Bookshelf Quality Fiction

How the Stars Came to Be

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Each month, when the moon disappears, the Fisherman’s daughter worries abut her father, out in the sea in darkness. She worries so much that one day, the Sun finds her crying and after thinking hard, comes up with a way to help her and her father. Breaking one of his rays into many pieces, he tells her to put them in the sky where they will shine and give light. She works tirelessly, placing each carefully in the sky until her basket of stars catches Monkey’s eye…

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Poonam Mistry’s stunning artwork is familiar to us here at JAB HQ as the illustrations for Chitra Soundar’s lovely series ‘You’re Safe With Me’, ‘You’re Snug With Me’ and ‘You’re Strong With Me’. In this new book, both written and illustrated by Poonam herself, she tells the story of how the stars were created.

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Visually stunning, each spread is an absolute joy. Wonderfully patterned images seem to draw on artistic traditions from a range of cultures, resulting in beautifully detailed illustrations for the reader to linger over. I can’t tell you how much I love it!

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A gift for inspiring artwork, the story is perfect for using as part of work on creation stories or to enjoy to support science work on space. Best of all, it is a wonderful story for sharing!

‘How the Stars Came to Be’ is a beautiful book - a real must- have for everyone!

How the Stars Came to Be Poonam Mistry

Tate Publishing ISBN: 978-1849766630

The Last Human

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Some time in the not-so-distant future, robots have taken over, eliminating humans. Twelve year old XR_935 understands that this was necessary and the abandoned buildings that still litter the landscape are there as a reminder of humanity’s flaws and that their mistakes must never be repeated. Everyday, XR leaves his FamilyUnit and heads off to fulfil his purpose, working as a Solar installation Bot with co-workers, Ceeron and SkD. Everything runs smoothly ad efficiently until the day he encounters the paradox- a human girl named Emma.

Having been told that humans are evil and wasteful, violent and greedy, XR is puzzled by this human child who should not exist and he and the other robots decide to help Emma on her journey. In doing so, he learns much about humans- and robots.

An excellent read, ‘The Last Human’ is a thought provoking, challenging tale. XR’s story is carefully told, allowing the reader to get to know him- and through him the world he has been ‘born’ into. He is such an endearing character who, with SkD and Ceeron, starts to question the propaganda they are fed by the PRES1DENT during her Daily Address. As they come to know more about Emma, their understanding of the complexity of human nature develops and challenges everything they know. The three share a lovely friendship, although it takes them quite a while to realise that they are more than just co-workers, and the care they show to Emma is heartwarming.

The story challenges the reader to think about how you should never make assumptions about others, that you should always keep an open mind and not make generalisations. XR shows real bravery and stands up for what he believes to be right in the face of public opinion, protecting Emma, challenging widely held opinions and speaking out against being told half truths or distortions of facts.

I loved this story with its quirky characters- particularly SkD. ‘The Last Human’ is full of humour and heart, action and adventure. It’s a must read!

The Last Human Lee Bacon

Piccadilly Press ISBN: 978-1848128248

Published October 3rd 2019

The Stolen Spear

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Wolf lives with his family on Great Island. In a society where being strong and brave is valued, Wolf struggles to fit in, When a sacred spear is stolen from a burial mound, Wolf finds himself blamed for the crime and must leave his home to try and clear his name.

Set at the end of the late Neolithic period, ‘The Stolen Spear’ is full of details about the lives of the people of this time. Saviour has used the Orkney Islands and Skara Brae as the setting for the story, making this the perfect story for using to support history work on this period. As Wolf leaves his home in search of the truth, the reader is allowed to compare life in Wolf’s settlement with that on the other islands. The illustrations by Davide Ortu, spread throughout the book, add much to the story.

As well as its historical detail, the story is one of friendship and bravery, of finding your place in the world. Wolf is a very likeable character, easy to empathise with and suggested questions are included at the end of the book to encourage discussion.

A thoroughly enjoyable adventure, ‘The Stolen Spear’ is a great story which is perfect for using with work on the Stone Age.

The Stolen Spear Saviour Pirotta, illsutrated by Davide Ortu

Maverick ISBN: 978-1848864085

You can read a review of Mark of the Cyclops here and The Golden Horsemen of Baghdad here.