Find out which books teachers think are the best! Below are all the books shortlisted and longlisted for the 2017 Awards sponsored by Lovereading4kids, Lovereading4schools and MLS.
Winner of the UKLA 2017 Book Award | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016 | Shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize 2016 | Text, illustration and design all combine to make this an outstanding picture book. Mouse is cross, there’s a bear – a polar bear – on his chair, he won’t move and ‘There isn’t any room to spare. We do not make a happy pair’. The bear is apparently oblivious to Mouse and his growing rage, though readers will notice him take an occasional sly peek at his companion, deftly illustrated in just one line of eyebrow. Collins’s illustrations also brilliantly capture Mouse’s changing moods, from anger through to resignation. The text is a joy to read, a series of funny statements constructed – Dr Seuss-like – around words that rhyme with chair. A sequel – There’s a Mouse in My House – must follow. This superb picture book is set to become a classic.
Winner of the Branford Boase Award 2017 | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Shortlisted for the Children's category of the Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and March 2016 Julia Eccleshare's Debut of the Month | A rollicking adventure spiced up with fascinating information about beetles, this debut novel fuses science, survival and sleuthing! Darkus’s life is turned upside down when his father goes missing. Darkus refuses to accept that his father is dead and he is determined to find out what happened for himself. Sent to stay with his uncle, he discovers the strange neighbours have a yard full of junk – and beetles. Darkus is befriended by a handsome, giant beetle who seems to understand Darkus and is also connected to his dad’s disappearance. What is going on? And who is Lucretia Cutter, one of the best villainess since Cruella de Vil?
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Perfect for the end of every day, award-winning Chris Haughton captures the soothing time as the sun goes down and all the animals begin to fall into a deep sleep….All except Little Bear who is wide awake despite the yawning and sighing of all those around him. When even Little Bear stretches a great big stretch and yawns a great big yawn it really is goodnight for everyone. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Julia Eccleshare's Debut of the Month, April 2016 Award-winning Emily Gravett’s stunning picture book is a charming, witty and moral tale about the perils of making the world look too spick and span. Deep in the forest lives a badger called Pete with a mania for tidying up. Pete’s tidies up the leaves as they fall from the trees, then he tidies up the trees themselves. When that causes a flood he sets too to deal with the mud. Tidying up mud leads to putting down concrete. But then, how can Pete ever get back into his own home? Pete realises he must put everything back! Emily Gravett’s woodland folk are delightful and the world of nature that she creates for them to live in is incredibly appealing. Good lessons will be learnt from Tidy! ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for April 2016 Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley Tidy by Emily Gravett Freddie Mole, Lion Tamer by Alexander McCall Smith Slug Needs a Hug by Jeanne Willis There's a Moose on the Loose by Lucy Feather Nature's Day: Out and About by Kay Maguire
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Shortlisted for the Children's category of the Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2016 | Shortlisted for the English Picture Book Award 2016 | Longlisted for the inaugural Klaus Flugge Prize, an important new illustration prize for children's books | Winner of the Illustrated category of The Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2016. March 2016 Debut of the Month A young bear cub finds a piano in the forest and after a first hesitant ‘PLONK’, he returns to it every day for years until he has grown strong, and the sounds that he makes on the piano are melodic and beautiful. The other bears love listening to him but one day a girl and her father overhear his concert and persuade him to go with them to the city and play in front of thousands. Swapping the tranquillity of the forest for the bright lights of Broadway brings the bear fame, but he misses his friends and decides to return to play again for the most important audience of all. It’s a beautiful story, and illustrates perfectly the effect of music on performer and audience. Litchfield’s illustrations are very special indeed: he plays beautifully with light and shade, in both the forest and concert hall scenes, to create atmosphere and to illuminate his hero and his message. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the Children's Book Award 2017 - Books for Younger Children | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award Syd and Grandad’s tropical adventure tells a much bigger story and conveys an important message about loss and love. Grandad’s house is at the bottom of Syd’s garden and Syd can go round any time he wants. One day Grandad isn’t in any of his usual places and Syd finds him in the attic. There’s a big metal door at one end, and through it a ship, ready to take Grandad and Syd to a faraway island. Grandad doesn’t need his stick on the island and is very much at home with the cheery parrots and bright flowers. He decides to stay behind, though he’ll miss Syd very much. Simply told and beautifully illustrated this is a very special book. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award With sharp wit, adorable illustrations, and hysterical twists galore, this debut picture book asks - what do you think happened to the hungry lion's friends?
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Shortlisted for the Children's category of the Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2016 and August 2016 Book of the Month Those obstreperous crayons, colourful stars of The Day the Crayons Quit, are back – or at least, they’re trying to get back… Duncan is at home happily colouring, when a strange set of postcards arrive for him. They’re from his crayons, those which have been lost, forgotten, broken or – in the case of Pea Green – run away. Poor Maroon has had a terrible time, lost down the back of the sofa and sat on by Dad! It’s another piece of picture book brilliance, you’ll believe a crayon can talk. The crayons’ personalities burst out and there are some new characters too including Neon Red and Glow in the Dark, who has a special surprise for readers. Unmissable! ~ Andrea Reece
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award In Chicken Clicking this gifted duo created a marvellous cautionary tale for our time. Now they deliver another important lesson for today’s impressionable youth. Appearance is everything to Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool , the most beautiful girl in the whole of the school. It’s her aim to make the world a more beautiful place and no-one she meets escapes her censure, or her instructions on ways to improve their appearance. Until sadly she meets a monster and learns to her cost … well, you can probably guess! This is a brilliant piece of comic verse, wonderfully illustrated by Tony Ross, and should be recited to and by children up and down the country for their delight and edification. Superb! ~ Andrea Reece
Winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month, May 2016 Award-winning Lane Smith’s stunning illustrations create a delight of a story which imaginatively and vaguely hints at a pre-historic time and brings it vividly to life. A single child dressed in a leafy robe plays happily in a variety of dreamy settings which begin as quiet and lonely spaces but which become increasingly busy. The child’s playmates include a colony of penguins, a smack of jellyfish, a pod of whales, an unkindness of ravens, a parade of elephants, a troop of monkey, a band of rhinos and a crash of gorillas. And then, he finds a tribe of children who become his real playfellows. The minimal text makes brilliant use of the special descriptive words for each animal group. ~ Julia Eccleshare Other Two Hoots titles are:Little Red by Bethan Woollen Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea by Morag Hood Tidy by Emily Gravett
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award This book comes with a warning: it will make you ROAR! And it will – with excitement, relief and happiness. Nightime and Richard is scared so, clutching his toy Lionheart, he runs out of his bedroom, through the streets and the fields and into a magical jungle. But the monster is still coming, so he runs again, straight into Lionheart, no longer a toy but a huge, handsome lion. When the monster does catch up, Lionheart shows Richard how to be brave: they ROAR at the monster so that it and Richard’s fears are blown away for ever. Epic in scale and intent, Collingridge repeatedly takes readers from safety into danger before Richard returns at last to his bedroom. The journey seems enormous, settings dwarfing the small boy in his lion suit, and with soaring viewpoints and sudden close ups, the illustrations have the glorious technicolour feel of film. Breathtaking! ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month, February 2016 Award-winning illustrations by Catherine Rayner show the cheeky young crocodiles Solomon and Mortimer who love to play tricks and make surprising things happen. When they try to play a trick on the great big hippo that is wallowing in the river, they find that they are the ones who are tricked. And what a great big splash they make! Catherine Rayner creates a beautiful, watery landscape for her mischievous young crocs! ~ Julia Eccleshare
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month, February 2016 Feel brave enough to go on a huge adventure? If so, this is the book to guide you! Bearspotting can be a scary business and it is best to know as much as possible about the different bears you might see. In particular, there are brown bears and black bears. And both can be very, very dangerous. Each needs to be handled in a different way: with a black bear you must walk away backwards and very slowly; with a brown bear, you must just play dead! But what if you meet both at the same time? Wittily illustrated by David Roberts, this is a playful and engaging picture book. ~ Julia Eccleshare
A lovely, lively and varied collection of verse that invites gleeful participation from its intended audience. 16 poems to read out loud - perfect for sharing at home or at school. Shortlisted for the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017. Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and January 2016 Book of the Month It has a publication date of January, yet How to Find Gold is already likely to top my list of picturebooks of 2016! Anna is a wonderful picturebook star: she’s eager to find gold and when her friend Crocodile warns her that will be dangerous and difficult, she responds with a rousing, “Good! Let’s go!” Their treasure hunt is successful and deep at the bottom of the sea, surrounded by impressive sea monsters, they find gold. It’s the journey that matters though, not the gold, which they promptly bury again. Viviane Schwarz’s bold illustrations brim with childlike glee, a perfect match for this story of friendship and wild adventure. Readers, like Anna, will finish the book with a happy face! ~ Andrea Reece
Winner of the English Association 4-11 Picture Book Awards 2016 - Non-Fiction 4-7 category and Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award What a difference a letter makes! Without the G the glove falls in love; remove the K and the monkey makes money; without the A, the beast is best! It’s such a clever idea, one reading and you’ll be working out more word games to add. Nor is it without adventure: there’s a story behind each illustration. Watch the dog playing cards with the goose (dice becomes ice) and you know he’s up to something; when the crab hails a cab, you can feel the urgency in his claw; how much does the bride really care for her husband left lonely in the carriage of the Ferris wheel as she goes for a ride alone? Witty and sophisticated, this is an alphabet book unlike any other, and one to return to again and again. ~ Andrea Reece
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and One of our Books of the Year 2015 -Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Year 2015 There are so many adjectives you could use to describe this book - extraordinary, dazzling, original, funny, irresistible, quirky, imaginative, clever, stunning - but none go far enough. A truly unique work of art, it combines the talents of two superstars of the children's book world into something so simple yet so clever. It is a must for every family to share and will bring a positive glow to each and every reader and listener for no sooner than it pulls at the heart strings it will have you chuckling out loud too. A truly special picture book and a classic in the making. ~ Julia Eccleshare
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Winner for the 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize | Winner of the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 and awarded the Amnesty CILIP Honour | A powerful picturebook which teacher judges described as “taking children to new experiences outside their own”. What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? A mother and her two children set out on such a journey; one filled with fear of the unknown, but also great hope.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | September 2016 Book of the Month Wolves, wildness and freedom are at the heart of this thrilling story. Wolf wilders are employed to reintroduce wolves unfortunate enough to be brought up as pets in rich households back into the wild, and they’re easy to spot: they’ll be missing a piece of finger, the lobe of an ear, a toe or two. Feo and her mother are wolf wilders, content deep in the forest, at least until the arrival of General Rakov and the imperial army. Rakov treats their wolves with the same brutal contempt he shows to the peasants, and despite her reclusiveness, Feo finds herself fighting alongside her neighbours for what is right. ‘Wolves, like children, are not born to lead calm lives’ we are told and this a marvellous adventure, original, beautifully written, and full of scenes and ideas that will excite and inspire young readers. ~ Andrea Reece A note from Katherine Rundell …My father is a great storyteller. When we were very young he left for work at 7 a.m., so he used to wake us up at 6 a.m. and tell us stories from history: the World Wars, the slave trade and the Russian revolution. (Sometimes my understanding of the stories in my life blurred, and when I picture William Wilberforce he will always look like Wilbur, the mouse in Brambly Hedge.) My father’s picture of Russia was one of deep snow and rich food, and of revolutionaries fighting, with very mixed success, for fairness. There would always be a pair of children at the centre of the stories – who looked, coincidentally, very like my brother and me – two children who joined the fight with both fists. My dad’s stories made us feel taller, and hungrier: more capable of changing the world.The Wolf Wilder is a book built by those early stories: though it’s less a history than a fairy-tale kind of adventure informed by history. I wanted to write a book that was a little darker than the last, and a little wilder. I wanted to write about different kinds of bravery, with, I hope, an edge of danger. Most of all, I wanted to write a story about a child learning to trust other people: about a child discovering that the world is huge, and full of spectacular people. Feo, more than any other character I’ve written, is how I felt as a child: awkward and wary, but hoping always for friendship and for snow. The plot was made up of things I’ve seen or discovered and loved. The central city of the book is St Petersburg because my grandfather lived there in the years before his death, on the banks of the Fontanka canal, in the building in which (he used to claim) Tchaikovsky wrote The Nutcracker. My grandfather was so obviously and resolutely English that KGB spies used to tail him to church, convinced he was MI5. There was a small ballroom in which, as a teenager, I danced (with an immense lack of grace). So there is dancing in this book, both good and bad, and the great golden domes of St Petersburg. The story is set in the snow because snow has a life of its own: I spent one white winter in rural Scotland, in an old unoccupied shooting lodge. I went weeks without seeing another human. When the pipes froze, I boiled snow for tea. I lit fires, read books, ate icicles and mussels from the lake, and tinned meat. When the worst storms of that year came, I was rescued by an army truck and sent home. I learnt a lot about the different varieties of cold you can be. Later, I read about a Russian recluse who, in the 1970s, used to run barefoot for days through snow with elks slung over his back, and realised I was only a novice at the cold. But I have rarely in my life been so happy. The wilding of animals is a real thing: there is a programme in Zimbabwe, not far from where I spent part of my childhood, where tame lions are taught to feed themselves. And in Yellowstone park they are trying to coax wolves back into the wild. Wolves are the heroes of this book because I think wolves, more than any other animal, are electric. I met a mostly tame one on a cold day in Wales. They really do look nothing like dogs: their shoulders are more muscular and their eyes sharper. They radiate intelligence. They deserve our respect. There are many stories about wolves already, but I think they will always deserve a few more.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award Gill Lewis writes outstanding animal stories, and Gorilla Dawn is very good indeed. The setting is the forests of the Congo, home to the great lowland gorilla but also to rebel soldiers, who hide out there after attacks on local villages. Imara is just a child, but regarded as a talisman by the Black Mambas, one of the rebel groups. Their leader believes her to be a Spirit Child with magical powers to protect his men. It’s a frightening life and Imara has withdrawn into herself for protection. The arrival in camp of a baby gorilla taken to be sold into captivity breaks down her defences and she determines to save it. Imara’s story is terrible and Lewis chooses to reveal it in full only when Imara is safe. She allows us to feel hope for the gorillas too while explaining to her readers all the dangers they face. Above all, this story tells children that we all share the world, that if we lose our love of it, we lose our souls. A thrilling story which will sweep readers along, this is one of the best books of the year. ~ Andrea Reece A note from Gill Lewis: “The world is at our fingertips…or so it seems. We use our mobile phones and computers to connect with people far across the globe. And yet, they also connect our fate to that of the gorilla. The electronic devices we use every day contain rare minerals, many of which are sourced within the forests of the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, home of the eastern lowland gorilla. I wanted to tell a story, through the eyes of two children who have been swept into the conflict, that questions our responsibility as consumers of electronic goods; responsibility to insist on fair trade and conflict free minerals, and to actively protect our natural world.”
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2017 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | This moving story of looked-after children describes the difficulties they face, but is nonetheless uplifting. Ira and her little brother Zac live in Skilly House, what Tracy Beaker would call a dumping ground. There are things they like about it including the staff, kindly Hortense and Silas who was in care himself, though not stern Mrs Clark. They love the garden, with its huge tree. Carved into the trunk is a name, Glenda Hyacinth, 1947. Ira decides Glenda must be a ghost (the story is set in the late 1980s) and imagines she sees her playing in the garden. Holiday visits to a lady in the country lead to a permanent home, but Ira is sad to leave Skilly House, especially as by then she’s learned something surprising about Glenda. Children will be caught up in Ira and Zac’s story from the first page, and will understand them perfectly by the last. Subtle and beautifully told this will appeal to readers who have enjoyed The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Award winning author partners Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre head north for their latest adventure. Shen the cabin boy is abandoned by his shipmates when their ship is stranded in the ice. He’s completely alone, except for 64 little pugs, part of the ship’s cargo! He soon teams up with Shika, a girl desperately seeking dogs to pull her grandpa’s sled in the Race to the Top of the World, a once in a lifetime contest to win your heart’s desire. The eccentric competitors mean there’s something of the Wacky Races about all of this, but amongst the crazy – and very entertaining -scenes there are surprising notes of poignancy, as well as some lovely descriptions of the True Winter, fifty types of snow and all.
1892, New Mexico. A wolfpack roams the Currumpaw Valley, preying on the cattle and evading capture by the exasperated local ranchmen. Due to his knowledge of wolf behaviour, a British naturalist by the name of Ernest Thompson Seton is employed to hunt down their notorious pack leader, king Lobo…
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award This is the twelfth book in Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series and she brings it to a tremendous and fitting finale. The fate of the dragon world lies in the hands of her hero, the mild and frankly geeky Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III: to avert the destruction of the dragons, Hiccup has to defeat Alvin the Terrible. As ever, the trials Hiccup faces will call for all of his physical, mental and moral strength. This series is a real classic of modern children’s literature; full of excitement, it’s the kind of adventure that has children walking taller. It’s brilliantly written and brilliantly illustrated too. Fans will find this book gives them everything they want for Hiccup and the dragons. If your children haven’t yet discovered Hiccup, start them with book one forthwith. ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and March 2016 Book of the Month You can rely on Ross Montgomery to put an unexpected twist and an extra helping of humanity into his stories, no matter how zany. Perijee is an alien Caitlin finds on the beach near her home. Though he grows at an alarming rate, eats everything, and sprouts limbs seemingly at will, to Caitlin Perijee is immediately a friend, something to love. Sadly, no-one else has her perspicacity or heart: when the rest of the human world discovers Perijee, the response is fear and aggression. The effect on Perijee is devastating, he’s forced into fight mode too. Only Caitlin can save her friend, and the world. What follows is a mad adventure, funny and exciting in equal parts, and containing an important message about love, kindness and trust. ~ Andrea Reece For more out of this world stories, try Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Cosmic and The Astounding Broccoli Boy.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2017 - Best Story | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children's Book category, 2016 | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2016. January 2016 Debut of the Month This clever, touching time travel adventure owes as much to The Railway Children as it does to Back to the Future! Al (for Albert, after Einstein) Chaudhury’s dad is dead but – and here’s where it gets really interesting – a physicist, he’d already been experimenting with time travel and, realising what is going to happen, left instructions enabling his son to go back in time and prevent the childhood accident that will ultimately kill him. Huge congratulations to Ross Welford for observing all the rules of time travel (never easy and he manages a sly dig at Dr Who!) and constructing a terrific adventure that puts family relationships, particularly male ones, at its heart. ~ Andrea Reece ***Download a special discussion pack to help you get more out of this book. The Costa Judges said: “A highly accomplished debut, genuinely enjoyable for both a child reading independently and an adult reading with a child.”
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Award-winning David Almond tells a lively story which captures the exuberance of a trio of lads and one girl who set off one hot summer morning to run from their homes in Newcastle to South Shields. There’s no training, no special kit, no crowds – just the gang enjoying the freedom to run and the kindness of many who keep them fed and watered along the way. And it is a distance of thirteen miles so exactly half a marathon. Old Harry, now walking with a frame and on his way to a care home, tells young Liam, a boy in the present who has just got a place in the junior Great North Run, all about the trip and the magic of it. In doing so he shows a slice of a different kind of childhood set in David Almond’s home ground of Newcastle and the surrounding area. In this beautifully produced new edition, Salvatore Rubbino’s illustrations also capture the period and the sense of place brilliantly. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award In a Nutshell: time travel – family – stardust Even physicists struggle to understand quantum theory but Christopher Edge makes a very fine attempt at an explanation, though the most striking thing about his story is actually not the how of quantum physics, but its particular why: Albie - named after Einstein of course – has a very good reason to make like Schrödinger’s cat because in a parallel world the mum he’s just lost to cancer could still be alive. Using his mum’s scientific theories, laptop, Geiger counter and a banana (they’re radioactive), he manages to create a wormhole through the fifth dimension and reach parallel worlds. This provides multiple opportunities for Back-to-the-Future-style comic confusion, though eventually Albie finds the consolation and comfort he needs back where he started. A clever, funny and very touching novel. ~ Andrea ReeceReaders who enjoy this will also like Ross Welford’s Time Travelling with a Hamster, another funny, warm-hearted novel about family and time travel. A message from the Editor: “This is a funny, moving and exciting novel. Like Albie, the reader never knows where they'll end up, what they'll find, or whether they'll ever get back home again…"
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | April 2016 Book of the Month With all the invention, originality and insight that is typical of his writing for children, Frank Cottrell Boyce takes the sad story of Laika, the first living creature to orbit Earth, and uses it as inspiration for a story about the importance of home. As ever, it’s both brilliantly funny and extraordinarily moving. Prez is living with a temporary foster family when he opens the door to Sputnik. Prez sees an alien – in a kilt – everyone else sees a dog. Over the course of the summer Prez and Sputnik have some amazing adventures and break a lot of laws, including some of the laws of physics, but in the process they save the world, and reunite Prez with his grandfather. As wild as a cartoon strip, this wonderful story pinpoints all the best things about life on Earth. No-one writes like Frank Cottrell Boyce, and readers who enjoy this will also love his books Cosmic and The Astounding Broccoli Boy. Jamie Thomson’s Dark Lord books are also very funny, and just as good on human nature as is My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons. ~ Andrea Reece
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Winner of The Branford Boase Award 2016. One of our Books of the Year 2015. This is a special and unusual book. It features some beautiful writing, and conjures up the sights, sounds and smells of the English countryside with such clarity that you’ll feel the damp ground beneath your feet, but it’s also a moving and thoughtful description of a young boy trying to help his father through depression. From his first breath Aubrey is a rambunctious child and his parents are quickly aware of his capacity to cause chaos. Unknown to them however, he has hidden talents - he can talk to animals. When his father, normally so cheerful, is weighed down with a terrible sadness, the wild animals help Aubrey find ways to help, and even advise him on how to tackle the cause itself – the Terrible Yoot. It’s a story full of tenderness and understanding. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Penny Thomas, editor, Firefly Press Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Claire, wonderfully illustrated by Jane Matthews, has the feel of a classic children’s tale, with one of the best, visionary endings I’ve ever read. The young Aubrey tries to run before he can walk and has crashed two cars before he is old enough to drive one, but when his dad, Jim, comes under attack from an horrendous spell, Aubrey is determined to save him. With the help of the animals of Rushing Wood and a little ancient wisdom, he takes on the unkillable spirit of despair itself – the Terrible Yoot! In his first book for children, Horatio Clare takes readers to the funny and joyful world of Aubrey’s wild and imaginative life where woods, moors and animals mix with home, parents and curious neighbours. His father’s depression, and Aubrey’s heroic responses are wonderfully imagined and told in what Michael Morpurgo describes as ‘a daring book, writing and storytelling at its best’. A review from Michael Morpurgo Well, this was a joy! Here is writing and storytelling at its best. Here is a wondrous tale, from a writer who loves language, makes music of it, frolics with it, who knows the wild world of his fellow creatures about him so well, loves this world so well that it is nothing for him to talk to the animals and listen to them too…Here is a tale that sweeps you along inside its magic, and its hope… A daring book, beautifully conceived, and supremely well written. Horatio Clare has the voice of a great storyteller. As I said, a joy, a sheer joy!
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award The Second World War has officially ended, but the streets are still a battleground - for food, for shelter, for protection... Felix is in hiding to stay safe, but finds he has been left holding the baby - literally. An orphaned infant has been left in his care and he will do everything he can to protect the child, as the few incredible people did for him during the Holocaust.
Samuel's an educated boy. Been taught by a priest. He was never supposed to be a slave. He's a good boy too, thoughtful and kind. The type of boy who'd take the blame for something he didn't do, if it meant he could save his brother. So now they don't call him Samuel anymore. And the sound of guns is getting ever closer ... Jon Walter's second novel is a beautiful and moving story about the power of belief and the strength of the human spirit, set against the terrifying backdrop of the American Civil War.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award Every Saturday Perry and her father visit her gran, Honora Lee, at the Santa Lucia retirement home. Honora is outspoken and sull of surprises. Perry adores her, but Gran's memory is failing. As Perry compiles an ABC of life at Santat Lucia for a school project, it seems to her that Gran is losing words just as quickly as she is collecting them. Together the pair provide a unique lens on life, language and growing old.
Winner of the UKLA 2017 Book Award | From the author of Lovereading4kids favourite We Are All Made of Molecules, this is another book that grips from the first chapter, a heart-breaking story that will nonetheless make readers laugh and leave them feeling better about the world. Henry’s life is changed for ever by ‘IT’, a terrible event that we learn about through the journal his psychologist encourages him to keep, and which describes, gradually and in surprising ways, how through new friendships and the Global Wrestling Foundation, he finds ways to cope. Nielsen writes about the heaviest subjects with the lightest of touches: here it’s suicide, bullying, breakdown but so subtly described, the balance between tragedy and humour so carefully managed, that this is a truly uplifting, even happy read.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 | Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2016 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heart-rending beauty, and featuring Selznick's most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story. In The Marvels, Selznick crafts another remarkable artistic and bookmaking achievement that weaves together two seemingly unrelated stories-one in words, the other in pictures-with spellbinding synergy. Guardian children’s fiction prize 2016 judge David Almond: “Selznick is an original, a creator of books that are engrossing, mind-bending, and are also beautiful objects. The Marvels shows what is happening and what is possible in the extraordinarily inventive world of children’s literature today.”
Winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | It's early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. This inspirational novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. On winning the CILIP Carnegie Medal Ruta Sepetys commented: “As a writer, I am drawn to underrepresented stories and history in hiding. I spend a lot of time pondering the question – why do some parts of history penetrate our collective consciousness while others remain hidden? When I began work on the novel years ago, I had no way of knowing that when it was published, we would be amidst a refugee crisis. Then and now, my thoughts return to the children.” She added: “History allows us to examine decisions. Yes, history can be full of sadness and pain but it also shines light on hope, freedom, courage and the miraculous nature of the human spirit. History divided us, but through reading we are united in study and remembrance. That is the power of books.”
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | August 2016 Book of the Month | Set in a shining future world, where trains rumble not just through towns and countryside but across whole galaxies, Philip Reeve’s new novel drenches its readers with extraordinary scenes, images and ideas. Zen Starling is a petty thief; offered the chance of a brand new life in return for carrying out one small job of course he accepts, and is immediately caught up in a war that could destroy his entire world. Beautifully written, brilliantly inventive, this gripping adventure, a combination of sci-fi utopia, conspiracy thriller and romance, will set hearts racing. Thoughtful readers prepared to take their time will find echoes of many other great works of fiction, all of which add to Railhead’s richness. And who could resist the trains – ‘the old, wise trains of the Network, barracuda-beautiful, dreaming their dreams of speed and distance as they raced from world to world’? It will turn us all into railheads.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2016 | Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock's extraordinary, stunning debut is both moving, and deeply authentic. These intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America's Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare and wonderful talent.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award Before meeting his new foster brother, Jack understands what he and his family are ‘getting into’. Fourteen-year-old Joseph almost killed a teacher, and he has a three-month-old daughter, Jupiter, whom he’s never seen. But from the outset, when Joseph storms off the school bus and Jack joins him on the freezing two mile walk, we know he’s found a friend and ally. We know Jack ‘has his back’. At first Joseph won’t be touched, barely speaks and is nervous of milking the cows on Jack’s farm but, as Jack comments, “you can tell all you need to know about someone from the way cows are around him”, and the cows love Joseph. Slowly-slowly, Joseph opens up and begins to smile - Jack counts each one of them – but he’s haunted by memories of the girl he loved, Jupiter’s mother, and by her tragic death. Joseph can’t get Jupiter out of his mind either, and so his nightly sky-search for her planetary namesake becomes a heartrending real-world search; he has to find his baby daughter. While further loss lies ahead, this is, ultimately, a remarkable read-in-one-sitting story of friendship, love and the glow of hope that comes from second chances and new life. Joseph’s tragic tale will break your heart, but the tenderness that flows from this flawlessly compact novel will also piece it back together. ~ Joanne Owen
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. | Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Year 2015 Guardian Prize winning author Jenny Valentine’s long-awaited new novel is clever, beautifully written, full of ideas. It tells the story of sixteen-year-old Iris: lonely and desperately unhappy, she finds self-expression and release through starting fires. Her vain, shallow mother, one of the least sympathetic fictional characters ever, has always told Iris that her father abandoned them when she was a little girl. This is a lie and he has in fact been searching for his daughter all her life. They are reunited, but only because her father is dying. The weeks they have together are spent learning about each other – they share a love of art for example, something that Iris’s father has been able to indulge. Just as the beauty and truth of her father’s paintings outweigh any monetary value, so Iris’s love and growing understanding transcends their short time together. Daring to examine what is really important, this original novel is full of insight and intelligence.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award Darcy feels alone in the vast snowy wilderness of Yellowstone National Park, until she comes across a wounded grizzly bear. Their unexpected, yet warm friendship gives Darcy a new lease of life, and gives her the courage to do the extraordinary.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award and October 2016 Debut of the Month Twelve year old Suzy’s confusion following the death of her best friend fuels this roller-coaster debut novel. When Franny drowns in a freak accident during the school holiday Suzy finds herself dealing not with the death of her best friend as her mother thinks but with the far more devastating loss of their friendship sometime earlier. Suzy copes by becoming electively mute and by constructing a story to explain what happened to Franny. Moving back and forth between Suzy’s obsessive behaviour after Franny’s death as she finds out everything she can about the lethal jellyfish who is, she is sure, responsible for it and, the last few months before Franny’s death when the friendship unravelled is clever as she loses Franny to the cool set.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2016 | The astonishing story of a young man's quest to find justice for his father, from the Carnegie Medal-winning author of Buffalo Soldier. Holding the reader in suspense throughout it charts the growth of a frightened boy into a brave young man with the inspiration drawn from the shocking true story of Thomas Benson, an eighteenth-century Devonshire smuggler.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | One of our Books of the Year 2015 - December 2015 Book of the Month Island is a powerful and vivid new story from Nicky Singer, the prize-winning author of Feather Boy. London teenager Cameron is cast away on an uninhabited island in the Arctic with his scientist mother Pascale, who seems more interested in her research than him; leaving him to explore this alien tundra landscape and its otherworldly inhabitants. He meets Inuluk, an Inuit girl, accompanied by her grandmother Atka, and is plunged into their spirit world of polar bears, nature and dreams. Nicky Singer vividly captures the vulnerability and the swagger of a teenage boy outside his comfort zone, and contrasts this with the serene knowing of Inuluk as she tries to teach him about their habitat; under threat from global warming, and their lifestyle; where food, warmth and shelter are a luxury, not a guarantee. Island was originally commissioned as a play by the National Theatre in London and the book has wonderful illustrations by Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell.
Based on a series of a BAFTA-nominated animated documentaries, the artwork in Survivors of the Holocaust has been reinvented to bring together six different real-life survivors' account of the Holocaust. Every word rings with truth, whether it describes the bleak fear of arriving at Auschwitz or the sheer terror of Kristallnacht, and is complemented by dazzling, clever artwork. This unique children's book aims to bring the survivors' stories to a new audience. It is an important, timely reminder of the horrors that can be inflicted on innocent people and a reflection of the Holocaust's legacy today. The Holocaust is an important part of the history curriculum at Key Stage 3.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | August 2016 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Survival | Friendship | Power of words Heartrending and, ultimately, hopeful, this tells the extraordinarily powerful tale of unforgettable Alice, whose “soul is filled with songbirds”, and who refuses to let the cowards win. Fifteen-year-old Alice Nightingale has hair as red as fire, skin as pale as bone and, after a brutal assault, her “electrics are wrecked”. Her words may “come out weird”, but it’s through words that Alice transcends being “cursed with twelveness” (the doctors think she will forever remain a twelve-year-old). She writes in the inimitable, incisive language of her soul - “poems mean whatever people want them to. that is why I like them” - and sets her thoughts free by leaving poems around her town, where she lives with huge-hearted brother, Joey, and sick grandmother, gram. At the age of fourteen, with their dad dead, mother gone, and granddad in prison, Joey is “the last man standing”, Alice observes. Like Alice, Manny’s life is suffused with tragedy. He’s a former child soldier, a refugee from Sierra Leone, where “stories are not written on paper”, and where a war claimed his family, and childhood. After finding one of Alice’s poems, Manny is desperate to meet the girl who wrote it, and he follows a paper trail that eventually leads to her heart. Manny gives Alice hope in a world that’s been beyond cruel to her, while she’s “truly gold” to him, a beacon of light and love. The exceptional writing performs a kind of alchemy as the horrific details of Alice’s assault unfold, along with the reason behind her grandfather’s imprisonment. Most remarkable of all is Alice’s unique narrative voice - “my soul is filled/ with songbirds/ but when i open myself/ to set them free they shit/ on my lips”. Alice’s condition might render her vulnerable, but she possesses a calm strength. “i never wanted to hide. hiding is what people do when they are afraid or ashamed. i was neither.” And, “if we let cowards stop us living the way we want to, we let them win.” Alice Nightingale won't let them win, especially not with Joey, Manny and friend Tilda on her side. ~ Joanne Owen A Note from the Publisher: Sad things happen in this book, but you will find yourself willing on Alice and Manny as they rejoice in the beauty of the world and work out how to take their places in it. Their story confronts identity and belonging and demonstrates the power of love, family and friendship.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Set in a near-future version of London, where a drug called Concentr8 has been extensively prescribed to young people diagnosed with ADHD, this is the brilliantly provocative second young adult novel from the bestselling author of Are You Experienced? and New Boy. Against a backdrop of rioting in the capital, a group of socially disaffected friends, led by angry, charismatic Blaze, pull a knife on a man as he leaves work at the Mayor’s office. While the friends wonder why they’ve taken someone hostage, an ambitious journalist investigates whether the withdrawal of Concentr8 might have triggered the rioting. A political scandal unfolds when it emerges that not everyone was medically assessed before being put on the pacifying drug, suggesting that something far more sinister is going on. Told through several authentic first person narratives, and interspersed with revealing excerpts from medical reports, sociological texts and tweets, this gripping, politically-charged novel explores the big issue of how young people get lost and failed by society, and why they might turn to criminal and anti-social behaviour. A fast-paced, thought-provoking rollercoaster of a read.
Shortlisted for YA Book Prize 2017 | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | August 2016 Book of the Month Hattie’s life changes forever when she meets the great aunt she never knew she had. Gloria by name, and glorious by nature, this headstrong former actress, who likes a gin sling (or three), is in the early stages of dementia. “Memories are what make us who we are,” Gloria remarks. “Without them we are nobody,” and so she and Hattie embark on an emotional road-trip, retracing significant paths from Gloria’s past. While Gloria battles memory loss and the turmoil that comes from disturbing one’s ghosts, Hattie has her own problems. She’s pregnant by her close friend Reuben. She hasn’t told him, and he’s just got together with a new “hot” French girlfriend… As Gloria relives and reveals the heartache around own experience of motherhood, there’s a strong sense of time running out for them both. Gloria doesn’t know how long she’ll have her memories, while Hattie has to make a decision about her pregnancy. “You can't be scared of regret,” Gloria advises. “All you can do is make the choice that seems right at the time." And that’s what Hattie does, as Gloria did before her.This is a beautiful, bittersweet story about family bonds, the cycle of life and love in all its forms. ~ Joanne Owen Publisher Passion Piece: Non Pratt's Trouble meets Thelma and Louise with a touch of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Clare Furniss' remarkable How Not To Disappear is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that will make you laugh and break your heart.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award ‘The Crossover’ is original and absolutely stunning, both visually and emotionally, it’s also an award winner, and deserves to be. First published in the United States in 2014 and described perfectly as a novel-in-verse, this is a story about basketball playing twins, Josh and Jordan. I initially wondered, as I looked at the visual impact of the first page, how easy it would be to read, as the words themselves slant and grow and fill the page with attitude. The answer is that this is a remarkably beautiful and accessible read, at times I even read out loud, the sounds resonating and rolling from the page. This style really encourages feeling and understanding to grow, and before I knew it I was fully immersed in the story and letting the words ebb and flow through my mind. Fresh, funny and heart achingly sad, ‘The Crossover’ is a dynamic, vital and gripping story, that I highly and truly recommend. ~ Liz Robinson
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016 | Shortlisted for the Children's category of the Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2016. | Daring, beautifully written, full of ideas that will bring the reader up short, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a dystopian adventure that mocks dystopian adventures while acknowledging the genre’s power to reveal truths, particularly about teenage lives. As one band of teenagers – those special ‘indie kids’ familiar from so many YA novels – battle to save the world from the Immortals, the main plot of the novel concerns another group of young people. Mikey is getting through his teenage years with the help of his friends and by focusing on graduating and leaving home. He also wants to declare his love for his friend Henna. It’s enough for anyone to cope with, the possibility of someone blowing up school only adds to his problems. The indie kids’ story is told entirely in chapter head summaries, the real drama is Mikey’s, and of course his story means the most to the rest of us. Original, funny, true, it can only be Patrick Ness.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | March 2016 Book of the Month A truly exceptional, uniquely unsettling work in which the stinging clarity and poignancy of Oppel’s writing is exquisitely echoed by Jon Klassen’s haunting illustrations. Steve's baby brother, Theo, is sick and doctors are struggling to diagnose exactly what's wrong with him. Even if he becomes strong enough to undergo heart surgery, and even if the procedure is successful, he still won’t be completely well. While his parents are preoccupied with Theo, and while Steve struggles with his own anxieties, he dreams of an otherworldly being and her fluttering, glittering companions. ‘We've come because of the baby,’ she says. ‘We've come to help’, and Steve wonders if she might be an angel. While she turns out to be something entirely different, she offers Steve the chance to fix the fact that his brother’s ill. All he has to do is say yes, which he does. But when these dreams contort into nightmares and the line between Steve’s internal world and reality becomes horribly blurred, he wants out of what he agreed to, but is told 'once you say yes, you can't say no'. And then there’s the menacing wasps’ nest swelling in the roof of the family home, and the sinister phone calls from Mr Nobody… As his world implodes, Steve feels ‘all in pieces’, but must find the strength to save his brother. While comparisons to A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay) and Coraline (Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean) come to mind, this is a remarkably original creation, at once an astute allegorical portrait of childhood anxieties, and a thrilling, ticking time bomb of a tale that creeps under your skin and pierces your heart. ~ Joanne Owen
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | January 2016 Book of the Month There’s something appealing just about the format and feel of this book – a small hardback, it looks inviting and eminently readable. And it is just that. Alex is getting by at school through the simple expedient of making himself invisible. But the balance of power there changes with the arrival of mysterious notes from someone calling themselves Icarus, promising to fly. As excitement spreads, and Alex learns who Icarus is, the knowledge is both thrilling and troubling – after all, Icarus’s flight ended in tragedy. Ultimately, though it considers some of the most depressing and depressingly familiar aspects of human behaviour, this is a story of hope, with a little nod to magic in it too. ~ Andrea Reece From the same publisher, and in the same pick-up-able format, the Costa shortlisted Jessica’s Ghost takes a similarly thoughtful and life-affirming look at friendship.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | January 2015 Debut of the Month What an unusual and powerful novel. The setting is an island in an unspecified fantasy world inhabited by a community of women who live separate from men, dedicating themselves to the worship of the Triple Goddess. Maresi is a young novice, sent there by her family to escape famine, and still wracked by guilt over the death of her little sister. She loves her new life, the women live austere lives but there’s ample time for friendship and study. Their peace is threatened when another girl arrives, on the run from her violent father, and the reader quickly realises that he will never let his daughter escape. The tension before his arrival is palpable, and the violence he brings with him truly shocking. Even so, he’s no match for Maresi. Turtschaninoff creates an original fantasy world, and her parable of sisterhood and bravery will enthral readers. ~ Andrea Reece Readers might also enjoy Ursula Le Guin’s epic Earthsea series and Margaret Atwood’s science fiction. A Piece of Passion from Adam Freudenheim, MD and publisher of Pushkin Children’s Books “I was blown away by Maresi, quite simply. Turtschaninoff has written an incredibly original, vivid and gripping story with appeal not only for YA readers but far beyond. And embedded in the story is a passionate feminist voice that will resonate with a wide variety of readers. It is testament to the sheer quality of Maresi that we have chosen it as our first ever YA title, and I’ve no doubt that Maresi and The Red Abbey Chronicles as a whole will become classics of the genre.”
Winner for the Children's Book Award 2017 - Books for Older Readers Category | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. Joint Winner of the CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award). Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Awards. Shortlisted for the Children's category of the Books are My Bag Readers Awards 2016 | Winner of The Bookseller's 2016 prize for young adult fiction. Ireland's Children's Book of the Year Award 2016. | Award-winning Sarah Crossan tells an astonishing and difficult story with the surest of touches in this tender, funny and life affirming book. Grace and Tippi are twins. Not just twins but conjoined twins, sharing the lower half of their bodies. Somehow they have always managed to be individuals while also part of each other. Now teenagers, Tippi and Grace are facing increasing difficulties. They are off to school for the first time meeting new experiences and especially new friendships and relationships. While Tippi longs for things to remain the same, Grace yearns for something more. Falling in love with classmate Jon she begins to imagine a future full of romance and love. But will there be a future for Grace and Tippi? When a desperate decision needs to be taken the girls lives must change forever. Sarah Crossan tells an original and utterly gripping story brilliantly. One of our Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Year 2015.
Lovereading4kids is pleased to support and co-sponsor the UKLA Book Awards this year. Run by the UK Literacy Association, what makes these awards so unique is that they are the only awards judged entirely by active classroom teachers, who are able to share the books with their classes and genuinely discover what works with young readers.
The UKLA Selection Panel, Lynda Graham says: “the quality of submissions this year was overwhelming and the panel had no easy task, but we are confident that the teachers and schools involved in the judging will benefit enormously from the impact of these quality texts ”
For the first time ever the judges for these unique book awards, which are the only awards judged by active classroom teachers, will come from Scotland, with the 56 judges spread right across the country from Aberdeen to Renfrewshire!
There are 3 groups of judges for each age category and they have until the end of February to read the longlisted books, discuss them with their group leaders, and share them with pupils. All groups will then meet together for the difficult task of choosing their shortlist of 6 books in each category.
The shortlist has just been announced and all books which appear on both the shortlist and the longlist are shown in this special category - and we have exclusive extracts available right here for many of the titles.
The winners were announced on June 30th 2017 at the UKLA International Conference, University of Strathclyde.
For more information on the UKLA Awards visit www.ukla.org/awards
Click here to view the winners and shortlisted titles for 2016.