It is so refreshing to see a wave of ‘real voices’ titles appearing in the middle grade category. Interesting and often challenging stories told from an authentic viewpoint. In this case, we get to read about Addie, an autistic girl, written by neurodivergent author, Elle McNicoll. Addie has been having a tough time recently. Her … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘A Kind of Spark,’ by Elle McNicoll.
Today’s my turn to shout about ‘Rise of the Shadow Dragons,’ the gripping follow up to Liz Flanagan’s award-winning ‘Dragon Daughter.’ Make sure you read Liz’s special piece about some of the main themes in this gripping epic. Joe wakes up smiling with the lingering memory of a dream where he was riding on the … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Rise of the Shadow Dragons,’ by Liz Flanagan.
This week, Book Boy got to pick our Tuesday title and he selected this updated take on the classic story of Robin Hood. After his coder father is falsely imprisoned following a disagreement with local gangster, Guy Gisborne, twelve-year-old Robin escapes into the sprawling and dangerous Sherwood Forest. Full of snakes and bandits, no one … Continue reading #TuesdayReviewsDay Robert Muchamore’s ‘Robin Hood,’ cover by Alessandro Taini.
Chris Haslam is Chief Travel Writer at The Sunday Times, writer of black comedy thrillers for adults and now the author of his first book for children: ‘Orla and the Serpent’s Curse.’ Orla and her family head to a secluded Cornish cottage for they hope will be a relaxing break away from the hustle and … Continue reading ‘Orla and the Serpent’s Curse,’by C. J. Haslam, cover by Paddy Donnelly.
As a parent of a child in Year 6, I am keenly aware that Book Boy may not be returning to school in time to do all the usual 'end of Year 6' things - performances, shirt signings, the sex education session which I am sure many parents (including myself) are not overly confident in … Continue reading Books to use in RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) in Year 6.
This is a book for those end-of-primary-school, start-of-secondary-school tweens who are perhaps struggling to find their place with their peers. It’s designed to help children discover what’s holding them back and have the confidence to be themselves. This title was written by youth charity ‘Ditch the Label’ founder, Liam Hackett, based on his experiences as … Continue reading ‘Fearless: How to be Your True, Confident Self!’ by Liam Hackett, illustrated by Mike Perry.
I have only recently discovered the joys of novels written in free-verse. Kwame Alexander and Sarah Crossan are award-winning examples of authors who do this already. The ability to tell a whole scene of a story in a few carefully chosen and placed words, and making an emotional connections with their readers is a real … Continue reading ‘In the Key Of Code,’ by Aimee Lucido, cover by Helen Crawford-White.
I am a huge fan of Cath’s debut novel, ‘Ella on the Outside,’ so was very excited to receive a proof copy of her latest title, ‘Not My Fault,’ and hoped that it would be as carefully observed as the first. I wasn’t disappointed. Maya and Rose are sisters, but they won’t talk to each … Continue reading ‘Not My Fault,’ by Cath Howe, cover by Joel Holland.
I am honoured to be part of the blog tour for ‘Will You Catch Me?’ which has been scheduled to help raise awareness of International Children Of Alcoholics Week (11th-17th February) organised by the NACOA. Inspired by her own childhood experiences of alcohol abuse, Elson penned this title to help highlight the turmoil of those … Continue reading ‘Will You Catch Me?’ by Jane Elson.
I absolutely loved Durrant’s previous title, ‘Running On Empty,’ so knew I was in for a treat when ‘Little Bits Of Sky’ arrived. After saving it for a rainy day, I decided the time had come to dive in... This story follows the lives of looked-after siblings Ira and Zac, as recalled through Ira’s childhood … Continue reading ‘Little Bits Of Sky,’ by S.E. Durrant, cover by Rob Biddulph.
Being good all the time’s not working. Maybe it’s time to try being bad.... Today is my stop on the blog tour for the just-released ‘When Good Geeks Go Bad’ by comedian Catherine Wilkins, where good girl Ella decides it might just be time to try being bad. Ella is fed up of toeing the … Continue reading ‘When Good Geeks Go Bad,’ by Catherine Wilkins, cover by Joel Holland.
“Sometimes, when you’re a kid, but especially when you’re a girl, people want you to be quiet and well-behaved.......but changing things is important.” When Effie Kostas starts part-way through the term at Highworth Grange secondary school, she spends her lunch breaks sitting by herself. If that’s not bad enough, a fellow pupil (super-popular junior class … Continue reading ‘Vote For Effie,’ by Laura Wood, cover by Emma Trithart, illustrations by Mirelle Ortega.
I am very pleased to part of the ‘blog avalanche’ for the latest title by genius best-selling writer, Lisa Williamson. ‘Paper Avalanche’ is no exception as we follow the tale of Ro, the teenage daughter of a compulsive hoarder. On the outside, Ro Snow is a perfectly normal teenaged girl. Slightly anti-social perhaps, but otherwise … Continue reading ‘Paper Avalanche,’ by Lisa Williamson, cover designed by Alice Todd.
I am delighted to host something a little different on my blog today: a brilliant new poetry anthology celebrating female poets across the ages. This new collection from anthologist Ana Sampson, features 150 stunning poems from fierce and fabulous women worldwide. There is such a wonderfully diverse range of poets featured: suffragettes, aristocrats, school girls. … Continue reading ‘She is Fierce: Brave, Bold and Beautiful Poems by Women,’ by Ana Sampson.
Charli is a model and body activist so is well-placed to write a book for middle grade readers which is aimed at encouraging a healthy body image. In a time where children are constantly bombarded with unrealistic photos of what a body ‘should’ look like, it’s even more important that they are reassured that bodies … Continue reading ‘Splash,’ by Charli Howard, illustrations by Lucy Davey.
I was first drawn to this book by its intriguing title and the glowing recommendation it had received from Philip Pullman (one of my literary heroes.) Upon commencing reading, it soon because clear that this was going to be a very special book indeed. Narrated by the amazing ape (and first engineer), the sea-faring Sally … Continue reading ‘The Murderer’s Ape,’ by Jakob Wegelius.
After loving Sheehan's first novel, the Carnegie nominated 'Swan Boy,' I was delighted to be invited to review her latest book - 'Goodnight, Boy.' It follows the life of JC, who has been banished to live in the dog's kennel by his new adoptive father after doing something so terrible he can't bring himself to … Continue reading ‘Goodnight, Boy,’ by Nikki Sheehan.
After the roaring success of of Kiran's first novel (The Girl of Ink and Stars, overall winner of the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2017), I was eagerly anticipating the release of her next one. Fortunately, due to her well-deserved award win, the publication date was pushed forward and I was able to get my hands on … Continue reading ‘The Island at the End of Everything,’ by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, cover by Helen Crawford-White.
Introducing the first in a new series of children's books about the diverse Lottery family, from the highly acclaimed author, Emma Donoghue. This heart of this book is nine-year-old bookworm, Sumac, who is struggling to come to terms with her grandfather (Grumps) coming to live with her family after being diagnosed with dementia. The Lotterys … Continue reading ‘The Lotterys Plus One,’ by Emma Donoghue, illustrations by Caroline Hadilaksono.
*NEWSFLASH! – Huge congratulations to Kiran Millwood Hargrave on being awarded the prize of overall winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2017 last night.*
Isabella is a mapmaker’s daughter – ink flows through her veins. But she’s forbidden to leave her village on the coast of Joya to explore the uncharted areas of the island. But then a young girl is attacked in the orchard and Isabella’s best friend (and the cruel Governor’s daughter) goes missing.
Feeling responsible for her friend’s disappearance, Isabella is determined to lead the search party. She’s also determined to explore the Forbidden Territories and map the areas her father wasn’t able to. She soon discovers a secret hidden within her mother’s precious map which will guide her as she’s forced to navigate the deadly labyrinth hidden deep below the island where the mythical fire demon, Yote, is said to live. The map, along with her knowledge of the stars…
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