May 19

Special Feature

Special Features
Sarah Crossan, our YA Author of the Month, tells us about her powerful verse novel, Toffee. Also for teenaged readers are Karen Foxlee's richly depicted Lenny's Book of Everything and William Sutcliffe's humorous, The Gifted, the Talented and Me. Our Children's Author of the Month, Dominique Valente, introduces her magical debut, Starfell. Also for 9+ readers, we speak with Lorraine Gregory about her gripping The Maker of Monsters, Sharon Gosling talks about her magical mystery The Golden Butterfly, and Tom Nicoll introduces his fast-paced young fiction series, Level Up. This month's highlighted picture books include Neil Gaimon's fable, Cinnamon; we speak with the illustrator Divya Sprinivasan, and author Clare Helen Walsh tells us about The Tide.

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The best new books, author highlights & giveaways

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.


Picture Book competition entry deadline!

Judging is underway for the 2019 ReadingZone Picture Book Competition, judged by Steven Lenton, for children aged 4-18 years to create a picture book. Thank you for sending us some fantastic picture books - the winners will be announced here in June:

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Watch Christopher Edge live online!

Christopher Edge, author of adventures that explore big questions about science including Maisie Day's Infinite Lives and his new book, The Longest Night of Charlie Noon, will answer children'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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Shadow the CLiPPA poetry award

Free teaching resources are available to schools that would like to shadow the CLiPPA Poetry Award, the national children's poetry award run by CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education).

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Klaus Flugge illustration prize

The six picture books shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize, which recognises promising new picture book illustrators, have been announced - and we have a set of the shortlisted books to give away!

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Giveaway of Branford Boase shortlist!

We're delighted to offer a set of the shortlisted Brandford Boase Award titles for children aged 8-12 years to a school library - find out how to enter your school into the free draw here.

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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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From the Library floor

In a new series of blogs, school librarian Shelley Fallows will share her ideas for creating a vibrant library that students will want to use. This month, she explores mental well-being.

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Special Feature
Special Feature Image


Special Features

Sarah Crossan, our YA Author of the Month, tells us about her powerful verse novel, Toffee. Also for teenaged readers are Karen Foxlee's richly depicted Lenny's Book of Everything and William Sutcliffe's humorous, The Gifted, the Talented and Me. Our Children's Author of the Month, Dominique Valente, introduces her magical debut, Starfell. Also for 9+ readers, we speak with Lorraine Gregory about her gripping The Maker of Monsters, Sharon Gosling talks about her magical mystery The Golden Butterfly, and Tom Nicoll introduces his fast-paced young fiction series, Level Up. This month's highlighted picture books include Neil Gaimon's fable, Cinnamon; we speak with the illustrator Divya Sprinivasan, and author Clare Helen Walsh tells us about The Tide.

Toffee
Sarah Crossan

TOFFEE, the powerful new verse novel from Sarah Crossan, explores memory and identity, and how we forge a future despite painful pasts. We ask Sarah Crossan, our YA Author of the Month, to tell us more about her work and her latest novel.

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Lenny's Book of Everything
Karen Foxlee

LENNY'S BOOK OF EVERYTHING explores Lenny's childhood landscape of games, carers, a loving single mother, and a set of encyclopaedias - and a younger brother, Davey, who has a condition that makes him grow too quickly. Their childhood is punctuated with visits to doctors and specialists, and ever-increasing anxiety about the diagnoses. Author Karen Foxlee tells us more about her novel.

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The Gifted, the Talented and Me
William Sutcliffe

A refreshing and funny book aimed squarely at teenage boys, THE GIFTED, THE TALENTED AND ME follows Sam after he is forced to move to a school for the 'gifted and talented' - where Sam, who is utterly normal, sticks out like a sore thumb. How will he survive? Author William Sutcliffe tells us more

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Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day (Starfell, Book 1)
Dominique Valente

STARFELL is a magical story about a lost day, a girl with a talent for finding things, and a quest to put things right. Author Dominique Valente is our Children's Author of the Month, and here she tells us more about her debut novel!

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The Maker of Monsters
Lorraine Gregory

Lorraine Gregory's (Mold and the Poison Plot) new novel, THE MAKER OF MONSTERS, was inspired by the story of Frankenstein; orphaned Brat is forced to help his master create a range of frightening monsters. But what are his plans for this strange army, and can Brat - who is terrified of everything - do anything to stop him? Lorraine Gregory tells us more.

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The Golden Butterfly
Sharon Gosling

THE GOLDEN BUTTERFLY, set in the Victorian era, follows Luciana who is determined to discover the secret behind her late grandfather's most amazing act, The Golden Butterfly. But as she and her friend Charley search for clues, others will do everything they can to get to The Golden Butterfly first, and Luciana and Charley soon find themselves in grave danger. Author Sharon Gosling tells us more.

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Level Up
Tom Nicoll

LEVEL UP is a fast-paced video gaming space adventure, perfect for enticing both reluctant and developing readers (girls and boys) aged 7+ to keep turning the pages! Flo is obsessed with gaming - but when she ends up inside her favourite game with her best friend Max, they have to find a way out! Author Tom Nicoll tells us more.

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Cinnamon
Neil Gaiman, illus Divya Srinivasan

CINNAMON, a fable by NEIL GAIMAN about an Indian princess who doesn't speak, has been published as a picture book with lush, jewel-like illustrations by Divya Srinivasan. When the princess's parents send out a desperate plea for someone to help their daughter to speak, a tiger answers their call. Illustrator DIVYA SRINIVASAN tells us more.

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The Tide
Clare Helen Welsh

THE TIDE is a warm and tender story about a little girl and her granddad sharing a day at the seaside that also gently introduces children to dementia and explores how the illness can affect older people, and our relationships with them. Author Clare Helen Welsh and illustrator Ashling Lindsay tell 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 Suitcase
Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
The Suitcase is a powerful and deceptively simple picture book about kindness and friendship - especially towards strangers, that could be used to help introduce the subjects of asylum seekers and refugees to young children, and to prompt discussions among older children. Chris Naylor-Ballesteros tells us more:

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Everest: The Remarkable Story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay
Alexandra Stewart, illus Joe Todd-Stanton
Author Alexandra Stewart takes a fresh look at the ascent of Everest as a joint achievement between two very different men, Hillary and Norgay, and explores the challenges and the desire to achieve the impossible that lies behind both men's stories. Here she tells us how the book developed:

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My So-Called Bollywood Life
Nisha Sharma
Winnie Mehta's boyfriend, Raj, ticks all the boxes as the love of her life - until he tries to make her forget her dreams of working in film. How can he be The One? Using her encyclopaedic knowledge of Bollywood movies, Winnie is determined to get her life back under her own control. Author Nisha Sharma tells us more:

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

©Readingzone 2020.