina, the late August festival of throwing tomatoes at other people, which has always fascinated me. I was very surprised to learn that it only began in 1945. The accompanying picture of the festival and Izan's image also contains a photo of a vet treating a dog, which is his ambition. This book is very interesting and informative but not one to read cover to cover, rather it is insightful, sympathetic and well researched and ideal for reference. It succeeds in it's aim to illustrate that all the differences in the world cannot outweigh our common humanity. Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Like its perfectly-voiced predecessor, Front Desk, I couldn’t love Three Keys any more. From its cast of adorable, authentic characters, to the gripping story of underdogs battling bad big guys, this is a sublime masterclass in Middle Grade fiction that pretty much all 8+ year-olds will adore regardless of their usual reading preferences - it’s a story that transcends literary boundaries as it explores divisive real-life boundaries in brilliant age-appropriate style. Kelly Yang is an extraordinary writer. Life is looking sunshine-bright for Mia. Her family and friends now collectively own California’s Calivista Motel and she can’t wait to hone her writing skills while taking charge of the front desk and having fun with her best friend Lupe. But clouds loom in the form of a local Governor’s anti-immigration campaign and the upcoming vote on Proposition 187. Passing this law would mean undocumented children can’t attend school, as the author witnessed first-hand as a ten-year-old Chinese immigrant in 1994. When the motel appears in the background of a TV broadcast, adorable long-time guest Hank (soon to be appointed Marketing Director) adds an “as seen on TV” line to the hotel sign that sees their bookings soar. As Mia tells a journalist she’s caught the attention of, “Here we treat everyone like family…No matter who you are and where you come from”, but not everyone agrees with the Calivista’s welcoming inclusive policy. In fact, when they add “Immigrants welcome” to the sign, their bookings take a downturn - and worse, for the property is defaced with “Go back to your country” and “Whites only” abuse. As the situation escalates, Mia does what she does best - she steps up and finds hope and strength through reaching out, in this instance through forming the Kids for Kids secret club with like-minded kids at school. But reality hits home harder still when the escalating hostile environment has devastating impact on Lupe, to which Mia and co respond by standing up for what’s right in an infectious spirit of humanity.
Jonathan King’s glorious graphic novel tingles with tension, intrigue and contemporary cool. Set in a (usually) sleepy fishing community, bookish Miro inadvertently finds himself drawn into an unsettling mystery to rival the adventures he reads about - a mystery involving an ancient cult, a creepy old castle, Antarctic exploration, and mega-marine monsters. One thing’s for sure, something fishy is definitely afoot (or should that be a-tentacle?), and this totally rocks. The classic colour palette has awesome enduring appeal, and mention must be made of the outstanding visual and textual characterisation - there’s so much expressive detail, however incidental or key the character might be.
Shortlisted for the 2021 Branford Boase Award | The opening of Orphans of the Tide must surely be one of the most arresting and memorable in recent children’s literature: a whale washes up and is caught on the rooftops of a partly submerged city. As crowds gathers to stare, young inventor Ellie realises the danger they are in. Cutting into the whale’s belly to avert a build up of gas, the incredible happens and a living boy falls out. The story continues at similar levels of drama, the City’s religious authorities dragging the boy to prison and a death sentence, believing his body is home to The Enemy, the god they hold responsible for putting the world in its watery grave. Only Ellie is convinced of his innocence and determines to save him. This remarkably assured debut won the Branford Boase Award, impressing the judges with quality of the writing, the power of Murray’s storytelling and his ability to explore timeless themes such as courage, friendship and loss. One to recommend to fans of Philip Pullman or Frances Hardinge.
Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | What a luminously life-enhancing read this is. The story of ADHD afflicted underdog Felix, who “can’t concentrate or keep still”. His East German Granddad now (embarrassingly) drives the pink car that used to belong to his deceased Grandma, whose death has hit them all hard. Felix and Granddad’s grief is laid bare with heart-wrenching authenticity, but theirs is a complex relationship: “I love my granddad and I think he loves me, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.” After an altercation, Felix and Granddad forge an understanding, and look forward to a “neuangfang” (new start) that begins with a list of “Ten things I’d like to teach Felix”. Unfortunately, in Felix’s eyes Granddad’s list comprises the “ten more boring things in the world”, but Felix works through it until only the most dreaded activity remains - playing chess. He tries to wriggle out of it, but “crafty” Granddad has been surreptitiously teaching Felix chess skills and he’s soon hooked by the game, with unexpected positive side effects. A thrilling team tournament is followed waves of pulse-quickening twists that will thrust readers to the edge of their seats, heart in mouth. Throughout, the rollercoaster ride of primary school life - fallings out, friendship, fear of not fitting in - is explored in all its intense and comic complexity, and the representation of working class realisms is spot-on too. Felix’s mum and dad have both been “working stacks since Dad’s plumbing business went bust last year”. But, best of all, the magic of the relationship between children and their grandparents is dazzlingly conjured. I adored it.
March 2021 Book of the Month | Forget Midsomer, Muddlemoor Village is a proper crime hotspot, especially with the annual Great Village Bake Off approaching. Joe is there for the holidays staying at his Granny’s and cousins Tom and Pip are too. The three children are alert for any kind of suspicious activity and have always suspected granny’s neighbour, former MI6 spy (so she says) Anthea and when Granny’s secret recipe for chocolate fudge layer cake goes missing, they’re immediately on the case. Ruth Doyle has a keen understanding of how children see the world, and an excellent ear for the way they speak too and this lively story is full of honest to goodness fun and adventure. I particularly like Pip – quiet, a thinker, not afraid of breaking rules, and quite often to be found upside down in a handstand. The hunt for the missing recipe unfolds wonderfully and there’s a twist at the end that Agatha Christie would be proud of. Marta Kissi’s illustrations are really lovely too.
This is a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller that we’ve been raving about since it went stratospheric across the water earlier this year. Here you will meet four very unusual children each with three things in common – all orphans, all incredibly talented and all utterly and completely honest. Akin to Lemony Snicket but in our view loads better, readers are plunged headfirst into a world of puzzles and logic, testing their ingenuity and cunning as well as that of the four children. It’s fast-paced, brilliantly plotted and the characters are incredibly endearing in their individual ways. Don’t let any 9+ year old miss this one. It’s an absolute gem.
Listing one hundred exciting things to do before you get bogged down in adulthood, this is a book packed with inspiration: Anna McNuff’s enthusiasm for exploring the world is catching and she makes the idea of pushing yourself to do something new or even a bit scary really appealing. The one hundred different adventures to try range from the big, e.g. go on a long-distance cycling adventure, visit a volcano, to the open to everyone – tell spooky stories, go foraging, go on a flip a coin adventure. There’s the same level of useful, practical how-to advice for each one and the same sense of fun to be had. McNuff’s voice and friendly illustrations by Clair Rossiter make this a book to inspire dreams and it will start who knows how many journeys of discovery.
Paul Cookson’s collection does not claim to be the definitive hundred brilliant poems, but it comes close; providing a fun, inspiring and diverse introduction to poetry for children. Not only are the classics of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Whitman out in force, but Cookson also introduces the delights of brand new poetry. His own poem ‘Let No One Steal Your Dreams’ is a beautiful and empowering opening, offering a message of encouragement that lingers in the mind as you read on. A collection to dip into before bed-time or to devour whole, which both children and adults will relish. A message from Gaby Morgan, Editorial Director at Pan Macmillan A gorgeous pick-and-mix packed with long-term favouries, song lyrics and brand-new delights. reading it out loud wull guarantee joy! It also includes some handy hints and starting points for reading, writing and performing at the back. A message from Paul Cookson Hello and welcome to 100 Brilliant Poems for Children. There will never be a definitive hundred brilliant poems . . . but I know that these are a hundred brilliant poems. I wanted to choose poems that have some sort of longevity: poems that are already classics, poems that are modern classics and poems that I feel will have a life beyond this book and become classics in their own right.The collection starts with my own ‘Let No One Steal Your Dreams’ – in fact, the idea for the collection started with that poem. It’s that feeling we are looking for – poems that inspire, and that are aspirational and entertaining in every way. I’ve chosen poems by my favourite poets, poems that I wish I’d written, poems that I’ll be forever jealous of and poems that have inspired me. I also wanted to include a few pieces that haven’t been seen before in a book for children. Words that have meant something to me, words that have touched me at particular times. I say words – as some of them began as songs I’ve played again and again, but with words that I feel work well as stand-alone poems. Not many songwriters are poets, but some are and I’ve included a few here – Billy Bragg, Michael McDermott, Nigel Stonier, Martin Stephenson, Henry Priestman (The Christians), Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) and Stan Cullimore (The Housemartins). Check them out – I hope you like them. No, I’ll rephrase that – I hope you love them. Enjoy!
From bloodthirsty battles and rebellious revolutions, to curious coincidences and unfortunate accidents - 100 Events That Made History has it all! Get ready for a historical rollercoaster ride as 100 Events That Made History brings the major moments of the past to life in an unforgettable way. Get the lowdown on events that have changed the course of history and shaped the modern world. Find out why Ivan became so terrible, why a sandwich was fatal for Archduke Ferdinand and more of history's key moments.
Fantastic stomps around Great Britain | There are so many great things about this book, but perhaps the greatest is the way in which the authors have found the story in each walk. Kids love stories so what better way to get them into the car than with the promise of “The mystery of the four stones at Clent”, “Beaches and battles at Bamburgh” or “Giants and glaciers on Cadair Idris”? This collection of 100 walks is spread out across the country which make it the ideal staycation companion for families. Graded for difficulty, every page turned brings a new map, great photographs, a written overview and a new adventure! The secret to any good guide book is trust and having done quite a few of these walks I can vouch for their accuracy - but what surprised me is what I’d missed! Jen and Sim Benson know their walks but they also know kids. Brilliant!
As 2017 dawns it’s hard to think of a better book to slip into your pocket than 100 Hugs by Chris Riddell. This neat little hardback contains 100 black and white illustrations by Riddell, a virtuoso of the form, and each one will amaze with its delicacy, skill and fluidity. There’s fun to be had in spotting characters – Pinocchio and Geppetto, Alice and the White Rabbit, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the three little pigs – but the real joy comes just from enjoying the beauty and emotion packed into each drawing. It’s a book that will surprise and entertain no matter how many times it’s opened, and one that will leave readers feeling they too have been hugged. ~ Andrea Reece
The world we live in is truly amazing, and across its continents, oceans and skies are all kinds of fabulous places and astounding sights. Almost 100 of them are described in the bright, information-filled pages of this book. Natural wonders featured include the Namib Desert, Mount Thor and the Sundarbans mangrove forest as well as Black Holes, ball lightening and hurricanes. They’re all brought to life through photographs, key facts and figures, attractively presented, and all graded for awesomeness. So too are the human creations listed, which include the Colosseum, the Millau Viaduct and Voyager 1. Perfect for dipping into and full of information they’ll rush to share, this will fascinate kids, and should inspire them too. ~ Andrea Reece
This fascinating ultimate survival handbook will teach you how to survive the world's most dangerous situations ranging from plane crashes and avalanches to jelly fish stings and snake bites. It even gives a top tip on how best to survive each of the 100 most dangerous things. The reality is that most of these things will never happen to you but if you'd read this book and knew what to do if it did happen then chances are you'd live to tell the tale!! Shortlisted for the 2009 Blue Peter Award for ‘the best book with facts’.
This riveting book tells you everything you need to know about the most disgusting things on the planet. With a yuck factor rating you’re told quite how disgusting something is. Great information to share with friends. But there’s also an educational undercurrent to the whole book so it’s particularly good for those reluctant readers who relish the opportunity to get one up on their friends!!
Think 21st century humans have explained pretty much everything there is to explain? Think again! As this book demonstrates, there’s still a huge amount of stuff we simply don’t understand. It takes 100 mind-boggling puzzles – mysterious ancient monuments, haunted castles and paranormal mysteries, scientific conundrums - and examines them rigorously, clear passages of text and attractive photographs and illustrations providing lots of information on each one. Each topic is given its own unexplained rating, from “Not quite as strange as it seems” to “Mind-bogglingly mysterious!!!” It’s the kind of book that kids will find really easy to dip into, and very hard to put down. ~ Andrea Reece
Combine hands-on fun with scientific investigation using this action-packed collection of 100 simple science experiments. Use easily-sourced materials to make crystals, electrical circuits, kaleidoscopes, balloon rockets, and much more. Internet links go to specially selected websites with more activities, and contents and index pages are included.