The Ghost Garden by Emma Carroll


The Ghost Garden by Emma Carroll is a charming children’s historical novel that is perfect for ages 8-10 years old.

The book is set over the summer of 1914. We follow a young boy who is remarkably perceptive about events in Europe as he foresees World War I.

We follow the action through the eyes of the young daughter of the gardener to a big house. She believes that her discoveries in the garden also foretell of events.

This book will educate young readers about events that led up to the outbreak of World War I.

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The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q Rauf

Opening Eyes & Hearts

The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q Rauf is a powerful contemporary children’s novel that I read in just one sitting. It is perfect for ages ten years and over. I always enjoy Onjali Q Rauf’s stories as she writes about relevant issues that need to be highlighted.

The main focus of this book is the twin themes of bullies and the homeless. Hector, a ten year old bully, takes great delight in his actions and is the main protagonist. He fears no one – teachers, parents, peers – despite being a bully, there are some endearing qualities too as he is caring towards his four year old brother.

As we read “grown-ups only ever help people they like, and I’ve never met a single grown-up who likes me.” The reader wonders why this ten year old has such low self-esteem.

As the novel progresses, the reader witnesses Hector’s character transformation as he begins to bud and blossom. Underneath there does beat a heart of gold. It just needs unleashing.

It is heartbreaking to see the plight of the homeless. They are ignored at best, treated cruelly at worst. We witness the kind souls who see the people beneath the tatty clothes. These folk try to help via soup kitchens and conversations.

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Let The Purring Begin: Sapphire’s Tale by Sallie Cochren

A Cats Eye View

Let The Purring Begin: Sapphire’s Tale by Sallie Cochran is a most charming contemporary novel and purr-fect for any cat-lover, whatever your age.

Sapphire’s Tale is told from the point of view of Sapphire, a rescue cat and is in the first person. It is as if the author has jumped inside Sapphire’s head and read her thoughts. As a crazy cat lady, I really felt like Sapphire was narrating the story.

We hear how Sapphire was dumped, wandered the streets and found a home. Her tale is very similar to my rescued cat’s story – also found wandering the streets of Coventry with kittens and she was under a year old.

There is a beautiful bond between owner, Sapphire and her kittens. The owner has a huge heart for animals in need of a home.

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The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q Rauf


The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q Rauf is a powerful and heartbreaking children’s novel, just perfect for ages ten years and over.

The story surrounds the topic of foster children who have escaped domestic abuse. Such is their innocence that they may not even realise the extent of the cruelty in their lives. They have learnt to follow the rules and to be silent. Life is a new foster house is illuminating – there are no rules but still the children fear activating their foster Mum’s ‘switch.’

We follow a set of siblings, ten year old Aniyah and her five year old brother, Noah. They believe that their Mum will be re-born into a star so when a new star is discovered, they set out to London, to the Observatory to name the star after their Mum.

We see some truly heart wrenching moments as the reader realizes the dreadful time that the children have been through. In their new foster house, they meet other foster children. Bonds are formed. We see that abuse always leaves scars but not all are visible. Some are hidden, as children lose the ability to talk or talk with a stutter. One child is cruel but it comes from a place of fear of rejection.

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