April 19

Special Feature

Special Features
Our Children's Author of the Month, Kirsty Applebaum, introduces her distinctive debut, The Middler, which explores resilience, the outsider and friendship. We also speak with Kesia Lupo, our YA Author of the Month, about her outstanding fantasy novel, We Are Blood and Thunder. Also for older readers is Orlagh Collins's beautifully written All the Invisible Things. Our Debut of the Month is Sandy Stark-McGinnis with her novel, Extraordinary Birds. For younger readers (6+), look out for Laura James talking about Fabio, the World's Greatest Flamingo Detective, and Nicola Colton introducing Jasper and Scruff, while Gwyneth Rees tells us more about her new Super Cats series (7+). We were also thrilled to speak with presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff about her fabulous new non-fiction book, The Sea (7+).

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The best new books, interviews & writing competitions

Latest books reviewed

Browse the latest books reviewed by our Teachers and Librarians including picture books, books for children aged 5-7, books for children aged 8-11, and books for teenagers and YA readers.

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Picture Book competition entry deadline!

The 2019 ReadingZone Picture Book Competition, judged by Steven Lenton, is challenging children and teenagers (4-18 years) to create a picture book, and closes on 30th April. Prizes include books, a free author event and feedback from an agent! Find out how to send your picture book:

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Watch Fleur Hitchcock live online!

Fleur Hitchcock, author of murder mystery thriller Murder at Twilight and historical fiction novel The Boy Who Flew, will be answering student's questions live online via ReadingZone Live on 20th May, 2.30-3.10pm. Watch live, or find out how to join in here!

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Poetry award shortlist announced

The shortlist for the CLiPPA poetry award (The Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) has been announced and includes novels in verse as well as poetry for older readers. Schools can now register to shadow the awards.

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Shadowing details for poetry award

Schools can now register to join the shadowing scheme for the CLiPPA poetry award, with resources available from 17 May. To follow are details of how to get involved, plus ReadingZone reviews of each of the shortlisted titles.

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Summer Reading Challenge

This year's Summer Reading Challenge, Space Chase, will launch in local libraries on 22nd June in Scotland and 13th July in England and Wales and some 700,000 children are expected to take part.

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Register for Bookbuzz by 24 May

Schools that want to take part in Bookbuzz 2019, a Booktrust programme that offers reduced-cost books for Year 7 children to choose, should register by 24 May to receive free books offered as part of the scheme.

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Puffin offers schools free books and training

Primary schools in Essex, South London, Middlesbrough or Tyne and Wear can apply by 17 May to take part in publisher Puffin's free World of Stories programme, starting in September 2019, to help develop a culture of reading for pleasure in their school.

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Little Rebels fiction award shortlist

Government propaganda, militarization, misjudged Western 'aid' and the UK's participation in the slave trade are some of the themes highlighted by this year's shortlist for the Little Rebels Award for Radical Children's Fiction.

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Giveaway: James Carter's books on space

This month we're delighted to give away a set of James Carter's picture books, including Once Upon a Raindrop and his two books on space, Once Upon a Star and The Big Beyond, published by Caterpillar Books. The books are for children aged 5+.

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Special Feature
Special Feature Image


Special Features

Our Children's Author of the Month, Kirsty Applebaum, introduces her distinctive debut, The Middler, which explores resilience, the outsider and friendship. We also speak with Kesia Lupo, our YA Author of the Month, about her outstanding fantasy novel, We Are Blood and Thunder. Also for older readers is Orlagh Collins's beautifully written All the Invisible Things. Our Debut of the Month is Sandy Stark-McGinnis with her novel, Extraordinary Birds. For younger readers (6+), look out for Laura James talking about Fabio, the World's Greatest Flamingo Detective, and Nicola Colton introducing Jasper and Scruff, while Gwyneth Rees tells us more about her new Super Cats series (7+). We were also thrilled to speak with presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff about her fabulous new non-fiction book, The Sea (7+).

The Middler
Kirsty Applebaum

The Middler is an extraordinary coming-of-age story aimed at 10+ readers, set in a world where a 'Quiet War' rages. Maggie, the narrator, is a resentful middle child who accidentally makes a new friend and discovers that the world outside her town's borders might be very different from what she, and the townsfolk, have been told. Author Kirsty Applebaum tells us more.

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We Are Blood And Thunder
Kesia Lupo

Everything changes for Lena the day that she is accused of using magic. We Are Blood and Thunder is an epic fantasy story that pits magic against traditions, and revenge against love. We asked author Kesia Lupo to tell us more!

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All the Invisible Things
Orlagh Collins

All the Invisible Things follows teenager Vetty as she returns to her old London home after several years away and to her childhood best friend, Pez. Once, they had no secrets from each other but now they do, secrets that could destroy their friendship and more. Author Orlagh Collins tells us more.

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Extraordinary Birds
Sandy Stark-McGinnis

Extraordinary Birds, for readers aged 11+, follows 11-year-old December who has a passion for birds and how they fly, and who believes that one day, her own wings will uncurl from the scars on her back. December navigates school and new foster homes until she is placed with Eleanor and a different future for herself starts to unfold; but can she let the old one go? Author Sandy Stark-McGinnis tells us more.

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Fabio The World's Greatest Flamingo Detective: Mystery on the Ostrich Express
Laura James

Detective Fabio and his sidekick Gilbert the Giraffe have mysteries to solve and villains to uncover in this highly readable new series for young readers aged 6+ from Laura James, creator of The Adventures of Pug series, and illustrator Emily Fox. In the latest book, a precious gem goes missing on the Ostrich Express. Laura James tells us more

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Jasper and Scruff
Nicola Colton

Jasper and Scruff is a wonderfully stylish early reader with real warmth and a gentle humour. Jasper, a cat, lives a quietly elegant life, but desperately wants to become one of the Sophisticats, a society for 'exceptional felines'. But his plans go awry when his life is overtaken by a small, scruffy pup. Nicola Colton tells us more.

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Super Cats
Gwyneth Rees

Super Cats is a new adventure-packed, illustrated series for young, confident readers aged 7+ that follows a family of fabulous felines with super skills! In the first story, Tagg discovers that he is no ordinary kitty; like his mum and dad, he has a super power! And now there are villains to find... Author Gwyneth Rees tells us more:

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The Sea: Exploring our blue planet
Miranda Krestovnikoff

The Sea, written by presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff and illustrated by Jill Calder, is a glorious celebration of our oceans and a reminder of the precious world that exists beneath the waves - and how much work we must do to save them. Miranda Krestovnikoff tells us more.

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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.


The Big Beyond: The Story of Space Travel
Aaron Cushley
This beautiful book, full of informative and interesting facts, tells young children about space missions, the moon landing and rocket travel in an accessible and lively way. Author and poet James Carter tells us more.

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Bloom
Nicola Skinner
Like the 'Surprising Seeds' in this story, Bloom will wind its way into children's heart, take root in their imaginations and encourage them to grow in quite unexpected ways. Bloom is a story about courage, friendship, and changing the world. Author Nicola Skinner tells us more.

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All We Could Have Been
T. E. Carter
Lexi has just started a new school and this time, she hopes, she won't be forced to leave it - as she has every previous school - because of something that happened in her past. Can she find a new way to shape her past, and her future? Author TE Carter tells us more about her powerful new novel.

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We would like to thank publishers Bloomsbury Children's Books, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, Nosy Crow Books, Simon & Schuster, Usborne Books and Stripes Books for supporting this month's ReadingZone newsletter.

©Readingzone 2020.