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The books in this section cover a range of PSHE topics including bullying, disability, family issues and autism. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and cover age ranges from Toddler to Older Teen.
Jamie is chaotic and impulsive, he wants to be normal but his ADHD makes him feel like his brain is full of butterflies, like his brain’s about to explode and come fizzing out of his ears. Elin has a perfect reputation; if she is more helpful and hardworking, surely her dad will return to them? When Jamie and Elin’s families are thrown together it seems doomed to fail…but maybe not? The depiction of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is both sensitive and honest by former primary school teacher Victoria Williamson who has a great knack of featuring the real voices of children she has met through her work. As they grapple with their differences, as Elin’s tries to distance herself from her new stepbrother Jamie the Monster who she sees as her enemy, her fairy-tale life moves further out of reach. This is a compelling book about acceptance, openness, mental health and family dynamics. I couldn’t put it down.
This lovely and heartwarming story will help readers understand that not everybody thinks the same way, and that some people feel differently about parties. All Pablo books are written by writers on the autistic spectrum and are grounded in the real-life experiences of autistic children.
Specially written for children on the autistic spectrum, and grounded in their real-life experiences, this book is more than just a playful bedtime story and will provide its young audience with real comfort. Like lots of children, Pablo doesn’t want to go to sleep, but he has a particular way of coping. Pablo draws the night as deep, dark blue, a blue so deep and dark that his friends the toys can’t see anything. Wren is worried that they’ve disappeared and won’t come back, but Mouse is able to reassure him that everyone is still there. Next Pablo draws an Always Sun, and that can keep him feeling sparkly. As he recreates the night with his crayons and then conjures up his own light, Pablo is able to soothe himself and children like him, and calmly goes to sleep.
In Turbo Racers: Trailblazer, twelve-year-old Mace Blazer gets the chance to pilot a state-of-the-art vehicle that transforms at the touch of a button from race car to jet plane to single-person sub, in the biggest race in the world. The roar of the crowd, the glow of the spotlight, the thrill of the race-Mace Blazer dreams of going TURBO. TURBOnauts thrive on the thrum of trimorphers's rocket engines as the vehicles morph from super-powered race cars to speeding jet aircrafts to torpedo-fast submarines, while they race full-throttle around every bend. And Mace believes he's got what it takes to join their ranks-he only needs the chance to prove it. So when a reclusive retired racer chooses Mace to try out to be part of the next generation of TURBOnauts, Mace knows that this is his moment to show what he can do. But the path to his big shot means facing down the best and the brightest from around the world. Mace will have to live more fearlessly, hone quicker reflexes, be revolutionary-but will it be enough? Mace quickly realizes that everything he's ever hoped for comes at a price. He'll have to decide between what is right and what is easy. Every morph counts in the first book in this exhilarating new adventure series by the acclaimed author of The Islands at the End of the World, Austin Aslan. This is the first title in a high-stakes middle-grade two-book series!
November 2019 Debut of the Month | At once amusing and affectionate, this early Middle Grade novel combines real-world alienation with actual aliens! Harriet feels terribly out of sorts when she moves in with Gran while her dad works away, but before she’s even had chance to say goodbye to him, she learns that her hearing aid enables her to understand alien languages, such as that spoken by the Sock Muncha she finds beneath her new bed. What’s more, Harriet discovers that Gran is part of a secret intergalactic organisation that’s working to protect Planet Earth from an invasion of Sock Munchas. Harriet runs into conflict when she’s taken on as Gran’s apprentice: how can she possibly banish her new alien friend, given that he was bullied by other Sock Muncha’s and isn’t at all like them? Alongside the action-packed alien adventure, there’s much sensitivity around making friends and making everyone feel welcome. For example, Harriet’s unquestioning acceptance of new friend Robin’s non-binary identity, which she describes as “kind of awesome.” What a sweetly empowering debut this is from a hearing aid-wearing comedian, actor and Ambassador for Action on Hearing Loss and the British Tinnitus Association.
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2020 | Ten-year-old Frank loves code and numbers; they’re a way to make sense of the world, as well as providing secret languages to share with his friends and his mum. Frank’s five-year-old brother Max is autistic and for him the world is often a scary place, when anything unexpected, too loud or too bright can cause him to have a meltdown. The story is narrated by Frank and every reader will understand his frustration at the unfairness of life. We know that he loves Max, but we know too how hard Max makes life for all the family. Frank is then faced with something even more terrible when tragedy strikes. With the help of those around him we watch Frank find a way to make sense of what has happened and the bravery to cope with the different world. Katya Balen has worked with neuro-divergent children and there’s a powerful sense of truth and understanding in her beautifully told story. If they like Wonder by R. J. Palacio they'll love The Space We're In. The Branford Boase judges said : ‘an important book, beautifully written’; ‘so powerful, it enables us to see right into Frank’s mind’; ‘the insight into the family relationships is excellent’.
September 2019 Debut of the Month | Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2020 | Ten-year-old Frank loves code and numbers; they’re a way to make sense of the world, as well as providing secret languages to share with his friends and his mum. Frank’s five-year-old brother Max is autistic and for him the world is often a scary place, when anything unexpected, too loud or too bright can cause him to have a meltdown. The story is narrated by Frank and every reader will understand his frustration at the unfairness of life. We know that he loves Max, but we know too how hard Max makes life for all the family. Frank is then faced with something even more terrible when tragedy strikes. With the help of those around him we watch Frank find a way to make sense of what has happened and the bravery to cope with the different world. Katya Balen has worked with neuro-divergent children and there’s a powerful sense of truth and understanding in her beautifully told story. If they like Wonder by R. J. Palacio they'll love The Space We're In. The Branford Boase judges said : ‘an important book, beautifully written’; ‘so powerful, it enables us to see right into Frank’s mind’; ‘the insight into the family relationships is excellent’.
July 2019 Debut of the Month | Caterpillar Summer is one of those apparently quiet books that actually have a huge and lasting impact on readers. It’s the story of Cat - Caterpillar - and her little brother Henry, nicknamed Chicken, and the three weeks they spend on holiday with the grandparents they’ve never met before on the North Carolina coast. The children’s father is dead and their mum works hard as a children’s book illustrator and lecturers to support them. Cat feels the weight of responsibility to help and in particular to look after her little brother who is autistic. When their planned holiday with friends falls through Mum has no option but to take them to stay with her parents, though she hasn’t spoken to her father since Cat was born. Living with Lily and Macon by the beach, Cat finds time to make friends and with her grandma taking care of Chicken, to think about what she needs. She’s also able to work out the issues between her mum and her grandad, who she’s come to love, and effect a reconciliation. The story is beautifully told, the landscapes both interior and exterior, perfectly described and it manages to be authentic and hopeful. Highly recommended. Andersen Press are particularly good at finding contemporary novels that give children the opportunity to consider what really matters - see also Susin Nielsen and Aoife Walsh.
Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | What a luminously life-enhancing read this is. The story of ADHD afflicted underdog Felix, who “can’t concentrate or keep still”. His East German Granddad now (embarrassingly) drives the pink car that used to belong to his deceased Grandma, whose death has hit them all hard. Felix and Granddad’s grief is laid bare with heart-wrenching authenticity, but theirs is a complex relationship: “I love my granddad and I think he loves me, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.” After an altercation, Felix and Granddad forge an understanding, and look forward to a “neuangfang” (new start) that begins with a list of “Ten things I’d like to teach Felix”. Unfortunately, in Felix’s eyes Granddad’s list comprises the “ten more boring things in the world”, but Felix works through it until only the most dreaded activity remains - playing chess. He tries to wriggle out of it, but “crafty” Granddad has been surreptitiously teaching Felix chess skills and he’s soon hooked by the game, with unexpected positive side effects. A thrilling team tournament is followed waves of pulse-quickening twists that will thrust readers to the edge of their seats, heart in mouth. Throughout, the rollercoaster ride of primary school life - fallings out, friendship, fear of not fitting in - is explored in all its intense and comic complexity, and the representation of working class realisms is spot-on too. Felix’s mum and dad have both been “working stacks since Dad’s plumbing business went bust last year”. But, best of all, the magic of the relationship between children and their grandparents is dazzlingly conjured. I adored it.
Ava is like any other 7-year-old. She likes to talk and laugh with her friends, is obsessed with dogs and loves being active. Ava is also deaf - and she's proud of it. She loves her deaf community, that she's bilingual, and that she experiences the world differently from hearing people. In this book, Ava welcomes her hearing peers to her daily life, the way technology helps her navigate the world and explains common misconceptions about deaf people - and introduces some of her deaf heroes who have achieved amazing things. She talks about her experiences at school making friends with hearing children, and teaches readers the BSL alphabet and some BSL phrases. Featuring photos of Ava, her friends and family throughout, plus illustrations of hand signs, this book celebrates deafness rather than discussing 'overcoming challenges' or 'stigma'. Perfect for readers aged 5 and upwards.
2020 Schneider Family Honor Book In Classroom Six, second left down the hall, Henry has been on the lookout for a friend. A friend who shares. A friend who listens. Maybe even a friend who likes things to stay the same and all in order, as Henry does. But on a day full of too close and too loud, when nothing seems to go right, will Henry ever find a friend-or will a friend find him? With insight and warmth, this heartfelt story from the perspective of a boy on the autism spectrum celebrates the everyday magic of friendship.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | It is rather amazing to have a pet dragon. Everyone loves Zibbo, the tiny dragon, and all the children come together to join in many activities in his company. The pictures tell readers other ways in which the narrator is amazing, even though he sees them as too ordinary to mention. This is a warm, happy book which draws everyone together in their own amazing ways.