2015’s best summer books for children | The Guardian


Summer roundup in The Guardian – titles picked by Julia Eccleshare:


The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow
by Katherine Woodfine
310pp, Egmont, £6.99

Jacket for The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow

Step back to Edwardian times and the opening of Sinclair’s Department Store on Piccadilly. Newly orphaned Sophie, left penniless after her father’s death, gets a job in the millinery department just days before the grand opening. The shop is buzzing as each of the 100 sections puts on its finest display. Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Attire, Household Furnishing, Confectionery – there’s something for everyone. And if shopping isn’t your thing, there’s an exhibition gallery with some very valuable items on display, including the priceless Clockwork Sparrow. But an audacious burglary threatens the day – and the future of the shop. Put under suspicion, Sophie needs help from everyone, plus her own resourcefulness, to escape conviction. It’s a dashing plot, an atmospheric setting and an extensive and imaginative cast. Katherine Woodfine handles it all with aplomb. (10+)


It’s #PackAPuffin Day On Twitter


Readers are being encouraged to #PackAPuffin this summer, with a series of postcards, giveaways, and a seaside holiday competition shared on Twitter.

And booklovers will be challenged to share photos or film their ideal packing list (possibly for their dream location), with their favourite Puffin book to top it off.

A Puffin Book Collection, 2015 

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Bogwoppit by Ursula Moray Williams

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh

Clever Polly & Stupid Wolf/Polly & the Wolf Again by Catherine Storr

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease

Emil & the Detectives by Erich Kastner

The Sword and the Circle by Rosemary Sutcliff

Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine

Sounder by William H Armstrong

The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm by Norman Hunter

The Little Girl and the Tiny Doll by Edward and Aingelda Ardizzone

The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye

The Silver Sword by Ian Seraillier

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley

The Village by the Sea by Anita Desai

Walkabout by James Vance Marshall


Summer Reading Challenge announces 2015 booklist


This year’s book collection of 71 titles, which reflect the Record Breakers theme and introduce new authors where possible, are selected by children’s librarians, library suppliers and children from books submitted by a wide range of independent and corporate publishers including those from The Reading Agency’s children’s reading partners scheme.

The titles include the World Record edition of Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb’s Paper Dolls, Penny Dreadful is a Record Breaker by Joanna Nadin and 100 Speed Facts by Steve Parker for younger children; and James Patterson’s and Chris Grabenstein’s Kenny Wright Superhero, George’s Secret Key to the Universe _by Lucy & Stephen Hawking and Steve Backshall’s _Bizarre Beasts for older children.

Although children can read any library book towards their Challenge, the annual book collections provide a display focus and a chance to highlight new titles in the busiest time of the year for children’s libraries. Based on the data supplied by 84% of participating authorities, it is estimated that there were more than 18,000,000 children’s library issues in UK libraries during the 2014 Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge.


Puffin Summer Party 2014


The emphasis was very much on Puffin’s back catalogue of classic children’s books at last night’s annual summer party, with Francesca Dow citing several of the timeless titles pictured here in their new livery during an impeccably brief and well-judged speech, under the pavilion designed by Smiljan Radic at the Serpentine Gallery.

I enjoyed the party very much but it has prompted a rethink. At times I felt like a second cameraman at a wedding and I’ve decided the time has come to draw back from automatically documenting such events in ACHUKA photo galleries. The big pro dslr and humping great lens is proving a barrier to picking up nitbits of industry gossip and info, not to mention hampering me from doing my best to let people know about the titles on the ACHUKAbooks digital publishing list. 

I will still be up for being the photo chronicler by request for special launches such as the one in ACHUKA’s current Recent Event section. And who knows, I might just not be able to keep that camera in its bag.

Next test will be the Branford Boase award ceremony on Thursday.

Top Summer children’s books | The Times


When The Times dispensed with the services of its longstanding specialist reviewer, Amanda Craig, a while ago there was an understandable sense of disquiet in children’s books circles.

It seems to me that Alex O’Connell is proving to be a very satisfactory in-house replacement. She gives the impression of being reasonably well-read in the field, and I have been pleased to see that she is prepared to write properly critical reviews as well as rave recommendations.

This is a summer roundup, so all the books mentioned are being recommended of course, but she still manages to be proportionate in  her praise.

Holly Smale’s third Geek Girl outing is summed up thus: “It’s certainly not a hefty plot but the characters are loveable and it’s a funny feelgood read for the holidays.”

Sally Green’s Half Bad is accurately described as “It’s probably not the new Harry Potter, nor is it the next Hunger Games, but this is the first in a rather promising fantasy trilogy .”

She confesses to a ‘serious crush’ on Meg Rosoff’s novels, and is able to tell us why: “Rosoff is brilliant on what bonds us; examining special relations between older and younger children (Mila becomes close to Matthew’s baby son and his dog) and what divides us.”

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Here is a list of the books included in the roundup:


Journey by Aaron Becker
Candlewick, £12.99. 

Hermelin the Detective Mouse by Mini Grey
Jonathan Cape, £11.99. 

Tiny, the Invisible World of Microbes by Nicola Davies and Emily SuttonWalker, £11.99. 

The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony, Hachette, £11.99. 


The Pilot and the Little Prince: the Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis
Pushkin Children’s, £12.99. 

The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp
Scholastic, £5.99. 

Paws and Whiskerschosen by Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt
Doubleday, £12.99. 

The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird
Macmillan, £6.99, 8 plus. 

9-12 YEARS

The Executioner’s Daughter by Jane Hardstaff
Egmont, £6.99, 10 plus. 

The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof by Annie MG Schmidt
Pushkin Children’s, £7.99. 

Geek Girl: Picture Perfect by Holly Smale
Harper Collins, £12.99 (hardback) 11 plus. 

Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis
OUP, £8.99, 9 plus. 


Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Penguin, £12.99. 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Doubleday, £7.99. 

Half Bad by Sally Green
Penguin, £7.99. 

More Than This by Patrick Ness
Walker, £12.99.