Blog tour: ‘The Magician’s Map,’ by Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai, illustration by Maxine Lee-Mackie.

Having read the first title in the Hoarder Hill series and loved it, I was delighted to be sent the next instalment to enjoy. The twins are back at Hoarder Hill and they’ve caught wind of Fantastikhana - an underground magical tournament! Make sure you also read authors Mikki and Kelly’s piece about the trials … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Magician’s Map,’ by Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai, illustration by Maxine Lee-Mackie.

Blog Tour: ‘Show Us Who You Are,’ by Elle McNicoll, cover by Kay Wilson.

I am sure that lots of you will already have read and loved Elle’s stellar debut title ‘A Kind of Spark’ (if you haven’t, do it!) and were blown away by the power of her writing. Like me, you will probably have been eagerly awaiting her next publication, hoping it will be just as brilliant. … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Show Us Who You Are,’ by Elle McNicoll, cover by Kay Wilson.

Blog tour: ‘The Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club,’ by Alex Bell, illustrated by Tomislav Tomić.

This thrilling series started way back with ‘The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club’ and now it’s onto the fourth instalment - the sign of some great stories. This time, it’s the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club taking centre stage.... ‘Ursula knew the submarine wasn't designed to go this deep, but what choice did they have? No one … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club,’ by Alex Bell, illustrated by Tomislav Tomić.

Blog Tour: ‘Beauty and the Bin,’ by Joanne O’Connell.

Today’s my stop on the ‘Beauty and the Bin’ blog tour. It’s a new middle grade title about reducing food waste, friendship and being true to yourself. Make sure you scroll down to read Joanne’s piece about how to be a young eco-warrior. Laurie's home-made beauty recipes are no secret. The secret is that her … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Beauty and the Bin,’ by Joanne O’Connell.

Blog tour: ‘Corpse Talk: Dead Good Storytellers,’ by Adam and Lisa Murphy.

If you haven’t yet discovered this brilliantly clever series of graphic novels which seamlessly combines some of the world’s most famous historical figures with comedy, which rock have you been hiding under? They are a sure fire hit with any fans of funny (or history) aged nine plus. The newest addition to the series retells … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘Corpse Talk: Dead Good Storytellers,’ by Adam and Lisa Murphy.

Blog Tour: ‘Opie Jones Talks to Animals,’ by Nat Luurtsema, illustrated by Fay Austin.

Introducing the first in a brand new series of hilarious middle grade titles from author Nat Luurtsema. ‘10-year-old Opie Jones is Very Ordinary. In fact nothing remarkable has ever happened to her, if you don’t count the cat that gives her funny looks from next door (which she doesn’t). So she is naturally very surprised … Continue reading Blog Tour: ‘Opie Jones Talks to Animals,’ by Nat Luurtsema, illustrated by Fay Austin.

Blog tour: ‘The House At the Edge of Magic,’ by Amy Sparkes, cover by Ben Mantle.

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Amy Sparkes’ brilliant new title ‘The House at the Edge of Magic.’ "Sometimes you are a whisper away from magic without even realizing it." Nine is an orphan pickpocket determined to escape her life in the Nest of a Thousand Treasures. When she steals a house-shaped … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The House At the Edge of Magic,’ by Amy Sparkes, cover by Ben Mantle.

Blog tour: ‘Chocolate Milk, X-Ray Specs and Me,’ by Bethany Walker, illustrated by Jack Noel.

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.

Christmas Advent – Day Four ‘Santa Gets a Second Job,’ by Michele D’Ignazio, illustrated by Sergio Olivotti, translated by Denise Muir.

Today’s advent pick is a wry, clever and downright hilarious journey towards finding the real meaning of Christmas. The International Postal Service is in the red and this spells bad news for seasonal worker, Santa. He’s going to have make some cutbacks: reindeer hire and insurance is a major expense, and as for some of … Continue reading Christmas Advent – Day Four ‘Santa Gets a Second Job,’ by Michele D’Ignazio, illustrated by Sergio Olivotti, translated by Denise Muir.

Blog tour: ‘Glassheart,’ by Katharine Orton, cover by Sandra Dieckmann.

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.

Blog Tour: ‘A Thousand Questions,’ by Saadia Faruqi.

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.

Blog tour: ‘The Midnight Guardians,’ by Ross Montgomery, cover by David Dean.

Ross Montgomery is one of my favourite middle grade authors - whichever of his books you choose to read, you know you’re not going to be disappointed. But I must warn you that his latest title, ‘The Midnight Guardians,’ is a compulsive, read-past-your-bedtime, adventure. With bombing raids ravaging London, Col has been evacuated to live … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Midnight Guardians,’ by Ross Montgomery, cover by David Dean.

Stories with Environmental themes from Barrington Stoke

Today I’m sharing two books with strong environmental themes from the fabulous dyslexia-friendly publisher, Barrington Stoke. ‘The Invasion of Crooked Oak,’ by Dan Smith, illustrated by Chris King. The local community are very unhappy about the fracking site on Carpenter’s Field. The local children used to play there - catching fish and building dens. When … Continue reading Stories with Environmental themes from Barrington Stoke

‘The Griffin Gate,’ by Vashti Hardy, illustrated by Natalie Smillie.

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.

Blog tour: ‘The Midnight Swan,’ by Catherine Fisher.

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.

Blog tour: ‘The Orphans of St. Halibuts,’ by Sophie Wills, illustrated by David Tazzyman.

If you’re in the mood for a chucklesome boarding school tale full of ingenious orphans, evil matrons and belligerent goats, then this is the book for you! I had the absolutely pleasure of reading this wickedly funny tale over the Summer and it really tickled my funny bone. The humour was just dark enough for … Continue reading Blog tour: ‘The Orphans of St. Halibuts,’ by Sophie Wills, illustrated by David Tazzyman.