What is it they often say about family, ‘Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.’ It’s easy for adults to pick and choose which relatives they see more or less of but for children it’s a little more problematic. Children find themselves in all sorts of family situations which are not of their own making and often around older relatives that really do just not get kids. I’m sure every child can think of a relative that they could really do without seeing and in Tansy’s case, it is her very unpleasant Aunt Emma.
Tansy dreads the visits of Aunt Emma. On her twice yearly visits, she always makes Tansy’s life miserable and to make matters worse Tansy gets kicked out of her bedroom and has to sleep on the blow-up mattress in mum’s office!
I always get excited when a new book by Onjali Q. Raúf is published and I was thrilled to see that for her latest venture she has partnered up with the brilliant Barrington Stoke. This powerful read raises awareness about a very important issue - food poverty.
Ashley and Nelson’s mum works hard as a nurse and does the best she can to make sure that her salary covers all of their expenses. But sometimes there is just not enough money for everything and that means a trip to the greatest bank in the world. This bank doesn’t deal in money, it deals in kindness and providing essentials to those in need. The shelves are overflowing with shiny tins and rustling packets and the best part about it…everything is free!
The House on the Edge; Alex Cotter
Life in the The Lookout - an old house that teeters on the edge of a cliff that would shine a light to provide ships safe passage - used to be great but now Faith’s life is crumbling all around her. Her father has disappeared. Her mother has lost her ‘Old Mum’ spark and spends all her time in bed. Her brother is obsessed with sea ghosts that may or may not be lurking in the cellar. And her home, The Lookout, has developed a huge crack in the back garden and could tumble into the sea at any moment.
When Faith is befriended by the mysterious Sam, she learns that there may be more fact than fiction to Noah's ghost stories. The house is hiding secrets and if Faith can uncover them then there may be a way to save it but can she find the answers she needs before everything comes crashing down…
Jenni Spangler has done it again. I described her 2020 debut read, The Vanishing Trick, as a ‘deliciously dark and spooky Victorian adventure that gives you all the spine-tingles’. The Incredible Talking Machine is another spooky, supernatural mystery with a five star performance by main protagonist, Tig Rabbit, that is wonderfully directed by the magical hand of Spangler.
Twelve-year-old Tig Rabbit is a stagehand at the Manchester Theatre Royale where she sells tickets, cleans and is at the beck and call of the ruthless theatre boss, Mr. Snell. Once a buzzing performance venue, the theatre’s glory days have longed past and its closure seems inevitable. Desperate for an act to draw in the crowds, Professor Faber arrives from Vienna with his incredible talking machine - a cleverly constructed mechanical head that speaks with a human voice.
Tea Party Parade; Nick Sharratt
Nick Sharratt’s first book for Barrington Stoke was Splash Day, a read that he wrote after being inspired by a day of water fun at a school in Brighton. Sharratt’s second book for the publisher is once again inspired by a school and another event and the outcome is this very ‘sweet’ read.
All the children in class one are excited. It’s their turn to take part in the Children’s Parade and their parade is going to be one that is good enough to eat. Costumes have been made and the playground is covered with tasty treats that are just waiting to be worn. Soon, Swiss rolls will be rolling, sponge cakes will be spinning, jam tarts will be banging and tea cups will be spinning. All that’s needed now is for Mr. Flack to blow his whistle. Let’s get this party started…
The Encyclopedia of Unbelievable Facts; Jane Wilsher, illustrated by Louise Lockhart
It seems that the days of picking up an encyclopedia in search of answers are long gone, it is far easier to hop onto ‘Google’ or ask everyone’s invisible best friend ‘Siri’. However, I firmly believe that a physical encyclopedia holds much appeal, particularly to children who can spend hours getting lost in fascinating facts and intriguing information. The Encyclopedia of Unbelievable Facts, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, is a brilliant example of just why we still need encyclopedias and if you are a ‘philomath’ like me - that’s someone who loves facts - then this book is sure to be a hit. It is exploding with facts, five hundred of them to be exact, and within its pages so many unbelievable answers are waiting to be revealed…
That’s Life: Looking for the Living Things All Around You; Mike Barfield, illustrated by Lauren Humphrey
That’s Life: Looking for the Living Things All Around You is the follow-up book from the same author-illustrator duo that produced The Element in the Room: Investigating the Atomic Ingredients That Make Up Your Home. After exploring the laws of physics and how just about everything in the universe is made from any of ninety-two elements, Mike Barfield and Lauren Humphrey now turn their attention to living things and encourage everybody to start noticing the living things that are all around them.
Football Atlas: A Journey Across the World and Onto the Pitch; James Buckley, illustrated by Eduard Altarriba
With the European Football Championship about to start (Friday 11th June), Quarto Publishing have timed this release perfectly (available 15th June). Football Atlas is the third title in the ‘Atlas’ series following the releases of Space Atlas and Ocean Atlas and sports-mad kids are in for an absolute treat. Football Atlas is a global tour of all things football and celebrates why millions of people around the world are in love with the beautiful game. It is worth clarifying here that this is football of the round ball type, to avoid any confusion globally the book is released under two titles; The Football Atlas and The Soccer Atlas.
Me and the Robbersons is an award-winning Finnish middle-grade read that was published in 2010. Translated into many languages, it is finally available in English thanks to The Little Tiger Group, Stripes Publishing and translator Ruth Urbom.
Summer is going nowhere and has been the usual disappointment of broken promises for Maisie. A trip to grandma’s was about exciting as things were going to get and was complete with family arguments and Maisie getting blamed, as always.
Taking inspiration from The Secret Garden and its main protagonist Mary Lennox, The Secret Detectives tells an exciting story about Mary’s, or in this case, Isobel’s journey from India to England.
Eleven-year-old orphan Isobel is a bit of misfit within society. Scruffy, ill-mannered, unloved and unappreciative, she is definitely not the kind of child that Mrs. Colonel Hartington-Davis would want to be escorting on a voyage from India to England. But this is exactly the situation that lady and child find themselves in. Being a minor, Isobel needs to be accompanied by a responsible adult on a journey to England to live with her uncle in Yorkshire.