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
Touching on major moments in the story of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights including the Stonewall Uprising, the first Gay Pride Rally and the dazzling history of drag and the ballroom scene, We Are Your Children is a wide-ranging and inclusive account of a multifaceted movement, with detailed and characterful colour artwork. This book showcases figures from queer history like Harvey Milk, Julian Hows, Carla Toney, Crystal LaBeija, We Wha, Vincent Jones, Marsha P. Johnson, Alan Turing, Sylvia Rivera and many more. From the secret slang adopted by gay Londoners the 60s, to the decades of sit-ins and marches, there are countless fascinating stories to be told: stories of resistance, friendship, love, fear, division, unity and astonishing perseverance in the face of discrimination and oppression.
The highly anticipated second novel from Carnegie shortlisted Dean Atta will not disappoint fans of his unmistakeably authentic and honest #ownvoices debut verse novel The Black Flamingo. Once again drawing on his own experiences, in this case of moving from London to Scotland, this novel revolves around Mack, who is forced to accompany his film maker father and sole parent to Glasgow, leaving behind his slowly blossoming relationship with his first love Karim, a basketball star and the hottest boy in school. Mack is a true romantic, openly and unashamedly gay but with low self esteem and high levels of anxiety. He doubts his busy father’s feelings for him and wonders if his two lifelong friends like him for more than his home cinema. K is very much still in the closet and can offer little reassurance especially at a distance. Meeting Finlay, the super confident gay star of his Dad’s film, and feeling an immediate connection creates a real moral dilemma for Mack. This is a wonderfully multi-layered depiction of complex characters and the verse novel format shows again that it is so well suited to capturing emotions. There is not just a beautiful economy of language but the spacing and layout on the page recreates the drama of each moment perfectly. There is warmth, humour, a real love for Glasgow and a positive celebration of love, diversity and inclusivity in this memorable and hugely engaging novel. A real must have for library collections.
Alternating between the engaging narratives of two teenage boys, Malcolm Duffy’s Read Between the Lies is a riveting, read-in-one-sitting page-turner, sharing insights into dyslexia as it also explores family frictions and how to support the people around you. Soon-to-be-stepbrothers Ryan and Tommy are as different as ice-cream and cabbage. Tommy has recently been released from a young offenders’ prison, while Ryan is a piano-playing good lad who’s moved down south with his dad following his parents’ divorce. In Ryan’s words, “Don’t do cooking but hear it’s all about the blend of ingredients. Same with families. Ours is all wrong. Like ice-cream and cabbage”. Despite their marked differences, the teenagers do have something in common — they’re both dyslexic, but have very different ways of dealing with it. Tommy’s journey through handling prejudice against his criminal past (“a single bad decision doesn’t make you bad”) and learning to read is gripping, moving and - ultimately - uplifting, as is Ryan’s dedication to teaching Tommy to read. As Ryan’s mum announces her plan for them to move, and Tommy discovers long-buried family secrets, the perfectly-paced plot ramps up the stakes, with plenty of humour and touching moments shining through the boys’ troubles.
This impactful tale is beautifully crafted from a variety of viewpoints, written in a mixture of prose, narrative verse and journal entries, woven together with evocative illustrations by Natalie Sirett. While it is Kai’s story and his fall into darkness that is at the heart of the story, we also hear the voices of Orla, from the high-rise flats like Kai, and Zak from the big houses across the other side of the wilderness. This is the place where they spent most of their out of school time growing up and where they discovered and restored the bothy, which becomes the dramatic backdrop to astounding creativity but also danger, degradation, despair and near death. We later hear from new arrival Omid who has faced trauma and loss himself, which helps him make the connection with Kai, whose family has fallen apart following the loss of his beloved baby sister Sula. Despite the best efforts of his friends, Kai falls in with a dangerous crowd, gets excluded and his self-destruction seems inevitable. But the bonds forged in their childhood ultimately prove stronger. Kai’s deep connection to nature and in particular to a pair of ravens, who have their own narration, and the creativity which is sparked by Omid’s inspiring art, help to bring him home. There are so many important themes in this multi-layered novel which speaks so powerfully about the importance of urban green spaces and community and the way society can fail to recognise the true value of things. This highly original novel perfectly captures raw adolescent emotions and fills the reader with empathy and understanding. Highly recommended.
An emotional love story with a thrilling twist from the globally bestselling author of The One Memory of Flora Banks. Ariel's accidental meeting with a handsome stranger called Joe is completely perfect; they have a connection like she's never known before. They exchange numbers and agree to meet when he is back from a trip to France. But when Ariel messages him, the number Joe gave her is disconnected. He's ghosted her. She assumes she will never see him again. Except she does. Again and again. Ariel returns to the place she and Joe met, and is stunned to find him there, not in France as he said he'd be, and behaving as if he has no idea who she is. It turns out that their first meeting has been life-changing for them both, actually it's even more than that for Joe. But what do you do when - with every day that passes - you're literally growing apart from the best person you've ever known . . . ?
In great news for fans of Sarah J Maas’, in Twin Crowns Catherine Doyle and Katherine Webber have joined forces to create a fabulously fantastical world. With witches at its cunning core, romance at its throbbing heart, and a host of high-stakes conundrums propelling the plot, what more could fans of subversive, romantic fantasy wish for? Humour, maybe? As it happens, Twin Crowns is funny too, so strap in for a wild, witty, wolfish ride. Twin sisters Wren and Rose have lived hugely different lives. Separated at birth, Wren has long been set on usurping her sister’s place in the palace to become queen, set on avenging their parents’ murder, and set on supporting the witches from whom the kingdom was stolen. Rose, meanwhile, longs to become queen in order to explore beyond the palace walls. She’s “determined to visit the far-flung lands of her kingdom, and to meet the people who lived there.” A fabulous story of struggle and sisterhood unfolds from this classic conflict set-up, all the while bristling with the energy of five kinds of witches – Enchanters, Healers, Warriors, Tempests and Seers – and more love interest intrigue than you can shake a wand at.
May 2022 Book of the Month - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | Patrice Lawrence’s new book for Barrington Stoke is heartrending and thought-provoking, a taut first-person narrative that many will find themselves reading in one sitting. 15-year-old Charlene is struggling to say in control of her life. She’s been in care since her mother died two years ago and desperately misses her little sister, who is living with her own father. Knitting is Charlene’s therapy, the click, click, click of the needles helping her find calm, but the pressures she faces at school and outside are overwhelming. An act of cruelty against her leads Charlene to rage and violence. As the security she has known unravels, readers will understand her despair and frustration, particularly at the constant demands on her to be sorry. Written to be accessible to all readers, Needle lets us see through someone else’s eyes, highlighting the restrictive effects of society’s expectations of individuals. Vivid, powerful and unforgettable. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic teen readers
Haunted by her mother’s death, and now uprooted from Limerick to a rural village, 18-year-old Saoirse is desperate to leave school and start her life afresh. Her tremendously tough journey through guilt and anxiety - quite brilliantly related with raw compassion by Helena Close - makes for an engaging, thought-provoking, moving read that sheds light on the realities of depression while offering honest glimmers of hope. Just ahead of sitting her sitting the Leaving Certificate, Saoirse’s ex-boyfriend commits suicide. It’s no secret that she cheated on him with his best friend, and she’s cast out by her peers. Devastated by guilt, grief and feeling isolated, her counselling sessions do little to help. Yet even as she descends into the darkest clutches of depression, Saoirse shines as a wise and witty young woman. She sees people for who they are, beyond her years, with her narrative casting a glaring light on the reality of attitudes to depression: “You are not allowed to be sad. People have no tolerance to sad. You can be Insta sad – sad because you saw pictures of dying refugees or abandoned puppies. You can’t be ongoing sad.. You can’t be scared or anxious or upset”. As everything becomes too much for Saoirse, she’s taken to a psychiatric hospital. Though painful, her journey to regaining herself is powerfully raw and touched by hope, with the wider cast of true-to-life characters (from Saoirse’s siblings and peers, to her straight-talking, gin-swilling grandmother) adding to the enlivening authenticity.
May 2022 Debut of the Month | Navigating loss, love and family strains while standing out as a brown girl in a predominantly white school isn’t easy for Ellie, a budding songwriter and music aficionado. A beautiful, funny ode to finding the strength to sing up and stand out, Ellie Pillai is Brown is sure to chime with readers who also feel they don’t quite fit in, with QR codes peppered through the book bringing Ellie’s songs to life, and adding extra depth to the experience. Ellie Pillai is a girl who know what she loves — music. And, against her parents’ wishes, she’s set on making a go of her drama GCSE, determined to find a way to overcome feeling invisible. While her family are mourning the loss of her little brother, which has left Ellie and her mum terribly distant from each other, Ellie has the stable support of her best friend. But her life is well and truly shaken up when a new boy and his twin sister arrive at her school. While handsome Ash is the only person who gets all her music references and understands the power of a playlist and finding the right song for every situation, it looks like he’s hooked up with her best friend, so Ellie tries to put him out of her mind. At the same time, Ellie’s new drama teacher instils her with confidence: “I think you have presence, something special about you. Something different”. If only Ellie can stop putting herself in a box and making herself small. Exploring grief, consent, family expectations, self-confidence, first love, same sex love and mental health through its well-drawn cast of characters, Ellie Pillai is Brown strikes a smart balance between humour and emotion.
June 2022 Debut of the Month | What a dazzling debut this is. Founded on the alluring concept of a glamourous hotel that changes location each night, Emily J Taylor's Hotel Magnifique presents readers with a sumptuous world of magical soirées and shows. It’s a story that’s shot-through with intrigue, mystery and menace as two sisters longing for a better life discover that the grass might not be greener, however bright it gleams. When Hotel Magnifique comes to her bleak hometown, 17-year-old Jani devises a plan to make sure she and her sister enter it. Her sister gains employment as a singer, while Jani enters a lowlier profession. Within the hotel’s opulent walls, the sisters are separated by their roles, and Jani is quick to catch onto the fact that the contracts they’ve signed might mean more than they’d bargained for. With distrust lurking in every shadow, and a sense of time running out, this sweeping story is a spellbinding read, and comes recommended for fans of the Lady Helen Dark Days Club series and The Night Circus.
Otherworldly, yet rooted in patriarchal realities, Kelly Barnhill‘s When Women Were Dragons is a storytelling masterwork. Set from the 1950s, it presents a magnificent maelstrom of fire-breathing women who refuse to keep quiet, exposing the trauma of enforced silence, and shining a blazing light on how vital it is to transcend imposed shame and live your own way. “I was four years old when I first saw a dragon. I was four years old when I first learned to be silent about dragons. Perhaps this is how we learn silence — an absence of words, an absence of context, a hole in the universe where the truth should be”. So shares Alex, the narrator of this brilliant novel, who lives at a time when adults remember the “mass dragoning” of women that occurred on 25th April 1955, but never mention it. Alex’s aunt Marla was among those who rose up and transformed into a dragon, but it’s as if she never existed. Marla is never spoken of again - not by Alex’s sick mother, and not by Alex’s father, who leaves her to raise Marla’s daughter Beatrice. Before her transformation and vanishing, Marla told Alex that, “All women are magic. Literally all of us. It’s in our nature. It’s best you learn that now”. Fearing little Beatrice won’t be able to resist her powerful urges to dragon, Alex shuns any such notions, and silences Beatrice’s talk of dragons. But librarian Mrs Gyzinska, who supports Alex’s plan to become a mathematician, shares her learned insights, and frames the phenomenon of dragoning in the context of patriarchy: “There are people who have problems with women, and alas, many of them are also women. That is because of something called the patriarchy… an unnecessary and oppressive obstacle, and best disposed of as soon as possible.” As Alex grapples with tremendous conflicts and prejudice, we’re presented with a spectacular prom scene, a tense but glorious reunion, a beautiful love of a lifetime, and glorious sisterhood. What a story.