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The books in this section all have a theme of conservation, raising environmental awareness and/or championing green issues.
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.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2021 | Too much grumpy Gupper Fog is swirling around Rubbish Island. The moon has disappeared into the sea and everything has turned topsy turvey…How can the Tindims put things right and make Rubbish Island a safe and pleasant place to live again? There’s great charm to Sally Gardner’s zany story which is amplified in Lydia Corry’s illustrations.
The Branford Boase prizewinning author has produced another winner with his second book. This is the thrilling story of Queenie de la Cruz, an ordinary girl who happens to be a big fan of world’s most popular fizzy drink. When a bottle washes up at her feet on the beach near her run-down house, this is not unusual- the beach is so covered with rubbish she hardly notices it. But this bottle contains the top-secret recipe for her favourite drink. Priceless information that the big corporation wants back at any cost! The way they manipulate the media and instigate a world wide search for Queenie is genuinely scary and thought provoking. While on the run Queenie comes to realise a lot about the world and the threats it faces from big business and consumerism. She also realises the value of friendship, finds her courage to stand up for what is right and that some things are more important than money. The suspense filled plot will keep readers guessing and the powerful underlying environmental message will strike home. A story which, like his debut novel Kick, looks at the darker side of consumerism and big business and its worldwide affects, but this is so successfully wrapped up in a really great story that this will be a really popular read as well as a valuable discussion starter.
It's the summer holidays, and thirteen-year-old Luke has just had his life turned upside down. First his older sister Rose moved 'across the road' - where a community of climate rebels are protesting the planned airport expansion - and now his dad's gone too. Dad only went to get Rose back, but he's out there building totem poles out of old furniture and wearing sandals and drinking mead (whatever that is) with the best of them ... Luke is determined to save his dad, his sister AND his summer. So how does he find himself at the top of a tree refusing to leave until the bulldozers stand down? A fresh, funny, heartfelt look at this generation's must-win battle: one earth, one chance.
It’s time for the sixth and final instalment of Julian Clary’s much-loved children’s book series The Bolds! Teddington’s wildest family of hyenas have decided to do their bit for the planet and go green. They're reducing, reusing and recycling as much as they can. Not all of their eco-friendly ideas are welcome, though - especially when it comes to 'watering' the neighbours' front garden with wee ....
Will Jakeman is extraordinary! As a tiny baby, he was sent across galaxies in his little i-cot, invented by his mother, to escape interplanetary space pirates attacking his home. Landing on planet Urf he was adopted by a kindly old couple, also coincidentally inventors. With such an amazing background, how could Will be anything else other than an inventor, and as for his inventions – wow! There’s the self-making bed, suction shoes so that you can walk up walls, but most amazing his mechanimals, fabulous mechanical creatures just the thing to take if you’re going on an adventure, or to have at your back if you’re being terrorised by a rampaging raptor. The story is interspersed with wonderful diagrams of these amazing creations, the chemical powered Crustacean Hover-sub for example or, best of all, Steel-Skull, a robotic hydrogen-powered metal gorilla. They all have special parts to play in Will’s adventures and the book is perfect for those who want their reading imagination-packed and out of this world! As an added bonus there’s lots to encourage you to sketch your own wonderful creations too.
May 2021 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2021 | Wick lives in Harklights Match Factory and Orphanage. Run by the cruel and wicked Old Ma Bogey it is a terrible place of suffering for all the children who live there. When Wick escapes to the dangerous ‘outside’ he is adopted by the Hobs, tiny people who live a green life and devote themselves to looking after the forest and everything that lives in it. But Wick soon discovers that there are great dangers in the forest, too. And Old Ma Bogey has a hand in them. Guided by the Hobs, Wick discovers that he has a special role to play in saving the environment and all who live in it from the forces of evil.
A breathtaking tale of the rich, wild world and all its wonder from acclaimed nature writer and Costa Award-shortlisted novelist, Melissa Harrison - the perfect read for children for spring and summer! Three tiny, ancient beings - Moss, Burnet and Cumulus, once revered as Guardians of the Wild World - wake from winter hibernation in their beloved ash tree home. When it is destroyed, they set off on an adventure to find more of their kind, a journey which takes them first into the deep countryside and then the heart of a city. Helped along the way by birds and animals, the trio search for a way to survive and thrive in a precious yet disappearing world ... The breathtaking children's debut from acclaimed nature writer and literary fiction novelist, Melissa Harrison,. Inspired by 1942 classic The Little Grey Men by BB, with shades of The Borrowers. A tale of disappearing wilderness that couldn't be more relevant in today's environmental crisis, brought to life for children by three tiny, funny, eternal beings - the hidden folk.
Sally Gardner’s stories of the Tindims, little people who, like nautical Borrowers, collect up the rubbish floating in the sea and reuse it, are as full of adventure as they are of charm, mixing a refreshing innocence with a real sense of urgency about the need for humans to change our ways. In this story Tiddledim the explorer is sailing into Turtle Bay, Granny Gull is baking cakes and just about everyone else is searching for the Bottlerama, the special instruments Tindims use to welcome visitors to Rubbish Island. Made from ten green bottles, it makes a sound as if the clouds are singing. But the Bottlerama needs fixing, and the Tindims can’t find enough glass bottles, though they’ve got lots (and lots) of plastic ones. Things work out happily, and the story ends with the Tindims singing along to their new Bottlerama, while a whale has been helped in the process too. The story will appeal to all eco-conscious young readers as well as those who dream of independent adventures. The font is dyslexia friendly and with illustrations by Lydia Corry throughout (as well as a simply gorgeous colour map on the inside cover) these stories are accessible to all readers. Printed in dyslexia-friendly font with pictures on every page and perfect for the reluctant reader.
Unrivalled in his capacity to conjure soulful truths that transcend time and place, David Almond’s writing never fails to get to the very heart of what it is to be human and, though its setting is modern, Bone Music is a sublimely timeless masterpiece - a raw, pure, measuredly lyrical story of a girl discovering deep bonds to nature and the distant past. Underpinned by a belief that the world can be made a better place, it will appeal to a broad range of 11+-year-olds (and adults), from dedicated bookworms, to more reluctant readers. “Why had her bliddy mother brought her here?” city girl Sylvia complains. There’s no phone signal in the wilds of Northumberland, where her mother was born, where they’re currently staying. On her first night here, Sylvia is disturbed by haunting music: “It was like something she’d dreamed before, like something coming from inside her as well as from outside her, like something she’d heard before.” Then she meets a young musician, Gabriel, who wisely remarks - out of the blue - that “the world’s bloody awful, isn’t it? … It’s bloody awful and it isn’t bloody awful. It’s bloody marvellous”. Through their forest wandering and fashioning of a bone flute from the wing of a dead buzzard, Sylvia sees the world anew and experiences life’s “bloody marvellous” aspects. As Gabriel explains, bone flutes “were used to charm the living. They were used to call the dead”, and they were used in ancient rites of passage. The magic of bone music and nature casts an unceasing spell on Sylvia (“the beauty of the world poured into her”), as does Gabriel. His wisdom has timely, timeless resonance: ‘‘Something’s wrong, isn’t it? Look at the state of the bliddy world. Look at all the anxious, troubled kids. We need more, don’t we?” And that, perhaps, gets to the heart of this remarkable book - it’s a story that stimulates reflection, provokes questions and prompts us to ask what we really need (and don’t need) while celebrating primal connections to the earth and the ancient past. What a joy.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2021 | Zaynab arrives in Devon from her home in Somaliland after the death of her mother, a passionate activist trying to improve lives in drought-stricken Somaliland. Unhappy, and lonely in her new environment, Zaynab begins her own campaign against the climate crisis drawing on her first-hand view of its devastating effect on her home country. She quickly finds fellow supporters among her classmates, including particularly Lucas who is equally passionate for different reasons. Challenging their school’s prohibition on campaigning is the first big step and taking part in the national protest is the second. In doing both Zaynab shows her peers that children like them need to be heard. And that they can make a difference. But the stakes are high and, when Zaynab uncovers a big company with a sinister and destructive programme, she has to decide just how hard she will fight. Zaynab’s passionate commitment is infectious – readers will be inspired.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2021 | Hike is a book in which dreams become memories through adventure. It’s a wordless, wonderfully illustrated story of a boy and his father stepping out into wilderness for the day. My own memories of favourite walks with my father are very often just fleeting moments, lasting impressions and scenes which have somehow stayed with me and have no doubt gained colour over the years. Hike is a story about love. Love for the world, love for nature and love for family. Pete Oswald has portrayed adventure in a way that will inspire children and evoke happy memories for their parents. ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival
A man with an obsession for straight lines and sharp angles is converted by a sudden encounter with nature and learns to live a happier, more relaxed life as a result in Thibaut Rassat’s quirky, thought-provoking book. Architect Eugene likes order and tries his hardest to impose it in his own home and on the buildings he designs where everything has to be straight, square and in line. The builders have fun teasing him by leaving bathtubs on the balconies, but they’re caught out themselves when Eugene suddenly changes his view of the world. What provokes it? When a tree falls into his latest building, Eugene is struck by its beauty and the beauty of its curves and proportions. From then on, straight lines are out and nature and making things nicer for wildlife well and truly in. It’s a book to give children real insight into what an architect does, and how, but it will also open their eyes to the beauty and unexpected order of the natural world.
Rows of adorable little veggies tuck themselves up for the night in their flower beds in this charming and whimsical picture book. The potatoes are closing their eyes, the tired-out tomatoes humming lullabies, and the little aubergines are already dreaming, after all, nothing’s more exhausting than growing day and night. The text is short and its rhythm and rhymes make it just right for bedtime reading while the pictures of the vegetables, cosy and smiling in their beds, will set the liveliest toddler in the mood for sleep. A worm tunnels through each page and at the book’s end he too is stretched out for the night fast asleep, his one shoe lined up tidily at the foot of the bed. Gorgeous!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2021 | Best-selling author/ illustrator David McKee created Mr Benn his iconic character over 50 years ago and he has been a star of books and TV programmes ever since. Mr Benn’s Big Game is a classic David McKee story which quietly but firmly promotes good – this time not shooting wild animals. When Mr Benn goes to his favourite dressing up shop he tries on a khaki uniform and is transported to the jungle where he is in charge of a group of very keen big game hunters. Can Mr Benn stop them shooting the wonderful animals in the jungle? Making use of a very cunning plan – and in the best tradition of children’s stories – he does just that! Fans of Elmer will love this earlier introduction to some familiar loveable elephants.
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