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Children who like their stories filled with larger-than-life characters, crazy comedy and the reassuring sense that love and goodness will win out, will really enjoy A.L Kennedy’s Uncle Shawn books. In the first book in this series, little Badger Bill needed rescuing from a particularly nasty couple; now the tables are turned and everyone’s best friend Uncle Shawn has been locked up by the awful ‘Dr’ P’Klawz, whose ambition is to rid the country of all types of fun and – above all – Unusualness. The action is fast and very funny, and leaves readers in no doubt that unusualness in every form is to be encouraged. Filled with some wonderful images (P’Klawz grins ‘like a cruel iceberg’) it’s made for reading aloud, and Gemma Correll’s black and white illustrations are an added treat.
A gorgeous and emotionally resonant debut novel about a half-Japanese teen who grapples with social anxiety and her narcissistic mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school. From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.
In a nutshell: football-set story, accessible to all readers Jackson Law is a talented footballer, newly signed to the United youth squad. Real life carries on though, and a budding romance with the girl he’s always fancied brings him up against her thuggish ex. Jackson’s got a lot to lose now which lays him open to the lad’s threats and blackmail, but he discovers that his team mates are there to support him on and off the pitch. There’s just the right mix of footballing action and domestic drama and the story unfolds at a pace that will keep all readers turning the pages. An enjoyable and exciting contemporary story. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: great football story, accessible to all readers The story told in Kick Off will be familiar to lots of kids from their daydreams. Jackson is a talented footballer and one day after a game in the park, he’s approached by a scout. This leads to a trial at United and the chance to play with their Under 16s. The Cinderella format is irresistible, but there are challenges for Jackson along the way: he has to learn to control his temper for one thing, and to be a team player. Designed to appeal to reluctant or dyslexic readers, the action is non-stop, short sentences ensuring it’s totally accessible, but the story is still thoroughly satisfying and will leave readers wanting to hear more about Jackson. ~ Andrea Reece
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2018 Princess Mary lives in a palace and is the daughter of Henry V111, the King of England but, when her parents’ marriage begins to fall apart, the sadness she feels is not so very different from that of any child in the same situation and Lucy Worsley captures that brilliantly. But for Mary, the divorce has far, far more significance than it would for anyone else as it changes Mary’s life completely and puts her in great danger. As Anne Boleyn takes her mother’s place Mary is demoted from Princess Mary to Lady Mary and finds herself usurped by her new baby sister Elizabeth. How can Mary win back her father and keep herself safe? Lucy Worsley’s child centred view of this moment in English history captures all the drama and danger and wraps it in an enthralling family story. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for April 2018 The Grotlyn by Benji Davies The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Adam Stower Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley The Wardrobe Monster by Bryony Thomson The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed
May 2018 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Fight to forge a happily ever after | When Jay’s father died, her life imploded in every way imaginable. Not only did she lose her vibrant, supportive dad, but she and her mum also lost their comfortable life. Her mum’s now struggling to pay the rent and although Jay helps out by working, it’s not enough to make ends meet so they’re forced to move in with relatives. Jay’s formidable Aunty Vimala demands strict adherence to traditional Indian values - girls must work hard around the home, and definitely must not have male friends. Boys, on the other hand, such as Aunty Vimala’s sons, are afforded freedoms and can do no wrong. Jay and her mother cook and clean to pay their way alongside trying to keep up with their respective ways out - in Jay’s case, this means doing well at school in order to go to university, while her mum is training to be a teacher. Already trapped and isolated, Jay’s situation plummets further when she’s brutally assaulted by a relative. Her experience and response to this terrible event are powerfully conveyed, as is her traumatic journey to recovery. She’s left feeling broken, and this in turn threatens to break her relationship with her mum. This is an unflinching, multi-layered exposition of male privilege, male abuses of women, and the clash of cultures. With hard-hitting clarity it also shows how girls are silenced, made to feel ashamed of their bodies, ashamed of wrongs done to them. Ultimately this is poignant personal story of a girl’s fight to rebuild and re-connect with herself and those who love her after a truly harrowing experience. ~ Joanne Owen
In a nutshell: super-kid-friendly super-hero comic adventures with real heart Murph Cooper, aka Kid Normal, and his band of Super Zeroes are back in a new adventure that will delight their fans. Fresh from their successful defeat of the hideous wasp-man they’re ready for more excitement, and they get it. The new term has barely started when the Heroes’ Alliance call for Murph. Magpie, the roguest Rogue Hero of them all, has demanded Murph come to his top security prison cell. Why? And what’s the meaning of the mysterious poem he hands over? The Heroes’ Alliance think Magpie is just wasting everyone’s time, but the Super Zeroes decide to investigate – and it’s just as well… Packed with jokes that will have everyone cracking up, children and adults, this also delivers a proper adventure story while reminding readers that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Super! Kid normals will also enjoy the My Brother is a Superhero series and Shane Hegarty’s Darkmouth books. ~ Andrea Reece
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 7 Shona loves words and discovering new ones, so she’s fascinated by the professor on TV talking about her campaign to protect dying languages. Shona’s teacher is a language-lover too and encourages the class to create a language nest. The class fills up with words from the different languages the children speak and there’s a special surprise guest at their World Language Day celebration. A story that takes real pleasure in words and language, this is a lively and entertaining read. Shona, her friends and family are fun to be with and every reader will pick up words they didn’t know to add to their own language nest. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 7+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
March 2018 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Centuries-old sisters wreak revenge An ancient curse haunts a contemporary town, with a seventeen-year-old heroine at the very heart of its darkness. Two centuries ago, three sisters accused of witchcraft were drowned as punishment for their alleged sorcery. And every year, the sisters rise from the waters to inhabit the bodies of three local girls, set on seducing and drowning boys in revenge. This annual act of vengeance has become something of a macabre tourist attraction, with hundreds of visitors descending on the insular town of Sparrow ahead of the sisters’ return. 18 year-old Bo is among them this year, but he’s not Sparrow’s usual kind of tourist, as Penny discovers. But then Penny’s not your usual kind of local, either. She’s an outsider who lives with her grief-stricken, fortuneteller mom on an island off Sparrow. When Bo and Penny’s lives collide on the night the sisters rise from the depths, a thrillingly lyrical tale unfolds and crashes to a pulse-quickening crescendo as an age-old tempest of emotional turmoil plays out against the wild winds of a Pacific storm. Weaving folkloric elements into a contemporary setting is no easy feat, and here this has been accomplished with panache - the writing is as beguiling as the Swan sisters themselves and makes for an exhilarating devour-in-one-sitting reading experience. ~ Joanne Owen
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