Thursday 22 March 2018

Summer reading to guarantee happy holidays for all youngsters


Summer is the perfect time for children to pick up a book
Summer is the perfect time for children to pick up a book

The sun is out and so is school - making it the perfect time for your children to pick up a book. Here, Justine Carbery and Madeleine Keane select the best reads for the summer

There are so many wonderful books to amuse and entertain your little ones this summer. Where's Mr Owl? and Where's Mrs Hen? (Nosy Crow, €9.95) are bright, fun lift-the-flap books, illustrated by the talented Ingela P. Arrhenius, while Jarvis returns with the hilarious Mrs Mole, I'm Home! (Walker, €8.99), about a bespectacled mole trying to find his way.

With gorgeous full-page illustrations, a funny storyline and plenty of opportunity for silly voices, this book will be a big hit. Rabbit and Bear; The Pest in the Nest (Hodder,  €8.99) by Julian Gough is a joy, the sort of laugh-out-loud story that you'll enjoy reading yourself... The Koala Who Could (Orchard, €9.80) by Rachel Bright is a feel-good rhyming story about stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new things. Good to read aloud and ideal for children aged three-plus. Irish-born Yasmeen Ismail's bold and bright Draw and Discover books Inside, Outside, Upside Down, Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad and Push, Pull, Empty, Full (Laurence King, €12.60) provide space to draw objects, like an 'open' umbrella or what's falling out of an 'upside down' bag, or emotions like 'cranky' and 'surprised'. Thoughtful, entertaining activity books with lots of appeal.

Also An Octopus (Walker, €9.79), a charming picture book by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Benji Davies, starts with the quote 'Every story starts the same way... with nothing' and goes on to explore how stories are made; with a character, a  story and lots of imagination. Delightful.

Two Hoots has brought out an astonishingly beautiful book called There is a Tribe of Kids (Pan Macmillan, €7.99) by Lane Smith, which celebrates collective nouns as one boy journeys through a colourful natural landscape until he finds his own tribe. One to be read over and over, and savoured by children and adults alike, it has just won the prestigious Kate Greenaway medal. Barrington Stoke knows how to do picture books and My Name is Not Refugee (€8.95) by Kate Milner, with its ultra-readable text and topical story line, is no exception. An excellent chapter book for your budding reader is Diva and Flea: A Parisian Tale (Walker, €9.95) by Mo Willems. Set in Paris, about the unlikely friendship between a pampered pooch and a street-wise cat, this charming story has a distinctive French feel to it.

Chris and his brother Andrew Judge's latest collaboration, Create Your Own Superhero Epic (Scholastic, €8.99), is an energetic interactive Choose Your Own Adventure book, part comic, part origami (readers are invited to tear, fold, draw and flip throughout) which invites young storytellers to get stuck in. Definitely cool. Ballerina Dreams (Faber, €9.79) is the early reader version of DePrince's memoir Hope in a Ballet Shoe. A sweet, well-illustrated version of this inspirational story of an orphan girl in Sierra Leone who sees a photo of a ballerina and determines to learn how to dance. No summer round-up would be complete without a mention for David Walliams, whose second collection of short stories, World's Worst Children 2 (Harper Collins Children's, €14.99), came out in May and has been topping the bestseller lists ever since.

Our Booker-Prize winning author Emma Donoghue has written her first novel for younger readers (seven to 10), The Lotterys Plus One (Pan Macmillan Children's, €11.24), about a blended family, diversity and tolerance. Although sometimes a bit twee, there is much to like in this eccentric novel. Holly Smale's Geek Girl series is very popular with girls of nine upwards and Forever Geek (Harper Collins Children's, €9.80) is the final instalment of her award-winning series; Smale will visit Ireland later this month for the West Cork Literary Festival .

King Coo (David Fickling Books, €10.99) by Adam Stower will also appeal to this age group with its readable text and exciting storyline. A caper-filled adventure set in a hidden forest with a feral girl as its hero: great stuff. The Bookshop Girl (Scholastic, €6.99) by Sylvia Bishop is an old-fashioned adventure story in the vein of Willy Wonka and will delight early readers with its mystery, baddies and zany humour. In Hero Rising (Harper Collins Children's, €11.24) Irish writer Shane Hegarty thrills with more adventures from his Darkmouth series involving his reluctant monster-hunter Finn, while award-winning author Liz Pichon brings her appealing character Tom Gates back in Family, Friends and Furry Creatures. (Scholastic, €11.24).

For the slightly older, more discerning reader comes an important book about Syria - A Dangerous Crossing (Little Island, €11.20) by Jane Mitchell. Ghalib and his family live in Kobani, a town under fire near Aleppo, and they decide to make the long and dangerous trek to Turkey and on to Greece in order to find a more peaceful life. Well worth the read.

Irish author Peadar O Guilin's dark and thrilling book, The Call (David Fickling Books, €10.99), is out now in paperback and will appeal to fans of the Hunger Games and Stranger Things.

Lauren Child is the new Children's Laureate in the UK. Blink And You Die (Harper Collins Children's, €8.99) is the final instalment of her six-part Ruby Redfort series about a wise-cracking, gadget-loving, mystery-solving child genius. The Huntress: Sea (Egmont, €8.99), the first in a stunning new nautical fantasy adventure trilogy from debut author Sarah Driver, is full of mythical creatures, strange events and wonderful writing. If you liked Northern Lights, The Lie Tree and Rooftoppers, you'll love Sea. And finally, Harper Collins Children's has just published The Resurrection, the tenth book in Derek Landy's fantastically enjoyable Skulduggery Pleasant series (€11.24).

Happy reading, everyone!

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