In this April edition of the London Home Tutors ‘recommended reads’ series, we’ll help you put together your reading list for the Easter holidays whilst taking a look at some of the best new young adult fiction around.
When a reader views the names Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross, they know they’re in for something special. This prize-winning duo are famous for their witty rhymes and engaging pictures, and their latest book, #Goldilocks (A hashtag cautionary tale), is no exception.
A classic fairy-tale reimagined for the modern age, #Goldilocks tells the story of a young girl who is desperate for more likes and shares on social media. In order to attract attention, she undertakes outlandish acts – all documented online with the use of a trusty hashtag or two. But when she decides to break into the bears’ cottage to steal porridge (#pipinghot) and use someone else’s bed (#sleep), it might be a step too far. Branded a thief, with her actions immortalised forever in the online world, Goldilocks learns that it’s best to look before you leap – and think before you share…
This brilliant twist on a familiar story is brought to life by Tony Ross’s quirky illustrations and Jeanne Willis’ witty rhymes, and delivers a powerful message about the importance of using social media wisely.
Like #Goldilocks, this novel, which was written by former journalist Keren David, is another rumination on social media and its importance to young people: but with a powerful twist. It’s not only a gripping read, but has also been written with dyslexia-friendly features, so could serve as an effective teaching tool.
The book poses the question: could you give up your phone for £1,000? When a wealthy woman visits Esther’s school and challenges the students to see who can go without their phone for the longest – with the winner being awarded a substantial cash sum – Esther is determined to win. But surviving without her phone is trickier than she thought: she uses it to keep in touch with her father and sister in New York, after all, and she misses them dreadfully. Added to that, it appears that some people in her class are not playing by the rules…
Who will last the longest? And what life lessons might Esther and her friends learn when they are no longer glued to their mobile devices? A compelling examination of the pros and cons of mobile phones and social media, as well as the importance of family, The Disconnect is a heartwarming, educational and enjoyable read.
It’s not often that a book comes with a warning like this does: ‘This is a book about anorexia. It includes calorie numbers and descriptions of disordered eating. Please read and share carefully.’ Such a message might put people off, and we’d encourage parents and young people to consider the book’s message before proceeding; but we think that, for most young readers, this persuasively-written and moving story is well worth a read.
The tale is narrated by Max, a 14-year-old boy who, in many respects, is just like every other teenage boy. He loves his friends and family, he’s fond of geocaching, and he finds his crush – a girl at his school – utterly confusing. But Max also has a secret: a monster living inside him that tells him not to eat. His struggle with an eating disorder is something he tries to combat with the help of his therapist, who advises him to ‘externalise’ the disease. His ‘monster’, therefore, becomes Ana (his illness personified as a kind of imaginary friend) – and often, Ana is the only person he can really talk to.
The exchanges between Ana and Max – conveyed by way of a journal, in which he records his struggles – brilliantly depict the excruciating nature of the disease, and the mental pressures a young anorexic man like Max would experience. A painful yet powerful book.
One of the most – if not the most – famous scientific works ever written, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species changed almost everything humans thought they knew about life on planet Earth. Conveying those important messages to younger readers, however, is something of a challenge; a challenge that biologist and illustrator Sabina Radeva has taken on in her rework of this seminal text.
In Radeva’s version, imagery and text combine to take the reader on a wondrous journey, covering challenging concepts like natural selection and migration. Answering a multitude of questions through stunning illustration – ranging from the evolution of the human eye to how species survive in the wild – Radeva makes Darwin’s many discoveries accessible to young readers (as well as being enjoyable to discover). A beautiful, insightful and informative book.