Books are solace, escape, excitement. In times such as these (which none of us have ever seen before, but by that I mean strange, scary, unsettling times) I think books are more important than ever.
Over the next while I’ll put various stacks of books up for different groups, of different genres. If there is a stack you’d especially like to see please let me know!
Here are the descriptions of these six (bottom to top). Happy reading!
Polar Bear Explorers Club by Alex Bell. This is actually not new, being the first in the series but we’ve been slow to discover Alex Bell’s brilliant series and number three has just come out. Stella, Shay, Beanie and Ethan are junior explorers – with Stella being the first ever girl to be allowed on an expedition. During their expedition to the frozen north they endure one mishap after another, having to help each other despite their apparent differences. Danger, excitement and loyalty go hand in hand as the group journeys onwards.
The Umbrella Mouse by Anna Fargher. I am a sucker for world war two books and this wonderfully imaginative debut looks quite delightful. in 1944 London Pip’s umbrella shop home is destroyed in the blitz. Setting off find safety she ends up joining a team of animals working for the resistance. Drawing on true stories of animals caught in the conflict it looks like a perfect story to introduce children to the history of WWII. With brilliant drawings by favourite author/illustrator Sam Usher this looks just wonderful.
The Boy who Fooled the World by Lisa Thompson. We are always super excited when Lisa releases a new book. One of my all time favourites is The Light Jar and this new story about Cole and his family sounds full of the gorgeous and familiar characters Lisa does so well. There is usually an gentle lesson woven into the fabric of the story but couched in fun and humour meaning that kids are subtly prompted to explore their emotional response to the action and issues.
Beyond Belief by Dee White. Another WWII book for children slightly older. Based on true events, the book is set in 1942 France where Jews are being rounded up and a family are desperately trying to outrun the Nazi forces. Ruben becomes separated and is protected at great risk by the local muslims. I’m imagining this will be heart-in-mouth exciting and ultimately a reminder of the potential beauty in humanity.
Wink by Rob Harrell. Semi auto biographical, this contemporary novel features Ross, diagnosed in the first year of high school with a rare eye cancer. He’s determined not to let it define him but of course is immediately the centre of attention and object of curiosity and pity. I can’t wait to see how Ross navigates such a massive challenge while holding on to his sense of humour despite the loss of lots of other things.
The Unteachables by Gordon Korman. Also set in a school, this looks hilarious and ultimately uplifting. The reader joins a class of ‘misfits, delinquents and academic train wrecks’ who have been lumped together with a teacher whose passion for the job has long burnt out. I imagine the maelstrom of accidents and misdeeds will be many but I’m hoping for an ending full of hope for teacher and students.