NEW MIDDLE-GRADE & TEEN FICTION PREVIEW

As we, at last, enter some form of Spring, we wanted to give you a peek at snippets of some of the excellent children’s fiction* coming out over the next two months – perfect for reading outdoors when the sun’s out (or hiding indoors when it’s not)!

*Age recommendations are in brackets next to the title


EVERY SHINY THING by Cordelia Jensen & Laurie Morrison (8+)

About Every Shiny Thing

In this beautifully constructed middle grade novel, Lauren’s autistic older brother has recently been sent to a therapeutic boarding school, and it seems to Lauren that her parents are unfairly ‘living it up’ now that he’s gone. Lauren joins a simplicity group at her Quaker school and recruits Sierra, her new neighbour, for the group. She misunderstands the group’s anti-materialism mission and slowly begins to take things from her parents and to shoplift, using the money she gets selling stolen goods to give to kids on the autism spectrum. Meanwhile, foster kid Sierra has been in a toxic relationship with both of her parents, as an enabler and caretaker. Sierra realises she’s falling into the same enabling patterns with Lauren. And Lauren must learn that what she is doing is not fighting injustice, however good her intentions. Told in alternating viewpoints between Sierra’s verse chapters and Lauren’s prose chapters, this is a story about fairness for young readers first grappling with an unequal world.

Out now!


THE GIRL WITH MORE THAN ONE HEART by Laura Geringer Bass (8+)

About The Girl With More Than One Heart: 

When Briana’s father dies of a heart attack, she feels a new heart grow inside her body. Through this heart, her father’s voice speaks to her. It guides Briana through her grief as well as her new, not-so-normal life at home. When her mother’s own grief becomes debilitating, Briana feels like she’s solely responsible for her autistic little brother, Aaron. As she begins to spend much of her time and energy caring for Aaron, she begins to wonder: did his special needs hurt her father’s very fragile heart? The voice of Briana’s ‘new heart’ helps her to navigate the messy uncertainties, as she balances her first feelings of romance, making new friends, and following her dream of writing for the school newspaper. And as Briana finds strength and knowledge in herself, she’s finally able to let go of her new heart and rely solely on her own.

Out now!


LUMBERJANES: THE MOON IS UP (Book #2) by Mariko Tamaki (illus. Brooklyn Allen) (8+)

About Lumberjanes: The Moon Is Up: 

Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin—Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley—love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counsellor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries. As the camp gears up for the big Galaxy Wars competition, Jo and the gang get some help from an unexpected visitor—a Moon Pirate! Book Two will focus on Jo, the ingenious inventor of the group who also happens to be trans.

Pub date: 08 May 2018


BOOKISH BOYFRIENDS by Tiffany Schmidt (14+)

About Bookish Boyfriends:

Boys are so much better in books. At least according to Merrilee Campbell, 15, who thinks real-life chivalry is dead and there’d be nothing more romantic than having a guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. Then she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer to Reginald R. Hero Prep–where all the boys look like they’ve stepped off the pages of a romance novel. Merri can hardly walk across the quad without running into someone who reminds her of Romeo.

When the brooding and complicated Monroe Stratford scales Merri’s trellis in an effort to make her his, she thinks she might be Juliet incarnate. But as she works her way through her literature curriculum under the guidance of an enigmatic teacher, Merri’s tale begins to unfold in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Merri soon realizes that only she is in charge of her story. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that first impressions can be deceiving…

Pub date: 01 May 2018


THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL by Maxine Kaplan (14+)

About The Accidental Bad Girl:

After getting caught ‘in the act’ with her best friend’s ex on the last day of junior year, Kendall starts senior year friendless and ostracised by her peers. She plans to keep her head down until she leaves for the prestigious Young Astronomers Talent Search program in three months. But after discovering her online identity has been hacked and she’s being framed for drug theft, Kendall is drawn into a tenuous partnership with the mastermind of a drug ring lurking on the outskirts of her Brooklyn private school. The longer she plays the role of ‘bad girl,’ the more she becomes her new reputation. If she wants to preserve her only chance of escaping high school early, repairing her tattered reputation, and ultimately saving her neck, she’ll have to decide who she really is, and own it. Friends and enemies, detectives and drug dealers—no one is who they appear to be. Least of all Kendall.

Pub date: 15 May 2018


Happy Spring-Reading!

BOOKSHOP OF THE MONTH | DRAKE THE BOOKSHOP

This month’s Bookshop of the Month is Drake the Bookshop – a wonderful, family-run bookshop in Stockton-on-Tees.

Richard, a former Maths teacher, took the leap from teaching to opening the bookshop with his partner, Melanie Greenwood, in September 2016. They started out in a very small space within the local shopping arcade but expanded to nearby Silver Street within their first year.

They are book champions dedicated to promoting reading within their community through book clubs, author events, working with schools and festivals. Within the shop itself the team work hard to provide an eclectic mix of books to reach as many readers as possible, including those with dyslexia (they have a dedicated section), and their children’s area is particularly inviting with an excellent range of titles to choose from, encouraging the browsing and selection process from an early age. We’re also big fans of their 2018 promotion – ‘Space on the Shelf’ celebrating women in print (check out their blog). Next time you’re in the area do pop by to meet the enthusiastic booksellers and passionate reading advocates – I challenge you to leave without buying a book!

We caught up with Richard and Melanie and asked them a few questions:

1. Congratulations on being chosen as our March Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe Drake the Bookshop in three words?
MAKING READING FUN

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store?
The Children’s Reading Corner (courtesy of James Patterson), it’s where most of the laughs and giggles are

3. Where do you like to read?
Usually in bed, but the comfy chair in the corner of the shop is pretty cool too.

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be?
THIS IS OUR DREAM JOB! We left our other jobs to do this. If we weren’t doing this it would be trying to be ‘The Good Life’ on a small patch of land!

5. Excluding Drake the Bookshop – what is your favourite bookshop?
BARTER BOOKS, ALNWICK – we can get lost in there for days!


You can follow the bookshop on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

WORLD BOOK DAY 2018 | ADA, IGGY & ROSIE DRESS-UP TIPS

With World Book Day fast approaching, we wanted to put together our own little tips on how to dress up as the beloved characters created by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, from their bestselling books together:

Who better for dress-up inspiration than this trio of creative, curious and determined kids with big dreams?

1. Ada Twist

9781419721373_Cover

First, determined Ada Twist, with her boundless curiosity for science and love of asking the question ‘Why?’

What you’ll need:

  • Red and white dotted dress (example here)
  • Yellow gloves (find them in any supermarket or hardware store)
  • Plastic lab glasses or goggles (borrow some from school or find online)

Those are the core elements but you can complete the look with long white socks, black T-Bar shoes and a yellow hair bobble. Keep the outfit ready for British Science Week too from 9th-17th March!

2. Rosie Revere

Layout 1

Lots of wonderful creative people have done their own Rosie Revere DIY outfits. In fact, Bambino Goodies posted a great one today:

‘This was Kitty’s choice last year and reasonably simple. I added striped fabric to the bottom of a plain white dress (using Wonderweb, of course), which she wore with white knee socks and red ballet pumps, bought some red and white spotty fabric for a headscarf and covered a Hogwarts lunchbox we had with blackboard sticker sheets so we could write ROSIE on it. Getting her curls vaguely straight was probably the trickiest bit!’

via ‘ World Book Day Costume Ideas’ on bambinogoodies.co.uk

Another useful guide was put together by Momma, PHD, which also uses hemming tape as the no-sew option for embellishing the bottom of the white t-shirt dress. If you prefer, you can get hold of fabric pens and use masking tape to create a template for the black and red stripes at the bottom of the dress before filling them in together.

What you’ll need: 

  • A white t-shirt (or regular) dress or oversized white t-shirt.
  • Fabric pens + masking tape or hemming tape
  • A red and white dotted strip of fabric for the headscarf
  • Long white socks or tights
  • Red shoes or sandals (optional)

2018 is the Year of Engineering so a great time to inspire the next generation of young engineers!

InspireAnEngineer

3. Iggy Peck

IggyPeck_JKT_23th_Layout 1

Iggy loves building things, and he’ll use anything that comes to hand for his creations! He also likes his patterned knitwear. This outfit is harder to DIY but can be put together with some wardrobe essentials.

What you’ll need:

  • A grey or black and white jumper (patterned, fairisle, jacquard or similar)
  • Alternatively you can go with Iggy’s white t-shirt look from later in the book, and tie any jumper around your waist
  • Grey, dark grey or black jeans
  • Green shoes or converse
  • A pencil behind your ear
  • An excellent quiff


We hope you have a wonderful World Book Day!

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 | CARAVANSÉRAIL

Caravansérail is a gorgeous bilingual bookshop, gallery and cultural space nestled in London’s Brick Lane, which offers a wonderful aray of adult and children’s titles in both French and English. Head there to find your newest read and grab a coffee surrounded by beautiful books, shelving and art. The shop front is spectacular (the blue is so striking and inviting) and their signage and branding is stunning.

Since opening in September 2017, co-owners Laura and Anne have hosted various events featuring authors, artists and musicians, cementing themselves as a hub within the community.

There’s something for everyone in the shop, from a carefully curated selection of cookery titles chosen by a local chef, or the wide range of translated fiction – a focus for Laura.

We caught up with Laura and Anne and asked them a few questions:

1. Congratulations on being chosen as our February Bookshop of the Month! We’ve talked a bit about you and the shop but how would you describe Caravansérail in five words?  
A home for hybrid cultures.

2. Where is your favourite spot in the store?  
The children’s nook! A place to shelter and escape from the buzz of the city. A perfect spot to read, whether you’re with kids or not.

3. Where do you like to read? 
Anne: in the wilderness! I used to live on the West coast of Canada and my favourite spot to read so far has been in Dorreen – an abandoned mining town in British Columbia that you can only access by train. A heaven lost between mountains, forest and river. Comfortably seated on the porch of a cabin, a steaming mug of coffee in one hand, a book in the other… and not too far away, a bowl of freshly picked blueberries. Sublime!
Laura: nothing beats the combination of reading and fireplace for me, wherever it may be.

4. If you weren’t a bookseller what would you be? 
Anne: aside from Caravansérail, I am running an artist residency and an artists agency. Supporting and promoting the work of emerging artists is the cement of these three activities.
Laura: I’d probably be doing something in publishing.

5. Excluding Caravansérail – what is your favourite bookshop?   
Anne: I love browsing the beautiful bookshops in the Quartier latin in Paris – a day well spent!
Laura: without hesitation Daunt Books, Marylebone.


Caravansérail can be found at:
5 Cheshire St
London
E2 6ED

Follow them on TwitterFacebook & Instagram!

A TAXONOMY OF WHY I WROTE ‘A TAXONOMY OF LOVE’ | BY RACHAEL ALLEN

Firstly, a bit about the book – which is out now

The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too. Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

Rachael Allen is the author of 17 First Kisses and The Revenge Playbook. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two children and two sled dogs. Visit her website here.


We fell in love with Spencer’s taxonomy charts in the book so we couldn’t resist asking Rachael to make a taxonomy about… Taxonomy! See her beautiful hand-written creation below:

a taxonomy of why i wrote taxonomy

From sibling relationships to neurodiverse characters to peach ice cream (x3), not only does A Taxonomy of Love span 6 years of the characters’ lives, it also incorporates some of the most important aspects of family, friendship, love and loss while subverting stereotypes in the process.


If you’re still not sure, you can dive into an extract here!

Let us know your thoughts at @ACBYA using #TaxonomyOfLove

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!

Star Wars | The Wish-List Awakens

The Last Jedi is now officially in cinemas, Christmas is around the corner and, if it hasn’t already, the force of the wish-list awakens… 

Here’s our guide to 5 of the galaxy’s greatest gifts for the Jedi/Sith/Droid/Porg in your life:  

1. For the fan who’s already booked repeat viewings:

The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box-office records as one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and its eagerly awaited sequel, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is sure to do the same. Written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, The Brothers Bloom, Brick) and production designed by Rick Heinrichs (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Captain America: The First Avenger), this episode, like every episode before it, owes its visual language and fully imagined cinematic landscape to an incomparable art department: the Lucasfilm ‘visualists.’ The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi explores their vision and illuminates their creative process in stunning detail. Featuring concept art and costume sketches, storyboards, and blueprints, fans will take a deep dive into the development of the fantastic worlds, characters, and creatures—both old and new—of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Featuring unforgettable art and exclusive interviews with the filmmakers, this visual archive highlights moviemaking magic at its finest.

Find out more here


2. The (Star Wars) mindfulness convert

Darth Vader and Family Coloring Book
By Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown’s reimagining of the Star Wars universe has delighted adult fans and young Jedi alike. This new adult colouring book is equally fun to share, featuring a careful translation of artwork from the bestselling Darth Vader and Son™ series to a large-format collection on crisp white paper, plus nine new images to colour.

Find out more here


3. For the Star Wars crafter:

Star Wars Kirigami: 15 Cut and Fold Ships from Across the Galaxy
By Marc Hagan-Guirey

Celebrated paper artist and designer Marc Hagan-Guirey has applied his genius to the Star Wars galaxy in this book of 15 unique kirigami (cut-and-fold) ships featured in the saga’s films. Ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert, each beautifully detailed model features step-by-step instructions and a template printed on cardstock—all that’s needed are a utility knife, a cutting mat, and a ruler. Clear tips and guidance through the tricky stages help readers craft their own X-wing, Imperial Star Destroyer, Millennium Falcon, and a dozen more ships and vehicles, each accompanied by colourful and inspiring photographs of the final model on display (or ready for a jump to Hyperspace).

Find out more here


4. For the Star Wars collector: 

Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie (100 Postcards)

Ralph McQuarrie is the most iconic artist in the history of Star Wars. He worked hand-in- hand with George Lucas to help establish the saga’s visual aesthetic, its inimitable look and feel. Carefully selected from the definitive volume, Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie, these postcards are a celebration of Star Wars as a masterpiece of design and world-building. The deluxe keepsake package also functions as a display frame: the box features a die-cut window, so fans can rotate their favourite production design paintings into view.

Find out more here


5. For the joker: 

99 Stormtroopers Join the Empire by Greg Stones

Ninety-nine Stormtroopers join the Empire, and then their troubles begin. One takes a lunch break in the carbon freezing chamber. Two underestimate a princess. One picks the wrong time to ask for a promotion. Another fails to show Jabba the proper respect. And one interrupts Lord Vader’s private time, failing him for the last time. A lifelong Star Wars fan, Greg Stones brings a playful wit and sympathy for the plight of the troops as they meet their amusing ends, filling each colorfully painted scenario with fun Star Wars details and appearances by Han, Luke, Chewie, K-2SO, and many other characters. As the trooper count ticks down, how will the last one fare as he receives a very special assignment (on the Death Star)?

Find out more here


BONUS ROUND:

The Star Wars Cookbook: BB-Ate
Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunch
By Lara Starr, photography by Matthew Carden

BB-Ate is rolling into shops in the New Year so store up any gift tokens or pre-order now for some delicious recipes from across the galaxy!

Fuel up with Hans Soloatmeal, battle hunger with Admiral Ackbars, and so much more!

These easy-to-make, mouth-watering recipes feature characters and scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as from the upcoming film Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And photographs action figures Star Wars figurines re-creating epic moments from the films provide an extra helping of humour.

Find out more here


When it comes to Star Wars, there’s something for everyone. Now to watch The Last Jedi again

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!