A Duck Called Brian

Brian is a very unique duck. There are three things he loves most in the world: his best friend Gregory, a cold glass of milk, and a delicious bowl of Duck Nuts – but today, disaster strikes! Brian is all out of Duck Nuts and milk – and worst of all, he can’t even tell Gregory about it, because he’s disappeared and nobody knows where he’s gone!

Searching for his best friend sends Brian past ant hills, pools of crocodiles, Siberian snow leopards, and rockets. It all sounds very fun, but all he wants is to find Gregory, who may be going on an adventure of his own!

Accomplished illustrator Al Murphy’s first venture as author and illustrator, and we’re very happy he made the leap!


Alex & Alex

“Alex and Alex have lots of things in common. They love playing, and dressing up and building things. They also are very different to one another; Alex is very messy and Alex is very tidy, Alex likes running and kicking a ball and Alex likes reading and dreaming”

Alex & Alex introduces the ideas of gender neutrality and tolerance of difference to young readers in a brilliant, uncomplicated but playful way. Neither character is identified as a boy or a girl and each one enjoys a mixture of activities traditionally labeled as “boy” or “girl” things. A fantastic story in its own right, with beautiful, bold illustrations, sure to raise some interesting discussions with your young folk.


Danger at Dead Mans Pass

“Embark on a thrilling fourth adventure in the bestselling, prize-winning Adventures on Trains series – Danger at Dead Man’s Pass, from M. G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman”

This thrilling fourth installment in the Adventures on Trains series finds Harrison and his Uncle Nat investigating an ancient family curse high in the German mountains.

Their old friend Baron Wolfgang Essenbach writes to them both concerning the death of a family member, a death that has been shrouded in mystery and raised talk of an old family curse which is said to fall on the sons of the family. The Baron’s wife is fearful for the lives of their sons and, whilst the Baron himself is not one to believe in superstitions, he is worried that somethings not quite right. Who else could he turned to than his trusted friends Hal and his Uncle Nat?

And so the two set off on an undercover mission, but can they uncover the secrets of the Brocken railway and the family curse before disaster strikes?

Due to his disguise Hal has to keep his drawing to a minium but there’s still plenty of opportunity for Elisa Paganelli’s brilliant illustrations to appear throughout!


Kidnap On The California Comet

All aboard the California Comet for another page turning mystery, this is the second in the Adventures on Trains series, although they can easily be read in any order, there are things that avid readers will pick up on if read in order, but each is a stand alone book.

This second installation see’s Harrison Beck being whisked away once again by Uncle Nat to travel  the iconic three day journey from Chicago to San Francisco aboard the California Comet, he soon finds some train companions in siblings Hadley and Mason and they settle in for the journey. However its not long before things start to go awry. Marianne, daughter of a billionaire train-enthusiast goes missing and Hal finds himself at the centre of another mystery. However been responsible for solving the riddle of the jewellery thief aboard the Highland Falcon Thief, Hal is finding it difficult to convince his Uncle that something suspicious is occuring, Uncle Nat thinks Hal has caught the bug and is looking out for mystery.. but it turns out it just seems to keep on following him from one train journey to the next!

This is one way in which the authors have cleverly dealt with “midsummer murders” style issue of our key character always bumping into mysterious situations! and i’m glad to say that book number 2 is just as thrilling and brilliantly written as the first, with plot twists a plenty. Once again accompanied by Elisa Paganellis ingenious illustrations.

 


Murder On The Safari Star

Harrison Beck (Hal for short) is off to South Africa, he can’t quite believe his luck, ever since he found out at Christmas that he’d be travelling with his Uncle Nat once again to board the Safari Star, a luxurious steam train that will take them from Pretoria to the stunning Victoria Falls, Hal has been counting down the days. Now a fully fledged train enthusiast, this trip has the added bonus of being a safari trip, where he’ll get to indulge his two passions of trains and drawing, sketching out all the fantastic sites that he see’s. But of course there’s more in store for Hal than origianlly planned, when a passenger is found dead inside a locked compartment, who can tell whether it was just a tragic accident or a carefully planned attack? don’t worry Hall and his new friend Winston are on the case!

Another stunning installment in the Adventures on Trains series with fantastic illustrations by Elisa Paganelli throughout!


Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System

Welcome planet explorers! Did you know that Venus is covered in volcanoes? Have you ever wondered why Mars is red? Well, you’re in luck! Professor Astro Cat and the gang are about to set off on a journey around our solar system–so buckle up, join the tour, and get your learn on!

Perfectly pitched for curious young folk, boldly illustrated with just enough facts to keep them keen on exploring more, by this before they can read and they’ll keep coming back to it time and time again.


Run Like A Girl : 50 Extraordinary and Inspiring Sportswomen

All over the world, there are female athletes breaking barriers, pushing limits and achieving amazing things, but where did their journeys begin? And what challenges did they have to overcome to get where they are today? Run Like a Girl is a collection of fascinating biographical stories told by 50 highly successful sportswomen, from boxing superstar Nicola Adams to record-breaking yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur and fearless mountain biker Rachel Atherton. As well as giving an insight into their influences, motivations and achievements, each story reminds us that failing can teach us just as much as winning; success isn’t limited to the sports field; and ‘running like a girl’ can lead you all the way to the top. AGES: 7 to 12 AUTHOR: Danielle Brown MBE is a double Paralympic gold medallist and five-time World Champion in archery.

She was World Number 1 for her entire career and made history when she became the first disabled person to represent England and win gold as an able-bodied athlete at the Commonwealth Games. Danielle now works as a professional speaker and trainer, specialising in self-development and success skills. She has worked in the education sector for over a decade, inspiring over 30,000 students through her programmes and has co-authored a GCSE Study Skills guide.


Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

Sofia is a caring and loving member of her community, she loves helping out and doing as much as she can for others. Everyday she walks to school with her Abuelo (Granddad) but after an accident involving a huge pile of rubbish, landfill that no one has taken care off, Abuelo is injured and can no longer walk Sofi to school. Lonely on her walk she decides enough is enough, its time to take action, if no one else will do anything about clearing this mess up then she will!! She gets knock backs and hiccups along the way but Sofia is not one to leave things undone.

There’s definitely something in the water in Blue River Creek as this is the fourth book about the worlds most adventurous and ambitious group of school children, Sofia joins her school friends Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere and Ada Twist in this fantastic series of rhyming tales, wonderfully illustrated by David Roberts, inspirational picture books that are at the same time witty and light hearted.


The Girl With Two Dads

Pearl is very excited to meet Matilda, she’s a new girl in school and she’s sooo cool, because she has TWO dads!! Pearl is convinced that Matilda’s family must be so exciting and so very very different to her own boring old family. But as they become friends Pearl soon discovers that in fact, despite the fact that Matilda’s dads love sweets, she still has to eat healthy food for tea, and jumping on the beds is NOT allowed. In fact Matilda’s parents are just as BORING as her own family.

A funny and heart-warming tale featuring a same-sex parent family. This light-hearted story will be sure to open up discussion and encourage children to be open minded and inclusive.

Perfect for sharing with children aged 3 years and up.


The Highland Falcon Thief

Life is about to change a lot for 12 year old Harrison, he’s about to become a brother! No one asked him if he wanted a baby sister though and he’s slightly put out when he’s told he’ll be joining his Uncle Nat (a famous travel writer) on the final journey of the Highland Falcon while his moms in hospital, it may be Britains most famous steam train but what does he care? trains are boring and he barely knows his Uncle.

Its safe to say that Harrison’s mind is completely turned around as throughout the book he discovers a stowaway, who becomes his best friend, meets royalty and gets embroiled in a mystery to uncover a jewel thief. All this whilst enjoying the splendour of The Highland Falcon Thief on its final journey.

This is the first book in a fantastic series of mystery adventure books, brilliantly written by dream team M G Leonard & Sam Sedgman, illustrated throughout by Elisa Paganelli. We had to write down our predictions, Cluedo stylee, and put them in a sealed envelope until the end of the book to see if any of us could guess who the culprit was…happy to say I won!

Winner of the Book of the Year, Children’s Fiction at The British Book Awards, 2021Winner of the Books are My Bag Readers Award, Children’s Fiction 2020


The Slightly Alarming Tale of The Whispering Wars

“The town of Spindrift is frequented by pirates, Shadow Mages and charlatans. It’s also home to the Orphanage School, where Finlay lives with Glim, Taya and Eli. Just outside town is the painfully posh Brathelthwaite Boarding School, home to Honey Bee, Hamish and Victor, Duke of Ainsley. When the two schools compete at the Spindrift Tournament, stakes are high and before long, the orphans and the boarding school are in an all-out war.”

The fantastic follow up to Bronte Mettlestone, with the competing school vs orphanage taking it in turns to each write a chapter, that is until one has more to say than the other and takes over, and then the other takes up the next two chapters because the previous person has taken up too much space. This unique set up makes the telling of the story all the more funny and engaging and a fitting second installment by the superbly talented Jaclyn Moriarty.

Each book is a stand alone story and not told in sequence, but significant characters are referenced between them.


The Snow Queen

This classic snow filled fairy tale of courage, determination and love is brought to life in stunning pop up book form, illustrated by the ever so talented Lesley Barnes.

The text is an abridged version of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale, retold by Katie Haworth. I have a love hate relationship with pop up books as they go against the idea of childrens’ books being for children to handle and love, however, occassionally I think there are some that are magical enough to be worth the risk and maybe placing on a high shelf, as long as you remember to get them down and read them!!

 


The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst

Esther is suffering from second child syndrome, in her mind she doesn’t live up to the greatness of her older and younger siblings, she longs to be a spellbinder more than anything but no matter how long she spends staring at her toes, they never turn blue (the tell tale sign). Along with her sisters she attends boarding school which she loves, and is excited to see her best friends at the beginning of the new term. But she soon finds out that they have left school without even telling her, she has a new teacher (rumoured to be an ogre) and on her first assignment she gets a C- things are getting progressively worse.

When a school swimming session turns into a disaster with a surprise attack from shadow mages, Esther becomes increasingly aware that something is quite wrong, can she find the strength beneath the sefl doubt to save the Kingdoms and Empires or is she simply too ordinary to be extraordinary?

The third in Jaclyn Moriarty’s Kingdom & Empires series, is equally quirky and funny as the first two, each carries its own individualistic format with Moriarty’s signature flair of creating a world that you just want to dive right into and never come out. Warning: Happy tears may be shed…

NB first in the series is The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestones, followed by The Slightly Alarming Tale of The Whispering Wars.. not one for a snappy title should tell you all you need to know about these brilliant books. Not necessary to read in order, each one is a stand alone narrative but they do reference characters across the three.


The Worst Class in the World Gets Worse (book 2)

According to head teacher Mrs Bottomley-Blunt, 4B is the WORST CLASS IN THE WORLD. She says school is not about footling or fiddle-faddling or FUN. It is about LEARNING and it is high time 4B tried harder to EXCEL at it.

But Stanley and Manjit didn’t LITERALLY mean to flood the toilets when they should have been monitoring the playground. And they definitely didn’t LITERALLY mean to bring a penguin home from the zoo on their school trip. These things just happened even though they had a FOOLPROOF plan to get away with them.

This is the second book in this laugh out loud book series by Joanna Nadin with illustrations by Rikin Parekh. According to Molly (Age 8) its “Hillarious and cheeky”

 


Three Little Vikings

Everything is going wrong in the Viking village, chickens are disappearing and trees are falling down, there’s a strange sound coming from the woods too. The three little vikings know exactly what to do, but when the village chieftan won’t listen to them, they have to take matters into their own hands and hatch a daring plan to save the village

A brilliant adventure story about cooperation, bravery, and being heard, written and illustrated by the fantastically talented Bethan Woollvin, produced with signature cut out folds on the cover, hiding secret scenes.


Story & Truth

Story is a young man who travels the world meeting new people and being welcomed into their homes, Truth is a wise and elderly lady who carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. When the two meet, Truth asks why it is that she is never welcomed into peoples homes, Story doesn’t know why, but he does know that people will always welcome a Story if it is well told.

Ian Douglas is a Storyteller and Theatre Maker who works extensively across the British Isles. With over 20 years of experience delivering storytelling, performance and theatre activities he has developed a practised approach which mixes sensitivity, comedic energy and wit leading to a style all of his own.

Ben Javens is a freelance illustrator originally from West Yorkshire, he now lives and works in Birmingham. Amongst other illustration jobs he works as a designer and illustrator for children’s magazines Anorak and dot.

This book was brought to life by the generous donations of many amazing people, through a crowdfunding campaign.

Story & Truth Activity

As a special holiday treat the brilliant Lets Make Art duo have created this Story & Truth related activity, create your own story cubes to help you invent your own wierd and wonderful tales! Watch the video here And download the instruction sheet here

If you make something that you want to share with us, either tag us into a post on instagram
or email it to me hello@howbraveisthewren.com All submissions will be in with a chance of winning a copy of Story & Truth. Offer ends 31st Jan 2022.