I was completely blown away by this powerful novella which chronicles the inner dialogue of Rex, a young teen whose father has very recently passed away. There were smiles and there were tears as I watched him struggle to come to terms with his loss and with his final moments with his father. Definitely something … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Dream House,’ by Laura Dockrill, illustrated by Gwen Millward.
A couple of months ago, I was honoured to do the cover reveal for Alex Cotter’s creepy, atmospheric middle grade debut. Today, I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour AND have a special piece by Alex about the power of spooky stories. “Where has Faith's dad gone? Why has he left his family … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The House on the Edge,’ Alex Cotter, cover by Kathrin Honesta.
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 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.
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.
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
I really enjoy reading a good historical fiction novel, especially if there’s an element of mystery afoot. If you’re anything like me, you’ll thoroughly enjoy A.M. Howell’s new title which was inspired by a notable clock collection housed in Bury St. Edmund’s Moyse’s Hall museumS. What would it be like to live in a house … Continue reading ‘The House of One Hundred Clocks,’ by A.M. Howell, illustrations by Saara Söderlund.
This absolutely beautiful picture book is based on the real life story of Jack and his beloved Bear. Seven-year-old Jack has autism and Bear is his constant companion and bridge to the world around him. ‘Bear Shaped’ tells the story of what happened when Bear went missing and Jack’s dad sent a tweet out into … Continue reading ‘Bear Shaped,’ by Dawn Coulter-Cruttenden.
I am huge fan of Emer’s hilarious writing (see the Lollies 2018 winner - The Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers Diary of Pig) so was thrilled time see that she had an entirely new series out soon - ‘Pests.’ “When the lights go off the Pests come out!” Told from the perspective of inquisitive mouse, Stix, … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Pests,’ by Emer Stamp.
Grief and death are often difficult topics to discuss with children but it’s so important that we do or there can be a serious impact on their mental health. Today I’m sharing a beautiful picture book which should provide a means to start that sensitive conversation. Ever since the loss of Granny, Grandpa has stopped … Continue reading ‘Tibble and Grandpa,’ by Wendy Meddour, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus.
I absolutely love this series of interactive books which has been carefully developed by psychotherapist and former primary teacher, Dr. Sharie Coombes. As schools continue to focus on mental health and mindfulness, these books are perfect for pupils to work through or dip in and out of. ‘Letting Go!’ focuses on helping children recognise feelings … Continue reading ‘Mindful Kids’ Activity Books by Dr. Sharie Coombes, illustrated by Katie Abey.
Today it’s my turn to tell people all about the rather wonderful ‘Granny Magic’ and share a special post by author, Elka Evalds, about some of the wonderful books she loved in her childhood. When Will’s granny passes away, he and his mum make a start on clearing her house - which is absolutely stuffed … Continue reading ‘Granny Magic,’ by Elka Evalds, cover by Teemu Juhani.
Today I’m delighted to be sharing Kirsti Beautyman’s beautiful debut picture book, ‘The Mist Monster.’ Penny and her dad have just moved house but Penny’s not sure that she likes it. Dad convinces her to go and explore, but she’ll only go once they’ve found mum’s old explorer hat. Unfortunately the dog takes a fancy … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘The Mist Monster,’ by Kirsti Beautyman.
If you like seriously creepy tales of ghouls and ghosties mixed with an inept Nancy Drew-style lead, look no further than ‘The Ghouls Of Howlfair’! Make sure you read Nick’s spooktacular piece about how his main character Molly Thompson came about - the geeks and the weirdos will prevail! Howlfair is a town built on … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘The Ghouls Of Howlfair,’ by Nick Tomlinson, illustrated by Kim Geyer.
Today, I’m lucky enough to have a special piece from Ben Davis about his top ten fictional dogs in honour of Gizmo, the canine star of his own book: ‘What’s That in Dog Years?’ (OUP) I’ll let Ben fill you in on the plot of this gorgeous book, but if you want my review of … Continue reading ‘What’s That in Dog Years?’ By Ben Davis, illustrated by Julia Christians.
For those of you who’ve read ‘Twister,’ Forrest’s debut novel, it will surely come as very welcome news that her second title is now out in the wild. Borne out her own regret at being unable to say a final goodbye to her grandparents, and her love of a whole spectrum of gloriously-named colours, Forrest … Continue reading ‘The True Colours Of Coral Glen,’ by Juliette Forrest, cover by Jamie Gregory.
Barrington Stoke produce some of the very best short, accessible stories by some of the very best current children’s authors. Although specially produced to be easy on the eye for dyslexic readers, their brilliant collection is perfect for anyone who enjoys short, pacey reads. Lisa Thompson’s debut for Barrington Stoke fits in perfectly. Owen and his … Continue reading ‘Owen and the Soldier,’ by Lisa Thompson, illustrated by Mike Lowery.
Inspired by the stories of her childhood like ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ and ‘The Silver Sword,’ Catherine decided to write a story of her own, inspired by the unfolding migrant crisis. The result is ‘No Ballet Shoes in Syria.’ A book about a child displaced from her home in Syria, fleeing across Europe and … Continue reading ‘No Ballet Shoes in Syria,’ by Catherine Bruton, cover by Kathrin Honesta.
I finished this poignant title just in time for Remembrance Sunday so wanted to share it beforehand incase any of you were looking for some books set in the time of the First World War. As Evie’s parents struggle to come to terms with the death of their youngest son, Alecky, his older (but underage) … Continue reading ‘Evie’s War,’ by Holly Webb.