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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.
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 | Having demonstrated in The Gifted, the Talented and Me a real comic gift for creating believably awkward adolescent males, William Sutcliffe does it again with 13-year-old Luke. His family life has been turned upside down as first his stroppy elder sister and then his father join the climate rebellion activists ‘across the road,’ squatting in a house scheduled for demolition in a controversial airport extension plan. While poking gentle fun at Nimby’s and career protestors alike, there is an underlying core of real science and justified outrage about the environmental crisis for the planet in this hugely enjoyable story. Other serious themes are touched upon in this subtle and deceptively light-hearted narrative. The role of protest, politics and the media, the need for tolerance and understanding of different lifestyles, responsible parenting and the need for us all to stand up for what really matters. Luke learns a lot about himself and his own prejudices when he comes up against Sky – a child born into alternative lifestyles and protest, who yearns for stability and the privilege of attending school. These are both great characters, frequently displaying wisdom and courage that their elders lack. Making serious points while provoking laughter takes real skill and this excellent novel undoubtedly demonstrates that. Highly recommended.
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 Debut of the Month | Opening with the arresting scene of a body being discovered, the third in a month, Chris Whitaker’s The Forevers is a thought-provoking page-turner founded on a killer concept - if you could get away with anything without consequence, if the world was about to end, what would you do? “The dead girl lay face down, ashen hair fanned out like she’d been posed. Some kind of terrible masterpiece Mae knew she’d never forget”. This is the grim reality of Mae’s present. At seventeen, she thinks back to ten years earlier, when news of the asteroid first broke - a ticking timebomb that’s set to explode. There’s no avoiding the terrible truth - “She was seventeen years old. She would die in one month”, for the Earth was “so broken not a thing would survive.” Amidst increasing rumbles and tremors, amidst people’s preparations for death, the discovery of the body of Mae’s popular peer Abi provokes questions - Did she jump? Was she pushed? The sense of time running out, and the brutal psychological impact of knowing that the end is nigh, is masterfully evoked in all its heart-stopping starkness, while the dynamics between the young adult characters are authentically realised. All in all, this near-dystopian thriller has thought-provoking bite.
July 2021 Book of the Month | The Big Bad Wolf is late AGAIN and is ruining stories as he rushes through the forest to Grandma's house. When the Three Little Pigs get seriously grumpy AGAIN, Wolf tells them he's had ENOUGH. There will be no more HUFFING and PUFFING from this Big Bad Wolf. The fairytale characters aren't worried - they can totally manage without him! But Big Bad Wolfing is harder than it looks ... And what happens when they realise that they really need a Big Bad Wolf in this story? From the pairing behind the fabulously funny and internationally bestselling There Is No Dragon In This Story comes another hilarious story featuring your favourite fairytale characters as you've never seen them before!
July 2021 Book of the Month | What a blooming brilliant concept - an adopted Brooklyn teenager with an uncanny gift for giving life to plants inherits an old mansion from her birth family and becomes embroiled in an ancient ancestral curse. The book’s botanical and mythic insights are endlessly fascinating and interwoven with green-fingered dexterity, and the plot is 100% page-turning as it conjures a fast-blossoming story that twists with the grip of snaking vines. Bri’s inherited house, with its massive grounds and apothecary, is in quaint, curious, countrified Rhinebeck. On arrival, she follows a trail of clues left by her aunt Circe and discovers a deadly Poison Garden. Then she reads a letter from Circe declaring that “fate has a way of catching up to us. You must decide if you can continue this work, because you are the only one that can.” Turns out it’s no coincidence that Bri’s full name (Briseis) and those of her birth mom and aunt (Selene and Circe) are powerful women from Greek myth. Alongside the uncoiling magical mystery, I adored the loving banter between Bri’s moms, and the intrigue of her friendship with local boy Karter. Then there’s super stunning, super rich Marie, a girl with mysteries of her own and a driver called Nyx - a name that might also set bells a-ringing. This Poison Heart is contemporary YA fantasy at its finest and confirms Kalynn Bayron’s talent for coming up with killer concepts and spinning new gold from timeless old tales (I also adored Cinderella is Dead). What’s more, the epic ending leaves scope for a sequel - I truly hope that’s the case.
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!
July 2021 Book of the Month | The World Cup, the Europa league, the League Cup, Serie A – you name it, Paul Pogba’s won it (Serie A four times in fact). But if you want to know about the man behind the stats then this is the book for you. It’s jam-packed with information on Pogba’s early life and his playing career from its beginnings at the academy at Le Havre to his glory days at Juventus and Manchester United. There’s lots about his goals of course – especially those amazing volleys, Pogboom! – but other details too, his friendship with Jesse Lingard, his favourite music and yes, his hairstyles. Author and illustrator, who appear throughout in the comic style illustrations, are proper football fans and there’s a real sense of their enthusiasm for their subject. Lively and entertaining, and hugely accessible thanks to the mix of text and illustration, this is another winner in a top-ranked series.
July 2021 Book of the Month | Readers of the Phoenix Comic love Jamie Smart’s Bunny vs Monkey adventures, and no wonder. They are totally brilliant, inventive, original and hilarious comic strips. If you’re not in the know, the chief characters are Bunny and his gang Squirrel, Pip and Skunky, and their adversary, causer of mayhem, Monkey. From the opening wintery story, “Gross!” in which Monkey uses smelly mud on a stick to try and advance his plans for world domination, the pace is frenetic, silly and very funny. Story titles such as “The Embiggening!”, “The Destroy-O-Torium” and “Monkey with a Flame Thrower” give you an idea of what else is in store. It’s a comic comic extravaganza and as an added treat, Smart shows readers how to draw Action Beaver and Le Fox. Irresistible!
July 2021 Book of the Month | This is adventure number six for the Bolds, a family of hyenas living happily in Teddington disguised as humans. Let’s hope there will be more too, because there are very few stories more joyful, cheering and entertaining than these and only Paddington to compare for characters as lovable and inspirational. If you’ve read previous Bolds books, you’ll know that they’re always ready to help other animals and to open their doors to those in need. Of course therefore they give homeless aardvark Annika a warm welcome and set out to track down her missing friends, escapees from the same zoo, Charlie the skunk and Fergie the fruit bat. The latter, we discover, have been camping out in Parliament Square with friendly eco-warriors. Can the Bolds find them somewhere permanent (and quieter) to live? This is the Bolds, so of course the answer is yes. Gloriously silly, genuinely heart-warming and beautifully plotted, it all ends with a special party for twins Betty and Bobby Bold, and an ‘au revoir’ to another friend, Fifi, the singing poodle superstar. She promises to return, ‘Wherever life might take me, my heart belongs with the Bolds.’ That will be true for all the dear readers too, this one included.
November 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: welcome to the wonderful world of Zoella ‘Blogging is all about community’ says Penny, the central character in Going Solo, the third novel from Zoe Suggs. You won’t need me to tell you that Suggs is better known as blogger Zoella, best-online-friend to millions and Penny, it seems, is closely based on the author herself. Like Zoella, Penny shares the ups and downs of her life with her band of online followers, including her details of her anxieties and panic attacks, which are described with impressive honesty. If Penny’s life is rather more glamourous than most – with an on-off pop star boyfriend, and fast-tracked career in photography beckoning – then it’s made clear too that she suffers just as much from insecurity and self-doubt as any of her readers, and that she gets through with the help of friends, family and that online community. It makes for a bright, breezy read and underneath the sparkle there’s a rather important message about life, and how to have a happy one. Ten million Instagram followers can’t all be wrong, you know. Readers who love this will also enjoy Holly Smale’s Geek Girl series and Cathy Cassidy’s Chocolate Box Girls series. ~ Andrea Reece
September 2020 Book of the Month | Cally and Jimmy are twins but more different people it would be hard to meet. Cally is generally quiet and well-behaved, while Jimmy is anything but (his ADHD doesn’t help). It’s Cally who narrates the four separate stories contained in this very enjoyable new book, and she gives us a really good idea of what it’s like to live with the most-annoying-brother-in-the-whole-wide-world, describing the many times he gets them both into trouble, but she absolutely captures the fun they have together too. There’s a starring role for their wonderful grandma, or Yiayia as they know her (Mum is Greek) and just a lovely sense of this family. Recommended reading and hopefully there’ll be more adventures to come for the twins.
April 2018 Book of the Month Beautifully illustrated by Jo Riddell, this collection of poems and stories is a perfect gift book. It’s ideal for dipping into, for quiet reading and for reading aloud; indeed, unusually amongst the stories, haikus and poems, there are a couple of rhyming plays too, great fun for the family or a group of friends. Single collections of poems are relatively rare these days, and it’s lovely to find one that gives the poet the space and time to explore ideas and return to themes. Poetry speaks to children directly, and this should become a real favourite, a book, to quote Rachel Rooney’s review, ‘to spark the imagination’. Other recommended anthologies for children include A Poem for Every Day of the Year edited by Allie Esiri, and Kate Wakeling’s CLiPPA winner Moon Juice.
May 2018 Book of the Month | Zach King’s family have magical powers, and for a glorious short couple of weeks he did too. Now though, he’s back to being a normal kid, with no way to create the mind-blowing spectacles that won him thousands of Youtube views. There’s another blow when a cool new kid asks Zach’s friend and crush Rachel to the school dance. Can Zach borrow his family’s magic to prove that he’s still the guy for her? The action is fast and funny, especially when the borrowed magic proves harder for Zach to control than expected. Pages of text are interspersed with colour pictures and cartoon strip style illustration, and this is another classic school caper given a quirky, appealing contemporary twist.
Dark romance meets haunting murder mystery in this captivating tale of love, death and destiny. At Gottfried Academy, just one kiss will take your breath away. After Renee discovers her parents dead in what appears to be a strange double murder, she is sent to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, 'crude sciences', and Latin: the Language of the Dead. Here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student.
May 2012 Book of the Month. Matters of life and death and the role of a passionate romance in them lie at the heart of this spellbinding story of how the worlds of the dead and the living cross over and collide. Gottfried Academy is no ordinary school…It’s a place where Latin thrives and the Undead and the living make friends. Renee is a Monitor at the Academy; she can sense death even though she can’t predict it. And she has a vital role to play among the Undead. When Renee meets Dante she knows he is her soulmate. But he is an undead. Will Renee give up her life to save him?
Casting Mona Lisa as a self-important, been there, done that, bought-the-t-shirt-in-the- museum-gift-shop character (“She loved the attention! She loved the crowds…I know everything and everyone knows me”), Yevgenia Nayberg’s Mona Lisa in New York presents a playful, strikingly-illustrated picture book ode to New York’s distinctive wonders through its unique, irreverent take on a 500-year-old enigma. After journeying across the ocean “so people far away could also admire her beauty”, and being marvelled at by crowds in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mona Lisa is in for a shock when she decides to wander the city alone at night and gets lost. No problem, she thinks. Everyone knows who I am. Except they don’t. In fact, “No one paid any attention to her.” Thankfully, she encounters Tag, a graffiti art character from Brooklyn. While Mona Lisa is loath to accept that she’s the same as Tag, and while she initially insists that she knows everything, Tag kindly takes her hand and shows her NYC in all its kaleidoscopic glory - they listen to jazz in Harlem, eat pizza in the Bronx, salsa dance on the High Line, and swim on Brighton Beach. “Turns out there’s so much I didn’t know,” she admits when they part. It also turns out that New York has captured Mona Lisa’s heart. Great for introducing little ones to New York, this will also make an excellent springboard for talking about art and culture in all their forms.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | August 2016 Book of the Month Full of life, energy and a wild sense of freedom, Nothing is a marvellous celebration of the imagination, and that special relationship between child and grandparent too. ‘What are you doing?’ Mum asks exasperated, as Lila plays under the table when she should be getting ready. Pictures reveal the wonderful things Lila is up to – she’s wrestling an octopus, riding a zebra, climbing a pylon! Mum is busy, but grandad is ready to play pretend with Lila and the final scene shows them flying through the air like birds. Words and images work perfectly together to deliver a sense of unbridled joy, and Lila is a wonderful little character. ~ Andrea Reece
Full of stylish images, this is a chunky board book from the author of My Animals with cunning holes and cutaways that reveal the different and lively characters that perform at the circus. A clown, magician, jugglers and a tightrope walker all make their appearance wittily and with an element of magic – as befits all circus performers.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | May 2019 Book of the Month | “I am normal. I like being normal”. Such is the mantra of fifteen-year-old Sam. But when he’s uprooted from his Stevenage comp and thrust into the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented being normal just doesn’t cut it. Simple as. No ifs or buts. To fit in at this “poncey arty farty school” for “Exactly the Kind of People [Sam] Instinctively Hated”, a person needs to stand out. Gel one’s hair in eight directions. Be the offspring of, for example, an Argentinian tango dancer, or a French electro-pop pioneer. The comic characterisation of Sam and his family is as impeccably tuned as a Primrose Hill piano, from his mum’s foray into Hampstead yummy mummy blogger-dom, to his unicorn-obsessed little sister. Sam’s hilariously honest, self-deprecating tone is utterly engaging and put me in mind of an older incarnation of Luke from David Solomons’s fabulously funny Superhero books. Talking of funny, Sam’s turning point turns out to be his talent for comedy (“making people laugh was a thrilling buzz”), and so he finds himself in the unlikely position of performing in the school play. This entertaining romp around pressures to fit in and teenage boy-dom in all its involuntary undercarriage-twitching awkwardness truly shows the diverse talent of its author, whose previous YA novels are every bit as brilliant, but have heavier themes. This is a laugh-out-loud witty wonder of a book.
Horror stalks this scary second adventure for Jake who must now lead the war against the Demon Father, newly escaped from hell. Jake’s previous success in closing the demon door shows his prowess but has he the courage to go back into the past and change the course of history? Jake is a great hero and his world is a grimly ghastly one. This is the sequel to Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide. A 'piece of passion' from the editor of the Witchfinder series The Witchfinder series was my first acquisition for the Oxford University Press children's list and from the first page I was hooked. I knew that I had to be the one to bring this book to the world. I urge you to read both the first one and this one and find out for yourselves. With its mix of magic and science, horror and beautiful writing, it is quite unlike anything I’ve ever read and I envy you your first foray into the world of Witchfinder...
September 2016 Fascinating Facts Book of the Month Anything you can imagine, you can animate says this stimulating book, and it explains clearly and simply the ten key skills readers need to become expert animators, starting with flipbook loops and ending with special effects, lighting and camera skills. The instructions are carefully worded to be friendly and easy to follow, while the colour illustrations on every page help to explain the different processes, and keep it all feeling fun and uncomplicated. There are lots of extra handy tips in text flashes, a page of useful links and a glossary with definitions of technical and unfamiliar terms. This is an inspiring and really useful guide for young would-be animators. ~ Andrea Reece
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.