January marks the start of an exciting year ahead, which means quite a few things: The start of a period of setting personal goals for the year, cricket season is in full swing, the freshest vegetables start dominating the food table and the finest woollens vie to steal your attention after a yearlong wait. The weather is chilly and moist, and it seems an appropriate time for self-proclaimed bookworms to start adding to this year’s reading list with a hot cappuccino by their side.
Like every year, the British Council 'Reading Challenge' also comes back this month with an eclectic mix of stories to give some warmth and cheer to the kids who can’t wait to read the latest from bestselling authors.
We’ve rounded up ten digital titles for kids to look forward to reading in the upcoming challenge, all available to the participants on enrolment. Click here to know more and gift this amazing programme to your child.
- The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E Nesbit - This is a legendary children's story by the enchanting E. Nesbit which has delighted countless generations of children. Dora, Oswald, Dicky, Alice, Noel and Horace live in London with their widowed father. Too poor to attend school, the kids are left to their own devices and they spend their days coming up with plans to restore their father's fortune.
- Macbeth and All That by Allan Burnett - Packed with humour and great illustrations, this book is a real-life adventure packed with historical facts about Scotland's infamous king. Journey back to the dark ages and join Macbeth's quest for power - and find out why the truth is very different from the way Shakespeare told it. Macbeth and All That is a chilling murder mystery that will keep 8- to 12-year-olds guessing to the very end!
- The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain – This is a gripping tale of two young boys who meet by chance at the gates of a palace. Tom Canty is a poor boy and his new friend happens to be Prince Edward VI, the Prince of Wales. The boys are different from one another except that they look identical. They decide to swap clothes, but the cruel irony is that the Prince is mistaken for a beggar in Tom's rags and is kicked out of his own palace while Tom is taken to be the Prince. They’ve swapped not only clothes but also their homes, families, and identities. They want to return to their own homes, but this proves to be a tall order.
- Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley – Shortlisted for the 2016 Carnegie, the thought-provoking story is set in 1959 when the battle for civil rights was raging. It's Sarah's first day of school as one of the first black students at the all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there - not the Governor, not the teachers and certainly not the students including Linda. Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, both start to feel something they've never felt before. The story is so emotional and compelling, it almost hurts to read and it lingers long after you've finished it.
- Today I feel – An Alphabet of Feelings - Beautifully illustrated by Madalena Moniz's subtle watercolours, Today I Feel.. follows a child through a whole range of emotions, from adored to curious to strong. Not all of the emotions are positive and not all of them are simple, but they are all honest and worthy of discussion with a young child.
- A Robot Ate My Grandma by Dave Cousins - Jess and Jake love having a robot babysitter, but lately Robin's been malfunctioning more and more often. And the only person who can help – their inventor Grandma who created Robin – has disappeared. It's time for the twins take matters into their own hands.
- Armadillo and Hare by Jeremy Strong - Armadillo and Hare have all the warmth and charm of the frog and toad adventures. Two friends spending time together, enjoying and learning meaningful lessons about life. Written as ten light-hearted and funny short stories, Armadillo and Hare enjoy days out together, deal with problems and ponder things about the world.
- Magnificent Mabel and the Rabbit Riot by Ruth Quayle - This delightful collection of three short stories features Mabel, a little girl with a big personality. Mabel’s no-nonsense approach to life, along with her clear view that “sometimes life isn’t even fair” will resonate with many young children.
- Queen of King Street by Tom McLaughlin– A hilarious story of unlucky Bertie who has gambled away the entire family fortune. There’s nobody to save the Montgomery family which is no ordinary family - this is the royal family, and Bertie is the Queen's brother. Now it's goodbye to the palace and hello to a little house on King Street for these royals. It's time to sink or swim!
- The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil - Comic-book lover Alba is facing one of the most important summers of her life. A viral video about the end of the world announces that Eden Valley is the only safe place to be. Hundreds of people descend on the town and Alba feels like her world has turned upside down. A funny and unique feel-good read about how to keep on being yourself when everything around you is changing.