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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.
April 2019 Book of the Month | Blimey, but can Anthony Horowitz pack huge amounts of tension, excitement and humour into his short stories! He shows off a breath-taking ability to conjure adventure out of the most unlikely beginnings, and in his hands even a trip to the dentist turns into a full-on, peril-laden caper. There’s everything in this collection that makes the Alex Rider novels so addictive: dangerous situations, daring escapes, gadgets galore. And of course, there’s Alex himself – super-smart, super-resourceful, super-cool. Irresistible, unbeatable reading. LoveReading4Kids Loves Alex Rider! Find out more about Alex Rider in our Series of the Month feature.
April 2019 Book of the Month | The tables are turned in Jeff Kinney’s new comic adventure and the wimpy kid telling the story and steering the action is Rowley Jefferson, Greg Heffley’s best friend. As Greg’s long-suffering sidekick he deserves his turn in the spotlight, though as he apologetically points out, most of the book is still about Greg. The boys’ escapades, quarrels and daft schemes are just as funny as when we hear them via Greg. No-one does the straight to camera narrative style of the diary better than Kinney and no matter how straight Jeff tells it, our understanding of the action is often quite different to his. This is as authentic and funny as the original Wimpy Kid books and makes just as irresistible reading.
April 2019 Book of the Month | This is a book to encourage contemplation, one that in our frenetic world enables children to be able stop and think about things without being graded. It accepts that not all questions have answers, certainly not right or wrong ones, and that conversation is vital to working things out. Amongst the big questions posed are some that are existential: why am I afraid of what I don’t know? Why do some people turn nasty when they are in large groups? And others that are hypothetical and abstract: Is it possible to understand the whole universe? Britta Teckentrup’s dreamy, richly textured illustrations seem to allow each one space and quiet enough for the reader’s thought process. Beautiful and unusual, this will start all sorts of discussions.
April 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | The inspiring story of Mary Anning who, born at the end of the eighteenth century, fought against all the odds to become a pioneering scientist and fossil hunter. Inspired by her father who took her out on fossil hunting expeditions on the cliffs and beaches around Lyme Regis, Mary was fascinated by the beauty of the finds and by what they said about the past. Her exceptional curiosity was matched by incredible courage which led her to take dare-devil risks as she searched for rare examples. She also knew their worth and was never shy in selling them well to the many visitors to the area who came to wonder. Anthea Simmons tells Mary’s story as an exciting adventure and also as a rousing story of what an intelligent and brave woman can do.
April 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | Take an inspiring journey into sixteen very special and important landscapes each of which is brought to life in glorious large-scale illustrations. These set the scene for amazing dramas of nature that are taking place within them. From tropical rainforest to scorching deserts, these protected environments are home to rare and beautiful animals and plants which are shown here in glorious illustrations that display their finest details. While the illustrations will draw the readers in, there is also a wealth of information included in the fact file at the end making this a book that is full of value as well as beauty.
April 2019 Book of the Month | Bounce like a bunny, spring like a lamb, leap like a frog, hop like a chick – pre-schoolers will have a ball guessing what animal adorable, active Ted is about to imitate before lifting the flaps for the big reveals. Bright, bold and with plenty for little ones to giggle over as they get involved, this is the very best kind of board book – the kind that toddlers will request over-and-over (and over!) again.
April 2019 Book of the Month | The Naughty Naughty Baddies are deliciously, outrageously, phenomenally BAD and their antics in this new adventure will thrill young readers. Their attention is caught by a competition poster: prove that alien life exists and receive a toy-tastic reward from the president. Who could resist? Baddie Four comes up with a fiendishly naughty and brilliantly bonkers plan and – for a while at least – they manage to bamboozle the president before being found out. They still have the last laugh though, and children too will be in stitches. The story is great fun and illustrator David Tazzyman reaches new heights of gleefully wild, energetic and scribbly chaos.
April 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | Award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce has created a wonderful illustrated version of Richard Adams’s classic story by drawing on the scripts from the BBC/Netflix mini-series. His simple story telling style, perfectly matched by the vivid illustrations captures the essence of the original with all its excitement, warmth and insight of this animal saga of survival. You might also like the Watership Down Colouring Book, which accompanies the series.
March 2019 Book of the Month | Smart, soulful, authentic and original, there’s no doubt that Zentner is an outstanding YA writer. His debut novel was a southern gothic gem, his second an incisive account of grief and guilt, while this is a contemporary coming-of-age classic, replete with a heartrending road trip, feverish romance and LOLs aplenty. About to graduate from high school, best friends Josie and Delia host a humorous horror movie show on public access TV, with Delia channeling her estranged dad’s love of low-budget fright fests and Josie working towards a career in TV. Experts in the art of witty back-and-forth tennis-rally banter, the girls are super close, but unsettling changes are on the horizon. Delia is desperately torn-up by being abandoned by her dad and, having tracked him down to Florida, has to decide whether she wants to contact him, just when it looks like Josie is about to leave her to take up an internship in another city. While this simmers, and as Delia struggles with being “the mother to my mother”, they’re invited to attend Shivercon. Seeing this gathering of horror moviemakers as the ideal opportunity to meet and enlist the support of an iconic presenter, they embark on a twelve-hour road-trip to Florida with Josie’s new boyfriend Lawson in tow, and Delia now set on seeing her dad. Josie and Lawson’s unexpected romance is as head-over-heels uplifting as Delia’s reunion with her dad is poignant, and there are plenty of entertaining plot twists and moments of everyday magic as this novel wends to a heartfelt conclusion.
April 2019 Book of the Month | Lauren St John knows just how to create the perfect children’s adventure stories. Her junior detectives Kat Wolfe and Harper Lamb return for a second outing in this new book, another enthralling adventure that combines crumbling cliff edges, dinosaur bones, an A list celebrity who isn’t what she seems and, of course, lots of glorious animals. As they investigate a suspicious death, Kat and Harper face real dangers, but quick-thinking and teamwork, not to mention a bit of luck, see them through. There’s an important eco-message contained in the adventure too and this is exactly the kind of book to encourage children’s interest in the environment and their world as the pages keep turning. Thoroughly recommended.
UKLA Shortlist Book Awards - 2019 | July 2018 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 | Shortlisted for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2017 | | A book to break your heart, quicken your blood and stir your soul by one of the most outstandingly distinctive writers to have emerged in a long, long time. New Yorker Joe Moon was only seven when he took the call in which his big brother Ed told him he'd been arrested because “they think I done something real bad”. That “something” led to Ed winding up on death row, convicted of murdering a cop, though he insists he’s innocent. Ten years later, now Ed’s execution date has been set, Joe travels to Texas to say goodbye. The sublimely-formed structure slips between present and past, recounting the brothers’ troubled upbringing - how their Mom took off; how Aunt Karen took control and decided that Bible study and never mentioning Ed again was the only route to their salvation. While she insists that there’s no point wasting life or money helping someone who wasn’t sorry, Joe sees things differently. “He's my brother,” and that’s really all that matters. He has to see him. Lawyer Al, who’s taken on Ed’s case for free, offers some hope, but time is running out. “It's better to be guilty and rich, I reckon,” Joe remarks, as he experiences the excruciating injustices of a legal system in which the harshness of a sentence depends on where a crime takes place, who the victim was, and who you can afford to pay to represent you (crucially, Ed had no representation when he was first arrested). Once again, Crossan's free verse form is breathtakingly powerful - always the right word, in the right place, at the right time. Yes, this is harrowing and heartbreaking, but the kindness of the strangers Joe meets in Texas is achingly uplifting, as is the deep bond of love between Joe and Ed. This really is a magnificent feat of writing.
April 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | Fifty years since the moon landing and a new generation want to know all about it! Written in letters from Charlie Tanner, an enquiring eight year old and his enthusiastic and easily excitable hound Jasper to a Rocket Scientist, Jasper Space Dog is a clever mix of fun and facts. Charlie and Jasper’s letters raise many of the questions that everyone wonders about such as Is the moon made of cheese? and Is there a man on the moon and does he have a dog? The Rocket Scientist’s simple answers give the true scientific details in an easily accessible form. There’s much to enjoy as well as much to learn from this introduction to an important topic. Have a look at our Ambassador Book Buzz for Jasper: Space Dog.
April 2019 Book of the Month | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | It’s hard to resist any book that starts with toads dropping from the sky and that’s just one of the delights of this story. The toads provide the backdrop to a thoroughly enjoyable tale of friendship, inter-school horticultural rivalry and the fall and rise of an umbrella emporium. Patrice Lawrence makes sure the storylines leap along nicely and her central characters Leo and Rosa feel like old friends even by chapter two. Becka Moor’s illustrations – of toads and human characters alike – are more than lively enough to match the narrative. A fun, original adventure that will keep everyone hoppy.
March 2019 Book of the Month | Compiled by YA author and broadcaster Juno Dawson, this inspiring anthology of illustrated short stories by LGBTQ+ writers shines a light on a kaleidoscopic array of experiences through an equally kaleidoscopic breadth of genres, themes and styles. From Chinese lesbian fairytale The Phoenix’s Fault by Cynthia So, to Simon James Green’s hilarious, heart-warming Penguins (who would’ve thought a pair of penguins could steal a person’s coming out thunder?!), this is a powerfully diverse collection. Alongside more established names, among them authors David Levithan and Jess Vallance, and illustrator David Roberts, special mention must go to the four new voices whose stories grace these pages – be sure to seek out what Karen Lawler, Michael Lee Richardson, Cynthia So and Kay Staples do next. These are stories of struggle and trouble, passion and promise, with much wit, warmth, wisdom and support shared along the way. And so it seems fitting to leave the last loud, proud, celebratory words to Dan from David Levithan’s queer youth choir story: “You hold your ground. You sing out loud and proud in defiance of all the people who want you to be quiet”.
March 2019 Book of the Month | Fleur Hitchcock’s exciting other-world thriller oozes atmosphere. Athan Wilde lives with his mother and sisters, the youngest of whom is unable to walk. The family are poor and his job working for inventor Mr Chen is important, though his mother is suspicious of Mr Chen especially when one of his experiments backfires accidentally destroying her hen house. But someone else is really out to get him and when Mr Chen is murdered Athan is in danger too, the murderer ready to use violence and kidnap to discover his employer’s secrets. It’s a gripping, fast-paced story with an air of Dickensian gothic and some of the supporting characters – Athan’s nasty, narrow-minded granny for example – are particularly shuddersome. Enjoyable adventure for robust readers.
March 2019 Book of the Month | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Guy Bass comes out all guns blazing in his latest comic adventure which features some typically wonderful characters – I particularly like Tad Tipsy the bartender and Precious Little the gold prospector. Centre stage is sheriff’s daughter Laura Norder and her arch enemy Duncan Disorderly, motto ‘No rules!’. In a spontaneous gesture he comes to regret, Laura’s dad makes her sheriff, but absolute power is no good for anyone and Laura’s obsession with imposing strict rules quickly makes her very unpopular with the townspeople of Butts Canyon. It’s very funny indeed, but there are lessons for us all and a sly bit of political satire too. Yee haw!
March 2019 Book of the Month | The main protagonist of this smart picture book may be a circle, and the co-stars a triangle and a square, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a multi-faceted story. Triangle and Square are playing hide and seek with Circle. They’re allowed to go anywhere except behind the waterfall, because it’s really dark there. Of course someone disobeys and in a carefully composed and very effective drama the tension rises as Circle goes looking for Square. It gets darker and darker, until only all we can see are her oblong eyes. Counting eyes in the dark leads us to the story’s very funny climax and its message that we shouldn’t be frightened of the unknown. Klassen’s illustrations are full of colour and depth despite the limited palette, and this is another very special picture book from a brilliant team.
March 2019 Book of the Month | Jasper is the type of cat who knows what he likes. He likes his smart flat and his smart wardrobe (lots of bow ties). He’s determined to be accepted into the Sophisticats club, ‘for the finest felines around’, and invites them to dinner. Somehow though while doing the shopping he meets the scruffiest puppy you can imagine. When Scruff follows him home it looks like Jasper’s dinner party will be ruined but in a surprise ending he discovers that maybe the little puppy is exactly the right kind of friend after all. It’s a fun story about friendship and acceptance, and Jasper and Scruff are very appealing characters especially in Nicola Colton’s boisterous illustrations. A great book to share, but it’s also just right for newly independent readers.
March 2019 Book of the Month | All readers who like exciting, unusual adventure stories will enjoy The Winged Horse Race, but if they like horses they’ll be in heaven, or in this case Mount Olympus as the setting is classical Greece. Orphan Pippa is a (very) lowly stable girl until she is picked out by Aphrodite, one of a number of children chosen to compete in a special horse race. These horses are not just fast and beautiful, they can fly too. The winning horse will become Zeus’s steed, and the winning competitor immortal. As we know from the old stories, the gods are not above cheating when it suits them and with the stakes so high Pippa and Zeph, the little horse she quickly comes to love, will need to be very careful indeed. The setting is cleverly done and makes this story really stand out, while the cast of characters – human, divine, equine – make this a very satisfying story indeed.
March 2019 Book of the Month | The setting for Rebecca Patterson’s lively story of friends falling out is Earth eighty years in the future, and quite a lot has changed. People are getting around in flying cars, real food has pretty well been replaced by acquagrown substitutes, and the Moon has been colonised. The school playground is patrolled by cyborgs, but the children in it are the same as they’ve ever been. Lyla has been best friends with Bianca since nursery, but when a cool new girl joins the class, she finds herself pushed out. How can she win back her friend, and why does no-one see just how mean Petra is? The story is short and full of humour, but still carries a lot of weight and for all the fun and adventures will set readers thinking about how we treat other people, and how we’d like to be treated in return. This is a really good story for newly confident readers.
February 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | Charmingly produced, this is a beautifully illustrated and designed book which makes the very best use of its stylish illustrations and layout to tell an important story about friendship and its complications. Lula and Lenka enjoy and acknowledge their many differences while also remaining steadfastly good friends. It doesn’t matter that Lula loves talking and Lenka loves drawing. Or that Lenka loves cats and Lula loves dogs. But then they have an argument and words are said which hurt. Now they don’t want to play together or even speak to each other. But that feels all wrong too. How can the two girls make things better. Friends everywhere and of all ages will recognise the intensity of these two little girls’ friendship and will be willing them on to make it up!.
February 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | With a fabulous heroine at its heart and propelled by a fast-paced adventure in not just one world but others too, The Star-Spun Web is a spell-binding fantasy adventure. As a little baby, Tess de Sousa is left on a doorstep by her father in an effort to keep her safe. To be safe, he knows he has to get her out of one world and into another. Apparently orphaned, Tess, with her pet tarantula for company, grows up in Ackerbee’s Home for Lost and Foundlings where she is encouraged to use her brain to do difficult scientific research and is very much loved by all. But her life changes suddenly when a stranger, claiming to be family, arrives at Ackerbee’s Home, and takes her away with him to Roedeer Lodge. Mr Cleat is not family and Tess needs all her intelligence and persistence to keep safe and, above all, to find out why he is interested in her and what his terrible plan for the future might be. The plot hurtles along and Tess remains a resourceful and delightful character throughout.
February 2010 Book of the Month | Treasure, tropical islands, shivering timbers – everyone loves a pirate story and this one is particularly fun, especially for newly confident readers. The crew of the Golden Earring are a rum bunch, from grumpy Captain Halibut to hapless cook Cannonball. Their antics are observed by the animals on board – Cutlass the parrot, Patch the ship’s cat and Monty, the ship’s monkey. When a treasure map is discovered, only the animals know how dangerous finding it will be – how can they keep the humans safe? It’s all lots of fun, a jaunty, thoroughly satisfying story full of incident and humour. Illustrations by Kate Pankhurst make this as fun to look at as it is to read. Ooo-arrrs all round!
February 2019 Book of the Month | Here’s another inspiring, information-packed picture book in what’s becoming something of a series (see also Great Women Who Made History and Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World). It tells the stories of pioneering women who achieved amazing things, often in the face of prejudice or downright hostility from society. There are familiar names – Rosalind Franklin is included – plus lots that are lesser known, but just as fascinating: balloonist Sophie Blanchard for example, and Sarah Breedlove, beauty entrepreneur. Their stories are told through lively, engaging text and pictures, it’s a treat to read. Kate Pankhurst is something of a fantastically great woman herself, and there’s lots for all readers to marvel at and enjoy in this book.
February 2019 Book of the Month | This is book ten in this excellent series which recounts – via email exchanges – the escapades of young Eddie Smith-Pickle and his eccentric Uncle Morton, dragon aficionado and explorer. In this episode, Eddie’s first email to his long-suffering mother is entitled Confession and gets straight to the point: he’s not in Glasgow as mum believes, but 4,329 miles further away. Uncle Morton has persuaded his nephew to accompany him to Mongolia to witness the legendary Great Dragon Battle Ceremony. The trip turns out to be every bit as exciting as you’d expect, and it’s only the arrival of Uncle Morton’s own dragons, Ziggy and Arthur, that prevents Eddie ending up as a dragon’s dinner. The email format ensures the stories are told with the utmost economy, but they’re also full of humour and wit. This is sophisticated storytelling in a really accessible format, no wonder the series has now reached number ten.
February 2019 Book of the Month | This is a delightful, newly-minted fairy tale (three sisters, a quest, a witch, a moral) and thoroughly satisfying. The Widdershins sisters – Fliss, Betty and Charlie – live with their granny on the island of Crowstone, a miserable, end of the line kind of place, all damp, and marsh and mist. It’s not somwehere you’d want to live but as the story unfolds, we discover that because of an age-old curse, the girls can never leave. When breaking the curse becomes a matter of life or death, the three girls will have to work together – despite their sometimes spiky relationships – and at least they have a pinch of magic to help. This is an ingenious and compelling story and like the age-old tales that are its inspiration, pitches love, generosity and forgiveness against human cruelty. Superb! There are some great fantasy adventures for young readers at the moment – look out too for The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle and The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson.
February 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.
February 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 | Cleverly set within a gripping adventure, Lark is a deeply touching story of the special bond between brothers. Older brother Nicky narrates the story of the day he and his younger brother Kenny set out on a simple day out on the moors. Proposed by their father as a way of filling time while they wait nervously for their mum to return from her new life in Canada, it is meant to a fun day out tinged with a bit of nostalgia as they are retracing a walk that he used to enjoy. But the simple walk which begins in a light hearted way soon becomes a deadly dangerous adventure as the weather conditions close in, the boys get completely lost and Kenny has to show exceptional courage and intelligence to make sure he can get Kenny home safely. Anthony McGowan maintains the intensity of the story throughout while also keeping the writing simple.
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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. 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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