ALONG THE INDIGO | EXTRACT

The town of Glory is famous for two things: businesses that front for seedy, if not illegal, enterprises and the suicides that happen along the Indigo River. Marsden is desperate to escape the “bed-and-breakfast” where her mother works as a prostitute—and where her own fate has been decided—and she wants to give her little sister a better life. But escape means money, which leads Mars to skimming the bodies that show up along the Indigo River. It’s there that she runs into Jude, who has secrets of his own and whose brother’s suicide may be linked to Mars’s own sordid family history. As they grow closer, the two unearth secrets that could allow them to move forward . . . or chain them to the Indigo forever.

With a fresh concept and gorgeous prose, this novel is an intensely atmospheric read for young adults and adults alike.

Along The Indigo publishes on 20 March 2018, order your copy here.

KNOCKOUT | EXTRACT

Levi just wants to be treated like a typical kid. As a baby, he had a serious disease that caused him respiratory issues. He’s fine now, but his mum and overprotective brother still think of him as damaged, and his schoolmates see him as the same class clown he’s always been. He feels stuck. So when his dad—divorced from his mum—suggests he take up boxing, he falls in love with the sport. And when he finds out about a school with a killer boxing team and a free–study curriculum, it feels like he’s found a ticket to a new Levi. But how can he tell his mum about boxing? And how can he convince his family to set him free?

Told in dynamic shaped verse, this gripping, funny, poignant novel works as a companion to House Arrest as well as a standalone tale of a boy feeling constrained by his family’s love. Perfect for middle-grade, YA and reluctant readers.

  • Click here to read an extract from Knockout
  • Download the discussion guide for schools and book groups

Knockout by K.A. Holt publishes on 06 March 2018, order your copy here!

BOOKSHOP OF THE MONTH | BUTTON & BEAR

Kicking off 2018, our January Bookshop of the Month is Button and Bear, a children’s bookshop in Shrewsbury owned and run by Louise Chadwick, former director of programmes at BookTrust.

Button and Bear has been designed with children and parents in mind with the goal of getting children interested in books as early as possible. Opening in September 2016 the bookshop also has a café, a gift shop, a breastfeeding area and what can only be described as a magical woodland events space. They run a multitude of regular events including their highly praised Stories & Rhymes in the Woodland (check out their Facebook reviews) and they’ve cemented themselves as a community hub for customers.

We caught up with Louise to ask her a few questions:

1. Congratulations on being chosen as our January Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe Button and Bear in three words?
Friendly, knowledgeable & unique

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store?
Our hidden woodland room downstairs where we hold storytimes, events & birthday parties. There are no windows & it feels cosy & magical.

3. Where do you like to read?
Everywhere! But mostly when I can lose myself in the book and become part of the story.

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be?
I previously worked for a book charity inspiring people to read focusing on children & parents, which is what I do now through Button & Bear. If I wasn’t a bookseller I would still be out there championing the importance of reading for pleasure & making sure as many children & parents had access to books.

5. Excluding Button and Bear – what is your favourite bookshop?
Tricky to choose just one but I would say that Booka Bookshop in Oswestry is a lovely environment and has brought some great authors to the market town.


Button & Bear can be found at:
28 Castle St
Shrewsbury
SY1 2BQ

Follow them on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram!

BOOKSHOP OF THE MONTH | THE MAINSTREET TRADING COMPANY

Our December Bookshop of the Month 2017 is The Mainstreet Trading Company who have been celebrating ten years since they transformed a former auction house into a destination venue in the picturesque Scottish Border village of St Boswell’s (brown tourist sign included!).

Bookshop interior overhead 2016

We highly recommend that you visit and spend a few blissful hours here – there is something to tempt everyone. Mainstreet boasts a gorgeous home store and a wonderfully inviting deli, but at its heart is the beautiful bookshop and café. After admiring their magnificent window displays (check out their archive here), you will walk in and be greeted by the unmistakeable aroma of books and coffee, there’s nothing quite like it. You will see crisp white shelves, carefully curated tables and stunning displays that will entice you into browsing, and there is always a bookseller on hand should you need recommendations or help finding a title. Be sure to check out their specialist Children’s and Cookery areas.

Mainstreet is a bookshop that would be hard to leave empty handed, and why would you when you can choose your book (or several!), settle in to the café with a cuppa, crack the spine and begin. Go on, you know you want to…

We caught up with owner Rosamund de la Hay to ask her a few questions:

1. Congratulations on being chosen as our December Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe The Mainstreet Trading Company in three words?
Welcoming, enthusiastic, knowledgeable.

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store? 
The Book Burrows (or the new books till with our beautiful new wooden counter!)

3. Where do you like to read?
In the sun room at home or on a beach on the west coast of Scotland (ideally not in the rain)

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be?
I’d almost certainly revert to being a publisher as in my past life.

5. Excluding The Mainstreet Trading Company – what is your favourite bookshop?
Tricky one, there are so many lovely ones!  Either The Golden Hare in Edinburgh or Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath.


The Mainstreet Trading Company can be found at:
Mainstreet
St Boswells
Scottish Borders
TD6 0AT

Follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

5 Books for the National #TimeToRead Challenge!

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This week (18-22 September) the wonderful Booktrust are launching their #TimeToRead campaign, which encourages parents to find ten minutes a day to read with their child. The campaign particularly urges parents or carers not to abandon story time once the child has learned to read. Just ten minutes of shared reading time can have amazing benefits for both parent or carer and child. You can find out all about the campaign and research here and can follow along with the hashtag on social media.

We’re supporting this fantastic campaign and have put together five(-ish) recommendations of current books to read with your child for ten minutes (or more!) each day:

  1. Say Zoop! by Hervé Tullet

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Tullet’s books encourage participation from their readers as they explore and interact with the physical book in all its dimensions. Liberate your imaginations as a family, make sounds together and experience the book’s magical response. Say Zoop! is perfect for sharing some reading time in those early years and for early learning. If you enjoy this interactive board book, check out Tullet’s Press Here.

  1. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts

Ada Twist

 

Pack your ten minutes with the empowering, inspiring STEM picture book series from best-selling Andrea Beaty & David Roberts. Join Ada Twist, Scientist with her love of science, her curiosity and propensity for always asking ‘Why?’. Follow Rosie Revere, Engineer as she pursues her engineering dreams, inventing gizmos and gadgets and read about the creativity of Iggy Peck, Architect as he tries to inspire his new teacher and classmates with his inventive architecture and designs. Feeling inspired? Pair them with the companion Big Project Books for Iggy and Rosie, with Ada’s to follow next year!

3. Wordless Picture Books: Professional Crocodile & Lines

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Wordless picture books are great for shared and repeat readings, with new details to be found in each re-visit. Both adult and child can work together to interpret and interact with the art. Try the clever and witty Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli (illus. Mariachiara Di Giorgio) or the poignant Lines by Suzy Lee. The latter starts from a simple pencil line, morphing into different scenes, following the trail and story of a young skater. You’ll find yourself coming back to this format again and again over the years.

4. The Frank Einstein series by Jon Scieszka (illus. Brian Biggs)

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With the final book due next year, now is the perfect time to catch up on the Frank Einstein series! Frank loves to tinker, build and take things apart. He loves to observe, hypothesise, experiment and invent. He’s a kid genius, who also occasionally has to thwart evil doomsday plans when things go wrong. These adventures are packed full of humour and a good dose of zany science-fuelled shenanigans. (Ages 8-12)

  1. Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki and BOOM! (illus. Brooke Allen)

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This technically isn’t out yet… but have it on your radar because this hilarious, rollicking adventure brings the already beloved Lumberjanes characters into novel format. You won’t want to leave Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, with its ensemble of diverse lovable characters and quick-witted problem-solving. It’s full of heart, epic friendships and the occasional unicorn. Look out for it from 10th October – it’s unlike anything else out there and bursting with fun for all ages. (Ages 9+)

 

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It Starts With Wonder | Guest blog post from Kate Messner

It Starts With Wonder

by Kate Messner 

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This series started on a school field trip. I taught seventh grade English for fifteen years, as part of a wonderful interdisciplinary team. Every winter, we used to take our students on a snowshoe field trip in the nearby Adirondack Mountains to look for animal tracks and other signs of life in the winter woods. On one of those field trips, we saw this.

Hole in snow
Photograph by Loree Griffin Burns

It was just a little hole in the snow, with some tiny tracks leading up to it. The naturalist guiding us could have walked right on past. But instead, she stopped our group and said, “Oh! Everyone gather around and look at this!” When we were all circled around, she pointed down and said breathlessly, “Do you know what this means?” She paused. Then she whispered. “This means that we’ve had a visitor from…the subnivean zone!”

We stood in hushed silence for a moment until someone said, “What’s that?” And our guide explained that the subnivean zone is the fancy phrase used to describe the secret network of tunnels and tiny caves that exist under the winter snow. All the smallest forest animals knew about it, she told us, and they’d go down there to be a little warmer, a little safer from predators. And then we continued on down the path.

But the rest of the day, as I padded through the woods on my snowshoes, I couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d said. We’d been hiking for three or four miles…and all that time, there’d been a secret invisible world going on down there, under the snow? I asked a lot more questions. We talked more about the different animals who make their winter homes under the snow and the creatures who find their way through the woods above. And when I got back to the school bus, after I took attendance and made sure we hadn’t left any seventh graders out in the woods, I started writing. I didn’t even have a notebook with me that day – my first draft of Over and Under the Snow was written on the back of the attendance list for the field trip, in bumpy, school-bus handwriting. But it couldn’t wait, because I was fuelled by wonder that afternoon.

That’s what we do as writers of children’s books – we wonder. We stop everyone in their tracks. We slow down the day for a few minutes to say, “Look at this! Look more closely… Isn’t it amazing?” And that’s how I know when I have a story idea with the staying power to grow into a picture book. If I’m feeling that sense of awe at how things work, how things are, how amazing this part of our natural world is, then kids are likely to feel that way, too.

After Over and Under the Snow was published and doing well in the world, Chronicle asked illustrator Christopher Silas Neal and I if there might be another hidden world we’d like to explore. We emailed back and forth a bit, talking about the things that made us wonder. And we discovered that we both loved our vegetable gardens. Not just the weeding and tomato-eating part of gardening…but the wondering part. We’re both parents who love getting down on our bellies to look more closely at the critters that inhabit our gardens, and that was the wonder that sparked our second book together, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt.

Our third book together, Over and Under the Pond, starts in that same place – with a familiar setting and a desire to slow down for a closer look. When I was getting ready to work on this book, I went back to the setting of Over and Under the Snow – the trails of the Paul Smiths Visitors Interpretive Center in the Adirondacks – but in a different season. The pond that had been covered with ice and snow in January felt like an entirely different place in July — a green, lush, buzzing ecosystem, just waiting to be explored. So I scheduled one of the centre’s guided canoe trips and spent a day paddling through the reeds. We marvelled at the tiny water striders skating on the pond’s surface, stared up at woodpecker scars on a tall tree by the water, and gasped as an American Bittern fluttered up from the grass.

Over the pond
Photograph by Loree Griffin Burns

There were families along on the trip, and I watched them, too. With their phones turned off and tucked away in waterproof bags, they paddled through the quiet together, whispering about the minnows and wondering what might live in that hollow log on shore. Slowing down in places like this feeds us in important ways. As a writer, I walked away from my canoe at the end of the day full of ideas, full of images and poetry and fresh air. I was ready to hit the library, finish my research, and get to work on Over and Under the Pond. But maybe even more important than that, spending time in the quiet of a cold snowy trail or a warm mountain pond reminds us to slow down. To look. Listen. And wonder. That’s my biggest hope for these books – that they’ll bring families together on the couch for a cozy story and then outdoors to wonder, too.


Over and Under the Pond is out now, order your copy today.

Five Children’s Books that promote gender equality

This collection of children’s books is a must have for your young reader’s shelf – proving to young girls and boys that girls can do anything they put their minds to.

1. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty illustrated by David Roberts

Rosie Revere, Engineer

‘Rosie should indeed be revered: why, she’s practically a poster girl for positivity and empowerment. And we’re all in favour of gals excelling in the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Way to go, Rosie!’ Catherine O’Dolan – My Little Style File

Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her Great, Great Aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal – to fly – Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her Aunt’s dream come true. Her invention complete, Rosie attempts a test flight–but after a moment, the machine crashes to the ground. Discouraged, Rosie deems the invention a failure, but Aunt Rose insists that on the contrary, it was a raging success.

With a message everyone should remember: the only true failure is quitting, Rosie Revere, Engineer is a book that will encourage young girls to believe in themselves and explore all the things they enjoy.

Find out more and order your copy here.

Rosie Revere

2. Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood illustrated by Meg Hunt

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“Deborah Underwood’s playful text provides god-robots, tools, sprockets, and a heroine who elects to explore, rather settle for marriage and Meg Hunts original, galactic illustrations remind young readers not to limit their dreams to the earthbound.” The Guardian: Picture books that draw the line against pink stereotypes of girls.

Once upon a planetoid, amid her tools and sprockets, a girl named Cinderella dreamed of fixing fancy rockets.

With a little help from her fairy god-robot, Cinderella is going to the ball. But when the prince’s ship has mechanical trouble, someone will have to zoom to the rescue! Readers will thank their lucky stars for this irrepressible fairy tale retelling, its independent heroine and its stellar happy ending – this bold retelling proves girls can be the heroine of their own stories.

Interstellar Cinderella

3. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty illustrated by David Roberts

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“As brilliant and inspirational as the other titles in Andrea and David’s series, and a book destined to be talked about and adored far and wide. Brilliant!” Read It Daddy Blog: Book of the Week

Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. Not afraid of failure, she embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!

Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science. Touching on themes of never giving up and problem solving, Ada comes to learn that her questions might not always lead to answers, but rather to more questions. She may never find the source of the stink, but with a supportive family and the space to figure it out, she’ll be able to feed her curiosity in the ways a young scientist should.

Flying the flag for both diverse reads and girls in STEM, Ada Twist, Scientist is a must-read for kids everywhere!

4. Ada’s Ideas by Fiona Robinson

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“Fiona Robinson has created an originally illustrated, empathetically produced tale of a significant character in our history. Highlighting this incredible story of an eighteenth century young woman in complementary mixed media illustrations makes for a truly engaging read.” Picture Books Blogger

This non-fiction picture book about Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer, is a compelling portrait of a woman who saw the potential for numbers to make art and the power of imagination.

Give your young reader a they can look-up-to for her intelligence, perseverance and creativity.

Ada's Ideas

5. Hot Pink by Susan Goldman Rubin

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This non-fiction biography of Elsa Schiapaerelli will inspire and educate. Schiaparelli was one of the most innovative designers in the early 20th century, credited with many firsts: trompe l’oeil sweaters with collars and bows knitted in; wedge heels; shoulder bags; and even the concept of a runway show for presenting collections. Elsa Schiapaerelli defied expectations, tradition and shocked the world.

A bright and bold children’s books that proves that you can still be a BOSS in hot pink.

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Share your favourite with #InternationalWomansDay, because there has never been a more important time to celebrate womankind and show young readers that girls can do anything.

Today I Feel…

Today I Feel…

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Open-up a discussion about feelings with your little reader with the help of Madalena Moniz’s gorgeous alphabet of emotions.

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Beautifully illustrated by Madalena Moniz’s subtle watercolours, Today I Feel… follows a child through a whole range of emotions, from adored to curious to strong. Not all of the emotions are positive and not all of them are simple, but they are all honest and worthy of discussion with a young child.

Today I Feel…: An Alphabet of Emotions is on sale next week – pre-order yours today.

When an Elephant Falls In Love

2016 hasn’t been the most joyous of years, but we are here to help things end with a little hope and a lot of L.O.V.E.

Introducing, When an Elephant Falls in Love by Davide Cali, illustrated by Alice Lotti.

When an elephant falls in love, he does many foolish things…

 

When an Elephant Falls in Love...
© 2016 by Chronicle Books LLC.
He hides when the elephant-object of his affection is around.
He writes dozens of letters that he will never send.
And he tries to be healthy, but ends up finishing the cheesecake…
When an Elephant Falls in Love
© 2016 by Chronicle Books LLC.

This soulful picture book is relatable and revealing; an adorable reminder that love is worth striving for and that the very best things in life will come to those who wait.

On sale 20th December 2016, a perfect last minute stocking-filler.

When An Elephant Falls In Love

When An Elephant Falls In Love by Davide Cali and Alice Lotti, published by Chronicle Books, on sale 20/12/2017.

7 SPOOKtacular Books for Halloween

Here at A&CB HQ we LOVE Halloween and we are lucky to be surrounded by some SPOOKtacular books.

Read on for our top 7 Halloween reads for all ages.

Boo Haiku

Boo Haiku by Deanna Caswell and Bob Shea

Here’s a spooky haiku just for you!
broom across the moon
pointed hat at the window
hair-raising cackle

Can you guess who from this haiku?

A witch, a bat, a skeleton, a jack-o-lantern, a ghost, a black cat, a spider, an owl and a scarecrow are all hiding in the pages of this clever Halloween-themed book. Deanna Caswell’s playful haiku cleverly hint at the creatures revealed after each turn of the page while Bob Shea’s bright illustrations capture the scary silliness.

A perfect introduction to Halloween for a little monster!

Recommended reading age: 0-3 years

Boo Haiku

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Leo

Leo by Mac Barnett , illustrated by Christian Robinson 

“A clever, timeless, quality picture book that will be revisited again and again over many years to come.” Picture Books Blogger

With more gentilesse than ghoulishness, Leo’s brand of haunting takes on distinctly hospitable tones. This one’s a charmer, so whatever you do, don’t call Ghostbusters!” MyLittleStyleFile

You would like being friends with Leo. He likes to draw, he makes delicious snacks, and most people can’t even see him. Because Leo is also a ghost. When a new family moves into his home and Leo’s efforts to welcome them are misunderstood, Leo decides it is time to leave and see the world. That is how he meets Jane, a kid with a tremendous imagination and an open position for a worthy knight. That is how Leo and Jane become friends. And that is when their adventures begin.

A charming story of friendship, perfect for a Halloween bedtime story.

Recommended reading age: 4+ years

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Bigfoot is Missing!

Bigfoot is Missing!  by Kenn Nesbitt and J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by MinaLima

Children’s Poets Laureate J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt team up to offer a smart, stealthy tour of the creatures of shadowy myth and fearsome legend—the enticing, the humorous and the strange.

Bigfoot, the Mongolian Death Worm and the Loch Ness Monster number among the many creatures lurking within these pages. Readers may have to look twice—the poems in this book are disguised as street signs, newspaper headlines, graffiti, milk cartons and more!

Dive-in to the world of myths, legends and all things that go bump in the night with this unique collection of poetry.

Recommended reading age: 7+ years

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Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions

Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions by Sheila Grau, illustrated by Joe Sutphin

Welcome to Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions, the premier trainer of minions for Evil Overlords everywhere. No student is prouder to be at Dr. Critchlore’s than Runt Higgins, a twelve-year-old werewolf. (At least he thinks he’s twelve. He was abandoned at the school as a baby, so he can’t say for sure.) Runt loves everything about Dr. Critchlore’s. He loves his classes—such as History of Henchmen and Introduction to Explosives. He loves his friends—such as Darthin the gargoyle and Syke the tree nymph. And he loves his foster family, who took him in when his wolf pack couldn’t.But not everyone loves Dr. Critchlore’s as much as Runt. After a series of disasters, each worse than the next, it’s clear that someone is trying to shut the school down. It’s up to Runt, who knows the place better than anybody, to figure out who’s behind the attacks . . . and to save his home, and Dr. Critchlore himself, from total destruction.

A perfect Halloween read for Despicable Me mad monsters.

Recommended reading age: 8+ years

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The Clockwork Scarab

The Clockwork Scarab: A Stoker & Holmes Novel by Colleen Gleason

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood, so to speak. And when two young society girls disappear—one dead, one missing—there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve a murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The pressure is on and the stakes are high—if Stoker and Holmes don’t figure out why London’s finest sixteen-year-old women are in danger, they’ll become the next victims.

A heart-pounding race around a steampunk re-imaging of Victorian London where danger lurks around every corner: a first-class Halloween read.

Recommended reading age: 10+ years

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The Steep and Thorny Way

The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters

“Rich, compelling, and wonderfully atmospheric, this is the fourth Cat Winters novel where the beautiful, haunting tale has gripped me from the beginning.” Kate Ormand, author of Dark Days

“Haunting, beautifully written and immensely powerful, this is a story that resonates through time and history whilst delivering a clever and compelling thriller.” Lancashire Evening Post

The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.

Curling-up with this re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is sure to get you in the Halloween spirit.

Recommended reading age: 14+ years

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The Raven Book Cover

The Raven: A Pop-Up Book by David Pelham

Once upon a midnight dreary,
while I pondered weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

While I nodded, nearly napping,
suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping,
rapping at my chamber door . . .

Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poem, The Raven, is brought to life by master paper engineer David Pelham. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a haunting love story?

Share your favourite Halloween reads with us @AbramsChronicle with #SpooktacularReads