Heart-warming reads for Tweens

We are constantly looking to fill our pre-teen shelves with literature that will inspire your kids to develop their love for books and more importantly, provide them with a rich reading experience. Here’s our latest hand-picked list which your kids can read to their heart’s content.

1. A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson

*For fans of “Wonder”!

“A boy called Hope” by Lara Williamson is a book about a boy, Dan Hope.

A story about his dreams and A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamsonwishes, his fears and worries, and his search for hope. Because in life sometimes things are complicated and messy, not everyone is perfect, things can surprise us, they can make us laugh but they can also make us cry. This is Dan’s story, about what makes the world go round, what brings people and families together, and most of all, how hope helps you dream.

Sam Harper, age 10 – ‘This bitter-sweet book is fantastic, brilliant, funny and sad.  It made me laugh and cry and I’ve never read a book which could do that before.  You must read it.’

A Boy Called Hope is a joyous, heart-breaking and life-affirming story of one boy and his messy, muddled and madcap family. Dan Hope may be an ordinary boy, in an ordinary home, in an ordinary town but he has an extraordinary amount of hope in his heart particularly when it comes to his dad who has left the family home. Perfect for fans of Annabel Pitcher and Frank Cottrell Boyce.


2. How to Look for a Lost Dog by Ann M. Martin

11-year-old Rose is autistic and struggles to understand her classmates. How to Look for a Lost Dog by Ann M. MartinBut when her father gives her a stray dog, which she names Rain, the dog becomes her best friend, her anchor in a confusing world. So when Rain goes missing during a storm, Rose refuses to stop looking for him…A touching story from the bestselling author of The Babysitters Club.

Anastasia Abdian, age 11 – ‘How to Look for a Lost Dog is a truly amazing book. It gripped me the whole way and I could not put it down. Rose is a girl who likes these things: numbers, rules, words and her dog Rain. You will love it!’


3. A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin

*For fans of Michael Morpurgo

Best known for the Babysitters Club, Ann M Martin here tells the story of aA Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin dog, and with the warmth and understanding that made that series so popular. There’s nothing special about Squirrel, this isn’t a story of heroics, though she is brave when she has to be. Instead, it’s a story of finding your way, enjoying the good things and coping with the bad, and learning to trust and to love. Squirrel is a stray, and for most of the book has to manage alone; not till the very last chapters does she find somewhere safe to stay.

She tells her story calmly, without anger or bitterness when things go badly, and never asks for readers’ sympathy: she’s a dog, and she leads a dog’s life. It makes for a very touching story and one which will enthral readers.

“Heart-wrenching and heartwarming” – Kirkus


4. The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair by Lara Williamson

*One of our Books of the Year 2015 – Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2016

All Becket wants is for his family to be whole again. But standing in hisThe Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair by Lara Williamson way are two things: 1) his dad, his brother and him seem to have run away from home in the middle of the night and 2) Becket’s mum had died before he got the chance to say goodbye to her. Arming himself with an armchair of stories, a snail named Brian and one thousand paper cranes, Becket ploughs on, determined to make his wish come true.

With tears and laughter – often both at the same time – Lara Williamson deals with family drama with a poignancy and a lightness of touch that is incredibly moving.

The humour comes from Becket’s idiosyncratic view of life, and the things he gets up to with little brother Billy, but also from the gap that exists between adults’ and children’s understanding of the world. Becket does find the answers to his questions, and ends the book happier and a bit wiser – readers will too.


5. The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo

The story of a young boy who rescues an orphaned white lion cub from theThe Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo African bush. They remain inseparable until Bertie has to go away to boarding school and the lion is sold to a circus. Years later they are reunited until the lion gently dies of old age.

Amrit Bunet, age 15 – ‘Anyone will be able to read this heartwarming story and feel a smile creep across their face. This is one of Morpurgo’s great works and will always be one to remember.’


 

 

Why You Need to Read “The Untamed State” Right Now!

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Roxane Gay’s debut novel is unlike your typical crime fiction thriller. “The Untamed State” will take you through an eye-opening chain of events surrounding the admirably strong Mirielle Duval Jameson- the novel’s sole heroine that we can assure you, you will never forget.

“Roxane Gay is a rock-star talent who’s already left her mark on the literary world, and her dazzling debut novel is certain to cement her place. . . . [a] haunting tale.”

—Morgan Ribera, Bustle

1. Mirielle Duval Jameson: An iron-willed protagonist.

A well-portrayed main character is crucial to a novel’s success- and Roxane Gay has certainly delivered with her task in doing so. We journey with Mirielle through this life-changing period of her life that begins with the dramatic day of her abduction to when she achieves self redemption. “They held me captive for thirteen days”, she relates, “they wanted to break me. It was not personal. I was not broken. This is what I tell myself.”

Mirielle is the daughter of one of Haiti’s wealthiest men. Her haunting account of the pain, abuse and torture endured for thirteen days in a cage, only goes to show her continued instinct for survival and her unexpected defiance meted out to the barbaric men behind the abduction.

She is, beyond doubt, a woman of exceptional bravery and fortitude, sure to be among the many other unforgettable female character known to us in fiction.


The character development of Gay’s protagonist, Mireille, is particularly well-crafted and nuanced; her portrayal of a woman who fights her strongest fight to resist being defeated by her captors is compelling and agonizingly felt by the reader. . . . This novel . . . will reward the reader.”

—Jim Carmin, Minneapolis Star Tribune

2. For better or for worse- a romance mingled with adversity.

Readers would agree that Mirielle and Micheal Jameson are a match made in heaven. From their first encounter in graduate school to his faithful companionship during Mirielle’s recovery- this love stands the test of time.

“When I tried to push him away, he only held on to me more tightly. I have always appreciated how he never lets me go. I need that. My natural instinct is for flight and the safety of solitude.”

Micheal embodies everything needed as a husband- a loyal partner, a devoted companion and an unflinching need to face the worst of circumstances to bring his wife to safety.

3. Roxane Gay’s talented storytelling

The Guardian mentioned the novel’s author Roxane Gay as “a writer of prodigious [and] arresting talent” and we agree wholeheartedly. Gay weaves this unforgettable story with a mix of romance, heartache, misery and a bit of humour as well. The fairytale element of her storytelling starts from the very beginning as she describes the day of Mirielle’s abduction; “Once upon a time, in a far-off land, I was kidnapped by a gang of fearless yet terrified young men..”

“An Untamed State” is a fierce read and the author’s insights into the world of Haiti’s underworld as well as the various ties that bind families together is also more reason for applause.


“My mother has often told me there are some things you cannot tell a man who loves you, things he cannot handle knowing. She adheres to the philosophy that it is secrets rather than openness that strengthen a relationship between a man and a woman. She believes this even though she is an honest person. Honesty, she says, is not always about the truth.”

“Once upon a time, my life was a fairy tale and then I was stolen from everything I’ve ever loved. There was no happily ever after. After days of dying, I was dead.”


We hope you enjoy reading the book as much as we did! Feel free to leave your thoughts on the comments below.

 

God Help The Child- Toni Morrison’s Latest Novel on Childhood Trauma

Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape and misshape the life of the adult.


Lula Ann Bridewell, nick-named Bride, becomes the central focus of Toni Morrison’s eleventh book God Help the Child. Bride remains deeply scarred by her childhood experiences of rejection and hurt, especially meted out by her mother Sweetness;  who realizes, although much later on, that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”



“I sold my elegant blackness to all those childhood ghosts and now they pay me for it.”

― Toni Morrison, God Help the Child


God Help the Child is quite confrontational in terms of the message Morrison successfully brings across. The damaging effects of childhood and the obligation to behave in certain ways due to racial prejudices are the eye-opening themes that dominate the story.

“A book to be read twice at a minimum — the first time for the story, and the second time to savor the language, the gems of phrasing and the uncomfortable revelations about the human capacity both to love and destroy.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A much older Bride is described as a stunning woman with blue-black skin who turns heads wherever she goes. Apart from the incredible success she has earned through the years, the reader cannot help but realize that she is but wistfully broken.

This best-selling oeuvre is bound to captivate millions with Morrison’s impressive use of reliable characters and unmasked social issues that form the backbone of this novel. The other characters include Booker, the man Bride loves but loses due to insecurity and vexation; Rain, an aspiring young girl that Bride crosses paths with; and Sweetness, Bride’s mother, a product of a society plagued with racial intolerance and bigotry.


 

“Like a Picasso painting telling a story in a multi-dimensional series of superimposed snapshot as each character becomes ever more rounded and complete.”
Independent on Sunday

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