Children's Books to Read During Book Week Scotland
It's Book Week Scotland, and our Schools team are on hand with their recommendations for children's books to check out during the week. It's been another fantastic year for children's books, so here are some gems that we've picked up over the past months.
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry
The girls of St Etheldreda's school have a problem, and it's a big one. Their fiery and unpopular headmistress, Miss Plackett, has breathed her last after coming a cropper at a poisoned Sunday dinner. The downside is that the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls will be sent home, unless they can concoct some kind of outrageous scheme to convince their neighbours that everything is normal. Which is exactly what they do. This is a highly original and irreverent book and a sheer delight.
Mountwood School for Ghosts by Toby Ibbotson
Toby Ibbotson's book is based on an idea which he conceived and planned with his mother, Eva, and it shines as brightly as her brilliant books. Fredegonda, Goneril and Drusilla aren't just your regular old hags: they're Great Hagges, and they know a thing or two about being scary. So when they decide that people simply aren't scared of ghosts any more, they decide to put this right by setting up a school for aspiring spooks, offering tuition in the art of terrifying people. It's a funny read with plenty of adventure and action, and Toby Ibbotson grabs the torch from his mother while managing to forge a distinct style.
The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle
We've probably said enough good things about Phil Earle to shroud the poor man in an everlasting cocoon of worship, but we're throwing more scary love at him for The Bubble Wrap Boy. Charlie Han is an outsider at school, ignored by his father and suffocated by his overprotective mother. But Charlie is about to make a discovery, something his mother has been keeping secret: something that could change everything. This is a bit of a departure from Phil Earle's more hard-edged fiction for young adults, but he still manages to infuse this more humorous narrative with the kind of complex and relatable characters that have populated his other books. There are serious elements too: Charlie has to face hostility from the other kids at school, and the way he deals with it will make you love him.
The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Despite being the smallest in his class, Rory is a kid full of heart and prepared for anything. Even when he's being pushed around by his nemesis Tommy-Lee, he's full of resolve to stand tall and come back stronger. One day, quite mysteriously and without warning, Rory turns green, and when the doctors fail to find a conventional medical cause, Rory starts to wonder if his greenness might just be an indication of superpowers! One thing is certain: he's going to find out. Fans of Dahl will love the humour in this book, and at the heart of it is a fascinating relationship between Rory and the boy who bullies him.
The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond (illustrated by Oliver Jeffers)
David Almond has a certain magic, and it's complemented beautifully here by Oliver Jeffers's illustrations.
Stanley Potts is an ordinary boy with a very ordinary life, until all the jobs in Fish Quay disappear and his uncle Ernie develops an obsession with canning fish. While Ernie's obsession becomes all-consuming, Stanley's destiny lies elsewhere. At a hook-a-duck stall he meets the eccentric Pancho Pirelli, a daredevil who swims with piranhas.
When Stan dives into the waters, he discovers who he can really be. A cast of memorable, off-the-wall characters coupled with a perfectly judged combination of serious and tender moments make for another Almond classic.
So there you go: a veritable cornucopia of reading delights. Don't thank us: we're not heroes, we're just ordinary people. If you want to thank anyone this week, why not thank a book or author that you really loved by heading over to our #ThankBooks wall and posting a message?