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2013 was a fantastic year for children's publishing. So many amazing books were published it’s quite possible even the most dedicated of parents missed a few. Below are favourites chosen by our book experts. Just click on the age range you are interested in.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & July 2013 Book of the Month A sun drenched and poignant new story from the best-selling US novelist captures one long, last, high school summer vacation for Emaline in her small home town by the sea. Everything is planned for; Emaline will be doing her job, hanging out with friends and, above all, spending time with her boyfriend Luke before they move onto college. But all plans change when Theo, a young student working on a film about a reclusive local artist, arrives. Suddenly Emaline has a lot of choices to make and she has to decide what and who really matter to her. A touching story about growing up and knowing when old loyalties matter most. ~ Julia Eccleshare A Piece of Passion by Gemma Green, Marketing Mangager, Penguin Children's Fiction. So why read Sarah’s books over any others in this genre? Easy. She gets it – the characters, settings and plots all feel completely real and a part of your life. The protagonist becomes your best friend, her hopes, dreams and loves become yours – and finishing a Sarah Dessen book leaves you feeling a bit bereft, like the best summer holiday coming to an end. Sarah’s got a huge legion of loyal fans and followers, and it’s easy to see why. As we say here at Penguin, read her once and fall in love. It’s true – try The Moon and More and see what we mean!
Winner of the UKLA Award 2015 in the 3-6 years category. Award-winning Oliver Jeffers and Drew Daywalt’s highly-entertaining new book means that colouring will never be the same again! When Duncan goes to take out his crayons one day he finds a stack of letters inside. Every crayon has something to say. The red crayon complains he is used too much – too many things such as fire engines and strawberries are red; the purple crayon is a neat minded soul and hates it that so much of Duncan’s drawing goes outside the lines; the black crayon hates just to be used for outlines – and so on! Saddest of all, the peach crayon has lost his wrapping – how can he come out of the box naked? In an attempt to satisfy them all, Duncan does a final drawing. Overall, a brilliant book for every age to enjoy. ~ Julia Eccleshare Winner of the Red House Children's Book of 2015. Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 A debut picture book from an exciting new picture book talent all about an adorable little puppy, one stick, and his quest for a friend! A riot of colour frames this hilarious story, without saying very much at all - in fact there are only six words in the whole book - in order for this little puppy to find someone who understands you. Stick! is the perfect book for children who are just beginning to read words and pictures together. It wonderfully captures that feeling of inordinate excitement and Look! Play! Play With Me! when children have a new toy.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 - November 2013 Book of the Month Best selling author and TV star David Walliams has a gift for great jokes. There’s a ring at the door and Sam finds an elephant demanding admittance. Sam does not want the outsize intruder in his house but it turns out that in signing up to adopt an elephant he has agreed to that elephant living with him! Feeding, washing, and entertaining his new house guest is a nightmare. When the doorbell rings again Sam finds his nightmare has just got worse! A Piece of Passion from Ann-Janine Murtagh, HarperCollins Children’s Books Publisher The Slightly Annoying Elephant has all the hallmarks of David's phenomenal success with a text that is bursting with fun and laughter. His creative partnership with the inimitable Tony Ross blossoms into glorious technicolor in a book where words and pictures dance off the page. Families everywhere love David Walliams - and loyal fans of his novels will be delighted to discover that there is now the perfect book to share with younger brothers and sisters."
One of our Books of the Year 2013 A joy of a book for its simplicity and vigour. When a mum and her little boy miss the bus there follows a journey in a queue of all kinds of vehicles of every different colour. Follow the red car, yellow car, red bus, blue bus and more as they travel through an ever changing landscape in this wonderful road adventure.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 A delightful farming story – with a difference! Like all farmers, this farmer is busy all day long – feeding the animals, cleaning up after them and even cleaning them. That’s a pretty big job as the animals in question are …Dinosaurs! Wonderful illustrations make the idea of a dinosaur farm a reality.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 - January 2013 Picture Book of the Month Bright images offer loads to look at for young readers to think about the shape of all the things around them in the world. Birds have a shape and so does food. But what about love? Speculation about the very special shape and look of love leads to a touching and deeply reassuring conclusion.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 - November 2013 Book of the Month This rabbit, that rabbit...fat rabbit, flat rabbit - this is a book starring two fabulous rabbits. (And an armadillo!). A great way to introduce simple word play to young children to encourage early literacy.
Longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013 Cat lovers everywhere will relish this beauty of a book. Jill Barton’s glorious large scale illustrations capture the different moods of this changeable feline star. Good cat or bad cat? Joyce Dunbar’s lyrical and rhythmic text beautifully describes the many kinds of cat within the one creature. Entertaining and thoughtful, this is a book to enjoy again and again.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 of 2013 & September 2013 Book of the Month Prize-winning author Peter Bently tells a rollickingly good story in this saga of a shopping trip with a difference. Simon the squirrel is sent down to the shops by his mother to get a few things - including cheese. But when Simon decides that the moon would provide the best cheese he takes off on a bold trip to go shopping on the moon! Ebullient rhyming couplets capture the roller-coaster shopping trip with a difference.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 Best-selling Jane Hissey creates a joyful story of imaginative play as three delightful, soft toy friends dress up as a number of different characters. Blanket the horse decides to be a unicorn, Blue the rabbit becomes a princess but, what about Ruby, the cheery little mouse? Should she be a cowboy? A pirate? A mermaid? Or a ghost? Jane Hissey’s beautifully observed illustrations brings each character to life perfectly.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 Snail Trail introduces very young children to the magical world of modern art using delightful rhyming text. Written by an art historian, art concepts are introduced in an accessible and appealing way using the works of modern artists including Pollock, Matisse and Dali.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & shortlisted for the National Book Tokens Children’s Book of the Year 2012 ‘Pants ahoy!’ in this hilarious new adventure by the best-selling author /illustrator duo of Aliens Love Underpants. Armed with a map, the pirate captain and his crew are off to search for the elusive Pants of Gold which are known to be buried on a far-away island. But someone has got there first! Will cutting the knicker elastic be enough to save the day? Yo ho ho, and it will! The Pants of Gold are a super- prize…..as is this delightful addition to the underpants series.
Longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013 - April 2013 Book of the Month Possibly destined to be THE TOP PICTURE BOOK of 2013. Bestselling Lemony Snicket gives an original, delightful and empowering take on the familiar theme of being scared of the dark. Laszlo is afraid of the dark. He knows that the dark lives in the same house as him but luckily they don’t usually share the same space in the house. One day, Laszlo goes looking for the dark. It’s a scary journey of discovery. Down in the basement he and the Dark have an interesting conversation; the Dark explains why he is so necessary. It is a great explanation and Laszlo finds he never has to be frightened again. Jon Klassen’s illustrations are a perfect match for this outstanding picture book. This is a stand-out picture book unlike any other this year. ................................................................ In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Dark a small number of parents and their children were lucky enough to be invited to read and review this title. Here's a taster....'I liked everything in the book. I want to read it again after lunch!'.... Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age 5-8+ Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman tells a laugh-out-load story in this babysitting tale with a difference. When Mike pops round to see his friends Alex he discovers that Alex is a Gris-kwok – he can turn into any animals he chooses. The trouble is, his sister Polly is one too. And Alex and Mike are babysitting Polly! One disaster follows another and Mike wonders whether everything will ever get back to normal! Particularly suitable for 5-8s with reading age of 6+ ------------------------------------------------- In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for My Friend's a Gris-Kwok a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'The book is about two boys that are friends called Mike and Alex...Alex's family are Gris-Kwoks (they can change onto animals). Mike doesn't know their secret!!!!I give it 1000 stars.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age 5-8 A wonderful adventure which captures the importance of children finding a place of their own – and having secrets! When three children shelter in the rain in a pill-box abandoned after World War Two they decide to take it over as a secret camp. It belongs to the local farmer and they have to be very careful to keep right out of his way! Setting it up, enjoying their own space and not getting caught provide all the excitement they need but things get almost too dangerous when other boys discover their secret and try to spoil it. Particularly suitable for 5-8s with a reading age of 6. Michael Morpurgo adapted The Castle in the Field especially for the Little Gems series from his first collections of stories to be published called It Never Rained. Have a look at his other Little Gem title, Snug. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Castle in the Field a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'I would recommend this story to other children around my age who find reading tricky.' - Toby Goodall. Scroll down to read the full review...
One of our Books of the Year 2013 A dog barking, a cat meowing, a baby screaming – all of these are set off in a chain reaction when the little old lady who lives at the bottom of the house goes clump, clump, clump across the floor. Young readers will love to join in this exuberant celebration of the noises of everyday life as they run up ands down a tall terraced house.
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age 5-8 Reading Age 6+ Best-selling Eoin Colfer’s Mary knows better than most about a bad hair day. Her hair is bad every day! Determined to improve on her horrible curly mop Mary takes matters into her own hands. Literally! The results are disastrous and Mum says she is never to cut her hair again. But Mum didn’t say she couldn’t dye it or perm it! Mary’s battle with her hair and the crafty solutions to her problems are hilarious. About the Little Gems series: Little Gems are in a gorgeous new chunky format, with high-spec production including coloured endpapers and jacketed flaps with activities. Additional features include high quality cream paper, Barrington Stoke font and illustrations on every page. They are perfect for 5-8's and with a reading age of 6+, these quality stories promote good reading practice for all newly independent readers. They are also suited to children of 7-10, reading below this leve and to dyslexic or reluctant readers.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & April 2013 Debut of the Month Fans of The Wimpy Kid will love this delightfully disgusting and dangerous story about what happens when Joe sets out to buy some chips from McGreasy’s takeaway. Instead of finding the takeaway, Joe meets a monster looking for someone to help him in his café and from then on food becomes something completely different. With a menu featuring Vomitburger and Chips, Flattened Frog Fritterers and Chips and more, Joe soon realises that he needs to keep his wits about him if he is going to stay safe – and off the table! ---------------------------------------- In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Monster and Chips a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. One of our reviewers, Evie was thrilled to find the Monster and Chips review she wrote printed inside the sequel, Night of the Living Bread, she bought last week! Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2013 The clever reformed cat-burglar turned detective cat Atticus Grammaticus Cattypus Claw is back for a delightfully witty new adventure. This time, Atticus Claw gets involved in an adventure that takes him on some wild travels to find a very special Egyptian book that has been stolen from the British Museum. Can Atticus keep his cool and stay ahead of the dastardly criminals? Atticus Claws’ adventures are very funny indeed!
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 7 Award-winning Anne Fine takes a subtle look at what bravery really is in this touching story about a boy who has only one ambition in life: to join the Army. Tom struggles with learning at school but he knows that he must pass the tests in reading and writing if he is to achieve his lifelong ambition of becoming a soldier. When his home life is thrown into confusion by the arrival of triplets Milly, Tilly and Gilly, Tom, helped by his very good friend Gary, has to take drastic action to continue to achieve. And Gary really rates him for it. You have to be very brave indeed to wear some of the outfits Tom is forced into! Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 8+
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & May 2013 Book of the Month A comic strip comes to life with the help of some magic ink... a hilarious adventure that could only have come from the madcap mind of Mr Steve Cole, bestselling author of Astrosaurs, Cows in Action and Slime Squad! No child aged 7 or 8+ can fail to be hooked by the mind-blowing madness that ensues when Stewart's artwork gets out of hand!
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & January 2013 Debut of the Month Originally self-published as an e-book, Stick Dog has been a bestseller in the US throughout 2011 and is now published in the UK. With hilarious illustrations and pitch-perfect humour which appeals to both child and adult, this adorable four-legged hero and his quest for a delicious dinner is destined to be Top Dog.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & March 2013 Debut of the Month A Piece of Passion from the Editor, Sara O'Connor - The Great Galloon immediately made me want to grab a mop and fight alongside the comical crew. With plenty of adventures and "goodnight points" instead of chapters, I defy you not to be completely charmed by this whimsical story and its wonderful illustrations. The Great Galloon is a flying airship which combines the remarkable gadgetry of the flying galleon in the film Stardust, with the humour and action of Pirates of the Caribbean. This rollicking piratical read whisks the reader through the air and on a voyage of adventure, peopled by characters such as Stanley, a clever boy with a small horn, and Rasmussen, a reluctant countess-to-be. ......................................... In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Great Galloon a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title...'If you love books with pirates, action and adventure then go to the shops today to get your hands on a copy of 'The Great Galloon.' Scroll down to read their reviews...
Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013 - Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2013 - August 2013 Debut of the Month One boy and one dag embark on a seriously silly adventure to the very heart of the Forbidden Lands. For Alex, it’s a welcome escape from Cloisters Boarding School for Boys where Matthew is the only other person as mad as he is – and he is the Headmaster! As the son of one of the world’s most famous explorers Alex knows something about what he is doing but even so, having left the known world even he has no idea what is in store. He certainly never imagined anything quite as wild as what he finds! A laugh-out-loud story of impossibles and impropbables! __________________________________ The Costa Book Awards honour some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. The full shortlist for the Children's Book Award is... Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door by Ross Montgomery. The Hanged Man Rises by Sarah Naughton Goth Girl: and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein Keep up to date with the Costa Book Awards @CostaBookAwards
One of our Books of the Year 2013 - August 2013 Book of the Month - Shortlisted for the 2013 Leeds Book Award By the best-selling author of Wolf Brother, Gods and Warriors is this year's most hotly anticipated children's novel. The first book in a breathtaking adventure series set in the Greek Bronze Age: a time when the lowliest goatherd could rise to become a hero. Click here to download a letter from Michelle Paver to her readers, which tells more about the time the book is set and how she used her research to bring the Gods and Warriors series to life.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 - October 2013 Book of the Month Fans of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket will enjoy the dark and disagreeable lives of twins Greta and Feliks Mortenerg – frequently known as the woebegone twins. Abandoned by their parents the twins are brought up by their kind but unusual Aunt Grisela whose care for them keeps them out of the Schwartzgarten Reformatory for Maladjusted Children. Both twins have red hair, lots of freckles and an allergy to almonds. When Aunt Grisela takes in Mr Morbide to be a new house guest, the twins are sure he is an evil murderer. Can they prove it? They are certainly about to try. In the strange world of Schwartzgarten all kinds of unpleasantness may take place and nothing is quite as it seems! In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Woebegone Twins a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'A hilariously grim book and some of the characters are really evil...This is a great book which I couldn’t put down.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2013 - October 2013 Book of the Month A spine-tingling debut novel with a strong period flavour that will delight all those who love a good ghost story. When Tilly is dared to go skating by Will Potter she never expects he will lead her to the lake in the grounds of Frost Hollow Hall. She knows the ice is dangerous. After all, young Kit Barrington disappeared under it only ten years earlier. But Tilly is not afraid of any ghost…Or is she? When the ice cracks, Tilly finds herself drowning. And who is that she meets under the water? All Tilly knows is that someone needs her help – Badly! In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Frost Hollow Hall a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'This was an exciting, heart-breaking story. Once I’d started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. I have a wow-meter for books: ‘wow’; ‘WOW’ and ‘WOWZER!’ This book is WOWZER.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 A dramatic new story in the popular Ninja series and this time the young students, including Taka who has now graduated to a black belt, are learning the deadly Death Touch! Taka needs all his skills to take on the challenges of his clan in this thrilling story laced with violence. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 9+
One of our Books of the Year 2013 Prize-winning Sharon Creech tells a heart warming and delicate story of unexpected connections that lead to great happiness when they are unravelled. Friends Lizzie and Naomi, both of whom are orphans, meet Finn, a mysterious boy who seems to come from nowhere. But meeting him leads the two girls back in time and helps both of them to find their real families and the place they belong.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & July 2013 Book of the Month Full of tenderness, this is a touching story of the bond between Hannah and her Grandfather as he becomes increasing confused. The two share a love of nature and this develops a strong link between them. Hannah knows that the date her Grandfather made her remember will bring something special…but will Grandfather be able to remember?
One of our Books of the Year 2013 A debut of enormous charm about a lonely orphan named Bee who escapes a travelling carnival in the company of a small, equally lonely dog. She and the dog are taken in by two women and to Bee these women matter to her and yet no one else seems to see them. Yet they are helping Bee realize that she, too, matters to the world - if only she will let herself be a part of it. With an arrestingly original voice, this book stays with you long after reading. Anyone who has ever felt lonely will find a friend in Bee.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 - January 2013 Book of the Month A magical and action packed adventure in a cleverly created other world packed full of delightful characters. Orphaned Stormy works at the lowest level in the castle kitchens but he has dreams and aspirations – especially when it comes to the spitfyres, wonderful winged horses, and the sky-riders who career across the skies on them. When Stormy gets his chance to go and work in the Academy, he feels his dreams and hope will come true. Instead, he finds himself facing a dark and destructive power that lies at the heart of the Academy. A Piece of Passion from the Publisher of The Spin, Emily Thomas The minute you open a book by Rebecca Lisle and start the first chapter you know you're in very good hands. Action, plot and characters are all perfectly in place, and brilliantly delivered in what I call a 'contemporary classic' style. In The Spin, rich drama and emotional intelligence combine with a plucky and erstwhile central character in the courageous Stormy – whose rise from lowly kitchen boy to triumphant sky rider is a joy to observe! The Spin is a compelling, beautifully written magical fantasy, it is also charmingly funny, a bit of a tearjerker, and pleasingly yet not in the least derivatively an enchanting take on Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. _____________________________________________________ In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Spin a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Scroll down to read them. Here’s a taster from one of the reviews. “This novel made me feel joyful, upset, hurt, devastated and all because I felt like I was in the story" Scroll down to read the rest of this review and all the reader reviews.
One of our Books of the Year 2013. December 2013 Book of the Month Inspired by the historical events of the Battle of Sole Bay which took place off the coast of Suffolk in 1672, author Julia Jones weaves a modern day adventure story, full of pace that will be enjoyed by young and old alike. It's half term and three teenagers find themselves caught up in what can only be described as one hell of a thriller that by turns is terrifying and yet also heart-warming. With a terrific storyline that can be read on different levels, it weaves historical fact into contemporary adventure, and hooks you in whatever your age and surprises you at every turn. The characters, both teenagers and adults, so disperate and yet so compellingly drawn that they work seamlessly together inspite of their differences and their different agendas within the story. A real tour de force that will be devoured whether you're a keen sailor, an armchair boat enthusiast or simply eager for entertainment. And the historical lectures at the end of the book are well worth a read either before or after reading the novel for they truly put the story into context. Julia Jones is the author of the fantastic Strong Winds trilogy and some of the characters from these books feature in The Lion of Sole Bay....but you don't need to have read this trilogy first - The Lion of Sole Bay is very much a stand alone adventure story. A note from the Author, Julia Jones, Essex 2013 Luke, who is the hero of this story, has already appeared in other titles in the Strong Winds series. This, however, is his own adventure and there’s no need for you to have read any of the previous books before you set out with him through the woods to the creek on the night of Halloween. Luke has lived in Suffolk all his life but, at the beginning of this story, he knows almost nothing about the Battle of Sole Bay which took place off the Suffolk coast in 1672. If you know as little as Luke (or as little as I did before I began my research) you might like to read the series of lectures contributed by our mutual friend Mr M.W. Vandervelde. They are at the back of this book and can be read at any time – or not at all. Mr Vandervelde is so full of enthusiasm for his subject that he admits he’s often given his talks to a row of chairs in an empty hall or even to his wife’s collection of garden gnomes. Suffolk people will notice that many of the places in this story are using older, alternative names. The tide times, stages of the moon and the weather in this story are correct (+ 24 hours) for October/November 2010.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 Magic, mystery, destiny and ebullient good humour are whipped into a frothy and inventive fantasy in which many delightfully surprising things happen. Oksa is born with a fate. As a girl, the future of her family is in her hands. Had she been a boy, there would have been no future! Luckily, Oksa is a spirited girl who is happy to embrace the magic that surrounds her and to take on the fight against all the enemies that threaten the world she needs to protect. When at thirteen Oksa moves to London with her extensive family, she must adapt to many new things - especially school uniform! Luckily there are many great people who make the journey with her - especially her best friend Gus. Oksa's adventures are fast-paced and full of unexpected twists. She needs courage and invention to win through. Luckily, she has bags of both! ................................... With global sales of half a million copies this book has become a publishing phenomenon. The authors initially self-published their book, delivering them by hand to booksellers and even giving them away at school gates. In 2009 two teenage fans urged the French publishers XO Editions to read Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope - who immediately offered the authors a 5 book deal. A message from the Publisher, Stephanie Seegmuller at Pushkin Press:Hold on tight, when you get youor hands on the very first volume of the now world famous children's series Oksa Pollock. At least is world famous in 26 world languages - the seris started in France, spread to the rest of the world like wildfire and has now finally arrived in the UK. I hope you love Oksa as much as me. She's an impulsive 13 year old, with a wonderful but complicated family, and a lot on her plate - a new country, a new school and a best friend who might just turn out to be more than that...If that wasn't enough, it also turns out Oksa is the new queen of a parallel world and it is she alone who can save her people. She's got every cool magic trick going. She can fly, move objects with her mind and is surrounded by a whole menagerie of magical creatures straight out of old Russian folklore. The series is an addictive page-turner and volume 1, The Last Hope, is just the start. I've read all five existing volumes available in French and I'm begging for more. So are the huge fan communities in other countries including Japan, Russia, Germany, Spain etc who keep asking for "the next Oksa".
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & October 2013 Debut of the Month This fast-paced debut novel tells how Jonathan, the only half-angel, half- demon in the universe, sets out to find the mysterious Gabriel’s clock which has gone missing. Protected by his parent’s, Jonathan has been brought up to think that he is normal but that is far from the truth! Failure in his quest will mean his family will die; success may bring on a war between Heaven and Hell which could destroy everyone. With the clock already ticking Jonathan must risk all and get on with the job in hand!
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & August 2013 ebook of the Month Debut-author Ian Johnstone offers his readers an enormous and richly created world to explore in this elaborately constructed fantasy. Sylas Tate steps into the unusual Shop of Things and, through his remarkable powers of imagination and his ability to do magic, he is swept off on an adventure into another world known simply as Other. But Other is not any arbitrary creation. Sylas soon finds that it is only in Other that he will be able to find the part of himself that is missing and become whole. Nick Lake, Fiction Publishing Director at HarperCollins Children’s Books, says: “The Bell Between Worlds is quite simply the best 10+ fantasy I have read in a decade, combining beautiful, pitch-perfect writing with heart and humour – all the more remarkable as it’s a debut. I cannot wait for other book-lovers to discover its wonderful, immersive magic for themselves.”
One of our Books of the Year 2013 A touching and inspiring story is told with striking originality. Hannah and Becky are enjoying a happy outing on a boat with Hannah’s dad when disaster strikes. Swept overboard, the girls survive and wake up to find themselves washed ashore in Tasmania. How they survive in the bush relying only on a tiger to help them is a story full of magic, hope and surprise. An exceptional story by an award-winning Australian author. "Into That Forest" will have the same impact as "Life of Pi", "How I Live Now" and "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas". Haunting, captivating and totally extraordinary. It reads like a true story - it's in turn wonderful, truly moving and shocking. You'll never forget it. _____________________________________________________ In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Into That Forest a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Scroll down to read them. Here’s a taster from one of the reviews. “Louis Nowra has created a book that you can lose yourself in" Scroll down to read the rest of this review and all the reader reviews.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & July 2013 Book of the Month Laugh out loud at the hilarious escapades of Tallulah Casey as she returns to Dother Hall for a third summer of drama school and – more importantly – boys! Louise Rennison has a well-deserved reputation for capturing the wild and unpredictable enthusiasms and passions of teenagers. Tallulah Casey and her friends are a riotously unruly group who are determined to live life to the full! .............................. Louise Rennison won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2010 with Withering Tights which is the first in the Tallulah Casey series. Click here to download an extract!
One of our Books of the Year 2013 Written in a wonderfully eloquent style, this is a ghost story full of scares and psychic phenomena. Aldo Moon is a foundling with a mysterious past and emerging psychic abilities. Together with his assistants, Lily Morelle, a science-mad practical girl and Nathan, by whom the story is narrated, the trio try to solve the mystery of Gravewood Hall, a deliciously spooky house complete with it's own sinister housekeeper, Mrs Haverhill. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Aldo Moon a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'Aldo Moon is an incredibly exciting book, full of unexpected twists and turns...the language used was so enticing and enthralling that my eyes were glued to the book.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 A tale full of wonder from the master story-telling Darren Shan! Hagurosan is sent by his mother to take an offering of cake to the spirits of the shrine. Feeling peckish on his way there, Hagurosan eats the cake! Convinced he will be cursed forever, Hagurosan is terrified, but luckily he has a chance to redeem himself and to bring happiness to others for many years to come. An original story with a traditional feel. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 8+ Mairi Kidd, MD, Barrington Stoke says “We’re incredibly excited to publish Hagurosan. Our readers and their parents beg us for dyslexia-friendly books by the authors they wish they could read and Darren’s name appears again and again. It’s very exciting to be able to answer their wishes in our 15th birthday year. We’re also very moved by Darren’s decision to donate his royalties to the wonderful No Strings International.”
One of our Books of the Year 2013 and Winner of the 2013 Lovereading4Kids People's Choice Best Kids Book. There’s laughter and tears in this hilarious roller-coaster story of teen life in the starry world of modelling. Self-avowed geek Harriet tells her own story of friendship, family and the extraordinary world of fashion. Harriet’s cleverness is not necessarily a great help as she tries to find her way through the teen confusions as a geeky outsider but, in the end, after some unexpected moments on the cat walk, all ends well! Elizabeth Clifford, Commissioning Editor of Geek Girl - on why she chose to publish the book......In February this year, I first read the immortal line: ‘My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek…’ and I knew I’d found something really special. Funny, fresh and utterly genuine – Holly Smale’s debut, Geek Girl, captures the very essence of being an awkward teenage girl as self-confessed geek, Harriet, accidentally gets model scouted and stumbles her way from school bus to catwalk. A layered and engaging read with real heart, Geek Girl is much more than a teen fashion story; it explores deeper emotional themes of best friends, romance, bullying and betrayals, and wittily turns transformation myths on their head – all with a smile. Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014, 11-14 age category - Shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013 - March 2013 Debut of the Month ....................................................................... In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Geek Girl a small number of Lovereading4kids members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'I recommend this book to teenagers everywhere, it is a timeless classic that will be remembered forever, Read it!.'.... Scroll down to read more reviews... -------------------------- The winners of the Leeds Book Awards are chosen by you! Read the books, talk about them with your friends & teachers and decide which one is your favourite. You can vote in your local library or at www.leedsbookawards.co.uk. Voting closes on Friday 25th April and the winners will be announced on Tuesday 20th May.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & March 2013 Book of the Month - Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014 9-11 category. An action-packed plot drives this exciting thriller set in the dark and dangerous streets of Victorian London. Ben Kingdom is just a small street urchin but, when he becomes the owner of a mysterious coin, he finds himself caught up in a battle between two long standing enemy forces, the Watchers and the Legions. Ben will have to choose which side to go with – and it won’t be an easy choice to make. A Piece of Passion from Rebecca Hill, Fiction Director, Usborne Publishing Everybody at Usborne is incredibly excited to be publishing The Claws of Evil, the first book in a stunning new series The Battles of Ben Kingdom. I started reading this book on a plane journey from Italy but was quickly transported to the rooftops of Victorian London, where an age-long battle takes place between the mysterious Watchers and the brutal Legion. Only our hero, Ben Kingdom, can put an end to this war, and the dilemma at the heart of this brilliant novel is that he doesn’t know which side to choose.Imaginative, captivating and fast-paced, Andrew has created colourful characters with real heart. Blending steampunk invention with nail-biting adventure, we believe this is the sort of fiction that will get readers talking. We hope you love it as much as we do. --------------------------------------------------------- In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Claws of Evil a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'I really enjoyed this book because the author, Andrew Beasley, has combined mystery and war into one epic, mind-blowing read..'.... Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & March 2013 Debut of the Month Introducing Gladiator School, a series of novels set in a rich and textured world of dusty arenas, heated battles, fierce loyalty and fiercer rivalry. Follow young Lucius as his privileged life is suddenly turned upside down, leading him to seek answers amongst the slaves and warriors who work and train at Rome's gladiator school. David Salariya, the Publisher says “A fast-paced historical adventure with unravelling secrets and a great sense of ancient Rome seen through the eyes of an eleven-year-old.” ________________________ In addition to our Lovereading4kids expert opinion for Blood Oath a small number of children who have put themselves forward to review for us were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Lucy Minton, aged 9 said, 'People who like history will love this gripping adventure!' Scroll down to read the rest of the reviews...
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013 & Winner of the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize September 2013 Book of the Month Award-winning Rebecca Steed tells a wonderfully touching story with great sensitivity within an exciting and dramatic adventure. Georges (his unusual name is part of his problem) has just moved to a new apartment block and he immediately gets caught up in a game with Safer, a boy who lives on another floor. Safer’s spying game seems fun and his family, sister Candy and brother Pigeon provide an interesting and supportive alternative home for Georges while things in his own family are out of kilter. But then Georges begins to have his doubts… Gradually everything he has been protecting himself from spins out of control and the reader discovers the sad truth he has been hiding himself from. A very special story that is not to be missed. The Guardian children's fiction prize was founded in 1967. It is awarded annually to fiction written for children aged eight and above, and is the only children's fiction award selected by fellow writers. The judging panel was chaired by our very own reviewer, Julia Eccleshare, who said "Liar & Spy is an incredibly sensitive book. Its central characters are all children who have complexities in their lives which they are dealing with. It's a novel about how children have to navigate the world, and it has an open-handedness which means that readers may be surprised as to where it finishes. It's always interesting in children's fiction to see what's coming from the US, and it's appropriate that this Newbery-winning author be highly regarded in the UK too. It is a quiet book, but although the drama is finely-tuned, the overall impact is powerful, moving and surprising."It was a long and well-argued debate on the essence of what a good children's book is. Individual judges had different views but collectively we thought this novel told the story in the most interesting and original way." ------------------------------------------------- In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Liar and Spy a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'Emotional, funny and complex Liar and Spy is a beautiful book, perfect for all age groups' Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & October 2013 Book of the Month Set in the Second World War this is a moving and evocative story set in the hot summer of 1940. Having been moved out of London to live with relatives in the country, Peggy and Ernest are keen to do their bit for the war effort – especially because they have their own fights with the local children on account of their father’s pacifism. Ernest has read all the instructions about what to do if the enemy lands and Peggy, too, knows exactly what she should do. But, when Peggy finds a young Polish pilot, wounded after his plan has been shot down, she is torn between following instructions and following her instincts. ------------------------------------------------- In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for That Burning Summer a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'I absolutely adored this book...the combination of historical accuracy and romance made an amazing coming of age novel!' Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2013 A touching story of one small boy’s powerful spirit of survival in a evocatively described, desperate dystopian world. Orphaned JD has watched the degradation of his mother and the death of his father at the hands of the wicked Silver Men. Now he must survive alone in a world where water is the most precious commodity. With nothing to guide him but his own best instincts and scraps of wisdom he gathers along the way, JD learns about friendship, truth, trust and, above all, his own bravery. Despite the bleakness of his world, JD finds enough examples of human kindness to make this both a thoughtful and a heart warming story. A Piece of Passion from the Editor Sara O’Connor “Richard's incredible opening gripped me from the moment I read it as part of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) British Isles Undiscovered Voices 2012 competition. And the more I learned about his characters, JD and Aqua, the more I fell in love. The story is hard hitting but absolutely compelling. The children are suffering in a ruined world due to the wars and neglect of past societies and, for me, that is so relevant and thought-provoking these days. But the icing on the cake was Richard's personal story: he had been writing for 40 years with so many near-misses to publication, but still hadn't been discovered. His years in the Merchant Navy have given him so many incredible stories, and his imagination knows no bounds.” _____________________________________________________ In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Boonie a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Scroll down to read them. Here’s a taster from one of the reviews. “Richard Masson has successfully given us a world and characters that the reader is able to love and hate, fear and laugh at" Scroll down to read the rest of this review and all the reader reviews.
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ New girl Kylie is determined to fit in to Bankside as quickly as possible. As soon as she sees Jaz she knows that she is the one to impress…But is the price of Jaz’s friendship worth it? Kylie soon finds herself playing very nasty games especially against Adam, the one person who could have been a friend. Kylie has to grow up quickly to recognise what really matters to her. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 12+
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & May 2013 Book of the Month The stunning final instalment in the bestselling Hush, Hush sequence, now in paperback, began with Hush, Hush, continued in Crescendo and then Silence. Can the love of Nora Grey and fallen angel Patch survive a seemingly insurmountable divide. And in the end, will there be enough trust left to rebuild what has been broken? The lines are drawn - but which sides are they on? If new to this incredible series then get reading now with the first one Hush, Hush. It won't disappoint.
Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014, 11-14 category - One of our Books of the Year 2013 & June 2013 Book of the Month We loved Paula Rawsthorne's debut novel in 2011, The Truth About Celia Frost, and are delighted to see her second novel, Blood Tracks, is equally explosive. A psychological thriller, packed with mystery but with a clever plot that will appeal to existing fans of Paula's and will also attract a swathe of new readers - both girls & boys. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Blood Tracks a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'This was a fantastic book! It’s really thrilling and I couldn’t put it down; it has a terrific twist... Blood tracks is probably the best book I’ve read this year so far!' Scroll down to read more reviews... --------------------------- The winners of the Leeds Book Awards are chosen by you! Read the books, talk about them with your friends & teachers and decide which one is your favourite. You can vote in your local library or at www.leedsbookawards.co.uk. Voting closes on Friday 25th April and the winners will be announced on Tuesday 20th May. See below for the entire shortlist.
Overall Winner of 2014 Red House Children’s Book Award - One of our Books of the Year 2013 & May 2013 Book of the Month This is a novel that packs a punch on every page with hope and despair in equal measure alongside life and death. It will leave you gasping for breath and keep you hooked to the end and long after it'll be a book that makes you think. In a sentence it's The Passage meets The Hunger Games and it's the first of a new and epic dystopian series from Carnegie-shortlisted Rick Yancey. The sequel to The 5th Wave is equally gripping - download an extract of The Infinite Sea here!
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 9 Award-winning Meg Rosoff is wickedly funny as well as deeply caring and empathetic in this intelligent and touching story about a teenager and her unusual baby. Being a teen mum brings opprobrium from all but when Jess gives birth to a baby moose, there are no holds barred to the advice and criticism she receives. Lightly but with very serious intent, Rosoff charts the pernicious ways in which society judges and rejects children who are born different. How Jess and her boyfriend Nick cope as outcasts is a triumph. It will spur all readers into thinking things differently.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & April 2013 Debut of the Month A stunning, heart-stopping novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Skin Deep. Holly is a new girl at a new school in a new home with a new life and identity. The only thing that's not new is her family who wouldn't be in this mess if it wasn't for Holly. Lonely and angry Holly reaches out to friends new and old, but one wrong move will put all their lives in danger... Laura Jarratt's first novel, Skin Deep, has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. ................................... In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for By Any Other Name a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'this has to be one of the best YA books I have read so far this year, if not the best!'.... Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & the March 2013 Book of the Month Best-selling teen author Sophie McKenzie hooks readers straight into this action-packed and page-turning story. A sequel to Girl, Missing and Sister, Missing this also works well on its own as Madison, shocked by news about her father, tracks down her ‘real’ father and finds herself caught up in a sleezy world of missing girls, babies and secret hideouts. Madison takes terrifying risks as she bravely searches out the truth.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & March 2013 Debut of the Month - Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014, 14-16 age category Two girls from different social classes meet by chance and discover that their lives are unusually intertwined. Queenie grows up in squalor and poverty; her beautiful mother sells her body to feed her children. Ellen is an only child living unloved but in comfort; Ellen’s father is a successful and wealthy doctor but cold-hearted. There seems to be nothing that these two girls could have in common. But unbeknownst to them their lives are already linked and, when Queenie sets out to find herself a better way of life, she and Ellen meet again. Alison Rattle vividly brings to life both the girls and the dark practices around the removal of unwanted babies in nineteenth century London. NOTE : only suitable for 14+ year olds as some graphic content. A Piece of Passion from the Editor, Sarah Odedina The Quietness is a novel set in one of the darkest of social times - Victorian London. In the book Alison Rattle explores what it means to be a young woman with little real control over one's fate. Through the lives of two young women, one wealthy and the other poor, we realise that wealth does not offer any greater freedom of choice than poverty. Like Sarah Waters, Alison has a fine-tuned sense of the historical period and the nuances of the time, while bringing the characters to life in a way that will appeal perfectly to today's generation of teen readers. This touching, beautifully researched and vivid story will grip readers who like a gritty and compelling read with a female-centric cast of characters. It is a hugely exciting debut novel............................................................. The winners of the Leeds Book Awards are chosen by you! Read the books, talk about them with your friends & teachers and decide which one is your favourite. You can vote in your local library or at www.leedsbookawards.co.uk. Voting closes on Friday 25th April and the winners will be announced on Tuesday 20th May. See below for the entire shortlist. ........................................................... In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Quietness a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'This book is perfect for those who like a thought-provoking, thrilling and exciting book'.... Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & February 2013 Debut of the Month The shocking death of Jackson’s best-friend Wilson launches a tense thriller with a dark heart. Jackson and Wilson, students at the elite, top rated, Learning Community are sent on a mission. Wilson is killed and, when Jackson returns to school, he finds his records have been erased and no one remembers him. What is going on? Jackson is consigned to the Academy, a dumping ground where the teachers teach in cages and where violence rules. Here, Jackson uncovers the uncomfortable truth about they system he once believed in. A Piece of Passion from the Editor, Jane Griffiths The Disappeared is a brilliantly gripping dystopian novel by debut author C.J. Harper and one of the books I’m most excited about publishing in 2013. When the manuscript for the novel first arrived on my desk, I started reading and just couldn’t stop; the bleak and brutal future world is completely believable and Jackson’s story pulls you in and doesn’t let go – in fact when I finished I immediately wanted to read the next instalment, which didn’t even exist at the time! A fantastic mix of fast-paced action scenes, emotionally heart-breaking moments and dark, dry humour, this is a novel about self-discovery and believing that everyone has the power within them to change the world for the better. Perfect for fans of books like The Declaration by Gemma Malley, Unwind by Neil Shusterman and the classic 1984 by George Orwell, The Disappeared is a novel not to be missed and I can’t wait to see out in the world, I just hope that everyone loves it just as much as I do! (Plus, take a closer look at the cover - it features the faces of competition entry winners, some members of the S&S team and even the author herself!) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ A shocking, page-turning, fast-paced, moving dystopian thriller shot through with a streak of dark humour, The Disappeared is a brilliant debut from a fantastic new British talent, with shades of Orwell and Huxley. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Disappeared a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Scroll down to read their reviews.
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & February 2013 Debut of the Month Tense from start to finish, Survive begins with Jane planning her own suicide on a flight home for the unit where she is being treated. She’s a planner and everything about how she is going to die is arranged. But Jane didn’t know the plane would crash. Suddenly Jane switches from wanting to die to focussing only on staying alive in an icy and treacherous landscape. There is only one other survivor; Paul, a climber. Paul uses his practical knowledge to guide Jane on their perilous journey. But, in the end, it is Jane, inspired by Paul’s love for her and her own growing belief in herself, who makes survival possible. A touching and inspiring story about the development of inner resilience. ------------------------------------------ In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Survive a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. 'This novel is not just gripping and exhilarating, it is simply beautiful' Scroll down to read their reviews.
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2014 - Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014, 14-16 age category - One of our Must Reads of 2013 Shot through with danger as adolescence can be, this is a powerful coming of age novel which combines dark realities with optimism and naivety. When Iris’s mother takes off on a road trip, things at home begin to fall apart. The arrival of a family of travellers close by sets off a chain of events which leads to tragedy. But Iris sees Trick and his family differently; she knows he isn’t the boy his is made out to be. But, when everything spirals out of control, will she ever be able to feel the same about him? Beautifully written, this is a poignant story of young love from a talented new author. A Piece of Passion from the Editor, Venetia Gosling INFINITE SKY is one of the books I’m most excited about publishing next year. Simply and beautifully written, it’s the heart-breaking story of the summer Iris experiences love and loss for the first time.When Iris’s mum leaves home, her brother, Sam, goes off the rails and her dad is left trying to hold it all together. So when a family of travellers sets up camp illegally in front of their farm, it’s the catalyst for a stand-off that can only end in disaster. But to 13-year-old Iris, it’s all an adventure. She secretly strikes up a friendship with the gypsy boy, Trick, and discovers that home can be something as simple as a carved out circle in a field full of corn…Starting as it ends, with a funeral, INFINITE SKY keeps us guessing about the identity of the boy Iris is left mourning – is it her tearaway brother, Sam, or Trick, her tentative new boyfriend? The conclusion is devastating, and will make you cry. A stunning read from a really talented new author -whose writing reminds me of early Meg Rosoff and David Almond - this is a book to fall in love with. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Infinite Sky a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here’s a taster from one of the reviews. “C J Flood weaves an intricate basket carrying the soul of the story, in a thought provoking yet natural way..." Scroll down to read the rest of this review and all the reader reviews. -----------------------------
Longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Book Award 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013 - July 2013 Book of the Month Ebullient, life affirming, witty and utterly convincing and tinged with credible sadness, thirteen year old Bluebell Gadsby’s diary is a brilliant teen diary in the mode of Dodie Smith’s classic I Capture the Castle. The complications of family and romance swirl around Blue and she records all both on film and in her diaries. Blue’s entertaining record captures the dramas of her noisy family, which includes a nest of pet rats, and her own stirrings of love for Joss, the ‘bad boy’ from next door under the lax supervision of Zoran, the young temporary babysitter their parents have bought in while they are away, busy with their own lives. But all is tempered by Blue’s deep grief caused by the recent death of her twin sister. Have the rest of the family really forgotten? Natasha Farrant tugs all manner of heart strings in her emotionally rich rendition of family life.
One of our Books of the Year 2013. Winner of the two most prestigious children's book awards - the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 and the Children's Costa Award 2012. And Longlisted for the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize | Sally Gardner tells a story that is rich in drama and ideas as Standish Treadwell, an unlikely hero, takes on the vicious forces of the repressive motherland in a novel set in a bleak world that is redeemed only by the very human qualities of some of the survivors. Standish and his remarkable grandfather keep going, eking out a living after the disappearance of Standish’s parents. Standish struggles at school and is the victim of relentless bullying. But then he finds a friend in the newly arrived Hector. When Hector is taken, the only hope lies in Standish…Luckily, Standish has just the qualities that are needed.
Each year thousands of children's books are published and each month we feature around 80 of our favourites, all categorised by age range.
Below, after much debate in the office, are the ones we think are the best of the year.
We hope you enjoy the selection.
Many of them are available in a selection of formats including eBooks.
So, browse away and make sure you haven't missed out on our 'must reads' of 2013.
And why not also check our Book Awards category which lists all the shortlisted and winning books for the most prestigious awards of 2013.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.