Beyond the Bright Sea

Author – Lauren Wolk

Age – 12+

Crow was found as a tiny baby in a boat set adrift among a group of islands. She was found and raised by a man she calls Osh. He is a man of little words, but he is wise and kind and has a past of his own that he never speaks of. No one on the islands knew where Crow came from but she is shunned just in case she came from the leper colony nearby.

As Crow has grown, her desire to know her roots has too, and when she sees a fire on the old leper colony island, she wants to investigate. But her curiosity brings more than the answers she seeks. Attempted murder, possible siblings, clues left among graves and abandoned places, and a treasure a madman is seeking.

This is a story about belonging, knowing where you come from and loving those who raised you as family, whether they’re blood or not. Another stunning story from this wonderful storyteller.      By the author of Wolf Hollow.

(Mystery, Family, Blended Family, Action, Courage, Leper, History, Prejudice)

Tilly and the Time Machine

Author – Adrian Edmondson

Illustrator – Danny Noble

Age – 6+

Tilly’s dad is an inventor. One night she is woken by a loud bang and showers of sparks. Her dad had invented a time machine. When he tries to show her how it works, it breaks down. With a promise to show her in the morning, he sends her back to bed.

But Dad isn’t there in the morning – or after school. Tilly knows she has to go and find him. Dad has programmed interesting times and events through history into the machine and Tilly follows him onto a ship being cannonballed, a world cup football match, up victorian chimneys and to her own 6th birthday party. Will she ever catch up to him?

With B&W illustrations throughout and written by a master UK comedian and actor, Tilly’s tale is fun, dangerous and sweet as she searches for her dad and remembers her mum.

(Humour, School, Science, Time Travel, One-parent Family)

King Flashypants (2) and the Creature from Crong

Author/Illustrator – Andy Riley34051659

Age – 7+

Edwin is trying to eat his boring vegetables (a new rule by Minister Jill to stop Edwinland subjects eating so much junk food), when he hears someone crying for help. An old hermit called Baxter runs into town yelling about a terrible monster that has gobbled up his goats and cow. It’s called a Voolith.

Edwin – sick of his vegetables, and wanting to be a true king (who doesn’t have to eat vegetables) announces that he will go and defeat this Voolith in single combat (not actually knowing what that means.) But Emperor Nurbison (from Nurbisonia next door), sees another chance to defeat Edwin and takeover Edwinland. And if he can get Edwin gobbled up by a Voolith, all the better!

Another zany, wacky adventure with King Flashypants Edwin and his crew. Super funny with hilarious illustrations.

(Humour, Kingdom, Jousting, Monster, Courage, Quest)

King Flashypants and the Evil Emperor

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Author/Illustrator – Andy Riley

Age – 7+

King Edwin is the ruler of Edwinland. But because he is a boy king, he has adult helpers that deal with things like the mail and pocket money. Edwin gets LOTS of pocket money, and he spends it all on chocolate. But he is a kind and friendly ruler and he gives most of it away to the people of the land.

When his pocket money suddenly stops, it means NO MORE CHOCOLATE! His people wonder if he has forgotten them – just the thing an evil neighbour ruler needs to finally take over Edwinland.

Can Edwin defeat Emperor Nurbison, get his kingdom, his crown and his pocket money back?

A funny story with great black and white illustrations by the BAFTA and Emmy award winning Andy Riley who also wrote the script for the TV movie Gangsta Granny. This is the 1st in a series. Loved it!

(Series, Humour, King, Courage)

The Severed Land

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Author – Maurice Gee

Age – 9+

Fliss lives in a severed land – split by an invisible wall made by an ancient people to save their lands from a group of tyranical families wanting land, slaves and power.

But the wall is under threat. Soldiers are attacking it with cannon fire daily and the only thing keeping the wall intact is a very old bedridden man Fliss calls The Old One. He is the last of The People who built the wall with their minds, and he needs Fliss’ help.

She is sent on a quest with a boy from the other side of the wall to free the only person who can help save their lands and way of life. But will the boy agree?

A new novel from one of NZ’s most celebrated authors, The Severed Land is a fantasy quest that requires courage and determination. Fliss is a brave character, drawing on her skills learnt as a young child living on the streets. She has to face soldiers, sailors, murder, and a blood thirsty crowd to achieve their goal and complete their journey home.

(NZ Author, Fantasy, Courage, Determination, Power, Wall)

The Girl Who Walked on Air

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Author – Emma Carroll

Age – 8+

Louie wants to be a showstopper. She has tight rope walking in the blood, but the owner of the circus Mr Chipcase won’t even consider the idea. Louie has her place, selling tickets and sewing costumes, and she should be happy with that after being abandoned at the circus when she was a baby.

But Louie doesn’t give up on her dream. Even after someone she loves has a terrible accident, a new act joins the circus, and Mr Chipcase still won’t listen. There’s another circus nearby – a circus that is bigger, better and looking for a showstopper.

Louie chases her dream, the mother who abandoned her, and the thrill of an international voyage. But is it what she truly wants? Sometimes, you have to be careful what you wish for….

Set in the 1870’s, this story of rival circuses, family secrets, and ambition and determination, is spread across two continents, two generations and the thundering abyss of Niagra Falls. It gives an insight into 19th century circuses and their way of life, and tells a tale of a feisty, strong, young girl unraveling her past to find her future.

(Circus, Family, Friendship, Historical, 1870’s, Niagra Falls)

Strange Star

ER – CARStrange Star

Author – Emma Carroll

Age – 10+

A tale within a tale – there is a gathering of like-minded souls who baulk at the expected conforms of 1816 etiquette. They are planning to tell ghost stories on this particular evening, but one of their group cannot think of anything. Mary Shelley has no ideas to share.
But when her step sister screams at the sight of someone in the window, a true tale is about to be told – more frightening than any of the stories that evening.
A girl who arrives on the doorstep, bangs on the door and collapses, is revived by Mary in front of the fire. Her name is Lizzie and she’s come to claim her sister back. But first she has to tell them how she got there and the terrible things she’s seen….

The author has taken what is known about Mary Shelley and built her own story around it, making us wonder where Mary got her ideas for her classic novel ‘Frankenstein’. For anyone who’d like to read more about Mary Shelley and her ghost story friends – read ‘Summer of Monsters’ by Tony Thompson.

(Frankenstein, 1816, Villa Diodati, Friendship, Lightning, Scary, Mystery, Historical, Science)