March 17

Special Feature

Special Features
Justine Windsor, our Children's Author of the Month, talks about her brilliant middle grade debut, Goodly and Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap. Our YA Author of the Month Susin Nielsen tells us more about the stunning Optimists Die First, and we turn back the clock to the time of the Pre Raphaelites, talking to Sophia Bennett about Following Ophelia. We have a special picture book celebration for the Aliens Love Underpants anniversary edition and speak to its creators Claire Freedman and Ben Court.

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This month's best books, author interviews and giveaways!

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.


Higher book sales - but children read less

While children's book sales are thriving, fewer children are reading for pleasure. Studies from the UK and Australia point the blame at screen time, and a fall in the number of parents reading to their children.

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Make a Picture Book Competition

The deadline for entries for the ReadingZone Picture Book Competition - challenging children and young people (4-18 years) to create a picture book - has been extended to Saturday 29th April. There are great prizes for all category winners.

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Carnegie and Greenaway Medal Shortlists announced

The shortlists for this year's CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals provides a wide range of choice for the groups shadowing this year's awards.

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'Little Rebels' book list

The Little Rebels Children's Book Award has shared its submissions' list for this year's award. The children's fiction prize (0-12 years) recognises children's fiction which promotes social justice, challenges stereotypes or is informed by anti-discriminatory concerns.

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Set of Geek Girl books to give away

With the final book in Holly Smale's Geek Girl series - Forever Geek (HarperCollins) - now rolling off the presses, we're thrilled to be able to give away a set of the Geek Girl books to a lucky school library!

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Jeff Povey's Shift giveaway

We're giving a shout-out for Escape, the final book in Jeff Povey's Shift series (ages 14+), which publishes this month - and we're giving away two sets of the trilogy, including the books Shift, Delete and Escape (published by Simon & Schuster Children's Books).

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A decade of Aliens and Underpants

....and we're celebrating with a giveaway of all seven books in the 'Underpants' set to a school! We want to hear your favourite 'Underpants' memory by Friday 31st March! Free event pack also available (Simon & Schuster Children's Books).

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Picture book giveaway from Flying Eye

We have two signed copies of Francesca Sanna' s The Journey - now shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal - to give away to two schools, together with signed copies of picture book The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd Stanton, both published by Flying Eye.

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Joint SLA & YLG Conference in June

The 2017 Joint YLG & SLA weekend course - Lightbulb Moments: Powered by Librarians - will be held from 23-25 June 2017 in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Members and non-members are welcome.

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Special Feature


Special Features

Justine Windsor, our Children's Author of the Month, talks about her brilliant middle grade debut, Goodly and Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap. Our YA Author of the Month Susin Nielsen tells us more about the stunning Optimists Die First, and we turn back the clock to the time of the Pre Raphaelites, talking to Sophia Bennett about Following Ophelia. We have a special picture book celebration for the Aliens Love Underpants anniversary edition and speak to its creators Claire Freedman and Ben Court.

Goodly and Grave in A Bad Case of Kidnap (Goodly and Grave, Book 1)
Justine Windsor

Expect magic, twists, fabulous villains and some great detective work in the new Goodly and Grave series by Justine Windsor, our Children's Author of the Month! At the losing end of a bad gamble, Lucy finds herself living as a servant for the forbidding Lord Grave. Then, as news spreads of several mysterious child disappearances, Lucy suspects her employer knows more than he is saying... Will she be the next to disappear? Author Justine Windsor tells us more!??

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Optimists Die First
Susin Nielsen

Susin Nielsen, the author of 'We Are All Made of Molecules', is our YA Author of the Month with Optimists Die First, a story of grief, guilt and hope. Teenaged Petula is struggling to come to terms with the death of her young sister several years previously. As her family falls apart, Petula focuses on keeping safe and avoiding danger. Then Jacob joins her therapy group and starts to change how she sees the world - but Jacob has secrets, too. We asked author Susin Nielsen to tell us more about Optimists Die First.

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Following Ophelia
Sophia Bennett

Author Sophia Bennett takes us into the world of the Pre-Raphaelites in her latest novel, Following Ophelia, in which she explores art, feminism and social history through the transformation of teenaged girl Mary Adams from servant to artist's model. With the support of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and newcomer Felix Dawson, Mary enters a world of parties and glamour as the artist's model, Persephone Lavelle. But the shadow of betrayal is at her heels... We asked Sophia Bennett to tell us more.

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Aliens Love Underpants!
Claire Freedman

After ten wonderful years of pants, pirates, aliens and dinosaurs - and with its own special World Book Day book - we wanted to celebrate the anniversary edition of Aliens Love Underpants so we asked the creators, Claire Freedman and Ben Cort, what it is that makes these books so special?

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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.


Sunk!
Rob Biddulph
We speak to author Rob Biddulph about his pirate adventure Sunk!, the follow-up to Blown Away, in which Penguin Blue and his friends...

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The Jamie Drake Equation
Christopher Edge
A wonderful book to read aloud to your class, this adventure story about family life, growing up - and aliens! - has real heart but also plenty to explore in the classroom, from maths and science to space and PSHE lesson. Reviews and extract here.

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Moondust
Gemma Fowler
An interesting, thought-provoking and original story by debut author Gemma Fowler. Aggie, part of a small community on the moon, lost her father to a mining accident several years previously. Now the all-powerful mining company uses her to sell its message; but not all is at it seems and Aggie is about to uncover the truth. A great introduction to the sci-fi genre. Review and extract.

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We would like to thank publishers HarperCollins Children's Books, Stripes Publishing, Andersen Press, and Simon & Schuster Children's Books for supporting this month's ReadingZone newsletter.

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