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Recommended reads for January 2021

Younger readers

Mr Penguin and The Lost Treasure, Alex T Smith

Lots here to amuse younger readers. Mr Penguin is a likeable detective, a bit dim witted and a bit silly. His silent partner, Colin the spider, is the clever one in this unlikely duo. The orange, black and white illustrations have the right amount of detail and the bigger font size is a bonus. Fun.

Confident readers

The Acrobats of Agra, Robin Scott-Elliot

Set against the Indian rebellion of 1857, this wonderful book unites an unlikely trio - Pin, an intelligent young Indian servant, Beatrice, a feisty Scottish orphan and Jacques, a talented French circus performer. Trapped in Agra fort, held under siege by Indian independence seeking rebels, this newly formed threesome, guided by the spirit of Dumas' three musketeers, make a desperate bid to save Jacque's beloved tiger, Tonton.

An action packed middle grade adventure drenched in friendship, courage and hope and brimful with references to Indian mythology (the Mahabarata) and religion (stories of the elephant god, Ganesh). Superb.

Young Adult

Boy Everywhere, A.M Dassu

Sami and his family must flee Syria to seek asylum in Britain. Leaving behind a life of privilege and comfort in Damascus, they submit to a perilous journey across the sea only to arrive in Manchester destitute. It will resonate with teens because it is told entirely from 13 year old Sami's perspective, whose normality shifts overnight. Although there are unimaginable horrors here, the small kindnesses and humility with which Sami's family conduct themselves make this an ultimately uplifting read.

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