I’m thrilled that Peter Bunzl has added his talents to the brilliant selection of short, snappy reads published by dyslexia-friendly publisher, Barrington Stoke. As you would expect if you’ve read Peter’s ‘Cogheart’ series, ‘Featherlight’ has family at its heart with a little flash of magic. ‘When the lighthouse no longer shines, what else has the … Continue reading ‘Featherlight,’ by Peter Bunzl, cover by Evan Hollingdale.
Today I’m sharing a brilliant debut novel by Helen Harvey: Emmy Levels Up. It’s a fantastic story about gaming, friendship and standing up for yourself. I also have Helen’s top three gaming recommendations for children AND for adults. ‘Emmy is brilliant at the computer game, Illusory Isles. Her avatar is a powerful fire elemental with … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘Emmy Levels Up,’ by Helen Harvey, cover by Abbey Lossing.
Chris Wormell is perhaps best know for his distinctive illustrative style, but he has also created several picture books and now, a novel - the rather wonderful ‘The Magic Place.’ Make sure you read Chris’s special piece about the places he used to escape to as a child and how they inspire his writing. 'And … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Magic Place,’ by Chris Wormell.
Justin Somper’s swaggering fantasy adventure series has been reissued with striking new covers and bonus additional content including ‘origins stories’ for its lead characters, interviews, and reading group notes. Today I’m sharing the first of those with you, plus an exclusive piece by Justin about how he researched his characters. ‘The year is 2512. The … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘Vampirates,’ by Justin Somper, cover illustration by Crush Creative.
If you happen to have book vouchers burning a hole in your pocket, you might like to pre-order yourself a copy of this spine-tingling new title publishing on the 1st July 2021. Where has Faith's dad gone? Why has he left his family living in an old house perched on a crumbling cliff top? A … Continue reading Cover Reveal: ‘The House on the Edge,’ by Alex Cotter….
With Mother’s Day on the horizon, you may well be thinking about making cards and buying presents. How about getting something a little out of the ordinary this year? How about a wonderfully warm and witty book celebrating mums in all their guises? ‘How to Spot a Mum is a tongue-in-cheek tribute and ode to … Continue reading ‘How to Spot a Mum,’ by Donna Amey Bhatt, illustrated by Aura Lewis.
Although Sharon has illustrated a lot of brilliant books for other authors, this is the very first book she’s both written and illustrated. Make sure you read Sharon’s piece about the ideas & inspirations behind her story. ‘Suzy's family has moved house and everyone is just TOO BUSY to play with her. Eager for someone … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Bears Don’t Wear Shoes,’ by Sharon Davey.
Today I’m sharing a perception-flipping new picture book from award-winning duo Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson. ‘Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. There's the whiskered man with the crossword puzzle; Milo imagines … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘Milo Imagines the World,’ by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson.
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.