Sizzling Summer Reads

« Back

We’ve put together an amazing list of book recommendations for your Summer reading! Follow some daring and exciting adventures, visit the salty and windswept seaside, and discover more about yourself over the summer with these brilliant reads.

Beginning readers:

What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside by Julia Donaldson

What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

With a cast of wonderful sea creatures, including a magical mermaid, and plenty of seaside fun, What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside is a brilliant rhyming adventure from the bestselling picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks.

The clever little ladybird is off on a trip to the seaside, but those two bad men, Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len, are up to their wicked ways again. This time they’re planning to steal the mermaid’s hair and sell it to a famous star. Luckily, the crime-busting ladybird has a clever plan to stop the thieves.

Grandad’s Camper written and illustrated by Harry Woodgate, published byGrandad's Camper by Harry Woodgate Andersen Press

Celebrate love in all its forms, as Grandad tells his granddaughter about the adventures he used to have with Gramps.

Grandad’s camper van is hidden away in the garage – now Gramps isn’t around any more, the adventures they shared travelling in it just wouldn’t be the same. As she listens to his wonderful stories, Grandad’s granddaughter has an idea to cheer him up…

Never Grow Up by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake, published by Penguin Random House Children’s

Never Grow Up by Roald DahlA full colour picture book inspired by the magic of Roald Dahl stories featuring all-new illustrations by Quentin Blake.

Never Grow Up celebrates “a more unusual child” – the kind who “Paints their tongue … And scrapes their knees … Then fills their underpants with bees!” Then a secret is revealed; that some of these children never grow up at all.

A celebration of mischief-makers, rule-breakers and wild children everywhere, Never Grow Up encourages readers of any age to embrace the bound-less joy of childhood.

Sophie’s Stories written and illustrated by Devon Holzwarth, published by Scholastic (Alison Green imprint)

It’s bedtime, but Sophie needs one more bedtime story…Sophie's Stories by Devon Holzwarth

And every time Sophie opens a book, it transports her to a magical storybook land. One story sweeps her away on a flying carpet. Another whisks her to Wonderland, with white rabbits and talking mushrooms. How on earth can she go to sleep, when stories are just so exciting?

Warm, funny and brimming with gorgeous images of classic storybook characters, Sophie’s Stories will make every child want to curl up with a good book.

Early readers:

Wild Child: A Journey Through Nature written by Dara McAnulty, illustrated by Barry Falls, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Join brilliant young naturalist Dara McAnulty – winner of the 2020 Wainwright Prize for his book Diary of a Young Naturalist – on a nature walk and experience the joy of connecting with the natural world on your multi sensory journey.

Wild Child by Dara McAnultyThis beautiful gift book, illustrated in full colour by Barry Falls, is divided into five sections: looking out of the window, venturing out into the garden, walking in the woods, investigating heathland and wandering on the river bank.

Dara pauses to tell you about each habitat and provides fantastic facts about the native birds, animals and plants you will find there – including wrens, blackbirds, butterflies, tadpoles, bluebells, bees, hen harriers, otters, dandelions, oak trees and many more.

Each section contains a discovery section where you will have a closer look at natural phenomenon such as metamorphoses and migration, learn about categorization in the animal kingdom or become an expert on the collective nouns for birds.

Each section finishes with an activity to do when you get home: plant wild flowers, make a bird feeder, try pond dipping, make a journey stick and build a terrarium.

Tiger Warrior: Attack of the Dragon King written by M. Chan, published by Hachette Children’s Group

Heart of a tiger, strength of a dragon, body of a … schoolboy? A thrilling new action-adventure series with the magical power of the ChineseTiger Warrior Zodiac.

When Jack’s grandpa gives him a magical jade coin, Jack finds himself caught in an ancient battle between good and evil. For he is the new Tiger Warrior, and it’s up to him to save the world!

Luckily, Jack has the spirits of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac to help him. Tiger can harness the power of fire, Dragon can control water, Monkey has lightning speed and the rest, well they’re just happy to be out of the jade coin for a bit! But other ancient spirits want the power of the Chinese Zodiac for themselves…

Early and fluent readers:

The 130 Storey Treehouse by Andy GriffithsThe 130-Storey Treehouse written by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

There are lots of laughs at every level in The 130-Storey Treehouse, the tenth book in the number one bestselling Treehouse series from Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton.

This is our Treehouse, come on up!

We’ve added 13 new levels to our Treehouse including soap bubble blaster, a GRABINATOR (it can grab anything from anywhere at any time), a time-wasting level, a toilet paper factory (because you can never have too much toilet paper) and an extraterrestrial observation centre . . .

Which will come in handy when giant flying eyeballs from outer space come to grabinate US!

Happy Here a Black British anthology with an introduction from Sharna Jackson, published by Knights Of

Inclusive publisher Knights Of, is partnering with children’s reading charity Book Trust and the Centre for Literacy in Primary EducationHappy Here (CLPE) to publish Happy Here, an anthology of Black British writers and illustrators for all middle grade readers.

Featuring stories from Dean Atta, Joseph Coelho, Kereen Getten, Patrice Lawrence, Theresa Lola, E.L. Norry, Jasmine Richards, Alexandra Sheppard, Yomi Ṣode and Clare Weze, Happy Here will feature an introduction from bestselling author Sharna Jackson and include stories and poems exploring themes of joy, home and family through a wide range of genres and styles.

Each author has been paired with a different illustrator to spotlight Black British artistic talent.

Fluent readers:

Crowfall by Vashti HardyCrowfall written by Vashti Hardy, published by Scholastic

A rip-roaring, island-hopping adventure – and unforgettable ecological fable – from the award-winning author of Wildspark and Brightstorm.

Ironhold is an orderly island where ‘industry brings prosperity’, and where nature is pushed aside for progress. But when Orin Crowfall, a lowly servant boy, learns that his home is in grave danger, that knowledge makes him a target of powerful forces.

He narrowly escapes on a small boat, but then faces a fight for survival with his robot friend, Cody, in the turbulent, stormy ocean, pursued by a terrifying sea monster. Can they make it to safety, somewhere beyond he horizon? And will Orin find a way back to save his family before everything is destroyed?

To succeed, Orin will need to dig deep for courage, trust in new friends, and, ultimately, faith in himself.

Worst. Holiday. Ever. written by Charlie Higson, published by Penguin Random House Children’s

A heart-warming and hilarious new middle grade comedy by best-selling author Charlie Higson.Worst Holiday Ever by Charlie Higson

Stan is going on holiday to Italy with his (fifth) best friend Felix and a load of strangers. Stan is absolutely terrified. Luckily, his mum’s given him an emergency list that includes how to survive a shark attack, and what to do if he gets kidnapped. Stan thinks that a better list would include how to cope with odd food, and what to do if he accidentally calls Felix’s mum ‘Mum’ in front of everybody. One thing’s for certain, Stan’s not going to come back the same boy he left. He just hopes he comes back at all.

Full of laugh-out-loud moments alongside an exploration of father-son relationships, worries and masculinity, the story in inspired by Charlie’s own memories of holidays, family and fatherhood.

The Highland Falcon Thief by MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman The Highland Falcon Thief written by MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Harrison Beck and his Uncle Nat are enjoying the final journey of the Highland Falcon, Britain’s most famous steam train. But when a precious jewel goes missing, Harrison and his new friend Lenny find themselves at the centre of the investigation. Can they solve the mystery and catch the culprit before they reach the end of the line?

Hear whispers in the dining car, find notes in the library, and unknown passengers among the luggage as you help Harrison to solve the mystery aboard one of the world’s grandest trains.

Join Hal and Uncle Nat on the next stops in this thrilling series, Kidnap on the California Comet, Murder on the Safari Star and Danger at Dead Man’s Pass.

The Dream Team: Jaz Santos vs the World written by Priscilla Mante, published by Penguin Random House Children’sThe Dream Team: Jaz Santos vs the World by Priscilla Mante

The first in a new women’s football themed series about self-belief and never giving up on a dream.

Things begin to go wrong for Jaz when her mum moves out, leaving her family behind. Determined to fix everything, she creates her own girl’s football team to be the star her mum always wanted.

Publishing just ahead of the Euros 2021, Jaz Santos vs the World is the new Bend It Like Beckham for fans of Jacqueline Wilson.

Independent readers (NB: may contain mature content):

Ways to Be Me written by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott, published by Scholastic

Ways to Be Me by Libby Scott and Rebecca WestcottTaking place before Can You See Me? and Do You Know Me? this sensitively written, standout prequel follows Tally through her autism diagnosis in her final year of primary school.

Ten-year-old Tally had high hopes for Year 6. Being in the top class at school means a whole host of privileges, but even better than that is the school production – and Tally is convinced she’ll win the lead role.

But at home, things aren’t going so well. Mum and Dad have been making Tally feel pressured and upset, and Tally wishes things didn’t bother her so much – but they do, and sometimes she feels so misunderstood and frustrated, she could explode.

Then Tally’s mum and dad tell her about something she’s never heard about before. Something called autism.

And everything changes.

Rise to the Sun by Leah JohnsonRise to the Sun written by Leah Johnson, published by Scholastic

Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival.

Toni is grieving the loss of her roadie father and needing to figure out where her life will go from here – and she’s desperate to get back to loving music. Olivia is a hopeless romantic whose heart has just taken a beating (again) and is beginning to feel like she’ll always be a square peg in a round hole – but the Farmland Music and Arts Festival is a chance to find a place where she fits.

The two collide and it feels like something like kismet when a bond begins to form. But when something goes wrong and the festival is sent into a panic, Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other (and music) more than they ever imagined.

The Memory ThievesThe Memory Thieves written by Darren Simpson, published by Usborne Books

What you don’t remember can’t hurt you…

Cyan has lived at the Elsewhere Sanctuary for as long as he can remember, freed by Dr Haven from dark memories of his past life. But when Cyan finds a mysterious warning carved into the bones of a whale skeleton, he starts to wonder what he had to forget to be so happy.

New resident, Jonquil, begins to resist the sanctuary’s treatment, preferring to hold on to her memories – even the bad ones. So when Dr Haven resorts to harsher measures, Cyan embarks on a secret mission to discover the truth about the sanctuary…and himself.

“Marvellously visual and gripping” – A. M. Howell

Destination Anywhere written by Sara Barnard, published by Macmillan Children’s BooksDestination Anywhere by Sara Barnard

After five years at secondary school spent without any friends, Peyton King starts sixth form college determined that things will be different. Whatever happens, she will make friends at any cost.

When she finds the friends she’s always dreamed of, including an actual boyfriend, she’s happier than she’s ever been. But when they let her down in the worst way, Peyton is left no better off than when she started. Now Peyton knows the only chance she has of finding happiness is to look for it somewhere else. Her life may feel small, but it doesn’t have to be. With nothing but her sketchpad and a backpack, she buys a one-way ticket and gets on a plane. . .

In Destination Anywhere, Sara Barnard explores love, life and friendship in this exquisite tale of the lengths one girl will go to to change her story.


Grandad's Camper by Harry Woodgate