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Steve Cole was our Guest Editor in November 2011. Click here to find out more and see some of his favourite books.
He is a bestselling children's author and lifelong fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond. His other book series include Z. Rex, Thieves Like Us, Doctor Who and Astrosaurs, with collective sales of over three million copies. In other careers he has worked as an editor of books and magazines for readers of all ages. To see more author information click here.
You can see more Steve videos on his YouTube channel - click here.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | This is the latest in a series of books by Steve Cole which let readers see the world through the eyes of young people the same age as them but living very different lives. Hanh’s family were conned into allowing her to travel to Hanoi, ostensibly for a job as a shop assistant. Instead, she’s forced to work in a sweatshop making clothes for Western fashion outlets. Little more than slaves, she and other young girls work long hours in horrible, dangerous conditions, locked in at night and beaten by guards if they complain. It’s a grim setting, but Cole’s story emphasises Hanh’s strength, character, and resilience as together the girls form a desperate plan to escape. It’s tense and exciting, and readers will identify with Hanh from the very beginning. The story leaves them in no doubt either as to the real cost of that cute pair of ripped jeans and makes us all aware of our part in the terrible treatment of children like Hanh. Published by Barrington Stoke, this is accessible for all readers including those reluctant, struggling or dyslexic.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Steve Cole’s gripping treasure hunt story is even more compelling because it is set in a real place, somewhere most of us have never heard of. Theo lives in the world’s biggest e-waste dump, Agbogbloshie in Ghana. The same age as readers, he makes a living sorting through the junk that people like us throw out – mobile phones, old DVD players, Xbox machines – and salvaging scraps of metal that he sells for cash, earning just enough to pay for food but nothing like what he needs to escape. So when Emanuel turns up asking Theo for help to find his big brother’s treasure, Theo is in; this could be his chance to escape Trashland. Their search is even more dangerous than Theo expects. Other people are after the hidden treasure too and Emanuel is anything but trustworthy. The story is tense and exciting, and readers will feel they are there with the boys, digging through the broken electronics, choking on the dump’s noxious fumes. Things work out well for Theo in the end – it would be too agonising for the readership if they didn’t – but readers will be very aware that there are many real life Theos and Emanuels still digging through the rubbish in Trashland. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | This gripping story of kidnap and escape burns with outrage at damage being done to the Amazon. Carlos’ mother is a member of the Special Forces Group of IBAMA, Brazil’s environment agency, which suddenly makes him a target for ruthless men illegally mining in the rainforest. Taken as a hostage to force his mother to turn a blind eye, he manages to escape and survive with the help of a boy his age, whose life has already been devastated by the men’s actions, even as the world burns around both of them. Powerful and absolutely gripping, this is both a terrific adventure story and a wake-up call for young readers about the urgent need to protect our world. Published by Barrington Stoke, it’s accessible to all readers including those reluctant, struggling or dyslexic.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | September 2019 Book of the Month | Short and, in Barrington Stoke style, accessible to all readers, Tin Boy is a powerful and inspiring story, and one that will get children thinking about the world and their place in it. The hero Tono lives in the Indonesian province of Bangka Belitung and, though he’s only a boy, goes to work to each day, swimming down to mine tin by hand from deep under sea. It’s dangerous work and caught in an accident, he’s lucky to survive. That luck, together with something he finds on the seabed, changes his life. It’s a gripping story, that both vividly describes Tono’s life and plays with the idea of superheroes in a way that will resonate with all readers. Readers who enjoy Tono’s story should also look out for Kick by Mitch Johnson.
There's no ducking out - it's time for this ordinary, wise-quacking duck to become . . . A Hero! Adventure Duck didn't ask for greatness. All he wanted was his nest on the duckpond and plenty of soggy bread to eat. But when a meteor gives him superpowers, he knows he must fly into battle and defeat the forces of evil. Every superhero needs a nemesis, and Adventure Duck finds a pint-sized one in Power Pug. This tiny arch-villain is plotting to take over the world with his hypnotic stare and an army of hench-animals. Luckily, Adventure Duck has helpers, too. There's Yoki - a mystical, moustachioed egg - and Neon Zebra, Adventure Duck's karate-kicking sidekick. Can Adventure Duck and his friends stop Power Pug in this egg-ceptionally funny, action-packed adventure?
The discovery of a lost communication from his father sent just before his tragic death some years earlier, sends the young James Bond off on a dangerous, possibly deadly trip to Moscow and the heart of the old Soviet Union. Once again Steve Cole gives Bond fans (of any age) the action-packed adventure they love, along with the glamorous, sharply described settings that are so important to the books, and he adds more than a touch of sharp humour too. Once again, it works brilliantly. Cole understands exactly what makes Bond Bond, and he seems to have real sympathy for his character and his obsessive fascination with danger. Great stuff.
One of our Super Readable Books of the Year 2016 | Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | In a Nutshell : accessible | edgy | sinister Branded super-readable Steve Cole’s short novel is just that, and the action moves as fast as thought. Luke has always been good at guessing what people are going to do, but then he finds he can actually hear what they’re thinking inside his head. As the horror of that is sinking in, the situation gets even more frightening and he meets a dangerous girl who is able to control others with her thoughts. It’s an electrifying read created by an author who knows just how to handle tension, and readers will in all likelihood find themselves reading it in one nerve-shredding session. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of super-readable short fiction by some of the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK. Each title has a host of unique accessibility features to offer cracking reads to more children including reluctant and struggling readers and those with dyslexia or visual stress. Here at Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting the best of their new and backlist titles to recommend to you. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
In 3 : invisible goodies – dastardly baddies – killer chickens (poultry-geists!) Steve Cole is a national treasure: creator of series such as Astrosaurs and Magic Ink, and now writing the Young Bond books, he’s delighted huge numbers of young readers with his ever inventive, clever, often very funny books and stories. Invisible Inc, in which a young boy is accidentally made invisible and then joins forces with a Victorian lady scientist, medieval knight and horse (all also invisible) to save the world, has all his trademarks: the action is fast and furious, the jokes are many and varied, and it all feels absolutely up to date, exactly the kind of book that today’s young readers want. Jim Field’s illustrations are the perfect complement to the text adding extra tension or humour as required.
November 2015 Book of the Month Steve Cole steps into Ian Fleming’s, and latterly Charlie Higson’s shoes in this brand new adventure for the young James Bond, and finds them a very good fit. This is a clever piece of writing, complete with all the gadgets and ruthlessness that make Bond Bond (whatever his age) and with some excellent action scenes: those on an airship flying slowly across the Atlantic are particularly gripping. All the set pieces in fact feel fresh and original, and it’s great that there are some strong female characters too for a change; there’s a heart beating beneath the 007 tropes. Recommended for fans of Bond, young and old. ~ Andrea Reece
Bob has always loved the idea of monsters so when his house is picked up by a giant whirlwind and, Wizard-of-Oz like, thrown into an underground world populated by the bizarrest creatures, he’s 36% excited, 32% full of wonder, and only 32% afraid. It’s exactly this kind of thing that makes him such a good narrator– no matter how weird things get (very), Bob makes sure the reader knows exactly what’s going on! As he travels deeper into monster land, Bob makes some nutty monster friends, including a Gorgon - called Zola – geddit? - and a toga-wearing, Ninja-kicking hamster called Verity. Cole’s invention and comic style never flags, and Jim Field’s illustrations are worth the cover price alone! ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2013 & May 2013 Book of the Month A comic strip comes to life with the help of some magic ink... a hilarious adventure that could only have come from the madcap mind of Mr Steve Cole, bestselling author of Astrosaurs, Cows in Action and Slime Squad! No child aged 7 or 8+ can fail to be hooked by the mind-blowing madness that ensues when Stewart's artwork gets out of hand!