Helen's Summer Picks

With summer definitely beating down upon us, we've rounded up some of our shop favourites to tide you through the balmy days ahead. (Click the cover images and book titles to be taken to the book in our website shop.)



Bad Panda by Swapna Haddow and Sheena Dempsey


In this first installment of a new early reader series from the masterminds behind the Dave Pigeon series, we meet Lin, the Cutest Panda In The World. She’s so cute and fluffy and adorable that she’s shipped off to a zoo – away from her perfectly fun brother Face-Like-A-Bag-Of-Potatoes. Determined to get back to him, Lin teams up with fellow zoo panda Fu to become the baddest pair of pandas you ever did see…

Funny and silly and just what is expected from a Swapna and Sheena book. I very much enjoyed the mention of a certain pigeon too! Perfect for fans of the aforementioned pigeon books, the Pizazz series by Sophy Henn, and the Mr Penguin series by Alex T. Smith.

Ideal 6-8 years.




Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean and Sandhya Prabhat


Archie is aware that his dad is keeping something from him, so when he overhears his dad discussing how to come out to Archie, the truth becomes clear. Archie loves his dad and that hasn’t changed at all, but their usual banter seems forced and they seem unsure how to act around each other. When Archie finds a flyer for Pride 2021 he thinks this might be how to fix his relationship with his dad, and comes up with a plan to attend with best friends Seb and Bell. But as things slip out of hand, they’ll have to rely on babysitters and drag queens to get them through the day. And perhaps Archie will see that nothing needs fixing after all.

I. Loved. This. Heartfelt and full of warmth, love, and friendship. Pick this up if you’re in the mood for an upbeat contemporary read.

Ideal 9-12 years.




Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson


For Olivia and Toni, life has thrown a lot at them, but both are determined that attending the Farmland Music Festival will be the key to finding a way to soothe their respective heartache and grief. When their paths cross and they come to a mutually beneficial deal – Olivia will partner with Toni so she can enter the Golden Apple talent competition, whilst Toni will use her knowledge of the festival to win Olivia the scavenger hunt – neither of them expect to fall for each other at the same time. But when the festival is thrown into panic, they discover how important their bond is.

It is no secret how much I loved Leah’s first book, You Should See Me in a Crown (review here), and I have been hotly anticipating Rise to the Sun. Full of everything you want in a summer read – music, friendship, sunshine and falling in love – this was even better than I was hoping.

Ideal 13+ years.




Good News: Why the World is Not as Bad as You Think by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Adam Hayes


The world can seem a scary and overwhelming place right now for many reasons, but this handy guide helps to show that it’s not all bad; good news is out there and worth celebrating. There are also sections on spotting unreliable sources and fake news, plus tips and challenges to help empower young people to find the good news and show that things can continue to get better.

I thoroughly enjoyed how accessible and readable this book was, and it really did reassure me that things aren't all doom and gloom.

Ideal 8+ years.