Great Reads to Enjoy with Your Children this Autumn
As the holidays draw to a close, Bright Agents share the books they’ve discovered this Summer . . .
Illustration by Grace Easton
Arabella Stein | Managing Agent
Dave Pigeon published by Faber & Faber; Kiki and Bobo published by Walker.
Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow, with illustrations by Sheena Dempsey: This book was recommended to me by the wonderful people at The Alligators Mouth bookshop. It is incredibly funny and enjoyable for me and my children . . . The thing about Dave is that although he is very hubristic and of course his name is the title of the book, I think it’s safe to say his best friend, Skipper is the one with the brains. If you’re looking for a chapter book for reluctant readers, this is the one. There is also a sequel to this one, entitled Pigeon Nuggets. I will leave you with that thought . . .
Kiki and Bobo’s Sunny Day by Yasmeen Ismail: Bobo uses clever distractions to avoid facing the sea, which he fears. Despite finding various ways to avoid a swim, Kiki eventually wants to go in the sea, which doesn’t go down too well and Bobo has to confess. But of course it’s that great life lesson about a problem shared, and Kiki helps her friend confront and defeat his fear. I love Yasmeen’s vibrant, naive style and not only is this a good story, it has flaps. Who doesn’t love a book with flaps?
Get in touch with Arabella here.
Nicky Lander | Children’s and Fiction Agent
A Murder Most Unladylike published by Puffin; The Painted Dragon published by Egmont.
Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens: I’ve always liked the idea of being a super-sleuth, and despite not being aged 9-12 anymore, I have to say, it doesn’t matter at all when it comes to this series of books. It all begins with a beautifully British detective duo, who meet at a beautifully British boarding house and decide to take it upon themselves to solve various murders in a Nancy Drew-style manner. At points I was on the edge of my seat! Robin Stevens writes in a wonderfully fun and enchanting way, drawing children (and me) in as the plot thickens.
The Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine (Illustrated by Karl James Mountford): You may have gathered that I’m a bit partial to adventure! This is a modern-day Enid Blyton-esk series, featuring four unlikely heroes solving crimes in order to thwart the plans of bad guy, The Baron. There’s currently three books in an ever-growing series written by Katherine Woodfine, so plenty to keep your kids (and me) hooked. The 1900s London setting is perfect for adding a beautiful descriptive nature to the stories, so if you enjoy reading books set in this time period, I highly recommend the series.
Get in touch with Nicky here.
Jess Lomax | Children’s and Fiction Agent
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls published by Particular Books (Penguin); Poles Apart published by Nosy Crow.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls By Francesca Cavello and Elena Flavilli: I love the way this book has been designed, with beautifully illustrations in a multitude of styles, mirroring the different personalities and characteristics of these awesome female role models. Written in an interesting and engaging way, it’s a great book that reminds us that not all little girls are princesses or ballerinas, and we don’t all need rescuing… I know as a very strong-minded and adventurous little girl, this would have been my absolute favourite, and now as a fiercely independent (grown-up), well the same goes! Though it’s a book about what girls can do, and perhaps not necessarily a book boys would grab off the shelf, I think they could learn a lot from these incredible women. So definitely a read for the whole family here.
Poles Apart by Jeanne Willis and Jarvis: A story about getting lost, or rather the adventures that can be had, and friends made, when finding your way home. This story is all too real to me, as I can get lost when I turn around too fast. I particularly love the little quips from all the penguin family, and the great interpretations of each city. Can’t beat a bit of illustration by Jarvis!
Get in touch with Jess here.
Lucie Luddington | Educational Agent
Published by Flying Eye Books.
The Journey by Francesca Sanna: I picked this up in a bookshop, drawn in by the cover at first and then completely engulfed by the story. It’s about a mother trying to cross a border with her children — a journey undertaken by so many families and something we see all the time in the news. Yet we are so lucky here in a war-free country, and so far from this kind of suffering and fear. Having recently become a mum myself, the image that struck me most was the double page spread of the mother cradling her children as they try to sleep in a forest, then the harsh and lonely reality of the situation as the mother cries silent tears whilst they sleep.
It’s incredible, and nominated for many awards, as it should be.
Published by Egmont.
Thank Goodness for Bob by Matthew Morgan and Gabriel Alborozo: This book provides a wonderful way of helping a worried child and teaching our children that talking about it helps, as little Max learns, with his dog Bob, who is one of life’s great listeners. Not only is it an empathetic story (it really pulled at my heart strings when I read it) but Gabe’s intelligent and colourful interpretation truly brings the text and characters to life. Gabe has many illustrative styles, and this is one of my favourites.
Get in touch with Lucie here.
Naomi Perry | Educational Agent
This One Summer published by First Second (Macmillan US); The Birthday Invitation published by Bloomsbury.
This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki: This book was a recent discovery for me. I love reading YA novels. They can be so incredibly poignant, not to mention gripping. I may be an adult, but I hope always to indulge in literature written for this age-group. As adults, and with the genre named as it is, so many people are missing out on truly beautifully written books. This One Summer won a slew of awards and has had rave reviews across the board. Set over the course of one Summer, the story follows Rose and her slightly younger friend, Windy, as they struggle with growing up and growing apart. It’s a simple story but one that feels, by turns, wistful, poignant, funny and extremely real. The text is wonderfully observed and the artwork totally transportive. It features some dark moments and difficult themes, so definitely one for older readers; It’s recommended for 12-18 year olds but I can honestly say this is a brilliant read for those long past their teens too.
The Birthday Invitation by Lucy Rowland and Laura Hughes: This story about a lost birthday invitation is totally charming, full of fun twists and turns, and features a whole host of unexpected characters, beautifully illustrated by our very own Laura Hughes. The text is sweet and imaginative, matched perfectly by Laura’s gorgeous artwork. As a little girl I loved books with an illustrated journey. This one leaves you guessing on each page, wondering exactly who is going to turn up at the birthday party. Such a great idea — hats off to Lucy and Laura, a dream team!
Get in touch with Naomi here.
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