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Big Kids

02nd Mar 2019

Get them reading: 5 great new books for kids to buy right now

Trine Jensen-Burke

Reading is great for kids on some many levels.

And in a world where everyone, including kids, are spending more and more time on technology, the ability to get lost in an actual book becomes even more important.

First things first – reading makes kids better at reading. The more they read, the better they will become at it – simples. Reading is also brilliant for expanding vocabularies, building self-confidence, enhancing imagination and, of course, improving grammar and writing skills.

And with that in mind, here are five brilliant new kids’ books to pick up this month:

1. Charlie Changes Into A Chicken

Penguin Random House

A laugh-out-loud funny kids’ book with a heart-warming message about how children deal with stress and anxiety by literary-agent-turned-author Sam Copeland. We have already sold translation rights into 21 languages and screen rights have been sold, so this is set to be a future classic. Please find attached an overview of the book.

With more and more children seeking psychological help, fiction offers another route for troubled youngsters to talk about difficult subjects. Sam Copeland, who has drawn on his own experiences of childhood anxiety in writing the book, says:

“Growing up, the spectre of my father’s debilitating, worsening and eventually fatal Multiple Sclerosis loomed over my childhood. I never spoke of it as a child. It was too big, too terrifying, and, also, too embarrassing. Because after all, no-one had problems like mine, did they? I didn’t recognise the immense stress I was under at the time. It was only when a therapist asked me the question ‘What would you say to that 9-year-old boy if you could speak to him?’ that I realised how anxious and alone I felt then.”

Sam believes it’s crucial to normalise difficult emotions and difficult experiences that children may be going through. Although he is not a child psychologist, he fortunately knows someone who is: his wife, Lynne. When he was first explaining the story to her, she was the person who said, ‘you’re not talking about fear, you’re talking about anxiety.’

“I began to subtly question her about the symptoms and different potential coping mechanisms for anxiety. She tried to hide her surprise and delight at my new interest in her work. I carefully noted everything she said, stole all her opinions and inserted them into the book and consequently, as all good husbands have done for centuries, grabbed all the credit from my wife!” he jokes.

Despite the seriousness of the issues, he touches only lightly on them in the hilarious book, and the choice is there for adults to open up further conversation if the time and place is right. The anxiety thread can easily be ignored. But the essential, underlying message to children is: you are not alone. And also, whatever you do, don’t stand underneath a rhino when it’s doing a poo.

€6.74, Easons

2. On the Origin of Species

Penguin Random House

You should by now have received your copy of the gorgeous ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, the first ever picture-book retelling of Charles Darwin’s seminal text, which was an immediate global sensation when launched on Kickstarter.

Author Sabina Radeva has said, “I wanted to make a picture book that was artistic, beautiful, and inviting, and that at the same time offered accurate scientific information.”

Pulling together Darwin’s observations from his travels around the world and his ground-breaking – and controversial – explanation of how species form, develop and change over hundreds of thousands of years, On The Origin of Species
is as relevant and important now as it ever was.

Utilising her unique skills as both scientist and artist, Sabina’s book is simultaneously educational and beautiful – and perfectly pitched for children, bringing evolution to the younger generation through gorgeous illustrations and easy-to-understand text.

Sabina Radeva is a trained natural biologist, illustrator and designer. In 2009 she left science for a creative career, and has since studied as an illustrator. Sabina is passionate about projects that blend science with art. She is the mother of two little girls that are her source of daily inspiration.

£10.99, Waterstones

3. Spuds and the Crock of Gold

Gill Books

Shamrock shakes and chocolate cakes! Me crock of gold is gone!’

It was the first of May, the start of summer, but for Spuds Potsofgold it was not a good day. Two things had gone horribly wrong. The first was that his precious crock of gold disappeared while he was taking a nap, the second was that he couldn’t stop sneezing!

How will Spuds solve the mystery of his missing crock of gold, and what is to be done about his allergy to Steve, his pet mouse?

This is the second book in the popular series about Spuds the leprechaun. Spuds and the Spider was the first.

€7.99, Bookstation

4. Granuaile The Pirate Queen

Gill Books

Ireland’s original rebel girl: In an exciting new series of books for children, John and Fatti Burke go deeper into the lives and subjects first introduced in Irelandopedia, Historopedia and Foclóiropedia.

This first book focusses on Granuaile, the daughter of a great trader and sea captain, Eoghan O’Malley of Mayo. Living in a castle on Clare Island 500 years ago, Granuaile spent her childhood on the sea in boats of all shapes and sizes. Granuaile’s parents wanted her to do what other girls did, to be a good girl and get married and settle down. But Granuaile had other ideas…

This superb illustrated book on this historic icon and fearless leader is a must to begin every child’s collection of inspiring Irish lives.

€8.99, Gill Books

5. Begone the Raggedy Witches (The Wild Magic Trilogy, Book One)

Penguin Random House

When witches kidnap her dad, Mup is swept up in a wild tide of magic that carries her to another world. Can she reunite her family and find her way back?On the night that Aunty dies, the raggedy witches come for Mup’s family. Pale, cold, and relentless, the witches will do anything for the tyrannical queen who has outlawed most magic and enforces her laws with terror and cruelty — and who happens to be Mup’s grandmother. When witches carry off her dad, Mup and her mam leave the mundane world to rescue him. But everything is odd in the strange, glittering Witches Borough, even Mam. Even Mup herself. In a world of rhyming crows, talking cats, and golden forests, it’s all Mup can do to keep her wits about her. And even if she can save her dad, Mup’s not sure if anything will ever be the same again. First in a new trilogy by Irish author Celine Kiernan, this tale of family and forbidden magic charts a fresh path through the landscape of beloved fantasy tradition — and promises to bewitch any reader in search of stories to love.€9.80,

(Feature image via