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Cracking Summer Reads!

No better time to catch up on some cracking reads than in the Summer holidays. Here are some of our top recommendations (for all ages!) to get you started!

For 5 year olds…

The Covers of My Book Are Too Far Apart (and other grumbles)

by Vivian French and Nigel Baines

What better way to get into books than a book about reading! Vivian French and illustrator Nigel Baines explore the questions, fibs and grumbles children – and even their parents! –  have about books and reading.

Earlier this year, The Covers of My Book Are Too Far Apart (and other grumbles) was shortlisted for the Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) Book Award for its Picture Book Category. 

For 6 year olds…

Dread Cat 

by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne

The war between cat and mouse is a tale as old as time, but when Dread Cat announces that he’s giving up the chase, the mice are left to wonder whether or not it truly is the end.

Witty and whimsical, Dread Cat is a fun little story for children and parents alike. 

For 7 year olds…

Norman the Norman from Normandy

by Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Tom Morgan-Jones

Norman the Norman from Normandy is off to take up the family business (and inadvertently avenge his father’s death). With his big sword and his trusty wild(ish) boar Truffle, this pint-sized hero is in for a very big adventure!

For 8 year olds…

The Knights of the Drop-Leaf Table 

by Kaye Umansky, illustrated by Ben Whitehouse

The knights of Camelot are restless. With a lack of derring-do’s, they are forced to loiter aimlessly about the castle, giving King Artie and Queen Gwennie a royal headache. That is until they put their heads together and create a suitable distraction… a knight club! 

For 9 year olds…

Good Dog McTavish

by Meg Rosoff, illustrated by Grace Easton

The Peacheys are in the dog house and Ma Peachey decides to go on strike. With everyone in the house as useless as a deflated ball, it’s up to rescue dog McTavish to save his new family from going to the dogs!

The Bookseller put it best when they said that Good Dog McTavish is a “wry, real and big-hearted” novella from Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award-winner Meg Rosoff. It also features some fun recipes in the back for any kids looking to give their parents a night off from kitchen duties!

For 10 year olds…

The Mystery of Me

by Karen McCombie, illustrated by Cathy Brett

After an accident that left her dead for two minutes and thirty-nine seconds, Ketty finds that there is a chunk of her life that she can no longer remember. The doctors say her memories will come back in time, but it is Otis – a boy in her school – which seems to hold the key to solving The Mystery of Me.

For 11 year olds…

Flesh and Blood

written & illustrated by Chris Priestley 

What’s a summer read without a bit of chills thrown in the mix?

In the time of the Blitz, Bill’s family adopts a young boy whose face is covered in bandages. The boy’s behaviour becomes strange and sinister, and one day, he takes off his bandages and Bill sees his own face staring back at him. 

For 12 year olds…

Free Lance and the Lake of Skulls

by Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart, illustrated by Chris Riddell

A knight without a master earns his keep by taking odd jobs. But none as odd or as daring as retrieving an enchanted crown from the Lake of Skulls!

From former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and partner-in-crime Paul Stewart, Freelance and the Lake of Skulls is the first in a magical trilogy of high adventure and humour.

For 13 year olds…

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl

by Siobhan Dowd, illustrated by Emma Shoard

Newly settled in the town of Dundray, Traveller child Jim Curran is forced to attend the local school and is met with a hostile environment, full of prejudice and violence. The only bright spot about it is Kit.

Beautifully illustrated into a graphic novel by Emma Shoard, The Pavee and the Buffer Girl is a timeless and timely story by the much-beloved Siobhan Dowd and is part of our sister imprint, The Bucket List. 

For 14 year olds…


by Anthony McGowan

The third book in Anthony McGowan’s series about brothers Nicky and Kenny, Rook is a poignant novella, looking at youth through the frames of family, compassion, and first loves. Waterstones bookseller Leilah Skelton raved about the book, saying “Without a wasted phrase, McGowan packs in fear, empathy, humour, peer intimidation, consequences, responsibilities, and wraps it all up with a big beating heart.”

* * *

Looking to fill your summer up with more booky things? Excellent!

If you haven’t already, you could march into your local library and take on the Summer Reading Challenge, which features Barrington Stoke’s own Aidan Abet, Teacher’s Pet by Guy Bass, Good Dog McTavish by Meg Rosoff, The Story of the Dancing Frog by Quentin Blake and Joe and the Dragonosuarus by Berlie Doherty.

You could also sign up with Toppsta for a chance to win free books and review them!

Finally, check out bookeventsforchildren.co.uk to find out about all the exciting book and author events near you.

Whatever you choose to do, have a great read and cracking summer!

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