Monday, January 23, 2023

Four Great New Books Ideal for Readers 10-15 years

Regular readers now of my blog now that I often share good literature for younger readers. Often they are picture books for children aged 5-12 years. In this post I look at some short novels (all illustrated in some way). The four books chosen across the age range above, starting with the book for the youngest (closer to 5-8) and the last for older readers (12-13).

1. Fairy Tales Gone Bad: Creeping Beauty

Eshe and her twelve sisters are Fairy Godmothers, honoured for the incredible gifts they can bestow. But Eshe’s special abilities are a little different – she can glimpse into the future! And, one day, Eshe foresees something terrifying: a world blanketed in creeping vines and a girl covered in thorns. Eshe needs to stop her vision becoming true, but it will require old and powerful magic. And she won’t be able to do it alone… 

This twist on a well-known fair story is the third and final book in a slightly dark trilogy that twists the classics. It is written in verse, by well known and celebrated poet Joseph Coelho. It is illustrated by Freya Hartas.

This tale about 13 sisters (a 'tredicimalets'!) focusses on Mythica, the youngest of a baker's dozen. All 13 have gifts, including luck, talent, success, imagination, dreams etc. But is the gifts didn't like you, they might just turn into "uncontrollable ear wax", "bad breath", "sneeze laughing". The reader with a great imagination, and the weird and unusual, will love this book.

Freya Hartas also brings another dimension to the tale with her wonderful black and white line illustrations.

2. 'Crunch' written & illustrated by Kayla Miller

Olive is balancing the too-many things she has to do with the too-few hours in the day to do them... When everything adds up, suddenly it's crunch time!

Kayla Miller, the New York Times bestselling author–illustrator of Click, Camp, Act and Clash, returns with a new Olive story!

Its no secret that Olive loves trying new things. Between taking guitar lessons, making a short film, joining Berry Scouts and leading the charge on her school’s dress code reform, Olive has her hands full! But she enjoys being busy so staying on track with her jam-packed schedule should be no problem . . . right?

Olive loves to do new things and juggles guitar lessons, she joins the Berry Scouts. She enjoys being busy son juggles everything without any problems. But over time she begins to struggle. But will her 'sizzle' life style become a mere 'fizzle'? But then there comes a crunch time. 

It saddens me that life of our children has become so full of things that 'must' be done that don't have enough time to be just 'kids'. The carefree life of childhood that was once the norm for many children is under pressure.

Because this 214 page book is in the form of a graphic novel (or cartoon style book) it is certainly suitable for 10-13 year olds, even if not strong readers.

As these two images show, like any graphic novel the illustrations and text always contribute to the story and meaning. A wide age group will be able to relate to the story, particularly the age group 10-13.

Kayla Miller demonstrates wonderful illustrations as well as good writing. I suspect that once they read one of her books they will want to read them all. 

3. Diamond Brothers Detectives: Where Seagulls Dare

     By Anthony Horowitz & Illustrations by Mark Beech

Anthony Horowitz is a prolific acclaimed writer from the UK for both children & adults. His work includes books, TV series (e.g. 'Foyles War' & 'Midsomer Murders'), plays and journalism (when does he sleep!). He has over 50 books in print that includes the best selling 'Alex Rider' spy series for teenagers (over 21 million copies sold). This book is 245 pages long with a handful of delightful black line drawings. This is the 6th book in the Diamond Brothers series. 

This time they are searching for a missing technology genius. But while they search there is a desperate and notorious gang of thugs hot on his heels. This time Nick has his oldest brother Tim ("the world's worst detective") with him. Will they crack yet another case and survive? Like all of the books in the series it is a 'page turner' that children will find hard to put down!

Readers 11-14 yrs will enjoy this latest book in the series.

4. 'Tilda' by Sue Whiting

Overnight Matilda becomes an 'orphan' when her grandfather her carer heads off to war. Tilda refuses to believe that her grandfather has gone forever. But Sister Agatha who is in charge of the convent tells her she has been abandoned. But her grandfather told her he would be back! Is Sister Agatha out to get her? Why is she so hateful to her? Tilda refuses to accept that she is an orphan.

L.M. Montgomery meets Ruth Park in a story of friendship, hope and resilience.

You have a big heart. And people blessed with a big heart have a choice to make. Do they fill that heart with light and love or do they fill it with darkness and hate? This is your choice to make, Matilda. Make it wisely.

Tilda Moss refuses to believe her Grandfather has abandoned her and left her, alone and orphaned, in Brushwood Convent and Home for Girls, no matter what Sister Agatha says. Tilda's home has been destroyed in a fire and her Papa has headed off to the Bore war to earn money to rebuild their home and lives. A promise is made to Tilda by her Papa as he heads off that he would be back for her as soon as he returns from the war.

But Tilda is convinced the dreadful Sister Agatha is out to get her. She tells Tilda her grandfather will never return. Why is she so hateful all the time? She insists that Matilda declare to all at the convent that she is an orphan. She is not an orphan and she will never say it! Something is amiss and Tilda and her best friend Annie need to find out what before it is too late.

The story is a work of fiction motivated by Sue Whiting's own life inspired by her Grandmother who she knows little about. Readers aged 13-15 will enjoy the book. She is the author of over 60 books.