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5 Books Featuring Epic Journeys - Jenny Pearson

I love a story involving a journey. I love that you can feel like you are on an adventure with the characters and that you are able to visit places you may never get a chance to see or visit, other worlds that can only exist in your mind. I am going to share with you some of my favourite books involving epic journeys. These really are classics and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

The Silver Sword

Ian Serraillier

This is a story about the Balicki family’s struggle to find each other after they are separated during the second world war. Joseph, the father is a headmaster in a school in Warsaw and is sent away to a prison of war camp early in 1940. He flees and spends months travelling back to Warsaw to find his family. When he arrives they are no longer there. Magrit the mother has been taken away and he learns that his children had been living in an oak tree just outside the war-torn city but have since moved on. Edek, the eldest boy was forced to be a slave for the German army. Ruth and Bronia, his two sisters travel with a friend Jan, and miraculously meet up with Edek one year later in Posen. Together, they then travel through Europe to make their way to Switzerland in the hopes of finding their parents again. This is a journey of courage and determination and most of all hope.

The Neverending Story

Michael Ende

Plot spoiler – the book does actually end, but only after a journey that truly deserves the label of EPIC! Bastian escapes some school bullies and finds refuge inside a bookshop. There, he finds a book called The Never Ending story. Unable to resist, he is drawn into the magical world of Fantastica. Bastian journeys alongside Atreyu – a child warrior - to save the Empress and stop an evil entity called the Nothing. Michael Ende’s imagination is simply staggering and your journey will take you to places like the Desert of Colours, the Silver City of Amarganth and the swamp of sadness – which truly lives up to its name.

The Explorer

Katherine Rundell

Fred, Con, Lila and Max are heading back to England when their plane crashes in the Amazon jungle. The Explorer is an exciting and gripping adventure that sees four children learning to survive as they journey though unfamiliar and challenging circumstances. This book transports you to a richly drawn land and you will find yourself right there with the children as they follow a map to a lost city, eating tarantulas and swimming with river dolphins.

The Abominables

Eva Ibbotson

It would have been easy to choose Journey to the River Sea considering the title of this blog and I thoroughly recommend that book too –  it truly is special – but today I have chosen the Abominables. I first read this book with my eldest son which may be why it has a special place in my heart. It is the story of a family of Yetis – who are so richly drawn you can’t help but adore them. When the Abominables are forced from their idyllic home in the Himalayan mountains, they leave behind everything they know and journey across Europe in the hopes of finding a new home. There are some perilous situations but over all this book has a very comforting feel to it and you can’t help but want to be part of this loving – albeit hairy, family.

The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates

Jenny Pearson & Rob Biddulph

​In my new book The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, Freddie, Ben and Charlie travel across Wales in search of Freddie’s biological dad. Things don’t quite go to plan and they end up on the run from a jewel thief whilst sporting superhero costumes!

Freddie Yates likes facts. Just not the one staring him in the face - that his secret plan is not, in fact, secret.
Because Freddie's journey wasn't meant to involve Big Trev and the onion-eating competition or the loo-exploding pear-and-potato turnovers. And Freddie definitely didn't expect to end up, with his two best friends, on national television in a supergirl costume. But journeys never take you where you think they will. And for Freddie, that fact might just have to be enough...

Many thanks to Jenny for compiling this guest booklist for us. Find out more about her new book The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates over on our blog.

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Romans inspirational real life stories.png 5 Books Featuring Inspirational Real Life Stories - Zoë Armstrong I have a huge soft spot for picture books that explore the lives of real people – especially those that inspire us or teach us something new. I’ve always been curious about other human beings – I think we all are. So in the week that Find the Spy (my real-life spy book with super-illustrator Shelly Laslo) is published, I’ve put together a list of five great books featuring fascinating real-life stories. ​ On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky On a Beam of Light celebrates curiosity and the powerful mind of a quiet little boy called Albert. Albert watched the world in silence – not speaking at all as a young child. Then one day he is given a magnetic compass, and it sparks a lifetime of exploration. This book is a glorious introduction to Einstein’s ideas about atoms and motion, and space and time. We learn too about Einstein’s creativity and sense of fun: his habit of playing the violin while wrestling with tricky ideas, his love of cycling and of walking barefoot through town, eating ice cream. The artwork seems to echo Einstein’s thoughts and calculations, and captures his sense of wonder about the universe. Possibly my favourite illustrated non-fiction book in the world! Buy Online Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles Patricia Valdez and Felicita Sala As a child, Joan Proctor would walk a baby crocodile through Edwardian London on the end of a length of ribbon. Now if that doesn’t make you want to pick up this book, then I don’t know what will! This is a celebration of the life and work of a great pioneering women of science. Joan Proctor’s childhood obsession with reptiles became an extraordinary career, taking in the Natural history Museum, the Zoological Society and London Zoo, where she was the first female Curator of Reptiles. This book is as fascinating as it is gorgeous to look at, with wonderfully expressive illustrations and a lovely earthy colour palette Buy Online Find the Spy Zoë Armstrong and Shelly Laslo Psst! Find the Spy is my own book, with illustrator Shelly Laslo, so I’ll leave the review to others and just tell you a bit about it! Find the Spy uncovers the stories of eight real-life secret agents, and the spy skills that made them great. One crawled across the rooftops of Paris, another hid secrets in her wooden leg, and there’s even a grandma-next-door who wasn’t quite what she seemed… Shelly’s artwork is full of character, cunning and sneaky side glances that draw children into a world of invisible ink, cryptography and disguise. There are wonderfully illustrated spotting scenes to get lost in and top-secret spy skills to learn too. Buy Online How To Be Extraordinary Rashmi Sirdeshpande & Annabel Tempest Fifteen extraordinary people from around the world and through history! This is a fabulous book for children to dip into and be inspired. One of the lovely things about this collection is it mixes up household names with less familiar but equally fascinating characters. There is a focus on tenacity, hard work and original thinking, and the stories are told in a warm and appealing way. The illustrations are bright, beautiful and full of energy to carry young readers along. Buy Online Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn't Sorry. Fausto Gilberti I love the tile of this biography of artist Yayoi Kusama. It reflects the beautifully simple way that Kusama’s story is told in this lovely book. Unusually, it is written from Kusama’s point of view: ‘I painted hundreds and hundreds of dots onto large canvases. The dots often came off the pictures and ended up on my dress, tables and wall! But I wasn’t sorry.’ The bold illustrations are pared down but full of character and wit – just like the prose. This is the third title in a series of books introducing younger children to the lives and works of contemporary artists who broke the mould, and ‘weren’t sorry’. Jackson Pollack and Yves Klein are the other two – the whole series is wonderful. Buy Online • Find the Spy, written by Zoe Armstrong and illustrated by Shelly Laslo, will be published by Puffin Books on 19th March 2020.