The Stonekeeper
by Kazu Kibuishi

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Mark Barratt, Joe Rat

Mark Barratt

Joe RatSuitable for 11-13s

Joe survives by scavenging in the rat-infested sewers of London's East End. His life starts to look up when he is befriended by Bess, a runaway girl in danger but they are soon thrown headlong into a dangerous adventure. A brilliant and dramatic story of life in Victorian London.

Red Fox · 9781862302181

Theresa Breslin, The Medici Seal

Theresa Breslin

The Medici SealSuitable for 13-14+

Pursued by a brigand with murder in mind, rescued from drowning and apprenticed to the great da Vinci, young Matteo witnesses some fabulously creative and boundary-breaking work, but he also harbours a secret that da Vinci's employer, Cesare Borgia, and the Medicis would, literally, kill for. Well-researched and full of murder, doublecrossing and intrigue, this is a gripping historical thriller which offers a fabulous insight into da Vinci's mind and world.

Corgi · 9780552554473


Theresa Breslin, The Nostradamus Prophecy

Theresa Breslin

The Nostradamus ProphecySuitable for 13-14+

A stunningly evocative story of soothsayers and seers, plots and poisons set in the turbulent times of late 16th century France, a time when the young King Charles ridicules Nostradamus' warning of massacre made to the French court, although his mother warns him to be wary. The minstrel's daughter, Melisande, also receives a message and evil does indeed befall her family. As Nostradamus' death approaches he leaves some important parchments to Melisande which will determine the French royal line - if she has the courage to use them.

Corgi · 9780552557214


Linda Buckley-Archer, The Tar Man

Linda Buckley-Archer

The Tar Man
(Time Quake Trilogy)

An accident with an anti-gravity machine catapulted Peter and Katy back into 1763 in Gideon and the Cutpurse. In this second brilliant time travel tale with perfectly developed parallel storylines, matters get worse with Peter stuck in the 17th century and the evil Tar Man taking his place in the 21st. With NASA unwilling to intervene it's up to Katy to sort things out while Tar Man wreaks havoc.

Simon & Schuster · 9781416917113

Grace Cavendish, Haunted

Grace Cavendish

(Lady Grace Mysteries)
Suitable for 11-13s

The latest in a hugely popular series about Lady Grace, a maid of honour at the Court of Queen Elizabeth, sees Grace investigating the mystery of the ghost, said to be a murdered Earl, haunting a nobleman's estate. Rich in period detail, these titles are an addictive introduction to historical fiction.

Red Fox · 9781862307117

Sally Gardner, The Red Necklace

Sally Gardner

The Red NecklaceSuitable for 13-14+ Audio version available

Returning to Paris from exile in London, young Yann is tasked with two dangerous missions; to uncover the deadly deeds of a secret society and its evil Master and to save a young girl from the guillotine. Set against the backdrop of a bloody Revolution, Gardner conjures up memorable characters, paints a terrific portrait of the unrest and ultimately creates a fast-moving, historical thriller threaded with magic and madness and lots of clever plot twists.

Orion · 9781842556344


Morris Gleitzman, Once

Morris Gleitzman


Nine-year-old Felix has been placed in a Polish orphanage for safety by his parents. When the German soldiers come and start burning the nuns' books Felix knows he must escape and make sure his parents, who are booksellers, are safe. His journey through Nazi-occupied Poland is a dangerous one, but Felix is taken in by Barney, a dentist who hides and protects Jewish children. When they are discovered, Barney is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice. A tragic (and true) story simply told, shot through with flashes of comedy and courage, friendship and hope. One you can't help thinking about when it's over. Watch out for the sequel, Then, in 2009.

Puffin · 9780141320632


Joanne Harris, Runemarks

Joanne Harris

RunemarksSuitable for 13-14+ Audio version available

Born with a gift for magic, denoted by a rusty runemark on her hand, the symbol of the old gods, Maddy Smith loves her special powers even if they do make her an outcast in the village. Here they lead her on a dangerous adventure to the World Below, throwing her into the company of mischievous goblins, monsters and great Norse gods. Almost realistic magic, myth and mayhem make this a hugely enjoyable story for discerning readers with plenty of plot threads to untangle.

Corgi · 9780552555753


Mary Hooper, Newes from the Dead

Mary Hooper

Newes from the DeadSuitable for 13-14+

Set in Cromwellian England and based on a true story, this is a fascinating story of a young girl who is sentenced to infanticide after being cruelly seduced and giving birth to the illegitimate child of her wealthy employer's wayward grandson. Struggling for life after being taken down from the hanging scaffold, she lies conscious but immobile on the physician's table about to be dissected for medical discovery. Her tragic life cleverly unfolds through her thoughts and flashbacks, creating a compulsively readable story, all the more gripping for being based on reality.

Bodley Head · 9781862303638


Michelle Magorian, Just Henry

Michelle Magorian

Just Henry

Henry's father died a war hero. He misses him enormously but finds escape from his new stepfamily in his frequent visits to the cinema. Forced to work on a school film project with a boy whose dad went AWOL and an illegitimate child isn't easy for Henry, but the trio make an extraordinary discovery and need to rely on each other to pull through. A vividly evoked portrait of postwar Britain and an involving mystery thriller about tolerance, friendship and coming to terms with who you are.

Egmont · 9781405227575

Nicola Morgan, The Highwayman's Curse

Nicola Morgan

The Highwayman's CurseSuitable for 13-14+

Well to do and wealthy, William has nevertheless had enough of his cruel, corrupt father and bullying brother and runs away… straight into the path of a highwayman, or rather his daughter, Bess, in disguise. The fierce, feisty and beautiful Bess shares her family's story and way of life with William. With a new danger over every page, William learns quickly to rely on himself and his wits, on the run from his family and the King's army, living rough on the bleak Yorkshire Dales stealing horses in order to survive. In this second story Will and Bess find themselves in Scotland, wrongfully accused of murder, captured by smugglers and desperate to break the cycle of religious distrust and persecution which has gripped the land for seventy years. Morgan's storytelling style is remarkable, sparing the reader none of the brutal hardship of life in an atmospheric tale flavoured with powerful and evocative Scottish dialect. It is at once gripping and gritty and stomach-churningly gruesome, retaining all of the doom and drama of the Noyes poem which inspired it.

Walker · 9781406303124


Beverley Naidoo, Burn My Heart

Beverley Naidoo

Burn My Heart

Set in 1950s Kenya, a violent and brutal time when the Mau Mau are trying to break free from British settlers, two boys from different backgrounds find their friendship torn apart by prejudice. Punchy, powerful and often painful to read, Naidoo's unique understanding of and passion for her subject shine through making this a moving and thought-provoking read.

Puffin · 9780141321240

Pamela Oldfield, Workhouse

Pamela Oldfield

(My Story)
Suitable for 11-13s

Billed as a Victorian girl's diary from 1871, this is the latest in the hugely popular girls' section of the parallel My Story series. Girls can choose from Elizabethans, Egyptians and Edwardians, Tudors, Romans and the Blitz while dedicated boys' diaries cover Vikings, Romans and the World Wars. Now repackaged in stylish and sophisticated new covers.

Scholastic · 9781407104805

Celia Rees, Sovay

Celia Rees

SovaySuitable for 13-14+

Discovering that her fiancé is cheating on her, the spirited and wilful Sovay adopts the disguise of a highway robber, of the kind who strike terror into the heart of travellers in 18th century England, as a test of her fiancé's love for her. She soon discovers no end of intrigues, corruptions and conspiracies both at home and in Revolutionary France in this strongly characterized, authentic and gripping adventure.

Bloomsbury · 9780747592013

Christopher Russell, Scarper Jack and the Bloodstained Room

Christopher Russell

Scarper Jack and the Bloodstained Room

Scarper Jack, the chimney sweep's boy, overhears a murder being plotted while at work and sets out in the company of a street urchin and a little posh boy to track down the murderer. Richly detailed and cleverly plotted, this historical whodunit is a real pageturner.

Puffin · 9780141322582

Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi

PersepolisSuitable for 13-14+

The stunningly evoked story of Marjane's childhood and growing up in Tehran during the Iran-Iraq war in graphic novel format. Satrapi cleverly illuminates the bigger political picture by focusing on the minutiae of her daily life, injecting it with a child's humour and insight. Part One ends with her moving on to a new life in the West away from the unrest while Part Two deals with her life in European higher education and return to Iran. Simple stylized black and white illustrations set off this sharply intelligent political commentary and intensely moving personal story to perfection.

Vintage · 9780099523994

Tracey Turner, The Comic Strip History of the World

Tracey Turner and Sally Kindberg

The Comic Strip History of the World

From the Big Bang through the British Empire to the 21st century and beyond, this is a wonderful whistlestop tour of British history in comic book format.

Bloomsbury · 9780747594314

Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

The Book ThiefAudio version available

Nazi Germany, 1939. Liesel steals a book carelessly left by the graveside of her brother. It is to be the first of several stolen from the mayor's library and from Nazi bookburnings, all taken at key moments in her growing up. From these stolen books her father teaches her to read and she begins to write down anecdotes about her own life, including the taking in of a Jew to keep him safe which turns her world upside down. These same anecdotes are later used by Death to narrate Liesel's life from 10 to 14. This is a brilliantly crafted and narrated story about life, love and the power of language in our lives. Intense and emotional it is not easily forgotten.

Bodley Head · 9781862302914


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