April 17

Special Feature

Special Features
This month we speak with Justin Fisher, our Children's Author of the Month, about gold, adventures and an evil plot in Ned's Circus of Marvels - The Gold Thief! We also speak with Katy Cannon, our YA Author of the Month, about And Then We Ran, a story of troubled pasts and changed futures. Bestselling author Emma Donoghue tells us about her first book for children, The Lotterys Plus One, and Susan Moore about her futuristic mystery story Emerald Secret. Debut picture book creator Chris Naylor-Ballesteros tells us about I'm Going to Eat This Ant, and we speak with Nicola Morgan about her new picture book, Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth.

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The best new books, giveaways & author features

This month's best children's books

Teachers and librarians have been reviewing a range of this season's best books for children and teenagers. Here are their recommended picture books; books for 5+; books for 7+; and books for teenaged readers.


Schools resources available to shadow poetry award

Schools can apply to shadow the CLiPPA poetry award, run by CLPE, which encourages schools to create a poetry classroom for three weeks in June. Free classroom resources are available.

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US author offers London schools a poetry event

US author and poet Patricia Toht is offering free poetry workshops for children aged 9-11 years to schools in and around London, with the events to take place from the 14th to the 27th June 2017.

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Alex Rider book group set to give away!

We have a set of ten proof copies of the new Alex Rider adventure, Never Say Die (Walker Books), to give to a school book group in exchange for some reviews! Get in touch if you would like your school book group to be entered into this free draw.

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A decade of Aliens and Underpants

We're celebrating ten years of Aliens Love Underpants by giving away a set of seven books in the 'Underpants' set to a school. We want to hear your favourite 'Underpants' memory by 30th April

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Make a Picture Book Competition

The deadline for entries for the ReadingZone Picture Book Competition - challenging children and young people (4-18 years) to create a picture book - has been extended to Saturday 29th April and we will be sharing some of your entries here:

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Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist announced at open event

Michael Foreman, Emily Gravett and Mini Grey will lead discussions about picture book illustration at a special event at Foyles Charing Cross on Wednesday 17th May to announce the shortlist for the Klaus Flugge Prize. Tickets are available.

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Waterstones' award winners announced

Kiran Millwood Hargrave has been announced as the overall winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017 for her debut novel, The Girl of Ink & Stars (Chicken House).

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Information book award shortlist announced

The School Library Association has announced the shortlist for the seventh annual SLA Information Book Award, covering themes from refugees and the Holocaust to the Great Fire of London and computing.

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Bookbuzz registration opens

Schools can now register for the 2017 Bookbuzz programme, which offers schools a choice of heavily subsidised books for students aged 11-13 years.

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Joint SLA & YLG Conference in June

The 2017 Joint YLG & SLA weekend course - Lightbulb Moments: Powered by Librarians - will be held from 23-25 June 2017 in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Members and non-members are welcome.

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Special Feature
Special Feature Image


Special Features

This month we speak with Justin Fisher, our Children's Author of the Month, about gold, adventures and an evil plot in Ned's Circus of Marvels - The Gold Thief! We also speak with Katy Cannon, our YA Author of the Month, about And Then We Ran, a story of troubled pasts and changed futures. Bestselling author Emma Donoghue tells us about her first book for children, The Lotterys Plus One, and Susan Moore about her futuristic mystery story Emerald Secret. Debut picture book creator Chris Naylor-Ballesteros tells us about I'm Going to Eat This Ant, and we speak with Nicola Morgan about her new picture book, Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth.

The Gold Thief (Ned's Circus of Marvels, Book 2)
Justin Fisher

In this story of high adventure, startling machinery and hidden worlds, Ned returns to the band of adventurers in the Circus of Marvels in a bid to save his mum and dad - and the world as we know it. The second book in the Circus of Marvels series sees Ned's special abilities as an Engineer draw him into a desperately evil plot - when all he really wants is an ordinary life at home. Author Justin Fisher tells us more.

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And Then We Ran
Katy Cannon

We speak to author Katy Cannon about her latest novel, And Then We Ran. Teenagers Megan and Elliott are both recovering from painful pasts when the doors to a different possible future open. But what will they have to sacrifice to get there, and is it what they really want?

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The Lotterys Plus One
Emma Donoghue

Bestselling adult novelist Emma Donoghue's (The Room, The Wonder) first book for children, The Lotterys Plus One, follows The Lotterys, a warm and diverse family named after a lottery win that bought them a sprawling house (Camelottery). However, the family's way of life is challenged when their irascible grandfather reluctantly moves in with them. Emma Donoghue tells us more.

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Emerald Secret
Susan Moore

For children looking for a fast-paced plot, a setting with a difference and some rather impressive gadgets, Susan Moore's Nat Walker trilogy (Crimson Poison, Emerald Secret) will hit the spot. The books, which feature feisty heroine Nat Walker in a futuristic but recognisable world, have adventure and mystery at their heart. Here, the author tells us more about the books.

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I'm Going To Eat This Ant
Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

An anteater and an ant (or 'dinner') aren't an obvious partnership for a picture book but, in the hands of Chris Naylor-Ballesteros, a grumpy anteater and a recalcitrant ant make a perfect pairing. Here Naylor-Ballesteros tells us more about how the story developed:

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Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth
Nicola Davies

Nicola Davies's Lots - The Diversity of Life of Earth (Walker Books) is a picture book with a deceptively simple text that covers some big concepts, helping explain the diversity of life on Earth while also reminding us of the threats to that diversity. It is aimed at those aged seven years plus and here, she tells us more.

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Watch out for...
Bookclub Highlights

We have free copies to give away for reviews. Please email your school details to info@readingzone.com for the chance to win a copy.


Grandad's Secret Giant
David Litchfield
In his new picture book David Litchfield, creator of the award-winning The Bear and the Piano, takes us to a small town with a giant secret and there are lessons to learn about differnce and acceptance. Here, we speak to David Litchfield about his new book.

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The Island at the End of Everything
Kiran Millwood Hargrave
A girl, cast out from her island home where leprosy is endemic, searches for a way back to her mother. This is a powerful, lyrical story about stigmatization, love and overcoming the odds from the winner of the Waterstones Children's Book of the Year Award. Review and extract.

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Beyond the Wall
Tanya Landman
Carnegie-winning author Tanya Landman returns to the past in her latest novel, Beyond the Wall, that explores what slavery would have meant to those enslaved in Roman Britain. When a single slave manages to escape, her story helps bring rebellion. Tanya Landman tells us more in this interview.

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We would like to thank publishers HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, Bloomsbury Publishing, Nosy Crow, Macmillan Children's Books, Stripes Publishing, Andersen Press, Walker Books, Frances Lincoln and Simon & Schuster Children's Books for supporting this month's ReadingZone newsletter.

©Readingzone 2018.