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If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I have a fondness for reading children’s books – not just all the Twi-likes (I’m getting fed up of them – “Finally!”  I hear you say), but proper novels for children nine upwards.  I thought I’d highlight a few that I’ve spotted or enjoyed recently in case you were looking for books for gifts.  In this post, all links will go through to Amazon.co.uk should you wish to see more…

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde.
New out this month in hardback (RRP £12). I only bought this book a few days ago and haven’t read it yet – but what’s not to like about it?  It would appear to have all the inventiveness and humour of Fforde’s Thursday Next series for grown-ups, with more magic thrown in for older kids/teens.

Annexed by Sharon Dogar.
Nominated for the Costas, this book tells the story of Anne Frank and beyond through Peter’s eyes – Peter being the son of the other family hiding with the Franks.  This too is in my TBR pile, but I have read her contemporary novel Waves and enjoyed it very much. Dogar was taught by Philip Pullman.  Difficult subject matter, but one for teens who have already appreciated Anne Frank perhaps.

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley
I read this marvellous Gothic spine-chiller last month and reviewed it here.  Chris Priestley is carving a niche for himself as the Susan Hill of Horror and Ghostly stories for children.  This one is suitable for around 10 upwards.

Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St John.
The first in a new adventure series for 10+ pays homage to the Famous Five and is set in Cornwall, but is bang up to date plotwise.  I reviewed it here, but don’t take my word for it – see The Girl Who Read Too Much (who is a 12yr old relative of Simon Savidge). We’ve given it to a couple of daughter’s friends for birthday presents too and it’s gone down very well.

Ottoline at Sea by Chris Riddell.
I’ve raved about Chris Riddell’s illustrations before (click here), but he has also written illustrated books as well as his collaborations.  This, the latest is the third in his Ottoline series which my daughter adores.  Written for 7+, the drawings and quirkiness will enchant anyone who reads it.  This book has the added extra of having coded pictures in which need the glasses supplied to see what’s hidden which makes it extra fun.

White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick.
I love Sedgwick’s books, of which this is the latest. I’ve yet to read it, but I’ve not read anything by this author that I didn’t love reading as an adult, not just auditioning them for teenagers. This one is a bit of a Gothic thriller set in the 17th century about two girls who become friends one summer and uncover secrets best forgotten.

That’s it for now.  If you’d like to recommend any other recent books for older children or teenagers, (especially if you think I’d enjoy them), please do comment.

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