Theme:

Illness

Book Cover - Man-Man and the Tree of Memories

Man-Man and the Tree of Memories

Notting Hill Carnival, which occurs annually in August, is one of the largest street festivals in the world and of huge cultural significance to British African Caribbean people. Its presence in this book is so strong that it feels like a character, not a setting. Man-man and his family are all busy preparing for Carnival and Man-man is particularly excited to dance at the front of the procession. There is just one shadow falling over his excitement; his mother’s ill health which prevents her from joining in with the festivities.

Cover Reading Matters Reading Guide

Reading Matters reading guide

Published in September 2023, 'Reading Matters' sees the return of the 'best of the year' format to our annual reading guide. 

Book Cover - Skellig

Skellig

‘We caught our breath at our ability to do this thing, at the extraordinary lightness of our load. I closed my eyes for a moment. I imagined that this is a dream. I told myself that anything was possible in a dream.’

When Michael moves to an old house with an over-grown garden and a dilapidated garage, he makes a shocking a discovery. At first, he can’t believe his eyes, but soon his encounter with an incredible soul develops into a profound bond. With the help of his new neighbour, Mina, they join forces and a remarkable and moving adventure begins.

Book Cover - Worrybot

Worrybot

Josh is just a regular ten-year-old who likes telling jokes and playing FIFA, but he is also a self-diagnosed worrier. When his parents tell him he’s moving house at the end of the school holidays, his anxious thoughts begin to take over and he struggles with this change in his life. Now in his new school, we follow Josh as he grapples with the fraught realities of moving house, dealing with bullies, and finding friends in the unlikeliest of places.

Book Cover - Sing If You Can't Dance

Sing If You Can't Dance

How do you come of age in a body that is old before its time? After a sudden onset and long adjustment period, Ven is answering that question day by day, living with the dynamic complications of chronic illness, and reckoning with the loss of her ability to dance. Luckily, she has other passions. Bossing her A level music group into peak performance, finding gorgeous second hand boots (all the better for bossing in), and the way the new boy’s hair falls just so …

Book Cover - Finn Jones Was Here

Finn Jones Was Here

Eric and Finn have always been best friends and a perfect match. While Eric is anxious and fearful of trying new things, Finn often bravely dives headfirst into adventure, dragging Eric along for the memories. Finn’s lively joie de vivre mean that it is difficult for Eric to process when Finn becomes ill and passes away – or has he?

Book Cover - Cupid's Revenge

Cupid's Revenge

This sapphic coming-of-age young adult novel explores a budding romantic relationship whilst also depicting Tilly’s struggle to communicate openly with her friends and family members about the things she wants, her fears and her grief. For sixteen-year-old Tilly, the thought of making mistakes is catastrophic. Brueggemann explores the weight of presupposed expectations in the way that Tilly’s catastrophising leads her to conceal things from her loved ones for fear of upsetting or disappointing them.

Book Cover - Nooo! Not the Dentist!

Nooo! Not the Dentist!

‘YIEE!’ – Simon the rabbit has a toothache! This can only mean one thing, a visit to … the dentist! In this story about Simon’s first visit to sit in the dreaded dentist’s chair, the author brings us through the emotions that can arise for a child when faced with this unfamiliar experience. We watch as Simon’s feelings journey through curiosity, fear and outright refusal. This ultimately turns into pride when he overcomes his fear and the mysteries of the dentist’s surgery are finally unveiled.

Book Cover - The Lorikeet Tree

The Lorikeet Tree

The Lorikeet Tree is a tale of family dynamics, love and loss, against a backdrop of ecological concerns. Emily and Alex are 15-year-old twins, who live with their terminally ill, widowed father in a reforested property in Australia. Emily is passionate about safeguarding the indigenous species in their forest, whereas Alex is enthralled by a feral kitten that he adopts, providing the central conflict in the book.

Book Cover - The First Move

The First Move

Jenny Ireland’s début novel, The First Move, is a young adult romance that focuses on two teenagers looking for love, but also trying to deal with their own challenges. Juliet thinks that life is not like in teen films, and girls like her (with arthritis) do not get the happily-ever-after love stories. Ronan has transferred to Juliet’s school but is still feeling guilty for what has happened to his brother Ciaran. Juliet and Ronan argue when they see each other in school, but neither realises they are playing chess against each other online.