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Category Archives: Friendship

‘Forest of the Pygmies’ by Isabelle Allende

Forest of the Pygmies, by Isabel Allende

Age: 11+

Themes: travel; adventure; Africa; friendship; magic

Synopsis: 17 year old Alex and his close friend Nadia, are taken by Alex’s grandmother, Kate Cold, to Kenya. The purpose of Kate’s trip is to document an elephant-led safari for the National Geographic magazine. However, their plans change when they cross paths with Brother Fernando, a Spanish missionary. Two of Brother Fernando’s missionary friends have gone missing in the remote tribal village of Ngoube. This inhospitable village is ruled by three wicked characters, King Kosongo, Commandant Mbembele and the sorcerer Sombe, who rule over the tribal people by fear. King Kosongo also enslaves the Pygmies from the surrounding forest. Read the rest of this entry

‘The Little White Horse’ by Elizabeth Goudge

book cover of The Little White Horse byElizabeth Goudge

The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge

Age: 9+

Themes: Fantasy; adventure; friendship; reconciliation; fairy-tale.

Synopsis: When 13 year old Maria Merryweather is orphaned, she leaves her life in London to go and live with her cousin, Sir Benjamin Merryweather, in the village of Silverydew in Moonacre Valley. Arriving there, Maria soon realises her cousin’s home is full of magic and wonder. However, beneath the surface of happiness and content, Silverydew is suffering at the evil hands of the Men from the Dark Woods. These hostile relations began many generations ago but Maria soon learns that she has a vital role to play in bringing reconciliation. Read the rest of this entry

‘India Dark’ by Kirsty Murray

India Dark, by Kirsty Murray

Age: 13+

Themes: childhood, theatre, travel, India, friendship, perspective.

Synopsis: Based on a true story, India Dark follows the dramatic events of the Lilliputian Opera Company in 1910 as they embark on a world tour, acting, singing and dancing their way from Australia to India. The Lilliputian Opera Company is made up of 29 youngsters aged between 7 and 18. Their boss is Arthur Percival, a lecherous, two-faced man who leads his band of youngsters on a traumatic journey that steals their innocence and leaves them irreversibly changed. Read the rest of this entry

‘The Shadow Thief’ by Alexandra Adornetto

The Shadow Thief, by Alexandra Adornetto

Age: 8+

Themes: magic, humour, friendship, adventure, fantasy.

The Shadow Thief was written by Alexandra Adornetto when she was only thirteen years old. It is this remarkable fact that influenced me to purchase a copy whilst on holiday in Australia (Adornetto is Australian). Ironically, this remarkable fact also caused me to have some cynicism and rather low expectations when I began reading The Shadow Thief. However, I can honestly say that my cynicism was unwarranted. To write such a novel at the age of thirteen is a truly impressive feat. Read the rest of this entry

‘The Red Wind’ by Isobelle Carmody

The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody

Age: 9+ (independent reading), 6+ (adult reading to child)

Themes: friendship, fantasy, adventure

The Red Wind is an enchanting, whimsical story which will stay in the reader’s imagination long after they finish the book. I picked it up whilst in a bookshop in Australia, attracted by the beautiful illustrations on the cover and also the gold badge marking it as ‘Book of the Year’ (Children’s Book Council of Australia). Read the rest of this entry

‘No Use Crying’ by Zannah Kearns

No Use Crying by Zannah Kearns

Age: 13+

Themes: Family; multiculturalism; teenagers; friendship; inner-city.

Synopsis:  Set in Tooting, London, No Use Crying follows the life of 14-year old Niki, the daughter of a single, teenage mum. The story opens when Niki and her mother move from a sheltered, middle-class village near Bath, to a multicultural, working class community in Tooting.

Whilst Niki endures the unforgiving initiation to her new school, she also discovers the life-changing truth about her father. An emotional roller-coaster follows, which although painful, ultimately leads to healing.

Read the rest of this entry

‘Dead Man’s Cove’ by Lauren St.John

Dead Man’s Cove, by Lauren St.John

Age: 9+

In this page-turning adventure, Lauren St.John transports her readers to the crashing waves and wild, rugged cliffs of Cornwall. (I was instantly gripped – Cornwall is my favourite place in the world.)

Dead Man’s Cove is the first in the Laura Marling series and opens with 11 year old Laura leaving Sylvan Meadows orphanage and going to live with her kind yet mysterious uncle in the Cornish village of St.Ives. There the life of adventure, which Laura has always yearned for, begins. Read the rest of this entry

‘Dragon Rider’ by Cornelia Funke

Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke

Age: 8 +

This was the first Cornelia Funke book that I read and it made me an instant Funke fan!

Dragon Rider is the story of a young boy, a brownie and a dragon who go in quest of the Rim of Heaven. They are a trio of unlikely heroes: Firedrake the dragon; Sorrell the brownie (you soon learn about brownies); and Ben, a boy who discovers friendship and courage. Read the rest of this entry

‘Small Blue Thing’ by S.C.Ransom

Small Blue Thing, by S.C.Ransom

Age: 12+

S.C.Ransom captivates her readers with this imaginative and unusual romance set in London. 17 year old Alex finds an amulet bracelet washed up in the Thames. Little does she know when she puts it on her wrist, that the amulet will be the start of her romantic relationship with Callum. Callum however, is no human boy but a dirge – Ransom’s creation of a ghost like spirit trapped between life and death.

As you can imagine, forging a relationship with a dirge is no plain sailing.  Small Blue Thing is the first in the trilogy, recounting Callum and Alex’s determined battle to be together. Read the rest of this entry

‘Flood Child’ by Emily Diamand

Flood Child, by Emily Diamand

Age: 9+

It is easy to see why Flood Child won the Chicken House competition in 2008. Readers will be swept away in the adventures of 13 year old Lilly, a girl living in London in the year 2216.

The setting of Flood Child is both imaginative and also hints at what actually might be…  Great Britain has been engulfed by floods from global warming. Pirates, known as reavers, rule the waters. Read the rest of this entry

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