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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 2021 Book of the Month | Hot on the hilarious heels of Baby's First Bank Heist and Baby's First Jailbreak comes Baby’s First Train Robbery. Blending a rollicking, rhyming text that tells a funny, fully-developed story with characterful illustrations that ooze retro style, this brilliant blast of a book is sure to become a firm read-aloud favourite. Author Jim Whalley and illustrator Stephen Collins sure make a great team. And what of that story? Baby Frank’s frazzled mum and dad are in serious need of a holiday - managing a zoo isn’t easy work! So, they and Frank head off to the seaside leaving the zoo in Grandma’s capable hands. Or are they capable? That’s the question on Frank’s lips. He’s not convinced Grandma will be able to handle looking after all those animals - “Grandma was fantastic when it came to walks and knitting. But did she have the skills required for ape-and-tiger-sitting?” As a result, Frank takes it upon himself to take a train home, and so a nail-biting journey begins, leading to an epic rescue operation.
June 2021 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Andy Seed’s book puts us up close and personal with some of the amazing giants of the ocean. Using his special ‘tranimalator’ machine, which allows him to talk to animals and which works just as well underwater it seems, Andy dives into the sea and starts interviewing. Among those he questions are a bull shark, a blue whale, a giant squid and an anglerfish. He asks exactly the kind of questions kids would ask, and the answers are very revealing, full of information about where they live, what they eat, and what likes to eat them! Some of their answers are pretty funny – these creatures have a good sense of humour and like to tease Andy – but there are constant reminders too about the dangers they face from plastic pollution, fishing and global warming. With lively, appealing illustrations by Nick East, this is a quirky but really effective information book.
June 2021 Book of the Month | Honest, authentic and (ultimately) uplifting, Holly Bourne’s The Yearbook will strike a powerful chord with young women on the brink of leaving secondary school. Realistically raw in its portrayal of toxic relationships (from poisonous school peers to abusive partners), with an underdog protagonist readers will wholeheartedly root for, and a sweet, slow-burning romance that will melt the most cynical of hearts, this is classic contemporary YA. Budding journalist Paige lives a lonely, isolated life - “the undeniable truth was that I was invisible as well as unlovable. Nobody could see me see me at all, let alone look at me and see the potential to store their heart there. People don’t fall in love with wallpaper. Or silence.” At the same time, her parents’ marriage shows the jeopardies of falling in love with the wrong person. She and her mum walk on eggshells around her erratic, coercively controlling dad who flips from jolly joker to enraged monster over the tiniest thing. At least Paige has the school newspaper to keep her occupied - until it’s hijacked by malicious narcissists from the official Leavers’ Committee who want to create a yearbook. As Paige’s family life disintegrates, she realises that the infiltrators steering the yearbook are re-writing history. The same goes for Paige’s dad and his ilk - people who think “they’re the hero of their own story, but, actually, in the pursuit of being so important, they’re often the villain of everyone else’s”. Thankfully, though, hope comes in the form of her independent-minded aunt Polly (“she seemed to genuinely care for me”) and soul-lifting Elijah, who supports Paige’s quest to find her voice and speak the truth after they meet through a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.
June 2021 Books of the Month | This clever and thoroughly charming picture book is full of information about emperor penguins and human dads too. Sam is waiting for his dad to come home and for their nightly storytelling session – his dad makes up brilliant stories. But Dad is late, arriving only just in time in fact, and Sam is put out; he refuses a dinosaur superhero story, normally his favourite. So his dad tells him a very different story, the true story of Papa Penguin who waits in the freezing cold, guarding his egg, hardly moving for weeks and weeks until at last the egg hatches and he sees his chick. I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate a father’s unconditional, superhero love for his child, no wonder Sam loves it and asks for the same story the next night. Momoko Abe’s illustrations are full of warmth and family love, even in Antarctica and like Sam, children will want this story again and again. A final double page spread includes more facts about how real-life Papa Penguins behave.
June 2021 Book of the Month | Set in an unspecified time not too dissimilar to now, and in a country that strongly resembles our own, this tense, gripping graphic novel demonstrates just how quickly civilisation can fall apart. Bea lives with her dad, big sister and little brother; her mother has already had to flee their country, which is in the midst of a civil war, the forces of the state fighting the rebel Free Kingdom movement, with civilians bearing the brunt, enduring food shortages, power cuts and bomb attacks along with casual brutality from both sides. The family know they’ll have to leave soon, and the book describes the events that trigger their decision to go and live as refugees. The story describes what it’s like to live in a society where trust has collapsed, and where everyone is scared and desperate. But it underlines too the power of family to hold together during the most difficult times and the importance of hope. Powerful and original, it makes for thought-provoking reading, text and illustrations carrying a very strong message. Brian Conaghan explores similar territory in his prize-winning dystopian novel The Bombs That Brought Us Together while the refugee experience is captured in A M Dassau’s Boy, Everywhere.
June 2021 Book of the Month | Young readers who like animals and dream of exciting outdoor adventures with just a touch of magic, will love Alex Milway’s new series. Rosa doesn’t know what to expect when the tiny plane drops her off at her Grandma Nan’s house on Big Sky Mountain. It’s deep in the wilderness, about 200 miles from the shops, and the nearest neighbour is a moose called Albert. Albert is a talking moose in fact and Rosa quickly makes friends with a whole host of other animals, all perfectly able to have a chat. Adventures come thick and fast, and Rosa finds herself relying for help on these capable animals. It’s great wish-fulfilment stuff, who wouldn’t want to live with animal friends and an unflappable grandma in the middle of such beautiful countryside. The animal characters provide lots of humourous moments and beneath it all there are important messages about the environment too. Wild, and gently wonderful.
Think opera and young children don’t go together? Think again! This liveliest of histories introduces children to Mozart, Rossini and Beethoven and their work, in an engaging and informative tour of the Classical period. It’s all facilitated through magical time travel: best friends Megan and Jack are on a school trip in London when they suddenly find themselves whisked back in time to eighteenth century Europe. Before you can say semibreve, they are face to face with composers and some famous royals too in a hectic adventure that is packed full of musical facts and information. Illustrations by Karl Davies do even more to bring the composers vividly to life. Wunderkind Mozart is bound to emerge the favourite but expect young readers to demand more information on the featured composers and to listen to their music too. Bravo!
June 2021 Book of the Month | Recommended by Stephen L Holland, Guest Editor, June 2021: Eliza Duncan is a direct and diligent, no-nonsense teen with a passion for photography and a focus on ghosts. Marjorie Glatt found her laundromat infested with white-sheeted ghosts: with its washes, tumble-dries and ironing, they thought it the perfect health spa. She adopted one called Wendell as her best friend. But now she has been adopted–by her school’s most popular students who rule the roost by putting everyone else down. Marjorie, once a victim of this, feels awkward about her newfound immunity for she fails to speak up for others, particularly when they start picking on Eliza who’s determined that there are ghosts, that she’ll snap one on celluloid, and soon has her sights set on Wendell. Astonishingly complex, this comes with layers of self-awareness, self-examination yet blind spots and moments of betrayal from even the kindest of corners. Also: is this not the most perfect cover? What a narrative drive! Thummler totally owns her unique colour palette.
June 2021 Book of the Month | There are some books you just don’t want to end, because you’re enjoying being with the characters so much. Something I Said is one of those books. It stars thirteen-year-old Carmichael Taylor, a young man who loves words as much as he hates geography, and who can never resist a bon mot, even when – as it frequently does – it lands him in trouble with his teachers. He’s offered a special chance to redeem himself with a role in the school talent show. It’s supposed to be opportunity to show off what he does best in a spoken word performance, instead it turns into an impromptu stand-up comedy show and goes both much better than he could have hoped, and much, much worse. Car is a terrific central character – honest, open, mixed-up and so funny - and his descriptions of his life, family and friends bring readers into the heart of his world. As with the best of this kind of fiction, by the end of the book Car knows more about himself than he does at its opening, and so do we. Readers who enjoy Car’s adventures will also like Worst. Holiday. Ever by Charlie Higson and should look out for Simon Mason’s Garvie Smith Mysteries too.
There is nothing more exciting than having a dog; your own best friend to play with and in Easy Peasy Awesome Pawsome, the UK’s no.1 dog trainer, Steve Mann, teaches children how to train, play and have fun with their new poochy pal. Steve shares the passion he had when he was a child growing up with dogs and fires up that same passion in a new generation of children. Speaking directly to boys and girls of all ages, this is THE must-have book for any family with a dog and kids living under the same woof – ahem – roof.
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.
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!
May 2021 Book of the Month | With 50 different activities to try out in this book, there’s really no excuse for not getting active. Its message is that wherever you are, you can get moving, and it makes it sound really tempting. After explaining why it’s important to get active, it lists things to do and how to do them, whether that’s trying the long jump to building an indoor obstacle course. The instructions are clear and fun, with charts and photos to make it even more appealing and easy to follow, and you can record your activities as you go on write-in charts. Little ‘Did you know?’ boxes pass on fascinating facts and there extra tips scattered throughout too. Bright, colourful, lots of fun, this is certain to get everyone on their feet.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | May 2021 Book of the Month | It wasn’t until 2013 that the men who served on the Arctic Convoys in the Second World War were properly honoured for their bravery. But anyone reading Tom Palmer’s typically vivid and powerful short novel will understand exactly what they went through, and what kept them going. Arctic Star features three young friends, Royal Navy recruits, and follows them on the perilous journeys they make escorting merchant vessels across the Arctic as they deliver supplies to the Russians. The sea is wild and treacherous, icy cold, and of course, they are hunted through the waters by German battleships, planes and submarines. Palmer packs not just a huge story, but a huge amount of information and atmosphere into this short book, and in Frank, Joseph and Stephen, he creates three young men readers won’t forget in a hurry. The climax of the story is the deadly battle between HMS Belfast and the Scharnhorst, and it will leave readers exhausted, but full of compassion and sympathy for all the men caught up in this terrifying field of war. Historical fiction doesn’t get much better than this.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2021 | Award-winning Jeanne Willis perfectly captures a little girl’s excitement and fear as she works up to taking her first solo bike ride. She knows the freedom and exhilaration it will bring but a part of her remains almost too scared to try. Her daddy is reassuring and encouraging and full of good advice about bumps in the road that goes far beyond just the difficulties of bike riding! At last, with daddy to keep her steady she is off! And she is flying! Now it is daddy who is worried…Will his little girl every come back now she’s got this taste of freedom? Tony Ross’s illustrations match the moments of exhilaration and anxiety perfectly making this a joyful celebration of the importance of letting go that will strike a chord for parents and children alike. Daddy, Don't Let Go was originally published in 2012.
May 2021 Book of the Month | With absolutely no sign of the tricky second novel syndrome following, as it swiftly does, the critically acclaimed Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, Jenny Pearson shows again her ability to make the reader laugh aloud while also tackling some really emotional ‘big’ topics . As a primary teacher she knows her audience inside out and creates very real and believable characters even if they are involved in extraordinary adventures. The capacity of children to become obsessed with the Guinness Book of World Records is familiar to every librarian and so the theme of this story is spot on. Young readers will adore that every chapter is headed by ever more outlandish world records (and to read about the author’s own favourites at the end) and will relish the antics of Lucy and Sandesh in their record attempts. I love the fact that the text is peppered with Don’t Try this at Home warnings too! The lively illustrations only add to the book’s already significant shelf appeal. But it is the reason for the World Record attempt that gives the hilarity a much deeper impact. Lucy’s single parent Mum suffers from depression and is hospitalised at the beginning of the book. Lucy’s poignant quest to find her Mum’s happiness tellingly reveals the internal struggles of children faced with parental mental health issues and will provide an invaluable opportunity for other children to empathise or indeed talk about their own difficulties. The fact that Lucy realises that she does have a strong support network with her eccentric, yet wise, Aunt Sheila and with her incredibly loyal friend Sandesh, will provide these children with comfort and hope that things will get better. This novel positively sparkles with kindness, heart and humour and I predict young readers will be fighting to get hold of it!
May 2021 Book of the Month | Despite being set in the 1920’s in the imaginary country of Afalia, this stunning and inventive story, from twice Carnegie medal winning author McCaughrean, has powerful messages about the current state of politics, big business and environmental exploitation in our world and most loudly of all about the need for reliable and independent news sources. The story is partly revealed by facsimile newspaper cuttings and it is fascinating to see the progression from real information to manipulation of popular opinion by ruthless and deadly corrupt officials. Gloria, a naive 15-year-old maid to the Suprema, Alfalia’s ruler, is at the heart of the story. As flooding and disaster threaten to overwhelm the country, the Suprema runs away, and Gloria is inveigled by the Suprema’s husband into temporarily impersonating her. As they discover the full extent of the corruption and misinformation, they face an uphill battle to save lives and stand up for what is right. Meanwhile a second narrative follows the fate of people in the neglected North (in another real life parallel) and a dog’s epic quest to find his boy. The canine conversations are just one of the pleasures provided in this multi-layered narrative populated by such a vivid cast of characters and with so many twists and turns keeping the reader enthralled. Ultimately the novel demonstrates the resilience of man and nature and the ability of people to do the right thing given half a chance. This really is vintage McCaughrean and highly recommended. As our Guest Editor in April 2021 Geraldine McCaughrean tells us more about The Supreme Lie and her other brilliant novels.
May 2021 Book of the Month | Multi-award-winning Brian Conaghan specialises in misfits, characters on the edge looking in, and he has a wonderful ear for authentic dialogue and for giving us male protagonists with emotional depth. He creates characters that rapidly find a place in your heart and who will make you laugh out loud and shed a few tears. This is the first time that he has written for a younger audience and does so without losing any of his trademark authenticity or sharp, wisecracking dialogue. Brian’s older teen fans will also find this an enjoyable read. Lenny blames himself and his size for everything. He believes his Mum and Dad blame him too. His beloved older brother is in a Young Offenders Institute as a result of defending Lenny against some thugs beating him up. His coping strategy is to hide and his favourite bunking off school place is a canal side bench. Tossing his IrnBru can into the canal introduces him to Bruce- another outsider- living in a cardboard home hidden away on the bank. Despite this traumatic start the pair strike up a life-changing friendship. The reader will gradually get to hear their stories as Lenny is able to talk to Bruce, unlike his parents or teachers and inveigles him into helping to avoid a school dilemma and then to accompany him on an epic journey to see his brother. But Bruce is no pushover and Lenny has to face up to some stiff challenges in return and in so doing discovers courage, resilience and talents that he would not have believed he had. We eventually learn Bruce’s heart-breaking story too, but without any saccharine ending we feel there is hope and a future for both. Warm hearted and memorable this should go to the top of your wishlist for school libraries and every child's bookshelf. Find more books with Positive Images of Disability.
May 2021 Book of the Month | Ten-year-old Billie Upton Green opens up her doodle diary to readers, and what a treat it proves: a fabulously lively and idiosyncratic record of an eventful couple of weeks in her life. When a new girl joins her class, Billie is determined to make her feel welcome, even though Janey seems a bit of a show-off. She’s disconcerted that Janey doesn’t know what it means to be adopted, like Billie, or that you can have two mums, also like Billie. It gets harder to like Janey though when it appears she’s stealing Billie’s best friend, Layla. This also seems, to Billie, to put Janey in the frame for a sudden spate of thefts at their school, but the culprit is someone else altogether and by the end of the book, Billie, Layla and Janey are firm friends, the three of them performing a special dance at Billie’s mums’ wedding. Readers will love Billie’s adventures, and her funny, doodle-filled way of sharing them, as much as they love the Dork Diaries or Wimpy Kid stories, and it’s great too to see such a warm celebration of diverse family life.
April 2021 Book of the Month | This exquisitely creepy YA shocker whirls with gritty horror, witty one-liners, Insta-worthy visual conjurations and the menacing mystery of three bewitching sisters who vanished in childhood. “Dark dangerous things happened around the Hollow sisters. We each had black eyes and hair as white as milk...We didn’t have friends, because we didn’t need them.” So explains the youngest sister, Iris. As children, the three sisters vanished one New Year’s Eve on the strike of midnight and reappeared with their hair and eyes a different colour, tiny baby teeth in place of their adult teeth, and no memory. “In possession of an alchemical self-confidence that belonged to much older humans,” Iris’ older sisters have “set off into the world, both bound for the glamorous, exotic futures they’d always known they were destined for”, leaving her alone in North London with her mother. Sinister bells toll when seventeen-year-old Grey, a supermodel and designer of decadent couture “who looked like sex and smelled like a field of wildflowers”, fails to turn up to middle sister Vivi’s punk gig in Camden, and then there’s the mystery of the man wearing a horned skull. There are books with unexpected twists, then there’s House of Hollow - imagine losing your way in a decaying fairy tale forest, where tangled tree roots trip you up, and you have no idea what terrors skulk within its ever-shifting mists. At times grisly and always eerie, this intoxicating cocktail of contemporary horror and mythic menace is a lushly-written feast.
May 2021 Book of the Month | Framed by a lyrical, mythological story of the Great Sky Wolf and every mother-dog’s desire to protect her pups (“she cannot know what lies ahead…when they are taken from her, into the world of man”), Gill Lewis’s A Street Dog Named Pup is a poignant tale of survival, and the lifelong, life-changing bonds that can be formed between humans and dogs. Brimming with empathy and understanding, it’s a thrilling and deeply moving novel that will be adored by animal-lovers and fans of adventure fiction alike. From the off, the special human-dog bond sits centre stage when Pup, “a dog with a big heart”, lovingly refers to “his boy, who held him tight and told him that one day he would grow into his big puppy paws.” But something isn’t right. Pup’s boy isn’t there, and in his place is a big man who abandons him in Dead Dog Alley, where the Street Dogs take him under their paws. Among them Frenchi, a French bulldog, imparts the wisdom that in order to survive, you need shelter and food, but “Pup wanted his boy. He wanted him more than ever.” While this desire to be reunited grows deeper each day, and no one else will do, hope fades as time passes. What’s more, Pup and his new-found canine crew have other pressing problems to attend to. At times gritty, and always gripping, this has all the hallmarks of an animal adventure classic - a story with the power to move readers in every possible way.
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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