The problem with selling books that you love is that when it comes to choosing from them, it’s like deciding on your best friend. In this case, the ‘best friends’ I’ve selected from the Bookwagon bookshop are those that fit a long, hot summer holiday season, and have a staying power to engage and satisfy your reader.

For the very young, babies to nursery, nearly school:-

A Perfect Day by Lane Smith (just right for all…….. until Bear arrives – the latest title from the 2017 Kate Greenaway winner

Banana by Ed Vere (hardly any text, but big contextual understanding)

Before & After by Jean Jullien (simple, yet complex, intriguing fun!)

Alan’s Big Scary Teeth by Jarvis (V & A Illustrator of the Year winner- very funny!)

One Happy Tiger by Catherine Rayner (counting, rhyme, lovely illustrations)

You Must Bring a Hat by Simon Philip and Kate Hindley (very funny, full of pacy misunderstanding)

For readers newer to reading, aged from 6, building up momentum, pace, range and tenacity:-

Polly and the Puffin series, by Jenny Colgan (lovely stories, and appealing activities too!)

The Cat and the King by Nick Sharratt (Nick Sharratt’s first picture book hits the spot perfectly!)

My Dog Mouse by Eva Lindstrom (‘Didn’t it go well?’ I defy any reader not to add this perfect picture book of a child’s walk with Mouse, an aged dog, to their favourite book pile)

For independent readers who want to get caught by a great series, with gusto, feeling and imagination, aged from 7 or 8 or 9:

Mostly Mary and All Mary by Gwynedd Rae and Clara Vulliamy (Mary Plain is funny, naive and appealing, and ready for a post – Paddington generation)

The Fairytale Detective Agency series, by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts (bizarre, engaging, fish paste flavoured writing);

Snake and Lizard, and Helper and Helper by Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop (NZ award winners deservedly, for quality writing, unique characters, and thoughtful themes);

My Happy Life, When I am Happiest and My Heart is Laughing by Rosa Lagencrantz and Eva Ericsson (thoughtful, appealing and tender, without condescension in theme);

Animals Behaving Badly by Nicola Davies (thoroughly researched, arresting animal facts), and

Bigfoot, Tobin & Me by Melissa D. Savage (with humour, resolution, mystery and pathos) – a perfect fit

For confident readers, aged from 9 or so, who have a reading habit,  needing great books for summer, Bookwagon recommends:-

The Apprentice Witch by James Nichol (oh boy, oh boy – where has this author been?; he has surely passed his witchy evaluation with this title);

The One and Only Ivan and Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (each totally different, relevant, emotional, beautifully researched and realised – glorious!);

The Jamie Drake Equation and The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge (award winning and nominated – watch this ‘space’ for Christopher Edge can REALLY write!);

Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll (assured, rich, well characterised, and plotted historical fiction);

Little Bits of Sky by S.E. Durrant (nominated, deservedly, for the Branford Boase first writer’s award; no hammer blow of reality, just gentle, thoughtful, heart stirring story telling, from the view of a girl in care)

For young adult, tween, teen readers, needing a great story into which they can really lose themselves, I suggest:

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen (winner of the 12-16 UKLA book award; a difficult topic told brilliantly; I couldn’t put it down);

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (at last one of this award winning US writer’s titles has made it to Britain, and it’s a heart-breaking, cow rump-slapping story from the start);

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (from Alaska, is a beautiful story of five young people lost in their setting and themselves, Carnegie Medal nominated);

An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls (affirmative, strong, reality based, ‘despite the odds’ story telling);

A Storm of Strawberries by Jo Cotterill (possibly the first story told through the experience of a girl with Downs’ Syndrome, as she struggles to share her older sister with her friend).

To enjoy, recite, experience or learn from, Bookwagon has the following suggestions from its non-fiction, poetry and picture book area:-

The Wolves of Currumpaw by William Grill (an outstanding story of beast versus man, wilderness versus civilisation);

The Little Mermaid and Other Fishy Tales by Jane Ray (traditional tales, verse, myths and legends beautifully retold by Jane Ray, amongst a backdrop of her unforgettable illustrations);

A First Book of Animals by Nicola Davies and Petr Horacek (rhymes, facts, gorgeous illustrations and anecdotes);

Spot the Lot! (Find it, score it, then draw it!) Lonely Planet Kids, illustrated by Thomas Flintham (activities for any summer day, that call for careful reading and exploration);

Sticky Ends by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross (funny poetry in the style of Hillaire Belloc’s ‘Cautionary Tales’ or Roald Dahl’s ‘Revolting Rhymes’),

Amazing World Atlas: Bringing the World to Life (Lonely Planet Kids) (so the children might know where they’re going, where they might go, where they come from, or where someone else is going).

All books are Bookwagon books, read and recommended by us, We want our readers to have the best reading experience, so please support our aim and enterprise by shopping and engaging with us.

We would love to hear from you should you have any questions or comments, or have a need for suggestions specifically for your readers. Please call or email us. 

Happy summer reading, Bronnie and Bob – Team Bookwagon




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