No catches, no fine print just unconditional book love and reading recommendations for your students and children.
You can create your own school's page, develop tailored reading lists to share with peers and parents...all helping encourage reading for pleasure in your children.Find out more
The stories and novels in this section cover a range of themes from family issues to mystery adventures. You can find stories about the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren, to sibling rivalry and blended families, suitable for the smallest children up to young adults.
Shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2020 | The Klaus Flugge judges said: ‘A visual treat and the text and illustrations work very well together; it’s full of detail but never cluttered; pace is cleverly controlled; just the right balance of fun and fright!’. Flavia Z. Drago introduces us to Gustavo, a gorgeous little ghost who is so shy he’s literally invisible. Her folk-art style with its palette of orange and Rosa Mexicana creates a distinctive playground for Gustavo as he suddenly and unexpectedly makes new friends.
Winner of the Everything with Words’ YA Competition 2019, Rebecca Henry’s The Sound of Everything is an authentically gritty, involving coming-of-age novel that speaks to young people who struggle with feeling unseen, unheard and unloved. Shipped from foster home to foster home, frequently betrayed, and having “never had a dad that I could call Daddy”, it’s no wonder Kadie (aka Goldilocks) has trust issues. The only thing she’s sure of in this world is music - listening to it, and creating it. It’s the “only thing that keeps my head straight.” To protect herself, she’s set out three rules: “1. Don’t count on anyone. 2. Act. Always act. 3. Be prepared to lose everything.” Constantly in trouble at school, though told she has potential, Kadie bonds with a boy called Lips, aka Dayan, the name he reserves for use by special people, of which Kadie is one. Dayan records with his AMD mandem (Amalgamandem) and she’s happy to be invited to hang out with them, while remaining ever-mindful of the fickleness of group dynamics: “one day you’re in the group, the next you’re invisible.” But, just as things start to take an upturn, everything explodes in the aftermath of hideous online trolling and trouble with her foster sister. What’s unique about this novel is the author’s considered, long-game exposition of Kadie’s complex character - it’s not rushed, not forced too soon to serve the plot. And, true to life, her problems aren’t easily solved either - it really is powerfully authentic all round, from Kadie’s voice and interactions, to its portrayal of mental health problems, among them self-harm. At times Kadie will have you pulling your hair out at her own-worst-enemy outbursts, but mainly, though, you’ll warm to her. You’ll will her to find her way. Appropriately enough for a girl named Goldilocks, there is - ultimately - a glint of gold among the grit. I don’t want to spoil it, so let’s just say she finds what might turn out to be her “just right” and begins to learn to open up to people she can trust.
Fourteen-year-old Cat is lonely - reeling from the loss of her father, she's disconnected from friends and fighting with her mum. But when a new boy, Tyler, arrives for the summer, Cat finds herself opening up to the handsome stranger. A shocking revelation about her dad turns Cat's world on its head. She and Tyler uncover a series of secrets that take them on a perilous journey. With fresh lies exposed and threats from a dangerous gang revealed, will Cat risk everything to keep herself and her family safe? A teen thriller that will have you looking for answers round every corner.
What a perfect book to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Puffin and its founder Allen Lane and an intensely personal book for author, Michael Morpurgo, suffused with his love for the Scilly Isles and for his family history - his wife Claire being one of Allen Lane’s daughters. The utterly beautiful illustrations by Benji Davies evoke his own holidays with grandparents in Cornwall and one can see that this story of a boy who loved to paint is one that is very personal to him too. Every inch of this book is crafted with love (make sure that you look at the hardback cover beneath the dust jacket with its soaring puffin against a glorious blue background and the images of both author and artist at the end) The illustrations range from dramatic double paged spreads, to little sepia vignettes but every page illuminates the absorbing and heartfelt story which begins with the lighthouse keeper Benjamin Postlethwaite and a terrible shipwreck from which he singlehandedly rescues 30 people including the 5 year old narrator of our story. Recently fatherless and travelling with his French mother to grandparents in Devon, the rescue and Ben himself make a huge impact on the boy – not least because of the paintings which fill the lighthouse and the gift of a small painting which becomes his most precious possession. The portrayal of the grim and bleak life with unloving grandparents in Devon, the misery of boarding school and of an artistic child who was a bit of a loner is very moving. As soon as school is finished the boy retraces his steps to the now defunct lighthouse and discovers a home, a friend and an artistic vocation as well as an injured puffin that together they nurse back to health. A puffin who keeps returning and brings others with him. By the time the young man returns from the war he could not avoid - the island and Ben have become a sanctuary for these characterful birds as well as our narrator and his future family. A charming book which evokes a very real sense of place as well the importance of being true to yourself and finding your place in the world.
Having demonstrated in The Gifted, the Talented and Me a real comic gift for creating believably awkward adolescent males, William Sutcliffe does it again with 13-year-old Luke. His family life has been turned upside down as first his stroppy elder sister and then his father join the climate rebellion activists ‘across the road,’ squatting in a house scheduled for demolition in a controversial airport extension plan. While poking gentle fun at Nimby’s and career protestors alike, there is an underlying core of real science and justified outrage about the environmental crisis for the planet in this hugely enjoyable story. Other serious themes are touched upon in this subtle and deceptively light-hearted narrative. The role of protest, politics and the media, the need for tolerance and understanding of different lifestyles, responsible parenting and the need for us all to stand up for what really matters. Luke learns a lot about himself and his own prejudices when he comes up against Sky – a child born into alternative lifestyles and protest, who yearns for stability and the privilege of attending school. These are both great characters, frequently displaying wisdom and courage that their elders lack. Making serious points while provoking laughter takes real skill and this excellent novel undoubtedly demonstrates that. Highly recommended.
This is the third book in a fresh and funny new detective series for 7+ readers. Follow Anisha, a STEM-loving, British Indian girl living in Birmingham with her huge, hilarious extended family - an irrepressible new best friend for boys and girls everywhere. Our Kids Reader Review Panel reviewed the second in this series, School's Cancelled - find out what they thought!
Two friends, one of Indian descent and one of African descent, have weddings to celebrate in their families. As the families gather for the occasion Amrita is exposed to old fashioned attitudes of colourism from older relatives. The idea that eating or drinking certain foods may make your skin darker is treated with a sure touch by Gangrota – but the strong message that people should celebrate their own skin colour and be happy with who they are comes across loud and clear. This is explored by the way Amrita wants to dress in a bright sunflower yellow dress (a colour thought to emphasize darkness of skin) but Mum is there to support Amrita in her choices and feel safe within herself. The title derives from both girls dressing brightly and beautifully for their family weddings. They then go on to promise each other they will live as ‘Sunflower Sisters’ always – with the joyful outcome that they open a shop selling colourful clothes for everyone. The deftness of touch in this story means no-one is belittled for their ideas, though the message comes through very clearly that colourism is not good. Dias-Hayes background in fashion and textile design shines through the wonderful illustrations of clothes. Beautifully executed with a very sunny palate of colours this book is beautiful to look at, as well as powerful to read.
A hungry little mouse strolls through very prettily illustrated countryside scenes, reminiscent of favourite folk tales, and is lucky enough to discover four juicy apples. So far, so good, but then she runs into a bear, a bear who holds that might is right and who refuses to share. Undeterred, the clever mouse finds a way to eat her apples and to persuade her new friend of the joy of sharing. Written in rhyme this is particularly pleasing to read aloud and children will love the story of a lesson learned and friendship formed.
Interest Age 7-10 Reading Age 8 | Written with great empathy and Rauf's trademark humour, The Great (Food) Bank Heist is a moving story that gives a child's-eye view of the increasing problem of food poverty. A percentage of all royalties earned from the sale of this book will be going towards Trussell Trust Food Banks, the Greggs Foundation Breakfast Club Programme and selected grassroots food bank charities.
It’s time for the sixth and final instalment of Julian Clary’s much-loved children’s book series The Bolds! Teddington’s wildest family of hyenas have decided to do their bit for the planet and go green. They're reducing, reusing and recycling as much as they can. Not all of their eco-friendly ideas are welcome, though - especially when it comes to 'watering' the neighbours' front garden with wee ....
This is a story of true love, and one of the most heartwarming picture books you’re likely to read. It’s told by Moonimal, a very odd-looking (though still sweet) cuddly toy. Moonimal is found in a junk shop by Boy and from that moment the two are inseparable, it’s Moonimal and Boy forever. Until one terrible day when, on a walk in the woods, Boy falls, breaks his glasses and drops Moonimal. Poor little toy, alone in the woods and quite lost. Moonimal is adopted though first by a family of rabbits then by friendly deer though it seems unlikely the two friends will ever be reunited. But fate intervenes and against all the odds Moonimal is found by Boy by chance on an icy, windswept mountain. A new story begins then as Moonimal, washed, repaired and loved as much as ever, is tucked up with Boy’s new baby. Debi Gliori’s beautifully expressive illustrations catch all the drama, the loneliness Moonimal feels and the joy of the reunion. It’s a gorgeous story of lost and found, full of reassurance for little children about the everlasting nature of love and its power to magic happy endings.