Top Children’s & YA February Titles

For our chilly February month,  we have a fascinating list of titles that includes bone-tingling thrillers, sneak peaks of stunning picture books that showcase powerful and inspiring images, and poignant notes on our Essential Reading for Young Children selection.

Thoughts on our Star Pick…

Bad Call by bestselling author, Stephen Wallenfels


During a late-night poker game, tennis teammates Colin, Ceo, Grahame, and Rhody make a pact to go on a camping trip in Yosemite National Park.

The first sign that they should ditch the plan is when Rhody backs out. The next is when Ceo replaces him with Ellie, a girl Grahame and Colin have never even heard of. And then there’s the forest fire at their intended campsite. But instead of bailing, they decide to take the treacherous Snow Creek Falls Trail to the top of Yosemite Valley. From that point onward, their decisions go from bad to worse.

And then one of them doesn’t make it back to camp.

Desperate to survive while piecing together what happened, the remaining hikers must decide who to trust in this riveting, witty, and truly unforgettable psychological thriller that reveals how one small mistake can have chilling consequences.

Reminiscent of a modern Lord of the Flies, the teenagers do their best to survive in harsh conditions, with loyalties tested and trust tenuous. Bad Call is like watching a horror movie – once you take a look you can’t turn away – however gruesome the circumstances might be…

Exclusive Extracts

Bad Call by Stephen Wallenfels

“Something’s wrong,” he says.

As they move closer she recognizes the jacket.

Then she sees a big patch of black on the front that wasn’t there when they left.

“What happened to his jacket?” she asks.

Her companion breaks into a run, goes three strides and falls facedown, scattering his load. He stands, takes two steps, falls again. She drops her branches, grabs his arm, and helps him up. They stumble together into camp, stop and stare in horror at the stain.

It’s on his pants, his gloves, his face.

She knows in this dark moment what it is.

Her scream dies in the howling wind.


Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms by Robert Paul Weston & Misa Saburi


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Cherry Blossoms

How Mamas Love Their Babies by Juniper Fitzgerald & Elise Peterson


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My Bucketfilling Journal: 30 Days to a Happier Life
by Carol McCloud and Penny Weber


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The Siege and Fall of Troy by Robert Graves

The Foundation of Troy

Troy, they say, was founded by Prince Scamander who, because of famine, sailed eastward from the island of Crete with a large number of followers, resolved to plant a colony in some fertile spot. An oracle had ordered him to settle wherever earth-born enemies should disarm his men under cover of darkeness. He landed on the coast of Phrygia, within sight of a tall mountain overgrown by pines, which he named Ida in honour of Cretan Mount Ida, and camped beside a river to which he gave his own name, Scamander. On waking next morning, the Cretans saw that a swarm of hungry mice had nibbled their bow-strings, the leather straps of their shields, and all edible parts of their armour. Since these must clearly be the earth-born enemies of the Oracle, Scamander called a halt, made friends with the Phrygian natives, and began farming the soil. Not long afterwards a colony of Locrian Greeks landed close by and put themselves under his leadership. Though the Phrygians let him build a city near the River Scamander, he could not at first decide on the best position. Then someone proposed sending a dappled cow into the plain, and watching where she lay down to chew her cud. The cow chose a small hill, and around it Scamander’s men marked out the boundaries of Troy. They built houses inside, but did not raise the walls for some years, being too busy improving their farms.

At last, a Trojan king named Laomedon won all the help he needed from two important gods – Poseidon and Apollo. They had rebelled against Almighty Zeus, the leading god of Olympus, who sentenced them to be Laomedon’s salves for a whole year. At the King’s order, Poseidon built most of the walls, while Apollo played a harp and looked after the royal flocks and herds. Aeacus, a Locrian colonist, built the wall facing seaward. It was, of course, not nearly so strong as those built by the gods…

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Essential Reading for Young Children

My Best Friend by Gilles Tibo and Janice Nadeau


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My Best Friend is a beautiful and haunting tale that explores the experiences of loss in young children. A mysterious shadow walks the corridors. It goes from one room to the next, and sometimes the shadow leaves with someone in its arms… taking them to the land of dreams. Until one day a patient at the hospital – a little boy -speaks to the shadow, offering it a drink of water. The boy is fearful at first, but as he gets to know the shadow through their conversations, he realises that she has feelings of her own. So begins a great friendship between an unlikely pair: a little boy, and Death.

Written by Gilles Tibo, the award-winning author of over 150 books, and illustrated by the light touch of Janice Nadeau, My Best Friend addresses the concept of death in a gentle and comforting way. The title has won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature in it’s original French text and is now available in English for the first time.

With a dreamlike quality to the soft watercolour illustrations, accompanied by poetic and lyrical language, young children will be lightly introduced to the sensitive subject of death. A morbid topic one might say, but an important lesson for children to grasp nonetheless. In this refined and nostalgic edition, young readers will leave with a unique friend in death, and learn to accept and understand ‘her’ actions without fear or avoidance.


Tune in for more exclusive extracts, thoughts on our star pick, and essential reading for young children next month!


Post by Sarah

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