Hetty and the Battle of the Books

Hetty and the Battle of the Books

By Author / Illustrator

Anna James, Jez Tuya


Friends and family

Age range(s)



Barrington Stoke Ltd




Paperback / softback




A passionate campaign brings four best friends back together in a fight to save their school library in this heartfelt tale from the bestselling author of Pages & Co.

The library is Hetty's very favourite place in school, and since falling out with her best friends Ali, Mei and Rocket she's been spending even more time there. So she's absolutely horrified when she learns that her head teacher is planning to close it down, claiming there aren't enough funds to keep the library going.  There's no way Hetty's going to sit back and let this happen. But can she repair her broken friendships and build support for her library campaign?  Let the Battle of the Books commence!



Hetty, Mei, Rocket and Ali met on their first day in Reception class. Known as 'The Ladybirds', they've been firm friends ever since. Now in their first year at Secondary school, however, things have changed. After a misunderstanding over her birthday party, Hetty has cut herself off from her former friends. Hetty loves reading, and the school library is her favourite place. She joins Book Club which, along with all other after school clubs, is held in the library. When Hetty learns that, due to budget cuts, the school library is to be closed down and the librarian, Ms Juster, made redundant, she decides to launch a campaign to save her beloved reading space.

Hetty and the Battle of the Books is a really enjoyable little book with a wonderful heroine in the feisty Hetty. She is quick to react, not always in the most appropriate way, but her heart is in the right place and she fights hard for what she believes in. She knows that she can 'rub some teachers up the wrong way', so, despite being estranged from her friendship group, she enlists their help in her campaign because she knows deep down that they are the best people to help. We learn more about the reason why Hetty has fallen out with her friends as the story unfolds, and as the four children talk, Hetty realises she has misjudged them. The author beautifully illustrates the value of friendship, and the importance of talking and listening to one another.

Ms James also does a brilliant job of highlighting the importance of a library in a school, mentioning at one point that schools are not actually required by law to have libraries.  Hetty says 'I love our school library because it's just a normal room that becomes magic' and 'A library is a place for everyone - whether you're a reader or a writer, a student or a teacher, a gnome or an elf, or any kind of person at all'. Perfect!

As always, Barrington Stoke have produced a book aimed at dyslexic and reluctant readers, with its trademark cream paper and special font. However, any reader would enjoy this beautifully written story. The illustrations by Jez Tuya complement the narrative perfectly. Hopefully we will hear more from the wonderful Hetty before too long! 

104 Pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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