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Not all great books come through big publishers. Check out some of our favourite indie books on the market.
Wesley Fogel's second book, 'I might lose a tooth today' is a fun and light-hearted look at this experience that everyone has been through and can relate to. It's humorously and colourfully illustrated by Cristian Bernardini. The story chronicles all the ways a little girl might bring about a final separation from her first tooth and evaluates each one, all in rhyme. Her methods include eating a variety of crunchy foods, attaching it to a door handle or car bumper, even a rocket! But it also examines the emotional side of losing that first tooth versus the promise of a reward from the tooth fairy. There's even a chart at the end of the book for the reader to record the date of their first and all subsequent tooth losses. This would be a lovely gift for a child about to enter that period in their life when they start to get their grown-up teeth, about age 6 to 8. I know my grandchildren would have found it very amusing and it would help them forget any slight discomfort that might have come along with the experience. Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
This delightful little tale follows a traditional format which has always been loved by children. When Ariel visits the park, his scooter becomes stuck and none of the animals he asks is available to help him as they are all busy. Fortunately his friends Noel and Sam are able to do so and the three have fun together alongside the animals. I was immediately struck by the unique art work. I found it not only attractive but quite enticing as I never knew what I was going to see next. I especially liked the illustrations of a variety of characters on different scooters at the beginning and end of the book, the changing font styles and spotting the little animals who were making their sounds. Although it is a simple storyline, there are elements such as the fact that the animals Ariel encounters are not those that would be found in parks, adds to its enjoyment and success. The story ends with the positive reminder that friends are always there to help us. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Now Available on Amazon. If I’m honest I was instantly charmed by Prince Zaaki and the Royal Sword of Luella, I love a story that starts with ‘Once upon a time’ and I think really endeared me to this fantastical tale. The descriptions of the castle and the land immediately pull you into the world of Luella while also cleverly providing context and backstory. As I think is suggested by the opening Prince Zaaki has the feel of a classical adventure to it, and we meet our prince as he first appears listless, the sets off on his adventures, with actions and peril along the way. This classical feel is continued in, perhaps as a nod to Snow White, the King’s personal assistant’s name - Helpy. I personally would have perhaps considered another name. I liked the imaginative animals that the author has populated Luella with and this imagination extends to the magic used throughout the novel and life at the TransM School. I also really liked the illustrations in the book. This is a book filled with adventure, and along the way Prince Zaaki might also find someone who “understands him” as he wishes. I think that this book would be good for 13 year-olds readers and it is all set up ready for the next book in the series.
'Delivered' is Sylvia Hehir's sequel to 'Deleted'. I haven't read the first book but I don't think that detracted one bit from my enjoyment of this absolute gem of a book. The title is so significant and clever, as it refers to both the birth of a child and the saving of family and personal relationships and maybe even a life. Our heroine, Frankie, hasn't seen her older sister, Keira, for over three years, after she walked out of the rather dysfunctional family home. She returns to her home area unexpectedly, obviously in need of a lot of help and support but Frankie has just arranged to gig with a band in Glasgow for a few weeks, along with her new partner, Alec. Keira refuses to have their parents involved, and, unable/unwilling to get out of her commitment to the band, Frankie leaves her sister and throws herself into Crazy George's struggle to get themselves heard and known. The story is very readable, exciting and completely engaging. It contains such a range of emotions and conditions, from panic, disappointment and addiction to affection, love and pure elation, with the atmosphere portrayed at the gigs and festivals electric and the ending hopeful. I would really love to read the first book in what I hope is to become at least a trilogy. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
Little h Dog longs to do what other dogs do but his weak muscles, which are becoming increasingly weaker, prevent him from doing so. His owner, Big H, is determined to support him and does so by seeking out the best canine experts, holding charity events and featuring on TV programmes. He eventually receives help from the Supervet who constructs a special set of wheels for him, enabling him to run about in the fresh air. It is difficult to read this little book and not feel moved. It is dedicated to a special boy whom the reader surmises is Harrison. In the story Harrison is the 'real little h dog' and his father, Alex is the 'real Big H'. 100% of the profits are going to Harrison's Fund, a charity that is dedicated to research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Cartoon-like illustrations are used, together with bold and distinctive font that focuses upon the visual aspect of words such as 'sniff their bottoms', 'run rings' and 'hope'; this has quite a powerful effect upon the reader. At the end of the story, we are encouraged to share reviews and visit the charity website. There is also the incentive of a free colouring book. My heart goes out to all those who were involved in the production of this book and I do hope that it is well supported. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
I Miss You Most by Cassie Hoyt is not only a very timely book for lockdown but also a timeless book for all, like myself, who are separated from loved ones by distance, work commitments or legalities. Aimed at children of 4 to 8 years, it is insightfully written in rhyme and colourfully illustrated. The story evokes memories of activities undertaken with loved ones who can no longer be met with and imagines new adventures for the future. The shared experiences and the pictures are diverse and inclusive, so that all may find relatable content and the heartache of separation is very sensitively dealt with. This book is a great way to bring loved ones together in spirit and I can imagine it would bring great comfort, especially to a child, when it is shared at bedtime, to enable sleep with fond memories. I just wish this book had been around when my grandchildren were younger, I would definitely have gifted them a copy! Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
I am the mother of two teenagers and I also work for a social mobility charity working to encourage students to aim high for their futures, so I was keen to read this. I have only seen a PDF copy but I was very impressed by the content, layout and ideas. The book is written for teenagers, to explain how important it is that they mix up their studies with exercise, socialising, sleep, etc. The book explains all the science behind the suggestions and features reports from students about how they discovered they needed to make changes. Lots of common sense ideas, especially about the impact of mobile phones. There is also a section at the end with advice for parents and teachers. This appears to be a useful book for students. Karen Kingston, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
What a sweet and touching book. I love its honesty and very 'real' language, giving you a true picture of Africa. The references to imams and shamans and the packed lunch of puff puffs, baobab juice and peanuts, give it a wonderful feel of the book being a little different and foreign. I liked the play on words, the homynym for draw in the title and the 'smile just strokes away.' The book has a wonderful message -of what is important in life and the hard lesson you sometimes have to face before you realise this. The illustrations are very detailed and realistic and give the reader and listener lots to look at and discuss. A lovely read with a simple and poignant message. Rosie Watch, A LoveReading Ambassador
Each year Grandpa Figgyworth has continued his tradition of leaving notes and trinkets for the villagers of the North Pole on a special day that has come to be known as The Festival of the Elves. When Holly Figgyworth and her brother Noel decide to spread the custom elsewhere, they are advised to seek permission from the Elder Elf Council. Having done so, they are granted permission to visit one family and they chance upon the family Puddington. Each day leading up to Christmas they leave themed notes for the family, who enter into the fun with great joy, and continue to do so each year, reminding each other of Grandpa's words: "The magic around you is the magic you make." This is the type of book that I would have adored when I was a child as it really does capture the spirit and magic of Christmas. It would be perfect to share as a family each Christmas Eve and to be passed down to future generations. It actually seems quite relevant this year of the pandemic as it shows how much fun the family can have together inventing things to do. The illustrations are charming as they match the text well and contain lots of detail so that the reader wants to keep on looking. I especially liked the little map of the North Pole at the beginning and end of the book. A delightful Christmas story. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Fatima Al Fihri is a beautifully illustrated book aimed at young readers and tells the story of the creation of the world’s first University, the University of Al-Qarawiyyin. This book, named after the university’s founder, is a brilliant way to bring lesser known history to the forefront and celebrate it. The first part of a larger series focusing on Muslim women who made history, this book reminded me of the ‘Fantastically Great Women’ series and I think it is an amazing way to share history with younger children. The bright full page illustrations and easy to follow text tell of how Fatima Al Fihri shared her love of education by creating a space at her mosque where anyone of any faith could come to learn. On the final page there's a summary of facts about the University. I think that this book is a great starting point for children to then go on to learn more about Fatima, or to learn more about the other figures as the series continues. I think that Fatima Al Fihri is a great book that would sit well on any child’s bookshelf or in any library. I can’t wait to see who else will appear in this series.
'Fowl' by Shaun McMahon is a book that works on different levels. On the surface it's the story of a chicken who dreams of playing football for his favourite team but scratch a little deeper and it's a tale of passion and prejudice, revenge and remorse, with lessons for us all. Bert McCluck spends all his time on Manor Side Farm honing his football skills and watching West Farthing FC whenever they're on television, sitting beside Stan Perkins, the farmer, who is also a big fan. This doesn't go down at all well with the other chickens however and they take every opportunity to ridicule and abuse him, until the day that he's spotted by the club's manager after his car breaks down outside the farm. The West Farthing players also mock and jeer at Bert when he arrives for his trial, until, that is, they see him play. The club's star player, Chris Blackwell, who has his nose well and truly put out of joint, pays lip service to the general euphoria and pretends to welcome and accept this new player, who the team is sure is going to win the Cup Final for them the following week. Secretly plotting to make sure Bert never makes it onto the field, his foul play has to be uncovered. This is a well written, very enjoyable book, which addresses fundamental flaws in the footballing, and wider, world in a gentle but effective way. A sentence on the last page sums it up...'perhaps you (Bert) could start a football training school...we could think of no-one better to teach us'. Listen up F.A. Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
What a sweet story. A lovely one to read aloud to children and the wonderful illustrations make it all so colourful. It is a simple story, yet informative, as the distance of the ocean's depth and darkness and the sealife the Queen and Mr Brown encounter, are all realistic, the rescuing heroic whale and the unfortunate angler fish. There is also something for the adult reader however, initially the title immediately conjures up Queen Victoria and her gilly Mr Brown! The references to the angler fish's eating habits and the Queen's unsuitable language are also humorous asides. The illustrations are wonderful and the expressions, particularly the varying faces of Mr Brown, are brilliant. Hidden within the simple story however is a lovely message/moral, be grateful for what you have. Mr Brown realising at the end that walking in the rain is far more preferable than the depths of the ocean. Though I do wonder what happened to the unfortunate piglet squid eating fish and whether he ever found a friend? Perhaps there is a sequel here! Rosie Watch, A LoveReading Ambassador