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Children's recommendations and reviews

Fresh off the boat from England, Vita Marlowe has a job to do. Her beloved grandfather Jack has been cheated out of his home and possessions by a notorious conman with Mafia connections. Seeing Jack's spirit is broken, Vita is desperate to make him happy again, so she devises a plan to outwit his enemies and recover his home.

She finds a young pickpocket, working the streets of the city. And, nearby, two boys with highly unusual skills and secrets of their own are about to be pulled into her lawless, death-defying plan.

Fast-paced, thrilling and vivid - the story of a group of children who will do anything to right a wrong

We think: Rundell on top form yet again

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell

gripping plot

Follow the next stage of Lyra's adventures...

Lyra Silvertongue is now a young woman in her second year at Oxford University. When her daemon, Pantalaimon, witnesses a murder, they are forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed.

Also, look out for the upcoming BBC adaptation of Lyra's earlier adventures in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, airing on 3rd November.

We think: does storytelling get any better than this?

The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

powerful adventure

Discover a best-selling series for younger readers, exploring the lives of inspiring people from all walks of life, including Anne Frank, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, Mahatma Gandhi. All of them began life as a child with a dream...

We think: quirky illustrations and a powerful message

Little People, Big Dreams

truly inspiring!

Snowflake is the school rabbit, and Snowflake is TROUBLE.
At least that’s what Tommy thinks, and when Snowflake is unexpectedly left for him to look after and EVERYTHING starts to go wrong, it looks like Tommy might be right.

In what turned out to be her final story, Judith Kerr confirms her status as one of our best loved children's writers with this funny and poignant tale of a rabbit which changes a family's fortunes.

We think: perfect for all the family and for independent readers aged 6+ 

The Curse of the School Rabbit by Judith Kerr

pitch perfect writing

Dogs, pigeons, bears, ponies...their extraordinary and courageous exploits make compelling reading. 

Highlights include Voytek, the bomb carrying bear and Rob, the collie who parachuted more than 20 times with the SAS!

We think: entertaining, inspiring and beautifully illustrated

Heroes by David Long and Kerry Hyndman




A talented footballer, Alfie loses his mum and his world falls apart. Then he meets Alice who has her own troubles but whose energy and unpredictability are a lifeline for Alfie.

Movingly written and ultimately uplifting, this book brought a tear to the reviewer's eye!

We think: down-to-earth writing for 9-11 year olds

Lost by Eve Ainsworth




If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Seaside, forest, volcano or outer space? Who would you go with? 

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? A house, castle or under the sea?

Just a few of the questions posed by this wonderful picture book which provides hours of fun from pre-school through primary.

We think: a fantastic way to set imaginations on fire

YOU CHOOSE by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodheart

Hours of fun

Four teenagers attempt the most dangerous sabotage mission of WWII in this gripping thriller based on real events. Featuring fold-out copies of original Special Operations Executive documents, this is a must-read. (Parents will enjoy it too!).

We think: one of the best reads for 9-13 year olds - girls and boys alike

Mission Telemark by Amanda Mitchison

Barnett's bestseller!

Try your hand at cooking scrambled snake or making owl ice cream in this Gruffalo themed first cookbook. A must for all Gruffalo fans out there.

We think: easy to follow, step-by-step instructions 

Gruffalo Crumble and other recipes - based on Julia Donaldson's best-selling book

Fun and healthy recipes

The Giggler Treatment is what Gigglers (with the help of Rover, a talking dog) do to adults who are mean to children. Spoiler alert - stepping in dog poo is one option!

Roddy Doyle's hilarious story is perfect for 7 years and up.

We think: guaranteed to have you laughing out loud

The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle



Beautifully illustrated tale of how the robin acquired its red breast.  A perfect story to cuddle up and read with little ones.

We think: superb illustrations raise the bar for picture books

A Wee Bird Was Watching by Karine Polwart

Great bedtime story!

All you ever need to know about bees in this glorious A3 book that appeals to all ages.

We think: encyclopaedic and great fun

The Book of the Bees by Piotr Socha

Perfect birthday 


 'At 11.30 in the morning on 29th May 1953, a bee keeper and a former yak herder took a final few weary steps ... on to the roof of the world'.

Superb illustrations and energetic storytelling bring to life this legendary tale of bravery, determination and friendship. Hard to comprehend how they tackled Everest in 'old fashioned' gear!

We think: humbling tale of two extraordinary individuals

Everest - The Remarkable Story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

captivating and inspiring

 'There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a boy called Ahmet is sitting there... He's a refugee who's run away from war.'

Deserving winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2019, this is a story of friendship and understanding told from a child's perspective.

We think: a sensitive introduction to the refugee crisis

Onjali Rauf The Boy at the Back of the Class

% of royalties to refugees

 Darwin's theory of evolution is clearly explained and beautifully illustrated in this gem of a book that belongs on every child's shelf. Sure to inspire the next generation of natural scientists!

We think: Evolutionary theory for the younger generation 

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

Adults will love this too!

Meet the Meeks. Librarians Mr and Mrs Meek will do anything to keep their darling daughter, Myrtle Meek, happy. But Myrtle always wants more, more, more! When Myrtle declares she wants a FING, there's only one problem - 


We think: David Walliams at his laugh-out-loud best. 

FING by David Walliams



Katherine Rundell creates charming and compelling origin stories for all Kipling's best-known characters, from Baloo and Shere Khan to Kaa and Bagheera. Approved by Kipling's estate, these tales will make you laugh and cry!

We think: destined to become a modern classic

Into the Jungle by Katherine Rundell


Award-winning novelist Gill Lewis switches between the experiences of Semira, an Eritrean refugee in London and Hen, a Victorian child whose diary inspires SemiraA powerful story exploring the plight of refugees in the UK and the beginnings of the women’s suffrage movement. Age 9+

We think: an unforgettable story of girl power!

The Closest Thing to Flying by Gill Lewis


The crab likes walking sideways 

And I think the reason why,

Is to make himself look sneaky

And pretend that he's a spy!

We think: a timeless classic to enjoy with young children

Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae