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Not all great books come through big publishers. Check out some of our favourite indie books on the market.
Twelve-year-old Ankido is on a quest to save his missing father through the magical realm of Mesopo, the land where all fantasy originates, a land whose words and language are in peril. Can Ankido save his father and restore all these words in time? It was a red velvet box, the size of a school book. Ankido lifted the lid, revealing an old-fashioned quill made out of a reed. It smelled remote and otherworldly. Ancient. And for a reason he couldn’t explain, everything felt all right for a moment. He thought he caught a sound flowing out of the quill, a word maybe. He wasn’t sure and he shook his head. This was ridiculous. No, he surely must have been mistaken. But there! There was the sound again. This time Ankido was sure of it.“Mesopo” … whispered in a way that slipped around the room like the warm breeze of the desert.
You're too young to remember why we needed heroes. You should be glad... Nine years ago, two princes waged a bloody civil war for the right to rule Arngard. The younger prince took the throne and outlawed the ancient beliefs, but some wounds don't heal. New religion replaced the barbaric traditions and finally, there's peace. Torny and Ebba are friends. Sent away by their families, they work together and watch out for each other. Too young to remember the war that tore apart the kingdom, Torny dreams of the glorious warriors of old, while Ebba misses her family, despite the darkness she left behind. But when a man is murdered on the street and Torny finds herself in possession of a dangerous message, the two friends must tread separate paths. These will lead them through fear, through grief, to the source of their own power and to the gates of death itself. As Torny and Ebba are used as tools for the opposing factions of the war, a deep power is ignited in them both. Can they uncover their own strength to finally heal the wounds of a nation?
Based on Neil Armstrong's original space manual & exclusive material from NASA, this book is all about man's first journey to walk on the moon. Fully illustrated throughout with exclusive NASA photography, it contains material such as Neil Armstrong's space menus & instructions on how to put on a spacesuit. Includes an exclusive introduction written by Helen Sherman, the first woman to visit the Mir Space Station. Capturing the excitement of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, how it happened, why it happened, what the team discovered and what followed when the mission returned to Earth. An accessible book for children that will inspire and encourage a love of learning about science and space. Published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
The Perfect Book for Kids to learn about our solar system! Planet Mercury, the tiniest and closest to the Sun, has to warn other planets about a potential disaster. The message travels through space and time from planet to planet. They all react differently, and are grateful for the warning. What will happen to the planets in our solar system? With “Thank You Mercury!” kids will learn facts about astronomy and our solar system, while at the same time reading a fun story about friendship and gratitude.
Multi-award winning series, published in 10 countries, movie rights optioned! Continuing the dark adventure that begins with The Devil's Apprentice and The Die of Death. An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.
This eighth book in the Riverdale Pony Stories series is packed with peril, mystery and high-octane action as pony-mad Poppy McKeever goes into detective mode to track down the dog that attacked the sheep on her friend’s farm, while also preparing for a big riding competition. While the writing is pacey and has an urgency to it, at times the somewhat dense descriptions could benefit from a little trimming. But, overall, this gripping, entertaining adventure rings with authentic dialogue, strong evocations of the countryside and Poppy’s indomitable spirit.
If a tree could talk intelligently, love intensely and hurt like you and I? what would it do save its own kind in our everyday world. Enter a dynamic forest world.From a suckling bear cub that loses her mother, to a canary who was handicapped and couldn't find love, Woody and his friends care deeply for all the animals struggling in the forest. But everything changed when It walked in. Unlike the other animals, this was conscious of their presence as it looked at them with eyes that held more intelligence than they dared to admit. How little it looked, how vulnerable it seemed. How wrong the trees were to underestimate it. Woody will soon learn the complex ways of men as he is forced to let go of all that is dear to him; his home, his friends and takes a stand in a world that offers little for his kind.
With an engaging rhyming text that’s ideal for reading aloud, this picture book is a warm-hearted way for Muslim pre-schoolers and those of infants school age to understand and celebrate what it means to be Muslim. It would also make a great tool for teachers and parents to introduce all children to the principles of the faith. It’s underpinned by a warm message of inclusivity – “we don't all look the same”, Muslims are “different colours, shapes and sizes” – and accompanied by soft, fuzzy illustrations of all kinds of toddlers enjoying each others company in harmony and a spirit of kindness.
Puff is a “caring, noble” grey squirrel whose propensity for distraction is seemingly hampering his future potential to represent the Grey Clan in the Tournament of Oaks, a contest that determines which clan will rule the park for the coming seasons. Indeed, according to Puff’s mentor, Sir Pattercloud, Puff will never become a Knight Captain unless he learns “how to determine what is most important”. Puff gets his chance to prove his worth when Pattercloud vanishes right before he’s due to represent Clan Grey in the tournament and do battle with wily Scratchclaw of Clan Black. While the tale is tightly-told and crisply atmospheric, its messages are driven home a little too hard, too often. Having said that, it’s a good read for 8+ year-olds who like animal-centred fantastical adventures (think Brian Jacques for younger readers), but struggle to finish a whole novel. Perhaps also one to recommend for time-pressed, fantasy-fan adults to read with or to kids.
Part picture book, part illustrated young fiction, this crime-themed Christmas story sees siblings Jack and Sarah head to school where their Granddad, a retired multi-award-winning writer, has been invited to read one of his stories to the pupils. The tale he tells is the eponymous Robbers Nearly Ruined Christmas, in which (you’ve guessed it!) some (Milton Keynes-residing) robbers almost spoil Christmas, but - thankfully - Dancer the reindeer steps up to save the day. This could make a fun tale to read-aloud to young children in the run-up to Christmas, but there’s something of a mismatch between the illustration style and picture book format - both of which are better suited to young toddlers - and the story level, length and language, which are more appropriate for older readers. Also, there’s no integration of the framing story (the siblings going to school) with the seasonal story Granddad reads to the pupils. This would be improved by working-up a real-life story around the tale Granddad tells, or else leaving out the framing elements and simply focussing on the Christmas story itself, which is peppered with peril, elves and action. As a lovely bonus, there are some pages to colour-in at the back.
Somewhere between picture book and illustrated young fiction, this cracking Christmas story (pun entirely intended!) is set three days before the big day. Excitement is mounting for siblings Jack and Sarah, who are out with their mum, soaking up the seasonal atmosphere – shop windows laden with presents, the scent of mince pies, the sound of carols. Back at home, they settle down for a cosy evening’s entertainment courtesy of their Granddad reading one of his stories, in which Santa’s elves are engaged in a frantic flurry of activity. However, when the big night arrives, it soon becomes clear that Santa Claus Junior doesn’t have much idea about where they’re going, which means they’re way behind schedule. So, if Christmas is to be saved, the more experienced elves and reindeers will have to help out. While there’s some incongruity between the young illustration style and picture book format, and the older story level and length, this is ideal for reading-aloud to children in those thrilling days before Christmas, while the extra pages to colour-in will keep little ones happily entertained.
Prowling Tiger is a picture book story in poem form about a Tiger who loses his stripes while doing his laundry. He prowls through his jungle home searching for his stripes and bumps into peacock who has lost his tail, mongoose who has lost his nose and wolf who has lost his teeth. All these things have been stolen by a beastie who uses them to adorn himself. Eventually, the animals regain their lost parts and are taught a valuable lesson. Beautifully illustrated.
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