Sunday, 10 December 2017

What are your favourite books of the year? by Jess Butterworth


I recently received the most wonderful letter from a reader and it inspired me to celebrate my own favourite middle-grade ‘books of the year!’


Please share your own favourite books of 2017 too and I’ll put them to the top of my to-be-read pile. I adore getting cosy over Christmas and reading as many books as I can!



The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond (Author),‎ Alex T. Smith (Illustrator)



Bert and Betty Brown have got themselves a little angel. Bert found him in his top pocket when he was driving his bus. Bert and Betty’s friends think he’s lovely. So do Nancy and Jack and Alice from Class 5K. What a wonder! But Acting Head Teacher Mrs Mole is not so sure. Nor is Professor Smellie. Or the mysterious bloke in black who claims to be a School Inspector. Then there’s Basher Malone – big, lumbering Basher Malone. He REALLY doesn’t like Angelino. And it looks like he’s out to get him...


The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill  


An epic fantasy about a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon who must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her.

Tender Earth by Sita Brahmachari.  


Laila Levenson has always been the baby of the family, but now with her older siblings, Mira and Krish, leaving home just as she starts secondary school, everything feels like it's changing... can the reappearance of Nana Josie's Protest Book and the spirit it releases in Laila, her friends and her local community, help her find her own voice and discover what she truly believes in.
Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll
February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees. Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.
The Huntress: Sea by Sarah Driver
Ever since Ma died, Mouse has looked after her little brother, Sparrow, dreaming of her destiny as captain of the Huntress. But now Da’s missing, Sparrow is in danger, and a deathly cold is creeping across Trianukka . . 

The Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge

How amazing would it be to have a dad who’s an astronaut?
Rocket launches, zero gravity, and flying through space like a superhero! Jamie Drake’s dad is orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station and Jamie ought to think it’s cool but he just really misses him…Hanging out at his local observatory, Jamie picks up a strange signal on his phone. It looks like alien life is getting closer to home. But space is a dangerous place and when his dad’s mission goes wrong, can Jamie prove that he’s a hero too?
The Ones That Disappeared by Zana Fraillon


Around the world, millions of people - including many children - are victims of human trafficking. These modern-day slaves often go unseen even in our own cities and towns, their voices silent and their stories untold. In this incredible book, Zana Fraillon imagines the story of three such children, Esra, Miran and Isa. The result is powerful, heartbreaking and unforgettable.

The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Amihan lives on Culion Island, where some of the inhabitants including her mother have leprosy. Ami loves her home with its blue seas and lush forests, Culion is all she has ever known. But the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: islanders untouched by sickness are forced to leave. Banished across the sea, she's desperate to return, and finds a strange and fragile hope in a colony of butterflies. Can they lead her home before it's too late?

Fly Me Home by Polly Ho-Yen
Feeling lost and alone in a strange new city, Leelu wishes she could fly away back home – her real home where her dad is, thousands of miles away. London is cold and grey and the neighbours are noisy and there’s concrete everywhere. But Leelu is not alone; someone is leaving her gifts outside her house – wonders which give her curious magical powers. Powers which might help her find her way home . . .
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell   

 From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him. He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries. If only he could land and look about him.

As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place. With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small.
Except, it seems, someone has been there before them …


Coyote Summer by Mimi Thebo

Jules is an expelled, exiled, failure. Sent away by her mother from a life of luxury in London to live on her aunt's farm halfway across the world, she feels like everyone has given up on her. Until, under the baking Kansas sun, a wild coyote helps her begin to find out who she really is.


A Girl Called Owl by Amy Wilson
It's bad enough having a mum dippy enough to name you Owl, but when you've got a dad you've never met, a best friend who needs you more than ever, and a new boy at school giving you weird looks, there's not a lot of room for much else. So when Owl starts seeing strange frost patterns on her skin, she's tempted to just burrow down under the duvet and forget all about it. Could her strange new powers be linked to her mysterious father? And what will happen when she enters the magical world of winter for the first time?

Happy Reading!

Jess Butterworth
Author of Running on the Roof of the World and When the Mountains Roared