Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Children's books: Wolves and mummies

Angela Kiverstein's monthly round up of children's books

    Wolf Children by Paul Dowswell
    Wolf Children by Paul Dowswell

    Wolf Children by Paul Dowswell (Bloomsbury, £7.99) is a Second World War novel about survival, but not in the way one might expect. Teenagers Otto, Ulrich and Helene, joined by eight-year-old Hanna, live in a derelict hospital amid the bizarre ruins of 1945 Berlin. The boys have been in the Hitler Youth and Ulrich has not yet shaken off its ideals. Their lives now revolve around foraging for food, occasionally setting off abandoned explosives for fun. If they trust the wrong person (even Ulrich, perhaps), they could all be dead. Crime, grime and fear are all-encompassing – a book that will stay with you. Age 12 up.

    The Story of Tutankhamun by Patricia Cleveland-Peck (Bloomsbury, £14.99) is a gilded treasury of detailed illustrations, in which Isabel Greenberg employs speech bubbles, break-out sections and a hieroglyphic activity to engage the seven-to-11 age group, interwoven with more extensive text for older readers, filling in the historical background of the tomb’s discovery.

    Breaking hearts are healed by making art, in Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel (Penguin, £7.99), a quirky, intelligent novel about negative space. Amid the usual teen business — handsome love interest, bad-boy rival, mean-girls scenario — there are more unusual goings-on. Juniper’s sister, Camilla, has died in a car crash, leaving behind a letter, addressed only to “You”.

    Now, Juniper has two missions — to keep up her daily index of personal highs and lows (a project initiated by Camilla) and to deliver the letter. But on her first day back at school, one index card is lost… Age 12 up.

    Like Camilla, Aaron Rosenthal is dead (he drowned) and what happens after his death is The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (Bloomsbury, £7.99). Paige dated Aaron for only a short time but his absence is a powerful force in her life. Two boys — one rough, one smooth — are contending for his place. Lord draws a parallel with Elizabeth Bennett and makes good use of literary references throughout; definitely a book for Eng-Lit fans. Paige’s grandmother is adorable, too — facing Alzheimer’s, she inspires Paige to follow her scriptwriting dream. Age 12 up.

Books

Bookniks: a kids' book festival

Angela Kiverstein

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Bookniks: a kids' book festival
Books

Sewing for survival, with a ribbon of hope

Angela Kiverstein

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sewing for survival, with a ribbon of hope
Books

Banana skinned

Angela Kiverstein

Monday, May 22, 2017

Banana skinned
Books

Children's books: Lickable flavours

Angela Kiverstein

Friday, January 12, 2018

Children's books: Lickable flavours
Books

William Sutcliffe: Imagining Gaza in London

Angela Kiverstein

Monday, October 2, 2017

William Sutcliffe: Imagining Gaza in London
Books

Anthony Horowitz: Alex Rider's return

Angela Kiverstein

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Anthony Horowitz: Alex Rider's return
Books

Children's books: Opening pages

Angela Kiverstein

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Children's books: Opening pages
Books

Siblings and others

Angela Kiverstein

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Siblings and others
Books

Underpants and heroes

Angela Kiverstein

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Underpants and heroes