Bookwagon Winter Reading Recommendations

Recently Mr Bookwagon sent a newsletter to our lovely readers, revealing recent winners of book awards. I shadowed awards in schools- the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway, UKLA, Red House and Smarties’ awards (two of which no longer exist)- but did not realise how many exist or are created. A majority are settled toward the end of the year and into a new year. Added to this the number of reviews including  lists of favourite/ best books of the year, and this Bookwagon duo feel rather overwhelmed!

We include information of awards won by individual titles and share results from notable awards, e.g., Carnegie and Kate Greenaway, Newbery, and UKLA awards. However, we have decided that we cannot, in all faith, offer you a review of our favourite books of 2017, like some other booksellers.

Bookwagon was established to offer readers a personalised service. In this, we aim to match you to books that you and/or your family or friends require, according to your specific needs. The personalised refers to us, too; we recommend and sell books that we have read and loved only. There are a few exceptions to this rule, e.g., like the Harry Potter series, or more recently, Philip Pullman’s ‘Book of Dust‘, which we have abstained from selling because of Philip Pullman’s reputation and the corporate, discounted availability of this release.

The books we read, love, recommend and sell are most often books that are less well known,  that may have escaped readers’ attention, come from different sources, maybe a little known writer or illustrator. It’s a joy to find these titles. Every single book in the Bookwagon shop is an award-winner to us. We talk about them as though they are our Crufts’ entrants.

If you have contacted me for recommendations to fit your readers’ needs, you will realise how I know our books. I invite you to take up this opportunity to seek suggestions. Personalised service and free delivery- a Christmas cracker you can’t refuse!

Shortly one of the publishing industry’s big hitters will award the biggest selling book of the year. We do not really want to be part of this celebration, for we are keenly aware of the many writers struggling to get their deserving titles into the hands of real readers. Unfortunately, seldom do best-selling, biggest selling products equate to ‘best quality’-  with a few exceptions.

However, I’ve thought about the season, books that could inspire, those that merit a consideration for Christmas gifts or a peruse during snowy days such as we’re enjoying. This is a section (22/430) of the Bookwagon (Crufts’) award-winners:-

 Snow Rain Sun Sam Usher’s beautiful, seasonal titles are ideal for reading alone, sharing, imagining and treasuring. Each new day offers new possibilities for the boy and his grandfather, desert excavations, polar discoveries, gondola rides. We love ‘Sun’, ‘Rain’ and ‘Snow’ and recommend each book to any reader aged from 3 or 4 or 5 to many more years;

Mouse House The mouse family has lived happily in the same house as the human family until one fatal day. When the ‘mouse man’ is called, it’s up the children to ensure their tiny housemates are kept safe to enjoy the sort of lives to which they have become accustomed. This is a gorgeous, smile of a title, recommended to readers from 2 or 3 years old. 

All the Wild Wonders  Considering the delights and possibilities of our planet through a variety of poetry is a superb prospect, especially when the collection is as special as this one. We love this title as a gift, as a stalwart in the bedtime reading selection, or as a book that can be read, shared and loved forever.

Edgar and the Sausage Inspector Edgar plans the treats he will buy and share for his evening meal with his sister Edith. However, after each purchase, he is met by the sausage inspector, a badge carrying, hat wearing rat who insists that confiscating Edgar’s tasting haul, is all part of his job, and he’s doing Edgar a good turn. However, Edgar’s suspicions grow…. Tempting, torturous good fun, with fabulous Francophile allusions, recommended for readers from 5 or 6;

The World Is Not a Rectangle The childhood, inspiration, education and obstacles of acclaimed, ground-breaking architect Zaha Hadid are revealed in this beautiful picture book. The shapes and storyline are real and glorious, while the themes are vital, current and universal. This is a superb book for readers of all ages; 

Detective Gordon: The First Case  There’s a snowy case for the wearied, cake- tempted Detective Gordon to investigate, but he’s at a point when he’s realised he needs help in his work. Who can possibly measure up to his exacting standards? With whom can he share his tea breaks? An insignificant mouse? This is the first of a glorious, whimsical, gentle series recommended for readers aged from 6 or 7 years;

All the Year Round This is a rhyming riot of poetry celebrating each month of the year through activity, reminders, observations and farce. It is a superb bedtime read, sure to be read many times, recalled and quoted long after its first sharing. John Yeoman and Quentin Blake are an exuberant, skilled duo;

A Kitten Called Holly This winter themed title from Helen Peters’ Jasmine Green series is typically unsentimental, gripping and real. Jasmine and her friend Tom disturb a feral cat, who abandons several kittens for the children to raise. This is not easy; the detail included is informative and interesting. Jasmine and Tom are purposeful, appealing characters, and the series a real find. We recommend this title and the others to readers aged from 7 or 8 years old;

Bicycling to the Moon  Barkus and Purdey share a home in the Finnish countryside. Through a year we share their adventures, from a singing competition, to new hobbies, supporting a friend, to a bold journey. The friends compare their unique canine and feline characteristics throughout each of the twelve chapters. We recommend this  gentle, wry, laugh-out-loud, much-loved title to readers aged from 7 or 8 years;

Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales This is a definitive reinterpretation and retelling of a variety of familiar tales, retaining the truths of the stories, but relocating them to different settings, with a variety of voices and angles. It is a tour de force and recommended highly as a ‘forever’ book to keep, read and share, for readers aged from 7 years or so;

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy  We join Ophelia, her sister and father in new home in a new snowy town with a father ‘tied up to the clock hands’ by a demanding new job, refusing to talk about the family tragedy. Ophelia is left to her own devices in the town museum, which has its stories, history, prisoners and a countdown. A Snow Queen/ Narnia like mystery that is truly entrancing, we recommend this title to readers aged from 8 or 9 years old.

Murder in Midwinter Aboard a London bus texting her sister, Maya inadvertently observes an argument between a couple in a Regent Street doorway; one of them is pointing a gun. The flash of her phone camera alerts them to Maya and the drama begins. 
Taut, real, brave and pacy, ‘Murder in Midwinter’ is a really exciting book for readers aged from 9 or 10 years old;

Arthur and the Golden Rope Join Arthur on his daring, death-defying journey in this brave, brilliant graphic novel interpretation of a formidable Norse legend. We recommend this exciting title to all readers, especially to those aged from 6 years;

The Travel Book Publishers have realised the demand for quality information books and are filling the void with readable, fact-laden, well researched books like this.  This is quality, thoroughly researched and captivating information, that demands attention of readers;

Do You Speak Chocolate? This is pitched as a title for those readers who enjoy books by Dame Jacqueline Wilson. It offers the same pacy text, social context, yet is its own very fine, very readable story, suitable for readers aged from 9 years old;

Sky Dancer A warm human drama from the Queen of relevant environmental writing, about a boy from a troubled family, who finds purpose in a shared endeavour to save an orphaned hen harrier chick, an unwelcome inhabitant on the moors where he lives. We recommend this title to readers aged from 9 or 10 years.

I’m Just No Good At Rhyming And Other Nonsense For Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-ups Chris Harris has created a superb collection of poetry in which every page is an unexpected delight. At times, it is like reading an internal monologue. Award-winning illustrator Lane Smith’s sepia toned pictures add meaning, fun and form. Readers building a commitment to and interest in language and are recommended ‘I’m Just No Good at Rhyming’. As the full title says, it is ideal for adults too;

The White Fox When Sol’s father tells him there’s been an Arctic fox sighted at the Seattle docks, Sol determines to investigate. Little does he know that his discovery, lured by peanut butter sandwiches, will unlock the door to understanding his past while offering a future. Jackie Morris’s exceptional pictures add resonance to a ‘forever’ book; 

The Snow Angel From bustling Nairobi, to the foothills of Mt Kenya, the rubbish heaps of a city slum, to snowy Glencoe, we journey with Makena. Ill fortune, epidemic, superstition and thieves conspire against her, and her friend, Snow. We learn so much along the way from a story of survival, hope, open hearts and kindness. It is an essential title recommended to any readers aged from 11 years;

First Light  When Peter’s father, a climatologist, determines to take his family on his latest expedition to Greenland, the problems seem to be in the preparations and the cold. However, Peter’s soaring headaches, and the discovery of a peculiar ice shelf marked by a red bracelet, lead to revelations of which he could never dream. Beneath the ice lies a whole, waiting world….This apocalyptic book is a ‘stand-alone’ story, something different, mesmerising and lingering. We recommend ‘First Light’ to demanding readers aged from 11 years; 

Dreaming the Bear Darcy and her family have moved to the wonder and wildness Yellowstone Park. Within this alien environment, Darcy grows weaker, seeking respite through sleep, moving out of her body until… she discovers a wounded bear. The two find unexpected, healing comfort in each other, so we, the reader, are drawn into their experiences, fears and feelings. This is ideal for readers aged from 12 or 13 years, who relish stories in which emotion and experience really matter;

See You in the Cosmos Eleven-year-old Alex’s obsession with space leads him to seek out the annual SHARF rocket launch in New Mexico. Despite problems, including caring for his mother and a fretful puppy, Alex feels that launching his iPod rocket is something he must do. We travel alongside him, listening into his travelogue through the iPod, realising that behind the facts, lie further truths that Alex does not realise. This is a strong title, ideal for young adult/ teen readers.

For further inspiration and/ or recommendations please look through our bookshop site or email or telephone. We are honoured to assist you in building a reading habit.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

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