Rebel Readers

Create Group Magazine

Safiyyah's War
Safiyyah’s War is the type of book you could read again and again and never get sick of. Set in the beginnings of World War II, a young Muslim girl named Safiyyah has to navigate loss, hatred and even the underground tunnels of Paris to be able to help people in a way most people wouldn’t. There is a wide variety of side characters, from a young shepherd boy staying with his sick father in a community hall to an old Jewish botanist broken after having his life’s work destroyed by Nazis. A lot of character development is shown as the characters become more accustomed to the war and gain new qualities, especially with Safiyyah as her bravery unfurls throughout the story. The main themes explored are the effects of war on people, buried history, the role of the Mosque in WWII, bravery and how to persevere even when your life is in ruins around you. The themes were well-explored and I learned things I didn’t know, making this an educational read as well as an emotional one. I rate this book 5/5 stars. It took us on a well-written journey and was very smooth to read and follow even after I put it down for a while. The characters and themes were interesting and all the twists and turns were not overdone, making them more enjoyable. I recommend this story to anyone interested in history or learning about it in school, looking for an adventure or just wanting a good book to read; I think it is definitely worthy of the Carnegie Writing Medal and would vote for this one.

Tatiana

Lost
Lost was a very good book with very good illustrations and had a wonderful story all about a polar bear who gets lost in a big city. He tries to get help but everyone is to busy or ignores him except this one girl who finds him and takes him to her house. But when the polar bear gets to the house it’s not like his and that makes him sad. So the girl finds a way to get the polar bear back to the North pole to his family.

Lily

The Bowerbird
The Bowerbird is a beautiful book about a bird named Bert who is trying to find a wife. He comes across a beautiful bird named Nanette, so he collects all different kinds of treasures for her but she just asks him for more. Until another bird comes alone and steals all of Berts treasures and Nanettes heart. So Bert is all alone until he meets a beautiful and the kindest bird hes ever met and asks her to be his bowerbird. I give this book a 9/10.

Lily

The Wilderness
This book was very entertaining and I loved reading about the character October. He was very scared of the outdoors even though him and his family were adventurers. My favourite page would have to be the the one with the bunk beds as it showed you all the different things that the kids liked. I also thought is was unique that all the kids are named after all the months! Overall, I really loved this book and I give it 100/10 !!

Emy

The Bowerbird
One of the best illustration books I've seen so far in the Carnegie Medal. I like the message it sends and the emotions are illustrated so well. My favourite page is where Jean came inside his bower or when he sees his stuff is gone because you can tell his emotions just by looking at his wee face!

Mya

The Bowerbird
The Bower Bird was so CUTE. I loved how he falls in love with Nanette and he collects so many pretty things but she did not want to go inside his bower. Then Claude comes along and steals all the bower birds trinkets but left the purple flower. Then another bird comes called Jean and she said she liked his flower and then she came into his bower. My favourite page was where Jean and the Bower Bird meet. :)

David

To the Other Side
Overall a great book but the monsters are a bit scary for little kids, I really liked the train page and the contrast between the dark and light. It sends a clear message that's not hard to miss. 7/10

Mya

The Tree and the River
This book is a very happy book the tree and the river who stay together when it went from a village with lots of farming, through a war and then into a huge city. It is very good as it shows you that you only in need two things to start something magical, a tree and a river. However, the best bit of the book for me was when the acorn fell off and a new tree was born! i That made me very happy! I would rate this book 7/10

Ciarrrai

To the Other Side
Overall, I though this was a great book. For me though, I thought the monsters are a bit scary for little kids. I really liked the train page and the contrast between the dark and light. It sends a clear message, that's not hard to miss. 7/10

Mya

April's Garden
I loved April's Garden. At the beginning she is so sad then she gets some tiny cute flower pots but the seeds didn't grow because she was sad. Then after a while the mother gains enough money to get a new home and she becomes happier. Suddenly the seeds grow into lovely, pretty flowers. My favourite page is the one where she draws her dream home and a couple of pages later, they move into their dream home. It is like the one April drew with all the flowers around it!

David

April's Garden
I like this book because it teaches children about patience. It also has lovely bright flowers and beautiful pictures as though they were drawn by a child. I would rate this book 5/10

Eimear

The Wilderness
The Wilderness was a great book. I love how each character had different personalities. I thought it was clever to include the unusual plants at the start, especially Screaming Susan and Ramble weed. Some are real and some are made-up! My favourite page was the night-time scene where all the children are asleep! Everyone different and again showing their personalities. I really enjoyed the colourful illustrations showing nature.

David

The Tree and the River
The Tree and the River was a wonderful book. I love that the tree and the river are with each other from the very start and that even through massive changes they are always together, even when they are separated. I love that in the story you only need one acorn to make a new tree so the tree and the river get reunited. I give this book a 8/10

Lily

To the Other Side
I loved To The Other Side, it was fantastic! I love how the masks are so colourful and how the flowers appear in this book. My favourite part is where the boy makes a friend and doesn't use his mask but the girl still holds on to hers as she is still unsure in this new country. Keep up the great work :)

David

The Tree and the River
The book was amazing. I liked the fact there were no words and we got to see so many different parts of history or the future. It was hard to tell! I would rate this book 10/10

EMILIE

Lost
I LIKE THE GIRL HELPING THE BEAR :):):) 10/10

EMILIE

The Bowerbird
I loved looking at all the illustrations in The Bowerbird. It is very bright and colourful. The images are really beautiful and have so much detail. I like how the author shows that animals have feelings too, like happy and sad. I am very happy that the bird found another bird he loves. The book is very easy to read and stands out on the shelf so children will pick it up. I rate this book a 10/10.

Jennifer

Away With Words
I really enjoyed this excellent book. The book tells the story of a girl named Gala who is from Spain but is forced to move to Scotland to live with her dad’s boyfriend. This turns Gala’s world upside down. I found the cover of the book very interesting. It displays lots of words in different colours and fonts and shows us how words are central to this story. I found the book a bit quirky in the way when people talk the words physically fall out of their mouths. Gala doesn’t know much English at the start of the book and I liked how I was put into her shoes when the words she didn’t understand were missing from the text and then, just like Gala, I couldn’t make sense of what was being said either. It was lovely to see how Gala progressed with the English language over the course of the book and I was really impressed with how she was such a good friend to Natalie who had selective mutism. It was good for me to learn about this condition also. My favourite character is Ryan, Gala’s dad’s boyfriend. He is very kind and has a positive mental attitude. I didn’t particularly like Eilidh C as she isn’t very patient with Gala. Overall it was a really enjoyable read and made me realise more about the difficulties people can face in communication. I will definitely recommend this book to my friends

Ruairi

Steady for This
This book is very good! It is definitely a laugh out loud book. It really is a very funny book and Growls' rapping is hilarious. I enjoyed how he made a song for his crush, Tanisha. It showed how brave he was to perform a song in front of a girl he doesn't really know! I would definitely recommend "Steady for This". The colours on the front and back cover, makes it stand out more from the rest of the nominated books! Very eye-catching! I would give this book 8/10.

ciarrai

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The Boy Lost In The Maze is a good book. I liked how on the pages it told you to either got back to a page or go forward to a page. I liked the way it was written in verses and had some pictures which makes it and easy read. The only thing was I found it a bit confusing who was talking, or if it was either Theo or Theseus telling their story. I rate this book a 7/10

Jennifer

The Wilderness
The Wilderness has the most beautiful and creative illustrations i have ever seen. I love that in this book every child represents a month and all the children are different. I don't think I will ever forget this wonderful, imaginative, creative, and amazing story. I give this book a 10/10.

Lily

The Song Walker
I enjoyed this book as I like how it had a mystical setting so it. I love the relationship between the two girls and the ending is especially good as it has a bit about Tarni and Sienna when they are older. I think the story was slightly confusing but overall I'm glad i got to read such a magical book. I would give this book a 6/10

Isla

The Bowerbird
'The Bowerbird,' is a very bright and colourful book. I love the feeling of the cover. The pictures are so realistic, I love how the illustrator makes the birds so colourful. Also how she shows that birds have feelings too. I love that at the end of the book, the bowerbird found someone to love and be his wife. I love how happy this book made me feel. I rate this book 10/10.

Ailise'

The Midnight Panther
I really enjoyed all the illustrations in The Midnight Panther. I particulary liked the sun, wind, rain and moon. The illustrations are so detailed and colourful. The images are very realistic especially the eyes on the animals and the weather. I rate this book a 10/10.

Jennifer

The Bowerbird
The Bowerbird is a very sad book that I probably wouldn't recommend to younger readers as it is quite sad. I thought it was a good book though, that I will read again. I give this book 5/10

Eimear

April's Garden
I really liked the colours in this book. They stand out from all the white background. It was sad that the children had to leave their homes and escape to America. i would rate this book 10/10

Emilie

Choose Love
A very good book!. I loved the poems and it was very emotional to read. 9/10 :):

Emilie

Away With Words
Away With Words is about a young girl called Gala who has to move from Spain to Scotland because her dad wants to live with his boyfriend. She only knows a couple words in English and struggles to understand more because of the accents and strange words, only adding to her hatred of her new home. This story isn’t an ordinary one - here, words are physical object, that fall from your mouth when you talk. Almost everyone brushes aside the words and cleans them up at the end of the day, so Gala is intrigued when she spots a girl who never speaks picking up words in school. She befriends the girl - Natalia - after a chance encounter at the park and finds out she has selective mutism: she can’t speak in stressful situations or people she isn’t comfortable with. They start collecting words together and Gala gets a bit less homesick. The character development was linear, although it was fun to observe: we only really get to see Natalia becoming a little more confident and Gala learning English. I enjoyed when Gala met Natalie and started learning more about her, like that Natalie makes poems out of words, the most. The main themes explored were settling in, coping with change, bullying and facing challenges. These themes were well-presented although I think it would’ve helped to see other characters’ perspectives more often and get to know some of the side characters. I rate this book 3.5-4/5. It had a unique and creative premise and interesting characters. The reveal near the end was very predictable though, and there is a lot of wasted potential with the characters. As someone who is from another country and had to learn English, I enjoyed the themes and how they were represented. I would recommend this story to anyone in a similar situation, slightly younger people like preteens and anyone struggling to go through changes.

Tatiana

Crossing the Line
Crossing the Line is an immersive story that deals with some serious and heavy themes in an engaging way that allows us an insight into what Erik is experiencing. The start of the book is successful in setting the scene and immediately grabbed my attention and I was continuously engaged throughout, my interest not faltering. I thoroughly enjoyed the characterisation of particular characters such as Erik, who simply got himself into a bad situation but shows undoubtedly a caring nature for his family. His character contrasts drastically to the likes of K1, a rough character who lives a life shrouded in drugs and mystery. The correlation between Erik’s running as a sport, and, the running away from his problems was an interesting aspect of him, showing a paralleled meaning for him. I felt the climax of the story towards the end, where Erik had enough of being under K1’s order and decided to break free or ‘cross the line’, this part of the story particularly left me on the edge of my seat. The last few pages of the book shocked me immensely when Erik’s dog was drugged and a note was left saying for Erik to hand over the SIM card or his sisters were next, this created a sense of danger and an ominous tone that left me wanting to know what truly happens next. I additionally found the book to be a fairly easy read that made it a perfect book for those who do not have much time to read or just want a book that is simple!

Grace

The Midnight Panther
'The Midnight Panther,' is a very bright and colourful book. I love how realistic the animals are, they are very interesting. The book cover is really detailed and beautifully illustrated. It stands out from the rest and made me immediately want to choose it. My favourite page was the page that turned sideways, it seemed like the panther was jumping over the sleeping tigers and lions. The detail was amazing, it made me feel like I was there in person. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I rate this book 9.5/10.

Ailise

To the Other Side
I really liked the vibrant colours used in To The Other Side. I loved all the different masks in it. The one thing that stood out for me, was on the wall near the border between Mexico and the USA, it said in Spanish, "tambien de este lado hay suenos" which translates in English to "also on this side there are dreams" I really liked that message. I would rate this book 9/10.

Jennifer

Crossing the Line
'Crossing the Line,' is an easy book to read, I like how it is written like a poem. I love how it makes me feel that I am actually there in person. I love how on the chapters name pages, are like dominos. It really makes you think how delicate life really is. This book I think would be more suitable for teens, rather than primary school children. I love how at the end of the book has points for discussion. I rate this book 8/10.

Ailise

Steady for This
'Steady for this,' is a kind of funny book. I love the bonus track at the end of the book. My favourite character is Shaun Thompson 'Growls'. The opening of the book made me want to read on because, I like how it starts with a rap. I rate this book 7.5/10

Ailise

The Tree and the River
'The tree and the River', is a great book. I love how the colours stand out. I think that the book is more for teens because I don't think children will get it. I love how there are no words it makes your imagination think. I would reread this book. I rate this book 8.5-10

Ailise

The Tree and the River
'The Tree and the River' really stands out to me the images are really bright. I really like how there are no words in the book so the images tell a great story, but also you can make your own story up. I rate this book 9/10

Ailise

The Boy Lost in the Maze
'The Boy Lost in the Maze' is a great book. I really like how easy it was to read. I enjoyed how it made you choose things because like in life you have to make difficult decisions. I really like how at the end of the book Theo finds his father. I rate this book 9/10

Ailise

The Midnight Panther
The illustrations are very detailed and captivating. There's a sort of ethnic style to the pictures. There are repeated patterns and there's more focus on use of colour than colour itself. Even though there may not be many colours on a page, the use of tones of colours makes the illustrations beautiful and intriguing. It's a book that could entertain for hours by just looking at the illustrations and taking in the detail on each page. I really like the book and I would definitely reread it, it's a beautiful and calming book .

Rosellen

Crossing the Line
This book is extremely well written. There is some really heartbreaking scenes. This book is really powerful. Crossing The Line is a very important book, especially in today's world. It teaches older children and teenagers the dangers and importance of staying away from drugs. My favourite part of this book is when the book starts of with "Do you feel safe?" and ending with this line too. I loved how in some pages words formed and image, and the dominos signifying if you make one bad decision, a lot goes wrong. The way this book is written in verses, makes it so easy to read and definitely is a quick read. I have no problems with this book, therefore I rate it 10/10!

Jennifer

Crossing the Line
I loved this book. The way it was written in verses was a really cool and original idea. It made the book more enjoyable than it already is. This book is a good example of the dangers of drugs, gangs, poverty, county lines and making the right choice. It was sad to see Erik go through all the drug dealing and threats and the sheer amount of stress he went through. All throughout he had no help other than Ravi since his Mom told him to tell everyone he was fine and didnt need any help. That was truly heart wrenching. The writing is excellent! The fact this story is based on what the author’s friend's son had to go through, is just shocking to me. I have two younger brothers and would hate to see them go through that. So overall, a brilliant, brilliant book.

Thomas

Steady for This
This book is absolutely hilarious, I loved every single page of it. The whole story itself was fantastic and the character development Growls goes through was brilliant. When he was introduced, he was a cocky wannabe rapper who had no idea that his family were getting evicted and was full of himself with pride. But with some help from his English teacher and his counsellor Karen, he changed and became a better kid and it got him a (potential) girlfriend. He then had enough confidence to win Raptology in the process! Just a brilliant and genuinely funny book.

Thomas

Choose Love
'Choose Love,' is a book of poetry written in three parts, Departure, Arrival and Healing. It tracks the journey of refugees coming into England by sea. I really like how the cover page is reflected on the other side. The poems really make you think about the hard journeys some people have to make, to reach safety. I rate this book 7/10.

Ailise

Safiyyah's War
I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved the fact that it was about a young girl living through the war, who faced many challenges. This book is really interesting and I am really glad I got to read such a heart-warming book. I would give this book a 7/10

Isla

Lost
Lost was fantastic! I loved how the bear looked so cute and the writing style was really appropriate for each character. I like how the writing font got larger, if the person had a raised voice. I did notice that it was all written in capital letters, which is unusual to see. I hope you write many more books because this one was so amazing. Also I enjoyed watching your video and I understood what you were going for,. The illustrations were wonderful and the title on the front cover in neon pink, looked like a graffiti splash. My favorite pages were the scenes on the Tube with all the different characters on their phones, reading the newspaper and not even noticing that there was a 6 foot Bear in the carriage with them!!!!. I really loved the fact that the girl with the white hair, was so engrossed in her phone, that she had her arm around Bear and even she didn't notice him! Keep up the amazing work !! I would rate this book 8/10.

david

Lost
Lost, is a great book. I like how it represents that anybody or anything can get lost but will always find a way home, but also how people can be so friendly when they want to be! I also loved the colours throughout. The child's mummy didn't even realise that her daughter brought a polar bear, into the the house! The girl is very kind to help the polar bear to get home to his family in the North Pole. I rate this book 10/10

Ailise

To the Other Side
To the Other Side, is a very colourful book with vibrant pink and orange colours. It will appeal to both children and adults. The theme of the migrant crisis was clear and at the end we have hope of a better life, once they cross the border. It is very detailed and I like how clearly the illustrator told their story in such a vibrant way. My favourite part of the book is the drawing of the spindly black monsters! I rate this book 9/10.

Ailise

The Tree and the River
I liked the illustrations in this book. I really liked how the whole cycle of the tree started over again. This book really shows how big of an impact people have on the environment. I loved how there was no words in this book, which meant that the illustrations had to tell the story, and I thing the illustrator did this very well. I rate this 9/10.

Jennifer

The Door of No Return
The Door of No Return is set in Upper Kwanta, a fictional place in Africa. Our main character is an eleven year old boy who is about to become a man, named Kofi Offin, after the River Offin. Kofi has a special connection with water, and dreams about swimming away into the great unknown. There are a lot of side characters, most prominently Ama - Kofi’s love interest - and Kofi’s cousin, also called Kofi, who tries to one-up our main character, in every way possible. There is one way Kofi plans to beat him though: a swimming race. The only character we really saw truly develop, was our main character, as his resolve hardens and he becomes braver and more mature, but I think this suited the story as it makes the ending and sudden change in Kofi’s cousin’s behaviour more drastic. The main themes explored are the slave trade and people trafficking. This is an issue that is becoming a lot less common as the world develops, but still remains a great danger for African citizens and people from other underdeveloped countries. Some of the other intertwining themes are corruption and cruelty: the actions of the white traffickers towards Kofi and his people are disgusting but real, and the way an angry king supports this happening just because of an unfortunate accident, is also hard to digest. I would rate this book 4/5; I am not a fan of verse books and I found this one disappointing. It was a very interesting read though and helped enlighten me about the themes explored: I had always been curious but not known where to start finding resources to learn more. I didn’t like that the story ended on such a massive cliffhanger, as it made me feel unsatisfied after finishing it; it suited the narrative but I felt a bit cheated. I would however recommend The Door of No Return to anyone interested in African culture and the aforementioned themes.

Tatiana

The Door of No Return
Sadly I couldn't keep up with The Door Of No Return. This just isn't my type of book, but I know some people that would like this book if they are interested in this genre. I found myself constantly wondering what was going on. However, I really liked how the book is written in verses like a poem which makes it less of a heavier read. I would rate this book a 5/10

Jennifer

Away With Words
Away With Words is a great book. The poems included are also very good. Friends will always find a way to communicate, no matter what. I would not re read this book. I rate this book 5/10.

Ailise

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish
The search for The Giant Arctic Jellyfish is a great book. It consists mostly of red and blue. The illustrations are very realistic and they describe so well the story of the shy jellyfish and the scientist who really wants to find it. I rate this book 9/10

Ailise

April's Garden
April's Garden is a good book. This book is very bright and colourful it describes so much about this book. I rate this book 8/10

Ailise

The Wilderness
The Wilderness is a very good book I loved the pictures. The colours were so bright. I would recommend this book to everyone. I rate this book 10/10

Ailise

Lost
The illustrations in the book were very good at showing different perspectives of being lost, for example the bear is physically lost, while the people around him are lost in the humdrum of daily life and technology. The colours are gentle and mild, very few things stand out apart from the child's hair and the bear and they are the two main protagonists in the story. The pictures are painted with pencil outlines and you can see the author has placed her own book in one of the pictures. It was a very good book and the illustrations were great. I would reread it.

Rosellen

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish
In The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish, I think the colours used are very nice and really magical, to fit with the story. The detail put into the illustrations is really visible. It is a really beautifully illustrated book and I would definitely recommend to younger readers, around the age of 6-8. I rate this 10/10!

Jennifer

The Wilderness
The Wilderness is a very well illustrated book, which shows younger readers to never judge anyone/anything before you get to know them, which is very important. I also really liked the colours used, because they are vibrant, and that makes a child want to pick it up and read it. I rate this book a 9/10.

Jennifer

To the Other Side
I really liked the colour palette in this book as it does catch the eye when you see it. The masks were very effective. A solid 10/10 for this book!

Emilie

Steady for This
This is a very good book. I really like the cover of the book with all the different colours, that make it stand out on the shelf. It was full of funny jokes and the main character "MC Growls" was very funny as well. I would give this book 8/10

Emilie

Safiyyah's War
When you think of war do you think Paris? No because it is a beautiful city, but the thing is war can be anywhere. Safiyyah is all alone because her best friends family have fled. I rate this book 8.5/10

Ailise

The Song Walker
I didn't really enjoy this book although it was good but it is not my type of book. It kept referring to how Sienna couldn't remember anything and how she was lost. I rate this book 6/10

Ailise

The Door of No Return
This book was very good because at the beginning it is about an African community festival but ends up with young Kofi fighting for his life on a slave ship. I thought this book was really enjoyable. the main thing that I liked about this book is how easy it was to read and it was a great read. I rate this book 9/10

Ailise

The Tree and the River
This book is brilliant! It tells the story of time and all the changes and it is a story without words. I really enjoyed the colourful illustrations and thought it was amazing that every page looked like a different civilisation through the many generations of life. My favourite pages would have to be pages 17-18 and the front cover. Pages 17-18 had beautiful colours and I loved the futuristic style. The front cover really told you, in a subtle way, what the book was about, with the reflection on the water showing you that land changes over time. 10/10 :)

Emy

The Tree and the River
I really liked this book as it has a really feeling to it and the illustrations are outstanding. I have no words, like the book and the illustrations are just beautiful. I love all the various colours of green as they go so well together. My favourite part is that on the front cover, the reflection of the river, mimics the future. With all the buildings and towers, this book was probably one of my favourites, ever! I think Aaron Becker should be very proud of himself for such amazing illustrations. You can tell that a lot of thought, time and effort went into this book 100/10 if allowed!

Eimear

The Song Walker
The Song Walker is a novel set in the great Australian Outback and focuses on the journey of our main character - who doesn’t even know who she is! Alone in the red desert with no recollection of past events and an expensive-looking locked case, she has no chance of survival - until she meets a first-country girl called Tarni, who takes her through the desert and helps her find herself again. These two characters really develop and reveal themselves throughout the story, and by the end neither is the same as she was before they found each other. Watching the friendship blossom felt natural and real, and I loved seeing Tarni start to rely on our main character as well. It was intriguing to learn more about Australia and what life in the Outback is like: the story was easy to follow and there was a glossary of first-country words at the beginning to help the reader understand. All the side characters they met made an impact on what happened and I enjoyed how they gave our main character different names based on the experiences they had with her. The main themes explored are journeys, finding yourself, changes and learning how to move on. I feel these were all very well-explored: nothing was mentioned so much it got repetitive, and I especially liked the symbolism of Candelabra the bird and how reluctant Tarni was to let him go. I would rate this book 5/5 and I think it is worthy of the Carnegie medal for writing, as it is my favourite by far of the previous 3 I’ve read. The twist at the end was completely unexpected and made the story even more emotional, also motivating the reader to reread and try to notice all the clues. The symbolism and messages throughout the story were all beautiful too, and I loved watching both characters develop and start their lives again. I think almost everyone could read this and thoroughly enjoy it.

Tatiana

The Door of No Return
The Door of No Return Book Review The Door of No Return is an amazing book. It is based on a boy who lives in Africa. His name is Kofi Offin and he is eleven years old. The cover of this book caught my attention right away. Its vibrant red colour made me want to pick it up and get stuck in. The book has an interesting structure , like verses in a poem, which I thought was different and a change from books I have read previously. There aren’t that many words on each page and I liked this as it isn’t a heavy read. The story itself is a really interesting and enjoyable read. I did find it a little confusing that Kofi calls his Grandfather Nana which made me think the Granda was a female but it is interesting to see how other people can have different names for their grandparents compared to me. Kofi Offin feels like he is in his cousin’s shadow and it is interesting seeing how he copes. My favourite character in the book is Kofi’s friend Ebo. He is very funny and brave. The book was set in Ghana and it describes it as a beautiful place with its “copper sky” and “where the water is crystal clear". This has made me want to visit, as it sounds incredible. The book also made me feel more appreciative of the things I have, as life seems harder for Kofi than me. Kofi is a strong minded boy who never gives up and I admire him for this. I would definitely recommend this captivating book.

Ruairi

April's Garden
April's Garden is a very colourful story book, that in my opinion appeals to younger children with the style of font and colours. The story is very clear and strong if you just looked at the illustrations and ignored the writing. I think this book is very well illustrated and is very eye catching. The colours used work very well to make you feel a certain emotion. I don't have any issues with the book, therefore I rate it 10/10. I felt a bit sorry for April at the start, and at the end I felt happy that everything worked out for her.

Jennifer

April's Garden
The illustrations are very good at conveying the mood and perspectives of the main characters. In the beginning everything's very dark, dull and gloomy, mirroring April's feelings at that time. You can tell she's confused and has no idea what's happening, because she's portrayed as almost being dragged from something, and the illustrations show her and her mother are escaping in fear. As they arrive at their temporary home the pictures lighten a little, as if the fear is wearing off, but April still perceives the outside world as frightening because outside of the house, the illustrations go back to dark and grey. April draws her dream house and garden, it's very colourful and optimistic and you can tell that she's hoping life will be better some day. April has fled with nothing but the clothes on her back, this becomes more obvious because the neighbourhood ladies give her things which it's clear have been used, for example the pencils she uses to draw her house with, they are all mismatched, there is no sets, they are a collection of random markers, colouring pencils and crayons. Also when she goes to the garden, the coat is too long and her boots are too big implying that these too are borrowed. Each time we see her mum, she starts to look better as her time passes in the safe house. The pictures projecting from the sun portray that things are starting to look brighter and better times are coming. The illustrations showing April and her mother moving into their new house use April's picture to show that this feels like her dream home and what she wished for. I enjoyed the book because the illustrations were very meaningful and enjoyed analysing them.

Rosellen

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish
I like the picture in the book when the jelly fish is hiding behind an ice berg. I also think the jelly fish was very shy! I loved the colours of blue and orange as they really stood out. I also liked the map! I rate this book a 8/10

Layton

The Wilderness
This book remined me of Autumn and it was such a good book with nice colours and patterns. It is really well illustrated and very really well written as well. It could possibly be my favourite book of those I have read so far! I also love the part with all the beds and each child was called a month of the year. This is a clever and entertaining book. I will rate this book a 9/10.

Kenzie

The Wilderness
I think this book has wonderful illustrations I love the house at the start of the book because it has all those colours that makes it stand out I also love the little boy who doesn't like the outdoors I think this my favourite illustration book so far. I rate this book a 10/10.

Layton

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The Boy Lost in the Maze is actually about three boys: two lost in their journeys, and one whose journey is only beginning. One is Theo, an average older-teenager boy in school trying to find his father; one is Theseus, a Greek hero who Theo is learning about in school; and one is the Minotaur himself, trapped in the maze. What do these all have in common? The search for what it means to be a man. This book is written in verse, but the verse format is not too jagged which allows for a smoother read than most other verse books. Poetry and rhymes are also used to enhance the style, which I really enjoyed. The main characters Theo and Theseus both go through character development and their beliefs and morals are expanded on well, and I also loved how the side characters were given their own morals and lives as well - this made them feel more real, especially in Theseus’ case where in the most popular versions of the Greek myth they were just obstacles to kill. My favourite part was Phaia the pig-beast: the big twist and decision you got to make was exciting and very refreshing. The main themes explored are the impact of having an absent important role model growing up, masculinity, decisions and independence. Through the story we learn a lot about each of these, and get to see how two different men, separated by years and years of time and miles and miles of distance, both struggle with the same things: this also helps anyone struggling with the same issues feel less alone. I rate this book 4/5 stars: the writing flowed with use of advanced vocabulary and poetry. Learning about Theseus’ story in depth and with different twists and turns was compelling and made the story both enjoyable and educational: I certainly learned a lot of new things. I enjoyed that this book was interactive and gave us the option of choices even though the wrong one led to death: I would have liked to see this feature implemented more often and expanded on, maybe with completely different endings? This book suits a pretty wide audience, I would recommend it in particular to those interested in Greek mythology, avid readers of poetry and anyone wondering what it means to be a man.

Tatiana

Crossing the Line
Crossing the Line opens with a question for the reader: “Do you feel safe?” This sets the scene for the dark and unsettling story ahead: this is no casual read. We are taken on a journey with the main character Erik, who gets caught up in selling drugs. At first he does it to support his family, thinking he can just get out if he changes his mind: but he soon finds out that’s not how it works. I enjoyed seeing how Erik’s mindset changes throughout the story as well as his relationships with the other characters; they were presented very realistically which helped to bring them to life. This book is written in verse which can deter some people from reading it, but the verse is utilised by making the words have different sizes or patterns to further present Erik’s feelings or how he perceives things. This made the story easier to follow and gave us a break from the dark topic: I think if this had been written normally it would have been an even harder read than it already is. The main themes explored here are peer pressure, drug dealing and difficult choices: I think this book did a good job at tackling them and showing us that not all drug dealers are mindless criminals, some of them are just scared little boys trying to become men. The main character chosen was also a very good reflection of this, as he had motives for his actions and also had a moral compass which, although sometimes shrouded in doubt, always pointed in the right direction. No character really stood out to me though because I feel like not many of them were very developed: a lot of potential was wasted here, knocking my rating down a bit. Overall I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars: the plot, although well-handled, was pretty linear and could have used more development. Although I did enjoy some parts, I think a lot could have been either cut out or expanded on to make the story more interesting. I would recommend this to anyone whose friends or family members have gone through something similar or someone who would like to educate themselves more on the topics presented, but in my opinion this is not a good casual read for a wide audience.

Tatiana

The Bowerbird
This is a very sad book that becomes a happy book at the end! Nanette didn't want all the shiny stuff that poor little Bert brought to her and then ignored him and went to another bird, that was very very sad. I was so glad when the cute other little bowerbird came to Bert's bower to become his wife and she only took the basic flower from him. Their happiness is not measured in how many things you possess, to show off. True happiness lies in meeting right person to spend the rest of your life with. The illustrations really brought the story to life as they were colourful and quirky.

Ciarrai

The Bowerbird
I like the detail the illustrations and the expressions on the little bird's face was so engaging. A definite 10/10, for me!

Emilie

The Song Walker
I really enjoyed this book. I would give it 9/10

Emilie

The Boy Lost in the Maze
I loved the opening of the book. Right from the very start I felt immersed and intrigued when I was reading the book, even though it was poetry. Theo was a normal schoolboy, who was desperate to track down his father, who had left him and his mum, and he doesn’t really remember him. After discovering Greek mythology and the story of Theseus at at school, it becomes clear that Theo and Theseus are on the same journey in a weird way, to find their fathers. Theseus meets a number of enemies on his way like a Cyclops, a tree-bending murderer and a weird pig. Theo faces obstacles ranging from a scammer to a lawyer. There is also the story of the Minotaur who is described as a boy who was just like Theo and Theseus, but looked different, and was treated as a monster by his family with the exception his sister Ariadne. I enjoyed having to pick which option the heroes should follow when facing choices on their path to manhood. Sometimes it was the wrong path and other times it was a good path. Theseus is a very strong character when he murdered a number of characters, whereas Theo comes across as a nice normal person with some anger issues. I preferred Theseus's story of searching for his dad better than Theo’s. The ending was a real surprise, instead of Theseus attacking the Minotaur, Theseus made friends with him. As both Theo and Theseus progress through their journey, they reach new conclusions of what it is to be a man. Theo reaches an angry conclusion about Theseus, recognising that a typical hero's journey is all about violence and death, and recognises that the being a man in your life is not always a positive one.

David

The Wilderness
I really enjoyed this book. The colours were vibrant and it felt like Autumn. It was bright and easy to read. I would give this book 10/10

Emilie

Lost
This book is very interesting but there was one particular thing that stopped me from reading on quickly and that was the way the background clashed with the words sometimes. For example when the polar bear was in the coffee shop, the words were hard to read. However on the other pages, such as near the end when he was at the boy's house or when the polar bear went back to his family, I could see the words perfectly.

Ciarrai

Steady for This
When I read "Steady For This", there were definitely some moments that were laugh out loud. The front of the book is really eye-catching, which is very important for any book. I really loved reading this. Personally I think the end was all a bit rushed, as I thought it happened all very quickly. However, I liked the way the slang appealed to teenagers and older children, which made the book less serious in a very positive way. The author definitely got "Growls" spot on, by using spelling mistakes and slang. I rate this book a 9/10.

Jennifer

To the Other Side
This book was quite a sad depressing story at the start as the children had to leave their home. It has a very powerful meaning that really touched my heart. The illustrations were very good. I liked the way the book had lots of grey images to signify fear. The masks had very strong colours like pink, red and yellow, Overall, I would give this book a 7/10.

Eimear

To the Other Side
This book was excellent. I quite enjoyed looking at all the colourful pictures in the book and yet still reading the story. This book is definitely one of my favourites. 8 1/2 /10 ;) :)

Emy kelly

To the Other Side
The book was very good book. It will make children less scared of what comes next in life and the ending was so heart warming when the little boy found a friend. It was a very interesting take on what children face when they are forced to leave their home to seek a better life in another country. I love how protective the older sister is with her brother. All the kids threw their masks away but she kept hers as she is still afraid of this new and unfamiliar life.

Ciarrai

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish
I didn't enjoy this book as much as the other ones I have read, but I still think that the illustration has good colours and very pretty to look at. I would give this book a 6/10.

Emy kelly

April's Garden
The illustrations reminded me of the drawings a child would do in Primary School. I definitely recommend it because of how good the images are. They made me feel sad, at the beginning, and hopeful at the end. I really wanted to read on.

Ciarrai

The Door of No Return
It's a very engaging and exciting book, I liked the way it introduced me to the way people live in Africa. It's also a very historical book, it's inspired by what happened to people in Africa in 1860, I learnt a lot about slavery, how they captured people and what the conditions were like on the journeys. The language is simple, yet it has a lot of meaning, it helped me to empathise with how the main character was feeling and stirred up emotions of injustice, sadness and hopefulness in me as the reader. The story is told from the perspective of an eleven year old boy called Kofi, the characters are extremely interesting and intriguing, even though some of them are rather detestable. I really enjoyed this book and I liked the way historical fiction gave me a broader understanding of past issues, like slavery, with a great story to go along with it. I would definitely reread this book and I think it would be a very good choice for the Carnegie Medal.

Rosellen

The Wilderness
What a great book - it is lovely! Just a beautiful book in general. I would re-read the book from cover to cover. There is a beautiful story behind all the illustrations. Brilliant patterns and bright colours. It is really well written. I would have picked this up when I was younger and I would recommend it. I am going to rate this book a 10/10!

Kenzie

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish
I think that the book was very detailed and adventurous and it was as if I was there on the ship looking for ginormous jelly fish. I felt the jellyfish was so shy but in the end he appeared just as the boat was leaving. I give this book 8/10.

Layton

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish
I like books that has maps.It went very detailed in terms of pictures a nice book. A good book for chrildren. The colours were bright and the illustration stood out with the blue and orange themes. I am going to rate it 7/10.

Kenzie

The Midnight Panther
The Midnight Panther is an amazing book that has beautiful art work and illustrations. I would give it 10/10 :) :)

Emilie

Away With Words
Away with Words is a very good book. It made my think I was the girl in the book :) :) I like the way the words were like pictures. I would give this 9/10.

Emilie

Steady for This
The book "Steady for this, is an absolutely hilarious book! It really makes you laugh out loud with joy. I like the way the book uses teenage slang such as silly nick names like MC Growls and Shanks. Not only is the book amazing on the inside but the front cover is just beautiful and it has such vibrant colours that really make you smile. Overall this was a really good book that I really recomend 10/10

Eimear

The Bowerbird
I thought that the book was sad at the start but then I was happy to see that the bower bird finally found love. I also felt that I really started to enjoy the rhymes in the book 8\10 :)

Emy

Crossing the Line
I did enjoy the book very much, it was a very compelling read, although some aspects of the language put me off, There were s few swear words. It took me on a journey of how when you do the wrong thing, there's often quite horrible consequences,. At one point Erik was attacked by someone with a knife because he was in the wrong territory of the drug dealing world. At the start Erik was very careless and silly, but he was in a rather difficult position at the time. He didn't tell anyone, and he was untrusting of others. As the story progressed he got caught in a web of lies making his situation even worse. He didn’t want to admit he was doing wrong or scare his mother. Towards the end of the story, he manages to stand up to his oppressors, when he receives a death threat for his twin sisters and this frightens him. Erik then makes a wise decision to contact a support group for children involved with drugs. At the end you're not clear on whether he's safe or not, you are left to come to that conclusion yourself. I think this book is good for creating empathy for children caught up in these situations and it may give courage to someone who is going through this. I would reread this book because it is a very engaging story and I like crime based novels.

Rosellen

The Boy Lost in the Maze
The Boy Lost in the Maze shows us how Theo the Minotaur and Theseus have grown up with an absent father. We see how similar Theo and Theseus are and how he feels connected to the Greek myth. This book also explores a strong sense of masculinity and femininity and how important it is to have role models and people to look up to. I also love the way you can choose your own path. I love the illustrations and how they are in synergy with the text. The overall effort put into this book is amazing. I give this book a 9/10

Lily

The Midnight Panther
I read the Midnight Panther.The opening and great illustrations in this book made me want to read on because the panther wants to be like the other big cats and he can't because he is a panther and not a lion, tiger or leopard. He is a panther, beautiful like midnight. The art in this book is amazing. I have never seen as beautiful and creative illustrations in my life.

Lily

The Song Walker
I really enjoyed reading 'The Song Walker'. It is a book that is heart-breaking as well as heart-warming. The reader feels very confused throughout the book, even until near the end. At the start of the book, I felt some things were randomly written or placed in the book, but you definitely understand it all when the book comes to an end. I think it is shown really well how two completely different strangers meet, Tarni and Sienna. At the start, Sienna relies on Tarni to keep her safe, and by the middle of the book, Tarni and Sienna both rely on each other. My favourite part of the book was when Sienna found out her name, then all her memories came flooding back to her. I definitely would rate this book a 10/10

Jennifer

The Boy Lost in the Maze
Very captivating and engaging story. The parallels between Theo and Theseus especially, but, also the Minotaur creates an interesting dynamic between the chapters, despite being divided by time they share such a similar tale of desperation in wanting to find their Fathers, which kept me wanting to keep reading. Additionally, the book taking a form similar to a script made the book refreshing to read, also, I found the different paths that sections of the story let you take a captivating aspect of the book that made me feel intertwined in the story. Overall, I thought this was an amazing book, with amazing characterisation and an immensely interesting storyline.

Grace

To the Other Side
The book and its illustrations are a great way to get people to understand what refugees have to go through. The illustrations and use of masks in the book, remind me of the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico and I think that's where the children are fleeing from and going to America. The illustrations throughout the book are mainly black and white, dull and dreary, representing the fear and darkness they are trying to escape from. The mix of colour and grey is very good at projecting hope through out the book, there is still hope for the two children on their journey. There's rather a lot of symbolism in the illustrations for example, whenever they are fleeing the monsters on the train, the monsters capturing some of the children's companions, seems to say they might have died or been killed by the threat on the journey. There's a pattern of lines repeated throughout the story from the front cover to the back and it seems to symbolise barriers that they are trying to escape. The illustrations captured the tense feeling of the book by portraying the monsters as almost inescapable, having them hidden throughout the illustrations, taking over houses, capturing people and every time they think they've escaped them, they come back again catching up on them. I had to reread the book a few times to fully grasp the symbolism of the illustrations. I would recommend this book, it is a very powerful book and the illustrations are instantly eye catching.

Rosellen

To the Other Side
This book's illustrations really put the reader into the protagonists perspective, and really draws you into the story. I loved the mix of black and grey illustrations with coloured images. The monster drawings were really creepy, even though I knew they weren't real. There is hope at the end but the elder sister is still unsure they are actually safe because she is still holding on to her mask unlike her brother who is completly assured and is not wearing his mask at the end.

Rosellen

The Wilderness
The illustration make you want to read this book from the front cover. It is such a good book. It will help children overcome their fears and anxieties by being brave and trying new adventures. The colours in the book were so bright and reminded me of the autumn.

Ciarrai

The Wilderness
This book was adorable and it’s perfect for little children to read and also to hear being read out loud. The main character in the book is a boy called Oktober and he was afraid of the “Wilderness” but he soon realises that he just needed to get out of the house and explore it! One of my favourite parts of the book was that he has 11 siblings and they are all called by the months of the year. I thought that was very creative. The best part of this book, was the illustration. It is amazing. Such beautiful detailed pictures, in fact, it’s so beautiful I couldn’t pick my favourite image.

Eimear

April's Garden
Aprils garden is a wonderful book and I recommend it. It starts off sad and gloomy but at the end April is very happy. April and her mum then move into a new and lovely house together. The message is that there is always hope.

Lily

Choose Love
I think Choose Love is a really good book. It has a such an important meaning behind it, and I think this book is for those over 12. I really enjoyed reading this book. I also liked the way it was written, in verses, like a poem. Every single line in every verse has a different meaning which is beautiful. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends.

Jennifer

The Tree and the River
The tree and the river was amazing. The opening was spectacular and it felt like your were apart of the story of the tree. The illustration was so good it looked like the tree and all of the backgrounds were real . I loved the ending where the acorn falls and grows a new tree and the old tree disappears then the process begins all over again. I probably read it about 50 time it was that good. The backgrounds were fantastic like castles and boats and farms etc. and then it all resets and starts over again. The styles were shocking and the colors are so vibrant. The books cover was so pretty and the front cover made me want to choose this book. I definitely recommend this book to people of all ages and the memory and message of this story made my heart ache .

DAVID

Choose Love
In the opening of the book the message is very simple: Choose Love, but when you read through the rest of the poems in the book the message is the total opposite! The book takes you on the journey of a refugee, from fleeing their country, and the horrors they leave behind and face on the way. Its mostly simple language and the use of repetition in words and sentences re-inforces the scense of panic refugees must feel. Its all very dramatic and terrifying. After reading this book I've learnt more about refugees and am more able to empathise with them and I have more understanding of what they have to go through. The poem that stands out for me is "Five Minutes" because the repetition of "Youve got five minutes..." and "...run..." portraying the panic terror and possibly confusion of the people as their city is destroyed.

Rosellen

Lost
I like the illustration and colours in Lost, I think the story is so simple, yet meaningful. I would rate this book 9/10.

Jennifer

Steady for This
I found this book really funny and engaging (there's even a bit where the main character gets stuck in a pram). I would definitely choose this book for the awards!!! This book would be great for someone going through a hard time as well. And all the characters are so immersive and true-to-life!!! This would also be great for people who are just getting into reading.

Rosellen

Away With Words
I really enjoyed reading Away with Words. I think the book could have ended a little bit better. I feel like the book should have been longer. I would recommend this book to my friends and family, I would also reread this book in a few years time when I have forgotten the story. I rate this book 9.5/10.

Jennifer