Summer reading 2016: Children’s

James Lovegrove picks his books of the year so far

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The Girl of Ink and Stars, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Chicken House, RRP£6.99

The description “magical” is overused but genuinely applies to this book, a sweet and savage tale about a cartographer’s daughter, map-mad Isabella, who helps investigate the death of a classmate in the hellish heart of her island home. Hargrave has written a forceful, memorable work of fantasy.


Create Your Own Alien Adventure!, by Andrew and Chris Judge, Scholastic, RRP£5.99

The Judge brothers’ book invites the reader to doodle on almost every page, filling in gaps in the drawings and adding customisations to the storyline. A crash-landed alien has to get back to his home world. The narrative is fun; participating in it and helping shape it, even more so.


Under Earth, Under Water, by Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński, Templar Publishing, RRP£20/ Big Picture Press, RRP$35

The authors, a Polish married couple, have produced a massive, sprawling flipbook full of facts and statistics. One half explores below the ground, the other beneath the surface of the sea. The graphic illustration is gorgeous, every page packed with information and begging to be pored over repeatedly.


Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel Savit, Bodley Head, RRP£9.99/ Knopf, RRP$17.99

Anna’s father disappears from their home in Krakow shortly after the Nazi occupation. She falls in with the enigmatic “Swallow Man”, who becomes a substitute father, guiding her and offering protection against the horrors around. It’s a complex, gruelling trip through the midnight of the last century.

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