The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson

They call me Yanka the Bear. Not because of where I was found – only a few people know about that. They call me Yanka the Bear because I am so big and strong.

Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, Yanka has always wondered about where she is from. She tries to ignore the strange whispers and looks from the villagers, wishing she was as strong on the inside as she is on the outside. But, when she has to flee her house, looking for answers about who she really is, a journey far beyond one that she ever imagined begins: from icy rivers to smouldering mountains meeting an ever-growing herd of extraordinary friends along the way.

Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House With Chicken Legs.

The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson is a beauty of a book about the pain of feeling different and the power of stories to help you find your way. It celebrates the comfort that comes from having stories told to you and explores the power of accepting help from your friends, forming a herd, a web of strength, and finding your tribe. It's a beautiful exploration of what makes a family.

Yanka is stubborn and determined and as bright and spirited as we have come to enjoy from Sophie Anderson's characters. Full of animals, folktales, family and friendship, we love this atmospheric adventure - and whooped at the links back to The House with Chicken Legs. 

Coming September 2019!

The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan and Ben Mantle

Believing is just the beginning . . .

When Arthur and Rose were little, they were heroes in the Land of Roar, an imaginary world that they found by climbing through the folding bed in their grandad’s attic.

Roar was filled with things they loved – dragons, mermaids, ninja wizards and adventure – as well as things that scared them (including a very creepy scarecrow. . .)

Now the twins are eleven, Roar is just a memory. But when they help Grandad clean out the attic, Arthur is horrified as Grandad is pulled into the folding bed and vanishes. Is he playing a joke? Or is Roar . . . real?

We love this stunner of a book. Beautifully illustrated by Ben Mantle and with a cover that would be coveted by the most fussy of dragons, The Land of Roar looks as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside.

The Land of Roar is a story with a heart. Filled with dementor-style darkness, beautifully balanced with humour and brilliantly imagined gender-stereotype-flipping characters, it perfectly captures the imagination and play of children and explores what happens to your lands of make-believe when you begin to grow up. It celebrates embracing play and imagination and not growing up too soon.

All the ingredients for the perfect reading for pleasure fantasy adventure are here; ninja wizards, mermaid witches, a band of fierce lost girls, dragons and of course, a glittering sprinkle of magic. We lost ourselves entirely in The Land of Roar

Let your walls down and allow magic in. Get your copy here.

Anna At War by Helen Peters

As life for German Jews becomes increasingly perilous, Anna’s parents put her on a train leaving for England. But the war follows her to Kent, and soon Anna finds herself caught up in a web of betrayal and secrecy.

How can she prove whose side she’s on when she can’t tell anyone the truth?

But actions speak louder than words, and Anna has a dangerous plan…

A brilliant and moving wartime adventure from the author of Evie’s Ghost. Cover illustration by Daniela Terrazzini.

We absolutely love this emotional rollercoaster of a read; at times moving and then filled to the brim with hold-your-breath tension. Perfect for schools, Anna At War is beautifully relevant and would work particularly well with topics looking at refugees, kindness and empathy. A brilliant study of bravery, family and friendship. But be warned! Tissues will be required.

You can get your copy from our online shop here.

Book Review by Mia H: A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison

Three sisters trapped by an ancient curse. Three magical objects with the power to change their fate. Will they be enough to break the curse? Or will they lead the sisters even deeper into danger?

All whilst reading this book, I had an image in my heart of a little town surrounded by rocks beneath a cloudy grey sky with pale green waters lapping at the rocky beaches and an imposing tower rising above it all and casting long shadows on the street below. That is how I imagine Crowstone, where this story takes place. And at the centre of this town there is a rickety old tavern, where a girl with black hair warbles something very nearly reminiscent of a tune, another sits on the floor playing with bugs and rats and a third dreams about rocky mountains and humid, emerald jungles. Those are the Widdershins sisters. And that’s how clearly you can see them all as you read this book. The bond between the sisters in this book is what really makes it special, how they go to such lengths, risk their lives even, for each other. My favourite bits however were the ones with Sorsha, a girl that has a very different family dynamic and has to live with her magical abilities in a society that is not at all accepting of them and has it in for her right from the start. This book was gripping, and is one that you could read all in one day and still feel satisfied at the end. I would recommend this book for children aged 9+ or 8+ for more mature readers. It reminded me greatly of the Huntress trilogy, just because of the whole sea atmosphere of it and is overall thoroughly enjoyable.

Recommended Read – The Closest Thing to Flying by Gill Lewis

Present day: Semira doesn’t know where to call home. She and her mother came to England when she was four years old, brought across the desert and the sea by a man who has complete control. Always moving on, always afraid of being caught, she longs for freedom.

1891: Hen knows exactly where to call home. Her stifling mother makes sure of that. But her Aunt Kitty is opening her eyes to a whole new world. A world of animal rights, and votes for women, and riding bicycles! Trapped in a life of behaving like a lady, she longs for freedom.

When Semira discovers Hen’s diary, she finds the inspiration to be brave, to fight for her place in the world, and maybe even to uncover the secrets of her own past.

Puberty Books – a parent’s guide

The concept of discussing the changes and worries of puberty with our children can be overwhelming. What better to support you and your children through this emotional time than a tried-and-tested book?

We recommend Usborne’s What’s Happening To Me? series for reliable, kid-friendly (and parent-friendly) advice and information. You can get 10% off these fab books by using code puberty10 during checkout.

These books are contemporary and immensely accessible. Filled with all the information young people will need to know and no-nonsense answers to all their burning questions, this series provides an excellent springboard for discussion. It doesn’t talk down to children or try to make light of the changes they will be going through. Instead it provides clear facts and information, talks about how they may be feeling and gives supportive advice about staying healthy and positive.

Don’t be put off by the gendered covers. These are a far more inclusive than the pink and blue suggests.

You can get your copy in our online shop.

About the books:

A sensitive, detailed and informative guide to puberty, this book will prove invaluable for both children and their parents alike, tackling key subjects from the physical changes that occur at this time to emotional upheaval this can cause.

Bright, original colour illustrations and diagrams reveal everything young people need to know about the changes they will experience as they approach puberty.

The stunning artwork is accompanied by witty, yet clear and informative factual text that helps to demystify this often confusing and tricky subject.

Approved by a team of top-notch consultants, this remarkable and reassuring book is entertaining, approachable and authoritative.

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections.

Seeing Jack’s spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home.

She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan.

Katherine Rundell’s fifth novel is a heist as never seen before – the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong.
 

Katherine Rundell writes sentences that you wish you could hold in your heart. Her superpower in The Good Thieves is her ability to write characters who burn with bravery and a fierce sense of injustice.

This is a story full of heart as well as adventure. The extraordinary world of tumbledown castles, terrifying gangsters and forbidden heists becomes the backdrop for acts of daring, kindness and respect.

We loved this story of loyalty, friendship and overcoming the odds. Great for 10+

You can order your copy here.

Rumblestar – Abi Elphinstone

Eleven-year-old Casper Tock hates risks, is allergic to adventures and shudders at the thought of unpredictable events. So, it comes as a nasty shock to him when he accidentally stumbles into Rumblestar, an Unmapped Kingdom full of magical beasts.

All Casper wants is to find a way home, but Rumblestar is in trouble. An evil harpy called Morg is sending her followers, the Midnights, into the kingdom to wreak havoc and pave the way for her to steal the Unmapped magic for herself. But Casper cannot turn a blind eye because the future of his own world, he discovers, is bound up with that of the Unmapped Kingdoms. 

And so, together with Utterly Thankless, a girl who hates rules and is allergic to behaving, and her miniature dragon, Arlo, Casper embarks upon an adventure full of cloud giants, storm ogres and drizzle hags. Can he, Utterly and Arlo, the unlikeliest of heroes, save the Unmapped Kingdoms and our world from the clutches of Morg and her Midnights?

Live a life filled with adventure with Abi Elphinstone in this brand NEW series where a whole new world is waiting to be discovered…

We adore this book! Abi Elphinstone has an incredible imagination and a real skill for world building. Filled with Faraway Tree style magic and a fair amount of wit, Rumblestar is wise and full of heart. Casper is an unlikely hero and Utterly is a fierce engineering prodigy – both fantastic characters, role-models and gender-stereotype-squashers. Follow them through glorious darkness, mild-peril and edge of your seat adventure. Think Narnia meets Maleficent. We cant wait to see what happens next in The Unmapped Chronicles series.

You can get your copy of this fantastic new book here.

Malamander – Thomas Taylor

Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep… Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy – especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl.

No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander.

Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger…

We love Malamander for it’s twists and turns and mild peril. It’s a magical mystery that had us holding our breath and wishing we could have our own book prescription from the Eerie book dispensary. Brilliant for brave adventurers 9+.

We can’t wait to see what happens in the next book in the series!

Lily and the Rockets – Rebecca Stevens

‘Whatever you decide to do,’ he used to say, ‘there’ll be people who’ll tell you not to, say it’ll be too hard, you won’t like it, it’s not for the likes of you. They’ll try and stop you, Lily-oh. But you mustn’t let them. Listen to me, girl. You Must Not Let Them!’

Lily and the Rockets – Rebecca Stevens

It’s 1917. Lily spends her days working in a munitions factory, her nights picking metal out of her hair, and her lunchtimes kicking a ball with her workmates. Together they form a football team, the Rockets, and a league soon follows.

But when the war ends, the girls lose both their jobs and their football. Not Lily. If her only chance of being a goalie is to play with the men, then that’s what she’ll do …

An empowering story about having the courage to be yourself and follow your dreams. Brilliant for 10+

We love the beautiful cover illustration by Harriet Taylor Seed.