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All the books we feature on LoveReading4Kids are selected because we think they deserve to stand out from the crowd of the many thousands of other titles published each month.
December 2021 Book of the Month | Grandma is coming to visit so it’s all hands on deck! Dad posts instructions on the fridge, spelled out in those lovely bright magnetic letters: Bobby has to mop the floor, Dad is to scrub the dishes (this is a two dad family), Sarah needs to feed the fishes, and ‘I’ll bathe the cat’. It’s at this point, that the cat takes over – anything to avoid a bath – and, with a swish of its paw, rearranges the letters. As the family follow increasingly silly instructions, with very funny results, the chaotic scenes are illustrated by David Roberts in the brightest, most stylish oranges and pinks. Fortunately, by the time Grandma rings the bell, everything is somehow clean and tidy. For all the silliness, this is a joyful depiction of family life and will be an absolute delight to share with little children.
December 2021 Book of the Month | Gritty, authentic and inspirational, Jennifer Mathieu’s Bad Girls Never Say Die explores the tangled aftermath of an assault with incredible power. There’s tragedy, there’s heartache and, above all, tremendous love felt through this story of a young woman who bravely resolves to forge her own path (“I refuse to live my life for someone else”). In short, it’s the perfect coming of age novel. Like SE Hinton’s The Outsiders (on which this is based), Bad Girls Never Say Die is set in the sixties against a backdrop of deep social divide. Evie and her friends are from the wrong side of the tracks - bad girls who are seen as “trash.” But when Evie is assaulted by a rich kid, she’s saved by one of his kind - beautiful, wealthy Diane, but her sisterly action has tragic consequences. Though set some decades ago, the themes of Bad Girls Never Say Die remain as resonant today - class division, class conflict, and the bad that comes from making judgements on the basis of background and appearance. Then there’s the friendship, peer pressure, loyalty, and falling in love. The unfair family expectations, troubled home-lives, and the fact that it’s “different for boys”, who are afforded greater far freedoms than girls. Gripping, relatable and emotionally engaging, Bad Girls Never Say Die is a triumph.
December 2021 Book of the Month | Tom is an orphan and as the celebrations for the end of term finish it seems he’ll be spending the summer alone at his boarding school. No wonder he accepts an invitation to visit the uncle he’s never met – indeed, never heard of – despite the strangeness of the message and its delivery. Arriving at Mundham Farm, things get stranger yet, the boundaries between this world and that of the mysterious Folk, or Samdhya, seeming to shift in the summer heat, along with our understanding of time itself. His uncle’s home is a worse and more oppressive prison than school; can Tom find a way to escape and to free the other prisoners from his uncle’s control? It’s a wonderfully heady and atmospheric adventure, exploring ideas of family, trust, power and freedom. Womack is a fine writer and this is one to recommend to fans of Frances Hardinge or Philip Reeve.
December 2021 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2021 | Against a huge sweep of the history of Greece including the stories of the ancient heroes, the occupation of Greece by the Germans in the Second World War and right up to the present-day of the arrival of Syrian refugees, at heart this is an touching story of Nandi, a teenager living in Australia, and the wonderful bond she has with her Auntie Ellie in Ithaca. Despite the distance between Australia and Greece, Nandi and her very special Auntie Ellie meet frequently. But then Auntie Ellie becomes too frail to travel. Now Nandi must go to Ithaca to find her. It’s a trip she is longing to make and, when she does so, she uncovers the remarkable story of Auntie Ellie’s life. A beautiful and touching story which speaks of love and care. And history.
December 2021 Book of the Month | Share this Christmas adventure book at bedtime for a perfectly charming festive read, full of frosty scenes, inviting flaps to lift, and the friendliest little bunny characters. Read it in the day, and ideally before a walk in the park, and it turns into a set of instructions for a special holiday adventure, with an invitation to join a very jolly elf chase. With shades of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, there’s lots of repetition, lots of actions to copy (skate, skate, glide) and lots of fun.
December 2021 Non-fiction Book of the Month | ‘What is the most important animal of all?’, asks a teacher of a young class after they’ve spent a term learning about animals big and small. They all have different suggestions. George thinks it’s elephants, Nimmie puts forward bees, Seb votes for sharks and Kai nominates beavers. Others namr bats, tigers and even krill. As they make the case for their chosen animals, the children explain just why they’re so important, describing the effect they have on the environment and fellow creatures. Illustrations are perfectly combined with photos, fact boxes and text to demonstrate just how interconnected is our world and its ecosystems. The book provides a wealth of information presented clearly and in a way that will inspire young readers. The final spreads explain ‘keystone species’ and provide a glossary and ‘Find our more’ section. A very impressive and well-thought-out information book.
Patch Brightwater and his friend Barver, the dracogriff, are trapped on a mysterious island full of monstrous beasts. Their shapeshifting friend, Wren, is being held prisoner by the Piper of Hamelyn, but she's working hard to escape. Clad in his suit of magical black armour and with dragons and a growing army on his side, the Piper of Hamelyn seems destined to bring chaos and destruction down on the world. Can anything stop him? Three accidental heroes versus one legendary villain...the epic adventure that began with A Darkness of Dragons comes to a thunderous end.
November 2021 Graphic Novel of the Month | Even young readers who haven’t heard of Dolly Parton can’t fail to be excited and inspired by her rags to riches story. In full colour, graphic novel style format, this describes her life from her early days, growing up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, in a house with no electricity or running water, to her eventual world superstardom as a singer, film star and literacy campaigner. It gives a real sense of the struggles she had to face, and how she overcame them through talent, hard work and determination – never losing hope or good humour. Parton’s personality shines out as brightly as her costumes, the final pages describing her charity work, and her special ability to connect with people and help them make their dreams come true.
November 2021 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2021 | Readers who love magical adventures will fall headlong into this breath taking All Hallows Eve story. Miserable at moving house and struggling to get used to his baby sister, Yanni and his cousin Amy are left in charge on All Hallows Eve. When a stranger appears and steals his baby sister away leaving a changling in her place, Yanni has to do everything in his power to get her back. But the stranger is a wicked faery whose powerful magic can pull off every trick imaginable. Yanni must be quick witted and resourceful as he overcomes the outrageous challenges the Faery throws at him. The many layers of Ross Montomery’s adventure and the powerfully imagined challenges he has dreamt up sends readers on an adventure that matches any computer game for jeopardy and nerve-wracking thrills.
November 2021 Book of the Month | Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 11-14 | The Silent Stars Go By is a riveting read-in-one-sitting experience driven by compelling characters who leap off the page, not least the young woman at its heart, an unmarried secretarial student who’s forced to give up her baby during WWI. The novel is also underpinned by a superb sense of social history, with evocative details of post-war village life nestling within the bigger story, and - as might be expected of the author of Things a Bright Girl Can Do - it’s threaded with feminist themes. It’s 1919, Christmas is on the horizon and two years have passed since nineteen-year-old Margot was forced to give up her baby for her parents to raise as their own. She was only fifteen when she and Harry fell madly in love ahead of him being called up. The magic of their time together is evoked in all its tingling passion, contrasting with Margot’s present-day torments. It hurts when little James calls her mother “Mummy”, and she doesn’t know how she can continue to keep James a secret from Harry, who’s returned to the village after recuperating on the Isle of Wight. The flashbacks to Margot’s time on the maternity ward are particularly poignant and, of course, the reason she has to endure this unbearable situation is due to the fact that she lives in a world in which “the girl is the one whose honour is defiled or whatever rot they spout” whereas “the boy is just being a boy”. Coupled with that wider context, Margot’s vicar father is a man who “forgave drunks and tramps and fallen women and the men who tried to steal the lead from the church roof. But he couldn’t forgive her.” Realising that “things couldn’t go on like this,” Margot decides to confront her fears amidst the rare glamour of a ball on New Year’s Eve.
November 2021 Book of the Month - A November 2021 Star Book! | Jessie Burton’s fiery feminist re-telling of the Greek myth of Medusa blazes with intrigue and beauty courtesy of author’s elegant style and Olivia Lomenech Gill’s fabulously evocative colour illustrations. It’s an incredible feat of intellect and imagination that takes down toxic masculinity and victim-blaming culture through an ingenious reframing, reclaiming of Medusa. The gods have exiled Medusa to a remote island, with no one for company but the snakes she has for hair. That is, until impossibly beautiful Perseus arrives and transfixes her: “I know a lot about beauty. Too much in fact. But I’d never seen anything like him…I wanted to eat him up like honey cake.” Desires awoken, Medusa won’t reveal her name, or let him see her: “I was just going to sit on the other side of this entrance rock and pretend that boys like him washed up on desert islands all the time.” This excerpt encapsulates one of the many marvellous things about this book. The writing - cleverly, and compellingly - feels both timeless and modern. Medusa’s narrative, and the dialogue, is laced with wit, and infused with tremendous detail. But betrayal swoops in the wake of desire, and all-too familiar mechanisms of patriarchy come into play with ferocity. Ultimately, though, and with a magnificent sense of sisterhood, Medusa comes to a new state of being: “Self-awareness is a great banisher of loneliness. And my sisters, the immortals, are with me.” This is terrifically inspiring and empowering in the ways of timeless myths, but also in ways that are very, very real - “you will find me when you need me, when the wind hears a woman’s cry and fills my sails forward. And I will whisper on the water that one must never fear the raised shield, the reflection caught in an office window, or the mirror in a bathroom.”
November 2021 Book of the Month | Everything that is wonderful about Christmas (and some things that aren’t!) is thrillingly spun about in this deliciously magical and madcap adventure. Homeless Blanche has never had any real Christmas but when the mysterious Rinki gives her a magical bauble and some mince pies on Christmas Day everything changes. Rinki and Blanche are firm friends forever and together they are about to rewrite the Santa story. Santa Claus, elf magic, delicious Christmas food and drink, and a wonderful sleigh ride are all thrown into the mix as a very merry Christmas for all – except the sinister Mr Krampus – follows.
November 2021 Book of the Month | Christmas is coming! First there is the wonder of snow and then there is all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas. Finally, it is Christmas eve and Mouse and Mole have to wait patiently for Father Christmas to arrive…Three charming short stories all matched with beautiful and warm hearted illustrations make this a perfect book to share at any time and especially in the run up to Christmas!
November 2021 Book of the Month | Absolutely dazzling. With exemplary research that beautifully integrates details of time and place, outstanding characterisation that rings with empathy and authenticity, and powerfully resonant themes, Celia Rees’ Pirates is a true triumph of historic fiction. I could say what a swashbuckling adventure this is. How brilliantly the book conjures the thrills and dangers of life on the piratical high seas; what an incredible page-turner it is. And, while Pirates! certainly is all these things, it’s also much, much more. Centred around two extraordinary young women readers will truly care about, it conveys the brutality of slavery in the West Indies, and how women were but pawns in a man’s world - forced into slavery on white-owned plantations, and enslaved by marriage, too. Nancy is the free-spirited daughter of a merchant. Minerva is a strong young woman enslaved in Jamaica. Following his death, Nancy travels to Jamaica, where she meets Minerva on her father’s plantation, and they immediately strike up a bond. As grotty circumstances escalate and close in, the young women flee the lives the world has set out for them by becoming pirates. There’s tremendous tension, epic action, and a gorgeous sense of sisterhood (and romance, too) as the women sail the world determined to live the lives they deserve. May this reissue make its way to legions of new readers - teenagers, young adults and adults alike. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
October 2021 Book of the Month | It’s a big world out there and when you’re little it’s difficult to know where to start. The World Book makes it easy. It's a fantastic resource for young minds to get their heads around the customs, symbols, histories and … well, identities of the 199 countries explored within. The Contents page is sub-titled “Where do you want to go today?”, and that’s just what you do - pick a country, head to the page, and within ten minutes you’ve very easily built an accurate picture of a faraway place that one day you may just be lucky enough to visit. You couldn’t give a book such a big title as this without making it a substantial thing to hold. The World Book doesn’t disappoint and is reminiscent of some of the hefty picture atlases that used to lie around my house when I was a kid. There is a little mapping but more helpful are the abundant colourful illustrations that portray each nation. Dig a little deeper and the detailed short paragraphs that zoom in on particular facts and figures provide substance to the uniqueness of the place. The book is very accessible and punchy and I particularly liked its sense of equality and the way in which it is not dominated by the bigger nations. Sierra Leone, for example, enjoys as much space as Greece, and there is as much to learn about Canada as there is the USA. The World Book is a triumph in how it neatly and simply explains the world - even to an oldie like me! It seems there are still countries out there I’ve never even heard of...
November 2021 Book of the Month | The Carroll family love Christmas. They love it so much they celebrate it every day and in the most over-the-top way possible; Mrs Carroll has even changed her name to Snow by deed poll. Daughter Holly (of course), our central character, loves it too and does everything possible to spread good cheer wherever she goes. When the family move into their dream home, in Sleigh Ride Avenue, Holly stops being home-schooled and enrols at the local primary. Her arrival in Dickens class causes quite a stir, her new classmates don’t know what to make of her. Sadly, for a while it looks as though Holly will have all that ho-ho-ho happiness knocked out of her. Don’t worry though, she bounces back, and takes the whole community with her. There’s so much joy, happiness and laughter packed into this book that it’s certain to leave readers feeling full of festive spirit, whatever the time of year – it certainly had your normally bah-humbug reviewer whistling Jingle Bells. Holly is an irresistible character, her family a delight, there’s a guest appearance by a very distinctive donkey, and you know what, wouldn’t things be better if we did act like it was Christmas every day?
October 2021 Book of the Month | When ship’s surgeon Gulliver sets off across the seas in search of adventure he has little idea what he will find. His two greatest discoveries are the countries of Lilliput and Brobdingnag. In Lilliput he finds a population of tiny people to whom he appears as a giant while in Brobdingnag the roles are reversed: Gulliver is tiny and Brobdingnags are giants. Swift uses Gulliver’s descriptions of his experiences in these contrasting countries to write a satirical commentary on his own society. His use of Gulliver’s altered relative size gives great scope for studying everyday events in a new way and makes a fine vantage point for telling the contrasting stories. Gulliver is an iconic figure in literature. Read aloud, this abridged edition with its impressionistic yet detailed illustrations by Robert Ingpen will make an excellent way to introduce the story about him to young readers.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2021 | October 2021 Book of the Month | Michael Morpugo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom is just one of the very many stories for adults and children alike that have been inspired by Daniel Defoe’s classic shipwreck story. Written over 300 years ago, the story of Robinson Crusoe, an impulsive young man who runs away to sea against the best efforts of his parents to stop him, is packed full of gripping action as Crusoe survives the worst the elements throw at him before he is shipwrecked on an apparently uninhabited island. The story of Crusoe’s life on an island is a lyrical study of a place as well as an inspiring story of one man’s resourcefulness. In this adapted edition award-winning illustrator Robert Ingpen’s illustrations bring Daniel Defoe’s classic story to life in timeless images.
At LoveReading4kids we’re passionate about all the books we feature.
All the books we feature on LoveReading4Kids are selected because we think they deserve to stand out from the crowd of the many thousands of other titles published each month. However, sometimes in a month, we wish to give that little bit more emphasis to a title or titles and to make it a 'Book of the Month' within its age range.
You’ll find those titles here in our Books of the Month page.
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