January 17

Special Feature

Special Features
This month Lisa Thompson is our Children's Author of the Month, talking about her perceptive and warm debut, The Goldfish Boy; our YA Author of the Month, Eric Lindstrom, tells us about A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, a story of friendship and romance that also tackles mental health; Elizabeth Laird explores the Syrian refugee crisis through a close look at one fictional family in Welcome to Nowhere; and we speak with author and radio presenter Chris O'Connell about his debut children's book, Radio Boy.

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World Book Day activities, highlights & discounts

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 teenaged readers.


Picture Book Competition 2017 launches for World Book Day

ReadingZone is inviting children and young people aged four to 18 years to create their own picture book for World Book Day! The winning picture book will win a free author event and 50 printed copies of their winning book and there are prizes for all category winners.

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ReadingZone Festival 2017

ReadingZone will be visiting schools in Surrey as part of the ReadingZone Festival 2017, giving more than 3,000 children the chance to meet authors including MG Leonard, Rob Biddulph and Robin Etherington, and to find out about books and creative writing.

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Reading Group giveaways!

We have some wonderful sets of books (ten copies in each set) to give away to reading groups in primary and secondary schools, including The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson and Ross Welford's What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible!

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500 Words competition is back!

The BBC's popular short story writing competition, 500 Words, is back and is inviting children aged five to 13 years to send in their short stories!

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Design a book token competition

To celebrate World Book Day, National Book Tokens is holding a competition for children and young people to design a book token. There will be a winner and runner-up in three age categories.

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Worst Witch series comes to CBBC

A new 12-part series for CBBC, The Worst Witch, is airing on Wednesdays at 4.30-5pm. The series is based on Jill Murphy's much loved Worst Witch books about Mildred Hubble, a seemingly ordinary girl who is catapulted into a whole new world of magic.

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Discounted copies of Welcome to Nowhere

ReadingZone is offering specially discounted sets of Elizabeth Laird's new novel, Welcome to Nowhere (Macmillan Children's Books), to help schools to share this powerful and timely story with their pupils.

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Special Feature


Special Features

This month Lisa Thompson is our Children's Author of the Month, talking about her perceptive and warm debut, The Goldfish Boy; our YA Author of the Month, Eric Lindstrom, tells us about A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, a story of friendship and romance that also tackles mental health; Elizabeth Laird explores the Syrian refugee crisis through a close look at one fictional family in Welcome to Nowhere; and we speak with author and radio presenter Chris O'Connell about his debut children's book, Radio Boy.

Goldfish Boy
Lisa Thompson

The Goldfish Boy is an engaging story that follows 12 year old Matthew as he and his family battle with his developing OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) condition. When a toddler disappears from a neighbouring house, however, Matthew's skills for observation could help to solve the mystery. This story about differences, friendship and hope will have lots of appeal to readers aged 10+.

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A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
Eric Lindstrom

Teenaged Mel, who has bipolar disorder, is trying to come to terms with the sudden death of her brother while also coping with school work when problems from the past emerge and threaten to overwhelm her carefully-constructed world. The story helps readers better understand how bipolar disorder can manifest and the author tackles many misconceptions about the illness.

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Welcome to Nowhere
Elizabeth Laird

Welcome to Nowhere follows Omar and his brother Musa, who has cerebral palsy, as they and their family are forced to flee their home and other safe havens until they find themselves living as refugees in Za'atari, an overcrowded refugee camp in Jordan. This is a powerful story for readers aged 9+ that reminds us of the families that are caught behind the refugee statistics.

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Radio Boy (Radio Boy, Book 1)
Christian O'Connell

All Spike has ever wanted is to be a radio DJ and his spot on the local hospital radio is the most important hour in his week. Until the day he is sacked because no one is listening... Undeterred, Spike sets up his own radio show but, with a headmaster from hell and his show stirring up a rebellion, things soon spiral out of control. Real life DJ Christian O'Connell has written a funny and thoughtful book for 8+ readers about following their dreams...

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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.


I Don't Know What to Call My Cat
Simon Philip
A girl is adopted by a clever, demanding cat whom she struggles to name; nothing seems to suit him. This is a funny and warm story about pets, their place in our home, and how humans can sometimes struggle to find a name that is just right. We asked author Simon Philip and author Ella Bailey to tell us more.

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What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible
Ross Welford
When Ethel acquires a dodgy sunbed and a mysterious Chinese mixture over the internet to tackle her acne, she doesn't expect to turn invisible...! So begins a glorious series of events that finds Ethel making new friends, facing down bullies and discovering her true self. We spoke to author Ross Welford.

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A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
Eric Lindstrom
Mel Hannigan is trying to keep up with school work and maintain friendships. But she is also coping with bipolar disorder, and trying to keep this hidden from her friends. She is managing, just, until revelations from her previous group of friends threaten to bring down her fragile world... Review and extract.

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We would like to thank publishers HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, Macmillan Children's Books, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster for supporting this month's ReadingZone newsletter.

©Readingzone 2018.