ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
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Latest Review

Jan 23 2020

China through time retold by Edward Aves

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DK, 2020. ISBN: 9780241356296.
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Themes: China, Canals, Yangtze, Ancient history, Regeneration. Two and a half thousand years ago, an emperor had a brilliant idea - joining the two mighty Chinese rivers, the Yangtze and Huai to form a magnificent canal which would enable him to move troops quickly to places where they were needed. The next thousand yeas saw canals built and waterways joined to create an incredible canal capable of trading between Hangzhou in China's south and Beijing in the north.
Each double page of this outstanding large format book recreates a scene in the life of this canal system, shadowing the rise of China as a powerful nation in the Asian realm. The first double page, entitled, Construction begins, Yangzhou 486BCE, shows an army of peasants digging and carting soil. Information around the edges of the pages gives details about how the people worked, while the illustration shows in no uncertain terms the brutality of the regime in charge. Several men in chains are being taken away by heavily armoured warriors, one dying man is being carted off by fellow workers, high towers surround the project with soldiers on the alert. Eager eyes will pick out the work the men do, the magnificence of the emperor and his retinue, the tools with which these people worked.
Each subsequent double page displays the history of the Grand Canal, completed in 605 CE. So readers will see the impact of the canal bringing peace, civilisation and trade to towns along its banks. But people became complacent and in 1699 CE a great flood threatened so the emperor demanded that the river course be changed and the canal dredged to avoid further floods destroying towns and cities. More care was taken of the canal, reversing its decline and even though fewer barges ply their trade along the waterway the Grand Canal is a showcase of China's ancient heritage, a canal of some 1800 ks, the longest and oldest canal in the world. This book shows readers the people who use it: the builders, the soldiers, merchants, rivermen, the emperor and his advisers, children and mysterious travellers.
The richly detailed illustrations are enticing, giving the reader a panorama of Chinese life and customs, showing building styles, dress and food, bridges and boats, life along the canal from small farms and villages to the outstanding modern city of Tianjin, a stark contrast to the pages before and after with their images of past treasures. The last page offers a short quiz and glossary with information about the illustrator, Beijing artist Du Fei who specialises in detailed historical illustrations.
This is a remarkable book which reflects China's importance in the world today while highlighting one of its past achievements.
Fran Knight



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Jan 23 2020

Foul is fair by Hannah Capin

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Penguin, 2020. ISBN: 9780241404973.
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. Revenge - this is the name of the jet black hair dye that Elle chooses for her transformation into Jade, following the night of her sweet 16 birthday outing to the St Andrew's prep party, a party which changed her life,...
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Jan 23 2020

Denali by Ben Moon

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Simon and Schuster, 2019. ISBN: 9780143133612.
(Age: Adolescent - Adult) In an unexpected way, this true story lifts the reader into a realm where human and animal interaction creates a bond that is intensely supportive and loving. Denali is about the deep relationship between a...
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Jan 22 2020

I am perfectly designed by Karamo Brown with Jason Brown

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Illus. by Anoosha Syed. Macmillan Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781529036152. 40pp.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. American media personality, author, and activist Karamo Brown began his career in 2004 on the MTV The Real world; Philadelphia, becoming the first openly gay...
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Jan 22 2020

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

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Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781529014570.
(Age: 11+) It is 30 years since the underwater gods of the Myriad archipelago fought a cataclysmic battle and all died. Since then relics of the gods' bodies are sought after as they retain power. 14 year old orphan, Hark, and his friend Jelt, 16,...
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Jan 22 2020

Life without diabetes by Dr Roy Taylor

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Simon and Schuster, 2020. ISBN: 9781760853914. 320pp.
(Age: Adult) Recommended. The Newcastle Diet gained notoriety in 2011, when a small group of people went on the diet exploring the link between diabetes and the fatty tissue around the liver and pancreas, by initially living for eight...
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Jan 22 2020

Don't read this book before dinner by Anna Claybourne

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National Geographic Kids, 2019. ISBN: 9781426334511. 144pp., pbk.
(Age: 6-12) "If you love to be grossed out, grab a seat at the table to revel in some of the most repulsive and downright disgusting true stories from around the globe.
From wretched rodents and beastly bugs to putrid...
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Jan 21 2020

Cat science unleashed by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen

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Photographs by Matthew Rakola. National Geographic Kids, 2019. ISBN: 9781426334412. 80pp., pbk.
(Age: 6-12) This is part of the NatGeo Kids Hands-on science series and complements their website aimed at 6-12...
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Jan 21 2020

Aesop's fables first reading series by Susanna Davidson

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Illus. by John Joven. Usborne, 2019. 48pp., hbk.
The lion and the mouse. ISBN: 9781474956550.
The ant and the grasshopper. ISBN: 9781474956567.
The hare and the tortoise. ISBN: 9781474956543.
There are some stories that have stood the test of time...
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Jan 17 2020

Big lies in a small town by Diane Chamberlain

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St Martin's Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781509808625.
(Age: Adult - Mature YA) Recommended for adult readers. The young woman, Morgan Christopher is unexpectedly rescued from jail through a bequest and request from a benefactor known for his incredible artistic talents. Morgan's own incomplete...
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Jan 17 2020

The Little Grey Girl by Celine Kiernan

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The Wild Magic trilogy Book 2. Walker, 2019. 217 pp. 9781406373929. pbk.
In the first book in The Wild Magic trilogy, Begone the raggedy witches, Mup realises that she has magical powers. The Queen from across the...
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Jan 17 2020

My book with no pictures by B.J. Novak

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Puffin Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780241444177. 40pp. pbk.
(Age: All) Recommended. The book with no pictures is a fun story and this book makes that story even more fun by letting people fill-in-the-blanks and write their...
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Jan 17 2020

Slay by Brittney Morris

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Hodder Children's Books, 2019. 330pp. ISBN: 9781444951721. pbk.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are a combination of role playing video games and online games in which a very large number of people interact with one another within a virtual world. As an older...
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Jan 16 2020

Going the distance by Beth Reekles

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The Kissing Booth 2. Penguin, 2020. ISBN: 9780241413227. 368pp.
(Age: 15+) Noah has left for college while his girlfriend Elle and brother Lee navigate senior year in his shadow. Lee made the football team, but he's not quite the player Noah was, meaning Elle doesn't get much...
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Jan 15 2020

DK Life Stories

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Dorling Kindersley, 2019.
Albert Einstein by Will Mara. ISBN: 9780241322918. hbk., 128pp.
Gandhi by Diane Ailey, illus. by Charlotte Age. ISBN: 9781465474636. hbk., 128pp.
Wil Mara has made Einstein's life story an engaging and fascinating look at this very...
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