Based on a true story of a 14 year old girl Lisa Jura, who had to flee her home in Vienna and rebuild her life in London, the story will bring home to older children the reality of the Holocaust.
Amsterdam, 1943 Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black-market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the front line when the Germans invaded.
Meticulously researched, intricately plotted and beautifully written, The Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinarily gripping novel from a bright new voice in YA fiction.
‘A gripping historical mystery’ Publishers Weekly, starred review.
A moving story of the extraordinary friendship between a boy and his fox, and their epic journey to be reunited. Beautifully illustrated by multi-award winner, Jon Klassen.
The author has said, “With Pax I wanted to say something about the unfairness of the damages done to kids when adults wage war, but also something about the amazing and redemptive connections that are possible between young humans and animals.”
This is a great little book – one I’m so grateful to the author for bringing to my attention. It’s essentially self-published, but don’t let that put you off. Apart from an annoyingly long first-line paragraph inset, it’s an exceptionally polished presentation. As a short chapter book about bullying and pacifism, set at the time of the First World War, it presents moral and behaviour conflicts in a manner that makes it eminently accessible for children of primary school age. It would make a very good group read.
The author is a primary school teacher and says (his experience is one I can share from my own time working with this age range), “I believe there are many very capable readers in upper key stage 2 who are put off by longer novels but who do want to read challenging and interesting subject matter.”
The book is presented as the first in a series of “BigShorts” – short novels for strong readers, that Wootten intends publishing and promoting through his website. If subsequent titles are as good as this, ACHUKA will be happy to help promote them.
The writing is clear, visual and uncluttered. The characters are finely delineated – the bully, the victim, the pacifist father, the strict schoolteacher, the friend & accomplice – but all very believable. The conflict between the main character’s parents – his father the conscientious objector, and his mother who has to bear the brunt of fellow women’s resentment that while their husbands are away fighting hers is at home shirking – is one of the best aspects of the book.
Female readers might want George’s friend, Emma, to play a more forthright role in subsequent adventures.
Oh, and there is animal interest, in a cat named Azar.
The formula is a good one.
Topical fiction about life in Afghanistan under the Taliban by award winning Canadian author.
Published in the US in 2012, My Name Is Parvana, is a sequel to The breadwinner trilogy.
When Oxford Children’s Books published it in the UK earlier this year, they also reissued the first book in The Breadwinner sequence (with compatible cover design).
2014 has been a significant year for Bernard Ashley.
It was 40 years ago that his first novel, The Trouble With Donovan Croft, was published.
And Orchard Books celebrated the 15th anniversary of Little Soldier by reissuing it with a new cover design, at the same time as publishing a brand new novel, set during WW1, Shadow Of The Zeppelin.
I always think short story anthologies make ideal presents for young readers, especially when you can’t be sure what books they have already read, or might be given by somebody else.
And look at the list of authors represented here:
Each story has been specially commissioned for this collection so they won’t have been read anywhere else, even if the recipient is already a fan of several of these authors, as well they might be.
It’s a wonderfully well curated anthology, with full notes on all the contributors, as well as an Introduction and Editor’s Note by Tony Bradman himself.
Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders, reviewed by Linda Buckley-Archer
his is a skilful and deeply moving piece of work: poignant, beautifully judged, not a crass pastiche but a respectful homage that recycles its source material to pack a powerful anti-war punch. Saunders’s novel does what fiction does best: it focuses on individuals we care about in order to make a universal point. Transplanting these familiar characters – bookish Robert, cheerful, decent Cyril – into the trenches tugs at the heartstrings in a way that bare statistics can’t.
The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett, reviewed by Mal Peet
Like her marvellous fellow Australian Margo Lanagan, Hartnett is unconcerned with the age of her readership or its presumed level of literacy or understanding. She takes her readers into the lush jungle of language and leaves them there, entranced by its sounds.
Sally Gardner interviewed in The Observer
about her new novel Tinder
I told my editor, “It’s not for children”. I wanted to do an anti-war book. What I really wanted to write about was the thirty years’ war [which raged from 1618 to 1648]. It was a grotesque historical episode. It was the first time on a battlefield that they would assemble 1,000 men and they would march forward like a machine in these square formations. Now, with the first world war anniversary coming up, we are entering this era of glorification. But it wasn’t glorious. It was a calamity.