What To Read Now

Dadaji’s Paintbrush, Best Friends Forever, The Tale of Truthwater Lake, Only for the Holidays

What To Read Now

We’re writing about four books for children and young people that we’ve been reading this month. One of those is a picture book as excitingly we’re about to launch Picture Book Club! Schools were asking how we could use our peer-led model in primary schools, so we’ve been successfully piloting Picture Book Club. Watch this space.

Books for children and young people. Dadaji’s Paintbrush book cover

Dadaji’s Paintbrush by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane, suitable for ages 4+

Review by Katy Donnelly of BCiS

Winner of the Diverse Book Awards Picture Book category and included in one of our Picture Book Club boxes, Dadaji’s Paintbrush is a gentle exploration of the pleasures of activities shared with a grandparent as well as dealing with grief. A boy and his grandfather lived together, did everything together and filled their house with paintings.  “Don’t ever leave me,” the boy would say, but one day his grandfather did.  How can the boy come to terms with his loss, and can he rediscover the joys of painting? 

Books for children and young people. The Tale of Truthwater Lake book cover

The Tale of Truthwater Lake by Emma Carroll, suitable for ages 9+

Review by Alison Palmer of BCiS

It’s 2032 and Polly and Joel are sent to Cumbria to escape the heat of London during yet another heatwave.  Polly confronts her fear of deep water by swimming in Truthwater Lake and discovers the stories of the flooded village. When she finds an old door handle and goes for a midnight swim, she finds herself pulled down to the past. 

The story of Polly becomes linked to that of Nellie in 1952. We hear the stories beautifully told by the main characters, and slipping between both worlds makes the reader more connected with them. They are worried about the same things, including friendships and school, and the similarities and differences between the eras are really interesting. Their stories stay with you.

Books for children and young people. Best Friends Forever book cover

Best Friends Forever by Lisa Williamson and illustrated by Jess Bradley, suitable for ages 9+

Review by Alison Palmer of BCiS

This is such a great story about growing up and discovering that things don’t always stay the same, but there is the possibility (eventually) that things might even get better. The interactions between Evie and Lola are perfect. Make no mistake though, we are firmly in camp Evie throughout the book. 

I think the story will ring true for many young (and not so young readers); it’s hard to let go and step into something new. The illustrations by Jess Bradley make it feel like a journal, which adds to the authenticity of being inside Evie’s head. I love that it’s the start of a series, too.

Books for children and young people. Only for the Holidays book cover

Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello, suitable for ages 14+

Review by Alison Palmer of BCiS

This book is the perfect escape. Tia is away from her life in London and apart from Mike, her boyfriend, who wants a break despite Tia having organised his 18th birthday party. Quincy, born and bred in the countryside, is the son of the owners of the hotel and farm where Tia is staying.  

Quincy needs a date for the Winter Ball, so he hatches a plan to ‘fake’ a relationship with Tia. If she accompanies him to the Ball, in return, he promises to get Tia back to London for Mike’s birthday party. As the reader looking in, we can see that this is bound to cause some problems.

The descriptions of Tia trying country pursuits are excellent and very funny. The story is told from both Tia’s and Quincy’s points of view, which means you get to know them properly. I was cheering on Quincy to win Tia’s heart from Mike right from the start.

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