One of the best parts of being a children's writer is that I get to read children's books whenever I want - it's part of my actual job. I love to read a mix of new books everyone is talking about, all the brilliant books by my lovely author friends, and other older books that may have been a bit forgotten (often ones that I've picked up on a charity shop haul!) - and, best of all, books that children recommend to me when I go into schools.
Do let me know if there are any great books out there you think I should add to my to-read pile (which is already Officially Out of Control!)
|Oh my goodness, I loved this - it's very dark and unsettling, but utterly compelling, and cleverly manages to be moving, funny and thought-provoking as well. Not for younger readers.|
|A brilliant funny and clever mystery - St Trinians meets Enid Blyton - slapstick and larger-than-life characters.|
|This is so much fun - traditional sleuthing in a contemporary urban setting. A superbly smart and sassy duo of sisters make this mystery a joy.|
|Warm and funny - I loved this tale of a boy with a big imagination, the ups and downs of settling into a new school and neighbourhood and everyday life in a Muslim family- with an exciting little adventure at the end too!|
|Gorgeously atmospheric illustrations make this graphic novel a joy to look at. A great re-telling of this larger-than-life historical figure.|
|Moving, mysterious, and so much to think about. I love the quiet, fierce love among the four members of Michael's family as the new baby fights for life even more than the strange figure in the garage . . .|
|I love this series and it was such a delight to return to Lull and catch up with old friends again - the brilliant thing is that the characters feel very real, even though they inhabit a world full of magic.|
|A beautifully told story of magic and loss, life and death.|
|Utterly captivating and charming. I loved all the characters and longed to step into the world of the Penderwick sisters. A true timeless classic - I can't wait to read the rest of the series.|
|What a fantastic book - I know and love Rebecca Patterson's hilarious words and illustrations from her picture books, and this was just as funny and perceptive- a friendship tale with a brilliant sci-fi twist.|
|This book is just adorable - over-flowing with love, a story of a dog and his bond with his girl even after the grave. Packed with fun and adventure and great characters, both animal and human -the illustrations are a delight as well.|
|A sweet and sensitive story for younger readers. Olive sees her father's sadness as a big grey miserable elephant - and determines to chase it away. Gentle prose and lovely line drawings make this book special.|
|A captivating WW2 adventure, told from the perspective of a young Indian soldier - all the more powerful and moving as it is based on real events. Great characters and fascinating insights. Another one that made me cry!|
|A brilliantly original story that weaves together real life, magic and adventure - and finding your way home.||Great characters and setting -|
|A beautifully written story of a family's loves and losses through the events of the First Word War. Utterly captivating - one of those books that stays with you. I cried - a lot! Just brilliant!|
|Magic meets mystery-solving! What a great combination - fun and cleverly plotted with some great over-the-top characters.|
|I loved everything about this heart-warming story of friendship, families and finding your true self behind the mask. The poems made it extra special - a hit!|
|An unusual magical short story set in a fairy tale version of Dickensian London - a perfect Christmas read|
This month's BookPenPal recommendations were:
This is a great classic fantasy-adventure quest, with magic and menace. There is darkness in this read – it’s quite scary at times. This is the first of a trilogy, so there’s lots to get your teeth into.
|An adorable story in the tradition of Animal Ark, but with extra helpings of warmth, humour and thoughtfulness - the illustrations by Ellie Snowdon are lovely too.|
|A collection of winter-themed stories by some of the best MG writers around - I especially loved A Night at the Frost Fair by Emma Carroll|
|A perfect Christmassy ghost story -haunting but with a happy ending. This book really stayed with me.|
|A spellbinding tale of magic and mystery - this is a book to lose yourself in!|
A trio of snowy picture books to start the Winter reading season.
|A sweet story of a boy and his grandad playing in the snow - beautiful to look at.|
|I love the crazy fun of this series (Slug of Doom was my favourite) - perfect for older children to pore over and find all the extra jokes. A great inspiration for drawing too.|
|This is comfort-reading at its best, like hot chocolate in your favourite mug - so warm and cosy!|
|One of my favourite reads this year - overflowing with family, friends, & football - all my top things - great 1980s setting, and the illustrations are fantastic too.|
Re-reading these two excellent historical novels for Coton School Book Cafe this week - great young characters finding their way and trying to do what's right against the backdrop of fascinating historical events.
|Exciting historical adventure full of peril and plots - a rich and rewarding read. Perfect for a winter's night!|
|A moving story of a boy's quest to help his family against the fascinating backdrop of nineteenth century coprolite digging and fossil collecting - lots to learn and a fantastic read.|
|A fascinating collection of short stories from some of the best YA writers around - something in here for everyone (for older teen readers) - would make a great gift for a YA reader.|
|Running, family, memories and doing the right thing - a lot packed into a short book and perfect for Remembrance - I loved this book.|
|Short and sweet stories - an old-fashioned feel to this collection (in a good way). It reminded me of story anthologies I loved as a child. Would make a lovely gift book.|
|A warm and relatable story about coping with change, fitting in and making friends - looks at creativity and intellectual property too! Hugely enjoyed this.|
|An intriguing story of family secrets and the value of friendship, told with a fascinating use of language (may not be suitable for some younger readers). Also a love letter to the city of Brussels.|
|A deeply moving story of love, resilience and the power of imagination, infused with warmth and humour - brilliant!|
|A beautifully told story of kindness and friendship and trying to make a difference. Every child - and adult for that matter - should read it.|
|Funny, fierce, frantic mystery-busting fun - a fantastic read.|
|The heart-breaking true story of a young refugee's perilous journey from Afghanistan|
(some difficult content may not be suitable for younger children). This will have you in tears - and angry too.
|A warm and gentle tale of friendship across generations, with a lovely sprinkle of magic|
|A really original and exciting magical adventure, exciting and richly-imagined||.|
This month's Book Pen Pal recommendations.
|Two girls from very different backgrounds finding their way and becoming friends. I love everything about this book - not just a great read but such an important message.|
|The amazing true story of adventurer, Matthew Henson, first to reach the North Pole. Beautifully told and illustrated.|