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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 are given physical form in this humorous and insightful picture book that helps even the youngest child find ways to cope with day-to-day anxieties. You can find more books on this theme in our Anxiety & Wellbeing collection.
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.
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.
August 2016 Book of the Month This book is definitely not for those of a nervous disposition! It features hundreds of different creatures from big cats and bears to the tiniest creatures. They all have one thing in common: they are deadly, and will sting, bite, poison or trample you should you get too close. Each bright, information-packed page features five different animals graded, Top Trumps like, according to degrees of scariness, a ‘Killer Fact’ distinguishing the most scary. It’s very readable, perfect for browsing, non-fiction at its jaw-dropping best. A word of warning – the photo of the Guinea worm on page 96 will put even those with the strongest stomachs off their tea! ~ Andrea Reece
Fall down the rabbit hole, take flight into Neverland, or follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City; we all remember what it was like to disappear into the imaginary worlds of the most magical and fantastic type of literature, the children’s book. Now, with 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up, be ready to be transported back to a time when magic was possible and share that love with your children. Compiled and edited by Lovereading4kids’ very own editorial expert Julia Eccleshare and with a Preface by Quentin Blake, this is a wonderful offline resource that provides a great introduction to the very best books of childhood. From wordless picture books and books introducing the first sounds of the alphabet through to hard-hitting and edgy teenage fiction, the titles featured reflect the best of children’s literature from the international classics to the most famous contemporary writers. So whatever the reading age or ability, there is something to suit every child. Reviews of the books are accompanied by evocative line drawings and colour artworks from the books themselves, together with reproductions of original jackets and photographs of the authors. In addition, some of our most famous, familiar and much loved children’s authors write about their favourite story by another author. Including great writers and illustrators such as: Philip Pullman, author of Northern Lights, Ruby in the Smoke; Michael Morpurgo, author of Private Peaceful, and Kensuke’s Kingdom; Jacqeline Wilson, author of the Tracey Beaker books; Lauren Child, author of the Clarice Bean books and Eric Carle, author of the much loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar. And the question on everyone’s lips is what is their favourite story of all time? Well, snuggle down with this book and you can discover it - and maybe you will read a story that you have never read before and will love it as much as they do. You’ll find many of the titles featured on Lovereading4kids, so check out an extract if you want more information on a title than you can get in this book.
May 2015 Book of the Month There’s a wide range of things to make in this fun book, from building your own toolbox – the first project, naturally – to making a wormery and a simple spinning motor. For each one there are step-by-step instructions, clearly explained and easy to follow, with bright symbols to indicate when grown-up help will be needed. The skills learned making these twenty-three projects can thereafter be successfully applied to hundreds more DIY projects too. A book to inspire kids and provide them with hours of fun, whether they are working independently or in association with their elders (parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles). ~ Andrea Reece
May 2016 Non-Fiction Book of the Month The planet is under threat, but there are things we can all do to change that says this attractive guide book. It’s full of suggestions for practical – and enjoyable – things children can do to make a difference in their home or local area. There are projects to encourage wildlife for example, ideas for keeping rubbish out of landfill by turning it into something pretty or useful, and some clever gadgets to make that will help your family use less energy. With its clear, attractive design and easy to follow instructions this successfully challenges children to be more eco-friendly while having fun. There’s a useful list of websites offering more ideas and information at the back too. ~ Andrea Reece
March 2018 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Graphic novel, information book, horticultural history, A Big Garden is beautiful to look at, totally original and rather remarkable. Beginning in May, it takes readers through the year in a garden, above and below ground, describing the extraordinary amount of activity that goes on, the actions not just of the gardeners but of the plants and insects too. Detailed passages of text are full of information, e.g. listing all a gardener must do to protect his crops in June, describing the amazing methods that plants have evolved to protect themselves against threats. At times it’s philosophical – ‘put simply, gardening is all about interpreting the future and overcoming the unforeseeable’ – at other times poetic – a gardener ‘always has his hands in the soil, and looks up to the sky’. The illustrations are equally inspiring and attention-grabbing, vividly naturalistic paintings of fruit and plants set against fantastic scenes in which miniature gardeners toil away. Beautiful and inspiring, it’s a book to treasure.
A Lovereading4kids 'Great read you may have missed 2011' selection. A Lovereading4Kids 'Debut of the Year 2011' selection. Winner of the top children's book award in Ireland in 2011 - the Bisto Award. Babies and Toddlers +. When Little Owl falls out of the nest he needs help to find his way home again. Luckily squirrel is keen to help but how does he know what Little Owl’s mummy will look like? Young readers will enjoy the entertaining confusion of mummies as squirrel misinterprets Little Owl’s description of his mummy. A touching story.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Rabbit and Bear: Book 4 Rabbit is worried: trees in their forest are disappearing and, worse still, the stream has moved – even unflappable Bear declares herself ‘close to being slightly worried’ at that. The cause is the arrival of Castor Canadensis, a beaver, who is delighted with engineering as a means of building ‘New, Bigger and Better things’ in the name of ‘Progress’. It suits some of the animals, but definitely not all. Fortunately, Bear finds a way to get the animals working together, so that Castor’s hard work benefits them all, himself included. As ever, there’s as much insight as humour, and it’s a superb read aloud story. Gough and Field make creating books this good look simple, because they’re both masters at what they do. Treat yourself, and buy all four books.
An evocative and thrilling tale, set in a richly colourful Dickensian world, featuring a small boy, Mouse, whose parents are lost at sea, and whose life is threatened by the claims of his money-grabbing and debt-ridden Uncle and he is sent by him to a school that lives by fear and terror. All the characters are truly memorable, some for good and some for evil but most though are warm-hearted and generous characters who see the plight of Mouse and each in their own way help him towards finding his family. But will they be able to help? It's a real jewel of classic storytelling in the making that will pull at the heartstrings. The author is well known for her younger fiction and this longer novel for an older age range is a thrilling departure.
April 2016 Book of the Month The characters may be bears, but the parent/child relationship depicted in this lovely picture book will be familiar to all readers. It’s hot so a little bear suggests to his dad that they should go to the river to cool down and dad agrees. Little Bear is determined to lead the way and show his dad just how brave and clever he is but, as all parents know, this kind of excitement leads to accidents. Sure enough, Little Bear slips but with Dad’s help they reach the river in the end and have a lovely time. The text perfectly catches some of those special interactions between parent and child, and illustrator Emily Hughes makes the bears particularly endearing. ~ Andrea Reece
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month | February 2017 Book of the Month Best-selling Lucy Cousins‘s boldly drawn birds inspire the imagination as she illustrates the wonderful things that different kinds of birds can do. Lively, colourful birds fill each page beautifully as she illustrates them flying, hopping, pecking, swooping, singing and running in a charming book that leads perfectly to bedtime. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for February 2017 Young Magicians and the Thieves' Almanac by Nick Mohammed A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins Mind the Gap by Phil Earle The Bolds on Holiday by Julian Clary The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling by Timothy Basil Ering The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
One of our 2018 Books of the Year | August 2018 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: classic time-slip adventure with some contemporary twists | Sally Nicholls is adept at balancing excitement with humour, creating original page-turning stories that are rich with insight. Well-versed in time travel plots Alex and Ruby quickly guess what’s happened when they fall through an old mirror into 1912. They make friends with the children of the house, Dora and Henry (one of whom could be a great-grandparent) before being caught up in adventure: someone has stolen a valuable antique cup from charming Uncle Atherton, on the eve of his wedding too. High drama ensues including a race after the thieves in a vintage car. It’s a thoroughly satisfying adventure, with a proper sense of what the past would actually be like (much grubbier and smellier than Alex and Ruby expect), and tinged with real sadness too: the children are all too aware of what is in Henry and Ruby’s future. ~ Andrea Reece For more engaging and surprising time-travel adventure try Evie’s Ghost by Helen Peters. The Editor at Nosy Crow says: “A fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable adventure from the always-entertaining Sally Nicholls. I couldn’t stop reading it!”
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Julia Eccleshare's Book of the Month September 2016 Award-winning storyteller and artist Oliver Jeffers and typographic fine artist Sam Winston have created an extraordinarily adventurous and original picture book which, through words and pictures, takes children on a journey of discovery through some of the greatest literature of all time. The imaginative eponymous Child of Books floats across a sea of words made from words and lines from classic children’s book stories. It is a journey that recreates fairy tales, forests and monsters showing children the importance and power of their imagination in recreating them. A book to read again and again to glean all of its meaning. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for September 2016 A Poem for Every Night of the Year compliled by Allie Esiri Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes by Julia Donaldson A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston Beck by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff Tom's Midnight Garden Graphic Novel by Philippa Pearce and Edith Jinks and O'Hare Funfair Repair by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntryre
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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