Helens selection of Must Reads this August (Part One)

The Exploding Life of Scarlett Fife

  • Written by Maz Evans
  • Illustrations by Chris Jevons. 
  • Published by Hachette

I love this book, its so funny as it deals with the main characters anger issues. Scarlet has big feelings which always seems to be getting her into trouble. There are some really funny moments such as when she gets so angry she makes elephant poo explode.

Of course anger issues aren’t something to laugh about but it does make you realise that these are important issues that need talking about. This is a sensitive book that will make you cry with laughter. 

I loved all the characters even William U and his mum, you have to read it to find out about them.

I’m so looking forward to reading the next one of the series, and sharing this book with children in my school library as I know it will be a popular title.

The Midnight Thief

  • Written by Sylvia Bishop
  • Illustrations by Flavia Sorrentino.
  • Published by Scholastic. 

Sent away to a boarding school Freya is struggling to fit in. She makes friends with twins Emsie and Daniel.  They find themselves trying to solve the mystery of the stolen dragons before her dad is due  to visit the school. 

The illustrations are beautifully drawn and add to the enjoyment. 

The book features a cast of interesting characters that work well together. 


  • Written by Tim Tilley
  • Published by Usborne

Deep in the orphanage children work quickly to make matches for Old Ma Bogey. Wick dreams of a better life, a life free where he is able to go to school, have a family  but that’s all it is a dream. 

Wick is in the right place at the right time to rescue a baby Hob, a magical creature that lives in the forest  in return they agree to give Wick a home.

But whiles his happy he misses his friends, before he can live the life he deserves he must rescue his friends, keep the hobs safe and face up to Old Ma Bogey one last time.

This book deals with really important issues  such as believing in yourself, friendship, family and the effects of deforestation.

An really important book that is ideal for 9yrs plus, it is easy to see how this book won a Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month award.

No Ordinary Joe

  • Written by Siobhan Daffy
  • Published by Little Island Books

Joe is 11 years old but he has the understanding of a toddler, so you can imagine that he is more than a handful for his family. He has no concept of right and wrong, no idea how to keep himself safe, he is unable to talk, and he needs watching all the time, the only break his family have is when he’s at school. Everyone who Joe meets immediately falls in love with him

In this book you become Dan, Joe’s older brother, you get to live his life, you get up with him on early weekend mornings to chase him round the cow field, you play guitar with him and you spend every waking moment worrying about him.

This book allows you to understand what it takes to live a child with special needs, you see  problems they face but also the rewards they receive. 

Hopefully children reading this book will be able to understand the sort of problems other children face, and subsequently find themselves able to emphasise and support them.

The Night My Dream Came Alive

  • Written by Juliette Forrest
  • Published by Scholastic

I’ll admit I often have strange dreams, some of them I’m disappointed when I wake up.

Unfortunately in this story Ollo can’t dream, when she looks into this she discovers that in fact she is really a guardian of dreams and needs to protect the book of dreams. But this isn’t going to stop school bully Roxy hurting her, if she could only have one dream to learn how to defend herself,  surely one dream couldn’t hurt could it?.

Full of magic and adventure you will discover how bravery and imagination saves the day, there’s also some laughs along the way.

Juliette Forrest is a fresh modern voice in the world of middle grade books.

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