Children’s / Teenage fiction: Humorous stories

The Asparagus Bunch

The Asparagus Bunch

Author: Jessica Scott-Whyte Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/07/2022

Leon John Crothers is 4779 days old (thirteen years and one month, if you’re mathematically challenged), he has been ‘moved on’ from six different schools and most people think he has an attitude problem. Leon doesn’t care for the label, in the same way that he doesn’t care for Tim Burton, supermarket trolleys, train fanatics or Bounty bars. This time, however, things may turn out differently as help comes from where he least expects it - Dr Snot, a physician at pains to help Leon navigate 'normal' and classmates, Tanya and Lawrence who both face their own challenges. When school bully Glen Jenkins humiliates Leon in the school canteen and almost destroys Lawrence, Leon very reluctantly agrees to the formation of a club, The Asparagus Bunch. How Leon manages to navigate school woes and family drama – and astonishingly ends up with not one but two friends – is nothing short of a miracle, or maybe just simply down to being different.     A note from Jessica Scott-Whyte; While this book is based on my own lived experiences with autism, I did draw on important support from the UK’s National Autistic Society when addressing autism in this story’ which I would suggest being amended to ‘While this book is based on my own lived experiences with autism, I did draw on important support from the UK’s National Autistic Society when addressing autism in this story. Though there are common challenges that autistic people share, autism is a spectrum condition and affects people in different ways. The advances that have been made these past decades in understanding autism have been substantial, during which time, different diagnostic labels have been used, such as: autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), classic autism, Kanner autism, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), high-functioning autism (HFA), Asperger syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). Based on recent changes however to the main diagnostic manuals, Autism Spectrum Disorder is likely to be the most commonly given diagnostic term, according to the UK’s National Autistic Society. The problematic history surrounding Hans Asperger has provoked widespread debate within the autistic community. Indeed, today, many people whose profile fits that of Asperger syndrome are being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder instead. That being said, every person is different and should feel comfortable in choosing how they wish to identify themselves. Those people who have an Asperger syndrome diagnosis may well choose to keep using the term, whereas others may prefer to refer to themselves as autistic or having an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dyslexia is a learning difference that also occurs on a spectrum; some people are mildly affected and others more severely. Everyone with dyslexia is different but there are commonly shared difficulties with reading, spelling and writing and related cognitive/processing difficulties.    The book has been set using a dyslexic-friendly font.

Love Radio

Love Radio

Author: Ebony LaDelle Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2022

Romantic love, family love, friend love, and selflove — Ebony LaDelle’s Love Radio debut is an uplifting joy, with two adorable teen characters teetering on the cusp of adulthood while dealing with big problems from the past, and questions about the future. Dani definitely isn’t looking for love. Not after what happened when her former friend left her alone with that college boy. And not when she’s so set on going to college and becoming a writer. A writer with the impact of her heroines, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and bell hooks. Meanwhile, Prince (AKA DJ LoveJones), is obsessed with music, and offers love advice on his hugely popular radio show around caring for his sick mom and adorable little brother Mook. When they meet, the fiery sparks can’t be ignored, so Dani agrees to giving Prince three dates to convince her not to swear off love. Cue a stack of sweetness from Prince (the dates he comes up with are so, so thoughtful), and Dani doing a whole lot of soul-searching. Alongside delivering a beautiful, exhilarating love story, the author weaves in Black history, and shows the power of kids seeing themselves represented in books. It also offers gorgeous representations of family love, support, respect and fun gatherings that allow everyone to thrive. All of which means Love Radio is inspirational, empowering, and super-sweet — what’s not to love?

Debut Books of the Month
Ellie Pillai is Brown

Ellie Pillai is Brown

Author: Christine Pillainayagam Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2022

Navigating loss, love and family strains while standing out as a brown girl in a predominantly white school isn’t easy for Ellie, a budding songwriter and music aficionado. A beautiful, funny ode to finding the strength to sing up and stand out, Ellie Pillai is Brown is sure to chime with readers who also feel they don’t quite fit in, with QR codes peppered through the book bringing Ellie’s songs to life, and adding extra depth to the experience. Ellie Pillai is a girl who know what she loves — music. And, against her parents’ wishes, she’s set on making a go of her drama GCSE, determined to find a way to overcome feeling invisible. While her family are mourning the loss of her little brother, which has left Ellie and her mum terribly distant from each other, Ellie has the stable support of her best friend. But her life is well and truly shaken up when a new boy and his twin sister arrive at her school. While handsome Ash is the only person who gets all her music references and understands the power of a playlist and finding the right song for every situation, it looks like he’s hooked up with her best friend, so Ellie tries to put him out of her mind. At the same time, Ellie’s new drama teacher instils her with confidence: “I think you have presence, something special about you. Something different”. If only Ellie can stop putting herself in a box and making herself small. Exploring grief, consent, family expectations, self-confidence, first love, same sex love and mental health through its well-drawn cast of characters, Ellie Pillai is Brown strikes a smart balance between humour and emotion.

Debut Books of the Month
Greg the Sausage Roll: Santa's Little Helper

Greg the Sausage Roll: Santa's Little Helper

Author: Mark and Roxanne Hoyle Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/11/2021

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller! The tinsel is up in the bakery, the lights are twinkling and the mince pies are sold out. It's CHRISTMAS EVE! Greg the Sausage Roll is so excited he could burst. And when he's scooped up as a last-minute treat for Santa, he's catapulted into a magical festive caper beyond his wildest dreams. Hold on tight for a spectacular sausage roll-ercoaster of an adventure! Developed and written by the social media phenomenon that is LadBaby - the king and queen of Christmas and of sausage rolls - this is set to be a truly unmissable picture book release.

Supertato Night of the Living Veg

Supertato Night of the Living Veg

Author: Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/09/2021

It's fright-time in the supermarket, and the veggies are seriously spooked! Strange shapes, weird noises and eerie shuffling - whatever can be behind these ghostly goings-on? Join Supertato and the gang to find out in their latest unmissable adventure! The perfect book to calm bedtime fears and snuggle up with this Autumn.

The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl

The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl

Author: Stella Caldwell & Quentin Blake Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/09/2021

For all those who are already fans of Roald’s Dahl’s awesome stories and for newcomers to them, this is a splendid introduction to some of the favourite characters and the most dramatic, hilarious, spinechilling and adventuresome stories that are his storytelling legacy. Following a brief account of Roald Dahl’s childhood and his famous writing shed, 15 of his top titles are cleverly explored through their main characters and the key features of the stories. There is James and his extraordinary crew from the awesome travelling peach in James and the Giant Peach; the delightful Charlie Bucket whose winning ticket takes him to Mr Wonka’s astonishing chocolate factory and a heap of adventures with some less lovely children including Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop; the delightful Danny and his father and some fabulous pheasant poaching plots and the truly horrible Mr and Mrs Twit who have a whole book to themselves. The battle between Matilda and the awful Miss Trunchbull, the BFG’s encounter with the Queen and the utterly terrifying Witches – all of these and more are brought to life in these brief retellings which make clever use of letters, recipes and newspaper clippings. As in the originals, all are fabulously illustrated by Quentin Blake. The inclusion of an activity pack adds an interactive element to the book and enhances enjoyment of it.

Not Here To Be Liked

Not Here To Be Liked

Author: Michelle Quach Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

Refreshing, funny and packed with essential feminist themes, not to mention an authentic, engaging protagonist in Eliza Quan (a no-nonsense teenager who doesn’t give two hoots about what people think of her), Michelle Quach’s Not Here To Be Liked is at once deliciously entertaining and empowering. With pithy observations like “Girls get judged for their past; guys get judged for their potential”, it’s also a thought-provoking reminder (if one were needed) that there’s some way to go before patriarchal structures are disassembled - thanks goodness, then, that Eliza is on hand to speed up the process. Oh, and the novel features a whole lot of cute kissing to boot.   Eliza is set to be the new editor-in-chief of her high school newspaper. Firstly, she’s the most qualified candidate. Secondly, she’s the only candidate…until former baseball player Len joins the paper for want of something better to do and winds up winning the vote. Justifiably angry that he - male, handsome, popular and utterly inexperienced - was picked over her - Eliza’s venting inspires a feminist movement that exposes the gulf between those who want - and recognise the need for - gender equality, and those who think she’s just annoyed about being overlooked. Alongside exploring such pertinent themes in slick style, the novel also sees Eliza face the ultimate conflict when she finds herself falling for Len. Fast and furious, Not Here To Be Liked flies in the face of anyone dumb enough to think that books about feminism (and feminists themselves) can’t be smart and funny.

Megamonster

Megamonster

Author: David Walliams Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/06/2021

The hilarious children's book from No. 1 bestselling author David Walliams - a timeless adventure illustrated by artistic genius, Tony Ross. On a volcanic island, in the middle of shark-infested waters, stands The Cruel School. The lessons are appalling, the school dinners are revolting and the teachers are terrifying - especially the mysterious Science teacher Doctor Doktur. When Larker is sent to the school, she quickly realises something very odd is going on... something involving Doctor Doktur, a pair of strange spectacles, and a 'Monsterfication Machine'. And ultimately she finds herself face to face with a real life Megamonster. There seems to be no escape - but for Larker, nothing is impossible...

Tokyo Ever After

Tokyo Ever After

Author: Emiko Jean Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club YA Pick! A hilarious and heartfelt novel perfect for fans of To All the Boys I've Loved Before and The Princess Diaries Izumi Tanaka has lived an uneventful seventeen years in her small town, keenly aware of all the ways in which her family is different from most of her classmates'. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father's identity . . . and he's none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Soon she's traveling overseas to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she's only dreamed of. But being a princess isn't all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself-back home, she was never American enough, and in Japan, she must prove she's Japanese enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

Author: Helen Rutter Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/02/2021

Billy Plimpton is an eleven-year-old boy with a big dream. He wants to be a stand-up comedian when he grows up: delivering pinpoint punch-lines and having audiences hang on his every hilarious word. A tough career for anyone, but surely impossible for Billy, who has a stammer. How will he find his voice, if his voice won't let him speak? The idea for this story came from Helen Rutter's son, who has a stammer: she wanted to write the book that he would love to read, starring a child like him.