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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 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.
June 2021 Book of the Month | Susin Neilson has such talent for creating pitch-perfect characters and immersive story-worlds that ring with real-life authenticity. Much like her excellent My Messed Up Life, Tremendous Things packs in plenty of humour and heart as it tells a page-turning story underpinned by big emotional themes, in this case finding confidence through battling the effects of bullying. At eleven, Wilbur (Wil) resolved to grow taller, cry less, have his writing published, make friends, fall in love, “learn to be my best self”, and learn to be “confident and brave”. Three years later, while he’s yet to become brave, Wil has grown, he’s still writing poetry and he’s made some friends, among them his best friend, 85-year-old Sal. Going to “Aquacise for Seniors is definitely one of the highlights of my week,” he happily admits. With his two mums, Mum and Mup (collectively known as The Mumps) struggling to make ends meet, it’s a bit of a challenge for pay for his French exchange trip, but boy is it worth working extra hours at Foot Long Subs to help fund it. Wil’s exchange partner, Charlie, turns out to be a confident, clever girl who appreciates Wil for who he is, and so his gay friends pledge to give him a confidence-boosting makeover before he goes to Paris. But then, as Wil feels a flicker of self-love, the merde hits the fan (to paraphrase a chapter title) and he’s showered with a succession of unsettling events. Reader, I balled, I beamed, and was bowled over by every step of Wilbur’s life-affirming journey, with the wonders of Charlotte’s Web woven through it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 on LoveReading4Kids, 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.
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.