Though we are in extreme circumstances, Autumn 2020 must be a heightened year in terms of brilliance in children’s books. September and now October have seen some incredible titles published. Some I have been lucky enough to get as exciting #bookpost, while others have been requested on Netgalley. Some have even managed to squeeze into my payday treats!
Here are a few of my Autumn 2020 highlights…these are just from September and October titles as I know November and December will be full of even more books to wish for, and those extra special Christmas delights.
Bauble, Me and the Family Tree by Jenny Moore, Cover by Kiersten Eagan, Published by Maverick Publishing
This has been popping up on my twitter feed for ages and I was so excited to read it. With tears of joy flowing upon finishing it, I completely understood the hype! It is such a lovely, heartwarming tale filled with laugh out loud moments, a dynamic family tree and a celebration of our unique family makeups. Bauble and brother Noel are on the case of Mummy kissing Santa Claus…although it is only August. Bauble is certain it is their Dad, who sadly passed away before she was born, and works on convincing Noel the same. They convince themselves he is a spy, or a secret agent needing to remain incognito, even from the family. Over the course of a couple of months, the siblings discover some new truths about their family and they both learn to welcome new members into their family. An excellent mystery for children aged 9 and above. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with this family! Malice in Underland by
Jenni Jennings, Illustrated by Hannah Peck, Published by Scholastic
The cover of this book guarantees to hook the reader in with its peek through view of the Malign family. Expertly done, this may be the cover of the year for me! Malice is completely different from the rest of her family- she enjoys mischief but for laughs, not terror. The ghost of her Grandad is the only one who understands that she is different, but when he goes missing Malice learns how important it is to be true to yourself. Uncle Vex, a very suave and sophisticated detective, helps her to find out where all the Grandad ghosts are disappearing to. With wild goose chases through Underland, some famous body less heads and plenty of humour and heart, this book stands out as a top pick for 2020. Malice Malign is a brilliant new character! The Thing at Black Hole Lake by Dashe Roberts, Cover by Bill Bragg, Published by Nosy Crow
This well read copy has been devoured by myself and my son. I love a sequel and this hits the spot! Milo and Lucy are no longer friends but their paths continue to cross while they both hunt for the truth in Sticky Pines. Strange things continue to happen, this time near Black Hole Lake, and Milo is determined to figure it out before Lucy. Lucy is on the hunt for something bigger but when they finally put it all together, it is bigger than both of them! The BigWoof Conspiracy and The Thing at Black Hole Lake are the perfect 80s movies waiting to be filmed. Atmospheric, spooky and full of pre teen angst, I can picture it all so clearly. With Lucy now writing for the school paper, with the help of Tex, she must prove the truth behind NuCo and the exploitation of the “thing” at Black Hole Lake. This is one sequel not to miss. It was awesome to be back with Lucy and Milo!
Extraordinary Travellers, The Little Museum, by Karen Beddow and Lindsay Macauley, Published by Mini Travellers
Someone is stealing important French landmarks. This calls for The League of Extraordinary Travellers, a magic map and a race across France. Lucy and Tom learn their parents are part of this secret society and the family work together to solve the mystery, travelling across France on the hunt for a surprising villain. This is the first in a new series and it is so cleverly written, with French vocabulary and facts throughout the story to enhance the readers understanding of France and the landmarks. A short but fast paced story will appeal to all readers with the promise of a new mystery for The League of Extraordinary Travellers. A charming new series! Molly Thompson and the Crypt of the Blue Moon by Nick Tomlinson, Cover by Kim Geyer, Published by Walker Books
Molly Thompson believes ghouls will haunt Howlfair once again and soon, but she needs to convince certain townsfolk to help her. Many people believe her imagination runs a bit too wild but she can always count on her friends, especially after the nightmare in the crypts from the first book. When two snarky and cruel journalists are sent to write about Howlfair, they want Molly to share local history and show them the spookiest places. In exchange for her help, they will transform the Excelsior, where Molly lives with her mum. Feeling torn, Molly agrees but it becomes clear that they want more from her than she is willing to give. Haunting, spooky and dangerous, this sequel is thrilling and exceptional. Molly is one to watch for she certainly has her finger on the pulse of Howlfair and it’s ghouls! There is more to come from Molly I hope! The Ghost of Gosswater by
Lucy Strange, Cover by Helen Crawford-White, Published by Chicken House
Lady Agatha has the carpet pulled from beneath her feet when her cold and distant father passes away. Cousin Clarence, cruel and greedy, removes her from the ancestral home to live with her real father. Reeling from the shock of both announcements, Aggie needs to toughen up and work out this mystery herself. Before she leaves, she takes an important gem called the King Stone, a matching stone for the missing Queen Stone. Aggie learns snippets about her real family through the appearance of a young ghost which leads her in the right direction. Spooky and thrilling, Aggie will need to survive some terrifying interactions with Clarence, a man named Sexton and a cold night in the snow with only her new friend, Bryn to get her through. Secrets will always find their way to light and this ingenious mystery will enchant and chill! The Acrobats of Agra by Robin Scott-Elliott, Cover by Holly Ovenden, Published by Everything with Words
The lengths people will go to in search of loved ones, freedom and happiness are encapsulated brilliantly in this journey. Bea is feisty, determined and courageous. Jacques is talented, stubborn and sad. Pin is thoughtful, intelligent and gregarious. Three orphans traversing a dangerous India in the midst of a revolution, each searching for home. What they learn on their treacherous journey is that home is where you are happiest and with those you love. Danger lurks in the jungles, the burned villages and army camps but together the trio overcome substantial odds to find home. A thrilling, exciting read with death defying tightrope walking, determination from all characters and a happy ending worth fighting for. Tinged with loss, fear and revolts, this journey will push the trio to their limits. The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf, Cover by Anastasia Suvarova, Published by Harper Collins
This has all the elements of a legendary tale but with iPhones, Pokemon and Star Wars thrown in for the modern twist. A surprising emotional story that has captured my imagination and heart. There was no shying away from the overwhelming emotions felt throughout this tale. An enticing blend of Malaysian legend and culture with a pelesit sworn to protect Suraya “until the end”. The pelesit is a calm ghostly companion until it feels anger, jealousy or fear- then it becomes dangerous and overwhelming to Suraya. Named Pink, the pelesit begins to cause enough problems that a Pawang is called to help. However, he is not all he seems and Pink, Suraya and friend Jing, are in danger. Defeating the Pawang may uncover some hidden family secrets, are Pink and Suraya ready to face them? This is chilling, emotional and legendary!
Anisha, exceptional student and great friend, has just flooded the school and been sent home in shame with best friend Milo. Their experiment for the school science fair went horribly wrong and they want answers as to why! Anisha is certain their calculations were exact and suspects foul play but who would want to sabotage their entry? With many of the clues literally washed away, Anisha will need to be extra aware and cautious when figuring this mystery out. Another sequel that is the perfect accompaniment to the first! Anisha is smart, witty and determined to figure things out and with Milo and Granny Jas cheering her along she is the perfect detective. This is such a fantastic series for young readers delving into this genre for the first time. Anisha is a loveable character and Milo is the brilliant sidekick with plenty of laughs from Granny Jas- a formidable matriarch! Fantastic!