Here's a selection of the best kids' and young adult books on offer for June.
What I love most about reading is that it lets you travel without ever having to leave your chair. And on top of that, it can send you to places you’d never normally be able to go, from fantasy lands to back in time. This month’s selection of great reads will transport you to lots of great places, and you won’t even need a passport.
Antarctica might not be on everyone’s winter travel list, but seeing it through Sophie Scott’s eyes might change your mind. She’s the main character of Alison Lester’s latest picture book, Sophie Scott Goes South, and her tour of icebergs, penguins and polar bears will delight readers aged six and up. (You can read our Readings review here).
Lester is the Australian Children’s Laureate, and won an Antarctic Arts Fellowship to write this book.
Travel back in time to learn more about extinct species of animals in Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals by Hélène Rajcak and Damien Laverdunt.
This charmingly presented book will teach kids all about extinct animals like the Sicilian dwarf elephant and the giant beaver in a series of cartoons and naturalist drawings.
The wonderful thing about historical fiction is that it can make a whole other time come alive, especially when it’s done in the capable hands of an author like Philippa Gregory. Gregory is well-known for her historical adult novels The Other Boleyn Girl and Lady of the Rivers, and now she has turned her hand to writing for young adults.
The Changeling is the first in Gregory’s new Order of Darkness series, and follows the lives of two teens in the 1400s: Isolde, a girl sent to a nunnery to deny her of her inheritance, and Luca, a new initiate to a secret sect.
Of course you don’t have to go back centuries to escape into a book. Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos is the 2012 Newberry Medal winner – an offbeat, semi-autobiographical tale about a boy growing up in a small town in the sixties who finds himself typing obituaries for his elderly neighbour.
In 1939 a luxury ocean liner left Germany with almost 1000 Jewish passengers on board, carrying them to a safe haven. Kathy Kacer’s To Hope and Back explores this journey through the eyes of Lisa, whose parents have a first class cabin, and Sol, whose family is stuck down in the tourist section.
Together they share the highs and lows of an uncertain future as they leave their home. With its well-researched story complete with photographs, this story is sure to send any young reader travelling across the seas with Sol and Lisa.
Judging by this month’s fantastic selection of titles, being stuck inside doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Reading really can take you anywhere, and all you need is a good book.
Holly Harper is a children’s bookseller at Readings Carlton where she organises the kids and Young Adult enews'. She also writes books for younger readers under the name H.J. Harper. Find out more about her Star League and Bureau of Mysteries series here.