The Octopus, Dadu and Me is the heart-warming debut book from Lucy Ann Unwin.
Sashi is left completely heartbroken when her parents tell her she can no longer visit her beloved grandfather, Dadu, because of his dementia. Instead of visiting Dadu in the care home, her parents start taking her to the local aquarium to take her mind off things and that’s when she meets Ian… an octopus who longs to escape.
I really like this book because it’s extremely unique and a great insight into octopuses and dementia.
Niamh (aged 10)
With the help of her friends, Darcie and Hassan, they come up with a plan to break Ian out of his aquarium prison.
It has loads of fascinating octopus facts and fun cartoon illustrations throughout the book, drawn by Lucy Mulligan. Did you know that octopuses can squeeze through spaces smaller than their eyeball?!
My favourite parts of the book were Sashi’s special memories with her Dadu and about what it’s like to have someone so close to you who doesn’t even remember you because of dementia.
I really like this book because it’s extremely unique and a great insight into octopuses and dementia. I found out lots of facts about both in a fun and engaging way, at the same time that Sashi and her friends are trying to work out how to sneak an octopus out of the aquarium without anyone noticing!
I would recommend this book especially to anyone whose families have experienced dementia, as there are not many books that deal with this subject well or even at all. It’s also perfect for people who like adventurous stories. I look forward to more books from Lucy!
Perfect for fans of: Keep Dancing, Lizzy Chu by Maisie Chan, and Me and My Dad at the End of the Rainbow.
The Thief Who Sang Storms is a great book written by Sophie Anderson.
It contains magic, creativity, teamwork and most of all love (but not the romance kind).
I love how this book has lots of flashbacks so you can understand the back story too
It’s all about a bird girl called Linnet and her Island of Morovia, which is now divided into areas where humans live and a swamp area where all the bird people now reside, after something drastic happened.
The bird people formed a group called the Unity Movement who have been trying to take down Captain Ilya who separated the bird people from humans for ‘safety’ after what happened. When Linnet’s father, Nightingale, gets caught by the bogatyrs (Captain IIya’s troops), Linnet realises she needs to do something.
She teams up with humans to help stop this nonsense, but can she do it?
I love how this book has lots of flashbacks so you can understand the back story too.
The planet has shifted on its axis in what is known as The Tilt, an enormous earthquake which also caused a black mark to appear on the sun. Billionaire tech genius Howard Hansomhas a plan to harness PEOPLEPOWER! to fix the earth – but not everyone is convinced…
I love it when they enter the Wilde Forest. It is a dark and mysterious place and you can tell that exciting things are going to happen there.
The main character in this story is schoolboy Grian Woods, closely followed by Jeffrey Slight, Grian’s neighbour and classmate, and Shelli, a Wilde girl. Both have unique and exciting abilities; Jeffrey has an impressive skill with all things technology, and Shelli can communicate with animals. The three team up to bring home Grian’s older sister Solas after she runs away to the Tipping Point – a city designed by Howard Hansom in the perfect position to save the world.
However, when the heroic trio arrive, not all is as it seems. Something dark is going on in the city of everybody’s dreams – could it have anything to do with Grian’s missing grandfather? It’s up to Grian and his new friends to find out and put it right.
My favourite character is Shelli’s clever fox friend Nach and I love it when they enter the Wilde Forest. It is a dark and mysterious place and you can tell that exciting things are going to happen there. I would recommend this book to ages 8-12. Other books by Helena Duggan are A Place Called Perfect, The Trouble with Perfect, and The Battle for Perfect. I haven’t read this trilogy but it sounds good!
Running Out Of Time is a poignant story about the current refugee crisis, it’s also a high concept science-fiction thriller. Simon Fox juggles complex ideas about a new kind of time travel as well as exploring the journey of a refugee.
An important, timeless novel that was thrilling and moving all at the same time.
I worried that perhaps the science-fiction would eclipse the journey of Alex (our central character) but it supports it. Fox understands that the most interesting themes and ideas in the book are the more grounded and down to earth ones therefore the focus of the novel is on them. It’s rare to find a science-fiction book which works as a complex character study with the science removed, it’s almost unheard of in children’s or YA fiction.
The sci-fi concept isn’t undeveloped either, it’s a simple yet hugely effective idea that allows for organic twists and turns.
The heart of the story is Alex, we know hardly anything about his life before he became a refugee – we don’t even know which country he’s from. What draws the reader to him is his calm sense of self and his perseverance. The rest of the characters are never quite who they seem either, turning them into three-dimensional human beings not just stereotypes.
Whether you’re a fan of Science-Fiction or not you really need to pick this one up. It’s an important, timeless novel that was thrilling and moving all at the same time.
Favourite character: My favourite character is Courageous Kit with her smart witted brain and sea-cret!
Read on if you dare!
Evie M (9)
What it’s about: It’s about a boy called Max who possesses a magic he can’t control so he is sent to stay with Bewitching Bram. There he discovers the Spellbinding Cove of Spellstoppers, evil enchantresses, Super Sulkies, Overhead Owls, mysterious mysts, and a crazy castle.
The Dangerous Life of Ophelia Bottom is Susie Bower’s new release, following on from School for Nobodies and The Three Impossibles.
Ophelia Bottom and her Shakespearean acting parents end up stuck in the perfect town of Stopford, after her dad literally breaks a leg during a performance.
I really enjoyed The Dangerous Life of Ophelia Bottom! It was full of adventure, mystery, twists and had a very dark side to it.
Used to travelling, Ophelia is glad to be staying in one place for a change, especially one as perfect as Stopford. However, after starting school and encountering the ‘perfects’ and learning the unusual Stopford motto, Plasticus stupendus est, Diversus periculosus est – Plastic is fantastic, Different is dangerous – Ophelia is soon wary of the town and the mysterious Professor Potkettle, who owns the factory on the hill…
I really enjoyed The Dangerous Life of Ophelia Bottom! It was full of adventure, mystery, twists and had a very dark side to it. Ophelia was a great main character and I liked the mystery surrounding Professor Potkettle and what he’d do next.
I’d recommend it as a great read during the school summer holidays, keeping you entertained. It’s a brilliant book for people who like a good twist and a dark plot.
Perfect for fans of: Megamonster by David Walliams; The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart; and A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
In this magnificent book by Clare Povey, the main character, Bastien Bonlivre, gets taken to an orphanage. In this orphanage, the owner, Monsieur Xavier, is not very nice and horrible to the children.
Bastien’s parents died and they left behind a notebook which was told to have something hidden inside it as they were very famous book writers.
I loved this book as it’s based in France and I love reading stories about different places. There are even a few French words in it too!
Over the next few days in the awful orphanage bastien meets another boy, Theo, who is a very cunning engineer who can build almost anything out of scrap. As the months go by, Theo and Bastien decide to escape briefly to see France in all its pride and glory.
Suddenly back at the orphanage the notebook gets stolen, can Bastien get is back before it’s too late?
I loved this book as its based in France and I love reading stories about different places. There are eve a few French words in it too!
This book will be right up your alley if you like stories, as Bastien reads a lot of stories to the orphanage boys: mysteries, crime and Paris.
‘The Secret of Haven Point’ is a heart-warming story about a girl called Alpha Lux. She was abandoned as a baby at Haven Point, a lighthouse which, since then, has become a safe place for any person with a disability or difference in need of a place to belong. The inhabitants name themselves ‘Wrecklings,’ raiding ships with the help of mermaids who live nearby. Alpha spends her days adventuring with her best friend, Badger, and trying not to get into trouble. Until one day, she spots a mysterious light upon the hill, and swiftly realises that her much-loved new family are in danger of being exposed to Outsiders…
Her fabulous tale is full of excitement and thrills – I just couldn’t stop reading! It’s also a story of friendship and compassion… I really felt for Alpha as I read.
Evie B (11)
I absolutely adored ‘The Secret of Haven Point’. It is a brilliant debut novel from the extraordinary new author, Lisette Auton. Her fabulous tale is full of excitement and thrills – I just couldn’t stop reading! It’s also a story of friendship and compassion. I really felt for Alpha as I read, because she wonders so often about what happened in her past, and why she was abandoned at the lighthouse. It is an amazing narrative and I really enjoyed the fact that there were such positive representations of children with disabilities and differences in the book.
‘The Secret of Haven Point’ actually has a lot of extremely important morals behind the wonderful storyline, including one about believing in yourself and being true to who you are. Another key message in it is that everyone should be judged by their personalities and actions, rather than their appearance. This is one of the fundamental ideas of the story, and I appreciate that it is included because it is just as important in real life. This book really celebrates the themes of belonging and acceptance, and I think that that’s brilliant.
I would recommend this story to anyone aged 9 or over. It’s a truly unique story, but any fans of adventure and mystery novels with a sprinkling of magic (such as the ‘Harry Potter’ series by J.K. Rowling) would find this book really captivating. I can’t wait to see what ideas Lisette Auton comes up with in her next book!
Ade is angry with her stepdad because his job has forced her family to move and leave everything behind. What’s more, he acts like such an angel that no one understands why she doesn’t like him. All of that changes when she meets Shanice, whose father owns the Powers hair salon, and an instant friendship is formed. It turns out they will be going to the same school – but can their friendship survive the ups and downs with bullies that lurk online and offline?
“I like how there are two perspectives in the story because the chapters switch between Ade’s diary and Shanice’s diary, which means you get more than one point of view.”
Ade and Shanice are the main characters in The Offline Diaries. They both have pink diaries which they write their thoughts and the day’s events in, hence the name of the book. Shanice lives with her dad and her annoying older brother James, and you learn early on that her mother has sadly passed away the year before. Ade is an in-the-middle child. Her big sister Bisi is a grump of a sixteen-year-old, and Funmi, the youngest daughter, is frustrating 24/7. Ade lives with her mum and stepdad, and rarely sees her father.
The trouble is, at Archbishop Academy (Ade and Shanice’s school), Ade takes a shine to Amy and Aaliyah, aka the Double As. They want Ade to be part of their gang, making it the Triple As – but they aren’t nice to Shanice, who’s a bit of a social outcast. Ade starts to drift away from her original BFF. Can she realise who really matters and make up with Shanice before it’s too late?
My favourite part is when Ade’s Aunty Kim comes over and Ade goes shopping with her, Shanice and (annoyingly) Funmi. Funmi gets to pick a toy, and Ade just can’t understand why she’d pick a frog – of all the animals, a frog! I like how there are two perspectives in the story because the chapters switch between Ade’s diary and Shanice’s diary, which means you get more than one point of view. There is also the occasional messaging on a social media called ChatBack, where the girls talk online. I would recommend this book to easygoing readers of ages 9-12.