8-11 years

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New and Collected Poems for Children

An exuberant journey to the heart of childhood imagination

In this 2017 edition, our Poet Laureate presents poems from previous collections, plus a handful of new. A delicious assortment, it honours the fantastical landscape of our children’s inner lives, and tells us that poetry belongs to us all, it is the music of being human.

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The Bookshop Girl

A joyously bookish crime caper

Property Jones lives in a bookshop. As if this isn’t the height of good fortune in itself, her family wins a raffle to become owners of the world famous Montgomery Book Emporium. This is, of course, a staggeringly marvellous turn of events. Or is it? Property wonders if maybe it’s just too good to be true.
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Stories From Shakespeare

Happy Birthday Mr Shakespeare!

Marking the Bard’s birthday this April, is a new edition of Geraldine McCaughrean’s sparkling re-telling of ten of his best known plays. The aim is to engage younger readers by sloughing off the drier elements of the text, and letting the stories shine through.
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The White Tower

An enthralling and inventive tale of magic and flight

The White Tower tells the story of Livy, a lonely, bereaved girl, trembling on the edge of adolescence. When her father becomes the librarian at ancient, hallowed Temple College, Livy is granted a scholarship there. A marvellous tale of alchemy, magic, and villainy unfolds.

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Double Down

Hooray for silliness - that still just about works

Double Down is Book 11 in the global franchise that the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has become. Presented as part text, part cartoon, it’s the very amusing and irreverent diary of 12-year old Greg Heffley. In this instalment, Greg’s mum sets about ‘improving’ his mind. She gives him $20 to spend at the school book fair.

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Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World

A happy mix of reference book and warm storytelling

For parents looking to inspire young daughters, this book is a joy. It celebrates the lives and achievements of various women over the ages, not only those with trailblazing careers but also those women whose principled actions changed society. Rosa Parks’ dignified stand against racial segregation is one example, also Emmeline Pankhurst, the formidable suffragette, who happens to be a distant relation of this book’s author, Kate Pankhurst.

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Listen to the Moon

Another tearjerker from this master storyteller

A couple of years ago, I geekily set out to read a sizeable stack of Michael Morpurgo’s bestselling children’s books back-to-back. Why? I wanted to work out why this author in particular had me in tears with every single story I read. I was dying to know if he had some kind of formula, and if I could work it out. Actually, I think I did spot a few patterns, but it seems a bit cynical to go into those here!

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Cakes in Space

Can Astra save her spaceship from mutant cupcakes?

This is a seriously bizarre children’s book. It reminds me of an activity I do with children to help them get ideas for a silly story. They pull a main character, setting and plot out of a hat, then try to weave them together into a story that makes some kind of sense.

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Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death

Intricate illustrations bring an elaborate gothic world to life

My pupils and I have been waiting for Chris Riddell’s sequel to Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse, and here it is, cleverly launched in time for Hallowe’en. At my local Waterstone’s, copies of the chocolate-box, gilded hardback are displayed with cobwebs and spiders and fairy cakes (the latter not traditionally associated with Hallowe’en, true, but all will become clear).

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Rooftoppers

A children’s novel of breathtaking adventure and huge heart

Winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards 2014, this is a fantastic adventure story with a speedy plot, keeping children hooked till the very last page. It’s full of life-affirming messages: ‘Never ignore a possible’ is young Sophie’s war cry as she battles to find her real mother – we have to fight for our dreams, she shows us.

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