Welcome to the September edition of the Children’s and Young Adult Round-up. In September, we had twenty -one books entered for the children’s audience, from picture books to middle grade novels, and five for young adult books, with one familiar author cropping up yet again. Again, we have our stable of reviewers for these areas, and they often read lots of new releases, and sometimes releases that are older.
The children’s books reviewed covered fantasy, diversity, spies, animals, maps and many other themes and types of stories.
Veronica at the Burgeoning Bookshelf reviewed Feathers by Karen Hendriks. Feathers gently explains loss to younger children, through beautiful words and delightful water colour illustrations, and Veronica says that ‘symbolising loss has a beneficial effect on healing…’, and it can for all ages. This is a book that can open up discussions in family, or in the classroom, and I also took part in the blog tour for this book with Books on Tour Australia.
I reviewed one of most anticipated upper middle grade books of the year, Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. Hollowpox is a disease that ravages the Wunimals, and Morrigan needs to find out where it’s come from so she can stop it. But is there something more sinister behind this disease? The publication of this book was delayed twice – the second time due to the pandemic that it eerily and purely coincidentally mirrors. Jessica came up with and wrote this plot long before COVID-19 hit. Had it come out right as we all went into the first lockdown, it might not have done as well. I feel it came out at the right time, and serves to remind us that we will get through this pandemic – even if it feels like we might not, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I was also delighted to get back to the Hotel Deucalion, and Fen – who doesn’t want a cat like Fen to hang out with? She’s snarky and perfect! It is perhaps the book of 2020, and one of the books that will bring us comfort. For fans, we know there is more to come, we know Mog’s story is not quite over. Yet we know that eventually, things will be okay. The world of Nevermoor will continue to entertain and engage readers. This series could also cross over into Young Adult, as there are older readers who follow this series too.
Denise Newton Writes reviewed Aunty’s Wedding by Miranda Tapsell, a beautiful story about an Indigenous family, and what makes their aunty’s wedding special and colourful. It is certainly one to look out for to show younger readers, or indeed, all readers, what other people do, and show the diverse world we live in. The simplicity is beautiful and these stories are always powerful.
Recently, there has been a distinct fall in YA reviews, and sometimes, the same author and book crops up each month – in particular Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal by Anna Whateley, reviewed by Rebecca Bowyer this month. So I’ve often wondered lately how to tackle this audience round up.
One book I read, The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst, is one of those books that could cross over between middle grade and young adult. The characters are about eleven to thirteen, and they’re quite long books, so aimed at confident older readers. This continues the Kingdoms and Empires series by Jaclyn Moriarty. Girls are always at the heart of these novels, the main characters who drive the action, and certainly, this allows for the story to have so many different threads, it is highly entertaining and a great addition to the series.
Another book that might have this crossover is A.L. Tait’s new book, The Firestar. I classed it as middle grade, but it has tones of young adult themes, as Maven and Reeve are a bit older than the target age group, but having characters a little older than your readers is common in literature for middle grade and early young adult readers.
Finally, I’m including None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney, reviewed by Emily at a Keybaord and an Open Mind, and I am convinced I must read this one as soon as possible now! Emily says the settings and characters worked well with the plot, and that it worked well without the romance, so bonus for me as someone who doesn’t always need romance in what I read! Emily says it gives a good idea of what the early days of profiling were like and enjoyed yhe friendship between Emma and Travis.
And that’s it for September!