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This book is aimed at young people who are just entering into the world of cycling. It explains all the basics: How to choose a bike (types of bike, getting the right fit), basic maintenance (changing a tyre, cleaning your bike), cycling techniques (pedalling, gearing, cornering, bunny hops) and next level cycling (competitions and training).
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Two true stories inspire this warm, positive, uplifting story: the real-life adventure of Pickles, the dog who found the World Cup, and the amazing achievements of Fara Williams, the women’s football superstar who was winning on the pitch even while she was homeless. Like Fara, Elsie is football mad, as is her dog Pickles, who narrates for us. In the story, the world cup trophy is stolen, which means Elsie will miss her chance to play in a half-time match at Wembley. That opportunity has been sustaining her through difficult times as she and her dad (and Pickles), also like Fara Williams, have lost their home and are living in a noisy, dingy hostel. Fortunately, Pickles is as good a detective as his famous namesake… Publisher Barrington Stoke specialise in books for dyslexic or reluctant readers, and there’s lots of page-turning action packed into a short extent. The book is big on emotions too though, making clear just how devastating it is to lose your home, while showing how love, family and hope can get you through just about anything. It also reminds us that football – playing, watching, being a fan – is life-enhancing. A winner! Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
Fantastic stomps around Great Britain | There are so many great things about this book, but perhaps the greatest is the way in which the authors have found the story in each walk. Kids love stories so what better way to get them into the car than with the promise of “The mystery of the four stones at Clent”, “Beaches and battles at Bamburgh” or “Giants and glaciers on Cadair Idris”? This collection of 100 walks is spread out across the country which make it the ideal staycation companion for families. Graded for difficulty, every page turned brings a new map, great photographs, a written overview and a new adventure! The secret to any good guide book is trust and having done quite a few of these walks I can vouch for their accuracy - but what surprised me is what I’d missed! Jen and Sim Benson know their walks but they also know kids. Brilliant! ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival
What a special person Marcus Rashford is, on and off the pitch. With a focus on his football, this excellent little biography also gives readers a good idea of his life and how he’s got to where he is today. The stats of course speak for themselves, he’s a brilliant footballer and the book provides some analysis of why he scores so many goals. It also tells us about his early football games, playing in his tiny back garden with brothers Dwaine and Dane, before joining the youth academy at Manchester United (born in Wythenshawe, he’s always been a fan). No matter how successful he’s been, he’s never forgotten the community he grew up in as the book explains, and its final stat, after all those goals, penalties and assists, is the money he’s raised for charity FareShare: £20 million. Author and illustrator write with all the enthusiasm of real football fans, peppering the pages with jokes and extra football facts, making this very appealing and super-readable. There’s a quiz at the end to test the reader’s memory and a useful glossary too.
As Tough Women’s subtitle declares, these are “stories of grit, courage and determination”. True tales from twenty-two tough women who undertake awe-inspiring adventures across the globe, from canoeing the Canadian wilderness, to hiking Pakistan, to cycling South America. Its editor is the intrepid Jenny Tough, a Canadian mountaineering expert who notes in her introduction that “the outdoor industry is actually fully of women, but when it comes to the highest level of media…the demographic dwindles to one”. Fortunately, this sexist state of affairs could be on the verge of changing - through giving voice to the “badass outdoorswomen” who here tell their extraordinary stories, this book might just change that narrow narrative and inspire new generations of female adventuresses. Each account enthrals like the best kind of travel writing. There are dazzling evocations of, for example, rugged Himalayan mountain-scapes, lush South American jungles, and howling Norwegian glacial valleys. Many of the women’s stories reveal monumental physical and emotional challenges - challenges tackled and overcome with super-human strength and resilience - and all of them underpinned by a joyously life-affirming spirit of curiosity. For more books with a strong, feminist theme, visit our Girl Power feature.
Patrick Neate’s Small Town Hero melds a sensitive handling of real-life loss with alternate world weirdness to create a surprising, unique novel. There’s grief and gaming, family secrets and football, and the interwoven themes of loss and science will appeal to readers who liked Christopher Edge’s The Many Worlds of Albie Bright and are now a little older. Everything changed for thirteen-year-old Gabe when his dad died in a car accident. First there’s his grief, which has created a “black hole inside me.” Then there’s his unsettling new ability: “the stories I imagine become real.” Reeling with grief and confusion, Gabe finds he’s not entirely alone when he spends more time with his estranged Uncle Jesse, writer of an online game called Small Town Hero, which - to make matters even weirder – appears to echo Gabe’s life. Jesse believes “there aren’t just a few realities, but a countless number” and explains that when Gabe shifts realities and sees alternate versions of his present and future life, he’s crossing something called an “event horizon”. As Gabe’s reality-shifting plays out, he also falls out with his best friend. Still, he has Soccer School to look forward to, and here Gabe takes on pertinent football wisdom from one his Watford icons: “Football’s a game of moments. You get the ball, you choose a pass and, whether you chose right or wrong and did it well or badly, the moment’s gone and you gotta move on…the game makes you live in the here and now – you can’t change what’s gone and you can’t see what’s coming.” For similar books you can find an exciting and varied selection in our new Gritty Reads section
Open your front door, breathe in the fresh air and prepare yourself for lots of fun! So says Alex Gregory in the introduction to this book and it is indeed full of exciting activities that children can do outdoors, whether that’s in the park or garden or further afield. There’s something for everyone too, whether you’re the climbing trees type or would rather be making leaf prints for your bedroom wall. All activities are explained clearly with step by step instructions, illustrations and colour photos. The text makes the idea of getting out and having an adventure sound both do-able and irresistible. With space to write up your adventures this is a record book as well as a practical guide and should be the start of many memorable outdoor adventures.
A complete and comprehensive children's book about sport that combines facts and figures with the inspiring stories of sporting legends and icons. This exciting book for children is packed with fun facts about a range of popular sports such as football, karate, badminton, and skiing, as well as ones you might never have heard of like biathlon or cheese rolling.
A cheeky, free-wheeling young monkey is the star of Michael Foreman’s new picturebook, which bursts with energy and fun. Milo is determined mot to miss the cycle race as it comes through his town and has no idea of the devastation he leaves behind him as he races to the finishing line – most of it caused by the banana skin he casually chucks over his shoulder as he starts his pell-mell progress. Children will love the scenes of chaos, and the wonderful way in which Milo’s repeated ‘I didn’t do it!’ becomes a triumphant ‘I did it!’ via a surprise ending. Beautiful to look at, simple to read, and it neatly delivers a very satisfying story too. Hear, hear for Milo!
Interest Age 5-8 | Everyone knows that footballers are super-superstitious and when things suddenly start going wrong for the Saints, they decide their team is under a curse. The question is, what can they do to lift it? Stanley is the only one of them who really understands that lucky strips and garlic down their socks won’t get them winning again – only confidence and determination will do that. It’s up to him to change the team’s outlook. The action flows, both on the pitch and in the dressing room, and the story feels as real and authentic as a pair of muddy football boots. Steve May’s illustrations are bang on and in Barrington Stoke style, this is accessible even to reluctant or dyslexic readers. A winner!
May 2018 Book of the Month | Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | Alan Gibbons can pack a great deal of story and power into a short extent and that’s certainly the case with this book. It stars a group of young footballers, two of whom – the most talented – are refugees, only recently invited to play with West Team Celtic. Our main character, Sam, is happy to accept them into the squad but a boy called Jordan resents anyone who is better than him, and does his best to keep them out of the team. The drama of the matches is broken up and balanced via short chapters explaining who refugees are, where they come from, and why – something that makes the book much more than just a sports adventure. For the the final scene, everything comes together and there’s a wonderful demonstration of sport’s ability to unite us all, and even, occasionally, to work miracles. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+
These books hit the back of the net every time as far as I’m concerned. Packed full of facts, information and insight on a range of school topics, but all of them explained through football. Subjects covered include biology, via close-ups on footballers’ feet (not nearly as nice as you’d think apparently); physics – why it pays to be small when you’re dribbling (Lionel Messi anyone?); history, includes a look at the creation of the rules of football, something that took place in Sheffield in 1857; while the chapter on English is all about how to be a successful commentator. It’s fascinating stuff, and really memorable too. Anyone who reads this will learn a lot, no matter their age, and they’ll laugh a lot too – much of it is very funny, and cartoons by Spike Gerrell add to the entertainment value. Top of the league reading! One of our 2018 Books of the Year.