Top Teen Tome list announced for World Book Day


The nation has voted for the books that help shape and inspire teenage lives the most, with the results announced to mark World Book Day today (6th March).

The results of the Writes of Passage initiative, run by the organisers of World Book Day, create the ultimate list of 50 recommended reads for teens.  It includes a plethora of genres from the critically acclaimed to unworldly fantasy.

Thousands of adults and teenagers in the UK voted for different categories.  From the awkwardness of the first time (Judy Blume’s Forever) to the brutality of war (Joseph Heller’s Catch 22), the tender (Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper), the terrifying (Stephen King’s The Shining) and fantastical (J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series) the list shows how books can inspire and entertain young adults at a time of transition and, more importantly, keep them reading.

The Top 10, led by Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, includes nine recommendations that have also been adapted for the big screen:

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling

1984, George Orwell

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank

A Streetcat Named Bob, James Bowen

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Malorie Blackman, the award-winning author of bestselling teenage series Noughts and Crosses, which also makes the top 50, helped launch the initiative back in November.  Speaking of the results, Blackman says, “This is a brilliant and varied list proving there is no one genre or definition which exactly describes an ultimate story which may inspire and fire the imagination of teenagers – we have everything, from established classics to modern blockbusters to genuine surprises.  This exciting list provides inspiration for great reads.”

The full list of 50 is split into the following categories:

Books that will change the way you think

Books that will help you understand you

Books that will make you cry

Books that will make you laugh

Books that will scare you

Books that will teach you about love

Books that will thrill you

Books that will transport you

World Book Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide with a main aim in UK and Ireland to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading.

All children in full-time education are entitled to receive a £1 World Book Day Book Token (or equivalent €1.50 Book Token in Ireland) which can be exchanged for one of eleven specially published £1 World Book Day books. In 2014 these include two young adult titles: Rock War: The Audition by author of number one smash CHERUB, Robert Muchamore, and The Boy in the Smoke, by New York Times bestselling ‘Queen of Teen’ Maureen Johnson.

Visit http://www.worldbookday.com for more information, the latest news and to subscribe to the free monthly World Book Day e-newsletter


Inspire young people to read about the exciting world of science

© The Royal Society Winning author Rob Lloyd Jones collecting the 2013 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize at last year’s award ceremony.

© The Royal Society
Winning author Rob Lloyd Jones collecting the 2013 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize at last year’s award ceremony.

If your child is a member of an after school club, reading group, or any other type of youth group, the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, would like to invite them to help to judge the winner of this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, which celebrates the best books that communicate science to young people aged up to 14.

The books may be factual or fictional, just as long as they make science exciting – no textbooks or encyclopaedias will be allowed!  Publishers across the UK have been submitting their best recent books that communicate science to young people and an adult judging panel will narrow down the choice to a shortlist of six books.  Following that, groups of young people will discuss the books and collectively select the winner. Participation is open to any group of young people that is able to read and discuss the shortlist and recommend their choice for who should win.

Groups who are selected to take part in the judging will receive a complete set of the six shortlisted books for them to read, discuss and vote for their favourite book.  Each group’s entry will then be sent back to the Royal Society, who will count up the votes and announce the overall winner in late 2014.  75 groups will be selected to receive a complete set of the shortlisted books free; however, if your group isn’t selected to receive a set of books, you can still participate if you’re able to buy the books yourself.  Please note that the prize is open to groups only and applications from individuals cannot be accepted.

Applications from groups to participate in the judging process must be received by Monday 28 April 2014. If you would like to enter on behalf of a youth group or other club, please visit http://royalsociety.org/sciencebooks/young-people/judges/

Previous prize winners have included Look inside space by Rob Lloyd Jones, Science Experiments by Robert Winston & Ian Graham and Can you feel the force? by Richard Hammond.  The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize did not take place in 2008 – 2010 due to funding issues but restarted in 2011 thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.

Posted by Tracy Thomas


Bookstart Star Launched for Children with Additional Needs


Booktrust celebrated yesterday with the launch of a new book pack to be gifted to children with additional needs.  The Bookstart Star pack is aimed at children that have disabilities that impact on or delay the development of their fine motor skills and includes books and resources to help families enjoy reading together every day. Inside the pack is an exclusive book from Child’s Play publishers, Off to the Park!, which includes an array of tactile features such as a big red squashy ball, a glittering path and even an ice cream scented page. Also included is Mouse Is Small, a board book from Mary Murphy and children’s publisher Walker and animal finger puppets to play along to the story with. Completing the pack are resources to help parents and carers enjoy reading with their children.

The pack was launched yesterday with an event at Free Word for the publishers, partners and for the first families to receive the pack. Head of Booktrust Early Years Sector Justine Hodgkinson said:

“We are delighted to add the Bookstart Star pack to the Bookstart Programme, and hope it will inspire a love of books and reading for the children and families who receive it. There is so much enjoyment to be had from engaging with the stories included, from the exciting tactile pages of Off to the Park! to the finger puppets which encourage families to bring Mouse is Small to life. Reading has a huge impact on a child’s development and the pleasure of sharing a story should be accessible for every child. We hope the Bookstart Star Pack will help us to reach even more families across the country.”

Bookstar Launch

Bookstar Launch

The new pack will complement the universal packs which are gifted to young children at key stages of their development, and will join the Bookshine packs, specially designed for deaf children and Booktouch packs for blind children. Bookstart works with partners in libraries, health and early years to distribute packs to all families and help to instil a lifelong love of reading. Over 35 million books have been gifted through the programme since 1992 and the programme has been adopted by 22 other countries. The bookgifting programmes are also enhanced by local rhymetime sessions and the Bookstart Bear Club, as well as targeted support for families via the Bookstart Corner programme.

Bookstart is run by Booktrust, an independent national charity that encourages people of all ages and cultures to engage with books.

Bookstart offers the gift of free books to all children at key ages before they start school, to inspire a love of reading that will give children a flying start in life. Bookstart works through a unique public/private partnership; generous publisher support, central funding from the Department for Education in England, the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Welsh Government. Working through local authorities and health partners, the free Bookstart packs help every child to develop early literacy and communication skills and become confident and enthusiastic learners who are familiar with books, stories and rhymes because they enjoy them as part of their everyday routine. Bookstart also aims to foster a love of books, stories and rhymes through a range of fun activities such as the Bookstart Bear Club and story and rhymetimes in community spaces. Parents and carers wishing to receive a pack should speak to their health visitor or early years professional. http://www.bookstart.org.uk

image001Booktrust is a reading charity that makes a nationwide impact on individuals, families and communities, and culture in the UK. Booktrust makes a significant positive contribution to the educational outcomes of children from the earliest age. We work to empower people of all ages and abilities by giving them confidence and choices about reading. We want individuals of all backgrounds to benefit from the wellbeing that a rich and positive engagement in reading can bring.

Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. These include the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Children’s Laureate, and Bookstart, the national programme that works through locally based organisations to give a free pack of books to babies and toddlers, with guidance materials for parents and carers. http://www.booktrust.org.uk

Posted by Tracy Thomas


Win Meet the Artist books!

9781616892258Alexander Calder

Inside Alexander Calder

By Patricia Geis 

No artist can put a smile on your face quicker than Alexander Calder. A sense of playfulness animates all of his work-from his signature hanging mobiles to his endlessly creative toys, drawings and jewellery.Alexander Calder: Meet the Artist is an exciting hands-on introduction to this American sculptor. Calder’s whimsical world is brought to life by imaginative pop-ups, pull tabs, lift-the-flaps and cut-outs. A universe of artistic possibilities opens up as young readers explore Calder’s creative evolution, play with his toy designs and even create their own sculptural circus.

Pablo Picasso9781616892517

By Patricia Geis 

Picasso_view_1Pablo Picasso: Meet the Artist! takes young readers on an interactive journey through the remarkable life of the legendary Spanish painter. This engaging book uses a multitude of lift-the-flaps, cut-outs and pull tabs to explain how his art evolved over his lifetime-from his earliest painting at age seven to the great masterworks of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Guernica. Readers are encouraged to make their own cubist collage using an enclosed sheet containing an eclectic collection of images.

Princeton Architectural Press and KidAround have 2 sets of these fantastic books up for grabs, for your chance to win email comps@kidaround.biz with the subject Meet the Artist books along with your full name, address and daytime contact number

Posted by Lauren Oliver


Win, Mummy & Me Books!

Parents know the value of spending ‘quality time’ with their children, and these two new titles from DK will provide perfect inspiration for activities to do together. They have been cleverly designed to encourage children to learn while they create – exploring materials, techniques and fun facts along the way.

MUMMY AND MEMummy & Me Cook

Mummy & Me: Cook is much more than a conventional recipe book. It’s a great introduction to cooking and learning about food with its blend of over 20 recipes and fun activities as well as fabulous food facts about everyday ingredients. Whip up yummy breakfast pancakes, scrummy smoothies, and delicious chocolate brownies together. Get to know staple ingredients like eggs, flour, and chocolate and find out what’s inside an egg, where vegetables grow, how flour is made, and other foodie facts. The book is full of fun activities, such as experiencing food with all five senses, designing dishes, and performing kitchen experiments. Plus, using measurements and amounts associated with cooking and following the clear step-by-step instructions is a great way for children to learn while having fun!

Mummy & Me CraftMUMMY AND ME

Introduce your child to the wonderful world of crafting with the colourful and inspiring Mummy & Me Craft. Full of 20 fun craft projects from felt creatures and paper jewellery, to origami and paint projects. Packed with exciting things to make and do, like animal masks, pom-pom creatures, wooden spoon puppets, and monster pencil toppers. Plus, little ones can learn about the materials they’re working with in fun fact sections that tell you what they are and where they come from. Painting, drawing, cutting and pasting, and using a range of crafting materials like scissors and glue sticks help children develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. They’ll also love the rewarding and accomplished feeling of completing and showing off their projects.

We have 2 sets of these books, up for grabs. To enter email comps@kidaround.biz with the subject Mummy & Me Books, along with your full name, address and daytime contact number.

For more children’s books and activity inspiration visit dk.com

Posted by Lauren Oliver



Our New Competitions

We have just added two new competitions to our website!

Royal-Baby-BooksRoyal Baby Books – a selection of four books by the author Nicholas Allan

Shh don’t wake the Royal Baby!
The Royal Nappy
Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace
A Royal Fairytale

To be in with a chance of winning these books, please email, comps@kidaround.biz with the subject Royal Baby Books along with your Full Name, Address, and Daytime Contact Number

CartoonpsdA selection of six cartoon books.

Fish Head Steve by Jamie Smart
Super Animal Adventure Squad by James Turner
Good Dog Bad Dog by Dave Shelton
Mo-Bot High by Neill Cameron
Monkey Nuts by The Etherington Brothers
Vern and Lettuce by Sarah McIntyre

To be in with a chance of winning these books, please email, comps@kidaround.biz with the subject Cartoon Books along with your Full Name, Address, and Daytime Contact Number

These competitions close on Friday 7th February 2014.

Posted by Lauren Oliver


WIN! Copies of Arvor’s School Days

Arvors schooldays Cover POD 18mm_Layout 1WIN! 5 Copies of Arvor’s School Days

By Jonathan Ferrier. Illustrated by Matt Rowe

“An enthralling glimpse into life in one of the leading boarding schools for dragons…”
Dragon Times Ed Supp

When Arvor’s father Colonel Grendel decides to send him to Caderbrith, a boarding school for dragons, neither he nor his son realise what problems Arvor is going to have there.

Arvor really struggles with his school subjects: he is bad at spelling, hopeless at games, terrible at flying and a disastrous fire-breather. The teachers get cross with him, and none of his classmates want him on their team. In fact, he’s quite a disappointment to his stern father.

But Arvor has excellent qualities too; he is kind, gentle, and loyal. Actually, he’s very much the sort of dragon you would want for a friend. Can his big heart get him through his haphazard schooldays? Follow Arvor in his trials and triumphs at Caderbrith, as his curiosity leads him into all sorts of adventures: tackling school bullies, sneaking out of bounds, being accused of plagiarism, organising a school disco, and risking his neck to save the school’s prized Golden Egg trophy…

Accompanied by Matt Rowe’s lively drawings, Arvor’s Schooldays is a heart-warming tale that will appeal to young readers of all ages – and shows the value of being true to yourself.

Author Jonathan Ferrier was a GP for 25 years but then changed to being a dyslexia (SpLD) teacher and assessor. His wife is also a retired GP and they have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. They live in Oxfordshire but spend some time in Montenegro where their daughter lives. Jonathan offers the following insight into what inspired him to create the character of Arvor:

“The character of Arvor, a dyslexic and dyspraxic dragon, just came into my head out of the blue, as I think happens with many writers.

Originally I wrote about him as a story to be read to my oldest grandson who was four at the time. However a few months later I used Arvor as the main character in another story, and then over the next year I wrote some more stories about him and assembled them into a book.

I didn’t set out to write about dyslexia, but I have been a specific learning difficulties (SpLD) teacher and assessor in secondary schools for the past ten years, so clearly my contact with many children who have these difficulties (dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc) has influenced the way I write. Although not dyslexic myself, I am a bit uncoordinated, which made compulsory games in school never much fun for me, and this gives me a certain sympathy with those children who struggle in school.

In fact I have often been impressed with how hard they try when all the odds are stacked against them, until in their teens some of them just give up and refuse to have anything more to do with school. Many school staff don’t understand their difficulties and many of those that do, do not know what to do about it.  But then I have the advantage over the class teachers in that I only see the children one-to-one and for up to two hours if needed.

Even though it was not my intention to write about specific learning difficulties, I suppose I wanted to show the positive side of these kids and give them some encouragement. I find them pleasant, responsive and very frank about their difficulties; they never seem arrogant and often have a wonderful imagination. I hope that Arvor reflects some of these characteristics.

It’s funny the way a character takes over the story, and to a large extent I was happy to just let the stories go where they wanted. However roughly half way through the book I began to feel that Arvor was getting to be too much of a ‘goody-goody’, so I deliberately let him get into a bit of trouble. Luckily, being a dragon, I can’t see him becoming a role model for the children.”

Matt Rowe is a freelance Illustrator who has worked in the Greetings Card industry for several years. He has a keen interest in photography, and has recently started to produce digital animal portraits. Matt lives in Worcestershire with his wife, two boys and Miniature Schnauzer. This is his first book illustration.

Arvor’s School Days is published on 22nd January 2014, price: £8.50 paperback, ISBN: 9781909544826

We have 5 copies up for grabs! To be in with a chance of winning one, please email your name, address and daytime contact number to tabitha.pelly@googlemail.com by the closing date of Wednesday 22nd January 2014. Please remember to use the words OPT OUT if you do not wish your details to be passed on to the promotors of the competition for marketing purposes.

Good luck!

Posted by Tracy Thomas