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Mary Hoffman has written over 100 books for children. Amazing Grace, commended for the Kate Greenaway medal, and its sequels has sold over 1.5 million copies. As well as the successful Stravaganza sequence of teenage novels, translated into over thirty languages, The Great Big Books series of information books for younger readers, illustrated by Ros Asquith has done very well. The first, The Great Big Book of Families, won the inaugural SLA Information Book Award in the under 7s category.
Mary loves to write historical fiction and her books for Bloomsbury - The Falconer’s Knot, Troubadour and David - have been followed by Shakespeare’s Ghost and now The Ravenmaster’s Boy. She runs a widely-read blog called The History Girls: https://the-history-girls.blogspot.com
Mary is an Honorary Fellow of the Library Association (CILIP) and lives in Oxfordshire.
Making friends, being friends, falling out with friends – these are important matters for everyone, whatever their age. Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith tackle the subject with typical sensitivity in a book that will provide young readers with lots of reassurance and good advice, along with the strong sense that its authors really understand them. It’s OK they say, to have lots of close friends, just one, or even none at all; your family can be your best friends, or you might not get on with them at all, but it’s all normal, and nothing to be worried about. This is the latest in the thoroughly inspiring and useful Great Big Book of series, and as always, readers of all shapes, colours and abilities will find themselves in the pictures. ~ Andrea Reece
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Three young people witness the fall and execution of Anne Boleyn in this gripping historical adventure. Chief amongst them is Kit Wagstaffe, adopted son of the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London, a boy with a rare gift: he can communicate with the ravens. With flocks of feathered spies to help, Kit discovers a plot against the young Princess Elizabeth, one he is determined to foil out of his loyalty to and affection for Anne. Figures familiar from history lessons are made vivid, breathing characters in this exciting story and though we know how it ends for Anne readers will be moved and saddened viewing events through Kit’s eyes. This is proof of historical fiction’s power to grip and entertain. Pippa Goodhart’s Raven Boy tells another gripping story from within the Tower, in a different century.
Pisa, 1299. In the male-dominated world of Renaissance Italy, Netta is an ambitious young woman and the last in the line of a great family of sculptors and stone-carvers. Determined to throw off the shackles of marriage, Netta sets out to take up her family's legacy and work on fixing the city's leaning tower. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+
This author and illustrator team are superb at informing children about really important things clearly and sensitively, without ever talking down to their audience. They’ve already looked at families, feelings and the environment, here they look at the human body, inside (what’s under the skin, how our brains work) and out (what changes the body undergoes as we grow up and grow old, what makes us the way we are). It’s full of information presented in an appealing and accessible way, and with lots of humour – verbal and visual. A book that will answer children’s questions, and that will make them understand and feel reassured about the world and their place in it too. ~ Andrea Reece
Think of Camelot and it’s probably Arthur and his knights that come to mind – Lancelot, Gawain, Mordred and all who sat at the round table. But what of the women – the mothers, wives and daughters? Mary Hoffman retells their stories in her collection Queen Guinevere and Other Stories from the Court of King Arthur, and what stories they are, stories of power, love, courage, loyalty, bravery and magic, at least the equals for excitement of any of the stories of the men. It’s a collection that will thrill readers of all ages, and both sexes. Christina Balit’s dramatic illustrations match the tone perfectly.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A special 25th Anniversary edition of the international bestseller in which Grace learns that she can be anything she wants.
A celebration of families and the very many different things they do and the very many different ways they do them. Some families are big, some families are small; some parents work, some parents don’t. Holidays, hobbies, school, clothes and food and the different ways that different families approach them are just some of the topics which Mary Hoffman thoughtfully explores and Ros Asquith joyfully illustrates.
This is the third in the excellent Great Big Books series, following on from The Great Big Book of Families and The Great Big Book of Feelings, and can there be a more important issue for young people at the moment than the environment? As with all books in this series, this explains the facts and issues clearly, and with humour: cartoon illustrations and speech bubbles keep the tone light, but convey a huge amount of information. At no point does it feel preachy, and the authors’ respect for the intelligence of their readers is clear. The book explores all the major conservation issues, including climate change, the threat of extinction, and the need for renewable energy, and it shows how children themselves can make a difference. An important and inspiring book. ~ Andrea Reece
A warm-hearted introduction to the many different kinds of families that exist all of which are reflected in Ros Asquith’s witty and unfailingly sympathetic illustrations. The open-minded discussion of what makes a family will reassure all children about their own situation as well as promoting tolerance of differences and how they may have come about.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ It's the 16th century and young Luca works in the shipyards of Venice but is a dreamer. When he gets the chance to board The Angel and set sail, he finds life at sea thrilling but he soon realises he needs his wits about him to survive the terrible battle that lies ahead. Transporting the reader into this harrowing and moving historical adventure set against the backdrop of the last great sea battle - the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 - ever fought in the Mediterranean, Mary Hooper gives you the feeling of actually being there with Luca as he continues to dream about his life whilst his life in turn hangs in the balance. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+
Interest Age 7-12 Reading Age 7+ Prity is newly arrived in England and new to her school in Tottenham. She has learnt English at school in India but, even though she speaks the same language as her classmates, she can’t always understand enough to join in the games! Everything is so different. All Prity wants is for someone to explain things to her! Gradually, and helped by her class mates, spirited Prity soon learns to fit in and to have fun. And just when she’s settled – the family are about to move again! Best-selling Mary Hoffman, author of Amazing Grace, brings the experience of a newcomer in the classroom vividly to life. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 7+
Happy, Lonely, Interested, Worried, Jealous – in words and pictures this book wittily and sympathetically explores the feelings common to all and some of the reasons for them. With imaginative and seemingly endless variety, Roz Asquith’s illustrations convey how people look while experiencing different emotions while Mary Hoffman’s text provides a thoughtful commentary on the feelings that might lie behind the looks. Perfect for children to absorb on their own, this is also a useful as a spur to discussion.