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Winter books for free readers

Here are some of our favourites:

THE GIRL WHO SPEAKS BEAR by Sophie Andersen(Usborne £6.99) is steeped in ancient fairy tales complete with wolves, bears and a snow forest.  Yanka’s desire to find out where she truly belongs takes her on extraordinary adventures and find true friendships in many shapes and sizes.

There are more woods, snow and wolves in THE TZAR’S CURIOUS RUNAWAYS by Robin Scott-Elliot (Everything With Words £8.99) set just after the death of Peter the Great whose circus of curiosities has been disbanded and the Russian court is ablaze with activity. Echoes of The Greatest Showman ring through this story telling of the power of the human spirit and the strength of loyalty at any cost. It’s terrific.

We are taken to the edge of a snow sea in FROSTHEART by Jamie Littler (Puffin £7.99) and the manga style illustrations bring to life a wonderful community of people with an unforgettable central character. We expect to see a lot more of Ash and his adventures.

Yet more snow in the Himalayas with THE INTERNATIONAL YETI COLLECTIVE by Paul Mason, illustrated by Katy Riddell (Stripes £6.99) where Ella is searching for Yeti with her explorer uncle. Beautifully written and with delightful illustrations throughout, this is a first in a brand new series that combines environmental issues with true adventure and it is wonderful.

Fluttering ribbons of adventure take 12-year-old Bronte on some unashamedly wacky adventures with THE EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT ADVENTURES OF BRONTE METTLESTONE by Jaclyn Moriarty (Guppy Books £12.99). This is a quirky and properly funny story about Bronte’s quest to find a gift her parents have left her. The book is crammed with water-sprites, faeries, dragons, cloud-berry tea and absent-minded aunts and we didn’t want it to end.

New from internationally acclaimed author Tonke Dragt is THE GOLDSMITH AND THE MASTER THIEF (Pushkin Books £12.99). This is an epic tale of twin brothers living out a fairytale conundrum. They were forced to take different paths as children and their subsequent adventures in their quest to reunite is captivating and beautifully written.

Moving away from fantasy, SOME PLACE MORE THAN OTHERS by Renee Watson (Bloomsbury £6.99) deals with how to be you in a confusing world. This is a thought-provoking portrayal of a black girl’s experience finding her roots in New York City.

Going back half a century,  TROUBLE IN New York by Sylvia Bishop (Scholastic £6.99) follows the career of wannabe-reporter Jamie Creeden is this deliciously atmospheric adventure crime caper through New York’s underworld.

David Baddiel’s THE TAYLOR TURBOCHASER (HarperCollins £12.99) puts Amy Taylor very squarely in the limelight. Amy’s wheelchair is broken but her best friend (and inventor whizz-kid) Rahul creates a super-powered wheelchair for her with crazy consequences.

Two books in translation caught our eye. Firstly A POSTCARD TO OLLIS by Ingunn Thon (Wacky Bee Books £6.99) is an unusual story of a girl struggling to deal with a new tidy freak step-father and baby brother and her journey to find courage that she never knew she had.

Lastly, we adored THE WILD BOOK by Juan Villoro (Hope Road Publishing £8.99). This is a YA debut of pure magical realism from Mexico’s highly acclaimed author. It follows the story of Juan, forced to leave home after his parent’s separation. He is taken in by a mad old Uncle who lives in a mad old house which is home to an endless labyrinth of books. It’s a story about the power of reading, the imagination and of how some book chose their readers. Sublime.

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