Lucky Button

Author – Michael Morpurgo

36584192Illustrator – Michael Foreman

Age 7+

Jonah has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders at home and is bullied at school. This school used to be The Foundling Hospital – a place children were taken to save them from the 18th century streets of London.

Jonah loves music, and humming the songs his mum used to play on her piano always lifts his spirits. But one day after more bullying, he hides in the school chapel. He finds a small gold button on the chapel floor then hears beautiful music coming from the organ. He is entranced.

Out of nowhere, an ghostly old man approaches him. At first Jonah is petrified but soon realises the man means him no trouble. All he wants to do is tell Jonah about the Lucky Button he has found, where it came from, and how important it is.

Another gentle tale of family, and friendship from this popular author. Among the colour and black & white illustrations scattered through the text, the reader will meet Mozart as a boy and learn about Handel too.

(Family, School, Bullying, Music, History)

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Girlhood

Author – Cat Clarke26224552

Age – 14+ (Strong language)

Harper is a twin, at least she was until her best friend/twin sister Jenna died. Harper blames herself and still feels the loss deeply, but life at Duncraggan (an exclusive remote boarding school for girls), has helped blunt the pain – particularly the friends she has made – Rowan, Lily and Ama.

They tease each other mercilessly, sneak out at night together, gossip, share their worries and fears, and are loyal to one another.

When a new girl arrives (Kirsty), they follow Duncraggan tradition, testing Kirsty’s mettle and locking her alone in the dark. One act of kindness between them triggers a new friendship for Harper and Kirsty, but also weakens Harper’s link with her best friends.

Harper can see it happening, but can’t seem to stop it, until it becomes a case of life or death.

Girlhood is a fantastic narrative about the chaos, confusion, and minefield that girl friendships can quickly become. This is no sweet boarding school story. These girls speak just as girls speak in reality, swearing, joking, but also supporting one another. Harper has secrets that only her friends know, but Kirsty has secrets too, and they are only discovered when it’s nearly too late to help.

(Boarding School, Friendship, Jealousy, Twin, Realism, Secrets, Loss, Grief)

Zach King – My Magical Life

Author – Zach King35069280

Illustrator – Beverly Arce

Age – 7+

Zach is home schooled as he is part of a magical family. But when his magic still hasn’t arrived at the age of 11, his parents believe he has beeen ‘skipped’ and the best thing for him is to go to middle school and learn to be ‘normal’ like other non-magical kids.

His first day at Horace Greeley Middle School finds him inside a vending machine in nothing but his boxers. But how did it happen? When an online video of ‘the trick’ goes viral, his new friend Aaron is keen to know how he did it, and for him to do more tricks like that. That’s not his only problem – the coolest kid in school has decided to make him look a fool – as often as possible.

When Zach does finally find his magic, it’s way cooler than he ever dreamed, but how does he hide the truth from his new friends when they are keen to see more of his ‘tricks’ online?

Zach soon finds a way, but has to face the bully, his parents and an alligator!

This is the 1st in a new series, made up of both text and full page, full colour illustrations. Set mostly in Horace Greeley Middle School, it’s a fun read.

(School, Bully, Friendship, Magic, Secret, Series, YouTube, Popularity)

Raptors of Paradise (The World of Supersaurs 1)

Author – Jay Jay Burridge34460118

Illustrator – Chris West/Jay Jay Burridge

Age – 10 +

Beatrice Kingsley can’t understand why her grandmother (nicknamed Bunty) has brought her halfway around the world to look at the Raptors of Aru. Sure they are said to be beautiful and elusive but it was such a long way to go. Along with them was Theodore, loyal to Bea and Bunty after being ‘adopted’ into the family many years before.

But there is another reason for them to visit the wild Islands of Aru, and Bunty isn’t ready to tell Bea why just yet.

But this island has more secrets than they know, and as they enter the jungle with the help of a plucky nine year old porter and his father, they encounter many dangers. This island may have the most beautiful raptors, but it also hides very dangerous ones too. Not to mention the arrogant, vicious leader of the island, Christian Hayter, who isn’t happy about strangers in ‘his’ jungle.

What they find is beyond their imagination, but worth fighting for. But first they have to survive!

This is the 1st in a series of 6 books – with two more out 2018. If you’re after Dinosaurs, Courage, and Action, this story has bucket loads. Both Bea and Bunty are brave and determined, despite all Bunty’s rules on behaving like a lady. Jam-packed with luscious B&W illustrations, this adventure is going to popular!

(Dinosaurs, Courage, Adventure, Jungle, Orphan, Grandmother) 

Evie’s Ghost

Author – Helen Peters32716469

Age – 10+

Evie is not happy. Her Mum has remarried and gone off on honeymoon, leaving Evie to stay with a godmother she has never met. The room she is shown on the first night looks just like any other room – except for a message scratched into the glass of the window.

Her godmother tells her of a tale told about her room. The message is said to be left by a girl over 200 hundred years before, after being locked in there by her own father.

Evie soon learns more about this girl first hand – waking up in 1814 in the same house, wearing maid’s clothing. Life is very different in 1814 and she has to learn her dawn to dusk duties very quickly or be fired and forced to leave the house. But how would she get home again?

The more she learns about the house and its occupants, she soon meets the girl who scratched the message in the window. Evie knows she has to warn her about her father before it is too late – hoping this righting of a terrible wrong will return her to her own time.

Another great read by Helen Peters – connecting our time with the past in a unique way.

(History, Historical, Godmother, Courage, 1814, Time Travel)

 

Maybe

Author – Morris Gleitzman36125803

Age – 10+

It’s 1946. The war is over and Felix and his friends Gabriek and Anya are heading back to Gabriek’s farm – keen to live a life without fear. But all does not go to plan and they are soon running for their lives.

The 6th in Morris Gleitzman’s ‘family’ of books about Felix’s life – before, during and after World War 2, Maybe he’ll finally be able to find a life without having to look over his shoulder, avoid death all around him and become the doctor he wants to be?

Maybe this will happen when he wakes up in an airbase? Maybe it will happen when he flies to Australia? But there is always the threat of Zliv, the younger brother of a man they killed in Poland, who does not care that it was in self defense.

Drawn right into the continuing narrative on the very first line, the reader is back in Felix’s life. At age fourteen, he has seen terrible things, lost loved ones and suffered throughout the war. But the war has ended and now he has hope for the future. This ‘family’ of books has been written and intended to be able to be read in any order. Once, Then, After, Now, Soon are as beautiful and heartbreaking as each other. Maybe they’ll be one more in this family?

(War, Loyalty, Courage, Australia, Series)

Jim Reaper 3 – The Glove of Death

Author – Rachel Delahaye34455781

Illustrator – Jamie Littler

Age 8+

Jim is in his father’s study again – strictly against the rules. But he’s intrigued with his dad’s job and wants to find out more. The Death Dictionary is his favourite, telling him about all sorts of things to do with Dad’s occupation as a Grim Reaper. One day he looks up gloves, because there is a special glass glass with a white glove in it and it goes with his dad when he’s working and it stays in the box when he’s not. Jim is intrigued. He finds : The Glove of Death – how scary and cool is that!

But when he borrows it to raise some money for a DVD he wants, things go terribly wrong – so wrong, there are dead people all over his neighbourhood and it’s all his fault!

He’s got to fix things before Mum gets home, before Dad finds out and before any more people drop dead!

A white glove, a black cat and a very red face! The Glove of Death is another funny story in this series about a young boy and his Dad – The Grim Reaper. You don’t have to read No. 2 to enjoy this episode – but the first in the series – Jim Reaper – Son of Grim is a must!

(Humour, Funny, Friendship, Accident, Cat, Death, Secret, Mistake)