If you haven’t read any of Lucy Strange’s rather wonderful historical novels, now is a good time to start as her latest title, The Ghost of Gosswater, is an absolute corker! So good, I read it in an afternoon! The Lake District, 1899. The Earl is dead and cruel Cousin Clarence has inherited everything. Twelve-year-old … Continue reading ‘The Ghost of Gosswater,’ by Lucy Strange, cover by Helen Crawford-White.
I always on the look-out for highly-illustrated middle grade titles packed with laughs and that is exactly what you get from this brilliant story told through a series of letters from a son to his super-spy parents (whom he believes are sprout farming in Outer Castonga!) The Plot: 10-year-old Freddy Spicer writes letters to his … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘Chocolate Milk, X-Ray Specs and Me,’ by Bethany Walker, illustrated by Jack Noel.
You know that you are going to be in safe hands when you open up a Stewart Foster novel. Author of the award-winning ‘The Bubble Boy’ has a brand new title coming out on the New Year for us to enjoy: ‘All Sam wants is a family of his own, a home instead of a … Continue reading ‘The Perfect Parent Project,’ by Stewart Foster.
If there are any teachers reading this who are looking for a new text with strong environmental themes and links to the Arctic, this is the book for you. A gorgeous story with stunning illustrations from the masterful Levi Pinfold - publishing in February 2021. ‘There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At … Continue reading ‘The Last Bear,’ by Hannah Gold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold.
If you haven’t already discovered this excellent time-slip adventure series featuring siblings Alex and Ruby, nows your chance as they slip through their aunt’s mirror and head off for a Victorian Christmas. Ever since discovering that the mirror in their aunt’s hallway is a portal to the past (see - ‘A Chase in Time’), siblings … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 16 ‘A Christmas in Time,’ by Sally Nicholls, cover illustration by Isabelle Follath.
Today I have a beautifully-illustrated story which skilfully combines a hopeful Christmas message and a powerful warning about conserving our planet for future generations. Every Christmas, after all the presents have been opened, Mia and her family read a precious letter left to her by her grandfather. In it, he recalls the wonderful times they … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day 15 ‘Grandpa Christmas,’ by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Jim Field.
I am always in awe of anyone who can juggle writing a cracking MG adventure alongside a busy job and family life, but James Haddell has done it! Introducing ‘The Lost Child’s Quest’ - full of history, mystery and magic. Tia is an orphan. She has lived in an orphanage, looked after by the kindly … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Lost Child’s Quest,’ by James Haddell.
The loss of a family member or loved one isn’t something you can ever really prepare for, but sharing books which explore ideas around what happens when someone dies before the situation arises can be so helpful for young children. After being told to avoid writing a picture book exploring beliefs about death, Eva Hibbs … Continue reading ‘Where is Uncle Al?’ by Eva Hibbs, illustrated by Sarah Harrison.
Today’s my stop on the magical ‘Glassheart’ blog tour and I have a special piece from Katharine about the folklore of Dartmoor inspired her story. Orphaned during an explosion in the war, Nona is taken in by Uncle Antoni - a stained glass craftsman. They travel everywhere together, replacing stained-glass windows in war-torn buildings. When … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘Glassheart,’ by Katharine Orton, cover by Sandra Dieckmann.
Today, I am proud to be sharing with you a middle grade tale of upheaval, dreams and friendship. “Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender and honest middle grade novel tells the story of two girls navigating a summer of change and family upheaval with kind hearts, big dreams, and all the … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘A Thousand Questions,’ by Saadia Faruqi.
Each of these three wonderful stories are very different but all feature some very special inter-generational relationships. ‘Special Delivery,’ by Jonathan Meres, illustrated by Hannah Coulson. This first story is part of Barrington Stoke’s Little Gems range which are specially produced for readers aged 5+ and feature fun activities in the jacket flaps. Frank REALLY … Continue reading Inter-generational Stories from Barrington Stoke
Full disclosure - I am a HUGE fan of Vashti’s middle grade adventures (the epic ‘Brightstorm’ series and the Blue Peter Award-Winning, ‘Wildspark.’) I am also a massive fan of Barrington Stoke’s highly-accessible, dyslexia-friendly titles. Imagine if you can, my delight at discovering that these two powerhouses of children’s books were joining forces to create … Continue reading ‘The Griffin Gate,’ by Vashti Hardy, illustrated by Natalie Smillie.
This is the final instalment in Catherine’s award-winning Clockwork Crow trilogy - I couldn’t wait to find out how Seren and Tomos’s adventure was going to end! When Seren slips down a strange alleyway and purchases a mysterious box at the local fair, little does she suspect that it may hold an important secret. When … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Midnight Swan,’ by Catherine Fisher.
Becoming a big sister is a big deal! It can sometimes be difficult for children to adapt to the idea of life with another sibling but stories like ‘Sona Sharma’ will help reassure them that they will be just as loved and important even after the new baby has arrived. Sona is very used to … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘Sona Sharma Very Best Big Sister,’ by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Jen Khatun.
Today I get to share a brilliant new middle grade novel which would be perfect for budding detectives: ‘The Key to Finding Jack.’ I also have a special piece from the author about what inspired her to choose Peru as the centre of Jack’s adventure. Flick’s elder brother, Jack, is heading off on a gap … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘The Key to Finding Jack,’ by Ewa Jozefkowicz, cover by Katy Riddell.
Today’s blog post is one for you dog-fans out there. I’m delighted to be sharing ‘Moon Dog’ with you and a special piece by author, Jane Elson, about the importance of thorough research when writing. Marcus sticks out like a sore thumb at school, easily the tallest in his year and angry all the time … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Moon Dog,’ by Jane Elson, cover by Izzy Burton.
I absolutely loved Aisha’s debut middle grade novel, ‘A Pocketful of Stars,’ so was very excited to see what she would write next. The magical ‘Moonchild: Voyage of the Lost and Found’ was the answer! (You can listen to Aisha on my podcast HERE.) I also had the opportunity ask Aisha some questions about the … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Moonchild: Voyage of the Lost and Found,’ by Aisha Bushby, illustrated by Rachael Dean.
Prepare yourself to be whisked away to the streets of Paris in this wonderful patisserie-filled mystery. Nell Magnificent is feeling anything but. Her two beastly parents are planning to leave on a business trip to Paris. Usually, she would spend the holidays at school, but on this occasion it was being redecorated and had sent … Continue reading ‘The Pear Affair,’ by Judith Eagle, cover by Kim Geyer.
Jess’s writing is fantastic so I was delighted to be sent a copy of her newest title which is firmly rooted in the great outdoors. Cara, her siblings and their Irish wolfhound live on a boat in the countryside. They love their beautiful boat and the fact they can step off the boat and into … Continue reading ‘Where the Wilderness Lives,’ by Jess Butterworth, cover by Rob Biddulph.
Today is my turn to share with you this truly wonderful graphic novel which depicts the true story of life in a refugee camp through the eyes of a young boy. For almost as long as he can remember, Omar and his brother Hassan have lived in the sprawling Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Although … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘When Stars are Scattered,’ by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed.