Tanuja Bocquet is the owner of Tell Me Their Story. Tanuja provides bespoke children’s book consultations to parents, helping them find the right books for their child, whether they are a reluctant reader, a voracious bookworm or looking to develop comprehension and vocabulary skills. The ultimate aim is to create a tribe of happy young readers, whether they are 7 or 17 years old.
As our children head back towards school, here are some more book recommendations from Tanuja to spark your children’s imagination, inspire reflection and most of all bring them pleasure.
For Younger Readers (aged 6 to 8)
Did you read this book as a child? This is a lovely gentle read with an easy structure, accessible vocabulary and brilliant characterisation. There’s a mean teacher, a kind teacher, some school girl rivalry, a slightly dizzy heroine and close loyal friend. It makes for a great warm-hearted first chapter book, read together or alone. It’s timeless storytelling.
A charming, beautifully illustrated slim chapter book by the author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Based on a true story about a baby seal that was adopted by Kerr’s father, this is a delightfully old-fashioned read with a very happy ending.
Ottoline and her companion, Mr Munroe, a bog animal from Norway, are an eccentric pair who have an appetite for solving puzzles and mysteries. Ottoline’s parents are members of the Roving Collectors Society and are often away travelling the world, which, as in all good children’s books, gives Ottoline the chance to have adventures. These adventures are recorded in a series of books by Chris Riddell, which are perfect for emerging readers, with elegant black and white illustrations throughout. A beautiful form of visual literacy that draws the reader into Ottoline’s quirky world.
For Confident Readers – Middlegrade Fiction (aged 8 to 12)
Omar Mohamed grew up in the Kenyan refugee camp, Dadaab, with his younger brother Hassan. They lived there for fifteen years before being resettled in the US. In this collaboration with writer and artist Victoria Jamieson, his experiences have been recorded through the form of the graphic novel. It is a beautiful and very powerful medium; the artwork is fresh and the writing is sensitive and impactful.
What we learn of life in the camp is related to us through a young boy’s eyes. It is an honest voice. There is constant hunger, waiting in lines for meagre rations and the fear of boredom and of what the future might hold. But when all is said and done, this book is full of optimism and love. The ending brings with it the promise of new friends and opportunities. This is an important book for middle grade readers. It’s also a great introduction to the delights of the graphic novel format if never experienced before.
Anyone looking for a magical fantasy adventure with a bright, light-filled heroine will love this hugely anticipated debut. Amari, a black girl from the projects is such a refreshing, likeable heroine. A completely unexpected invitation to try out to become an agent for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs kickstarts a fabulous adventure in a new world crammed full of magical beings, opportunity and danger. Here, Amari will continue her quest to find her cherished missing brother and unlock her own extraordinary powers. She will also learn to relish her difference and overcome prejudice and bullying along the way. Wonderful.
From the author of This is Going to Hurt, this is a completely fabulous book for children all about the human body. Lots of humour, brilliant drawings and an easy to read layout. Perfect non-fiction.
For Young Adult readers
Summers in Cornwall bring much needed light and laughter to Clarry and Peter’s lives. There, they are wrapped in the warmth and charisma of their handsome elder cousin, Rupert, until everything changes in the wake of the First World War when Rupert is drawn to fight at the Front.
The family drama of those that are left behind in the shadow of the war, is told so beautifully and with such warmth. Friendships, love, the art of parenthood, the drawing out of affection and determination are cast in such wonderful prose. The characters are so believable and likeable; at turns hopeful and desperate but always honest, compassionate and full of love.
This historical novel records the story of the mighty cane warriors – the Jamaican plantation slaves who started a rebellion known as Tacky’s war. It is a violent unsettling story but there are moments of incredible tenderness. The Jamaican patois is lyrical and bold and there is a fierce pride that runs throughout the book. This is a book about heroes and Wheatle’s writing captures their passion and fight beautifully. An important and necessary book for young adults.
This is an achingly sad, powerful debut. At times painfully shocking. After losing his parents in a car accident, Lucas must live with his estranged grandmother under the shadow of the Cumbrian mountains. In this beautiful remote landscape he becomes tormented by a wolf that he believes is responsible for his parents’ death. Short beautifully formed sentences linger in the mind. The heavy weight of grief, loss, fear and frustration always intertwined with the wilderness that surrounds and almost consumes the main character.
Please do get in touch to join me for a bespoke Children’s Book Consultation. Whatever your child’s specific reading needs I am here to help.
Keep in touch with Tanuja at Tell Me Their Story