The UK long school break is now in its final stretch, so it won’t be long ’til the blog is back to full power! Just one more reading roundup after this and then normal service will be resumed once the new school year begins (anyone else counting down the days?!).

Talking of the new school year, here’s a fab junior fiction series centred around school, albeit of the underwater variety!

It’s never easy starting school, particularly if your aunt was labelled the naughiest mermaid in school history and when not all your classmates are friendly. Will Marnie fit in with her fellow mermaids, or will she be labelled a trouble-maker like her aunt?

I was attracted to this book after spotting Sheena Dempsey’s name on the cover, whose artwork for the hilarious Dave Pigeon stories I really love. Mermaid School is a fab underwater story about navigating friendships and becoming confident in your own skin (or scales!) with the added excitement of an adventure towards the end. Readers aged 6+ will sympathise with how Marnie feels and will be drawn to her moral courage. I particularly like the plentiful, expressive illustrations and the gentle, reassuring message that kindness pays.

Mermaid School
Author: Lucy Courtenay
Illustrator: Sheena Dempsey
Publisher: Anderson Press Ltd
ISBN: 9781783448302
Paperback: 128 pages

Next is this cracking, period spy mystery. It’s the first in the Taylor & Rose Secret Agents series, which is set in the early 1900s. This series follows on from Katherine Woodfine’s Sinclair’s Mysteries, but you don’t have to have read them first (albeit I am now very tempted after enjoying this so much!).

There’s load packed into this exciting, clever read: murder, midlight flits, sinister secret societies, an international air race, loads of subterfuge and peril and more twists and turns than a Curly Wurly. Plus, the parallel plots add even more intrigue as readers try to work out how the 2 storylines are connected. I love the international flavour of the story, the fact that you never quite know who is on which side, and the bold, intelligent female characters who are not deterred by societal constraints. With an ending that leads you deftly on to the next in the series, I’m now completely hooked – it’s like le Carre for kids!

Taylor & Rose Secret Agents: Peril in Paris (E-book)
Author: Katherine Woodfine
Ilustrator: Karl James Mountford
Publisher: Egmont UK Ltd
Ebook ISBN: 9781780317984

Finally, a very quick shout out for Fantastic People Who Dared to Fail. I’ve enjoyed dipping into this over the past week. Aimed at readers aged 8/9+ (and interested adults!), it tells the stories of famous people who have used failure in a positive way to achieve success in many different areas of life. It inspires readers to think about what they could achieve if they both persevere and believe in themselves.

Fantastic People Who Dared to Fail (paperback)
Author: Luke Reynolds
Interior Illustrations: M S Corley
Cover Art: Jessie Ford
UK Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK Ltd
ISBN: 9781471181092

That completes today’s roundup. I’m now off for a mammoth uniform and school kit labelling session, which I plan to make a little more enjoyable by listening to a new audio read while I crack on!

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