CHILDREN’S BOOKS Window guessing
KASIA RARELY leaves her bedroom because she has ME. But from her window she witnesses an abduction. At the same time, she glimpses another girl, in the house opposite — surely she must be a witness, too? Yet nobody is reported missing, and apparently no girl lives across the road. Girl in the Window
by Penny Joelson (Electric Monkey, £7.99) is a clever mystery as well as a warm-hearted story of young people facing all kinds of challenges, from awkward dates and family tensions to extreme danger. A novel of coming outdoors, growing and healing, Girl in the Window is almost a contemporary, suburban take on The Secret Garden. Age 12 up.
Clara has been raised in isolation from modern society (she has never been in a car, thinks TV is a magic box but tellingly is also not enslaved to beauty norms). Now, she is being fostered by Ruby’s mum. Ruby, meanwhile, is struggling with best-friend problems, stepbrother Adam’s hazardous hairdressing — and her own identity (brilliantly encapsulated in her quest for the right dramaschool audition monologue — she is trying to find her voice). True Sisters by Keren David (Barrington Stoke Teen, £6.99), gets right to the heart of what it feels to be a young adult, especially if you don’t quite fit in. With super-readable design and super-attractive floral cover (by Ali Ardington). Age 12 up.
Pinky Bloom has a double mystery on her hands. There is trouble at the Chinese restaurant run by her friend Lucy’s parents (the smoke alarm keeps going off and the fortune cookies are insulting the customers) and now a kiddush cup has gone missing from the Jewish Museum. Could the two be connected? Will Pinky save the day and be rewarded with a kitten from Oy Vey’s new litter? Pinky Bloom and the Case of the Missing Kiddush Cup by Judy Press (Kar Ben, £6.99) is a non-scary, shortchapter book. Age six to ten.
Little Lily Marks loves to stand on tiptoe. But her legs are weak and the doctor recommends an iron brace — or ballet lessons.
So Lily becomes An Unlikely Ballerina (Kar Ben £5.99). She goes on to perform for Anna Pavlova (who, like Lily, is Jewish) and to become a ballerina herself, under the name of Alicia Markova. Krystyna Poray Goddu’s true story has fairy-tale illustrations by Cosei Kawa. Age three to nine.