Here's a few suggestions for the summer months.
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
Flying Eye Books
An enchanting story of a very small gardener who loves his garden very much. Lush illustrations by the creator of 'Wild' (one of my favourites) this is a tale of persistence and trying against the odds...and of an intriguing little world we might not normally notice. A picture book for everybody!
Grandad's Island by Benji Davies
Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
While this book deals with the sensitive issue of losing a grandparent, it does so with subtlety and sensitivity. The story is beautifully illustrated, a young boy journeys to his favourite Grandad's Island, but Grandad can't stay...still the child can visit the island whenever he wants. Fresh, quiet and not-at-all maudlin, a beautiful, beautiful picture book.
Maisie Hitchens and the Case of the Weeping Mermaid by Holly Webb
Maisie Hitchens has quite a case on her hands in this final installment of the series (oh, yeah...read them all!! They are brilliant.) Best friend Alice is in distress; her father is having a bad run of business luck and it looks like they may lose everything! Ships and cargo are disappearing and he is losing a lot of money! But Maisie is turning into a brilliant detective. So, it's off to the docks. Can she solve the mystery? Not only does she find real danger, but a very special surprise of her own! (7-10 years, but a great read-aloud series for the family!)
Milo and the Pirate Sisters by Mary Arrigan
Not a brand one, but what a good read! (Again, the whole series!) When Milo's ghostly friend, Mr. Lewis has to leave his home, he moves into the old abandoned mill only to find it's already occupied by two pirate sisters, the daughters of Granuaile's pirate cousin. The boys are in real danger now, and Mr Lewis won't be able to help them...fantastic fun with wonderful characters and a great story. (6-9 years...again, a good one for sharing.)
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt
Mabel woke up to an eerie silence. She has unwittingly committed 'The Deed' and gets herself kidnapped and bundled away on a pirate ship filled with bizarre animal pirates. On board the Feroshus Maggot, she is whisked off on the adventure of a lifetime! Gripping and hilarious, filled with danger and ridiculousness, you'll love this one!
In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll
When Alice's brother gets a longed-for chance for a heart transplant, Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother's house. There's nothing good about staying with Nell, except for the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of her garden - but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace, and even finds a friend, Flo. But Flo doesn't seem to go to the local school and no one in town has heard of a girl with that name. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder, what is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?
Nest by Esther Ehrlich
There's a review of this on the 'What Are You Reading' page and I've selected it for Dubray Books Childrens Book of the Month for July, so I won't elaborate much here. Just read this book, it is beautiful, dreamlike and exceptional in every way. This book has absolutely everything a young reader is looking for...and most adult readers, as well.
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine
Sophie Taylor has landed a job at the posh, elaborate Sinclair's Department Store. How lucky she is for a young woman in her predicament! But the evening before it's grand opening, one of Mr. Sinclairs' most precious display items, the famed Clockwork Sparrow is stolen...and Sophie finds herself accused of the theft and in serious jeopardy. A real, good old-fashioned 'who-dunnit' style mystery with hints of Sherlock Holmesian style detecting...you'll love it!
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Macmillans' Childrfens Books
The complete review is available on 'What Are You Reading', but in sort, a brilliant gothic-style horror combines with family drama and historical fiction for a truly exceptional, chilling, gripping read.
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Corgi Childrens Press
It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom. The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear. Oh my god! Read this book! Compelling, obsessive, takes place in Galway…a furtive and obsessive look at a supernatural/psychological situation that keeps you hanging. I cannot recommend it for anyone under 14, but wow!
Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine
A bold and brilliant novel about love, lies and redemption, from award-winning author, Jenny Valentine – one of the greatest YA voices of her generation. Iris's father, Ernest, is at the end of his life and she hasn't even met him. Her best friend, Thurston, is somewhere on the other side of the world. Everything she thought she knew is up in flames. Jenny Valentine is incredible; an unquestionable favourite of mine; and this one, long-awaited, is pure gold-dust. A novel about deception, family, loss and recovery…and taking control of your own life. Warning: contains acts of arson. I loved it!
Okay, that's a few...as per usual, I'll be back. Enjoy!