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In a nutshell: thrilling rugby action plus ghosts plus mystery | The latest in Gerard Siggins’ Rugby Spirit series is typically filled with rugby action so vividly described that you feel you’re there on the pitch, together with a solid helping of history, ghosts and mystery. Young Eoin Madden is a midfield dynamo always at the centre of the action, whichever team he’s playing for. In this story he plays so well in a provincial championship for youngsters that he’s picked to play for Ireland Under 16s. As though this wasn’t enough, there’s more drama when the Webb-Ellis cup is stolen from the stadium hosting the tournament. Eoin is particularly concerned, because he’s recently become friends with the ghost of William Webb-Ellis, the man credited with the invention of rugby. The mix of on-pitch and off-pitch action with mystery and history is well handled and there’s lots to appeal to all readers, but particularly young rugby fans. There are more books in this series and readers will also enjoy Tom Palmer’s Rugby Academy series from Barrington Stoke. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Editor Helen Carr : Ger Siggins never fails to come up with interesting ghosts to haunt Castlerock, the boarding school Eoin Madden and his gang of rugby-mad friends attend. These spirits and their back-stories – Rugby Runner’s ghost, William Webb-Ellis is credited as the creator of the game of rugby! – always intrigue, but I also love the books because of Ger’s skill in describing the ups and downs of Eoin’s life, both on and off the rugby pitch. Friends and rivals, teachers and coaches are so well drawn, and I really enjoy the matter-of-fact way Eoin deals with everything life throws at him, from captaining the junior cup team to helping ghosts to foil crimes or right old wrongs.
January 2017 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Losing your way | Running for your life | Finding your feet | 12+ A beautifully bittersweet debut in which a teenage girl discovers a latent talent that shines light on the darkest of times. Fifteen-year-old Wing Jones lives with her mom, her big brother Marcus (a high school sports hero), and her brilliantly portrayed, bickering grandmothers, Chinese LaoLao and Ghanaian Granny Dee. “I can’t blend in but I don't stand out” is how Wing sums up her place in the world, and her insecurities are cruelly exacerbated by the racist prejudice of peers who mock her appearance and mixed race heritage. The family are doing their best to get on with their lives (Wing lost her cop father in a shooting) when a second tragedy strikes. But, in the midst of this agony (“I didn’t know it was possible for a heart to break in so many ways”), Wing is struck by an overwhelming urge to run and discovers that she’s an incredibly talented athlete. It turns out that nurturing this gift - and not blending in - might just be the very thing that gets her family back on track. Set in the run-up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, this is an expansive, heartfelt tale of loss, first love and self-discovery, and readers will truly root for Wing. Highly recommended for fans of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell. ~ Joanne Owen
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month October 2016 Award-winning Michael Morpurgo weaves a charming and witty story around sport and history as they have come together in the recent twin triumphs of the City of Leicester with the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in a car park and Leicester City football club winning the 2016 Premier League. The link between the two? A family of foxes! When Daddy Fox finds the ghost of the king and helps to release him from an unseemly grave he is granted one royal wish. What will it be? As a mad-keen footballing family the Foxes have one over-riding wish; that Leicester City can go top of the League. Can the King do it? You bet he can! Michael Foreman captures the spirit of this entertaining adventure perfectly. ~ Julia Eccleshare Nick Lake at HarperCollins Children’s Books said “Michael is the master, and The Fox and the Ghost King has all the hallmarks of his inimitable storytelling: it’s a ghost story, a fairy tale, and a classic animal adventure, all rolled into one timeless magic spell” Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for October 2016 Kim by Rudyard Kipling The Fox and the Ghost King by Michael Morpurgo Coming to England by Floella Benjamin Winnie and Wilbur Meet Santa by Valerie Thomas A Piglet Called Truffle by Helen Peters Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie Louise Fitzpatrick We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen Leafy the Pet Leaf by Philip Ardagh The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher
In 3 : gymnastics – hard work – team work In this special gymnastics-centred story the emphasis is all on the importance of hard work and teamwork in sporting success. Fresh from their triumph at the regional championships, Tara and her team-mate Lindsay are preparing for a national competition. It’s hard and, eager to do as well as possible, Tara spends nearly all her time practising - at the expense of her school work. She’s not alone in finding this difficult however, and with the help and advice of other young gymnasts in her club, she manages to sort things out. It’s a fun story that perfectly captures all the excitement and challenges of competing at sport. ~ Andrea Reece A message from Olympic medal winner Beth Tweddle. Dear Reader, Like Tara in Gym Stars I dreamed of becoming a world-class gymnast and joined my local gym club. Tara’s story reminds me of my early days of training and the thrill of entering my first big competition. I hope you enjoy reading about Tara as much as I have and if you want to become a gym star too – go for it! With focus, talent and dedication your dreams really can come true… Love, Beth Tweddle x
In 3: gymnastics – friendships – competition Junior gymnast Tara has a lot to juggle when she’s asked to take part in a regional competition. There are all the moves to learn with her partner Lindsay, but Tara has just started secondary school too. Fitting in gym practice and homework is difficult, and doesn’t leave much time for anything else, such as seeing her other friends. Janes Lawes does a great job at describing the rewards of following a sport, as well as the challenges, and readers will be happy to see that Tara finds a way to achieve balance between her sport, friends and school. A satisfying story that is good on the thrills and spills of competition. ~ Andrea Reece A message from Olympic medal winner Beth Tweddle. Dear Reader, Like Tara in Gym Stars I dreamed of becoming a world-class gymnast and joined my local gym club. Tara’s story reminds me of my early days of training and the thrill of entering my first big competition. I hope you enjoy reading about Tara as much as I have and if you want to become a gym star too – go for it! With focus, talent and dedication your dreams really can come true… Love, Beth Tweddle x
In 3 words : gymnastics – friendships – rivalries Olympic medallist Beth Tweddle’s endorsement will draw readers to this story of Tara, a talented young gymnast whose dreams seem to have come true when she joins a new gym club. There’s lots for her to learn, and she’s really enjoying it all, until little acts of spite and meanness from another girl who is jealous of Tara, makes her suddenly lose confidence. Gently and within the course of the story the author shows all the reasons for taking up a sport like gymnastics, and demonstrates the fun and sense of achievement it can bring. She reminds readers too to trust themselves if they want to be happy. ~ Andrea Reece With a foreword by Olympic medal winner Beth Tweddle. Dear Reader, Like Tara in Gym Stars I dreamed of becoming a world-class gymnast and joined my local gym club. Tara’s story reminds me of my early days of training and the thrill of entering my first big competition. I hope you enjoy reading about Tara as much as I have and if you want to become a gym star too – go for it! With focus, talent and dedication your dreams really can come true… Love, Beth Tweddle x
In a nutshell: football – rivalry - community Football – it’s always about so much more than just what happens on the pitch, exciting and, if you’re lucky, beautiful as that can be, and the best stories about football recognise that. Joe O’Brien’s book stars Charlie, a gifted young footballer who is offered a trial at Manchester United, but its field of dreams is somewhere very unlike Old Trafford: it’s a derelict tarmac pitch that used to stage hotly contested local games and where Charlie’s grandad scored a legendary hat-trick. The game that Charlie and his team play there is as exciting and skilful as anything the Premier League has to offer, and the drama is more intense because we know just what it means to players and spectators. An exciting story, full of terrific football action and a lot more too.Readers will also enjoy Kieran Crowley’s The Mighty Dynamo, which has a similarly interesting back story to the football action, and Tom Palmer’s Football Academy series. ~ Andrea Reece
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