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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 2020 Book of the Month | With characteristic vision and grace Meg Rosoff has done it again in this exquisite novel that merits a place alongside I Capture the Castle, Bonjour Tristesse and The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) for its coming-of-age, loss-of-innocence excellence. Though contemporary, it feels timeless and elementally affecting, much like the Great Godden’s impact on the family whose story it tells. With an idyllic seaside summer stretching ahead, the tingling anticipation of The Great Godden’s unnamed teenage narrator is deliciously palpable: “This year is going to be the best ever: the best weather, the best food, the best fun. The actors assembled, the summer begins.” But there are still two more actors to take to the stage - enter the Godden brothers in a shiny black car. The narrator’s older sister Mattie is immediately smitten by magnetic, handsome, self-assured Kit: “She was desperate to lose her virginity, and what sort of person would say no to Mattie? Surely not some movie star’s kid, fresh off the plane?” Though Mattie is certainly attractive, it’s obvious that charmer Kit has the upper hand of any situation, but might he also be a trouble-maker, as his curt, less-of-a-looker brother warns? Such wonderings underpin some of this novel’s essence. With the stage fully set and summer speeding towards the climax of a wedding, it poses fundamental questions about motivation, and the nature of agency, of lust, of the desire to be seen for who you are. Quivering with unease, passion and paranoia, it also reveals how past experiences engrave themselves upon us, creating fault-lines that may crack and cause future ructions. Sophisticated, seductive and smoothly readable, this is a summer story par excellence, and a coming-of-age tale for all times.
July 2020 Book of the Month | Set in the author’s native Wales during the dark days of the fifth century, Ellen Caldecott’s The Short Knife is an energetic, edge-of-your-seat page-turner with present-day resonance as 21st-century Britain - island of migrants - faces the challenge of forging an identity independent of continental Europe. With the Romans compelled to leave Britain after 400 years, the island is on the brink of collapse. Amidst this uncertainty and the chaos of Saxon invasion, thirteen-year-old Mai is cared for by her dad and sister (she lost her mam when she was three), and wrestling with her “anger at the people free to flee into the hills. Anger at all the world and everyone in it. I want to open my mouth and let the fire out, burn it all into blackness.” When Saxon warriors turn up at their farm, the family is forced to flee to the dangerous hills themselves. Mai must cross the threshold from childhood to adulthood if she’s to survive in a hostile world in which speaking in her mother tongue might turn out to be fatal. The cinematic scene-setting, first person narrative, and succinct, magnetically lyrical style make for a thrilling experience that will hook the most reluctant of readers. Recommended for fans of Caroline Lawrence and Damian Dibben’s The History Keepers series, this offers enlightening insights into British history with fresh flair, and through the eyes of a compelling main character.
July 2020 Book of the Month | They may be a family of hyenas, but if we were all like the Bolds the world would be a much better place. In case you don’t know, the Bolds live disguised as humans in Teddington. Their two children attend the local primary, and both parents work: Mr Bold writes cracker jokes, Mrs Bold designs extravagant hats. In this story, Mr Bold’s mother arrives from Africa for a visit, and struggles rather with her son’s new lifestyle choice. It looks like the family will be exposed, but the story takes a different turn, and once again the Bolds come to the aid of someone who needs their help. The story is deliciously bonkers, the illustrations just as witty and full of quirky detail, and the Bolds’ live-and-let-live philosophy is a breath of fresh air in our quarrelsome times. If you want everyone to go to sleep smiling and happy, make this your bedtime reading.
July 2020 Book of the Month | A day in the park with his friends turns into a calamity for robot Bernard. A series of alarming squeaks and clangs points to problems with one thing - his bottom! Something’s clearly wrong with it and Bear has to take it away. That makes Bernard No-Bot again but not for long: his friends are determined to find him the perfect new bottom. This much-loved author-illustrator team specialise in the silly, and this is deliciously daft from start to finish (top to bottom!) and will have small children laughing uncontrollably.
July 2020 Book of the Month | From the author of exceptional YA novels like What Momma Left Me and Piecing Me Together comes this beautiful bighearted story for 7+ year-olds – a true treasure about everyday family life, being yourself and making the best of things, with an unforgettable African American heroine at its luminous heart. Keen cook Ryan and her family live in Portland, Oregon, and she’s not best pleased when they have to move to a smaller house as a result of her dad’s new job paying less than the one he lost a while back. But Ryan’s not the kind of girl to complain for long, or to let anything get her down. She’s one of life’s thinkers and doers, whose loving parents have infused her with a life-affirming sense of self-worth and pride in her heritage: “I remember what Mom always tells me, how she named me Ryan because she wanted me to feel powerful, to remember that I am a leader every time someone calls my name. Dad is always telling me our people come from royalty, that my ancestors lived in Africa and were kings and queens and inventors and hard workers. Mom tells me their strength is running through my veins.” Told through manageable interlinked vignettes, this soulfully illustrated gem - the first in a series - sits in the tradition of Judy Blume’s young fiction and Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series, but it’s also refreshingly unique. The pitch-perfect evocation of Ryan’s grace and warmth, and her positive perspective will entertain and inspire young readers, while helping them understand the world and handle change.
July 2020 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | In this important new resource, author Cerrie Burnell has put together a fascinating collection of inspiring stories. As she says in her introduction when she was growing up as a child born with just one hand “there just weren’t enough books with a disabled protagonist” and “Everyone deserves to see someone like them in a story and achieving something great” Her own achievements are themselves inspirational and she has long been a disability rights campaigner as well as much loved CBeebies presenter and children’s author and so the whole book is infused with authenticity and passion. A double page spread for each of the 34 role models and two special sections on mental health and “invisible disabilities” are all evocatively illustrated by comic artist and graphic designer, Lauren Baldo capturing the time and spirit of the featured individual and giving real context to the highly readable and fascinating life stories. Starting in 1770 with Beethoven and finishing in 2001 with the birth of black, transgender disabled model superstar Aaron Philip, the life stories are commendably international and wide ranging, challenging our preconceived ideas of what is possible. From the familiar Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder to the less well known like break dancer Redouan Ait Chit, mountaineer Arunima Sinha, lawyer Catalina Devandas to celebrities like Lady Gaga,whose disability was a complete surprise to me, these stories will open eyes and minds. A comprehensive glossary and helpful discussion of language choices around disability and representation throughout add even more usefulness to this essential and attractive resource.
‘One day, we found an octopus/ had come to live on top of us.’ Those are the opening lines of this glorious picture book – how could you not want to know what happens next? The octopus itself is unmissable – huge and an eye-catching fluorescent orange colour – slightly non-plussed looking perched atop of a very neat little house. Some of the neighbours are not too welcoming, calling the fire brigade to try and force it off, fortunately with little success because once the children of the house and their friends start playing with the octopus, barriers are broken and the advantages of having an eight-legged chum become clear. Illustrator Steven Lenton rises brilliantly to all the challenges set by Peter Bently’s ingenious rhymes depicting the various ways in which the octopus helps around the house – often eight different activities at a time, plus one very special octo-tastic Christmas tree. Making friends has never been so much fun and it all comes to a wonderfully octopussy conclusion too. Fabulous!
July 2020 Book of the Month | There’s never been a better time to encourage children to dream up adventures and then turn them into written stories. This lively how-to book will certainly inspire them and is packed with story-writing ideas to get them started, and a wealth of really good writing advice (whatever your age). Its author Joanne Owen is herself a successful writer for children and it shows. She shares real tips of the trade, from ways to spark ideas to techniques that will make your writing really effective. There are lots of practical exercises, all of them fun and stimulating. With space to write your stories down, young writers can get going straightaway and the lessons they learn will be useful throughout their lives. Get a copy in time for National Writing Day on 24th June, a chance for everyone to enjoy some creative writing. **** Read a Q&A with the author, Joanne Owen with tips for writing and recommendations for Summer Reading
A Lovereading4kids 'Great Read' you may have missed 2011 selection. A truly special picture book. It's the story of Zou the Zebra as he spends his first night away from his parents. Both endearing and reassuring for both parent and child, this is a wonderful book to read aloud. Zou discovers he can cope on his own and even offers to comfort other little zebras with the help of something very special... Publisher Julia Marshall on why she chose this book: "In this book, Zou forgets his own fear and sadness when he helps others, especially those smaller than him. But Michel Gay is never smarmy. This book makes you remember exactly what it was like to be on your own for the first time."
March 2013 Book of the Month Best-selling Darren Shan, master of the dark story, spins another horrific thriller set after the zombie apocalypse. In the world of the dead, a terrifying battle is taking place over who will control the streets of London. Will it be the dead? Or the alive? Darren Shan’s fans, their tastes for terror sharpened by Cirque de Freak, will love this third volume in the Zom-B series.
The exciting new series from the master of teen horror. Zom-B is a radical new series about a zombie apocalypse, told in the first person by one of its victims. The series combines classic Shan action with a fiendishly twisting plot and hard-hitting and thought-provoking moral questions dealing with racism, abuse of power and more. This is challenging material, which will captivate existing Shan fans and bring in many new ones. As Darren says, It's a big, sprawling, vicious tale...a grisly piece of escapism, and a barbed look at the world in which we live. Each book in the series is short, fast-paced and bloody. A high body-count is guaranteed!
March 2013 Book of the Month The first book in the explosive new zombie series from the master of horror, now in paperback. The exciting new series from the master of teen horror. Zom-B is a radical new series about a zombie apocalypse, told in the first person by one of its victims. The series combines classic Shan action with a fiendishly twisting plot and hard-hitting and thought-provoking moral questions dealing with racism, abuse of power and more. This is challenging material, which will captivate existing Shan fans and bring in many new ones. As Darren says, It's a big, sprawling, vicious tale...a grisly piece of escapism, and a barbed look at the world in which we live. Each book in the series is short, fast-paced and bloody. A high body-count is guaranteed!
Join the loveably lively Zoe and her devoted dog Beans in a world full of fun, friendship and magical adventures. It's a case of hide and seek as Beans loses his favourite toy. There's now a delightful new adventure about Zoe and Beans, called The Magic Hoop. Click here to see this title.
October 2015 Book of the Month A group of Californian teenagers with superpowers should be having the time of their lives, right? Wrong… This action-packed page-turner about the self-proclaimed Zeroes shows that superpowers come at a cost. In fact, Ethan’s power, an all-knowing voice that speaks through him, has torn the group apart. And that’s also what lands him in serious trouble when he finds himself in the throes of an armed robbery. After being taken in for police questioning, Ethan, aka Scam, is compelled to call on the Zeroes for help. While still angry about the insults his voice poured on them, the old gang comes to his rescue. Chizara uses her superpower to crash the police station's systems so Ethan can escape. But that’s not enough; the shockwaves are already out there and the Zeroes, a collection of six compellingly realised characters, are drawn into increasingly high-stake situations. The first in a trilogy, and the result of a collaboration between three esteemed writers, this is an exhilaratingly original take on superpower-themed fiction. And, as the extraordinary teenagers are forced to find a way to harness their powers, it’s also an allegory about stepping up and taking responsibility. - Joanne Owen
Explosive and compelling, this is the third part of the bestselling Joshua Files sequence in which an ancient prophecy is predicting the end of the world in 2012. Don’t feel it’s essential to read the first two titles to enjoy this 3rd heart-stopping adventure, as the author cleverly interweaves the story to date at the beginning of this one. That said, the first two are so good, you will miss some of the detail. In Zero Moment, Josh is convinced he’s discovered the key to time travel but dare he use it to save his father? When his great friend Ixchel is kidnapped by the very people intent on the world’s destruction, he must take things into his own hands to save both Ixchel and the world. To read the titles in order start with Invisible City then Ice Shock and finally Zero Moment.
February 2018 Book of the Month | The story of a young man and the special relationship he forms with the lollipop man who once saved his life, Zebra Crossing Soul Song is an original and touching coming of age story, full of insight and set to a playlist of songs that will have all readers swaying in time to its music. Lenny is eighteen and resitting his psychology A level; revising episodic memory sets him thinking about his friend Otis, and how their conversations over the years at Otis’s zebra crossing have left ideas and music imprinted on his mind, more indelibly even than those black and white marks on the road. It’s a relationship strong enough to endure through the different pressures on both of them. Scattered with song lyrics, and seeded with truths, this memorable and absorbing story moved me to tears. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
Addictive, scandalous and glamorous fiction from a brand new author writing for sophisticated teens! As its title implies this is not for the faint-hearted. If you're up for a wild read where clubbing or holidaying in St Tropez is the order of the day when not at school, where meeting up off school grounds with the biggest heart-throb from the nearby boys school is seriously cool and where girls get together and 'B' about others particularly when an American beauty arrives at the school and threatens to ruin everything. It's page-turning stuff.
With fast-paced action and non-stop adventure from page one no reader can fail to be hooked in to this terrific series set on the high seas in and around 17th century Japan. The series will captivate young readers including the most reluctant. This is Book 7 in the blockbuster Young Samurai series by Chris Bradford. Young Samurai was shortlisted for the Red House Children’s Book Award and nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
April 2013 Book of the Month Best-selling Julia Golding tells a fast paced, time-travelling fantasy adventure based on the legends of King Arthur that cleverly provokes thought about contemporary life too. Stolen away by the Fey in infancy, Rick has been taught to believe that humans are his enemy. All his training in magical Avalon, has been designed to make him a warrior fit to fight humans and the evil they represent. But, when Rick slips through time and finds himself as a human teenager, nothing has prepared him what it will really be like. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Young Knights of the Round Table a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'I really like this book because it’s full of adventure and the author describes the characters and settings in such detail which make them really easy to picture'. Scroll down to read more reviews...
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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