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.
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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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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.