NEW TITLES

Protecting the environment and books about nature are among this month's selection of books for 7-11 year children, but there are also funny books, historical fiction and poetry in the following highlighted titles.

Voices of the Future: Stories from Around the World
Irina Bokova

Bloomsbury Education

ISBN 9781472949431

Voices of the Future: Stories from Around the World is a delightful anthology of stories written by children from every corner of the Earth. These stories provide interest, humour, culture and fun while an engaging section on the UN's Sustainable Goals provides educational background to the project. The text is beautifully illustrated and a visual delight. Biographies of the individual authors provide interest and a place to start research. Adults and children alike will delight in this text both for educational reasons and pure pleasure. 144 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Bryony Davies, teacher.

Voices of the Future: Stories from Around the World
Charlie Changes Into a Chicken
Sam Copeland

Puffin

ISBN 9780241346211

Charlie has a secret. He can change into animals. This hilarious story follows Charlie - with the help of his friends - to figure out why he is changing and how to stop it. Friendship and family are themes running through the story as Charlie navigates a bully and sick brother. The narration speaks directly to the reader and the vocabulary may stretch some lower key stage two readers. Sarah Horne's fantastic illustrations bring the text further to life, adding to the story. Children of all ages will enjoy this story. Fun scenes in the school and Charlie's bedroom (and a lot of toilet humour) make this an excellent choice for reading out loud. Even more excitingly, the rights to the film have been sold. Sure to be a comedy hit! 288 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Bryony Davies, teacher.

Charlie Changes Into a Chicken
Little Book for Big Changes: Activities and tips to make the world a better place
Kirsten Liepmann

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781787414808

What a fabulous little book for anyone who is interested in looking after the environment or making the world a better place but who doesn't want to fork out lots of money or join a campaign march! Packed full of great ideas and practical activities this'Little Book' is great for the whole family. As Mum of two teenage girls who never 'travel light', I particularly liked the Pack your Bags activity that is aimed at helping us empathise with the refugees we hear about so often on the news. While the idea of 'Conflicts and Solutions' is addressed to an appropriate level in only a few short paragraphs and then supported by a comic strip activity. Little Book for Big Changes would have been a great stocking filler for any Primary School age child, providing an overview of global issues in clear, child friendly language, while providing a wealth of fun, practical activities to involve the whole family. There is a range of outdoor and indoor activities, quizzes, games and simple recipes encompassed by the eco-friendly theme of this book. There is an informative 'Welcome' which outlines how the world is facing a number of challenges that we can help to improve with useful guide for Grown-ups, providing hints and tips for supporting its younger audience. The book is written across three sub-theme sections: People, Community and Planet. Each sub-section is then further broken down in to four very short, 2-4 pages, chapters. Colourful illustrations on each page make this book appealing to all ages. This book would be useful as a great starting point for a child with an interest in the challenges faced by the world today or for an environmental awareness topic in school. It provides a range of good discussion points, some that may require further research and possibly even some that parents may feel unable to fully answer questions. There are also a very small number of points covered that may require dealing with sensitively, depending on family backgrounds, culture and home life. Although written to provide ideas and activities to complete at home, as a Primary School Teacher just about to launch into a new topic on anything 'eco-friendly', then this book would be a good initial resource, providing activities to challenge, stimulate and motivate the various learning styles of children today. This would be a welcome addition to any KS2 classrooms for children to dip into. 64 pages in total make it a relatively quick read, whether read from cover to cover or just a small part of a single page. This book will not save the world, however it will most definitely help change the way we think and as stated at the end of the book: 'small changes with just one person can grow into big changes with a lot of people'. 64 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Sam Phillips, teacher.

Little Book for Big Changes: Activities and tips to make the world a better place
Let's Talk About When Someone Dies
Molly Potter

Featherstone

ISBN 9781472955340

This is the book to turn to if you ever have to have that unthinkable yet ultimately inevitable conversation with a child about death and what happens next. Let's Talk About When Someone Dies is written by Molly Potter and provides a simple, straight-forward explanation of what happens when someone dies. The author uses clear, child-friendly language to answer some of the complex questions about death. Covering sensitive questions such as: 'What is death?', explaining what happens to the body physically, while also addressing other difficult questions such as 'Why do people die?', 'What's a funeral?' and 'What happens to a person's body after the funeral?' Each question is answered succinctly across two pages, explaining how a person might feel, think or sometimes behave. Supported by colourful illustrations by Sarah Jennings, this book provides an ideal conversation starter about death and bereavement, with a note to the reader at the beginning and guidance for parents and carers at the end. Children and many adults may find reading or understanding things tricky when they are upset or overly stressed, so the 'It's good to know' / 'It's important to know' notes on almost every page would be really helpful at these times. Let's Talk About When Someone Dies is written in such a way that most children aged 7+ will be able to read and understand it on their own. However, as highlighted by the 'It's good to know' note on the first page, some of the material covered in this book may require discussion with an adult. Children are renowned for asking questions about all sorts of different things, both at home and at school. The death of a significant person will inevitably raise a number of questions for a young child. It may be that they feel they cannot ask these questions at home where other members of their family are dealing with their own grief and perhaps not behaving as they would do normally. As such, this book would make a vital resource for any teacher, Parent Support Assistant or anyone working in a welfare role in school. 32 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Sam Phillips, teacher.

Let's Talk About When Someone Dies
National Trust: 2019 Nature Month-By-Month: A Children's Almanac
Anna Wilson

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9781788003391

This is a fantastic little book, jammed packed full of things to do throughout an entire year so well worth buying to refer to as we gradually move through the year into the spring and summer. 2019 Nature, Month-by-Month, A Children's Almanac is written in a very similar style to a traditional almanac. Divided into the 12 months, each month includes a list of special dates such as Wassailing, 6th January or St Swithun's Day, 15th July, and anniversaries relevant to the month. For example, 20th July 2019 will be the 50th anniversary of the first ever moon walk by Neil Armstrong. As with the traditional almanac, this delightful children's version also makes reference to the weather and its implications for potential activities outdoors. This is the perfect 'bring-along' for walks in the park or forest, countryside rambles or rock pooling on the beach. Numerous colourful illustrations throughout by Elly Jahnz enhance this text, written by popular children's author Anna Wilson. A brilliant collection of fascinating facts, useful information, craft and activity ideas, enough to last the entire year. This great little book also includes details of religious festivals throughout the world and information about things to look out for when out in the countryside. With two Key Stage 3, IT-reliant children, keeping them amused while we are out walking our dogs or just enjoying the countryside is no easy task, however this book has the potential to be a real life saver! Small enough to tuck into my jacket pocket there are spotters' guides for all sorts of animals, insects and plants. There are also a number of rainy day activities; indoor tents and camp food, nest box building and seasonal recipes, that I am sure my two, along with most other children would really enjoy. Written using clear, concise, child-friendly language, this book is suitable for a confident Key Stage 2 child to read with a good degree of independence. However, the information and activities that it contains would be just as appealing to both younger and older children. A great book for the entire family. 192 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Sam Phillips, teacher.

National Trust: 2019 Nature Month-By-Month: A Children's Almanac
Storm Hound
Claire Fayers

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509895045

Storm of Odin is on his very first hunt through the night skies when he finds himself separated from the rest of the hunt and falls to earth just outside Abergavenny. He is shocked to discover that, rather than fearing this magnificent specimen of sharp toothed hunter, people seem to treat him as a small and insignificant puppy; picking him up, locking him in cages, not treating him with the respect he thinks he deserves as a hound of Odin. It is a long time before Jessie, whose family adopt him from an animal rescue centre, comes to realise that Storm is not quite what he seems when the story introduces us to three strange professors, an odd boy and his even odder 'aunt'. The reader, of course, knows that Storm can 'talk', at least to other animals and is aware of his belief that obedience classes are for the humans rather than the dogs. Storm Hound is full of adventure as Jessie tries to save Storm from whatever it is the professors want him for and also tries to get him home. This theme of 'home' runs through the book - Jessie and her brother are living with their father in Wales while their mother continues to live in London and are not quite sure where 'home' is. Storm is offered the chance to return to Odin and the hunt but where is Storm's home now? This is a great read for a confident, independent reader looking for magic, adventure, dogs, family - all the important things in life! Equally, it would be a lovely book to share with a child at bedtime. It would also work well as a class novel with much to talk about and explore. 256 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian.

Storm Hound
The Dog Who Saved the World
Ross Welford

HarperCollins Children's Books

ISBN 9780008256975

When 11-year-old Georgie and her best friend Ramzy meet a slightly mad and eccentric scientist, their world is about to change dramatically. Georgie's beloved dog Mr Mash gets sick, along with vast numbers of other dogs throughout the world. Could it be that this is only the start of something much, much worse? The stakes are higher than Georgie could possibly have imagined. The thing about Ross Welford books (Time Travelling with a Hamster, The 1,000 Year old boy and What Not to do if you Turn Invisible) is that they are utterly original. (I had trouble classifying on here!) You simply won't have read anything like this book before, as dog lovers come face to face with an end of world scenario. The imagination in the story is second only to the pace and excitement, as this book is unputdownable. As with all Ross Welford's books, it is the ordinary coupled with the completely believable fantasy that make the story so compelling. It almost seems as if it could be true, such are the elements of story telling woven together. I read the book, almost in one sitting, on the edge of my seat, the story was so vividly brought to life. My 11-year-old could not wait to get his hands on this book - he was the one who first introduced me to the author. I can see this being a very popular choice for upper key stage 2 children, especially with a tagline like 'He smells. He'll eat anything and he's humanity's only hope' (It is talking about the dog of course!) This book seems destined for more awards and praise for the author; very well deserved. This is very much a book and an author that goes top of the list to be read for pleasure. 416 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher consultant.

The Dog Who Saved the World
A Year of Nature Poems
Joseph Coelho

Wide Eyed Editions

ISBN 9781786035820

Lavishly illustrated, this takes the reader through the months of the year, with one poem for each month. Original themes such as murmurations of starlings, amphibians in danger and the mayfly are presented with a brief informative note to the reader, helping to set the context. Coelhos's lyrical phrases are a thing of beauty: 'soft pond jewels are forming/ in sunlit forest eyes/ and garden pools' and complemented by Judd's illustrations. In full colour on every page, these are painterly and gentle, whispering of the wonders of nature. Almost all the poems make suggestions on how the writer interacts with nature, yet the conservation message is refreshingly left unpreached, allowing the reader to reflect and draw their own conclusion. 32 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Lucy Russell, teacher.

A Year of Nature Poems
The Everyday Journeys of Ordinary Things: From Phones to Food and From Paper to Poo... The Ways the World Works
Stella Gurney

Ivy Kids

ISBN 9781782406358

What an incredible book! This book will, without a doubt, fuel the inquisitive minds of many, young and old alike. As adults we all know that while most of us buy milk from the supermarket in plastic bottles it originally comes from cows, and this is something most parents will at some point in their child's young lives try to explain. However, how many parents of young children, or adults generally for that matter, would be able to explain how the SATNAV in the car knows where there are, or where money comes from? Young children are always asking questions, some of them are straightforward and easy to answer such as 'What's for tea tonight?' Others require a much more detailed response, one that many of us may not be able to give. The Everyday Journey of Ordinary Things by Libby Deutsch provides an answer to some of these more complex questions using clear, child-friendly language. Supported by bright, colourful illustrations by Valpuri Kerttula, this book cannot fail to impress young minds. Each mind-blowing question is asked and answered across a large double page (slightly bigger than A3) spread. Answers are written in clear, numbered steps, following the delightfully illustrated 'journey' of the item identify in the initial question. So for the child - and parent on some occasions - who worries that they will never reconnect with their suitcase as it disappears off on the conveyor belt at the airport; this is the book for you! In addition to tracking the journeys of physical items such as milk or a suitcase, this book also describes the journeys of less 'solid' things such as words in a phone, 'The journey of a phone call' or information, 'How does the internet work?' I really enjoyed looking through this book and I am sure it will be a popular choice in many homes and classrooms, (Release date: Feb 2019 by Ivy Kids). In a Primary classroom, this book could also be used as a go-to resource for interesting examples of chronological writing. What child couldn't be inspired by writing about the journey of chocolate? A great page turner for children from nine years, this is a fabulous book to get children talking and thinking about where things come from or how they got to where they are. 48 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Samantha Phillips, teacher.

The Everyday Journeys of Ordinary Things: From Phones to Food and From Paper to Poo... The Ways the World Works
The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods
Samuel J. Halpin

Usborne Publishing Ltd

ISBN 9781474945660

I knew from the first chapter that I was going to enjoy this book. It has a wonderful way of mixing the very ordinary with the extraordinary. The story takes place in a village where the people 'aren't any kinder or meaner than any other town. The library doesn't have better books. The post doesn't come any faster, and the mutton pies are just as delicious as the ones two towns over.' So what is the secret of the little town of Suds? When Poppy first arrives to stay with her Grandma, we know that something is amiss. When making a cup of tea, she has to keep the sugar hidden. But why? Gran has a set of rules that must be followed: All washing must be done during the day; Bring your clothes in off the washing line (even if they are wet) before six o'clock every night; All sugar cubes are to be kept under lock and key; At night close your window, lock it, draw the curtains. NEVER, DON'T YOU EVER, dust the window sills. Poppy stays with Gran whilst Dad is away working. Gran has a pig, a pig called Churchill. He's adorable and seems to be the perfect addition to the story. Gran is a seamstress with amazing talents and Suds is the place to obtain the finest cloth in all the world. Mystery surrounds how such beautiful material is made in Suds and this is where traditional fairy tales take a slightly sinister twist. Children are vanishing, fading away, becoming mute and ghost-like. Poppy and her new-found, quirky friend, Erasmus, set out to find the truth. The details and descriptions in this book are simply delicious; characters are described with vivid colour and microscopic detail 'the pencil stuck like a hatpin through Eliza's silver hair, which looked like someone had dolloped a scoop of whiskery marshmallow fluff on her head.' Not only is the Peculiar Peggs a gripping tale of mystery and peril, it is a story that touches that heart. Poppy is dealing with the loss of her beloved mother and her grief is a theme that is the heartbeat of the story. The reader wants to comfort Poppy, to take away her fears and to reunite her with a Dad who has demons of his own. Erasmus is a conundrum, just like the puzzles he loves to solve. He is a bright, problem-solving boy who lives with a mother who neglects him. She is the only problem that he can't seem to solve. With gritted determination, Poppy and Erasmus set out to discover where the missing children have gone to. The power of their friendship and the strength of the love that they hold in their hearts proves to be the force that will overcome the evils that are clouding the lives of the Suds residents. This is a pacey, edge-of-your seat tale with a big heart - a film of it would be incredible, but, until that time, grab a copy and enjoy! 352 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, school librarian.

The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods
Little Bird Flies
Karen McCombie

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9780857639103

Bridie, known as Little Bird, lives on the Isle of Tornish in Scotland in the 1860s. Her life is simple and happy until the new Laird of the island changes everything with his cruel plans. Bridie has always longed to leave Tornish and longs to see the world, but this is not the escape she had planned. Bridie is a determined heroine and this story is an exciting blend of adventure and history. The characters are vividly drawn and brought to life. Bridie's family - her two older sisters, younger brother and father, are the main focus of the story (her mother is dead), but every character is interesting, and the social history involved quite detailed. The children, for example, only go to school if there happens to be a teacher there and when the teacher leaves, they simply don't go. The older girls have already left school and take jobs as servants. Bridie's life seems unimaginably free to many modern children; she just goes out and about as she pleases, climbing rocks - no health and safety warnings for her!. If you are looking for a story with a strong female central character (who also happens to have a disability; a twisted foot and withered hand), then this book most definitely fits the bill. If you are looking for a historical novel set in the Victorian era, then this book also works well. For me, the real interest is in the setting I know very little about but can imagine from the story. I felt the sadness of leaving as Bridie did and await the next story of her life, Little Bird Lands, with great anticipation. 256 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, consultant teacher.

Little Bird Flies
The Afterwards
A.F. Harrold

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408894316

A deeply, deeply moving story of young best friends December and Happiness. Joined at the hip when Happiness suddenly dies, leaving December behind to grieve, understand and cope with her loss. This is a book in which the stunning illustrations (by the fantastic Emily Gravett) entwine perfectly with the story- a mix of colour and black and white sketches that reflect the two realities and the conflicting emotions that December finds herself experiencing. I found The Afterwards extremely poignant and beautifully written in a slow, wondering, thoughtful style as the reader watches December try to comprehend what the Afterworld is and how she can bring her best friend back. It is painful to read at times and AF Harrold doesn't compromise the dark and harsh moments that December goes through as her journey moves from trying desperately to get Happiness home to being ready to accept the loss and move forward with her grief and memories. There are beautiful, meaningful layers of imagery in the story that strike the reader. The close father-daughter relationship of Harry and December is the light of the story, cutting through and opposing the dark and fear in the Afterworld. There's a moment where December finally returns home safely and kicks off her shoes, with the laces still knotted up, for her father to untie in the morning, that sums up for me the strength of their bond . Within school, I think this is a book to recommend to individual pupils or to read together with small groups of pupils so themes can be sensitively discussed throughout. It is a book that will stay with me for a long time. 224 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Jennifer Caddick, teacher.

The Afterwards
Prosper Redding: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding: Book 1
Alexandra Bracken

Quercus Children's Books

ISBN 9781786540683

Young Prosper Redding really doesn't seem to fit in. Born into an illustrious American family that can trace its ancestry back to the time of the Pilgrim Fathers, poor Prosper feels thoroughly unexceptional. Unexceptional, that is, until he discovers that an ancestor made a pact with a malefactor which he later broke, and this demon has now taken up residence inside Prosper with the sole purpose of destroying the Redding family. The voice of the narrator, Prosper, is a real strength of this story. He is completely believable and has a wonderfully dry sense of humour. Yet within Prosper there is another, internal voice: that of the demon Alastor, and this provides an extra dimension to the dialogue which the author uses to great effect. I will confess to wondering where this story was going as I read the opening chapters, as the tongue-in-cheek humour felt at odds with the events taking place, but as the plot unfolded and I got to know Prosper better, I really got on board with this compelling story. The spooky setting of Redhood, the Founder's Day rituals, 'haunted' house, Halloween touches and historical colour bring events and characters to life and bathe the plot in an eerie sense of the past, while contrasting with the everyday life of a present-day tweenage misfit. With a film in the offing, this is one to read before it hits the big screen. 362 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Emily Marcuccilli, school librarian

Prosper Redding: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding: Book 1
Storm Witch
Ellen Renner

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9780857636409

It is the time of The Choosing, the rite of passage ceremony when all of the island's 13 year olds are chosen by one of the four Elementals - Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Most people are chosen by one Elemental, but Storm is afraid that she may not be chosen at all. Storm has always been different: she has a boy's name, and she doesn't know why; she has a fear of the ocean (not good for seafaring island folk) since losing her father to it; and her family seems to be cursed. However, at The Choosing she is selected by not one but three Elementals, while the fourth tries to kill her. The Elementals also bestow great power on her, more power than the village Elders have seen in generations - a power she could use to protect her people from the Drowned Ones, an invading hoard of pirates on their floating towns. But, after an unexpected discovery, Storm must make a difficult decision that could have dire consequences for everyone on the island. Storm Witch, the first book in a new coming-of-age fantasy series, is an enjoyable adventure story, full of magic, tension and heart. The world building is fantastic: the island's culture feels real and lived-in, the religion and customs shaped by the land- and seascape. The book deals with issues such as bullying, loyalty, marginalisation, loss and xenophobia, from the perspective a young protagonist who is afraid of her own strength. I really liked the ambiguous morality in the book - The Drowned Ones, for example, could so easily have just been written as evil invaders, but are instead presented with surprising nuance. This book felt like the start of a story, rather than being a complete tale in and of itself. It sets up the rest of the series nicely, and I look forward to seeing where the writer takes us in the next installment! I would not hesitate to recommend this to fans of fantasy adventures, but also to students who enjoy reading seafaring tales and battles. It would be a great resource to teach world building to budding creative writers. 256 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Daniel Katz, school librarian.

Storm Witch
Our Castle by the Sea
Lucy Strange

Chicken House Ltd

ISBN 9781911490524

Set during the first few years of World War II, this is the story of Pet (Petra) and her family, who live in a lighthouse on the Kent coast. The lighthouse stands by the Daughters of Stone, a group of four standing stones and this story cleverly combines ancient legends with the coming of war. Pet is young and scared for a whole host of reasons, not least the war itself. Her big sister Mags is growing up and becoming more distant and her mother, who is German, is becoming unpopular in the village with the start of hostilities with Germany. Village life by the sea is vividly captured and details about the lighthouse itself create the central focal point for the story. This book ramps up the tension from the start; the reader knows something is about to happen, but it is not a predictable story line. In fact, there was only one bit of the plot I guessed beforehand, and it is this aspect that makes it a very exciting read. It is also a story told from a point of view with a different slant from other children's wartime fiction. There are little details that make it thought provoking, such as the passing of laws about enemy aliens, and these have strong echoes with the current situation about immigration. Many schools cover World War II as part of their history curriculum, and this book is a very good addition to the reading material available for Upper Key Stage 2. Classes studying life in England during the war will have plenty to ponder on and as it is not about evacuees or life in the city, it makes it a welcome extra fiction title for the topic. Chosen as an Indie's Bookshops book of the month, this is a haunting story that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page and I have to confess I shed a few tears at the end! 336 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher.

Our Castle by the Sea
The Legend of Sally Jones
Jakob Wegelius

Pushkin Children's Books

ISBN 9781782692331

On a stormy night, a hundred years ago, a baby gorilla was born deep in the African rain forest. The gorilla elders prophesied that this baby would meet with many misfortunes. So begins the story of Sally Jones. Kidnapped and smuggled to Istanbul, trained as a thief, abandoned, locked in a small and dirty cage, beaten and treated with great cruelty - these are a few of the misfortunes which poor Sally is subjected to in the course of her life before she finds peace and companionship at last. Written as the prequel to The Murderer's Ape, The Legend of Sally Jones is the story of Sally Jones's life before she met her friend, the Chief, and found a home on board the Hudson Queen. It is a sad story of man's callous attitude to animals and how casually they abuse them for their own ends. Rich white Europeans are shown exploiting the land and its animals. Belgian hunters, a Turkish ivory merchant, a rich widow from Hamburg, zoo keepers- each play their part in Sally's sad life. Only Koskela, a Finnish seaman,shows her the kindness and respect she deserves, nursing her back to health and valuing her. Each page is beautifully illustrated with one panel, often framed in interesting and unusual ways, reminding me of old fashioned travel posters. So much emotion and additional detail is conveyed to the reader through these pictures. Sally's deep despair and dejection are plain for all to see through her eyes and her body language. The Legend of Sally Jones is a stunning graphic novel which allows readers of The Murderer's Ape to discover the early history of Sally Jones, a compelling heroine like no other. It is a book which the reader will return to again and again. 112 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

The Legend of Sally Jones