No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
The winners of the UKLA books have been announced! The winner of the UKLA award 12-16 is We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan, the winner of the UKLA award 7-11 was shared by Lesser Spotted Animals by Martin Brown and Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird, and the winner of the UKLA award 3-6 is Colin and Lee by Morag Hood. Find out which books teachers think are the best. Below are all the winning books and those shortlisted and longlisted for the 2018 Awards sponsored by Lovereading4kids, Lovereading4schools and MLS.
Winner of the UKLA 2018 Book Award 3-6 | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | July 2016 Debut of the Month | Simplicity is the charm of this picture book story of the unlikely friendship between very different vegetables. Lee is a very green pea and so are all of his friends except for Colin who is a very orange carrot. Colin can’t do all the things that the pea-friends can do such as roll or bounce. Nonetheless, it turns out that they can all be very good friends.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Winner of the Children's Book Award 2017 - Books for Younger Children Category | All fans of rhymes will love the witty and simple words in Oi Dog!. The rule says Dogs sit on Frogs but Frog is determined to challenge that. According to Frog, Dogs sit on Logs, Cats sit on Gnats, Mice sit on Ice, Bears sit on Stairs and Whales sit on Nails whether they like it or not! Jim Field’s illustrations chart the new seating arrangements brilliantly.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Astronaut Chris Hadfield describes the special moment in his childhood that sparked his fascination with space and started the journey that has so far taken him to the International Space Station three times. As a little boy in Canada he played at being an astronaut but was frightened of the dark. Staying up late to watch the Apollo Moon Landing he suddenly realised that outer space, the darkest dark there is, is full of power and beauty. From that moment on the dark was no longer frightening, but a place of dreams and possibilities. The artwork takes us from his home to the moon and beyond in strikingly beautiful atmospheric spreads, and it’s a book to inspire children with the wonder of space and all the opportunities life holds for them.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Odd Dog Out has all the qualities that made Blown Away and Grrrrr! so popular with critics and readers! The pages - filled with dazzling displays of stylishly-dressed dogs on the move – are simply wonderful to look at; there’s a witty rhyming text; and it delivers an important message too. In a world full of suited, bowler-hatted dachshunds one dog stands out, eschewing pinstripes for a bright woolly hat: ‘someone on this busy street/ is dancing to a different beat’. But being different isn’t easy and the little dog decides she’ll leave home for somewhere where there’ll be ‘a hundred others just like me’. It takes a meeting with another ‘odd dog out’ to make her realise that being who you are is the best way to be. Every page is a treat to behold and the message is as important today as it ever has been.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | This beautiful book demands and repays careful reading. Grimloch Lane is a quiet place and its residents hurry up and down in silence. At night it is different, magical almost, glowing green in the moonlight. That’s when the Night Gardener does his work, sculpting trees into animals. No longer is Grimloch Lane quiet – neighbours gather to marvel and rejoice in his beautiful, unexpected creations. Young orphan William in particular is entranced and one amazing night is invited to join the mysterious night gardener in his work, transforming the trees of the park into wild creatures. In delicate images and compositions this breathtaking book makes us see the beauty of the world around us, and celebrates the power of art to bring us together and enrich lives.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | The life cycle of a tree is beautifully described in this outstanding book. A narrative poem alongside exquisite illustrations describes all the different stages, from the moment a sycamore seed falls onto the earth, to its growth from seedling to sapling to mature tree distributing its own seeds. It shows too the changing seasons, and through words and pictures children will discover how the tree supports insects, birds and animals, who all make a life ‘in their leaf-laden, bark-bound arboreal home’. It’s full of information yet retains a sense of wonder: ‘how can something so small turn into a tree which is such an incredibly BIG thing to be’. This is a book for readers of all ages, one to keep and return to again and again.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Murray McMurray is a private eye in the Philip Marlowe tradition – laconic, cool, sharp. I’d say he’s hard-boiled, only this PI is a pigeon and it seems impolite. When a gorgeous blonde chick shows up asking for his help Murray is reluctant to get involved, but when she disappears he goes to the rescue; just as well, the local police are a bunch of birdbrains. Highly original and lots of fun Meg McLaren’s second picture book is full of jokes, verbal and visual, that will entertain readers of all ages and her Pigeon PI and his feathered friends are irresistible characters. ~ Andrea Reece
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
Winner of the 2018 Klaus Flugge Prize | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award June 2017 Book of the Month Simple enough for the youngest child to understand and certain to prompt feelings of empathy in readers of all ages this timely story follows a young boy as he sets out from his home to find somewhere safe to live. “Remember, only take what you can carry”, says his mum, and “What would you take?” asks a highlighted line of text, the first of a series of questions that puts the reader in the little boy’s shoes. While the dangers and difficulties of the boy’s long journey are made clear through words and the stark, rather beautiful pictures, there’s still room for play and adventure, which makes the boy’s experiences more real and recognisable for youngsters. It ends on a note of hope, but we still feel we’ve made that frightening journey into the unknown. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Mairi Kidd, MD of Barrington Stoke: “It's always inspiring to visit the Anglia Ruskin CSA stand at Bologna and this year especially so - My Name is Not Refugee drew me back again and again. It's so perfectly pitched for young children, focusing on the aspects of life and routine that are so important for under 5s and asking the reader to reflect on how these might be affected by tremendous upheaval. The effect is to reduce distance and to emphasise that this is a human tragedy we cannot ignore.”A message from the author, Kate Milner: “The idea for this book came to me while driving home from Cambridge one evening. My daughter, who works in a school, had told me that the children in her class were asking her about the refugee crisis… They didn’t understand what was being discussed in the news and she had nothing to show them. I asked myself if there was anything I could do and by the end of the journey the book was clear in my head. It’s a story which asks children from a safe, comfortable background to think about what it must be like to leave your home and make a journey into the unknown.” Klaus Flugge Prize Judge, Children’s Laureate Lauren Child says: “The questions My Name is Not Refugee asks us to consider help us to think ourselves into someone else’s shoes. And the illustrations do just what they should, allowing the reader time to contemplate the predicament of the storybook child, a chance to imagine and to empathize.”
A warm, funny picture book about a group of animals and their (not so) perfect day in the garden, from beloved author and illustrator Lane Smith. Whether basking in the warmth of the sun, nibbling on a fresh yellow corn-on-the-cob, or cooling off in a clear pool of water, it is a truly beautiful afternoon for all... what could possible go wrong?
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award This picture book from David Litchfield, author of the Waterstones-Prize winning The Bear and the Piano, is a GIANT story of belonging and friendship. This gentle story reminds us of the things and people that go unnoticed but have such a big impact on our busy lives. Through his delighted prose and beautiful illustrations David Litchfield has created another wonderful story perfect for sharing.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | With its dedication, ‘For a united world …’, Britta Teckentrup’s new picture book is a celebration of the things that bring us all together. ‘Wherever we are’ reads the text, ‘we live under the same sky, feel the same love, play the same games, and dream the same dreams’. These short lines are cleverly highlighted in peek-through shapes that link the different pages together and each spread depicts animal families across the world. Teckentrup’s textured collage style illustrations are extraordinarily beautiful and create a real sense of calm, togetherness and hope. With a vital message of unity and friendship, this is an important and moving book to share with children.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Join Grumpy Frog as he learns about compromise and tolerance, friendship and the power of saying sorry. A hilarious book with a twist in the tail about getting - and getting rid of - the grumps from New York Times best-selling author, Ed Vere. Lovereading Review to follow.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Quirky and inventive as ever, Viviane Schwarz brings her playful genius to the counting book. Tiny Cat goes from having no woolly red balls (‘None’ says the text opposite Tiny Cat looking wonderfully wide-eyed and surprised in the centre of bright white space), to one, two, three, more, about a dozen, lots, before he throws them all up in the air to pounce and play with them. It’s absolutely hilarious and Viviane Schwarz’s vibrant brush and ink illustrations give Tiny Cat a huge personality. A book to make you laugh each time you read it. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | What a wonderful book to give to a child. It’s one which will inspire a real interest in nature and the creatures that share our planet, as well as an appreciation of art and poetry. Nicola Davies shares her delight in animals in specially written poems, each of which is illustrated by Petr Horacek across dazzling double pages. Grouped by themes such as colours and shapes, or animals in action, creatures big and small are vividly brought to life, from the whale shark, ‘like a piece of fallen starry sky’ to a barn owl, ‘quiet as the floating moon’. The images are breath-taking, full of movement and colour; the poems too are varied and memorable, sometimes precise, sometimes ethereal. It’s a book that recipients will treasure into adulthood.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award In The Storm Whale in Winter Benji Davies creates a story of love and courage that is tender, touching and feels utterly true. As winter draws in Noi misses the little whale he befriended last summer; no matter how often he looks out to sea, there’s never any sign. But the storm whale returns when Noi needs him most, rescuing the little boy when he is stranded on the ice-bound sea. In a book of light and dark the contrast between cosy interiors and the snowstorm that rages outside is breath-taking, and there’s an extraordinary silent beauty to the underwater images of the whale family. The reunions - between boy and whale, and boy and his father - are heart-warming, and a final image joyfully unites them all. A book that deserves a place on every shelf. ~ Andrea Reece
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Julia Eccleshare's Book of the Month September 2016 Award-winning storyteller and artist Oliver Jeffers and typographic fine artist Sam Winston have created an extraordinarily adventurous and original picture book which, through words and pictures, takes children on a journey of discovery through some of the greatest literature of all time. The imaginative eponymous Child of Books floats across a sea of words made from words and lines from classic children’s book stories. It is a journey that recreates fairy tales, forests and monsters showing children the importance and power of their imagination in recreating them. A book to read again and again to glean all of its meaning. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for September 2016 A Poem for Every Night of the Year compliled by Allie Esiri Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes by Julia Donaldson A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston Beck by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff Tom's Midnight Garden Graphic Novel by Philippa Pearce and Edith Jinks and O'Hare Funfair Repair by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntryre
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award A party invitation is at the centre of this highly entertaining and amusing story. It states that guests must bring a hat, but it appears that there are more entry requirements too, and as the story goes on they become increasingly absurd. Kate Hindley is given some truly wonderful scenes to illustrate and rises to the challenge superbly. Characters featured include a monocle-sporting badger and elephant forced into a tutu. There’s lots to look at on every spread and the surprise ending will send everyone back to the beginning to check for details that might have been missed. Great fun! ~ Andrea Reece
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award June 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2017 In glorious illustrations about hats of all kinds Emily Gravett makes a deliciously simple joke about the folly of following fashion and the desirability of just being yourself. Harbet has a lovely warm hat which was knitted for him by his Nana. He feels good wearing it but when the others see it they all laugh at it for being Old Hat! Harbet tries to keep up with the changing fashions but he soon realises that he must be himself and adopt a ‘no hat’ policy! Suddenly, Harbet is the trend setter as no one can keep up with him! Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for June 2017 Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds by Horatio Clare Adventures of John Blake, The: Mystery of the Ghost Ship by Philip Pullman Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Ocean by Axel Scheffler Maisy Goes to the Bookshop by Lucy Cousins Tender Earth by Sita Brahmachari Old Hat by Emily Gravett The Cow Who Fell to Earth by Nadia Shireen
Pim and dog Tiddle went over a mountain, and found a rich market place. Pim asked a man, Please may I eat one of those beautiful fruits? What will you give me in return for the fruit? said the man. I haven't got anything, said Pim. There must be something that your people have that we don't, said a woman. Pim looked around. I think we have more happiness than you have, said Pim. Bring us some of that, then, said the man. But how can you bottle and transport happiness?
Winner of the UKLA 2018 Book Award 7-11 | This is an excellent book for young people who want to know what is happening in Syria and why – serious, thoughtful, sympathetic to the ordinary people caught up in the war; in a highly readable story it gives a real insight into their lives, and how quickly they have changed from something very similar to our own, to something incomprehensible. Readers meet Laird’s fictional Syrian family at the beginning of the civil war when life is good, particularly for her central character Omar, a young boy already dreaming of running his own business. But as protests against the government spiral into war, the family are forced from their house, then their country. Omar stays upbeat, even in their refugee camp where hope is in very short supply, a lively, reassuring narrator. Unlike his older brother, he’s not interested in the protests, just wants things to be back the way they were; though the book ends with Omar, his mother and sisters escaping the refugee camp, we know that their lives have changed forever.
Winner of the UKLA 2018 Book Award 7-11 | This is no ordinary animal book, you won’t find the usual suspects in its page, no tigers, pandas, bears here. Instead be prepared to be amazed by animals you’ve never heard of, from the Cuban solenodon (one of the few mammals with a poisonous bite) to the stinky but useful zorilla, aka Africa’s pongiest predator. Martin ‘Horrible Histories illustrator’ Brown celebrates a host of animals that deserve to be better know, in a book that offers a refreshingly different approach to natural history. Each page is packed with fascinating information, cleverly laid out with frequent jokes and cartoon asides adding to the fun. At the same time, there’s a serious message about the threat to these creatures from humans, and habitat loss.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Interest Age 8-12 | Full of magic, myth and a wonderful sense of family, and illustrated throughout with Jackie Morris’s beautiful, atmospheric paintings, this is perfect winter reading. Sol lives in Seattle with his dad but doesn’t feel he belongs, and when an Arctic Fox appears at the docks, he identifies with the small white creature, so alien, so wild. The arrival of the fox brings a change in Sol’s life, a return to the wild landscapes of Alaska and a place he can finally feel at home. Jackie Morris recognises perfectly the deep-seated importance to every one of us of wild creatures and wild landscapes, and this is a book to treasure.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Giraffe is bored, as usual. He’d love a friend to share things with. So he writes a letter and sends it as far as possible across the other side of the horizon. There he finds a pen pal—Penguin. Giraffe knows nothing about penguins and his letters are full of questions. What does a penguin look like? Where is a penguin’s neck? And so the letters begin to fly from horizon to horizon.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Detailed, ingenious and graphically beautiful this information book opens, as the best do, with an invitation to young readers to stop and wonder as they’re asked to think about what is going on beneath their feet. No ordinary book but a fold-out poster in book form, opening out the pages reveals a huge vertical panorama that takes us down through the different layers and right into the very core of the Earth. Friendly but information-rich text explains the features of the different layers, from the pipes and wires that support our civilisation to old bones, underground rivers, coal mines. The reverse side of the poster takes up back up through the magma, then seams of minerals, limestone, fossils and finally back into the light, this time countryside rather than city street. This beautiful book will expand readers’ knowledge and understanding and inspire them to think more about our planet.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Arthur is understandably surprised when Mr P turns up at his door expecting to stay: Mr P is a huge polar bear with small black eyes, and long sharp teeth. Fortunately for Arthur and his family Mr P is polite and friendly and his stay as a guest brings about all sorts of changes for the better. Having to look after him makes Arthur see things differently while Mr P’s uncritical, tolerant presence is a calming influence on Arthur’s brother Liam, who finds it difficult to act the way others do. This is all mixed up in a funny, often surreal story about the challenges of managing a polar bear at school, and with a sub-plot concerning a tense football match. Readers will be entertained as well as moved, and there’s depth beneath the humour. Readers who enjoy this story would like Lob by Linda Newbery, or The Last Polar Bears by Harry Horse.
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2018 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award March 2017 Debut of the Month In a sparely written but richly imaginative story, Chloe Daykin sensitively explores what it feels like to see the world just a bit differently. Billy loves the sea and uses swimming as a way of escaping the difficulties of his unwell mother. But his love of the sea also makes him the butt of his class mates’ jokes as it marks him out as different. Billy increasingly creates an alternative world for himself inspired in part by the lessons about animals that he has learnt from David Attenborough’s programmes. But when a new boy arrives in the class Billy finds someone who understands him. Fish Boy is a debut novel to savour. ~ Julia Eccleshare The Branford Boase Judges said : 'the friendship between two outsiders is very touching indeed’; ‘a unique internal voice beautifully described’; ‘interesting and surprising'.
'A perfect animal double-act.' (The Times, Book of the Week)'PEACE AND QUIET,' shouts Rabbit. 'THAT'S ALL I WANT.'Owch. He's hurt his own ears again.What with Bear's snoring, and a BANG!BANG!BANG! noise from up in the tree, Rabbit knows that Something Simply Has To Be Done.But high in the branches, perhaps Bear can show Rabbit how to see the world from a different place ...From novelist and playwright Julian Gough, and the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Jim Field, this is a tale of friendship, wisdom, and how to be REALLY NOISY.'Rabbit's Bad Habits is a breath of fresh air in children's fiction, a laugh-out-loud story of rabbit and wolf and bear, of avalanches and snowmen. The sort of story that makes you want to send your children to bed early, so you can read it to them.' Neil Gaiman
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award In a nutshell: the unbeatable power of the imagination | Piers Torday’s beautifully written book is an extraordinary allegory, a story of courage and love, and of the life-affirming importance of stories. It’s Christmas Eve and Mouse, his sisters and mum are driving across the snowy moors to his grandparents’ house when their car plunges off the road. Thrown clear Mouse begins a journey for help, but as a knight in one of the fantasy stories that mean so much to him in real life. It’s an epic journey too, full of strange characters, friends and enemies alike, and despite the dreamlike atmosphere the reader is never in any doubt as to how dangerous it is, or how much depends on Mouse reaching the castle. Not many books change readers’ views of the world, this might be one of them. ~ Andrea Reece
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2017 Gill Lewis’s A Story Like the Wind, a powerful and lyrical story about contemporary refugees, is fuelled by an ancient tale which tells how throughout history music has crossed barriers and bound people together encouraging them to stand up to oppression and injustice. Rami has nothing but his violin as he sets off on a terrifying journey to try to find safety. Starving and thirsty he takes nothing from his fellow travellers as he has nothing to share. Why did you not sell your violin, they ask? With his violin as an accompaniment Rami swiftly demonstrates why; his inspiring story of freedom from long, long ago unites his fellow refugees and stirs them all to believe in their journey and their hope of a better life.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | A sequel to the award winning Aubery and the Terrible Yoot, Horatio Clare tells an entertaining new story about his hero Aubery, who this time wants to get away from his parents’ fighting – and gets involved in trying to save the world while he is about it. Aubery’s special gift is that he can talk to animals and understand everything that they say so, when a spider invites him to help her save the world, he sets off on an amazing adventure across time and space. From the animals Aubrey learns much about relationships the vagaries of and about how everyone must share if the world is to be a better place.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2017 - Best Books with Facts The authors of this very entertaining book claim that there’s no better way to learn about the world than through football. Hence it is divided into ‘lessons’ – biology, history, physics etc – each of which is packed with fascinating football related information. Business studies looks at footballers’ wages, why they’re paid so much, and where the money comes from; zoology considers famous club mascots; drama looks at goal celebrations ( the Oscar goes to the Icelandic team of Stjarnan and it’s well worth googling them to see why). There are lots of diagrams and cartoon illustrations throughout too and as a football/trivia/information book this is really hard to beat. ~ Andrea Reece
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award May 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2017 Award-winning David Almond’s new story for younger reader is a delightfully lightly told, warm-hearted story perfect for all those who are willing believe in a little bit of something special. When a little angel turns up in Bert’s pocket as he drives the bus all kinds of remarkable things begin to happen. Bert takes Angelino home to Betty and he brings great happiness into their lives. When Betty takes Angelino to school he delights the children too. Only the acting Head Teacher Mrs Mole, her horrible side-kick Professor Smellie and the imposter of a school inspector are untouched by his magical qualities. But who is Angelino? David Almond inspires readers’ imagination and raises questions about definitions of good and bad. It is a Wonderful book. ~ Julia Eccleshare. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for May 2017 The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue King of the Sky by Nicoloa Davies A Story Like the Wind by Gill Lewis King Coo by Adam Stower The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman The Big Bird Spot by Matt Sewell
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award January 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: invisible girl finds herself in the spotlight | Ross Welford is making a habit of putting his characters in unusual situations: the star of his prize-shortlisted debut went time travelling, while Ethel, his new central character, unexpectedly becomes invisible, thanks to a mysterious Chinese herbal medicine and a second hand sun bed. Welford properly examines the impact of this invisibility on Ethel and, with one notable exception, the story is low on practical jokes, and high on the terrifying prospect of never being seen again. Ethel has other things to deal with too, including untangling family secrets to discover who she really is. In all this, she’s helped by new friend the irrepressible Boydy, who is determined to turn a spotlight on the situation – literally. Funny, touching and thoroughly original, Welford crafts another absorbing real-life adventure out of an extraordinary set-up. ~ Andrea Reece
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award A Julia Eccleshare Book of the Month November 2016 Award-winning A.F. Harrold blends reality and imagination in a moving and thought-provoking story about friendship, loneliness and being brave when things are difficult. Bullied at school and unsupported at home, Frank makes an unusual friendship with Nick, the weird boy in her class who everyone else shuns. After Nick rescues Frank from the bullies, she goes round to his house where she discovers something very unusual. What should Frank believe about what she sees? And should she keep Nick’s secret? Levi Penfold’s illustrations add to the illusory feel of this story that tests imagination and belief and leaves the reader wondering. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for November 2016 The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold and Levi Pinfold Murder in Midwinter by Fleur Hitchcock Winnie and Wilbur Meet Santa by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul Rover and the Big Fat Baby by Roddy Doyle and Chris Judge Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith The Giant's Necklace by Michael Morpurgo and Briony May Smith
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2017 - Best Story In a nutshell: rabbit heroes | rabbit villains | magic and heroism | ‘Stories aren’t all about fighting and revenge. You have to have a bit of character development. Some suspense, some atmosphere’. So says the bard telling the story of rabbit hero Podkin One-Ear, and his tale certainly has all those things. Podkin is son of the chieftain of the Munbury warren but forced to flee with his baby brother and capable big sister Paz when their home is invaded by the terrifiying Gorm, iron-clad monster rabbits turned evil by greed and enchantment. The story of how their little band grows to start the fight back against the Gorm is full of magic, narrow escapes and heroic deeds. Written in a very engaging style, regular breaks when the bard discusses the story with his audience both building and easing tension, this is a great bit of storytelling. Readers will hope for more adventures for Podkin and Paz. For more stories of animals fighting evil see Brian Jacques’s Redwall series or Robin Jarvis’s equally thrilling Deptford Mice books. ~ Andrea Reece On his Blue Peter win, Kieran Larwood said: “I am hugely excited to have won the Blue Peter Book Award. It is such an honour, especially as I grew up watching Blue Peter, and the fact that it was voted for by children makes it all the more amazing.”
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Moira Young puts her own spin on the Christmas film classic It’s a Wonderful Life in this delightful story of friendship and redemption. Young Davy David is an orphan living in a den near the graveyard in a dead-end town. Despite the hardships of his life, he’s cheerful, kind and generous. He likes to draw angels in the sand, inspired by the pictures in his favourite book in the town’s library. It’s because of his poverty, kindness and closeness to angels that he ends up driving the elderly Miss Flint to her old home to die. Just as in the film, an angel intervenes in their journey to help Davy and Lizzy Flint find what they need. Miraculous, without straining credulity, heart-warming without ever being sentimental, this comic adventure story is its own kind of wonderful. ~ Andrea Reece
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Shortlisted for the 2018 Blue Peter Awards - Best Story | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Kiran Millwood Hargrave follows up her award-winning debut The Girl of Ink and Stars with a story set in the real world, though one still filled with a sense of wonder and the extraordinary. Set in the Philippines at the beginning of the last century it tells the story of a girl forcibly removed from her mother, as many were, because her mother has leprosy, or as those with the disease preferred, is touched. With the help of her friends Ami makes her way back to her mother and it’s a story of love, courage and hope, all of these symbolised by the butterflies that fill the pages and that are so important to the story. It’s passionately told, full of memorable scenes and characters, and the writing is beautiful.
Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2018 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2017 A gripping debut middle-grade story skilfully told by debut novelist Lisa Thompson. Trapped indoors by his obsessive fears of germs and much else Matthew watches his neighbours’ lives and details their every move. That’s why he’s the person who knows when toddler Teddy was last seen in his grandfather’s garden. When Teddy goes missing is it Matthew who holds the answer that everyone is seeking? Alongside the detective drama in the background, Lisa Thompson is also insightful about Matthew’s crippling anxieties and how they resolve. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for January 2017 The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson The Crayons’ Book of Numbers by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers The Crayons’ Book of Colours by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers Jim by Hilaire Belloc and Mini Grey His Royal Whiskers by Sam Gayton
Winner of the UKLA 2018 Book Award | January 2018 Book of the Month | Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan are two of our most garlanded YA authors: she won the 2016 Carnegie Medal, the UK’s top children’s book award; he has just been awarded the 2016 Costa Children’s Book Award. In this fine and extremely moving novel, they share the writing honours. The narrative is split between two young protagonists, English Jess, whose lines are written by Crossan, and Nicu, newly arrived from Romania, voiced by Conaghan. The two meet on a programme for young offenders and secretly, necessarily without the knowledge of friends and family, become close. We suspect it’s unlikely things will end well for these star-cross’d lovers but the authors keep us hoping for the happy ending we want for them and to the very last page. Nicu’s narrative in particular lightens the tone, sharp and often funny, his interior monologues disarmingly honest. The authors have chosen to write in blank verse, and it strips setting and emotions to the absolute essence, succinctly creating the dull North London streets, and distilling the characters’ experiences and emotions into spare, shining lines. Highly recommended.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | A brilliantly funny take on fairytales and quests. Lovereading comment to follow. Garth Nix said: “Frogkisser! is one of those novels that just bubble out of the imagination and demand to be written all at once and won’t permit anything else to get in the way. I am delighted that my various publishers have all responded to the book with as much exuberance as I felt while I was writing it.”
One of our Books of the Year 2017 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award May 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: beautifully written, totally original, mesmerising storytelling | In the summer of 1727 a group of men and boys, there to harvest birds and eggs, were stranded on Warrior Stac, a pinnacle of rock that pitches out of the Atlantic, ‘as black and fearful as one horn of the Devil himself’. It was nine months before anyone came to collect them. Geraldine McCaughrean has taken these bare facts and imagined the story of those terrible months and the characters of those who endured them. Yes, it’s a mesmerising story of survival, but McCaughrean takes it in different and surprising ways too and, both terrifying and full of dark comedy, it becomes an elemental story of love and faith; of myth and imagination. Indeed, in the hands of one of our very finest writers this bleak, isolated rock becomes a microcosm for the whole world and all its stories. Unmissable. Readers should also seek out Geraldine McCaughrean’s novels The White Darkness and The Stones are Hatching and will also enjoy David Almond’s A Song for Ella Grey. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | A thought-fuelling thriller set in a gang-run neighbourhood near the border of Mexico and El Norte (America). The writing is poetically punchy. Exquisitely formed sentences are fired-off in smarting succession, and the juxtaposition of contemporary totems like Burger King buildings with the likes of folk saint shrines is smartly done. This is a richly layered novel in which important socio-political issues (gangs, poverty, corruption, migration, social divisions and dissonance) are made potently real through Arturo and Faustino’s predicaments. And alongside the enlightening Mexico-specific context, there’s much that is universal: friendship, loyalty, and searching for a sense of purpose. As paternal figure Siggy tells Arturo, “You just have to find out what it is you’re looking for.” Pacey and passionate, this truly exceptional book tells a tale that truly needs to be heard.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Alpha hopes that his wife and little son are in Paris and he’s desperate to see them. Denied a visa to travel he must make the long, long journey from his home in the Cote D’Ivoire to Europe as an illegal immigrant, or as he says ‘adventurer’. The story is told through striking images, mostly black and white, colour is used sparingly; sophisticated yet childlike too they vividly depict the people and places of his journey and each one has the power to bring the reader up short. The text too equally demands and holds our attention. Though this is very much one man’s journey it’s one undertaken by many thousands of others and, as Michael Morpurgo says in his introduction, it’s a story we all need to hear and to understand.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | April 2018 Book of the Month | | An utterly absorbing novel based on the real-life phenomenon of a group of Zimbabwean schoolchildren claiming to have experienced an extra-terrestrial encounter. With over fifty children asserting that they saw the same spaceship, and the same evil-eyed aliens, American psychiatrists have come to investigate. It could be a form of mass hysteria, but why are all the accounts and depictions so completely identical? How could so many kids tell the exact same lie for so long, and why would they lie? Alongside being gripped by the uniquely mysterious event at the heart of the novel, I was bowled over by the author’s mastery of multiple narratives. The intertwined lives of six young people affected by the encounter are explored in all their brutal complexities, and the novel’s real-life origins will surely draw in more reluctant readers. Magnetic, haunting, and richly rewarding.
Jack has left his native Ireland and is making a new life as Professor of Neurology at a university in the American South. He has certain skills, honed over his lifetime, that he mostly keeps hidden. Skills in hypnotism and mind control . . . Thirteen-year-old Pip is plucked out of an orphanage by a farmer, hired as a farm-hand, and as carer for the farmer's wife. But Pip is black. The farmer and his wife are white. And this is 1960s America, where race defines you and overshadows everything. As racial tensions reach boiling point with a danger closer to home and more terrifying than either thought possible, Jack and Pip's lives become inextricably linked. And Jack's hypnotic skills are called on as never before . . .
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award In a nutshell: dazzling journeys into other worlds | Philip Reeve continues to turn us all into railheads in his glorious new sci-fi adventure. The follow up to Railhead, this is set in a gleaming future world where trains, great, beautiful sentient machines, travel from one world to the next. It’s a thrilling adventure and political thriller too, with a cast of young exiles, outsiders and rebels – petty thief Zen Starling, his friend the android Nova, ousted empress Threnody and the tough, disillusioned Chandni. Romance is never far away either, not least the romance of travelling on beyond the sunset. Full of scenes and images that bring you up short, and driven by an unstoppable plotline, this is epic, dazzling stuff. You could point readers who enjoy this towards H G Wells or Ray Bradbury. ~ Andrea Reece
Annabelle has lived in Wolf Hollow all her life: a quiet place, still scarred by two world wars. But when cruel, manipulative Betty arrives in town, Annabelle's calm world is shattered, along with everything she's ever known about right and wrong. When Betty disappears, suspicion falls on strange, gentle loner Toby. As Wolf Hollow turns against him, and tensions quickly mount, Annabelle must do everything in her power to protect Toby - and to find Betty, before it is too late.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award In a Nutshell: Loss, friendship and the light of re-finding your way | An exceptional novel about grief, guilt and finding solace in celebrating loved ones’ lives. I adored the author’s haunting southern gothic-spiced debut (The Serpent King), and the same exquisite storytelling shines through here from the opening pages, when seventeen-year-old Carver reveals that his three best friends, Mars, Blake and Eli, were killed in a car crash as the driver, Mars, replied to Carver’s text. Collectively, they were the “Sauce Crew”, four creative teenagers with exciting futures on their near horizons, but now three lives have been cut short, and it feels to Carver as if his life is over too. He’s shattered by grief, and then a criminal investigation into the accident exacerbates his turmoil. But there’s hope to be had from the special memorial days suggested by Blake’s adorable, wise Nana Betsy. The characterisation is masterful, blending painterly personal detail with broader strokes that lay universalities bare, and the writing expresses emotional rawness - the choke of Carver's panic attacks, the blinding thunderstorm of his nightmares - with a powerful punch. Jeff Zentner is the real deal. ~ Joanne Owen
Awarded the Amnesty CILIP Honour commendation from the Carnegie shortlist 2018 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | April 2017 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Fighting for Justice | Black Lives Matter | Stunning, vital wake-up call of a novel about racism, social inequality and not giving up told through the eyes of an incredible, unforgettable sixteen-year-old. Starr straddles two very different worlds. She has one foot in Garden Heights, a rough neighbourhood ruled by gangs, guns and dealers, and the other in an exclusive school with an overwhelmingly wealthy white student population. One night she’s at a party when gunshots are fired and Khalil, her friend since childhood, takes her to his car for safety. Khalil is unarmed and poses no threat, but he’s shot dead by an officer right in front of her. It will take a lot of courage to speak to the police, and to face the media who choose to highlight that Khalil was a “suspected drug dealer”, while omitting to mention that he was unarmed. But, with their neighbourhood under curfew and a tank on the streets, Starr risks going public. Danger escalates as the hearing approaches (and beyond), but Starr isn’t about to give up fighting for Khalil, and for what’s right. Alongside the intense struggles and conflicts faced by Starr’s family and community, there are some truly heart-melting moments between Starr and her white boyfriend Chris (their shared love of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air is super cute), and also between Starr and her parents. Complex, gripping, stirring and so, so important – I can’t recommend this remarkable debut enough. ~ Joanne Owen
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award March 2017 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: how to hope for the best even when you’ve been through the worst | Susin Nielsen puts her protagonists through the most terrible situations, but always manages to keep the tone of her novels light, positive and ultimately uplifting. Teenager Petula’s little sister died in tragic circumstances and the effect on the family has been shattering: her parents are both coping in their own way, but growing further apart, while Petula sees danger and threats in everything. Because of her terrible anxiety she’s been signed up to a youth art therapy group which is where she meets Jacob. Jacob has his own tragedy to deal with, but his arrival changes the dynamics of the group and helps all the different members to move on in one way or another. He and Petula become a couple, but there’s a growing realisation for her and readers that he’s not been completely honest. Readers will be gripped by Petula’s story and the way she tells it; Nielsen gives her a totally authentic teen voice, loaded with cynicism, sarcasm, humour and flashes of hope. Recommended for readers who enjoy Nielsen’s poignant, sensitive novels is I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloane. ~ Andrea Reece *** Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Take the quiz & find out! OptimistsQuiz.com
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 and awarded the Amnesty CILIP Honour | Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2016. | A heartfelt, harrowing insight into life as a Rohingya refugee in an Australian detention centre, told through the unforgettable voice of an unforgettable boy. Subhi is one of the Limbo kids in a permanent Australian detention centre, the first to be born in the camp after his Maá and big sister Queeny fled violent persecution in Burma. While he’s only experienced life within the cruel confines of the camp, Subhi’s rich imagination has conjured a magical, solace-giving world in which the Night Sea from his Maá’s tales brings him treasures from his dad. Stories are Subhi’s lifeline. He needs them “to make my memories” and imagines a blanket of stories, a “gigantic blanket big enough to warm everyone”. A new story treasure transforms Subhi’s world in the form of Jimmie, a local girl who finds her way into the camp. She too knows heartache. She’s lost her mum, who used to tell her special tales and gave her a bone sparrow necklace that “carried the souls of all her family”. When Jimmie enters Subhi’s life, he wonders if she’s his guardian angel, though he hadn't expected an angel to have more holes in her clothes than him. And, on meeting Subhi, Jimmie realises that she’s “never had a friend she wanted to share everything with before”, and so she shares her mum’s stories with him, stories he reads to her since she’s unable to read them herself. Subhi's unique voice will weave its way into your heart and under your skin. His descriptions of life in the centre are hauntingly evocative. You feel, for example, the heat of days that get his “skin creeping” and make everything “jangly and loud and scratchy”. Through Subhi, readers experience how it might feel to have no home or voice, and how friendship can lighten the darkest of circumstances. One hopes, as Subhi’s Maá says, that “someday they see we belong.” Both elegant and raw, this is an important and timely novel that bears witness to the risks people take to make their voice heard, and to the resilience of the human spirit.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award In a nutshell: Dances | Dreams | Determination Younger sister of Lizzy and Jane, Lydia Bennet is one of literature’s great catalysts. Her actions are fundamental to the story of Pride and Prejudice, but there we never learn exactly what lead up to her shocking elopement with Wickham. Natasha Farrant fills in those gaps, drawing Lydia as impetuous, bold, determined, a breathing teenage girl, much more likeable than she’s allowed to be in Austen’s novel. She gives Lydia some 21st century sensibilities, showing her frustrated by society’s constraints on women and dreaming of escape and independence. Her relationship with her sisters is warmly and wittily described, as is her relationship with Wickham – they are surprisingly honest with each other, and he is much more sympathetic as a result. In fact this story is full of surprises, a fresh, sharp but faithful reimagining it will delight readers, whether they know the original or not. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of passion from Publisher, Barry Cunningham It’s no secret that Pride and Prejudice has captured the hearts of readers for centuries. But what’s been under wraps, until now, is the life and voice of one of its more minor characters – Lydia, the youngest Bennet sister – who’s anything but minor in this funny and fresh reimagining of the beloved novel.Lydia is spirited, witty and independent – a modern girl before her time. Through her diary entries and letters, we see a young woman trying to break free, trying to get what she wants, but who just . . . CAN’T. But there’s romance and adventure on her horizon, and with it a life that she would have never thought possible. Not to be too Austentatious, but I think there’s a lot of Lydia in me. The author has told me she thinks there’s a lot of Wickham in her. And I KNOW that readers will love seeing themselves in these much-loved characters . . . brought to life in the modern age in a way like never before.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Winner of the YA Book Prize 2017 | Winner of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017, Older Fiction category | Shortlisted for Best Crime Novel for Young Adults, CrimeFest Gala Awards 2017 | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children's Book category, 2016 | A young man has an impossible choice to make, in this powerful coming of age urban thriller. The action is uncompromising and powerful, yet punctuated by moments of extraordinary tenderness and it will challenge preconceptions and melt the hardest heart.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: brilliantly told story inspired by real life events A story of a daring escape made by two slaves, a young woman and her husband, provides the inspiration for Tanya Landman’s story. Rosa and Benjamin meet, fall in love and marry but because they are slaves, their lives are not their own. When Rosa discovers she is pregnant – and confesses to her husband that the child might be her master’s – they decide to run. Rosa is so fair skinned that even Benjamin mistook her for a white at first, so they decide to disguise themselves as a white master and his ‘boy’. Their escape is full of drama and tension, but what will shock young readers is the casual brutality and hateful self-justification of the white slave owners Rosa encounters. It’s a story that makes you doubt humanity, while also celebrating individual courage and resilience. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+. 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.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month | February 2017 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 Mikey thinks the world of his Dad even though he doesn’t see him that often. And when he dies suddenly, Mikey is left with nothing to remember him by except a few fleeting memories of his amazing ability to imitate any voice. With nothing to hang on to, Mikey starts to fall apart. His best mate knows that he must do something to save him and that means finding someone or something that can bring the two together. The search is bleak and dangerous – Mikey’s dad had few friends and many enemies - but the end is triumphant! Phil Earle has created a moving and meaningful story which captures the irreplaceable importance of friendship. ~ Julia Eccleshare A Piece of Passion from Barrington Stoke MD Mairi Kidd: “When Phil first told me the plot of Mind The Gap I had goosebumps. There’s a real power and urgency to Phil’s writing for young adults, and I love that he has taken a touching true story of love and remembrance and fused it with something very raw – an account of terrible grief experienced by a young man who doesn’t really know how to express or process it, and a friend who desperately wants to help. It’s a hugely emotional story, told sparsely and brilliantly.” Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic teen readers. 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. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for February 2017 Young Magicians and the Thieves' Almanac by Nick Mohammed A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins Mind the Gap by Phil Earle The Bolds on Holiday by Julian Clary The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling by Timothy Basil Ering The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
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 winning book in the 12 to 16+ category is We Come Apart written by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan. Published by Bloomsbury. Judges were impressed by the ‘free verse which allowed the characters to come alive’ and enabled the ‘dialogue to read convincingly’
Joint winner in the 7-11 category is Welcome to Nowhere written by Elizabeth Laird and illustrated by Lucy Eldridge. Published by Macmillan.
Judges were impressed by the way it showed children how very ordinary lives can be affected by extraordinary circumstances ‘a tale that needs to be told’.
Joint winner in the 7-11 category is Lesser Spotted Animals written and illustrated by Martin Brown Published by David Fickling Books. Judges celebrated the ‘deep learning by stealth’ which this ‘superb model of an informational text’ encouraged.
The winning book for the 3 to 6 category Colin and Lee Carrot and Pea written and illustrated by Morag Hood. Published by Two Hoots. Judges commented ‘Very simple, very funny yet with pathos, very cleverly written to develop empathy and show the key values of friendship’.
Chair of The UKLA Selection Panel, Lynda Graham says: “the quality of submissions this year was of a particularly high standard 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 in their schools”
This year the judges for these unique book awards were teachers from Wales. They read the longlisted books, shared them with pupils and discussed them with their group leaders. Then they had the difficult task of choosing their shortlist of six books in each category.
All the winners, shortlisted and longlisted books are shown in this special category and we have exclusive extracts available right here for many of the titles.
The winners were announced on July 6th at the 2018 UKLA International Conference in Cardiff.
Click here to view the winners and shortlisted titles for 2017.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.