20th May 2020
Books that Shaped my Childhood
“Never forget where you came from..”
The books you read as a child determine the kind of reader you will become; they mould your inner self and stretch the limits of your imagination. As an adult we can all recall the exact stories that had a profound impact on our youth. Our resident blog writer and self-certified bookworm has decided to share with you the books that shaped her childhood, so that you can take a trip down memory lane..
Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom series) – Garth Nix
Arthur Penhaligon’s first days at his new school don’t go too well, particularly when a fiendish Mister Monday appears, gives Arthur a magical clock hand, and then orders his gang of dog-faced goons to chase Arthur around and get it back. But when the confused and curious boy discovers that a mysterious virus is spreading through town, he decides to enter an otherworldly house to stop it. After meeting Suzy Blue and the first part of “the Will” (a frog-looking entity that knows everything about the House), Arthur learns that he’s been selected as Rightful Heir to the House and must get the other part of the clock hand in order to defeat Monday. That means getting past Monday’s henchmen and journeying to the Dayroom itself. Thankfully, Arthur is up to the challenge, but as he finds out, his fight seems to be only one-seventh over.
With a weapon-wielding hero and a villain who doesn’t make Mondays any nicer, Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom launch is imaginative and gripping. After an action-packed crescendo to the book’s middle — when Arthur finally learns his destiny — Nix keeps the drama going and doesn’t let it fall. By the end, you might be winded from all the fantastic explanation, but you’ll definitely be salivating for what’s to come
The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy) – Jennifer A. Nielsen
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
A Face Like Glass – Frances Hardinge
In the underground city of Caverna the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare. They create wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned. Only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear — at a price.
Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed…
The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood and Co series) – Jonathan Stroud
When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .
For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.
Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.
Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .
Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
Twelve-year-old villain Artemis Fowl is the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history. His bold and daring plan is to hold a leprechaun to ransom. But he’s taking on more than he bargained for when he kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance Unit). For a start, leprechaun technology is more advanced than our own. Add to that the fact that Holly is a true heroine and that her senior officer Commander Root will stop at nothing to get her back and you’ve got the mother of all sieges brewing!
The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus trilogy) – Jonathan Stroud
Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.”
If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.
Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine.
May Bird and the Ever After (May Bird Trilogy) – Jodi Lynn Anderson
Most people aren’t very comfortable in the woods, but the woods of Briery Swamp fit May Bird like a fuzzy mitten. There, she is safe from school and the taunts and teases of kids who don’t understand her. Hidden in the trees, May is a warrior princess, and her cat, Somber Kitty, is her brave guardian.
Then May falls into the lake.
When she crawls out, May finds herself in a world that most certainly does not feel like a fuzzy mitten. In fact it is a place few living people have ever seen. Here, towns glow blue beneath zipping stars and the people — people? — walk through walls. Here the Book of the Dead holds the answers to everything in the universe. And here, if May is discovered, the horrifyingly evil Bo Cleevil will turn her into nothing.
May Bird must get out.
The Stonekeeper (Amulet Series) – Kazu Kibuishi
Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot—and two ordinary children on a life-or-death mission.
After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.
Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.
Look Into My Eyes (Ruby Redfort Series) – Lauren Child
Ruby Redfort is no ordinary 13 year-old school girl. Blessed with an extraordinary talent for spotting things which others seldom notice, she lands an undercover job as a code-breaker for secret-spy organisation, Spectrum.
When both the Redforts’ furniture and their housekeeper go missing, mysterious ‘butler’ Hitch appears at their doorstep to offer his services. His arrival marks the beginning of a code-cracking quest in which Ruby attempts to thwart the plans of the evil ‘Fools Gold Gang’ to steal a priceless historic artefact.
Eloise – Kay Thompson
Meet Eloise, the precocious darling of the Plaza Hotel!
Eloise is a little girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel in New York. She is not yet pretty but she is already a Person.
Henry James would want to study her.
Queen Victoria would recognize her as an Equal.
The New York Jets would want to have her on their side.
Lewis Carroll would love her (once he got over the initial shock).
She knows everything about The Plaza. She is interested in people when they are not boring.
She has Inner Resources.
If you take her home with you, you will always be glad you did.
Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus – Barbara Park
Meet the World’s Funniest Kindergartner – Junie B. Jones! Remember when it was scary to go to school? In the first Junie B. Jones book, it’s Junie B.’s first day and she doesn’t know anything. She’s so scared of the school bus and the meanies on it that when it’s time to go home, she doesn’t.
Pearlie in the Park – Wendy Harmer
Everyone has heard of the fairies who live at the bottom of the garden. But did you know that fairies also live in the big city? Of course they do! Pearlie looks after Jubilee Park and it keeps her very busy. Every day she makes the slippery dip slippery, opens all the flowers, polishes the dragonflies’ wings, and looks after all the animals who live in the park. But one day she wakes up to find everything topsy-turvy. Hurly-burly! What can have gone wrong? It’s up to Pearlie to find out…
Fablehaven – Brandon Mull
For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite.
Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken — Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good — powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.
The Door to Time (Ulysses Moore series) – Pierdomenico Baccalario
Eleven-year-old twins Jason and Julia have just moved from London to an old mansion on the English coast. Their new home is filled with twisting tunnels and strange artifacts from around the world, and the twins can’t wait to discover all its secrets. Before long, Jason, Julia, and their friend Rick stumble upon a mysterious-looking door hidden behind an old wardrobe. But none of the keys in the house will open it. What lies behind the door? And why has someone tried to conceal it? Jason, Julia, and Rick are determined to find out, no matter what it takes….
The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories series) – Chris Colfer
Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.
The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians – Brandon Sanderson
On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. It is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them, using the only weapon he has: an incredible talent for breaking things.
Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps series) – R.L. Stine
Amanda and Josh think the old house they have just moved into is weird. Spooky. Possibly haunted. And the town of Dark Falls is pretty strange, too. — But their parents don’t believe them. You’ll get used to it, they say. Go out and make some new friends. — So Amanda and Josh do. But these creepy new friends are not exactly what their parents had in mind.
Because they want to be friends…
Lost treasure of the Emerald eye (Geronimo Stilton series) – Elisabetta Dami
Who Is Geronimo Stilton? That’s me! I run a newspaper, but my true passion is writing tales of adventure. Here on Mouse Island, my books are all best-sellers! What’s that? You’ve never read one? Well, my books are full of fun. They are whisker-licking good stories, and that’s a promise!
It all started when my sister, Thea, discovered a mysterious map. It showed a secret treasure on a faraway island. And before I could let out a squeak of protest, Thea dragged me into her treasure hunt! In no time at all, we’d set sail for the island. It was an adventure I’d never forget….