November 16

Special Feature

Special Features
This month AF Harrold is our Children's Author of the Month with the tender and unearthly The Song From Somewhere Else; our YA Author of the Month, SJ Kincaid, talks to us about The Diabolic, an incredible story of love, loyalty and political intrigue set in space; Matt Haig takes a fresh look at the magic of Christmas in The Girl Who Saved Christmas; and Kes Gray tells us how his funny phonics stories Oi, Frog and Oi, Dog developed.

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Non-fiction highlights, Christmas books to share, author interviews

Highlights of the latest books

Teachers and librarians have been reviewing a range of this season's best books for children and teenagers. Here are their recommended picture books, books for 5+, books for 7+, and books for YA readers.


Free books to review this Christmas

We have a great selection of books for teachers and school librarians to review for us this Christmas. The books include picture books, middle grade and YA fiction. We'll draw two reviewers for each title - just email us the book title(s) you'd like to review to enter the draw!

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Win 100 non-fiction books!

You could win 100 non-fiction titles for your nominated school or library in this brilliant competition celebrating National Non-Fiction Month! The competition, with prizes for organisations and individuals, closes on 30th November.

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SLA Information Book winners announced

The National Theatre by Marina McIntyre et al (Walker Books) has won the SLA Information Book Award whilst the Children's Choice winner was If... by David J Smith, illustrated by Steve Adams (Wayland). See the full shortlist.

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Celebrate National Non-Fiction Month

We have a brilliant giveaway this month - a set of ten '50 Things You Should Know About' books from publisher QED, covering a range of subjects from The Titanic to Prehistoric Britain, for children aged nine to 13 years.

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Look out for Andy Seed on ReadingZone Live!

Author Andy Seed (Side Splitting stuff, Weird and Wacky Words) joined us for a ReadingZone Live event focused on non-fiction. You can watch the event here, and find out about our next event with Andy Riley on 30 November, talking about comics!

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School Librarian: Focusing on new entrants

In this month's School Librarian focus, we spoke to school librarian Jennifer Horan at Kemnay Academy in Aberdeenshire about her work and encouraging first year students (S1 / Year 7's) to use the school library.

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World Book Day Award

Would you like £5,000 of Walker Books for your library? There is other fantastic prizes as part of this year's World Book Day Award, too. Schools must enter by Friday 9th December.

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ReadingZone Festival for Schools in West Sussex this autumn

We are thrilled to be taking authors Caroline Lawrence, Andy Mulligan, Guy Bass and Steve Smallman to visit nearly 3,000 pupils in Crawley and Horley as part of the ReadingZone Festival this month!

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Special Feature


Special Features

This month AF Harrold is our Children's Author of the Month with the tender and unearthly The Song From Somewhere Else; our YA Author of the Month, SJ Kincaid, talks to us about The Diabolic, an incredible story of love, loyalty and political intrigue set in space; Matt Haig takes a fresh look at the magic of Christmas in The Girl Who Saved Christmas; and Kes Gray tells us how his funny phonics stories Oi, Frog and Oi, Dog developed.

The Song from Somewhere Else
A. F. Harrold

From the author of The Imaginary comes another distinctive, tender story, both deeply real and other-worldly, in which two solitary and bullied children become friends and together overcome immense challenges that change their lives forever. Author AF Harrold talked to us about writing, music and the inspiration behind his latest book.

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The Diabolic
S. J. Kincaid

THE DIABOLIC by SJ Kincaid enjoyed a considerable online buzz even prior to its launch this month and it is sure to get YA readers talking, especially fans of sci-fi and dystopian fiction. Nemesis, the Diabolic of the title, has been created to serve and protect one person only; the galactic senator's daughter, Sidonia. So when the senator's political meddling puts Sidonia's life in danger, it is up to Nemesis to protect her, even if this means becoming more human than she - or her makers - ever thought possible. We asked author SJ Kincaid to tell us more.

Read full interview

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The Girl Who Saved Christmas
Matt Haig

After the success of A Boy Called Christmas, author Matt Haig returns to the magical Elfhelm to explore what becomes of Father Christmas in his new role. This story is driven by Amelia, a child whose hope has helped make Christmas possible. However, devastating changes in Amelia's life have all but extinguished her hope - and so this year, Christmas might not arrive at all.... We asked Matt Haig about his new Christmas story.

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Oi Dog!
Jim Field

If you're teaching phonics and rhyming words, then Kes Gray and Jim Field's Oi, Frog and Oi, Dog books - and not forgetting Quick Quack Quentin - are brilliant, funny stories that bring phonics unexpectedly to life. They also help children learn about rhyme and spelling, too, through clever storytelling and lots of humour. Kes Gray tells us how the books came about.

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Watch out for...
Bookclub Highlights

We have free copies to give away for reviews. Please email your school details to info@readingzone.com for the chance to win a copy.




Every young Claude fans will be demanding a copy of this in their Christmas stockings! In this story, while Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes are out celebrating Christmas Eve, a series of mishaps involving Claude and Father Christmas almost leads to Christmas being cancelled...

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Winter Magic
Abi Elphinstone
This fabulous new short story collection features a sparkling selection of stories by some of today's finest children's authors including Berlie Doherty, Piers Torday and Michelle Magorian. Read a review and extract.

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Murder In Midwinter
Fleur Hitchcock
A busy Christmas shopping trip on Oxford Street turns into a nightmare for Maya when she sees a man threatening a woman with a gun. Horrified by what she has seen, her family notify the police. When murder follows, Maya's life is at stake... Review and extract.

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We would like to thank publishers Canongate, Bloomsbur, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Children's Books and QED for supporting this month's ReadingZone newsletter.

©Readingzone 2018.