Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy
Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
This month’s recommended read has been chosen by Miss Coyle
Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
This month’s recommended read has been chosen by Mrs Kerr-Morgan
Shortlisted for the Carnegie award 2021, ‘ Echo Mountain’ is a truly special book.
Set amongst the backdrop of the ‘Great Depression’ the story follows twelve year old Ellie and her family as they leave behind their life in Maine and move to Echo Mountain. Ellie adapts quickly and enjoys been amongst the natural world. However, after her father suffers a tragic accident, Ellie and her family are forced to discover a new kind of strength.
Desperate to find a cure to bring her father out of a coma, Ellie explores the highest peaks of the mountain and discovers the mysterious ‘hag.’ As untold stories are unravelled, Ellie discovers that through her love and respect of the natural world she has a hidden power that will save those around her.
Letters From The Lighthouse
This month’s recommended read has been chosen by Mrs Kerr-Morgan
Historical Fiction at its best!
Soon after her sister Sukie mysteriously disappears during a bombing raid in London in February 1941, Olive and her younger brother Cliff are evacuated to the small village of Budmouth Point in Devon. Armed with a secret coded note left behind in the pocket of her sister’s coat, Olive is determined to solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance. However, she soon finds herself at the centre of a secret mission involving the residents of the sleepy seaside village and her sister that is both dangerous and mysterious.
This heartwarming adventure story is a wonderful insight into the realities of WWII and highlights the importance of courage, friendship and tolerance.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
This month’s recommended read has been chosen by Ms J Rogers
Love a good fairy-tale but feel like you’re too old for them now? Well this book is for you!
Alice has always been ‘on the run’ from something but only now is she ready to find out what…travel with her as she steps into the ‘Tales of the Hinterland’, a terrifying place where your perception of what it means to be real is challenged to the terrifying maximum.
It’s well worth the read! This novel has Grimms’ brother fairy-tales vibes all over it and an air of mystery that keeps the reader going. If you’re looking for a read that’s dark and light all at the same time, then this is the book for you.
Warning: I’d recommend this for 12+ as there is a little ‘adult’ language in there at times.
The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen
This month’s recommended read has been chosen by Mrs A Langstaff.
Talented Lisa Jura has her whole life ahead of her.
However, this gifted pianist from a loving Jewish family has her world turned upside down by the pre-war Nazi occupation of her home city, Vienna. Lisa’s parents are then tasked with the impossible choice of which of their children to send to London on the Kinder transport.
Once in London, we follow Lisa’s amazing story of courage as she finds her place amongst other refugees in a hostel…as she plans with all of her ability to be safely reunited with her siblings.
The beauty of this story of survival is that it is based on real life events, which makes this tale of hope and determination even more wonderful. I would recommend this book to everyone as it is both eye-opening and inspiring, with the important message that we should never lose hope for a brighter tomorrow – no matter what problems we face.
Dare To Be You by Matthew Syed
‘Dare To Be You’ is the fabulous follow up to Matthew Syed’s inspirational ‘You Are Awesome.’
From the blurb:
There’s no such thing as ‘normal’
So if you’re the kid of person who thinks…
…then this book is going to blow your mind.
‘Dare To Be You’ is an inspiring read that just like ‘You Are Awesome’ challenges us to rethink the term ‘normal. Syed shares hilarious anecdotes from his own life to build confidence in the reader to be brave enough to stand out from the crowd.
CAN YOU SEE ME? by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcroft
Tally isn’t what she’s call ‘normal.’ Therefore, she hides who she really is to disguise her autism when she begins her new journey at secondary school. However, as life takes many twists and turns, Tally begins to realise that there is one thing she should always be: true to herself.
‘Can You See Me?’ is a thought-provoking , engaging and educational read which offers a rare insight into the autistic mind. I would recommend everyone read it so hey can see the world through another’s eyes and appreciate the differences which make each and everyone of us unique.
Miss S Coyle(English teacher)
Trash by Andy Mulligan
Recommended by Ms J Rogers (English Teacher)
Are you looking for an adventure? An opportunity to go somewhere during lockdown where you don’t need to leave your home? Then pick up Trash by Andy Mulligan!
You’ll be immediately transported to an undisclosed location within Latin America. Listen to the stories of Raphael, Gardo and Rat as they talk about life on the biggest rubbish dump of the world and the ‘find’ that changed the course of all of their lives, forever…
A multiple narrative, this gripping thriller provides you with an insight into a life for many children in our world. Set against a very real background of extreme poverty, listen to their story of how they discovered money and a mysterious key that leads them into a world of danger, police corruption, and an adventure they’ll not all survive…
*parent cautionary: there is a use of mild swear language and description of threat and violence.
Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black by Julian and Marcus Sedgwick
Recommended by S Coyle (English Teacher)
Suitable for Year 8 plus
Harry Black is misunderstood by his peers. He objects to the war and refuses to fight which draws anger and resentment from the community and – worst of all – his brother. Everyone assumes he is a coward. However, with the assistance of Orpheus, a mythical being, Harry proves to everyone that you do not need to fight a war to become a hero. Despite the many obstacles in his way, he struggles to the very depths of Hell itself to save the one person who matters to him most…
This novel is an interesting blend of two different genres: war drama and mythology. The two combined together made for an incredibly interesting and unusual read.
Lark by Anthony McGowan
Recommended for Year 8+
The first Barrington Stoke winner of the Carnegie medal, ‘Lark’ is a stunning novel and a very worthy winner. The poignant story of brothers Nicky and Kenny, started in the incredible trilogy, ‘The Truth of Things’ comes to a close in this beautiful and life affirming story. What starts as an innocent adventure soon turns to tragedy with both boys facing grave danger.
Lark is written as a dyslexia friendly text so is fairly short and printed on non-glare, off white paper. However, despite its brevity McGowan still manages to capture the magic of the bond between the two brothers and intertwines a breath-taking insight into both the power and mesmerising beauty of nature.
Lark is beautifully crafted and will stay with you a long time after you have finished it.
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Twelve year old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, Jerome witnesses the aftermth of his death on his friends, family and wider community including the family of the white police officer responsible for his death.
The narrative coud easily be taken straight from current headlines but Jewell Parker Rhodes sensitively handles the highly emotive content, carefully educating the reader about both conscious and unconscious biases within society.
Reading is a key to educating young people about the world around them and this wonderful book provides a valuable lesson on the often unfairness and inequality of modern society.
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
“I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. That is peace.”
Pax is a beautfully written story of friendship and determination. Twelve year old Peter has been inseparable from his pet fox, Pax, since he rescued him as a kit. When facing the onset of war he is forced to abandon his beloved pet in the wild, before going to stay with his grandfather.
The bond of friendship proves too strong and Peter soon sets off on a desperate mission to be reunited with his pet. Told from both the perspective of Peter and Pax, the writer weaves a story of adventure, heartbreak and resilience.
Many reviews have described ‘Pax’ as a masterpiece and I would have to agree. Each chapter is beautifully crafted and challenges the reader to consider things from a new perspective.
No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton
“Stories open your eyes, change the way you see the world, make you ask questions, expand your horizons, enrich your soul- switch on lightbulbs in your head”
Every so often a children’s book comes along that is a little bit special and this beautiful story is definitely one of them.
It is impossible not to love Aya and once you start to read her story you won’t want to put it down. During the harrowing journey from Syria to seek asylum she suffers the unimaginable loss of her beloved father. However, despite her young age Aya bravely puts her own dreams to one side and takes on the role of protecting her mother and younger brother.
Aya’s story is filled with heart-breaking tragedy, yet at the same time it makes your heart burst with pride as we watch her forge new friendships and blossom into a beautiful dancer despite the hardships she endures.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Living with an English teacher as your mam is sometimes great but also really hard. It’s great when you need some help with your homework and she corrects your Shakespeare ppt about Anne Hathaway being his wife and not the star of the Princess Diaries… But she makes you use big words and read lots of books…and sometimes she claims they’re amazing and I’m not always convinced…sorry mam.
However ‘The Secret Garden’ was actually lovely to read. It’s an old book; when I googled it I found it was written in 1911 and when I was reading I had to stop and look up some of the words or ask what they meant.
The story has a main character called Mary, who is a spoilt brat. She comes to live at Misselthwaite House in Yorkshire and learns how to make friends whilst unravelling the mystery of the Secret Garden and her uncle’s dead wife. There’s lots of suspense in the story and I loved the bit where she hears the cry in the night and goes searching the house to find who it belongs to!
I’d definitely recommend reading this book. My mam says it’s “a classic” and gets a bit misty eyed about it (she read it when she was young… many, many years ago) The words are difficult, but once you get your head around that it is a great story and I kept wanting to read on at each chapter to see what would happen next. I’d give it 4/5 stars.
Malamander by Thomas Taylor
The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q. Rauf
(Recommended by Ms Rogers- English Faculty)
The Beast of Buckingham Palace by David Walliams
(Recommended by Alan Komedera – Year 7)
David Walliam’s newest book, ‘The Beast of Buckingham Palace’ is a thrilling epic adventure. Set in a futuristic London, the reader is transported through time on a magical adventure full of myths, legends and monstrous creatures. The main character Alfred is plunged into an unexpected escapade and has to find enough courage to face his quest to save the world.
This book is hilarious but also provides an important message about looking after the world we live in.
‘I really enjoyed how the writer mixed parts of history and different myths and legends together. It is a great book’
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Young Adult recommendation)
‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ is the gripping first instalment of the ‘Chaos Walking’ trilogy. Imagine a world where it is impossible to keep a secret and where you are constantly surrounded by the inescapable noise of others. Prentisstown is exactly that world. Todd Hewitt is the last boy in the town and has grown up in a harsh world solely of men. On the brink of manhood, Todd discovers that not everything in Prentisstown is as it seems and is forced to flee through a dark crocodile infested swamp.
The reader is taken on a fast paced adventure as Todd runs for his life and discovers a whole new world.
Twelve Minutes To Midnight by Christopher Edge
The dark, sinister streets of Victorian London form the perfect backdrop for this fascinating adventure story. Thirteen year old orphan Penelope Tredwell keeps the people of London gripped with the dark tales she writes for ‘The Penny Dreadful’ magazine under the pseudonym Montgomery Finch. However, when she unexpectedly receives a mysterious letter from the notorious Bedlam Asylum she is plunged into a frightening and sinister adventure of her own.
An enthralling read that you will not want to put down.
One Of Us Is Lying – Karen M.McManus
Five students turn up for detention at Bayview High, one of them ends up dead and the other four leave as murder suspects. Their lives changing forever on that fateful day, the four suspects and unlikely friends find themselves thrown together with their deepest darkest secrets exposed in the glare of the media spotlight. McManus reveals the true characters behind the typical High School stereotypes and cleverly weaves a web of tangled secrets and lies that will keep you guessing until the identity of the killer is revealed. A truly gripping read that will have you hooked from the opening pages until the shocking finale.
The Boy At The back Of The Class – Onjali Q Rauf
Onjali Q. Raúf perfectly captures the notion that in a world of conflict caused by grown ups, the pure hearts of children give us hope. When Ahmet, a Syrian refugee, is forced to flee his home and begin a new life in an unfamiliar England, where the people speak an unfamiliar language; 9-year-old Alex and her friends remind us that the language of kindness and friendship are universal, their voices are the loudest and their power is limitless. Throughout this book, I both laughed and cried; rejoiced and despaired. I whole-heartedly encourage both adults and children to read this heart-warming story, which perfectly encaptures the AGS sentiment – in a world where you can be anything… be kind!
Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
Our book of the month for September is ‘Northern Lights’ by Philip Pullman. The first book in the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy is outstanding. Pullman is a master storyteller who enthrals his reader from the first page. He weaves a rich tapestry of magical adventure, religion and science with a plethora of vibrant and powerful characters. You will be in awe as you follow the fearless protagonist Lyra Belacqua along with her loyal daemon Pantalaimon into a magical world of danger, fantasy and mystery inhabited by extraordinary creatures such as armoured polar bears and ageless witches.
An absolute must read for anyone who is a fan of fantasy fiction.
‘The Poet X’ – Elizabeth Acevedo ( Young Adult recommendation)
Our book of the month for July is another recommendation from our Carnegie shadowing group. The group thoroughly enjoyed all of the shortlisted entries but were pleased to see Poet x selected as the winner.
‘The Poet X’ was an interesting read because the main character Ximoara loves writing poetry- in fact she LOVES it! Ironically, she keeps her words to herself, hiding her poems, and only expresses herself through fighting. These poems are collected and strung together forming this book and making the novel unique. ‘The Poet X’ was a very emotional book with beautiful words, which call out to teenagers in the 21st Century.
This book is contagious and makes the young adults of our generation feel noticed.
Review by Gracie Cooper
‘Things A Bright Girl can Do’ – Sally Nicholls ( Young Adult recommendation)
Shortlisted for the 2019 Carnegie medal, ‘Things A Bright Girl Can Do’ is a captivating and eye opening read. Set in the early 20th century, the book encompasses the story of three exceptional protagonists: Evelyn, May and Nell. As we follow their individual journeys and the challenges they face, the reader is given the opportunity to reflect and question their own views on a range of diverse ideas that are prevalent to modern society. The book is full of factual historical events that have been carefully researched and seamlessly woven into the narrative.
‘Things A Bright Girl Can Do’ is the first book recommended by the AGS Carnegie Shadowing group. They have found it to be an enthralling and captivating read.
D-Day Dog – Tom Palmer
D Day Dog is an amazing story of the friendship between a young boy named Jack and his loyal dog Finn. Jack loves the excitement of war. He spends hours playing computer games, imagining himself taking part in ferocious battles. However, when Jack’s dad ,a Reserve soldier, is called up to action Jack starts to discover that war isn’t just about gunfire and explosions. Jack finds comfort in the presence of his dog ‘Finn’ as he learns more about the heart breaking stories of people who sacrificed their lives during WW2. The story of Emile Corteil who parachuted into France with his dog, is one that grabs Jack’s attention and he is determined to discover the truth of their story…
During a fabulous visit to Acklam Grange today, our year sevens had the privilege of listening to Tom talking about the inspiration for ‘D-Day Dog’ and they are hopefully eager to discover more about this great moment in history.
Beyond the Bright Sea – Lauren Wolk
Beyond the Bright Sea is a remarkable story of identity and the family bonds that tie someone to their past. Rescued as a young child when she was washed upon an island, twelve year old Crow has lived her whole life feeling like she does not belong. When the opportunity arrises, Crow is determined to discover the answers to the questions that surround her and search for her lost identity.
It is a beautifully crafted story that you won’t want to put down.
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Our choice of book of the month is inspired by the celebration of International Women’s Day on march 8th. Malorie Blackman is a strong female voice in the world of children’s literature. She worked in the privileged position of ‘Children’s Laureate’ between 2013-2015 and has continued to inspire young people to question and challenge the world around them.
‘Noughts and Crosses’ tells the story of Sephy – the daughter of a powerful leader from the dark skinned ruling classes – the crosses and Callum – a nought. The noughts are the colourless members of the underclass and previously slaves to the crosses. Despite the obstacles in front of them Sephy and Callum fight against the corruption and racism that underpins the society they love in.
Malorie Blackman uses the book to shine a light on the need for society to stand up against racism and injustice.
It is a truly remarkable book.
Where the World Ends by Geraldine McGaughrean
In the summer of 1727, a group of men and boys are put ashore on a remote sea stac off the Island of St Kilda to harvest birds for food. No one returns to collect them. The only explanation they have is that God’s day of judgement has come and the world has ended.
Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal for children’s literature ‘Where the World Ends’ is a fascinating story of unimaginable hardship. Based on a true story the writer beautifully depicts the harsh rugged landscape and the rising tension amongst the group of young men as they learn to accept their fate.
Told mainly through the eyes of Quill, a young man on the cusp of adulthood, we are given an insightful glimpse into the spiritual traditions and customs of times past.
The reader is plunged into a world of despair and disillusionment which is even more heart breaking when we remember that this group of men once existed.
If you have read and enjoyed ‘Lord of the Flies’ you will love ‘Where the World Ends.’ It’s precise historical detail is fascinating and despite the misery endured, the strength of courage displayed by the characters is truly poignant.
YOU ARE AWESOME by Matthew Syed
Recommended by Mr J Pacey (Assistant Head)
How often have you thought I would like give that a go but…I am too busy or I wouldn’t be very good at it?
This inspirational book by Table Tennis champion Matthew Syed will show how you to stop thinking ‘I can’t’ and start believing in yourself and start to always think ‘I can!
Packed full of inspirational stories from the past and present; top tips on how to maintain a positive mindset; information about how we learn and great advice on the steps we need to take to reach your goals.
This book will make you believe that you can achieve the impossible.
Mortal Engines- Philip Reeve
December’s Book of the month is soon to be released as a major big screen block buster with a screen play created by the renowned Peter Jackson.
Set amidst the futuristic wastelands of a post apocalyptic world, Mortal Engines takes the reader on an extraordinary dystopian Science Fiction adventure. The opening description of London as a great predator that stalks small mining villages across the barren North-Sea sets the scene for a truly unique story. From that point on the reader follows the adventures of unlikely hero Tom Natsworthy, a down trodden apprentice, on board one of the great traction cities as he is forced to question everything he has ever known and everything he believes in.
Challenge yourself and take a look at some of the other recommended reads on the AGS Fifty books display in the LRC.
Coram Boy – Jamila Gavin
November’s Book of the month is one of our ‘Fifty Books’ to read before you leave school and is recommended by Year 8 Student Joshua Singh.
Coram Boy plunges us into the murky world of the ‘Foundling’ hospitals’ that were renowned in the eighteenth century. It is the perfect book for history lovers and introduces us to some brave and fearless characters that succeed despite enduring a life of hardship and adversity.
Josh described the book as a heart- felt and compelling story that we could learn a lot from, especially if we are interested in history.
Challenge yourself and take a look at some of the other recommnded reads on the AGS Fifty books display in the LRC.
Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
The Wolf Rider’ is a fast-paced novel focused on the love one girl has for her pack of wolves – and the lengths she will go to in order to protect them.
Meet Feo, a young Russian girl who, along with her mother, works to rehabilitate wolves who have been tamed and mistreated by the aristocracy. Her life, deep in the snowy woodlands, is everything she ever wants or needs.
… until one of her wolves kills the Tsar’s elk and General Rakov appears at her door with an order that any and all wolves should be shot on sight – an order Feo and her mother defy.
Love animals? Enjoy exotic locations? Respect people who fight against the system for their beliefs? Then ‘The Wolf Wilder’ is the book for you?
Miss S Coyle
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
If you’re very lucky, then every now and then you’ll read a book that sparks your imaginings and stays with your heart. And if you’re even luckier then you’ll come back to that book and re-read it and see so much more. For me, this luck is bound in the pages of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Now, it’s not an easy read! I’m not going to lie or pretend otherwise, what I am going to say is it is worth the time to persevere and follow the vocabulary and long sentences of Dickens (popularised by himself and his contemporaries). This is a story which has it all: an escaped criminal, a poor boy, a mad reclusive lady, a whole host of strange London inhabitants and every emotion a human will encounter in their lifetime. The novel is told through the eyes of Pip and we follow him as he experiences all that life in nineteenth century Britain has to offer in an attempt to win the icy heart of an unobtainable girl. If you’re looking for a challenge; if you want to travel back in time and see what Victorian life was like; if you like stories that make fiction seem very real; even if you just want to impress your English teacher, then pick up Great Expectations. You will not be disappointed!
Ms J Rogers
‘The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow’ by Katherine Woodfine
The first book in the wonderful ‘Sinclair’s Mysteries’ series, this book is a fabulous adventure story set amongst the backdrop of an opulent Edwardian department store. For the affluent people of London, Sinclairs is a world of luxury: delicate scents of perfume and exotic spices are intermixed with splendid fabrics and exquisite objects.
The jewel encrusted ‘Clockwork Sparrow’ is proudly displayed amongst the splendour during the grand opening exhibition. When it mysteriously vanishes, young shop girl Sophie is accused of its theft and finds herself plunged into a dark world of crime as she races against time to prove her innocence.
We had the privilege of Katherine visiting Acklam Grange recently to talk about her passion for literature and the way her books are inspired by history.Our Year sevens were truly inspired. ‘The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is a gem of a book that makes the reader feel that they have been transported back to the past.
‘The Weight Of Water’ by Sarah Crossan
During the week commencing 11th June we will be celebrating ‘Refugee Week 2018’ at Acklam Grange. Sarah Crossan has painted an honest and poignant picture of many of the obstacles faced by young refugees.
‘The Weight of Water’ is an inspiring story of a young girls struggle to navigate living in a new country. Arriving to England accompanied by her mum and carrying just a suitcase and laundry bag, Kasienka faces heart breaking discrimination and is alienated by her peers. Written in poetic verse ‘The Weight Of Water’ is a beautiful story of courage, resilience and the power of unexpected friendship.
‘The Colour Of The Sun’ by David Almond
A group of our Year 7 students recently had the pleasure of attending an audience with David Almond. They were both fascinated and inspired as they listened to David talk about his passion for writing. Growing up in the North East has clearly influenced many of his stories and his most recent book ‘The Colour Of The Sun’ is inspired by his childhood in Felling. After listening to David read the opening students were captivated by the central character ‘Davie’ and were excited to learn where his adventures lead.
David’s books continue to fascinate readers old and young so ‘The Colour Of The Sun’ is sure to captivate our imagination.
‘Wave Me Goodbye’ by Jacqueline Wilson.
Recommended by E Gordon -AGS Librarian
Jacqueline Wilson has always been, and continues to be a popular choice of author in the LRC. I love history and stories about people’s lives. This great book goes back in time and gives an account of a child’s experience of evacuation during World War II. It is a fascinating read.
Stories inspired by World war 1 and 2 is also the focus of our current reading across the curriculum display in the LRC. We have a range of information displayed and recommendations for a range of fiction and non-fiction titles.
‘The Chronicles of Narnia -The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe ‘ by C.S Lewis
The recent influx of Arctic weather made many of us feel like we were under the spell of the Snow Queen, making ‘The Chronicle’s of Narnia’ the perfect choice for March’s book of the month.
Join siblings Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan in this captivating fantasy adventure. Watch in amazement as they step through the wardrobe and enter the magical world of Narnia to join the noble, and mystical lion Aslan in his battle against the evil White Witch.
‘Wuthering Heights ‘ by Emily Bronte
As February is the month of St Valantine’s day our book of the month is the classic ‘Wuthering Heights.’ It has often been named as ‘The greatest love story.’
However, Wuthering Heights is far removed from your typical romance. Set amongst the wild and rugged landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, Emily Bronte’s only novel follows the tragic love story of Cathy and Heathcliff. It is a story filled with passion, destruction and revenge from the moment that Cathy who is bold, beautiful and fiercely reckless meets the dark and brooding Heathcliff when he is mysteriously brought home by her father.
Find out what happens when the two soul mates are torn apart by tragedy and the rigid class system of the time.
‘Rooftoppers’ by Katherine Rundell
After surviving the sinking of the ship he was travelling on the last thing Charles – a lovable and eccentric scholar- expected to find was a baby floating in a cello case. After finding Sophie, a fellow survivor in such unusual circumstances he takes her to his bachelor pad in London and raises her on a diet of Shakespeare and music. Like her quirky guardian Sophie grows up to be free spirited tomboy excited for adventure and exploration.
Despite being recorded as the only female survivor from the ship, Sophie is convinced her mother also survived. In a frantic attempt to escape the clutches of the authorities in England, Sophie sets of in search of her mother and finds herself in the midst of a magical adventure amongst the roof tops of Paris.
A heartwarming story that will captivate you throughout.
‘The Book of Dust’ by Philip Pullman
Pullman returns to the familiarity of the original trilogy whilst introducing a host of captivating new characters. The long awaited prequel to ‘His Dark Materials’ has already received great reviews and is set to fascinate readers once again. The Guardian describes it as ‘a tidal wave of imagination’ and The New York Times claim that ‘it will be devoured’
For anyone who marvelled at the fantasy world of the original stories this is a must and for those new to Pullman’s work it might be worth putting some time a side to get to know Lyra Belacqua and friends.
‘Apple and Rain’ by Sarah Crossan
Shortlisted for the ‘CARNEGIE MEDAL’, ‘Apple and Rain’ is a moving and uplifting story of family, love and friendship. Abandoned by her mother at the age of two, Apple has spent her childhood with her strict yet loving Nana. When her mum suddenly appears in her life after eleven years away, Apple is elated. She finally feels that someone understands the turmoil of being a teenager. Not everything is at it seems though and Apple is forced to face some harsh realities.
Sarah Crossan has created a must read for her targeted young adult audience.
‘Salt to the Sea’ by Ruta Sepetys
Winner of the 2017 ‘CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL’, ‘Salt to the Sea’ is an extraordinary and gripping tale of bravery and friendship. Set during World War II the novel follows the arduous journey of four individuals as they make their way to the doomed MV Wilhelm Gustloff. As we follow their epic journey we are left intrigued by the mystery of their individual pasts. Their stories are equally heartbreaking and at times breath taking.
The writer has provided a vivid and heartbreaking insight into history which you won’t be able to put down.
‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai
‘One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world’
‘I am Malala’ is a powerful and inspirational story of one girl’s courageous fight for her right to be educated. Despite the threats from the Taliban who had taken control of the Swat Valley (her home in Pakistan) Malala refused to be silenced.
Malala’s extraordinary survival after being shot in the head and her winning of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize brought her story to the attention of the world. However, the book gives us a glimpse of the real Malala- an ordinary young girl who likes to quarrel with her younger brothers; enjoys gossiping with her best friends and watching TV.
A wonderful autobiography that demonstrates that small voices really can make a difference.
Never Say Die (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz
Recommended by some of our fabulous Year 6 visitors in transition week.
After a delightful conversation with 6 HLS this week about their love of reading, our book of the month for July is one of their many recommended reads.
They recommended ‘Never Say Die’ because it is a fast paced, exciting action packed adventure story that continues the thrilling escapades of daredevil Alex Rider.
“The best Alex Rider adventure to date. If you liked the original series you will love his latest adventure. You won’t be able to put it down” (Year 6 student)
Wonder by R J Palacio
You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside.
But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.
Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?
Soon to be released on the big screen ‘Wonder’ is an absolute gem of a book that will stay with you long after you have finished it.
Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
Reviewed by Sumayah Allam- Year 8
Shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Carnegie award, this amazing book deserves to be noticed because of the pulchritudinous meaning behind why it was written in the first place. This book is about a boy called Subhi, who is a refugee. He was born in an immigration detention centre; life behind the bars is all he has ever known. But then he meets Jimmie, a scruffy, impatient girl from the other side of the fence. This is just one story. The story of millions. This book is called The Bone Sparrow.
I loved this book and admire the author for even writing it. She tells us in such a prodigious way what is going on in the world and shows us the reality of living as a refugee which is something that we could never imagine. A profoundly poignant novel about what it means to live as a refugee and an important reminder of why we should help people who are suffering.
An outstanding, important and heart-breaking story with the added touch of some unexpected humour that everyone, whether teenage or adult, will enjoy. It will make you laugh, cry and smile all at the same time. Everyone should read it once in their life time. You will probably want to read it again and again.
This book is going to get noticed. Noticed by the people who want to make a change.
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
“Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart.”
One of the most enjoyable and rewarding things we can do is to read and share stories with someone else.
Winnie the Pooh is everyone’s favourite bear and his adventures with Christopher Robin and friends in the 100 Acre Wood have kept readers enthralled for generations. These amazing adventures deserve to be shared for many generations to come. So if you have a younger sibling, take some time out to read with them and share the joys of Winnie the Pooh. Or you could just enjoy revisiting the classic stories of friendship and bravery yourself.
Magyk-Septimus Heap Wizard Apprentice by Angie Sage
Recommended by David King-Year 8
Magyk is the perfect book for any one who enjoys the fantasy genre. It is packed full of humour and adventure. Septimus Heap possesses extraordinary magical powers and his birth is surrounded in mystery and intrigue. With an exciting plot and array of original and often crazy characters you will be hooked from the start. If you like Harry Potter, you will love Magyk.
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Winner of the 2015 Costa Book of the year, ‘The Lie Tree’ by Frances Hardinge is beautifully written and is without doubt a modern classic. Faced with adversity from the outset Faith, the central protagonist, is one of the most courageous young women you will ever meet. In a world dominated by men, science and religion Faith struggles to be heard, but she soon discovers strength and support in the most unexpected of places.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Winner of the Carnegie Award for Children’s Literature, ‘A Monster Calls’ is a heart breaking tale of loss and hope. Plunged into the nightmare world experienced by Connor – the young protagonist -the reader follows his harrowing journey as he learns to cope with his mother’s cancer diagnosis. Beautifully written and charged with emotion, this compelling story of bravery and compassion will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. Patrick Ness brings Connor’s monster to life in breath-taking detail and takes the reader into another world. An exceptional read. Tissues a must!