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The stories and novels in this section cover a range of themes from family issues to mystery adventures. You can find stories about the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren, to sibling rivalry and blended families, suitable for the smallest children up to young adults.
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 Debut of the Month | From the 2019 Macmillan prize-winner this is a powerful, dramatic and inspirational story about the difference even a child can make if they take action and get their voice heard. The delightfully curious Rosa needsa book but her library is closed for redevelopment but Rosa dn her sister decide to protest and not give up , gradually bringing everyone onboard. The vibrant richly coloured pages create a filmic sense of an inclusive community and very real people. It makes a powerful statement about the place that libraries have in a community and the vital necessity that all children can have access to the books that they need. Unfortunately, it is a book with a very current and timely message. Libraries have suffered greatly in the pandemic and the future looks bleak as more budget cutting looms. This book empowers young children to demand their rights and to recognise that they matter too. It should prompt some very interesting discussions and debate and naturally should be stocked in every library.
A hugely original story which imaginatively captures the complexity of migration for a child. Having suddenly inherited a house from a relative, Meixing Liam and her family are newly arrived in the New Land to begin a New Life. Everything is confusing. Everything is different and everything seems to be going wrong. Cleverly using a third person voice to tell a first person story, Meixing narrates the practical and emotional swirl of her life in a way that enables readers readily to understand just how baffling a new life is. It also allows Meixing to escape into a magical greenhouse where she can escape into an extraordinary dream world. When the dream world collapses, Meixing finds unexpected help and support which show her the power and importance of friendship even in this strange New Life.
This is a story of true love, and one of the most heartwarming picture books you’re likely to read. It’s told by Moonimal, a very odd-looking (though still sweet) cuddly toy. Moonimal is found in a junk shop by Boy and from that moment the two are inseparable, it’s Moonimal and Boy forever. Until one terrible day when, on a walk in the woods, Boy falls, breaks his glasses and drops Moonimal. Poor little toy, alone in the woods and quite lost. Moonimal is adopted though first by a family of rabbits then by friendly deer though it seems unlikely the two friends will ever be reunited. But fate intervenes and against all the odds Moonimal is found by Boy by chance on an icy, windswept mountain. A new story begins then as Moonimal, washed, repaired and loved as much as ever, is tucked up with Boy’s new baby. Debi Gliori’s beautifully expressive illustrations catch all the drama, the loneliness Moonimal feels and the joy of the reunion. It’s a gorgeous story of lost and found, full of reassurance for little children about the everlasting nature of love and its power to magic happy endings.
From an award-winning author, who knows how important friends can be through his own fight with cancer, and at a time when so many families have faced loss and grief, this is a perfectly pitched description of exactly what empathy means in real life. Even very small children will be able to find and recognise the situations and feelings so well described and captivatingly illustrated. They will know how they feel sad sometimes about such things as a broken toy or a dropped ice cream and know what helps them feel better. What it also captures so beautifully is that every single person is unique and no one thing will work for everyone. In very practical terms there are heartfelt suggestions here of things and suggestions that can and do and obviously have helped. There is an unmistakeable authenticity to the carefully crafted words which are the very opposite of sentimental verse in a greetings card.
A great book for sharing with lots of super illustrations. It is written in such a way as to indicate the age markers children demonstrate in their independence. When they can dress themselves, do buttons, zips etc, though I find the skill of undressing definitely comes first!! I like the pages where the child is asked to match socks, recognise front and back and the order you put clothes on. The illustrations to these pages are both colourful and amusing. It is always comforting to know your child isn’t the only one with clothes on back to front with vital elements missing. A delightful and practical guide.
Well we all love our bikes. Don’t we? This charming picture book tells the story of why this is. From the first push down on the pedal to the independence of making your own journey “I get to decide if I turn left or right. Not Dad. Just me.” The travails of the young (and old) cyclist - the ‘big huge hills’ where the bike gets lazy and the inevitable tumble after which ‘I’m never ever riding the stupid bike again’ - are endured and overcome. The greater joys of achievement, scenery and connection with the landscape will be familiar to everyone who has ever turned a pedal. “This is my place now all because of my bike”. Sam Usher’s illustrations capture the exhilaration and occasional panic of self-propelled speed and the rhythm of the writing echoes the rotation of the pedals and the whirring of the wheels and makes it perfect for reading aloud. ~ Sam Huby, Bikemonger
With very few words and the power of a few scraps of coloured paper, this is a story of acceptance and friendship - and a fantastic first introduction to colour-blending abstract art. A true classic from four-time Caldecott Honor winner Leo Lionni first published in 1959 with a message that will resonate with children today as strongly as it did then.
Good morning, class. Today we are going to learn about Earth Family. The latest in the Dr Xargle series! Learn all about Earth Families with Dr Xargle, our friendly alien teacher: brothers are Bothers, sisters are Sulkers, and the number of family members is always larger than the number of chairs at Christmas dinner...
Dot isn't like the other dogs: she doesn't like going out for walks, and she doesn't like going to the park. Her favourite thing is staying at home with her favourite toy and best friend, Peep. But when Peep goes missing under the garden fence, Dot might have to venture out into the world...
A heart-warming family story about the importance of home, perfect for bedtime, by Jeanne Willis, winner of the National Trust Literacy Awards and the Smarties Book Prize silver award. The Editor at Nosy Crow Says: “In this beautifully illustrated story, Jeanne Willis combines the wonder of Narnia with a little bit of Where the Wild Things Are, and proves that our imaginations can take us anywhere. The most wonderful adventures are waiting just at the bottom of the garden but, as we all know, at the end of the day, there really is no place like home. This reassuring blend of escapist magic and bedtime cosiness is a powerful story treat and makes the perfect gift.”
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Anna has friends at school, a kind teacher, she’s not being bullied, yet still she feels anxious, subdued, and terribly conscious that her friends’ lives are much busier than hers, a round of after school lessons, activities and clubs. The arrival in her class of new girl Ellie changes everything however. Ellie is ill and can’t come to school, instead she communicates via a special robot, quickly named Ellie-bot by the class. As the two girls become friends, Anna finds herself inventing the kind of home life her friends have, scared that her normal life is too small-scale to impress Ellie. The truth emerges, of course, but Ellie is wise enough to understand that it’s the small things in life that are the best. Quiet and gentle as it is, nonetheless this story packs a real punch and is delivered with the warmth, compassion and understanding that mark out Thompson’s writing. Published by dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, it is accessible to all readers.
Felix Unlimited is about how one ordinary boy’s wish to become an entrepreneur brings something extraordinary to the lives of everyone he knows. It’s an inspiring story of how honesty, hard work, and showing kindness to those around you can bring success – in business, and in life, too. And it shows how following one small idea can change absolutely everything. Andrew Norriss’ trademark perceptive wisdom and gentle humour are woven through this delightful celebration of following your dreams. Filled with sage advice for young entrepreneurs – and anyone wanting encouragement to pursue their ambitions – this is a charming, heartwarming story perfect for anyone who needs some more self-belief.
Described as a companion piece, rather than a sequel, to the acclaimed Skylark’s War, it is nevertheless a real joy to meet some of the original characters again, but new readers fear not, this book absolutely stands alone. I think that this author is unsurpassed in character development, with every wonderfully economic, but beautifully crafted phrase or fragment of dialogue we are drawn deeper into these young lives. At first overshadowed by the threat of war and then trying to survive within it are cousins Ruby Amaryllis and Kate and across the channel and on the other side of the conflict, best friends Hans and Erik, who bond initially over saving orphaned fledgling swallows. Indeed swallows become a motif for hope throughout the book. Another real strength of the writing is in depicting recognisably real family dynamics and relationships. As the war tears families apart, we see how the strength of family can also bring people together. The multiple perspectives (including eventually Dog, the mistreated scrapyard dog abandoned in the Blitz) build a really rich and unbiased picture of lives gradually and increasingly impacted by war. Allowing readers to empathise with the different plights on each side of the conflict is a real asset for those studying the history of the period and whilst not skirting over or underplaying any of the true horrors of war, the underlying message is one of hope in the capacity of humanity to show compassion across all borders and barriers. Sensitive, perceptive and immensely powerful, this superb novel is a beautifully polished gem that will leave an indelible impression on the reader.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2021 | In a spare, poetic text, Nicola Davies shows how easy it is to label someone as ‘different’ and how easy it is to treat them badly once that has been done. But she also shows how a new child can turn that hostility round by introducing the special things from her own life. Cathy Fisher’s illustrations capture the powerful but understated point of the story perfectly making this apparently quiet book speak volumes.
Sophy Henn is an award-winning author and illustrator whose straightforward style and bright colours appeal to all in this colourful, fun look at how to make the toddlers tantrums go away! Arthur is having his worst ever day, so he runs away – right to the very bottom of his garden! It’s not until he feels hungry (and he’s convinced his hair’s grown!) that he decides he must go home…. Meanwhile, a forest has grown in his garden, and he must travel through it to get to safety – meeting some amazing animals on the way. Each starts off roaring, or stomping, or bellowing but soon, as Arthur joins in with them, their unhappy stomps and noises turn to fun and happier play. At last, they find the front door to Arthur’s home, and even though all the animals agree it has been the best worst day ever, they all have homes to go to. Arthur goes in, and ‘it was almost as if he’d never been gone’. A delightful picture book that will help parents and teachers help little ones move from bad to good moods!
Raw, haunting and elemental, Jason Cockcroft’s We Were Wolves is a beautifully-written, atmospherically illustrated tour de force. Multi-layered, rich in symbolism, and suffused in the wild majesty of the natural world, it explores love, loss, father-son bonds and PTSD with devastating power. Boy lives in the woods in John’s caravan. “John was my dad’s name,” Boy explains. “He never liked me calling him Dad and didn’t call me son, not even when I was young and he was away in the desert making sure we were all safe.” During duty as a solider, John witnessed “men turned to red dust in a gunflash, and flames that spewed up from the black sand, straight like fountains”. On returning, he retreated to the caravan and ended up in prison, leaving Boy alone in the woods. Sagely, Boy realises that “what happened was set out before I was born even, and before John and my mam met, and before the war, too. Before the beasts that had laid quiet under that wood for thousands of years finally climbed up out of the soil. It was all set like a sleeping stone in the earth beneath our feet long before any of us were here, like the bones of bears and wolves and wild bulls that are there if you dig deep enough.” This is typical of Boy‘s voice - it cuts to the soul with brutal power, at once wise beyond his years and sorely young. Now alone, Boy has been instructed to keep himself hidden - especially from the Bad Man - as he awaits his father’s promised imminent return. He’s even lied to Mam about John’s imprisonment. But trouble encroaches Boy’s place in the woods like expectant vultures. Utterly unique (though reminiscent of David Almond in its brilliant bone-deep evocation of primary emotional states and of-the-moment situations, and its transcendence of age boundaries), We Were Wolves is a tense and timely triumph.
Claire Cashmore, MBE and Paralympic gold medallist, was born without a left forearm - but she never let being different stand in the way of her big dreams. Splash is based on Claire's real-life experience: this gold-medal-winning swimmer really was scared of water ... until one day, everything changed!
The last thing Jack expected when he bungee-jumped at the fairground was to go plummeting right through the ground into the weird, wonderful Rooms... There he must face a series of puzzles and traps alongside a mysterious girl called Cally, in order for them to find their way home. Throw in a murderous polar bear, hundreds of tiny yet ferocious lions, some mind-blowing riddles, and get ready for a hilarious, helter-skelter adventure like no other! Escape the Rooms follows two children dealing with loss on an amazing adventure. Wildly funny and endlessly surprising, Escape the Rooms is also a story about friendship, overcoming fears and being kind to yourself. Packed with fantastic pictures created by Stephen Mangan's sister, Anita
Victoria Hislop was inspired to create this children’s adaptation of her bestselling novel The Island when a Cretan teacher observed that its themes of loss and stigma are as pertinent to children as they are to adults. In addition, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the author noted parallels between the lepers of her book and those infected with Covid-19 - the need to isolate, to be apart from family and friends, with physical contact forbidden. This version of Hislop’s original novel - beautifully, softly illustrated by Gill Smith - is framed as a story told by a grandmother to her grand-daughter. Rita lives in London, but spends her summers on Crete with her Greek grandma, Maria, who is “kind and gentle, with twinkly brown eyes and silver hair tied up in a bun.” Prompted by an old photo, Maria tells Rita the story of the deserted island of Spinalonga, where lepers were sent to live. She recalls fears over her father taking sick people to the island, people who would never leave, for they were destined to live out their days in isolation. With the disease viewed as a “living death”, and sufferers seen as “unclean”, shame and stigma swell to epic proportions, and it’s not long before these terrifying circumstances become all too real for young Maria. Later in life, a forward-thinking, compassionate doctor and Maria revolutionise how lepers are treated and viewed, with concrete hope coming in the form of a possible cure, and an all-pervasive theme of treating everyone with dignity and respect - no matter what their circumstances, no matter what they’re suffering from. Packed with drama and powerful messages of compassion and hope, this is a beautifully-realised adaptation.
The premise of this fascinating book is two teenagers from opposite sides of the world who form a connection through odd circumstances. Natalie has just lost her Mum to cancer and struggles to find a calm place in the world, whilst her brother reacts by rebelling and joining a hate filled far right anti-refugee protest and action group. Sammy has had to leave his home in Eritrea on the chance of a new life in Europe – running from conscription into the army - which is a form of slavery in his home country. Both characters have huge issues to face. Sammy’s seem more obviously dangerous and overwhelming, though Natalie’s are equally as difficult - without the imminent danger. Told through a narrative poem using both voices to alternately express their fears, dilemmas and friendships this is a book you really can’t put down. You have to know if Sammy and Natalie do get to meet. As the plot carries you along you also want to know more about the plight of refugees and the horrific characters that exploit them in many many ways. Natalie’s decision to swim the channel to raise funds for the refugee charities creates a counterpoint in the narrative. The detail of her struggles and training plan seem an unlikely text for poetry - but it works! The author says “I wanted to make sense of what I was seeing, I wanted to do something that would help build empathy and understanding.” She has most emphatically succeeded in this aim. This is such a profound story of hope, grief, and strength - I do recommend it to all. Be aware you will weep, too.
Dot the hospital dog is a much-loved visitor on the Wallaby Ward; from a crying baby to a bored teenager – a pat, a stroke and a cuddle with Dot cheers everyone up! But the work of the hospital dog doesn’t stop there and when one of her patients is in trouble, it’s up to Dot to save the day! This exciting rhyming story full of bravery and friendship is the new hardback title from a stellar picture book partnership; Julia Donaldson's captivating storytelling is perfectly expressed in Sara's characterful and wonderfully rich artwork.
Shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2020 | What the Klaus Flugge judges said: ‘Really impressive use of colour and the characters are really alive; the hand-lettered typography works very well as do the compositions; there’s a wonderful sense of looseness to the pictures, which is very hard to accomplish; there’s a special tension in the final pages before a happy ending.’ Rachel Stubbs celebrates another special relationship, that between grandparent and child. With fluid, elegant line, a delicate limited palette and hand drawn typography, she conveys an extraordinary depth of emotion and love.
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.
At once hard-hitting and heart-stirring, Black Brother, Black Brother confirms Jewell Parker Rhodes as an exceptional writer whose work resonates with authenticity, empathy, and powerful truths about race and equality. One of the few black boys at his prestigious school, 7th grader Donte has a hard time of it, to say the least. “I wish I were invisible…Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming in whiteness. Most of the students at Middlefield Prep don’t look like me. They don’t like me either.” He’s singled out by teachers, and subjected to racist bullying by his classmates: “You dress thug”. “Your dreads are dreadful.” “Why can’t you be like your brother?” “Can your brother find you in the dark?” The brother in question is Trey, who presents as white and, as a result, occupies a very different place in the world. As Donte is arrested - for nothing - he experiences (yet again) that “Black is not invisible”. So, he resolves to get his own back on the student who got him in trouble, and the best way to do that is to beat the boy at his own game - fencing. Donte’s first-person narrative is pitch-perfect and incredibly powerful, and the brothers’ family life is beautifully portrayed too. Their dad is a computer architect whose family were “poor seafarers from Norway”. Their mom is a social justice lawyer whose family is “descended from captured Africans.” But despite the love and support of his brother and parents, Donte’s loneliness is powerfully palpable, especially when he’s suspended. This makes his determination to track down and learn from an African American Olympian fencer all the more moving, all the more inspiring. What an incredible tale of triumph and fortitude this is. Mention must also be made of the author’s afterword, in which she lays bare historic and cultural prejudices against darker skin, the falsehood of black/white categories, and her fascinating reasons for featuring fencing.
Shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2020 | The Klaus Flugge judges said: ‘A visual treat and the text and illustrations work very well together; it’s full of detail but never cluttered; pace is cleverly controlled; just the right balance of fun and fright!’. Flavia Z. Drago introduces us to Gustavo, a gorgeous little ghost who is so shy he’s literally invisible. Her folk-art style with its palette of orange and Rosa Mexicana creates a distinctive playground for Gustavo as he suddenly and unexpectedly makes new friends.
A funny and moving story about how a little girl copes with change after her parents separate. When Dad says that he's moving out, Lily-May feels all upside-down inside. But now Dad comes on Sundays, and they ride their bikes really fast and make secret dens together. Lily-May plays more just with Mum now, too - and when Mum's new partner Peter comes over, they play pirate ships! Sometimes, there are tricky moments - Lily-May hates it when Mum has to work late - but a birthday party with Lily-May's big fantastic family helps her realise just how many people love her. This reassuring celebration of non-nuclear families will help children to understand that they will always be loved, even if parents separate or divorce. Beautifully written in rhyme by the award-winning authors of the bestselling George's Amazing Adventures series, this uplifting story with a diverse cast of characters embraces all the positive aspects of becoming part of a blended family after a divorce or separation. Every Nosy Crow paperback picture book comes with a free Stories Aloud audio recording. Just scan the QR code and listen along!
It's been almost a year since Sila's mum travelled halfw ay around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperw ork that w ould allow her to return to her family in the United States. The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to bear. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with a unique boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places. A moving story of family separation and the importance of the connection between animals and humans, this novel has the enormous heart and uplifting humour that readers have come to expect from the beloved author of Counting by 7s.
Fourteen-year-old Cat is lonely - reeling from the loss of her father, she's disconnected from friends and fighting with her mum. But when a new boy, Tyler, arrives for the summer, Cat finds herself opening up to the handsome stranger. A shocking revelation about her dad turns Cat's world on its head. She and Tyler uncover a series of secrets that take them on a perilous journey. With fresh lies exposed and threats from a dangerous gang revealed, will Cat risk everything to keep herself and her family safe? A teen thriller that will have you looking for answers round every corner.
Winner of the Everything with Words’ YA Competition 2019, Rebecca Henry’s The Sound of Everything is an authentically gritty, involving coming-of-age novel that speaks to young people who struggle with feeling unseen, unheard and unloved. Shipped from foster home to foster home, frequently betrayed, and having “never had a dad that I could call Daddy”, it’s no wonder Kadie (aka Goldilocks) has trust issues. The only thing she’s sure of in this world is music - listening to it, and creating it. It’s the “only thing that keeps my head straight.” To protect herself, she’s set out three rules: “1. Don’t count on anyone. 2. Act. Always act. 3. Be prepared to lose everything.” Constantly in trouble at school, though told she has potential, Kadie bonds with a boy called Lips, aka Dayan, the name he reserves for use by special people, of which Kadie is one. Dayan records with his AMD mandem (Amalgamandem) and she’s happy to be invited to hang out with them, while remaining ever-mindful of the fickleness of group dynamics: “one day you’re in the group, the next you’re invisible.” But, just as things start to take an upturn, everything explodes in the aftermath of hideous online trolling and trouble with her foster sister. What’s unique about this novel is the author’s considered, long-game exposition of Kadie’s complex character - it’s not rushed, not forced too soon to serve the plot. And, true to life, her problems aren’t easily solved either - it really is powerfully authentic all round, from Kadie’s voice and interactions, to its portrayal of mental health problems, among them self-harm. At times Kadie will have you pulling your hair out at her own-worst-enemy outbursts, but mainly, though, you’ll warm to her. You’ll will her to find her way. Appropriately enough for a girl named Goldilocks, there is - ultimately - a glint of gold among the grit. I don’t want to spoil it, so let’s just say she finds what might turn out to be her “just right” and begins to learn to open up to people she can trust.
This is the third book in a fresh and funny new detective series for 7+ readers. Follow Anisha, a STEM-loving, British Indian girl living in Birmingham with her huge, hilarious extended family - an irrepressible new best friend for boys and girls everywhere. Our Kids Reader Review Panel reviewed the second in this series, School's Cancelled - find out what they thought!
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.
What a perfect book to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Puffin and its founder Allen Lane and an intensely personal book for author, Michael Morpurgo, suffused with his love for the Scilly Isles and for his family history - his wife Claire being one of Allen Lane’s daughters. The utterly beautiful illustrations by Benji Davies evoke his own holidays with grandparents in Cornwall and one can see that this story of a boy who loved to paint is one that is very personal to him too. Every inch of this book is crafted with love (make sure that you look at the hardback cover beneath the dust jacket with its soaring puffin against a glorious blue background and the images of both author and artist at the end) The illustrations range from dramatic double paged spreads, to little sepia vignettes but every page illuminates the absorbing and heartfelt story which begins with the lighthouse keeper Benjamin Postlethwaite and a terrible shipwreck from which he singlehandedly rescues 30 people including the 5 year old narrator of our story. Recently fatherless and travelling with his French mother to grandparents in Devon, the rescue and Ben himself make a huge impact on the boy – not least because of the paintings which fill the lighthouse and the gift of a small painting which becomes his most precious possession. The portrayal of the grim and bleak life with unloving grandparents in Devon, the misery of boarding school and of an artistic child who was a bit of a loner is very moving. As soon as school is finished the boy retraces his steps to the now defunct lighthouse and discovers a home, a friend and an artistic vocation as well as an injured puffin that together they nurse back to health. A puffin who keeps returning and brings others with him. By the time the young man returns from the war he could not avoid - the island and Ben have become a sanctuary for these characterful birds as well as our narrator and his future family. A charming book which evokes a very real sense of place as well the importance of being true to yourself and finding your place in the world.
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 ....
Interest Age 7-10 Reading Age 8 | Written with great empathy and Rauf's trademark humour, The Great (Food) Bank Heist is a moving story that gives a child's-eye view of the increasing problem of food poverty. A percentage of all royalties earned from the sale of this book will be going towards Trussell Trust Food Banks, the Greggs Foundation Breakfast Club Programme and selected grassroots food bank charities.
A hungry little mouse strolls through very prettily illustrated countryside scenes, reminiscent of favourite folk tales, and is lucky enough to discover four juicy apples. So far, so good, but then she runs into a bear, a bear who holds that might is right and who refuses to share. Undeterred, the clever mouse finds a way to eat her apples and to persuade her new friend of the joy of sharing. Written in rhyme this is particularly pleasing to read aloud and children will love the story of a lesson learned and friendship formed.
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