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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.
June 2020 Book of the Month | It’s hard to believe that Not Now Bernard is 40 years old. It’s as fresh and funny as the day it was first written and, best of all, just as shocking. In fact, it doesn’t matter how many times you read it, the end is always an absolute thrill and if that’s not genius, I don’t know what is. In the story Bernard tries unsuccessfully to get his parents’ attention, getting the same reply each time: ‘Not now, Bernard’. Even when he’s eaten by a monster, his parents don’t notice! Parents have to feel uncomfortable, while children themselves are alive to the fact that the monster is probably Bernard (and that we’ve all got a bit of monster in us). One of the greatest books for children ever written.
June 2020 Debut of the Month | Falling in love, riding out change, figuring out what you want to do with your life – Ciara Smyth’s pitch perfect debut simmers with romance and deep-rooted dilemmas, delivered through witty dialogue and affecting emotional detail. Seventeen-year-old Saoirse (pronounced ‘Seer-sha’- be sure to get it right) is on the cusp of crossing the Irish Sea to read history at Oxford. Except she’s not sure she wants to go. She has more than enough on her plate dealing with her dad’s remarriage, getting over breaking-up with her girlfriend, and coming to terms with her mum’s debilitating illness. She just wants to spend her summer watching horror movies and kissing girls – no strings attached. To that end, Saoirse goes to a mate’s end-of-exams party and gets it on with his cousin Ruby. Irresistibly drawn to Ruby’s good looks and good heart, Saoirse accepts her challenge to embark on a summer romance with all the serious bits left out, in finest romcom tradition. But, as Ruby sagely points out, “the thing about the falling in love montage…is that when it’s over, the characters have fallen in love”. Super smart and funny (“If you are a girl inclined to deface school property, may I suggest the classic penis and balls, as you will avoid suspicion due to stereotyping”), Saoirse is a lead fans of contemporary YA will love and root for - flaws and all - and her journey is a thoroughly entertaining, thought-provoking rollercoaster ride.
June 2020 Book of the Month | Chosen & reviewed by our Guest Editor for June 2020, Martin Brown As someone trying to big-up some of the planet’s unsung animal heroes in Lesser Spotted Animals I adored this brilliant new picture book about Alfonso the alpaca who loves reading but finds that every book he reads seems to be about bears. Emma Perry’s glorious story follow’s on from her earlier 2020 book, I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End. And continues the celebration of the joy of reading in a knowing nod to the bear-beset world of picture books - in a picture book. If Alfonso can’t find a book with alpacas in it he’ll just have to write his own! Rikin Parekh’s fun cartoony illustration adds to the treat. There’s even an alpaca fact file at the end! (See also Kristina Stephenson’s delightful Why Are there So Many Books About Bears?)
June 2020 Book of the Month | Caroline Lawrence, author of the bestselling Roman Mysteries series, combines her second-to-none knowledge of the classical world with her ability to tell a great story to create terrific new historical adventures. Alex and Dinu have already experienced time travel – they explored Roman Britain in the first in this new series – now they are being whisked back into Ancient Greece, and this time Dinu’s clever little sister Crina is coming with them. Minutes after the three have arrived in the Temple of Athena in Athens, Alex and Dinu are captured by Scythian archers – the ancient Athenian equivalent of the police. The action keeps up at the same pace, short chapters and pacey dialogue keeping the pages turning! Ancient Greece has never seemed so appealing, and it’s great that Lawrence makes learning about it such thrilling entertainment. One to recommend to fans of Rick Riordan, while readers longing for more classical adventure should check out Philip Womack’s new story The Arrow of Apollo too.
June 2020 Book of the Month | Teeming with drama and compelling code-cracking action, this WWII thriller is driven by the lives of three young people determined to make their mark on the war effort, and by the life-affirming relationship between fifteen-year-old Louisa and the elderly woman she’s employed to look after. Aspiring pilot Louisa is alone in the world. Her white English mother was killed in a London bomb blast, and her black Jamaican dad died on a ship that was torpedoed only three days after her mother died. Through her grief brave Louisa “burns to fight back” and takes a job looking after Jane, an elderly German woman who’s been imprisoned in an alien detainment camp. While travelling to stay with Jane’s niece in her Scottish pub, they form a beautiful bond, finding common ground in their love of music and the fact that they’re both outsiders in Britain - Jane because she’s German, and Louisa because she’s mixed race and subjected to racism. In Scotland they meet fellow outsider, Ellen, a driver for the local RAF airfield who tries to hide her traveller heritage. Ellen’s active role makes Louisa more determined to do something herself, so she takes her chance when a German defector lands at the airfield and leaves a codebreaking Enigma machine. It’s not long before Louisa, Ellen and young flight lieutenant Jamie step-up their war efforts, as their story builds to an impeccably conducted, pulse-quickening crescendo. Alongside being a gripping thriller, this is a truly moving, inspirational novel. Louisa’s passion for music and learning, her wit and ambition, are exhilaratingly infectious. I’d love to know what she does next.
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.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | March 2016 Book of the Month Fabulous, feisty Moll returns with the ever faithful and courageous Gryff by her side in their quest to save the old magic and stop the Shadowmasks from destroying them. This is a tale of friendship, about finding courage in the darkest of moments and the desire to fight and stand up for those you love and what you believe in. Abi Elphinstone has a huge talent for storytelling and the influence of well loved fairy tales and stories is clear to see as she expertly creates a tale filled with adventure, peril, mystery and of course magic. This is a fantastic sequel to The Dreamsnatcher and continues a thrilling series that is sure to capture imaginations and have boys and girls, young and old, reaching for their catapults and quivers. Absolutely loved it. Do read Abi's debut novel The Dreamsnatcher first, it's fabulous and will have you eager for The Shadow Keeper as soon as you've turned the last page. ~ Shelley Fallows
January 2018 Book of the Month This story was absolutely entrancing. As soon as I began reading I was swept away on a journey filled with dangerous enemies and monsters but of finding new friends, hope and a sense of belonging. Open up the pages and you too will be taken on a wonderful adventure filled with Ice Queens, Eagles, Erkenbears, inventors and magic. Filled with wonderful characters and stunning settings, Abi immediately transports her reader effortlessly to the harsh, wild landscape of Erkenwald where an evil Ice Queen is gradually stealing voices. A Queen intent on driving division between tribes, dissolving all trust and compassion until all are pitted against each other. The Ice Queen has imprisoned Eska in a cursed Music Box at Winterfang Palace. In her quest to take full control of Erkenwald the Ice Queen must steal Eska’s voice but in one unguarded moment and a little help from a stranger Eska is able to escape. Finally free but finding her memories have deserted her, Eska must find out not only where she belongs but also why her voice is so important to the Ice Queen. With the Queen hunting her and the freedom of Erskenwald at stake Eska must try to convince the tribes to work together again to free all the imprisoned voices and bring an end to the Ice Queen’s rule. Abi is a gifted storyteller, she creates magic with words and brings to life the world of snow-capped Never Cliffs, Mountain Ghouls, Sky Gods and tribes that must remember how to work together in order to save themselves. Just wonderful and I believe will confirm Abi's place as one of today's greatest children's authors. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here. STOP PRESS - Downloadable lesson plans for schools produced by the author, who used to be a teacher, can be found on her website
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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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