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Book Launches = Train Reading = Great Books!

Having had the pleasure of attending one or two book launches over the last couple of weeks has meant train journeys to and from London, this has meant book reading time!

So I’ve been busy with the following, random selection of books from my pile.

I’ll begin with my books for the YA readers out there.

First there was The Girl In Between by Sarah Carroll (Simon & Schuster) which is a powerful, evocative debut novel. Haunting with constant twists and turns, we learn from our narrator how she is instructed by her mother to remain invisible as much as possible, to stay away from the Authorities and to be a good girl. We also learn, through deftly integrated flashbacks, how the current situation came to arise. I was haunted by the honesty of this story and compelled to read it, I hope you will feel the same way.

Then came No Filter by Orlagh Collins (Bloomsbury), a book for ​​summer, a book about teenage romance, a book about not knowing how to cope with romance, with its ups and downs. This is also a power story of coming of age, of the difference that just one summer can make and the way that changes impact on us all in many different ways. It is an engrossing, poignant and powerful read so get ready to add a copy to your bookshelf when it is published in July.

​​Song of the Current by Sarah Tolscer (Bloomsbury) is a brilliant debut fantasy but it is more than that with pirates, river ships, magic, history, treachery and much more besides this is a gripping story of challenges, of new potential, of destiny. Caro thinks that her destiny is mapped out for her, hear the call of the river god, become a captain and transport cargo. How wrong could she be and is she willing to accept the changes that present themselves? Sarah Tolscer is an absorbing new voice with a great gift for storytelling.

The Incredible Billy Wild by Joanna Nadin (Little Brown Books for Young Readers) spoils its reader. Why? Because to start with it ​​comes with four differently coloured covers – which will you choose? Mine was blue. Why does this matter? Well once you read the story you will begin to see, perhaps you may even want them all, after all why not? But the book – what is it about? A boy, his father, a dog. But it is about more than this too, it is about family, loss, love, passion and a drive, a need to help. It is a heart-warming story, a funny story and a story that will leave you with a lovely warm, tender feeling and a renewed passion for dogs, for talent shows and for midwifery … I am sure that will spark your interest!

When I started to read There’s A Werewolf In My Tent! By Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow) I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I got was a very large, almost permanent grin on my face! Why? Because this book is really very, very funny. Not only do the voices of the children resonate, I really can imagine them doing and saying as they do in the story, so do the antics of their teachers who have agreed to take them on a camping trip. Their antics, their mad ideas and their adventures, combined with the playful use of font and the just zany illustration makes the whole thing come to life and beg to be read out loud and just time and again.

And just in case you were wondering I did manage to fit a few picture books in too! There was Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Divya Srinivasan (Bloomsbury Children’s Books) which is a stunningly illustrated, realistic fable set in India (or so we might imagine). Here we meet the princess Cinnamon whose eyes are made of pearls so she cannot see and who will not talk. It is not people but a mighty tiger who can make the difference to the life of this girl and it is fascinating to find out just why and how. A powerful and strong fable evocative in its words and pictures.

At the other end of the picture book spectrum come plenty of laughs from Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet in Supertato: Run, Veggie, Run! (Simon & Schuster). At the supermarket the veggies are all in training – sports day is coming up and they all want to do their best but when a new competitor and The Evil Pea join the event, determined to win every prize Supertato must foil their cunning plans …

And for the very youngest readers (and of course their parents) is a new title from Pat-A-Cake. Clap Hands: Here Come the Puppies illustrated by Hilli Kushnir is one of four new titles (there are also Dinosaurs, Kittens and Monkeys). This touch-and-feel board book encourage fingers, little and large, to reach out and touch the page, to clap, to make noises, to count, to look, see, sense. Packed with fun and energy these short but important books will hopefully soon be playing a big part in the learning journey of your toddler giving them reasons to clap and encouraging their motor skills, numeracy and of course literacy!

Miraculous Miranda by Siobhan Parkinson (Hodder) tells the story of Miranda and her imagination which creates a land where stories never end and where the stories sometimes become more than real. Small miracles can happen when you believe and why you try and so it is that Miranda may just be able to make some big changes in her life – helping her sister – and some little ones too, making boys nice!

Chloe’s Secret Fairy Godmother Club by Emma Barnes, Scholastic is a charming story for younger girls, unashamedly pink, a delightful read. Chloe and her friends have started anew secret club which is especially for fairy godmothers they need a good sprinkling of glitter, just a touch of sparkle and a large dose of imagination but they are determined that they will make people’s dreams come true. A charming and fun read, accessible and with some lovely black and white illustration by Mike Lowe to add extra detail for the reader.

Just a small selection to delve into, I hope you enjoy them as much as I have done ...

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