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The story of a young footballer from Africa who achieves his dream of winning a place at one of the top UK clubs, this short novel is both a satisfying story of hard work, dedication and talent, plus all-important family support, leading to success, but inspires too by the inclusion of pages of information about the real-life heroes of African football, from Roger Milla to Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba. Written to be super-readable, it is action and fact-filled both, a skilful piece of storytelling that will catch the imagination of all young football fans and give them lots to talk about. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of super-readable short fiction by some of the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK. Each title has a host of unique accessibility features to offer cracking reads to more children including reluctant and struggling readers and those with dyslexia or visual stress. Here at Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting the best of their new and backlist titles to recommend to you. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8+ Tom Palmer combines football with a dramatic story of the Second World War, plus a touch of the supernatural, to catch readers’ attention in this stirring short novel. Greg is at football camp but finding it hard to apply himself, in fact he wants to quit. Set to find out more about the old airfield near the camp as homework, he’s suddenly finds himself transported back in time and at the controls of a Spitfire. Shot down, he’s imprisoned in a POW camp and there discovers the grit and determination necessary to help himself and another prisoner escape. Back in the present at last, the effects of what he’s learned remain and he finds the focus to succeed. A rousing story that describes the heroism demonstrated by so many in the last war to inspire young readers. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of super-readable short fiction by some of the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK. Each title has a host of unique accessibility features to offer cracking reads to more children including reluctant and struggling readers and those with dyslexia or visual stress. Here at Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting the best of their new and backlist titles to recommend to you. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
June 2016 Book of the Month - In a Nutshell: Awe-inspiring • Odds-defying • Dream-chasing • Horse-racing Exhilarating equine epic about following your dreams and overcoming obstacles, set in the ruthless world of horse racing. Jay is an outsider. Since her mum died (her dad vanished before she was born), she’s lived with her dodgy Uncle Bill, aloof step-aunt and cousin Michaela. Life may not have dealt Jay the best cards – the odds are stacked against her - but she has a “dangerous, unstoppable” fire in her belly. When in the saddle, she's no longer “the kid in the shadows that nobody notices”, and she’s determined to fulfill her mum’s dying wish that she stays true to her dreams. Jay’s pluck and potential become clear when she wins the first “unofficial” horse race Uncle Bill enters her in. More illegal races follow until Jay runs away to Newmarket, the home of racing, after being insulted by the cousin she was once close to. Here she wheedles her way into working as a stable lad and bonds with a mare called Manhattan. Dismissed as a “jinx” and a “freak”, the mare is due to be put down, and so Jay determines to save the horse, and to make it a winner. Throughout, Jay experiences firsthand how tough it still is to be female in the male-dominated domain of racing, but she won’t give up. With its inspirational message, and a plot that unfurls at a galloping pace, you'll be rooting for Jay the whole way though, with your heart pounding as you will her to triumph over every setback. ~ Joanne Owen
In a nutshell: (the loneliness of the long distance swimmer) comedy – romance – synchronised swimming Perfect for the summer holidays or as revision comfort reading, Girl Out of Water is a sparkling comedy, with a great central character. Lou is just about keeping her head above water: she’s lost her chance for Olympic swimming stardom after flunking the time trials and what’s worse, her best friend Hannah didn’t. Now Lou is on her own at school with a sinking feeling – all that training hasn’t left room for much else. So when a trio of the school’s fittest boys ask her to help them develop a synchronised swimming routine for a TV talent contest, of course she says yes. Lou has a brilliant line in self-deprecation and the dialogue glistens; and if the plot is far-fetched, who cares when it’s this much fun. ~ Andrea Reece
In a Nutshell: football – family – fair play Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, but as Bill Shankly said, it’s much more important than that. Noah really needs to play in the Schools World Cup so when he’s suspended – unfairly – from the school team Stevie, his friend and a tactical genius, finds a way round the rules. It’s a classic story of a group of almost no-hopers forming themselves into a real team, with the added bonuses of crooked opponents and Noah’s special motivation. Funny, exciting, really good on the mechanics of the beautiful game and with a great cast of characters, it’s a rewarding read; in fact, in a game of two halves, this book would win both of them. ~ Andrea Reece This is recommended for fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce and Tom Palmer also writes exciting football stories.
Interest Age 10+ Reading Age 8 Football never dies – even during the darkest days of the First World War. Tom Palmer tells the true story of the Footballers’ Battalion. Accused of cowardice because they are out playing football instead of fighting, Jack and his friends sign up to fight – and to play football. They have been promised the excitement of a Cup but the boys have to survive all the horror of the fighting too. Best-selling Tom Palmer’s young heroes show their courage in the midst of the conflict. ~ Julia Eccleshare This book is also available to read via the Barrington Stoke 'Tints' App. Find out more here. There is also a great website to support this title full of background information and a Teachers’ Area with invaluable discussion guides, play scripts and Q&As. 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.
Interest Age Teen, Reading Age 8+. A tense novel about finding the special kind of courage needed to do the right thing in difficult circumstances. Blake is great footballer; playing football is all he wants to do but, with money worries at home, he knows he must do all he can to help his mum to pay the rent. Found trespassing, Blake is offered a way out of trouble by fixing a match. It could be easy money. Blake has to make hard and brave choices. Without exception dyslexia-friendly books published by Barrington Stoke get off to an exciting start and maintain the impetus throughout, with a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter. The plot is clear, the characters appealing and there are plenty of visual clues, as dyslexics like to run a story like a video in their heads. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ 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.
Shortlisted for the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017 Nick is football mad, finding more poetry, more to stimulate him on the soccer field and with a ball at his feet than he ever does in books. This doesn’t go down well with his father, a linguistics professor with ‘chronic verbomania’, but at least his best friend understands. Cody and Nick are on opposing football teams but the same side for everything else, including facing up to the school bullies. When he’s hit by the twin blows of an injury and the news that his parents are separating however, Nick is surprised to find real comfort in books. Booked is written in free verse, like the author’s previous novel The Crossover, and the form brilliantly catches the energy and ups and downs of Nick’s life, giving his story an immediacy that helps make this irresistible reading. If Booked sends readers looking for more verse novels Sarah Crossan’s The Weight of Water is also excellent while Pete Kalu’s Silent Striker books are great on football and teen life. ~ Andrea Reece
Fifteen-year-old science geek Sam has returned to Cornwall from London. It’s his first time back since his dad drowned here when he was four. Sam has no idea what his new life holds, and then he meets Jade, the stunning surfer girl who lives next door. Forthright and fearless, and obsessed with finding and riding the legendary Devil’s Horn wave, Jade stirs Sam’s heart and rouses his own passion for surfing. When Sam finds his dad’s navigational charts that seem to show the site of this legendary wave, he, Jade and her close circle of friends are consumed by a desire to surf the Devil’s Horn, no matter what, and at any cost. This powerfully pacy debut swells with elemental energy, and with the exhilaration and ache of first experiences of falling in love and heartbreak. It’s a tale about following passions and forming deep connections with people and nature. Above all, it’s a poignant love story that will have readers on the edge of their seats, willing Sam and Jade to realise their dream. ~ Joanne Owen
The second in Chris Hoy’s cycling-with-a-touch-of-magic series sees Fergus and his friends Daisy, Callum and Minnie form their own cycling team, Hercules’ Hopefuls. They may not have brand new bikes, or fancy jerseys like their arch rivals Wallace’s Winners, but they’ve got lots of heart, and sometimes that what counts. It’s a classic children’s sports story, with a fun cast of characters, made even more lively by Fergus’s visits to a magical world, Nevermore. Not only does Fergus learn a lot about teamwork on his magical adventures, there’s also a clue as to the whereabouts of his dad, not seen since Fergus was a baby. A successful mix of pedal-action, friendship and fantasy adventure, this is a very satisfying story for newly confident readers. Clare Elsom’s lively illustrations add to the fun. There are more books in the series to come, and readers might also like Frank Lampard’s football-with-magic series Frankie’s Magic Football. ~ Andrea Reece Emma Matthewson, Editor, Hot Key Books, said: “Sir Chris has already provided a lasting legacy of inspiration to young people with his tremendous list of achievements. What drew me to Flyign Fergus was a genuine warmth and heart to the books and Sir Chris’s clear dedication to the next generation. We can’t wait to see young cyclists across the country enjoy reading about their new hero!”
March 2016 Book of the Month For action-packed stories, combining real-life adventure with a touch of magic, Chris Hoy’s Flying Fergus series is hard to beat. He’s collaborated with accomplished children’s author Joanna Nadin, a writer who knows her way round a young child’s imagination as well as Sir Chris knows his way round a velodrome, and the result is sparky books with lots of appeal. Fergus lives with his mum and grandad and dreams of making the cycling team at his local track. They can’t afford flash kit and Fergus has to compete on his dad’s old bike. It turns out there’s something amazing about it though, and it transports him to a magical world where he learns lots about competition. The story makes clear what’s so great about cycling, is just as good on friendship and family, and there are some very funny moments too. There’s already a second book in the series The Great Cycle Challenge, and readers might also like Frank Lampard’s football-with-magic series Frankie’s Magic Football. ~ Andrea Reece Emma Matthewson, Editor, Hot Key Books, said: “Sir Chris has already provided a lasting legacy of inspiration to young people with his tremendous list of achievements. What drew me to Flyign Fergus was a genuine warmth and heart to the books and Sir Chris’s clear dedication to the next generation. We can’t wait to see young cyclists across the country enjoy reading about their new hero!”
If you have a young rugby fan in your life who hasn’t yet discovered this great series, drop everything and buy a copy now. A mix of irresistible ruby action – Gerard Siggins was a sports journalist and can really write the moves – and historical mystery, it stars talented young player Eoin Madden. Loyalties are tested when he’s given a place at summer camp with his team Munster’s arch rivals Leinster, but Eoin gets that it’s all about playing up and playing the game. Eoin has another unusual talent too, he can see ghosts. This brings him into contact with Alexander Obolensky, whose try for England against the All Blacks in 1936 is rugby legend, and a treasure hunt that dates back to Tsarist Russia. If this sounds far-fetched, it’s completely plausible in the context and gives the story an even broader appeal. There are three more books in this series, and readers will also enjoy Tom Palmer’s Rugby Academy series for Barrington Stoke. ~ Andrea Reece
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