Brightstorm

​This breath-taking, thrilling debut totally enchanted me with its rich storytelling, incredible world-building, and compelling cast of characters led by orphans Maudie and Arthur. Arthur has to be only one of a handful of disabled characters that I have seen featured in children’s fiction, but interestingly it’s his lack of self-belief that is his weakness and challenge rather than his disability. Maudie’s inquisitive mind and her wondrous inventive spirit make for a remarkable heroine. At the heart of this story is the need for courage and bravery in the darkest of times as incredible bonds of friendship are forged in the most unexpected of places. A story of truly epic proportions, it will sweep you away through the skies across frozen plains to unknown lands on a voyage of discovery.

Running on Empty

​Incredibly emotional and powerful storytelling make for a truly compelling read. AJ loves to run, swept away on the belief and hope that anyone can achieve their dream. After watching the 2012 London Olympics, all he wants is to be like his idol Usain Bolt. His incredible running ability makes him different from most 11 year old boys but the thing that makes him really different, well that’s just too difficult to talk about.

AJ’s determination and desperation to succeed in his ambition is just heart-breaking. There are so many moments of sheer sadness met by sheer joy that make for an emotional rollercoaster of a story but ultimately it’s uplifting without being unrealistic or overly sentimental. An outstanding, empathetic read that deserves to be in every school library.

Fantastically Great Women Who Made History

​A perfect introduction to learning about some incredible women and their achievements who have all helped shape the world we live in. Told in an accessible and lively format, it’s suitable for even younger readers. Following on from the brilliant ‘Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World’, this glorious celebration is a joy from start to finish. Travel through the Underground Railroad with the brave and courageous Harriet Tubman, blast into space with astronaut Valentina Tereshkova, watch how Hatshepsut ruled over Ancient Egypt and learn how Noor Inayat Khan became an unlikely secret agent in World War Two. Every page is filled with the most amazing and astounding facts that will leave you in awe at the courage and bravery of these women. The stunning, detailed illustrations provide a joyful accompaniment to this celebration of some of the women who have changed our history.

About this month's recommendations

Jo Clarke is a primary school librarian at Whitchurch Church of England Primary in Hampshire. She is passionate about promoting reading for pleasure and finding the right book for each child. An avid reader of children's books, she shares her recommendations on her book blog https://bookloverjo.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter as @bookloverJo.