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2014 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.
Shortlisted for the Education Resources Award 2015 - One of our Books of the Year 2014 | Shortlisted for the Education Resources Award 2015 - One of our Books of the Year 2014 This moving poetic text matched with warm-hearted illustrations captures the lives of two friends and the parts they played in the enormous military campaign of the First World War. From their early days playing together through to their old age they shared everything. Above all, as young men they courageously shared the danger and devastation of the war which took place on their very own land. The result is a book that reflects the lasting importance of both friendship and place and how they can help to heal the tragedy of war.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016. One of our Books of the Year 2014 - December 2014 Book of the Month Award-winning illustrator Oliver Jeffers has created an outstanding alphabet book which goes far beyond the traditional expectations of such a book. In additional to each letter having its own, beautiful Oliver Jeffers illustration, every letter has its own mini-short story in which the particular letter features extensively. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Shortlisted for the 2015 Guardian Children's Book prize - One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 Book of the Month - Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2014 Witty, tender and full of insights into life love and politics, this is a brilliant book in its own right as well as a worthy tribute to E. Nesbit’s classic Five Children and It. The year is 1914. Anthea, Robert, Jane and Cyril, who has just enlisted, are now grown up, the Lamb is a schoolboy and even Edie, an addition to the family since the original, is old enough to meet the extraordinary and magical Psammead when he re-enters their life. All the children are longing for some new adventures but has the Psammead still got his magical powers? As befits the serious times, the Psammead plays an invaluable role in helping the family understand the First World War while also sorting out problems from his own past. Action-packed, funny and thoughtful this is a book to fall in love with. ~ Julia Eccleshare Although Kate Saunders' novel takes its inspiration from E Nesbit's Five Children and It, Five Children on the Western Front is an entirely stand alone novel and there is no need to have read the original classic.
Longlisted for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal - One of our Books of the Year 2014 A cat story with a difference! When Mr Wuffles finds a toy space ship he can’t resist playing with it but, as he tips and tosses it, the results for the aliens inside it are very scary! Feeling motion sick and with their equipment damaged, the aliens find a place of safety and set about fixing their craft so that they can make an escape. Mr Wuffles watches and learns. But will he let them go? Stunning illustrations celebrate imaginative play.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Fantastic, cumulative adventure as a family cheerfully sets out on a brave hunt to find the bear - and this new edition has interactive sound! It could be frightening but they’re not scared. They’re full of confidence in what they are doing. Caves, mud, rivers, forest … whatever obstacles the family encounters, they resolutely overcome them happily repeating the chorus:“We can’t go over it”, “We can’t go under it”, “Oh no! We’ve got to go through it”.But when they find the bear its’ a lot more scary than they had thought and they hurtle home repeating all the noises as they go. ~ Julia Eccleshare There is a new website celebrating 25 years Bear Hunting - visit www.jointhebearhunt.com for everything a bear hunter could need including activities, videos, competitions and tour dates. The book has sold in nearly 30 countries and in over 20 languages.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 Debut of the Month New-to-school thirteen-year-old Tabitha Baird is determined to be super-cool, to make some great best-friends. However, to do so she must reinvent herself and, in particular, keep her super-dull and dysfunctional family from all potential friends. Even before she has arrived at Heathside Academy she has chopped up her school skirt to make it look better. She soon changes her name, refashions her hair and develops a classroom style that brings delighted uproar from her fellow pupils. But can Tabitha keep her friends away from the truth about her drunken father, her mother’s lifestyle blog, her Gran and her beloved dog? Let alone her annoying younger brother. Tabitha’s teen anxieties are hilariously recorded in the sure touch of actress and comedian Arabella Weir.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - September 2014 Book of the Month A wonderful adventure is sparked by Tin’s little sister Nickel when she climbs a tree, grabs a balloon and floats off into the sky. Tin is meant to be looking after Nickel so he and his dog Zinc set off in hot pursuit. Luckily, Tin grabs Nickel just in time to enjoy the balloon ride too before disaster strikes. Can Tin get his sister home safely? Chris Judge’s illustrations are a delight.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Brilliant Lucy Cousins has created a fabulous new book which is full of holes! The young woodpecker is taught to peck by its father. The only trouble is…once it has learnt to peck a hole, it just can’t stop! There are holes in everything and young readers will love to explore them with their little fingers while they laugh at the ridiculous places the woodpecker has pecked. ~ Julia Eccleshare
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - August 2014 Book of the Month A very silly but absolutely compelling book that will charm the whole family and in particular young toddlers as they flip and flap the pages to their hearts content and create two animals into one on every spread. Brilliantly funny too.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A stunning and thought-provoking picture book with some clever use of cut outs and a flap. Little Mouse looks at the lovely round yellow moon and thinks how much she would love a slice of it for herself. Stepping out the next morning, she finds a perfect yellow slice. Of course, she can’t resist a nibble, and then another nibble. It is delicious. So delicious that very soon it is all gone! Little Mouse feels terrible. Has she really eaten up all the moon?
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Small, square and always with a robust, hardback cover, Dick Bruna’s iconic picture books about the little white bunny called Miffy, have been treasured by millions of British households since they were first published in the UK in the early Sixties. Excitingly, for the first time in almost 50 years, the rhyming verse in each Miffy story in Bruna’s bestselling children’s storybooks has been refreshed for a modern British audience - by award-winning children's author and poet, Tony Mitton to suit the ears of today’s toddlers and pre-schoolers. Alongside the new texts, Dick Bruna’s illustrations – simple, bold and timeless – remain the same throughout.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A soft cloth book with bright, colourful pictures that can make snuggle-time extra special. This is a much-loved classic but as relevant today as it was when first published in 1969! The vivid and colourful illustrations and cut back and die-cut pages, together with some very simple text, provide a wonderful story that is immensely satisfying for parents and children alike. It’s a book that’s more threadbare than most in the nursery in my house.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 When Simon is really annoyed with his sister Anna he summons up the Broken King from a favourite poem and asks him to take her away. Of course, he doesn’t really believe that it will happen –it’s only an old poem after all…. But then, Anna vanishes and Simon sets off on a mission to rescue her and finds himself caught up in an extraordinary and fantastical world in which it is impossible for him to predict what will happen next. Will Simon be able to get Anna back safely? A magical story full of powerful images and unexpected consequences.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - April 2014 Book of the Month This first words book, with charming, humorous, colourful and energetic illustrations featuring Chimp and Zee, by a bestselling, award-winning creative team, will delight children and their parents. Concepts of colours, counting, food, animals, vehicles, clothes, weather, parts of the body and even the very important bedtime - they're all in this busy book so whether you're sharing it during the day or at bedtime, it's perfect.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 The award-winning pirates are back for a second great adventure! Help is needed in Dull-on-Sea after a ghostly pirate ship draws up on the beach and a rash of burglaries from homes, and even from the museum, follows. Matilda knows just who to call on! Soon Jim Lad and the Jolley-Rogers are at hand. Can they get all the valuables back and defeat the ghastly and ghostly crew? And exciting story brilliantly told in words and pictures.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 Book of the Month From the creator of The Tiger Who Came to Tea comes a glorious picture book full of wonder and adventure. Matty is sick, so sick that he cant go to the Queen’s birthday party with his family and friends. And that makes him very disappointed! But when Matty gets left behind with only his sleepy grandfather to keep him company, something very amazing happens! Soon Matty is having the most fabulous adventures with a very special crocodile who comes out from under the bed… ~ Julia Eccleshare
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - September 2014 Book of the Month Best-selling Lauren Child, the creator of Charlie and Lola, captures perfectly the always difficult and sometimes terrible moment when a new sibling arrives. Elmore Green is used to being an only child. He likes being an only child because everything around him is for him alone. He can choose the TV channel to watch, he can leave his toys out and no one will mess them up and, best of all, his parents think he is the cleverest and funniest small person around. But then one day a new small person arrives….Elmore Green does not like that at all! How Elmore Green learns to love the new small person is full of emotional truths all of which are brilliantly captures in the witty text and stunning illustrations.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 The classic story of Paddington Bear, so called because the Brown family first meet him on Paddington Station and decide to take him home. Paddington Bear has travelled all the way from Darkest Peru with a label round his neck that reads: “Please Look After This Bear”. Paddington Bear is a most delightful companion but he is not exactly house-trained and having him living with them brings the Browns all sorts of adventures. Stephen Fry reads the accompanying CD brilliantly.
Overall Winner of the Red House Children's Book Awards 2015, and winner in books for younger children category - Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2014- One of the Lovereading4kids Readers' Choice Books of the Year 2014 Award-winning Oliver Jeffers and Drew Daywalt’s highly-entertaining new book mean 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
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 MEGA Book of the Month Best-selling underpants are back! It all began with Aliens who love underpants. Then the Dinosaurs and Pirates showed that they do too. And now it turns out that even though the Monsters come from all sorts of place – steamy swamps, outer space, the bottom of the seabed and the top of some very tall mountains – they have one thing in common: they all love underpants. Wonderfully madcap monsters and their exotic underpants are perfectly imagined in the rhyming words and elaborate pictures in this instantly appealing picture book.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Award-winning illustrator Jon Klassen has created a second delightful and surprising picture book with Mac Barnett, author of The Dark. Here two boys dig a hole. It doesn’t seem to take them far so they try digging a bit on their own. They still make little progress. So they take a rest…What happens while they are asleep turns out to be most surprising of all! In simple illustrations, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole gives a host of opportunities for imagining and dreaming.
Longlisted for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal - One of our Books of the Year 2014 - September 2014 Book of the Month Award-winning illustrator Rebecca Cobb creates a number of different imaginary worlds in this delightfully fanciful story about a hole in the ground. The little girl finds the hole just beside the cherry tree. Who could live in it? Could it be frogs, mice, a badger or a troll or a dragon? Everyone has a different idea and the little girl and her dog sit and watch patiently so can be the very first to see! Full of charm, the imaginative scope of the story is quietly inspirational.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 Book of the Month George is sure there is more to life than fishing and chatting which is what the other bears do. When he finds a book he soon realises that it contains something very special. But how can he find out what? All George wants is someone to teach him how to read but who will ever help a bear to do that? Luckily, just as he is about to be arrested by the local police force, Clementine steps in and takes charge. Soon clever George is a reader after all.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - June 2014 Book of the Month Award-winning Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross go to the heart of a modern predicament in this cautionary tale about a young chick who hops into the farmer’s house and starts exploring the delights of the internet. There’s one-click shopping – a hive of bees, a motorbike, a diamond watch and 100 handbags. The farmer blames his wife – where has it all come from? And the chick didn’t stop. Soon, there are scooters for the sheep, skates for the pigs, a car for the cows and a boat for the hens. And, most exciting of all, there is meeting a new friend! But just who will that friend turn out to be?
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2014 - A Dyslexia Friendly Picture Book for Parent and Child The former Children’s Laureate simply tells a deliciously funny story about a boy who swaps his life with a pigeon with almost disastrous results! Looking up from the book he is reading the boy sees a pigeon on his windowsill. He’s always wanted to fly. Luckily, the pigeon has always wanted to read so soon the two swap places. Flying is fun but not everything else about being a bird is! But what will happen when the boy wants to swap back? Ross Collins brilliantly captures the humour of this easy to read story. ---------------------- Publisher Barrington Stoke was inspired to create the Picture Squirrel Books titles after meeting a man with dyslexia at a book event. “We were approached by a gentleman who told us that it broke his heart that he couldn’t read to his child because of his dyslexia,” M.D. Mairi Kidd told The Bookseller. “So we talked to Michael Morpurgo, who we were already working with on low text books [textbooks that use a limited number of words]." The layout of picture books can be difficult for adults with dyslexia as the language and typeface are often very varied, the text can be cut into small chunks or is sometimes spun around a picture, which can make a book tricky if you don’t have good reading skills. Barrington Stoke worked with the authors and illustrators to ensure that the books are suitable for dyslexic readers and thereby helping more families grow a love of reading. On the Picture Squirrels...Michael Morpurgo says: “I was immediately taken with the idea of the Picture Squirrel books, a picture book list that dyslexic parents and less confident readers can read with theirchildren too.” In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for All I Said Was... a small number of members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'Mummy liked that the letters in the books were well spaced and that the pages were a soft colour as this made the books easier for children with dyslexia to read.' Elliot Bateman. Scroll down to read more ...
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - April 2014 Book of the Month Award-winning John Burningham tells a touching story of a little girl and the special friends she makes in the night time. When Sylvie finds a door in her bedroom she discovers a secret passage to her very own zoo full of the most wonderful animals. Every night Sylvie finds a new animal to take back to her room. The easiest to manage are small and cuddly, others, like the penguins who splash a lot in the bath, are too messy. The baby elephant is too big to get along the passage and the dog is too smelly to stay in Sylvie’s room. Every day when she goes to school, Sylvie makes sure the door is firmly shut. Until one day she forgets…
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A tea time adventure that goes badly wrong when the guest gets completely stuck in the fog! The Little Mouse Lil has invited her friend Harry the Hog for tea. The table is piled high with all his favourite delicacies but where is Harry? Little Lil asks all the animals she meets if they’ve seen her friend. No one has seen all of him but each has seen a snippet. Together, the friends set off to search for Harry through the thick, thick fog. Julia Copus’s lively rhyming and repetitive text makes the story come vividly to life.
Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal - One of our Books of the Year 2014 - Shortlisted for The Little Rebels Children's Book Award 2014 Award-winning Geraldine McCaughrean captures a far off landscape and a far off time in her fabulously dramatic nineteenth century story interwoven with the magic of the mysterious and stories of the Aboriginal Dreamtime. With its large and flamboyant cast, McCaughrean proves yet again what a dazzling story teller she is. When Comity’s mother dies after she is bitten by a tiger snake, Comity is left with her father who is the operator of the remote telegraph station. Apart from the two of them there are a few labourers and Fred, an Aboriginal boy who helps around the station. He is her only friend and, as her father sinks into despair leaving her to do everything – including keeping her mother’s relatives at bay - she turns to Fred for support. To comfort her he offers her the stories and magic of his long dead ancestors. When an assistant arrives to help run the station disaster looms. Comity has long held all the threads together but can she continue to do so? Geraldine McCaughrean handles a vast landscape and a varied cast with her usual aplomb. ~ Julia Eccleshare Geraldine McCaughrean on The Middle of Nowhere:“I rather enjoy being alone, but that’s because I don’t have to be. I have a choice. Reading a snippet about the Overland Telegraph Wire, I wondered at the lonely existence of those telegraphers coaxing Morse messages over the endless miles. To someone like me living on a small, overcrowded island, Australia’s empty vastnesses are almost unimaginable. And yet in their determination to stay in touch with each other, people defeated those great distances with the Wire. (We take communications technology for granted these days, but we shouldn’t). My first mental image (and there’s always a picture at the beginning) was of a knitter sitting with coloured wool stretching out in every direction, knitting a rainbow. That would be my hero, sitting at a telegraph machine, totally isolated but connected to hundreds of lives. Meddling, probably. The difference between loneliness and being alone seemed to be in there somewhere, as a theme.Then I started to read up on my subject. (Goodness I love History: people leading such different lives from now and yet preoccupied with exactly the same things.) And there it all ways – just like now – prejudice, hatred and ignorance dividing people from each other more effectively than any wilderness. Another theme – and the tension necessary to power a story. I never know, until I start writing, quite where a book will take me. So I tend to just jump aboard and go along for the ride: I like surprises. Then it is just a matter of knitting it all into a rainbow, sewing in the loose ends and discovering how it has turned out. Hope it fits.”
Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal This exceptional novel from multi-award-winning Patrick Ness will, once again, delight his readers with a superbly written, enthralling and provocative story that raises the most profound questions of adolescence – and answers some of them. Seth drowns. A horrible, lonely death in the icy sea that ends with a blow against the rocks. But does it end? Seth wakes up alone, naked and in an empty world. He remembers his life – and above all his all-consuming love – and finds a way to survive in his new, desolate place. With two other children he meets, Seth explores new possibilities including what other lives there may be after death. ~ Julia Eccleshare In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for More than This a small number of teenagers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'unique and special you will be overwhelmed by the tragedy throughout the story.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Meet two brave young heroes of Pakistan, Malala and Iqbal, each unafraid to speak out, each a victim of unspeakable violence, each an inspiration to the world as they stood up for the right to freedom and education. This non-fiction picture book is an inspiration to all from acclaimed author-illustrator Jeanette Winter. Ingrid Selberg, Managing Director, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division says, ‘I am so proud to be publishing this extraordinary picture book, which tells the inspirational stories of two amazingly brave young people, which should be shared with children everywhere.’
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 7 - 11 year old category. One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2014 - Interest Age 5-8 It's post-war Poland and grandpa is on a mission to enjoy a traditional carp dinner on Christmas Eve but his granddaughter just might persuade him otherwise but why? A beautiful, heartwarming story that will melt the hearts of all who read it and is a great story for grandparents and their grandchildren to share. 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. These quality stories promote good reading practice for all newly independent readers.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A stunning picture book with a story to each spread to inspire a child's own imagination into what happens next and all linked to 10 classic stories. Join Willy the gorilla as he becomes a character in each of these classic stories including to a mysterious desert island with a footprint in the sand; down a deep, dark rabbit hole full of curious objects; or perhaps on board a pirate ship, face to face with Captain Hook. Each adventure leaves a question for you the reader to continue your own adventure and perhaps guess into which classic story Willy's adventure has taken him? Willy's Stories is created by multiple-award-winning Anthony Browne and is a magical celebration of stories and the imagination. Published in 2014 to coincide with the publication of the 30th anniversary edition of Willy the Wimp, Willy's Stories shows Anthony Browne at the height of his powers as both an illustrator and author.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A feast of words for every kind of situation is spread across the beautiful pages of this book. The words that are included come from the story of a family’s everyday life. From the opening spread which is a cross-section of the family home, it is all delightfully busy! There are bedrooms and bathrooms and a living room and a kitchen and something interesting is happening in each. As the day progresses, the family hurry about their business at home and out and about. Lots to look at and lots to learn. SHARE WITH US YOUR WONDERFUL WORLD - Why not share your world with a photo of an object, a person or place that best represents your world together with the word that goes with it at the hashtags #ShareYourWorld, #barefootbooks, #wonderfulwords and #lovereadingkids.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - September 2014 Book of the Month A bumper book of stunning animal pictures classifying all kinds of creatures according to species, colour or habitat. Produced in a striking large format this also includes beautiful spreads of gorgeous animals in tens from 10-100. Lovereading comment.. Lead your child through an amazing menagerie of more than 300 lavishly illustrated animals, this fantastic collection introduces young animal lovers to new animals they may not be familiar with, whilst also helping with numeracy and adjectives. With beautiful illustrations covering mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, spiders and other invertebrates, there is something to engage and delight your child on every page.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A birthday party needs to be got ready in a hurry! Mum has forgotten that it is Grandad’s birthday but luckily Eddie is on hand to help. Eddie loves cooking and he knows exactly what Grandad likes best. Mum has loads of distractions but Eddie makes a special cake while Lily helps – in her own way! Eddie’s pleasure in cooking will inspire young readers and the recipes in the back of the book make it easy for them to get started! Sarah Garland captures the details of family life perfectly.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A giraffe in Paris! The idea sounds ridiculous but this beautiful picture book tells the true story of how the Pasha of Egypt sent a young giraffe called Zeraffa as a gift to the King of France. Captured on the plains of Africa, Zeraffa is too young to walk at first. Instead she is transported tied on to the side of a camel. From Africa Zeraffa, accompanied at all times by her Atir, a young boy who attends to her every need, travels by foot over land and briefly by sea when she must. Jane Ray’s illustrations bring alive every detail of the journey and Zeraffa’s triumphant welcome to Paris. They are especially entertaining capturing the ridiculous fashions that spring up around the city as everyone imitates all thing giraffe! If you are a fan of Jane's artwork you will love her magical tale Ahmed and the Feather Girl, beautifully illustrated throughout with her detailed, fine drawings and vibrant use of colour. You can download an extract of it here.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - January 2014 Debut of the Month A touching story told from the point of view of a very special pig! Heather the pig has two joys in life – apples and her best two-legged friend Isla. Heather has looked after Isla all the little girl’s life so, when Heather’s family is forced to sell the farm and so live miles apart, both are devastated. But Heather doesn’t take things lying down and soon she is off on an amazing journey to get back together with her very best friend.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo deftly captures the devastating and long lasting impact of war in this stunning and beautifully produced short story. Michael’s grandfather is badly disfigured by his horrific experiences in the war. One of only three to be rescued after his ship is torpedoed, he is patched up in hospital and survives but his face is badly disfigured and his hands have been reduced to stumps. Initially scared of how he looks and how quiet he is, Michael grows closer and closer to him as he gets older and as he begins to understand something of the trauma that has shaped this very special and courageous man. Gemma O’Callaghan’s illustrations capture the mood and intent of the story perfectly.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 Book of the Month Can training Patch, a loveable Labrador puppy, help Joe find some happiness after the death of his father? Joe and his dad have always wanted a dog but, when his dad is killed Joe can’t see how they will ever have one. But then Joe meets Patch at Helper Dogs and he knows that this is just the dog for him! Joe needs to train Patch to make him a useful companion to someone in need. Joe is sure he can do it. But can Patch also help Joe as he overcomes the rawness of his grief after his father is killed? A moving story about a very special relationship between one boy and a pup.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Best-selling Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre’s space adventure with a difference sees Astra, a young girl travelling to a new life in Nova Mundi, setting in motion a gigantic cake catastrophe. Astra is ‘definitely peckish’ at the start of her family’s 199 year space trip. With the help of the little Robot Pilbeam, Astra asks the Norm-O-Tron computer in the dining hall to create something ‘So delicious, it’s scary’. The result is an army of cake monsters and some very terrifying adventures! Some of our readers were lucky enough to review the first collaboration between Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, the brilliant Oliver and the Seawigs. Here's what 2 young reviewers thought..'I like this book because it is exciting and full of adventure. The illustrations are also very good...I give it 100 stars!' and 'A really funny book, full of amazing characters and brilliant pictures...I really hope Oliver has more adventures because I'd love to read them.' . Find more reviews here! And Glenn Cosby, Contestant from the 2013 Great British Bake-Off comments: “Cakes in Space is a right laugh, but I know that I will never see cakes again in the same way. Cakes in Space is an exciting and hilarious story that I read in one sitting and one I am sure mums and dads will enjoy as much as the kids.”
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Award winning Philip Ardagh’s Mr and Mrs Grunt are as disgusting as ever as they trundle into this fourth adventure in their ramshackle caravan which, in a typically unusual way, is drawn by an elephant. Still up their always crafty and usually revolting tricks (and with lots of witty asides to the reader), Mr and Mrs Grunt have an encounter with a doctor who’ll find he has a lot less garden when he has treated a very swollen nose, engage in some serious skulduggery in the preserves, jams and jellies competition and even end up in prison (again). As ever, Sunny and Mimi have a lot to do just to keep the hilarious show on the road. ~ Julia Eccleshare
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - June 2014 Fascinating Facts Book of the Month Adventurous kids, both boys and girls, will love to read about how to face a number of extreme dangers, whether the're animal dangers such as escaping from crocodiles or sharks, natural dangers such as avalanches and quicksand or human hazards such as fire and flood. These may not be regular occurrences but they do happen and they could happen to you. Complete with compass this is an easy-to-follow manual which tells you how to survive in these most challenging situations! In addition, there is a host of practical advice on survival skills should you go off on an adventure and find yourself unable to get to safety. Making a fire, a shelter for instance, how the stars can guide you, finding food and water, how to tell the time using the sun, first aid and an essential guide to tying good knots as well as a whole host of other tips to survive in the modern world! An indispensible guide.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - June 2014 Debut of the Month Told at a speed to match the time-travel theme of the story, this is a highly entertaining and wittily illustrated adventure which pays a lot of attention to food! Dreamy Compton Valance’s world is turned upside down when he comes across a very old sandwich which has some very unusual powers. Soon Compton Valance and his best-friend Bryan Nylon find they have the amazing power to travel through time. It’s a fun and frightening experience and the two boys have a lot of laughs on their unusual travels.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - January 2014 Debut of the Month A touching story told from the point of view of a very special pig! Heather the pig has two joys in life – apples and her best two-legged friend Isla. Heather has looked after Isla all the little girl’s life so, when Heather’s family is forced to sell the farm and so live miles apart, both are devastated. But Heather doesn’t take things lying down and soon she is off on an amazing journey to get back together with her very best friend.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - May 2014 Debut of the Month A touching story shot through with warmth and humour this tells of one girl’s journey to find herself. Willow’s view of the world is unusual. She is a genius with a special skill at numbers and exceptional knowledge of medical conditions but without much skill of any kind in dealing with people. When Willow’s life is turned upside down, she suddenly has to learn how to find the people who can help her. Willow’s journey of self-discovery and the cast of interesting characters who help to is totally absorbing as, largely through instinct, Willow finds the ways she needs to relate to others. A Piece of Passion from Brenda Gardner, Publisher, Piccadilly Press We published Holly Goldberg Sloan's Just Call My Name for YA in 2012, and we all fell totally in love with her writing. She is evocative, tender, precise, humorous her writing is lyrical and beautiful. I heard early last year that Counting by 7s was a knockout book, and her US publisher was very excited about it. And they were right! Fourteenyear old Willow is a unique character, and all the characters she befriends and who become her 'family' are unforgettable. Tragedy has struck Willow's life, but the book is about hope and life. It is one of the most uplifting books you will have read. It certainly comes out at the top of my best books ever! If you like the sound of Counting by 7s you may also like to read R.J. Palacio's fantastic novel, Wonder.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Martin Moone- one boy and a load of sisters! That means Martin is always in trouble of one kind or another. What would you do? When Martin asks his friend Padraic for advice about changing the gender balance in the Moone family home, Padraic suggest finding a IF – imaginary friend. Martin is hilarious as he tells of his search for a suitable choice. Just what a kind of a person should he pick? This is the first book in a very funny new illustrated-fiction series from the award-winning Bridesmaids and The IT Crowd actor Chris O'Dowd and his long-term friend and Moone Boy TV-scriptwriting collaborator Nick Vincent Murphy. Perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and David Walliams. ---------------------------------- And you can catch Moone Boy in his own tv series on Sky 1 starring co-writer and Hollywood actor Chris O'Dowd - watch a trailer here!
One of our Books of the Year 2014 The classic story of Lottie and Luise, two identical little girls who meet for the first time at summer camp and discover that they are twins, is famous as a film. Here, in this beautifully produced edition, Eric Kästner’s original is incomparably more subtle and touching while still being very funny. Having made friends, the two little girls decide they never want to be separated again and, what’s more, they want to get their parents back together. Swapping places, they each go and live with the other’s parent and try to adapt to an unfamiliar way of life. Can they keep up the pretence? And can they reunite their parents? A wonderful story brilliantly translated by Anthea Bell. A Piece of Passion from Gesche Ipsen, commissioning editor I love Erich Kästner as much now as I did when I was young. His books are so precious to me, that I will buy new copies for friends who ask to borrow them, rather than lend them my own. Even my best friends… As a child, I devoured them without coming up for air. His plots are without fail exciting, and Trier’s illustrations both handsome and subtle – but there is much more even than that to it: Kästner writes like a dream, is very, very funny, and (most importantly) never patronises his readers. His child protagonists are never ‘just’ children. They are resourceful and imaginative, clever, cheerful, funny and brave – as well as sad, anxious and fearful. They are, in short, just like adults. Which is the truth about children, and is what makes Kästner irresistible even to readers of a rather more advanced age.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 A perfect story for Christmas! Set in a school in the weeks running up to Christmas with all the excitement of an end of term play in the background, The Flying Classroom tells of the friendships and adventures of a group of lively boys. Events include the kidnapping of one of the boys by a gang from another school, a dare devil high-jump act as a boy tries to prove that he is not a coward and the tracking down of a long lost friend of their kindly school teacher. As Christmas gets ever closer, hopes and fears are raised and, in the final pages, beautifully resolved. A Piece of Passion from Gesche Ipsen, commissioning editor I love Erich Kästner as much now as I did when I was young. His books are so precious to me, that I will buy new copies for friends who ask to borrow them, rather than lend them my own. Even my best friends… As a child, I devoured them without coming up for air. His plots are without fail exciting, and Trier’s illustrations both handsome and subtle – but there is much more even than that to it: Kästner writes like a dream, is very, very funny, and (most importantly) never patronises his readers. His child protagonists are never ‘just’ children. They are resourceful and imaginative, clever, cheerful, funny and brave – as well as sad, anxious and fearful. They are, in short, just like adults. Which is the truth about children, and is what makes Kästner irresistible even to readers of a rather more advanced age.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Best-loved for her classic Second World War title Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian brings the excitement of being part of a theatre company to life in this action-packed and rip-roaring adventure. Twelve year old Josie comes from a theatrical family so it is no surprise that she grabs a place at drama school or – more remarkably – finds herself stepping in as a substitute for a play at the last minute. But there’s something fishy going on behind the scenes and, in a case of mistaken identity, Josie is kidnapped! Set in the 1960s Michelle Magorian peppers the story with excellent period detail which adds greatly to the flavour of this fun-to-read story.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 Book of the Month Award-winning Sita Brahmachari has a great gift of understanding for the confusions and loneliness of adoloescents and their need to be gently nurtured and cherished. Three young people are trying to find a way of making sense of their confusing and chaotic lives. Aisha struggles when her beloved foster mother suggests that she might meet a family who could adopt her; Zak longs for the time before his parents’ divorce; Iona yearns for a life that is better than living on the streets. When their lives become intertwined by chance in an ancient woodland they are all strengthened by each other and by the strange magic of the place. Endorsed by Amnesty International.
Shortlisted for The Bookseller's Book of the Year - One of our Books of the Year 2014 - One of the Lovereading4kids Readers' Choice Books of the Year 2014 Best-selling David Walliams is back on top form with Awful Auntie. Stella Saxby is the unfortunate owner of the awful auntie! Throughout her life, the dreadful aunt Alberta has squandered the family fortunes. Following the death of Stella’s parents, Alberta is determined to get her hands on the enormous Saxby Hall. Resourceful Stella is determined to stop her aunt and she charges through every adversity thrown in her way to do so. Pairing up with a resident ghostly chimney boy turns out to be the key to resolving a family mystery too. ~ Julia Eccleshare
One of our Books of the Year 2014- October 2014 Book of the Month Best-loved author Eva Ibbotson had a gift for making magical worlds both come alive and be wonderfully credible. Her hand guides this delightful story of a top-secret school for ghosts where anything and everything unusual can – and does - take place. Despairing at the very low standard of modern day ghosts, the Great Hagges, Fredegonda, Goneril and Drusilla, set up the school to raise standards of haunting. Can they inject some backbone and style into their charges? And can they manage the problems of their two human pupils, Daniel and Charlotte as well? Mountwood School is a riotous place which is making haunting a very serious business!
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - September 2014 Book of the Month Can Amelie win the Britain’s Best Teen Baker of the Year competition? She’s got through to the quarter-finals and must now go to London in compete in the competition. Amelie has no fears about the quality of her baking; she loves to bake and knows that her cakes are extra-specially good. But Amelie has Cystic Fibrosis. Will she able to manage the pressure of the competition? Fuelled by ‘flour-power’ Amelie is determined to show the world what she can do. Ever her anxious mother will not be able to stop her. But when Amelie hears some dreadful news it looks as if all her hopes will be dashed. Amelie’s courage is inspirational. A Piece of Passion from Loraine Taylor, Publisher “We are delighted to welcome award-wining author Vanessa Curtis onto the Curious Fox list. A determined heroine, cakes, family and friendships, what better ingredients for an uplifting story for 9-12 girls. Amelie is a wonderful character – strong, passionate, determined – and this is a book about the struggles she faces in every day life to pursue her dreams of becoming a baker. The quality of the writing and the lightness of touch really stand out. It’s a book we’re very proud to be publishing.”
All the excitement of the circus is captured in this exciting story about one girl’s exceptional talent and tenacity as she does everything she can to become the new star of the show. Everyone knows ‘the bigger the danger, the bigger the crowd’ so it is no surprise that Monsieur Mercury, or Jasper as he is better known to Louie, the most daring of trapeze artists will bring in a huge crowd. When Jasper has a terrible accident Louie begs for a chance to show off her amazing tight-rope walking skills. But will anyone allow her to perform? Fans of Frost Hollow Hall will love this epic adventure about following your dreams and becoming a showstopper!
One of our Books of the Year 2014 In the tradition of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and Richard Adams’s Watership Down, The River Singers captures the desperate adventures of a family of water voles struggling survive as their habitat changes. Sylvan and his younger siblings are only just prepared for the world of the river when their lives are thrown into confusion following the violent death of their mother. Sylvan knows he must lead his family to a new home. Their journey takes them along the river which must now be their guide but the waters are treacherous and there is great danger all around them from the other animals that live along its banks. A Piece of Passion from Liz Cross, Children’s Publisher, Oxford University Press Among all the riches in the children’s book world, there are some books that stand out, some books that are truly special and I am delighted that we have found just such a book in The River Singers. Lyrical yet gripping… with characters that spring from the page fully-formed. Packed with witty, authentic dialogue, and filled with moments of genuine peril, this is a book to fall in love with.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 This hilarious and liberating story about taking risks and living life to the full. Owen’s parents are anxious to protect him from danger. As they are frightened of almost everything, Owen has few adventures. Right now they are especially frightened by tornadoes with the result that Owen’s whole life has been upheaved by a move from Skirting to Barrow. But Owen knows his grandparents were very different. They were Tornado Chasers. How Owen and his friends face up to danger and become Tornado Chasers themselves is a tremendous adventure.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - One of the Lovereading4kids Readers' Choice Books of the Year 2014 Cathy Cassidy’s Chocolate Box Girls are growing up and learning to deal with new problems. Fifteen year old Honey flies off to live with her dad in Australia. After all her troubles at home, Honey is determined to make a new start. She’s thrilled to meet her dad at the airport and impressed by the fancy house he lives in with his partner Emma. Honey starts a new school and even makes new friends. Is this all going to be better than her life before? Disaster strikes Honey when she makes a bad mistake about an online friend. Soon someone is spreading terrible things about her all over the internet. Does she really know who Riley is? And at home, she soon realises that her father is not quite the good guy she had imagined; she learns a dangerous secret about him which she will not let go lightly. Honey returns to Tanglewood wiser and more experienced. ***STOP PRESS*** Cathy Cassidy has written a new ebook short story, this time from Finch's perspective. It's Halloween and Finch is returning to Tanglewood - Skye can't wait to see him. But Finch has a secret - will he find the courage to do the right thing? You can find an extract here.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Book Award 2014- Winner of the IBW Children's Award 2014 Award-winning Kate diCamillo tells a zany, bitter sweet story of how Flora Belle Buckman, a self-declared cynic, rescues a squirrel from the neighbour’s super-powered vacuum cleaner and, in doing so, finds herself on a journey of discovery. Ulysses the squirrel’s escapade seems to invest it with super powers – including the ability to type - while the appearance of William Spiver, the neighbour’s great great-nephew who has a passion for words, gives Flora a friend. Flora’s journey of self discovery is highly entertaining. Guardian Children's Fiction Book Award Judge Frank Cottrell Boyce said: “Squirrel acquires superpowers after collision with lawn mower - you KNOW you want to know more.” Describing the process of writing the book, Kate DiCamillo says, “There is a line from the thirteenthcentury poet Rumi that I kept close by as I worked on this novel: The grief armies assemble, but I’m not going with them. For me, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures is a book about joy and laughter, about moving away from grief and turning toward love. Additionally, it is a book about seal blubber.” In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Flora & Ulysses The Illuminated Adventures a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'This was a truly heartwarming, witty story. And it was the best book I have ever read! I loved everything about it and am looking forward to reading another book by this fantastic author.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - May 2014 Book of the Month A profound story about the effect of despair on society is touched with magic and humour by best-selling Roddy Doyle. When a black dog comes out of the clouds and settles itself in Dublin everyone’s family is affected in one way or another. For Gloria and her brother Raymond it brings their Uncle Ben to stay when his business goes bust. What can the children - and all the other children in Dublin – do to chase the black dog away? After a wonderful night-time adventure through Dublin the children enlist the help of the animals in the zoo to chase is black dog away forever.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - March 2014 MEGA Debut of the Month Meet Finn, shrunk to 9mm tall by his uncle in order to save mankind by stopping a killing machine from wreaking havoc. Full of humour and high action adventure even if its characters are very small.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - One of the Lovereading4kids Readers' Choice Books of the Year 2014 - January 2014 Debut of the Month When weird things start happening around him, Darkus Knighty puts his mind to trying to find out why. Since the detective business is in his blood that is not really a surprise but, since his father has been in a coma for four years, he has had to learn all he needs to know on his own. When his father makes a miraculous recovery, he soon realises that Darkus can do with some help. Soon, father and son are trying to work out why a best selling book is creating such a stir and whether the very unusal things that are happpning are linked to the Combination? Darkus’s sharp mind helps unravel the clues in this surprising and entertaining detective novel. For your budding detective there is a fantastic Knightley and Son quest pack which accompanies the book, full of puzzles to solve and codes to crack - you can download it here! And also have a look at the Reading Guide which has some great ideas for discussion points from the book and creative activities - see the tab right.
Longlisted for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal - One of our Books of the Year 2014 - July 2014 Non-Fiction Book of the Month What did living through the First World War feel like for relatives at home, especially children, as well as for the soldiers fighting at the Front? Eleven stories inspired by objects from the time of the war are beautifully told by internationally acclaimed authors including David Almond, Tracy Chevalier and Michael Morpurgo. From a butter dish made by a young girl whose life is changed by the war in Maud’s Story by Adele Geras to a Brodie helmet complete with a bullet hole in Our Jacko by Michael Morpurgo the stories bring alive the profound effect of the 1914-18 years. ~ Julia Eccleshare
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - November 2014 Book of the Month Jam-packed tales full of hilarity, excitement and fun but this latest in the Wings and Co. series from Sally Gardner, winner of the Costa Book Award 2013, and acclaimed artist, David Roberts is even more mashed up than usual. It sounds like a case for Wings & Co, the famous fairy detective agency when a giant bunny, out of control broomstick and magically shrinking cars are causing chaos! So can the Wings and Co. detectives of Emily, Budget and Fidget put a stop to this magical mischief before it's too late? Perfect for all young readers looking for a thoroughly engaging read. If you loved David Walliams's Gangsta Granny, you'll love these hilarious tales of mischief, mayhem, magic and mystery.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - November 2014 Book of the Month -One of the Lovereading4kids Readers' Choice Books of the Year 2014 Another awesome epic from Rick Riordan who has created a vibrant and compelling landscape for adventure hewn from Greek mythology. Time is running out for the demi-gods in their fight against Gaia, the all-powerful mother earth. She needs these demigods for their blood and she will stop at nothing until she has them! Percy, Jason and their brave-hearted crew have miraculously survived every challenge that has been put before them. But Gaia’s giants have defeated them at every turn. Now, the Feast Of Spes is nearly arrived. Two demigods will be sacrificed to provide the blood Gaia so badly needs and, once she is awake, there will be no future for the Percy, Jason and the rest. This is a challenge they have to win. Can they? This is the fifth and final book in the bestselling spin-off series, Heroes of Olympus, set in the high-octance world of Percy Jackson. The Heroes of Olympus - The Lost Hero The Son of Neptune The Mark of Athena The House of Hades The Blood of Olympus
Michael Morpurgo’s much praised novel Listen to the Moon was inspired by a gruesome medal commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania 100 years ago off the coast of Co. Cork, and a newspaper report he came across during his research about a small child being spotted on top of a piano floating amongst the wreckage. Michael will share this extraordinary story and answer questions from the audience. He will also talk about Dreams of Freedom, a book of inspirational quotations about human rights, published with Amnesty International, for which Michael has written an introduction. A Note from the Michael Morpurgo “There was once in our family a hideous medal, commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania in May of 1915. On one side, if I remember rightly, there was the ship going down, on the other a skeleton, selling tickets to the passengers. The medal has long since vanished, but ever since those two images stayed with me. I learned later that the ship was torpedoed by a German U Boat, 12 miles off Kinsale, in the south of Ireland. It was at the time the greatest single wartime civilian disaster in history. I discovered too that three hours or so after the sinking, the grand piano from the dining saloon of this luxurious liner was found floating on the ocean, in some reports, with a child still clinging on. That was my inspiration for Listen to the Moon. It is a story of love and loss, of family and community fractured by war, of the power of hope, and above all of the will of the human spirit to survive.” A Piece of Passion from Pubisher, Ann-Janine Murtagh “Michael Morpurgo is simply the Master of British Storytelling and I feel privileged to have published many wonderful Michael Morpurgo novels over the years but when I first read Listen to the Moon I fell in love with his writing all over again and as if for the first time. It is a supremely beautiful book from a storyteller at the very height of his powers and a testament to the transforming power of storytelling itself. Listen to the Moon is just perfect. We are hugely proud to be publishing it on the HarperCollins Children’s list this Autumn’.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Award-winning Ursula Dubosarsky’s enigmatic story is elegantly and briefly told. Gripping as the story unfolds it will also leave readers wondering, What really happened? Eleven impressionable girls in a small class at a select school are led by their teacher into the local park. They know little of the world beyond their own lives but the day is significant, so their teacher tells them, because, a man is to be hanged. With their sensibilities heightened by this information, the girls follow their teacher first into the local park where she meets a mysterious young man and then into the caves on the shore. The girls return but the teacher and the young man are never seen again. Sworn to keep the day a secret by their teacher, no one breathes a word of what has happened. And who knows what did? Reflecting on the nature of information and what is true will engage all readers after they have finished this story. ~ Julia Eccleshare
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - September 2014 Debut of the Month Can three children and a bear keep themselves free from the authorities who are determined to track them down? When Thomas Bailey takes his own life and sets his wild animals free Nona, the young girl who has been sheltered by him, must make her escape too. The authorities kill all the animals they can; only Abel Dancer, a bear, escapes. Nona protects him as they go on the run from their deadly enemy Bolverk, a man with a cyber eye and the power to track them down. Teaming up Jay and Caius, two boys they meet on her travels, Nona and Abel Dancer show the value of loyalty, courage and kindness while celebrating the freedom that only the wild can offer. A Piece of Passion from Emma Matthewson, Editor-at-Large I just fell in love with Linda Coggin's writing. I could say that The Boy with the Tiger's Heart is a lyrical, beautiful, modern-day fable - which it is. But it is also a mesmerising read: thrilling, exciting, puzzling and magical. If you think you might like a book about a girl brought up by wild dogs and whose best friend is a bear; a boy who is wild and terrifying, only part human and yet still very much a boy; and a society that so fears nature and the dark that it has felled all forests and keeps the lights on at night - then this is the book for you. I so hope you enjoy it.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - May 2014 Debut of the Month An engrossing school adventure story packed full of mystery and rich in atmosphere. Orphaned Edie is rescued from a miserable stay with cousins because she can be useful in discovering exactly what is happening at the exclusive Knight’s Haddon School for Girls where Anastasia, the daughter of a Russian prince, is studying. The school is in a castle cut off from the outside world. When mysterious things happen – and especially when Anastasia’s precious possessions go missing – no one knows quite whom to blame. Can Edie get to the bottom of what is going on? A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher, Chicken House I went to a boys’ boarding school – we had straw hats and silly rules, but I loved living with a bunch of friends all day, every day. It was like being on a desert island with prefects! Of course, we imagined all the visitors were criminals and there was a dire secret in the clock tower. But actually, maybe Esme Kerr’s right; it was the teachers who had the real secrets all the time . . .
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - May 2014 Debut of the Month Bringing the past alive through a timeslip is an excellent way of getting under the skin of the very young soldiers serving at the front in the First World War. On a trip to Ypres with her grandfather, Rose is deeply moved by the grave of a fifteen year old soldier, Valentine Joe. That night, she finds herself suddenly back in the days of the war. When she meets the young soldiers she is determined to try to change their destiny. But can she? A thought-provoking, original and deeply moving story which brings the war vividly to life. A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher, Chicken House Can we ever imagine life for ordinary ‘Joes’ in the chaos and confusion of the First World War trenches? Well, here in this moving, heartbreaking and warm story Rebecca Stevens does just that – she takes a modern young girl back to meet a boy soldier and his dog. They learn a lot together – but more importantly they help each other come to terms with what’s happening in both their worlds, when death becomes part of everyday life. Sorry, I couldn’t help crying. IT MUST NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN! Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading4kids expert opinion some of our Kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2015 - April 2014 Debut of the Month A haunting story in which Ash and his soldier father are linked by traditions from the past and struggles in the present. When Dad returns from the war, Ash expects him to be a hero. But Dad is far from heroic; he only wants to be alone and Ash doesn’t know how to reach him. Ash takes solace in his running, training hard for his role as stag boy for the local Stag Chase – as his father has done before him. But there are some old ghosts stirring on the hills as well as some hostility from his friends and Ash needs to confront them both if he is to help his father. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Bone Jack a small number of readers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster... 'a gripping read which can't be missed...it is spine tingling and spooky...I couldn't take my eyes off this book and am now eager to read more from the author.' Raj Bunet. Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - March 2014 Book of the Month This is the first young adult book from number one bestselling author David Baldacci. A thrilling fantasy adventure story that follows one girl's quest beyond her known world and into a dangerous realm full of magical beasts. Vega Jane lives in Wormwood, a place where curiosity is discouraged and no one has ever left, until she discovers a map that suggests a mysterious world beyond the walls. A world with possibilities and creatures beyond her imagining. But she will be forced to fight for her freedom. And unravelling the truth may cost Vega her life. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Finisher a small number of members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'An enigmatic, enthralling read that'll have you staying up into the small hours desperate to find out what happens next.' - Ciara McIlvenna Scroll down to read more reviews...
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - March 2014 Debut and Mega Book of the Month The big emotions at the heart of this story will grab readers’ attention and guide them through a painful and heart-warming story. Liv’s life is pretty typical: there are the ups and downs of friends and school and testing her parents about how much they will let her make her own decisions. Life is a bit extra complicated because of her brother’s behaviour but Liv is used to it and mostly she can manage that too. But then Mum begins to behave very oddly. When Liv learns the truth her life is turned upside down. Through her diaries and the photos she takes and helped by Mum’s diaries too Liv charts the dramatic weeks that change her life.
Winner of the 2015 Guardian Children's Book prize - One of our Books of the Year 2014 and Winner of the 2015 Peters Book of the Year 'Teen Fiction' Award Award-winning David Almond is at his lyrical best in this eloquent, tender and ultimately devastating contemporary teenage love story which draws lightly but to great effect on the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. Camping on a beach near home as a break from school and its pressures, a group of teenagers, minus their friend Ella, come across Orpheus, a wandering musician. No one knows where he comes from or whether he will appear again but his music is so special that Claire plays it down the phone to Ella. And Ella is entranced. But who is Orpheus? The power of love and the terrible danger it can pose drives this exceptionally touching and thoughtful story. ~ Julia Eccleshare Judge and author Jenny Valentine described the book as “an absolute masterclass in the transformative power of language. It is fearless, free and full of wonder and I am changed by reading it.” Fellow judge Natasha Farrant said that reading the story of Ella Grey “hasn’t just changed the way I look at Orpheus. It has changed the way I look at the world.” The following titles were longlisted for the 2015 Guardian Children's Book PrizeFive Children on the Western Front by Kate SaundersA Song for Ella Grey by David AlmondMy Name’s Not Friday by Jon Walter Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge An Island of our Own by Sally Nicholls El Deafo by Cece Bell All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven This year’s prize is being judged by authors Piers Torday, Jenny Valentine and Natasha Farrant, and chaired by Guardian children’s books editor and Lovereading4kids editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare. Torday said: “These books are quite simply some of the best writing for children today, from graphic novels to Victorian sequels, Greek myths to the US civil war. Diverse, complex, accessible, experimental, page turning and heart-breaking, they bring young readers the world on a single shelf.” The winner of the prize will be announced on the 19th November.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2014 This is a remarkable and surprising book, just when you think you understand it, whoosh, the unexpected taps you on the shoulder again. There are four quarters to this story; they travel across time, yet somehow are connected and can be read in any order. The writing is clever, each story has a main character, each one different to the one that has gone before, yet linked in a vital way. If you do choose to read the stories in a different order to the one the author has chosen, will your experience be different, will you have an altered understanding, will you feel the same when you turn the final page? Compelling yet often uncomfortable, sharp yet subtle, this will make you feel, think and question what you know; this, is a wonderfully fascinating read. ~ Liz Robinson The Costa Award Judges thought The Ghosts of Heaven was “A startlingly original novel with a strong conceptual link to the motif of a spiral. A hugely ambitious work.”
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - September 2014 Book of the Month This is a dive in head first and read until you're dizzy book, so utterly brilliant and readable it’s scary! The totally bizarre and freakily sane Skink joins detective forces with Richard, who is looking for his cousin Malley after she runs away with a man she met online. With laugh until you gasp for air moments, mostly involving Skink, you quickly realise he is one of the most amazing characters to ever appear in print - would you actually want to meet him? Oh yes, most definitely! Some authors have that undefinable edge, that ability to take you right there, to the place of their choosing, Hiaasen most certainly has the gift. This is an unforgettable must read of a crime / mystery novel for young adults. P.S. this is so unputdownable, don’t leave it around for other people to pick up until you’ve finished reading it - as you won't get it back! ~ Liz Robinson
Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize Best Fiction for Teens Award 2015 - One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 Debut of the Month *** Suitable for 15+ as some explicit content An enormous family saga unfolds in this story shot through with magic that is helped on its way by lashing of luck – both good and bad – and a great many extraordinary and truly unexpected happenings. Ava Lavender, a girl born with wings which cannot be explained or hidden, charts the history of her family from its origins in nineteenth century France to poverty in Manhattan before a long, long journey to Seattle and a new start for a new generation – all before Ava is even born. Although Ava is the most unusual of her family there are many others who will surprise and entertain before the story is fully unravelled. A Piece of Passion from Gill Evans, Fiction Publisher...an exquisite and mesmerizing story of love and desire told in an exceptional and wonderful way. The magical realism of her style is reminiscent of One Hundred Years of Solitude, but this family story and quest for understanding follows four generations from France to America. Foolish love has beset the Roux family for generations. For Ava Lavender, a girl born with the wings of a bird, it is a burdensome legacy. In her quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl, Ava ventures into the world. But in a world which may view her asgirl or angel, it is a dangerous place to be. On the night of the solstice, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air and Ava’s journey and her family’s saga reaches a devastating crescendo.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - One of the Lovereading4kids Readers' Choice Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 MEGA Debut of the Month Eponine tells the heart wrenching story of her own life of suffering and cruelty in this emotional roller coaster taken from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. Brought up in poverty, from the youngest age possible Eponine has been sent out to steal and to lie and to cheat. But somehow, deep inside her, she knows there are better ways of living a life and higher human values to hold onto. Eponine’s encounters with Cosette and Marius unlock the best emotions in her. Can she change despite the great cost to herself? A spell-binding story about one girl’s search for inner peace. A Piece of Passion from Publisher, Barry Cunningham Les Misérables literally takes your breath away. The passion and the peril in this massive story has inspired plays, TV shows, films and songs through the years. But sometimes it’s good to find the simple heart in the greatest works, which is exactly what Susan Fletcher does here with shy tragedy and hauntingly romantic beauty. It’s a simple, moving and brilliant retelling, showing what Victor Hugo himself said of his original novel – a progress from evil to good. A Note from the Author, Susan Fletcher ‘A Little in Love is my first novel aiming to appeal to both adults and young adults. But Eponine's story contains many themes I've always been interested in as an adult fiction writer – identity, survival, solitude, the natural world, different forms of love and the brevity of life – all told by a feisty protagonist. To write of these themes – and of Eponine herself – for a wider readership was a sheer delight.'
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - July 2014 Debut of the Month A dystopian story told with the refreshing addition of a dollop of good humour. Ruby thinks nothing of it when it begins to rain. Why should she? But, what she doesn’t know is that just one drop is all it takes for your blood to be infected. It’s hard to believe - especially for Ruby as the first she finds out about it is when she’s trying to snog the dreamy Caspar in an outside hot tub. With everyone in turmoil after the party when the rain starts falling, Ruby sets off to find her dad who, she hopes, will be safe in London. Ruby’s journey is a highly entertaining roller-coaster despite the convincing threat from the rain.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 **Due to content we recommend this as suitable for at least 15+** June 2014 Debut of the Month Shortlisted for The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2013 Funny, awkward and full of genuine teenage passions and anxieties, Lobsters, told in the alternate voices of Hannah and Sam is both tender and entertaining. Hannah worries that she’ll never find her perfect partner; Sam thinks no one will ever fancy him. Each tells what happens and how they feel when they meet. Is this the true love they have both been looking for? The authors Tom and Lucy are best friends who wanted to write the true, awkwardly funny story of first love. Written from the perspectives of both a boy and a girl, and fuelled from Tom and Lucy's own experiences as an ex-couple, this is a wise, hilarious and deeply compassionate (and slightly rude!) breath of fresh air. A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher, Chicken House I was a hopeless teenager – scared of girls, motorcycle gangs and being asked to do anything practical (not necessarily in that order). If only I’d known some of what Lucy and Tom reveal . . .actually, that would have made it worse – so best you read it for yourself. It’s funny, true and wise.
Zoella Book Club title Summer 16 | One of our Books of the Year 2014 - Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Book Award 2014 - May 2014 Book of the Month A gripping story with a brilliantly shocking ending. Rich, beautiful, privileged – the Sinclair clan seem to have it all. For Cadence and her cousins that means long hot summers on their special holiday island. Days of swimming and picnics and parties. But around them swirl the problems of their parents and particularly, the complex issues of their inheritance. When Cadence hits her head in an accident she can’t remember anything about how it might have happened; a whole section of her life is missing. It is only when she goes back to the family island that the truth slowly and painfully becomes clear. Guardian Children's Fiction Prize Judge, Gillian Cross, found it: “a wise, subtle book about grief and guilt. It needs to be read at least twice.” A Piece of Passion from Emma Matthewson, Editor-at-Large, Hot Key Books "This has been one of those books that just sucked everybody in from the moment we started reading. E. Lockhart has written a book of contrasts and of many parts, and that is what makes this book so very, very extraordinary and addictive. It is a book that was born to be talked about." Sarah Odedina, Hot Key MD, says: "Everyone at Hot Key Books is so excited and energised by having this breathtaking book on the list. It is a one-sitting heart-pounding read. It is quite simply unique and we know we are going to have a spectacular time bringing it to the attention of readers."
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - May 2014 Debut of the Month Heartbreak is made bearable by humour in this gripping and touching story of sixteen year old Pearl, struggling to keep going after the death of her mother. Pearl’s mum dies after giving birth to The Rat as Pearl designates her tiny, newborn sister. How can Pearl ever forgive The Rat for all the grief she has caused? Locked into her own sadness and refusing to let anyone help her, Pearl knows that only her mum can help her. What would she say if she turned up and knew what Pearl was thinking? How Pearl grieves for – and with – her mother is a tragic tale beautifully told. A Piece of Passion from Ingrid Selberg, Publisher, Simon & Schuster Clare Furniss has that rare ability only the very best writers have: to provoke an authentic emotional response. Clare describes grief that cuts to the bone at the same time as making you smile wryly at life’s unpredictability...If you’re a daughter you can’t help but immediately want to pick up the phone to your mum after reading this… Teens love to read and in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
Winner of the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize Best Fiction for Teens Award 2015 - Shortlisted for The Branford Boase Award 2015. Important questions are posed in this richly imagined and fast-paced supernatural thriller with big themes at its heart. Nathan lives in a world that is very similar to our own. But it has one very big difference: there is a record kept of all the witches that are alive. Everyone must be classified as White, Black or Fain/ Non-Witch. White and Black witches are divided into ferociously hostile factions with notorious skirmishes between the two. Only one thing unites the two sides: fear of a boy with an inheritance from both sides. That boy is Nathan…Nathan’s mixed parentage makes him impossible to classify and it makes him dangerous. Soon everyone is after Nathan. Is he a hero or an outcast? And can he survive? - One of our Books of the Year 2014 - One of the Lovereading4kids Readers' Choice Books of the Year 2014 - March 2014 Debut of the Month This thrilling YA debut (rights now sold in 42 territories!) will do for witches what Twilight did for vampires… In fact, film rights have already been snapped up by the company that made the Cullens famous.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - March 2014 Book of the Month - One of the Lovereading4kids Readers' Choice Books of the Year 2014 *** Suitable for 15+ due to explicit content Across a huge canvass that touches on almost everything a teenager might think about this is a sexy, sharp-eyed, funny and totally irreverent view of the world as told by sixteen year Austin. Austin’s world view which is told as he hangs out in Ealing, Iowa with his best friend Robby and girlfriend Shann is very normal in that it is full of the usual teen concerns – mostly sex. But it also wholly extraordinary – especially after the bugs have been released. Accidentally, of course. With a world full of preying mantis the world will be never be the same again.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - February 2014 Mega Debut of the Month This stunning debut novel by acclaimed spoken-word artist Steven Camden tells two stories which take place twenty years apart but which are connected by one old cassette tape. Ryan and Ameliah each tell their story. Both are suffering unhappiness following the death of their mothers. Ryan has to deal with his malicious half-brother; Ameliah is trying to piece together her mother’s life. When Ameliah finds an old tape among her mother’s possessions she begins a connection that will change her life. It is a powerful story and Steve Camden unravels it with a delicacy and subtly that adds much to its impact.
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 2014.
And why not also check our Book Awards category which lists all the shortlisted and winning books for the most prestigious awards of 2014.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.