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SUPER BOOKS FOR THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS FOR AGES 8-12

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[Why not also check out our summer holiday reads for 0-5, 5-8, and 12+?]

When Stars Are Scattered, by Omar Mohamed and Victoria Jamieson, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, coloured by Iman Geddy, published by Faber

A remarkable graphic novel depicting life in a refugee camp through the eyes of a child. Omar Mohamed’s heart-wrenching true story of growing up in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya is brought to life with stunning illustrations from bestselling graphic novelist, Victoria Jamieson.

The Fowl Twins, by Eoin Colfer, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

The Fowl Twins is the first book in the blockbusting new series from global bestseller Eoin Colfer, set in the world of the multi-million bestselling Artemis Fowl. It turns out that criminal genius runs in the family…

My Friend the Alien, by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Sernur Isik, published by Bloomsbury Education

Maxx is an alien: a real one – from the planet Zerg. He’s on Earth to research these strange things called emotions that humans have (and eat as much chocolate as he can). But some of the humans seem to think Maxx’s new human friend Jibreel is an alien too, and Maxx just can’t figure it out. Why would coming from another country make you an alien?!

This funny science-fiction story is a perfect way to tackle difficult topics like racism and refugees with children. It has hilarious black-and-white illustrations throughout, and is ideal for children who are developing as readers.

My Friend the Alien is part of the Bloomsbury Readers series and comes with activities at the back of the book alongside online reading notes written by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), making it perfect to get children reading independently in Key Stage 2.

Pizazz by Sophy Henn, published by Simon & Schuster

Being a superhero is the best thing ever, right? WRONG!

HELLO! My name is Pizazz and I’m a superhero…

You probably think that’s really AWESOME and while it can be, it’s also REEEEEEEAAALLLLY annoying. 

Don’t believe me? Well, I have to wear the same outfit ALL THE TIME?! I’m always dashing off to save the world right in the middle of fun stuff. Plus I have to be the good guy even when I might not want to be. And sometimes I just want to be, well, normal.

You see, it’s not easy being SUPER …

PS. DON’T even ask me about my super “POWER”…

Behind the Scenes at the Museum, published by DK

Take an exclusive tour of the world’s most exciting museums and discover their hidden treasures. 

This behind-the-scenes guide showcases a huge range of incredible artefacts from history and reveals the hard work, care, and effort that goes into collecting, preserving, and storing them.

Ever wondered what happens to an astronaut’s space suit after it’s been worn on the Moon? Or how the world’s most valuable diamond is looked after? Find out all about how museums work and the people that make it happen – from how historians care for Anne Frank’s diary to what it takes to excavate and exhibit a woolly mammoth skeleton.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum gives you exclusive access to hidden objects that aren’t normally on public display. It lets you into a world of animal specimens pickled in jars, priceless jewellery too valuable to be on display, and fragile papers that must be kept in carefully controlled conditions. Filled with incredible images, step-by-step explanations of exciting techniques, and job profiles of the people that make it happen, Behind the Scenes at the Museum offers unique, behind-the-curtain access to the secret delights of the world’s most interesting museums.

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

This #1 New York Times bestselling and Newbery Award-winning novel is coming to the big screen this summer, with a star-studded cast including Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny Devito, Helen Mirren, Bryan Cranston and more!

Inspired by a true story, this beautifully written tale follows a might gorilla’s fight to win his freedom. A winning blend of humour and poignancy that will especially appeal to fans of Michael Morpurgo.

The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon, published by Orion Children’s Books

A boy awakens in the Afterlife, with a pocketful of vague memories, a key, a raven, and a mysterious atlas to guide him as he sets out to piece together what happened, and try to find his way home …

Twig is alone as a newly-made street kid after his dad goes missing. But when he meets Flea, a cheerful pickpocket, the pair become fast friends. Together, Twig and Flea raise themselves on the crime-ridden streets, taking what they need and giving the rest to the even-poorer. Life is good, as long as they have each other.

But then Twig wakes up in the Afterlife with just a handful of memories from Earth and one big question … how did he get there

Loyalty will be tested, and a cruel twist of fate will lead to an act of ultimate betrayal in this epic story that spans a city, a decade, and the divide of life and death itself.

Across the Risen Sea, by Bren MacDibble published by Old Barn Books

Neoma and Jag and their small community are ‘living gentle lives’ on high ground surrounded by the risen sea. When strangers from the Valley of the Sun arrive unannounced, the two friends find themselves drawn into a web of secrecy and lies that endangers their whole way of life. Soon daring, loyal, Neoma must set off on a solo mission across the risen sea, determined to rescue her best friend and find the truth that will save their village.

In a post climate change affected world, this adventure with sinkholes, crocodiles, sharks, pirates, floating cities, vertical farms and a mystery to solve poses the question of how we will all live ‘afterwards’. Will kindness and a sense of community win over selfish greed to preserve our planet – and humanity?

The Time of Green Magic By Hilary McKay, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

From acclaimed author and Costa winner Hilary McKay comes The Time of Green Magic: a beautiful, spell-binding novel about family, magic, an old house and a mysterious visitor . . .

Abi and her two step-brothers, Max and Louis, find that strange things happen when they are alone in their eerie, ivy-covered new house.

Abi, reading alone, finds herself tumbling deep into books, while Louis summons a startling guest through his bedroom window. Even Max has started to see shapes in the shadows . . .

Their busy parents see none of it – but Louis’ secret visitor is growing too alarming to keep secret, and he finds he cannot manage without Max and Abi’s help.

Can they find out where the mysterious creature has come from – and how to get it back there?

Question Everything!, by Susan Martineau, illustrated by Vicky Barker, Published by b small publishing

Developing critical literacy skills is increasingly important forchildren and adults alike. Through engaging examples, Blue Peter Book Award-winning team, Susan Martineau and Vicky Barker, show how the truth (whatever that may be!) is changed, twisted and manipulated in lots of ways. Fight fake news with us!

Agent Asha: Mission Shark Bytes by Sophie Deen and illustrated by Anjan Sarkar, published by Walker Books

Asha Joshi has the perfect excuse not to finish her homework. She’s just been recruited to join the top-secret Children’s Spy Agency. Her first mission: SAVE THE WORLD. Can she do it? Asha’s a coder so she should be able to hack into the biggest tech company in the world, fight deadly sharks and figure out why the Internet has stopped working. All before bedtime. Easy, right?

The story is a great way to engage young readers in coding, critical-thinking and STEM. It is mapped onto key National Curriculum Computing KS1 and KS2 concepts including algorithms, conditionals and debugging.

My Headteacher is an Evil Genius written and illustrated by Jack Noel, published by Walker Books

Meet Tom Ginger. She’s shy! she’s retiring! She’s … our only hope!
Not exactly the stuff that heroes are made of – or is it?

Shy girl Tom Ginger is the world’s most unlikeliest hero – until she discovers that her new braces have the power to act as radio transmitters, allowing her to tune into the conversations of her new super-evil head teacher. Suddenly it’s up to Tom to save the school from Miss Fortune’s dastardly plans. Can she do it? Read the book to find out!

Perfect for fans of Sam Copeland’s Charlie Changes into a Chicken and Danny Wallace’s Hamish series.

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World Book Day is a charity funded by publishers and booksellers in the UK and Ireland.