Soak up the last bit of summer with brilliant books
Delighted to be featured in my local paper, the Westmeath Examiner, with recommended reading for a variety of ages. See the full article, find links to longer reviews of all the titles shared on the blog, and scroll to discover even more exciting stories that released after this piece was submitted...
Age 6 and Under The Vanishing Lake by Paddy Donnelly (Yehoo Press) is an intriguing story with stunning illustrations set in Northern Ireland. Eva and the Perfect Rain by Tatyana Feeney (O’Brien Press) explores the wonder of weather through a child’s eyes. Imagine! by Patricia Forde and Elīna Braslina (Little Island) encourages young people use their own minds to combat their fears.
What if, Pig? by Linzie Hunter (HarperCollins) also helps anxious children (and adults!) to rethink what is worrying them. Somewhere by Jeanne Willis and Anastasia Suvorova (Nosy Crow) and Attack of the Giant Baby! by David Lucas and Bruce Ingman (Bloomsbury) celebrate the vivid worlds created through play. While Scribbly by Ged Adamson (HarperCollins) shows little readers how their imaginations can keep them company.
Rachel Morrisroe and Steven Lenton demonstrate How to Grow a Unicorn (Puffin). Find out what happens when a book is in the wrong place at the wrong time in Book Hospital by Leigh Hodgkinson (Simon & Schuster). Huwie the Apple Tree by Mullingar artist and author Dolores Keaveney (DeeBee Press) shows how beauty can be found even in unlikely places.
Age 7+ Pizazz vs Perfecto (Simon & Schuster) by Sophie Henn is an absolutely hilarious mixture of text and comic-book style images featuring the antics of a reluctant superhero (read our review of Book 1 in this series). Do Not Mess with the Mermaids (Bloomsbury) by Michelle Robinson and Sharon Davey is about a rebellious princess in the enchanting kingdom of Wondermere. Space Detectives (Bloomsbury) is a cosmic mystery involving fantastic aliens, freakish food pairings and plenty of laughter. Jasper and Scruff: Take a Bow (Little Tiger) by Irish author-illustrator Nicola Colton concerns an amusing cat and dog duo as they compete in a talent show. Geenie and Teeny by Steven Lenton (HarperCollins) is a magical and slightly rude action-packed adventure which will appeal to a child’s sense of humour.
Age 9+ Fans of historical fiction will enjoy When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle (Andersen Press). This is a moving drama about a boy sent to live with the caretaker of a zoo against the backdrop of World War II. There’s also Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin (Chicken House) which transports readers through time and across the world to the Gálapagos Islands. Wolfstongue by Sam Thompson (Little Island) is a powerful parable with echoes of Watership Down and 1984. The Lightning Catcher by Clare Weze (Bloomsbury) is an electrifying mystery with lots of twists and fascinating facts too. The Life and Time of Lonny Quicke by Kirsty Applebaum (Nosy Crow) is a beautiful, strange and unique modern fairy tale.
Age 12+ Instructions for Dancing (Penguin) is another amazing meditation on life and love from New York Times bestselling author Nicola Yoon. The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud (Walker) is an exciting tour de force set in a dystopian future that resembles the wild west. Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney (Penguin), about a girl trying to get expelled from boarding school, is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.
Age 14+ All Our Hidden Gifts (Walker) by Irish author Caroline O'Donoghue is a sparkling and spooky thriller with a ‘90s vibe that’s set in Ireland too. The Dark Lady by activist and artist Akala (Hodder) is an exhilarating tour of Elizabethan London infused with magic and mystery. The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe (Penguin) is a page-turner with razor-sharp tension that’s currently being adapted into a Netflix film starring Millie Bobby Brown.
Activity Books Look What I Found at the Seaside by Moria Butterfield and Jesús Verona (Nosy Crow) makes treasure hunting at the beach even more enjoyable. You Choose: Fairy Tales by Pippa Goodhart and Nick Sharratt (Puffin) is ideal for taking on long journeys. Adventure is Out There by Jenny Lazell and Tjarda Borsboom (Welbeck Kids) is filled with outdoor activities that are perfect for little explorers. While Inspiration is In Here by Laura Baker and Tjarda Borsboom (Welbeck Kids) contains over 50 creative indoor projects to banish boredom on rainy days.
We didn't get hold of following books until after the article was submitted, but they're also excellent entertainment for the remainder of the holidays (and beyond!):