Books I Am Excited to Share and Recommend with Students – January 2020 Publications

The Valley of Lost Secrets – Lesley Parr

  • Published by Bloomsbury
  • Publication Date – 1st Jan 2021
  • 304 Pages
  • Waterstone’s Children’s Book of the Month
  • £6.99 RRP (Pb)
  • Perfect for 8-12 Year Olds

Set in 1939, and telling the story of Jimmy – an evacuee from London sent to Wales to escape the dangers of World War Two within England’s capital. Whilst trying to find his footing in unfamiliar surroundings Jimmy finds a skull hidden inside a tree, and looks for a trustworthy companion to confide in and seek reassurance from. This incredible new mystery for middle grade readers to immerse themselves in sees a young boy fleeing from one sort of danger only to find himself questioning whether he is in a more imminent threat as a consequence, and yet Jimmy portrays the utmost determination and bravery as he looks to uncover the truth about his discovery. This is a fantastic addition to World War Topic Boxes in schools, and a great addition to the literature available to those looking for a gripping wartime adventure.

Darwin’s Dragons – Lindsay Galvin

  • Published by Chicken House
  • Publication date – 7th Jan 2021
  • 256 Pages
  • RRP – £6.99 (Pb)
  • Perfect for 8-12 Year Olds

Whilst accompanying Charles Darwin onboard the iconic ship Beagle in search of discoveries, cabin boy Syms Covington has the opportunity to help with the researching of species and habitats being undertaken by Darwin, but when Syms finds himself alone among the Galapagos Islands after falling overboard during a storm it falls upon him to survive- and hope of rescue – whilst he faces the stunning beauty of the uninhabited islands, and member of the animal kingdom that dwell there. His biggest dilemma is staying safe in unforgiving terrain until rescue hopefully arrives, until Syms himself makes an incredible discovery of his own, and must decide what he does with this new found knowledge. An invaluable addition to the Explorers Topic Box in schools, this story gives a different perspective and account from the closest person to Darwin, and will ignite an interest in the famous explorer, his discoveries, and so much more.

The Forest of Moon and Sword – Amy Raphael

  • Published by Orion Children’s Books
  • Publication date – 7th Jan 2021
  • 288 pages
  • RRP – £7.99 (Pb)
  • Perfect for 8-12 Year Olds

Based in Scotland, this is the story of a young girl called Art, who has grown up with her mother having always made potions to help cure the sick people that dwell in their town, and is confused and distraught when one night her mother is arrested and accused of witchcraft before being taken to England. Without hesitation Art gathers resources to help her embark on the journey to rescue her mother before it is too late, using her knowledge of nature to help her as she treks through wild forests. With folklore themes weaved throughout this story, readers will be engrossed in the adventure they accompany Art on, and willing Art on every success in being reunited with her mother as the tension builds.

The Perfect Parent Project – Stewart Foster

  • Published by Simon and Schuster
  • Publication date – 21st Jan 2021
  • 352 Pages
  • RRP – £7.99 (Pb)
  • Perfect for 8-12 Year Olds

Sam and his best friend Leah team up to undertake a project with one goal, to find Sam a forever family like everyone else has. Having spent his entire childhood in and out of care, Sam longs to wake up with his family every day, and it doesn’t look likely to happen any time soon, so along with Leah they turn the process on its head, and instead of waiting for a family to find him they set out looking for a family that Sam wants. An emotional rollercoaster ride awaits readers as they accompany Sam and Leah on the mission of a lifetime to achieve the most incredible of tasks. Stewart Foster writes this latest of his middle grade titles in language that readers will relate to, and with characters traits they will recognise, admire and value. This story of Sam will remain in the hearts of readers long after they finish the book.

The Broken Leg of Doom – Pamela Butchart

  • Published by Nosy Crow
  • Publication date – 14th Jan 2021
  • 272 Pages
  • RRP – £6.99 (Pb)
  • From the author of popular hilarious titles including Baby Aliens got my Teacher, and There’s a Yeti in the Playground!
  • Perfect for 7-9 Year Olds

In this latest laugh out loud story for readers to find humour on every page, this story tells of how Maisie finds herself in hospital after breaking her leg dancing, and is more and more certain that her injury is the cause of so much bad luck around her – including the lack of tasty sandwiches on the hospital lunch trolley! With illustrations throughout the book from Thomas Flintham to bring the story to life inside the imaginations of readers, and relatable content such as school based antics, it is easy to see how this latest addition to Pamela’s portfolio of fun filled children’s books will be just as popular as her others.

Chocolate Milk, X-Ray Specs, and Me – Bethany Walker

  • Published by Scholastic
  • Publication date – 7th Jan 2021
  • 200 Pages
  • RRP – £6.99 (Pb)
  • Perfect for 8-12 Year Olds

Another new title publishing this month that will have readers in fits of giggles is the debut title by Bethany Walker, which tells of a young boy called Freddy who has been grown up believing his parents grow crops for a living, and so he consequently writes them letters whilst he stays with his grandad. It all becomes crazy funny when Freddy uncovers spy equipment – some of which appears to belong to his grandad – and such antics as destroying the garden shed follow! With illustrations from Jack Noel throughout the book, this is an imagination fueling, giggle encouraging, eye catching book that readers will want to read time and time again.

The Worst Class in the World gets Worse – Joanna Nadin

  • Published by Bloomsbury
  • Publication date – 7th Jan 2021
  • 160 Pages
  • RRP – £5.99 (Pb)

The fun continues this month, with The Worst Class in the World Gets Worse, in which readers will see first hand the reasons and actions that Class 4B have been labelled as such, as well as the lengths they go to to try to redeem themselves – with hilarious, messy, and chaotic outcomes. My review can be read here.

How to be a Hero – Cat Weldon

  • Published by Macmillan
  • Publication date – 21st Jan 2021
  • 256 Pages
  • RRP – £6.99 (Pb)

The first in the new trilogy from Cat Weldon, this first title introduces readers to the Norse Gods, and combined with humour filled text and stunning illustrations throughout really embeds the reader into a world where Loki and Thor dwell. Accompanying Lotta and Whetstone as they embark on a journey to redeem their reputations, and disagree with one another along the way, will have readers engrossed, entertained, and engaged in the first of a fantastic new trio of titles.

The Broken Raven – Joseph Elliott

  • Published by Walker Books
  • Publication date – 7th Jan 2021
  • 384 Pages
  • RRP – £7.99 (Pb)

The second book in the Shadow Skye trilogy, following on from Good Hawk which was published on 6th Feb 2020, this fantasy adventure reunites readers with characters Agatha and Jaime, who find themselves in imminent danger when Agatha sets in motion terrible events that could see their world come to an end. Jaime must embark on a journey to source the only possible means of preventing the perils facing them and those they care most dearly for. This is an incredible adventure story for readers to enjoy, as they enter a dark world of evil and enemies, and will Jaime and Agatha to success once again.

January sees so many stunning additions to the world of children’s literature, and the titles on this blog are just the tip of the iceberg. My choosing them on this feature is with the intention of suggesting books that are worthy of school libraries, and homes, particularly because each of the books referenced offer children the much needed escapism they are looking for right now, have the depth and detail you would want to be recommending to readers so that they are consequently entertained and enjoy the book they choose to read – increasing their desire to read for pleasure – and the books offer readers the chance to smile and laugh, which is incredibly endearing to see, and again much needed right now.

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