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Each week, our librarians and schools team select their favourites of the most recently published children's, teen and young adult titles, from picture books to YA fiction. Our favourites are highlighted as recommended reads, and the books with the highest number of votes from the team are named 'Books of the week'.

Latest books of the week

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Reviews

Hello!

Hello!

Hollis Kurman
Otter-Barry Books Ltd

This deceptively simple book counts ten ways in which a family are shown kindness on their journey as refugees. The expressive illustrations demonstrate the steps taken by the family towards a new normal, and the sparse text allows space for the reader to discuss issues surrounding refugees and how they can be helped. It's a perfect situation book and also a lovely read.

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 19th June 2020
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A kind of spark

A kind of spark

Elle McNicoll
Knights Of Media

Drawing parallels between the outsider status of a young girl with autism and that of women accused of witchcraft centuries before, this novel centres on 11-year-old Addie and her fight for historical wrongs to be recognised. The author herself has autism and this is a sensitive portrayal of those living with the condition. The prejudice Addie faces is mirrored by the 'witches' she seeks justice for, and the debate around statues and memorials is very timely given recent events. Overall a moving and enjoyable read.

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 12th June 2020
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The last paper crane

The last paper crane

Kerry Drewery
Hot Key Books

Incredibly accomplished writing relates a powerful, emotional tale of guilt, resilience and hope that will leave you both drained and uplifted. An important read that could easily become a classic of the genre, up there with Morpurgo and Boyne

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 29th May 2020
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Eating chips with Monkey

Eating chips with Monkey

Mark Lowery
Piccadilly Pr

Poignant tale in which nothing and everything happens, and the characters fully engage and immerse the reader in the family's microcosm. Impressive writing that will leave you emotional, a little tearful, and with an instant craving for chips!

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 26th May 2020
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The enigma game

The enigma game

Elizabeth Wein
Bloomsbury

Mixed race orphan Louisa Adair, flight lieutenant Jamie Beaufort-Stuart and RAF driver Ellen McEwan are thrown together in the extraordinary circumstances of World War II. They meet in a pub near an airfield in Scotland, and all are exhausted by the horrors of war. Then a German pilot drops off a mysterious, precious package  - and the three young people must work together to alter the course of history.

Wein's wonderful writing creates a great sense of place, building the world of WWII Scotland in a totally believable way. Her protagonists are strong and brave, united by their desire to help the war effort and at the same time hide something about their past. Their adventures make for an edge-of-the-seat tale, with some really heartstopping moments - and a bittersweet ending where the importance of being yourself is shown.

This is a cracking historical adventure, great for the author's exisiting fans and sure to draw in new readers. Well worth having on your shelves.

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 21st May 2020
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The vanishing trick

The vanishing trick

Jenni Spangler
Simon & S

A cracking  read that is truly creepy, featuring a host of plucky orphans, a wicked trickster, and an edge-of-your seat plot. A thrilling, impressive debut that deserves to be widely promoted

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 20th May 2020
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Echo Mountain

Echo Mountain

Lauren Wolk
Penguin

Ellie and her family have to go and live on Echo Mountain when they lose their home due to the Great Depression. Life is hard, but they manage just fine until her father has a terrible accident. Then Ellie must use all her intelligence and grit to wake him up from his coma.

The engaging plot is fleshed out with lyrical descriptions of the beautiful natural world, and Ellie's burgeoning gifts as a healer. A plucky and endearing character, Ellie deals with not only missing her beloved father but a mother and sister who don't understand her love of the wild place they now call home. The links between Ellie's family and that of the mysterious characters living higher up the mountainside are gradually revealed, and the plot comes to a satisfying and heart-warming conclusion.

Fans of the author's award-winning first novel, 'Wolf Hollow' will be pleased that this is a return to form. Historical fiction readers who haven't encountered Wolk before are in for a real treat. A fantastic read.

 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 18th May 2020
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Bad cat!

Bad cat!

Nicola O'Byrne
Nosy Crow

Hilarious, and the evil cat expressions throughout are genius. All cat owners will identify with this, and it's good fun anyway just for general sharing. A must

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 1st May 2020
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Fly, tiger, fly!

Fly, tiger, fly!

Rikin Parekh
Hodder

Very sweet story with vibrant illustrations, subtle humour and a very determined tiger! Good theme of perseverance. Lovely tale, debut author to watch

Lucy Forrester Reviewed by Lucy Forrester on 22nd April 2020
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A Phoenix first must burn

A Phoenix first must burn


Hot Key Books

An unusual and wide-ranging set of short stories with something for everyone. From deep and mysterious to witches and vampires, some set in modern times and others modern. Worth adding to young teen collections

Dawn Franklin Reviewed by Dawn Franklin on 17th April 2020
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Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Jennifer Killick
Firefly

Funny and immediately engaging, with some fairly scary moments at times! Banter between the kids is great and each characters stands out.  Think "Stranger Things" for 11-year-olds! Good

Lucy McConnell Reviewed by Lucy McConnell on 17th April 2020
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Last lesson

Last lesson

James Goodhand
Penguin

Brutal, visceral, literary thriller with an incredibly engaging main character and a superb twist. Brilliantly written and with great teen appeal, fantastic stuff

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 17th April 2020
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On midnight beach

On midnight beach

Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Faber

Beautifully written, completely immersive tale of love and loss with a strong sense of place. Powerful coming-of-age novel that deserves a wide audience

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 17th April 2020
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TrooFriend

TrooFriend

Kirsty Applebaum
Nosy Crow

An unusual approach to a story but it really works! Plot is thought-provoking and gripping with a slightly creepy feel, and characters and situations are very relatable. A great read that would be perfect for discussion

Leanne Jephcott Reviewed by Leanne Jephcott on 17th April 2020
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Lost

Lost

Ele Fountain
Pushkin Pr

Brother and sister, Lola and Amit live an ordinary life with their father.  They are young, intelligent and have their whole lives ahead of them....until the day that their father fails to return to the family home and the children are forced to grow up very quickly.

This fast-paced novel follows the highs and lows of Lola and Amit as they are forced to live on the streets and struggle to survive.  Thought-provoking, emotional and a real eye-opener that very difficult to put down.  It is  perfect JF/TF crossover read with plenty of issues to think about and discuss.

Leanne Jephcott Reviewed by Leanne Jephcott on 20th March 2020
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