February 21

Special Feature

Special Feature
Our Children's Author of the Month Nazrina Farook introduces The Boy Who Met A Whale, a fantastic, fast-paced adventure. Our YA Author of the Month is Namina Forna with The Gilded Ones, the start of an epic YA fantasy series exploring gender and power. We chat with Michelle Harrison about A Tangle of Spells, and Hayley Webster tells us about her debut, Luna Rae is Not Alone. For younger readers, we speak with Sally Gardner and Lydia Corry about The Tindims of Rubbish Island, and Sylvia Bishop introduces 44 Tiny Acrobats. Our featured picture book is A Shelter for Sadness, in which Anne Booth and illustrator David Litchfield explore how we can manage difficult feelings.

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World Book Day resources plus Latest Books & Extracts

New releases in 2021

Our teacher and librarian reviewers highlight some of the best new books, including Picture Books, Books for 5+, Books for 8+ and Books for Teenagers & YA readers.


Chapter extracts to download

Here are extracts from new books to share on World Book Day with children and teenage / YA readers. Which book would they choose for their next class read?


ReadingZone #FridayBookclub events

ReadingZone's new free online monthly bookclub for primary school classrooms welcomes author Cat Weldon to talk about Norse Myths, Vikings and her book, How to be a Hero, on 26th February; a great way to start your World Book Day activities! Find out how to join the events.

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ReadingZone Bookshow

We will be sharing half-hour shows each month to showcase the latest authors, and to share children's video reviews. Our March Bookshow will be available from Friday 26th February - just in time for World Book Day for children to watch at home.

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World Book Day news

Find out more about a special BBC World Book Day Live Lesson; World Book Day's Author & Illustrator Academy; designing a book token; record-breaking activities; the World Book Day £1 books and how to download digital World Book Day £1 vouchers.

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ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2021

ReadingZone is challenging children and young people aged 4-18 years to create a picture book for World Book Day. Mini Grey (The Last Wolf, Traction Man) will judge the 2021 ReadingZone Picture Book Competition, which closes in April. Prizes include books & a virtual author event.

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Calling budding writers.

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition is now open! The competition is open to those aged under 19 years. Entrants will need to complete a story started by last year's Branford Boase winner, Liz Hyder. Closing date: 23rd May.

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Big Dreams for Little People

Publisher Frances Lincoln is adding more 'little people' to its bestselling series; find out more about the books and how to use them across the curriculum.

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School Library Association Honours list

We're working with the SLA to find out more about the school librarians on this year's Honours List, and how they achieved great school libraries, starting with Claire Marris, Library Manager at Toot Hill School in Nottinghamshire.

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A new look for ReadingZone!

We're developing the ReadingZone website, to bring you some fabulous new resources for children and teenagers. Follow us on Twitter to find out more about our upcoming changes, as well as book news and giveaways! You can find us @ReadingZone.


Special Feature
Special Feature Image


Special Feature

Our Children's Author of the Month Nazrina Farook introduces The Boy Who Met A Whale, a fantastic, fast-paced adventure. Our YA Author of the Month is Namina Forna with The Gilded Ones, the start of an epic YA fantasy series exploring gender and power. We chat with Michelle Harrison about A Tangle of Spells, and Hayley Webster tells us about her debut, Luna Rae is Not Alone. For younger readers, we speak with Sally Gardner and Lydia Corry about The Tindims of Rubbish Island, and Sylvia Bishop introduces 44 Tiny Acrobats. Our featured picture book is A Shelter for Sadness, in which Anne Booth and illustrator David Litchfield explore how we can manage difficult feelings.

The Boy Who Met a Whale
Nizrana Farook

When twins Razi and Shifa stumble across a boy who needs their help, it's the start of a death-defying, treasure-filled adventure. Author Nizrana Farook tells us more about The Boy Who Met a Whale - plus a giveaway!

Read full interview

Read more reviews


The Gilded Ones
Namina Forna

Our YA Author of the Month Namina Forna explores questions around gender, power and mythologies in her new epic YA fantasy series that begins with The Gilded Ones. She tells us more in this Q&A, plus books to win!

Read full interview

Read more reviews


A Tangle of Spells
Michelle Harrison

Return to the memorable world of the Widdershins in A Tangle of Spells, the latest book in the fabulous A Pinch of Magic series. In their latest adventure, the Widdershins arrive in their new home to discover that not all is as it seems.... Michelle Harrison tells us more!

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Luna Rae is Not Alone
Hayley Webster

In her beautifully crafted MG debut, author Hayley Webster explores friendships, change and complex family relationships through the story of Luna Rae, following her family's move to a new home.

Read full interview

Read more reviews


The Tindims and the Turtle Tangle
Sally Gardner

The Tindims of Rubbish Island live at sea, finding new ways to use old rubbish but in this adventure, it's the wildlife they need to save. Author Sally Gardner and illustrator Lydia Corry tell us more.

Read full interview

Read more reviews


44 Tiny Acrobats
Sylvia Bishop

The follow-up to 44 Tiny Secrets sees Betsy running away to see the circus. But her 44 tiny mice aren't content with being in the audience, and Betsy needs to think quickly once again. Author Sylvia Bishop tells us what inspired her first book, 44 Tiny Secrets.

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A Shelter for Sadness
Anne Booth, illus David Litchfield

A SHELTER FOR SADNESS is a profound and moving picture book about how a young boy manages his feelings of sadness, not by ignoring them but in giving his sadness the space, care and thought that it needs. Author Anne Booth tells us what inspired the picture book, and illustrator David Litchfield tells us how he approached the illustrations:

Read full interview

Read more reviews



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.


One Little Bird
Sheryl Webster
One Little Bird provides an early introduction to environmental activism and working together, and here we speak with author Sheryl Webster and illustrator Helen Shoesmith to find out more.

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The Last Bear
Hannah Gold
Journey to the frozen Arctic landscape and explores the unexpected bond between a stranded polar bear and a girl, in this stunning debut. Author Hannah Gold tells us more.

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We Played With Fire
Catherine Barter
This eerily atmospheric YA novel was inspired by the true story of the Fox Sisters in the mid 1900's, and includes themes of gender and radical politics. Author Catherine Barter tells us more.

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

©Readingzone 2021.