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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.
January 2021 Book of the Month | Kids are always being told that if they ‘dream their dreams’ one day those dreams will come true. ‘Living the dream’ is a very different experience for 11-going-on-12-year-old Malky in Ross Welford’s absorbing, vastly entertaining novel. Blackmailed into a bungled burglary, Malky becomes owner of a set of Dreaminators, mysterious machines that make dream worlds real and give the dreamer powers to control them. At first, Malky and his co-dreamer, little brother Seb, enjoy their night-time adventures, especially those in a Stone Age world closely based on Seb’s favourite storybook where they make friends, go hunting, and Seb has high hopes of riding a mammoth. If it seems too good to be true, of course it is, and as Malky’s ability to control what’s happening in his dreams weakens, everything – awake or asleep – starts to go wrong. When Seb is taken prisoner in a dream and falls into a life-threatening coma in real life, Malky has to face up to his responsibilities, not to mention the fears and anger his dreams have disguised, in one last terrifying dream. At least he has new friends there to help. The story is cleverly told and plotted, moving back and forward in time, from dream to reality, with Doctor Who ease. It’s full of humour too, e.g. a wonderful scene in the school canteen in which Malky does all the things he’s always dreamed of doing, not realising he’s actually awake. Core too are the really big things in life – friendship, love, family, learning about yourself and understanding others. It’s a book that delights in the fact that the inside of our head is bigger far than the outside. Readers who enjoy Welford’s excellent books will also race through Christopher Edge’s out-of-this world adventures.
January 2021 Book of the Month | Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Chris Naylor-Ballesteros has followed up his acclaimed picture book, The Suitcase, with an equally mesmeric tale of friendship, and how true friendship adapts and grows throughout our lives. Through stunning but simple illustrations, and a minimal palette, we meet the beetle and the caterpillar; the friends eat, watch the moon rise and share time together until one morning beetle awakes and there is no sign of the caterpillar. After a while of waiting the beetle goes in search of his friend...he thought he saw her from a distance but as he grew closer realised it wasn’t her and now he feels lost. But, the joy!, his friend came looking for him! Whilst the beetle had been searching, the caterpillar had turned into a butterfly! A moving, gentle tale of acceptance and how friendship grows through ages and changes.
January 2021 Book of the Month | Written and illustrated by Jion Sheibani, Sohal Finds a Friend is a sweet side-splitting story that will provide much comfort to little worriers as they enjoy an adventure in the company of an endearing boy and his furry friends. It’s a brilliant way to help children understand their anxieties and express themselves - think Pixar’s Inside Out in book form. Sohal is one of life’s worriers and dreads bedtime, when “the darkness would grow and grow, until it filled every part of his body”. His dad’s suggestion of calm breathing doesn’t help, and his mum’s suggestion of counting sheep is useless too, for in Sohal’s mind they’re transformed into mutant alien sheep fleeing a giant robot wolf! But everything changes when he draws the monsters that plague him and…THEY COME TO LIFE! With Hurt, Fail, Anger, Big, and Alone for company, Sohal’s attention is diverted to worrying about them - what will everyone at school think? – but it’s not long before The Worries help him understand and control his own worries, while providing a whole lot of fun. Funny, with thoughtful themes that foster off-the-page dialogue, this is a warm-hearted winner for 5+ year-olds. You can find more books on this theme in our Anxiety & Wellbeing collection.
January 2021 Book of the Month | The latest instalment of P G Bell’s Train to Impossible Places delivers its dose of excitement and adventure impeccably (as you’d expect in a book starring some of the most efficient and dedicated postal operatives you could ever hope to meet). In previous episodes, as crew member of the Impossible Postal Express, Suzy has befriended ghosts, battled a giant robot and saved an entire city from destruction. Now, in spite of the best efforts of her parents, who know what’s been going on and are, understandably, more than a little worried, she’s back on board with another challenging delivery to make: a book needs to be returned to its library. This being the Impossible Places, that’s a lot less simple and a lot more magical than it sounds, and the task will see Suzy sucked into a void storm, trapped at the bottom of the ocean - and almost eaten by a giant frog. PG Bell’s books overflow with invention and thrills and I defy anyone not to want to climb onboard with Suzy and her extraordinary friends. By the end of the story, our own world has been made just a bit more magical, and readers will feel that too as they close the book. Fans of trains and magical adventures will also enjoy Lev Grossman’s The Silver Arrow. Read more about The Train to Impossible Places series!
January 2021 Book of the Month | Worries – they’re easy to acquire and then, before you know it, they’ve taken over and are with you all the time, interrupting your fun, spoiling playtime, keeping you awake at night. Don’t worry though, help is at hand. The little boy in this story takes his Worry to a Worry Expert who has lots of advice and suggestions that successfully send the Worry away, even though it has got really big. The Worry is portrayed as a colourful, lively scribble, cheerful and smiling though clearly a real pest. The approach taken will help children prone to worrying feel they’re not alone and the Worry Expert’s advice will work for everyone. Written in a fluid rhyming text and with bold, child-friendly illustrations, this is a great book to share and will be really helpful for anxious children. You can find more books on this theme in our Anxiety & Wellbeing collection.
January 2021 Book of the Month | Set in a magical world, this glorious tale of adventure and daring stars the most unlikely heroine because, as the narrator explains, sometimes it takes a story to show that the truly extraordinary people – the ones who defeat monsters and save kingdoms – are often the ones that nobody notices at first. If that statement doesn’t make you want to snatch up the book and read it from beginning to end, then you have no heart! Smudge is indeed overlooked – she’s clumsy and in her own words ‘a bit useless’ but somehow, she emerges as the only hope for Crackledown when the evil harpy Morg tries to steal its magic. Fortunately, Smudge is also courageous, inventive and determined – and she has an equally remarkable helper in the shape of tea-drinking, trilby-wearing talking monkey, Bartholomew. Their adventures as they sail beyond the treacherous Northswirl and journey into the heart of the Everdark forest are filled with everything that makes for the best adventures, including magic, drama, narrow escapes, shared laughter and lots of heart. Originally published for World Book Day, Everdark has been reissued in a dyslexia friendly format, which is wonderful news for children like Smudge who struggle with reading and spelling, but everyone should read it. Everdark is a standalone story but part of Abi Elphinstone’s The Unmapped Chronicles series, which are also highly recommended.
January 2021 Book of the Month | Everyone struggles to cope with their emotions, but it’s especially difficult for young children who often lack the vocabulary to express how they are feeling, even to themselves. Fearne Cotton is both a mum and a champion of mental health and wellbeing and her book cleverly provides children with practical ways to learn about their feelings and through that to understand why they feel the way they do, and to deal with emotions such as anger, sadness and anxiety. It does this through fun and engaging interactive exercises, which allow children to be creative and to play even as they work out what’s going on in their heads. It’s a book that very many parents will welcome and it will be a real boost for lots of children. Congratulations to Fearne Cotton for the lightness of touch she brings, and for keeping it all so friendly and accessible. Other useful books in this area include the new Happy Healthy Minds series edited by Alain de Botton for The School of Life, and for children even younger, we recommend Eva Eland’s award winning When Sadness Comes to Call and the follow up Where Happiness Begins. And you can also find a selection of books, to help build confidence and self-esteem, here.
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2020 | September 2020 Book of the Month | I challenge any reader, young or old, not to want to devour this book in one delicious sitting. Once started upon the story of Lotti and Ben, two orphans living in the aftermath of World War 1 and who could not be more different in temperament or background, it is impossible to put down. Initially and understandably wary, they gradually become each other’s best friend and staunch allies in their respective quests for family and a safe haven for an increasing number of dogs. Their odyssey takes them, in the faithful old narrowboat which has been Ben’s home, across the stormy channel to France, with a vengeful, deceitful uncle and a steadfast policeman hot on their heels. But there is nothing far fetched in their survival, they do need and even eventually welcome the support of friendly adults on both sides of the channel and they learn to work together and to counteract each other’s failings. They never lose hope in even the darkest moments and neither does the reader, despite some heart-stopping tension. These are characters who will dwell long in your memory and indeed leave you wanting to know more, including about some of the fascinating minor characters. The authentic period detail and dialogue captures the spirit of an age where children may seem, to a modern audience, to have a thrilling level of agency and independence, but only because they are largely ignored or neglected rather than protected by society. A standalone, middle grade adventure that is as well written as this, is pure gold dust with which to captivate young readers and a perfect class read. But be warned, they may not want to go home!
January 2021 Book of the Month | It is their headmistress, Mrs Bottomley-Blunt, who describes 4B (repeatedly) as the ‘worst class in the world’, and you can see why she does: even when they are made playground monitors, 4B just can’t seem to avoid causing mayhem and the most logical-sounding decisions (stay in the toilets all break to avoid getting into trouble) result in calamity, or as Mrs Bottomley-Blunt would have it, ‘a hoo-ha’. It’s the delicious combination of wrong decisions, sincerely taken, and the scale of the hoo-has caused that make the stories such fabulously entertaining reading. There are two self-contained episodes in each book and the speedy narration, cleverly placed repeating phrases, short chapters and wonderfully lively illustrations by Rikin Parekh, make them perfect for newly independent readers. They are such a treat to read aloud though, it would be a shame not to make this bedtime reading so that all the family can enjoy the fun. Pamela Butchart (Wigglesbottom Primary) and Matt Brown (Mutant Zombies Cursed my School Trip) also write extremely funny school-set stories that revel in mischief caused inadvertently.
January 2021 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 What a book! Alex Wheatle’s writing buzzes with energy and captures twelve-and-a-half-year-old Welton’s experience of being in love in all its heart-pounding, stomach-flipping, confusing giddiness alongside a run of seriously bad luck. With Wheatle’s outstanding Jamaica-set historic novel Cane Warriors one of my favourite books of recent years, this confirms the author’s status as a writer of huge talent, with the ability to infuse all genres with a special kind of magic. Things begin to go downhill for Welton the moment he finally plucks up courage to ask out Carmella, “one of the most delicious-looking females in school.” But, somehow, he manages to retain an infectiously upbeat stance throughout, punctuating his problems with Star Wars related exclamations (“Oh, for the life of Yoda!”) as he navigates everything life throws at him - from Hulk-like moustachioed bully Brian and the strife between his divorced parents, to his intense fear of being “lamed and shamed” by Carmella. Welton’s wit and entrepreneurial spirit is especially hilarious and sees him selling damning insults to classmates for 50p a cuss. Fresh, funny and authentic, readers will truly root for Welton - while he’s one of a kind, his voice and experiences will resonant far and wide. What’s more, being published by Barrington Stoke, this zesty page-turner is highly readable and produced with reluctant and dyslexic readers in mind, with manageable chapter lengths, a specially selected font and cream paper.
A rich resource of stories, poems, action rhymes and more for all new babies and their parents, this Treasury is an excellent ‘first book’. The addition of a scrap book for recording all the babies own milestones is fun too. If you’re looking for other great books for this age range then go to our Babies and Toddlers category.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - June 2014 Fascinating Facts Book of the Month Adventurous kids, both boys and girls, will love to read about how to face a number of extreme dangers, whether the're animal dangers such as escaping from crocodiles or sharks, natural dangers such as avalanches and quicksand or human hazards such as fire and flood. These may not be regular occurrences but they do happen and they could happen to you. Complete with compass this is an easy-to-follow manual which tells you how to survive in these most challenging situations! In addition, there is a host of practical advice on survival skills should you go off on an adventure and find yourself unable to get to safety. Making a fire, a shelter for instance, how the stars can guide you, finding food and water, how to tell the time using the sun, first aid and an essential guide to tying good knots as well as a whole host of other tips to survive in the modern world! An indispensible guide.
June 2015 Book of the Month You’re never too young for Winnie the Pooh! Appreciation of the syntax can come later, but Pooh and his friends exude a warmth and content that even the very youngest children will understand. Soft and tactile, this is a lovely book for babies, and Pooh looks just as he does in the books. A perfect first book at bedtime! ~ Andrea Reece
March 2013 Book of the Month Fizzlebert Stump’s Circus is back for a second riotous show during which everything can – and does – go terribly wrong. The new act features the very, very hairy Barboozul family which includes Wystan, the bearded son. Fizzlebert - his mum is a clown and dad is a strongman - is used to oddities but he has never come across a bearded boy. Will the two become friends? Many strange things happen at the Circus before anything as obvious as that happens in a delightfully chaotic and imaginative romp. This is Fizzlebert Stump’s second adventure - which began with Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library)
November 2014 Book of the Month A richly visualised story which explores imaginary friends and the very special role they play in children’s lives. Amanda and her imaginary friend Rudger have the best of times playing together. While Amanda’s mother accepts the existence of Rudger she can’t actually see him. He is only visible to Amanda until the sinister Mr Bunting and the pale girl who travels with him turn up on the doorstep. Mr Bunting is searching out imaginaries with sinister intentions. When Amanda is hit by a car Rudger goes on the run and learns the rules of being an imaginary. Emily Gravett’s illustrations capture the hazy world of the imaginaries brilliantly.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month November 2016 Award-winning A.F. Harrold blends reality and imagination in a moving and thought-provoking story about friendship, loneliness and being brave when things are difficult. Bullied at school and unsupported at home, Frank makes an unusual friendship with Nick, the weird boy in her class who everyone else shuns. After Nick rescues Frank from the bullies, she goes round to his house where she discovers something very unusual. What should Frank believe about what she sees? And should she keep Nick’s secret? Levi Penfold’s illustrations add to the illusory feel of this story that tests imagination and belief and leaves the reader wondering. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for November 2016 The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold and Levi Pinfold Murder in Midwinter by Fleur Hitchcock Winnie and Wilbur Meet Santa by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul Rover and the Big Fat Baby by Roddy Doyle and Chris Judge Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith The Giant's Necklace by Michael Morpurgo and Briony May Smith
Greta Zargo is an unusual 11-year-old. An orphan she’s lived on her own since the age of 8 thanks to an unfortunate but legally-binding error on her parents’ otherwise carefully thought-out will. A junior reporter on the local paper, Greta is determined her summer scoop will be solving the mystery surrounding a series of cake thefts. Meanwhile, in outer space a huge space-going robot is heading towards Earth to take over our planet. The two stories zing along in parallel before coming together beautifully at the book’s climax, and thanks to another typo on a key document. The comical characters and situations will thoroughly entertain young readers while the author’s delight in words ad language adds another dimension. Readers who enjoy Greta’s adventure should look out for books by Andy Stanton and Philip Ardagh, who employ similarly knowing narrative voices, and will also enjoy Norton Juster’s classic The Phantom Tollbooth.
February 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: gentle badgers versus greedy farmers, no contest! | Could badgers take the place of penguins at the top the charts of cuddly, lovable stars of children’s books? Certainly, if Badger Bill is anything to go by. His happy life is horribly interrupted when he is snatched by the thoroughly nasty Maude and Ethel McGloone. They plan to force him into a boxing match with their vicious dogs, and they’ve got equally mean plans for a family of llamas they’re holding hostage too. Fortunately, help is on the way in the shambling form of Uncle Shawn, one of the kindest and best humans in the world. The Dahlesque wickedness of the McGloones forms a wonderful contrast to the gentle benevolence shown by Uncle Shawn and there’s a zany, madcap humour and surreal logic to it all which is delightfully engaging. It would be fun to compare Ethel and Maude with Aunts Sponge and Spiker in James and the Giant Peach. Children who enjoy the mix of crazy comedy, jeopardy and warmth will also appreciate Philip Ardagh’s stories of The Grunts. ~ Andrea Reece
A gripping science-fiction adventure pits a group of kids with super powers against a mysterious Russian billionaire. Infected by an extraordinary virus from a meteor storm, Sarah, Robert and the younger children in their charge are now at risk from those who want to exploit their super skills. All set to escape from Australia to a new life far away from danger is halted when Nikolai Makarov suddenly enters their world. His plan is deadly. Can the children stop him? Danger and daring are closely interwoven in this thrilling story.
November 2019 Book of the Month | Not since The Snowman have readers been taken on such a magical, snowy journey of love and adventure. Phoebe lives in a gloomy orphanage run by the cruel Griselda Bone. The two clash frequently, and often over Phoebe’s creative response to her school work: Griselda does not approve of words like ‘whispery’ and ‘flumping’. Locked up in the snow overnight, Phoebe and her little dog Herb are surprised by a huge and magical snow dragon, who takes them on an extraordinary ride through the skies. Filled with snowflakes, starlight and revelling in the power of the imagination this is a gorgeous story for Christmas nights and Fiona Woodcock’s illustrations are very special indeed.
October 2020 Book of the Month | This new episode in The Unmapped Chronicles series plunges readers head-first into heart-stopping adventure deep in a rain forest closely modelled on the Amazon, but thrillingly, magically different. Twins Fox and Fibber Petty-Squabble (fabulous names are one of the hallmarks of Elphinstone’s writing) find themselves in Jungledrop, one of the Unmapped Kingdoms, and in a vital race against time with the thoroughly villainous harpy Morg; for the first time in their eleven years, the two siblings will have to work together if they’re going to secure the future of two worlds. This is a hugely satisfying fantasy adventure filled with everything that makes the hearts of young readers sing. Readers who enjoy Jungledrop should look out for Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor series or Dominique Valente’s sparkling Starfell books.
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.