Hillingdon Libraries Presents: Lockdown Lunches

Hillingdon Libraries brings its popular CultureBite author events to lunchtime, to help you get through lockdown.  

Whether you’re working from home or tuning in from your office during a break, our fast, fun and friendly live broadcasts are sure to introduce you to you to a new favourite author or two.  

All our Lockdown Lunches author interviews will be streamed live to Hillingdon Libraries’ Facebook and YouTube channels, giving you the chance to put your questions to authors in real time.   

They’ll also be available afterwards for you to catch up with whenever you like.  

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New authors are signing up all the time, so check back to see who’s been added to the list. 

Interviews you can watch right now…

Rowena House: Wednesday 11 November, 12-noon  

Author Rowena House talks about her First-World-War-set novel, The Goose Road (“An astonishing debut” – Books for Keeps), in a special Remembrance Day interview.   

Missed it live? Catch up here

Matt Killeen: Thursday 12 November, 12-noon   

Matt Killeen, author of Orphan Monster Spy and Devil Darling Spy, talks about the themes of racism, pandemic and international conflict in his World-War-Two-set thrillers. 

Missed it live? Catch up here

Skiing and Suspense with Catherine Cooper: Friday 20 November, 12-noon  

Catherine Cooper’s brand new debut thriller The Chalet might just make you glad that winter breaks are off the cards at the moment! This mystery, set at a ski resort, has been called ‘pure adrenaline’ by the author Eric Kelly. Catherine joins us to talk snow, skiing and suspense.  

Missed it live? Catch up here

Dark Dystopias with Tracey Mathias: Wednesday 25 November, 12-noon

Described as ‘a furious dystopian shoulder-shake’ by The Guardian, Tracey Mathias’ latest novel, Silence Is Also A Lie imagines a Britain ruled by frightening, intolerant politicians – and the huge implications of their actions for one young girl.

Tracking Tigers with Polly Clark: Thursday 26 November, 12-noon  

Polly Clark is a former zookeeper. She tracked tigers in Siberia as part of the research for her latest novel, which tells the story of a primatologist who must care for an untamed Siberian tiger…  

The Ship Sets Sail with Antonia Honeywell: Tuesday 1 December, 12-noon  

Author Antonia Honeywell returns to Hillingdon Libraries to chat about her wonderful novel The Ship, which was previously named as our Culture Bite Book of the Month – and to tell us what she’s been up to since then!  

Missed it live? Catch-up here

INTERVIEWS COMING SOON…

Three Women and a Boat with Anne Youngson: Thursday 3 December, 12-noon

Costa Award shortlisted author Anne Youngson joins us to chat about her brand new novel, Three Women and a Boat, an uplifting and joyful story of self-discovery and new friendships.

Shadow Sands with Robert Bryndza: Wednesday 9 December, 12-midday  

Robert Bryndza is the multi-million copy bestselling author of the Erika Foster series, which launched with The Girl in the Ice in 2016. Shadow Sands is the latest instalment of his new series, fronted by ex-detective Kate Marshall. 

Secrets and Lies with Karen Hamilton: Thursday 10 December, 12-noon   

In December, our lunchtime interview programme continues as ‘CultureBite Lunches’.   

Join us at 12pm on 10 December with Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Hamilton, as she talks about her latest thriller, The Last Wife, and her unusual research methods, including attending psychologist appointments in character! 

She Will Soar with Ana Sampson: Wednesday 16 December, midday  

Join Ana Sampson, editor of the brilliant new poetry anthology, She Will Soar, as she talks about the process of putting together a book of poems – and why she thinks women have so often written about themes of freedom and escape in their poetry.

Book Bunch: ‘How To Survive Summer Camp’ by Jacqueline Wilson (Week 4: September 1st)

Introducing our Digital Children’s Book of the Month: How To Survive Summer Camp by legendary author Jacqueline Wilson. This title is available for free audio download now, plus we’ve been posting fun new activities every week! 

This is our last post for the summer, but if you’ve been enjoying our books and activities, please keep a look out for new events from us. We are planning to run g a Zoom children’s book club in the new school year: watch this space!

In How To Survive Summer Camp, we meet Stella, who has been unceremoniously not invited to her own mum’s honeymoon! Instead she has to face terrifying trouble like swimming lessons and awful new frenemies like Karen and Louise on a surprise trip to summer camp.

As someone who borrowed heaps of Jacqueline Wilson books from the library as a child – and absolutely hated swimming lessons – I’m super excited for this month’s pick!

This is a lovely short novel that we have available as an audiobook for free loan on BorrowBox, the digital library app. With a three hour reading time, it’s ideal for a summer holiday road trip or a lazy afternoon at home!

To borrow your digital copy, all you have to do is install our BorrowBox app, sign in and download. Find out how here.

Recent research suggests that 25% of boys and 22% of girls have been using audiobooks more often recently. This type of book might particularly help boys, according to the National Literacy Trust, whose survey also showed that 51% of boys questioned have become more interested in reading because of using audiobooks. 

This title would also be a wonderful pick for any child who is taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge this year, which is all happening online and which you can find out about on our website here

If you’re new to our book club, you can find our first week’s activities for this book here and our second week’s activities here and our third week’s activities here.

Abbie’s HTSSC Word Search  

This week, Abbie from Hillingdon Libraries has created this brand new word search, full of How To Survive Summer Camp words! A perfect little activity for fans of the book.

We Want Reviews!

We’re very excited to hear what people think about this month’s book, How To Survive Summer Camp. We would love to hear children’s thoughts, the best review of the week will earn a special certificate. 

Kids could write a review, or even record a video or audio review. We’d love to see children’s most creative work. 

If you would like to share your children’s work with us, so we can show it off to the world, please do! We will assume work is okay for us to share on social media, unless you label your message ‘do not share.’ 

Share your reviews and creations at… 

Twitter: @Hill_Libraries

Facebook: @HillingdonLibraries 

Instagram: @Hillingdon_Libraries 

WordPress: HillingdonLibraries.wordpress.com

Jane’s Digital Picks For Kids: Mega Mysteries!

Jane from Hillingdon Libraries helps you pick books for the Summer Reading Challenge by taking a look at some of the titles available digitally from our service

This week: crime and mystery stories.

This week, we’re looking at some crime and detective stories for children. So here is a selection of books with stories of young sleuths and detectives to entertain and inspire your kids. 

These are titles that are available on our BorrowBox app, which you can find out about here. They’re also perfect for any children looking to join the Summer Reading Challenge this year: find out more here.

Aged 7 upwards:

Goodly & Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap – Justine Windsor. eBook.

There are all sorts of strange happenings at Grave Hall, there are magical books, statues that move, Lord Grave the master has a secret – and Mrs Crawley the cook keeps experimenting with anchovies in omelettes!  Then outside, children all over the country start vanishing. Lucy Goodly, the new book girl at the hall, is convinced that these events are somehow connected so she sets out to investigate…

The Big London Treasure Hunt – Jennifer Grey

Read by Eloise Oxer. Listening time 1 hour 55 mins.

Ermine the Determined has landed in London.  

Ermine is off to London and is really looking forward to seeing the sights. She is also hoping to help her friend Minty find her family’s lost treasure from Tudor times. But Ermine and Minty are not the only ones after the treasure. They need to get to the gold first before the devious villain grabs it. 

Aged 8 upwards:

Millions – Frank Cottrell Boyce

Read by Stephen Tompkinson. Listening Time 4 hours 6 mins

If you suddenly find yourself with an awful lot of money and only a few days in which to spend it before the cash goes out of circulation, what would you do?  Damian and Anthony really want to buy a million pizzas, but maybe they should be virtuous and spend it on ending world poverty?  However this wondrous but alarming dilemma comes with a catch, the bank robbers who botched the burglary that resulted in the boys acquiring the cash in the first place now want it back!  The two boys need to decide what to do with the money – very quickly…

Framed – Frank Cottrell Boyce. AudioBook

Read by James Hughes. Listening Time. 6 hours 9 mins

Dylan is the only boy living in the tiny welsh town of Manod. He can’t persuade his sisters to play football with him, so that means he spends a lot of time helping his parents in the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel garage. He’s in charge of the petrol log so he can keep track of everyone coming in and out of the small town. But one day, a mysterious trail of lorries heads off towards a nearby disused mine. Dylan is completely perplexed. What is going on there? Based on a real-life press cutting on how valuable works of art were stored in Welsh slate mines during WW2, this is the story of how a little boy is inspired by the beauty and treasures of the art world.

The Boy Who Flew – Fleur Hitchcock. eBook.

Athan and his friend Mr Chen are building a flying machine together, but when Mr Chen is murdered, Athan must try and save the precious machine. However doing so puts his family in peril. Must Athan put his lifelong dream of flight aside in order to save his family?

Rooftoppers – Katherine Rundell. eBook

Sophie was found floating in a cello case wrapped in a sheet of Beethoven music. She was the only female survivor of a shipping tragedy in the English Channel. Another survivor, Charles, rescues Sophie and brings her home to  his flat in London where he lives alone. Sophie grows up strong and independent and is raised to always believe that anything is possible. So when the Child Welfare Agency wants to send her to an orphanage, Sophie and Charles decide to flee to Paris to try to find her real mother. The only clue she has is the address of the cello maker.

Scavengers – Darren Simpson. eBook.

NEVER COME LOOKING OUTSIDE. NEVER RISE ABOVE THE WALL.

This is the rule that Landfill has had to abide by his whole life. His survival depends on it as Old Babagoo has made it clear that he will look after Landfill on condition that he never looks Outside. But Landfill is curious – and some rules are made to be broken…

Murder Most Unladylike series – Robin Stevens.

Four adventures from Deepdean School for Girls where Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong have set up their own secret detective agency. There are murders, missing bodies, poisonings, and secrets galore for Daisy and Hazel to investigate – and not just at school. In volume 2, Daisy’s mother throws her a birthday party at home where someone is mysteriously poisoned. In vol. 3 a trip on the Orient Express results in murder, jewellery theft and espionage – and in vol 4 the new Head Girl at Deepdean is found murdered. Daisy and Hazel find their friendship tested and strengthened as they work together to find the culprits amongst secrets and scandals at school and elsewhere. 

Aged 10 upwards:

Holes – Louis Sachar

Read by Kerry Beyer. Listening Time 4 hours 30 mins.

Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre following a miscarriage of justice. Not only that, but the camp isn’t green and it doesn’t have a lake!  All he can do there is dig holes. Every day, Stanley and his fellow inmates must dig a hole five feet wide by five feet deep and report back on anything they find there. What is the reason for this, and will Stanley ever find the truth hidden under the turf?

Aged 13 upwards:

The London Eye Mystery – Siobhan Dowd. eBook

At 11.32 one morning, Ted and Kat watch their cousin Salim board the London Eye. The Eye turns for one whole circuit and the pod lands back – but where is Salim?  Every other person in the pod gets out again – except him. Everyone is utterly baffled – including the police. So Ted and Kat resolve to find out whether Salim has been kidnapped, murdered or even spontaneously combusted?  They follow a series of clues across London in a desperate attempt to find Salim before it’s too late.

There are lots of other books available, including plenty for adults, so why not download the app, and as well as choosing a book for your kids,  you can choose something for yourself to read or listen to?

You can find us on:

Twitter: @Hill_Libraries

Facebook: @HillingdonLibraries

Instagram: @Hillingdon_Libraries

WordPress: HillingdonLibraries.wordpress.com

Book Bunch: ‘How To Survive Summer Camp’ by Jacqueline Wilson (Week 3: August 22nd)

Introducing our Digital Children’s Book of the Month: How To Survive Summer Camp by legendary author Jacqueline Wilson. This title is available for free audio download now, plus we’ll be posting fun new activities every week! 

In How To Survive Summer Camp, we meet Stella, who has been unceremoniously not invited to her own mum’s honeymoon! Instead she has to face terrifying trouble like swimming lessons and awful new frenemies like Karen and Louise on a surprise trip to summer camp.

As someone who borrowed heaps of Jacqueline Wilson books from the library as a child – and absolutely hated swimming lessons – I’m super excited for this month’s pick!

This is a lovely short novel that we have available as an audiobook for free loan on BorrowBox, the digital library app. With a three hour reading time, it’s ideal for a summer holiday road trip or a lazy afternoon at home!

To borrow your digital copy, all you have to do is install our BorrowBox app, sign in and download. Find out how here.

Recent research suggests that 25% of boys and 22% of girls have been using audiobooks more often recently. This type of book might particularly help boys, according to the National Literacy Trust, whose survey also showed that 51% of boys questioned have become more interested in reading because of using audiobooks. 

This title would also be a wonderful pick for any child who is taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge this year, which is all happening online and which you can find out about on our website here

If you’re new to our book club, you can find our first week’s activities for this book here and our second week’s activities here.

Abbie’s Mega Magazine Cover Workshop  

Abbie from Hillingdon Libraries has created this brand new magazine cover creation activity, so kids can make their own magazine cover, based on an imaginary summer camp like the one in this month’s book…

We Want Reviews!

We’re very excited to hear what people think about this month’s book, How To Survive Summer Camp. We would love to hear children’s thoughts, the best review of the week will earn a special certificate. 

Kids could write a review, or even record a video or audio review. We’d love to see children’s most creative work. 

If you would like to share your children’s work with us, so we can show it off to the world, please do! We will assume work is okay for us to share on social media, unless you label your message ‘do not share.’ 

Share your reviews and creations at… 

Twitter: @Hill_Libraries

Facebook: @HillingdonLibraries 

Instagram: @Hillingdon_Libraries 

WordPress: HillingdonLibraries.wordpress.com

Jane’s Digital Picks: Children’s Classics (Part 2)

Jane from Hillingdon Libraries helps you pick books for the Summer Reading Challenge by taking a look at some of the titles available digitally from our service.

This is the second part of Jane’s blog on children’s classics. You can read the first part here.

This week is the second of our two-part blog on children’s classics. So here’s a chance to revisit some books you may have enjoyed in your own childhood and now wish to introduce to your children, or you might be discovering some of them for the first time. 

These are titles that are available on our BorrowBox and RB Digital apps, which you can find out about here.

They’re also perfect for any children looking to join the Summer Reading Challenge this year: find out more here.

On BorrowBox

 Age 4 upwards:

Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie. AudioBook. 

Read by Judy Dick. Listening time 5 hours 56 minutes.

Peter Pan is a little boy who doesn’t want to grow up. When he lands in the home of John, Michael and Wendy Darling, looking for his missing shadow, he teaches them how to fly over the rooftops of London before whisking them off to Neverland, a magical land filled with wonder, where they meet the little Lost Boys, pirates, the dastardly Captain Hook – and a crocodile with a taste for children… and clocks. 

Age 8 upwards:

Black Beauty – Anna Sewell. AudioBook. 

Read by Nathaniel Parker. Listening time. 5 hours 22 minutes. Also on eBook.

The autobiography of a horse. Black Beauty is a horse who grows up on a beautiful farm in the care of loving owners who treat him with care. However when his circumstances change, he is passed on through a succession of masters, some are kind, but others treat him with viciousness and neglect. He witnesses wealth and poverty, love, friendship and hardship and is forced to take on unpleasant labour including as an overworked cab-horse in London, but does eventually reach a happy ending. This classic tale has a message that is timeless: treat animals with consideration and kindness and they will serve humans with love and loyalty in return.

Mary Poppins – P.L. Travers. eBook. 

Jane and Michael Banks are driving their parents to despair with their unruly behaviour. Desperate for some help,  Mr and Mrs Banks advertise for a nanny – but they aren’t expecting a magical nanny who flies in on the wind, has a talking umbrella and a seemingly bottomless carpet-bag, and who takes the children on some extraordinary adventures including stepping into pavement pictures, and a tea party on the ceiling!  Mary Poppins is very strict, but also fair and Jane and Michael soon become extremely fond of her. Mary tells the children that she will stay until the wind changes, and when she eventually leaves the children are devastated. But the whole family have learned some important lessons, and the magic of Mary Poppins stays with them.

Age 10 upwards:

Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfeild. AudioBook. 

Read by Janet Streatfeild. Listening time. 6 hours 20 minutes

Great-Uncle Matthew is an archaeologist who travels the world bringing back fossils and other ancient artifacts, but one day he brings back a different souvenir for his niece, Sylvia: a baby girl who he found abandoned in a lifebelt after a shipwreck. Sylvia and her nurse name the baby Pauline, but when two more of Uncle Matthews expeditions also unearth orphaned little girls, Petrova and Posy – and he then disappears – the family are left wondering how they are going to provide for themselves. The answer is for the three sisters (who give themselves the surname ‘Fossil’) to go to stage school and earn money from acting and dancing. It’s hard work, and middle sister Petrova would really rather be tinkering with an engine than appearing on a stage, but they eventually achieve success in their chosen fields. Pauline is a talented actress; the youngest, Posy takes after her mother and becomes a ballerina… and Petrova finally reaches her dream of becoming an aircraft engineer. 

For older children:

Ivanhoe – Walter Scott. eBook. Aged 13+

Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe is  Saxon crusader, returning home to England from the failed Third Crusade. Ivanhoe is disowned by his father when he finds out he is a supporter of the Norman king Richard the Lionheart. He goes on to disguise himself as a religious pilgrim, and later as the Disinherited Knight where he fights great tournaments, vanquishes his enemies and wins the heart of his ‘Queen of Love and Beauty’, Rowena. This is a tale of the colourful and romantic yet brutal events of the 12th Century and features historical characters such as Robin Hood, Richard the Lionheart and King John.

On RB Digital

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain. AudioBook. 

Read by Norman Dietz. Duration 11 hrs 31 mins 58 secs

The sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Tom’s friend Huck, a nineteenth-century boy from a Mississippi River town, recounts his adventures as he travels down the river with a runaway slave, encountering a family involved in a feud, two scoundrels pretending to be royalty, and Tom Sawyer’s aunt who mistakes him for Tom.

The Story of Gulliver – Jonathan Coe. 

Read by Jon Cartwright. AudioBook Duration. 55 mins 51 secs.

A retelling of Jonathan Swift’s famous work ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ this is the story of the adventurous Gulliver who manages to get shipwrecked on every voyage he goes on. He finds himself in Lilliput as a giant amongst tiny humans, then as a tiny human himself amongst the giants of Brobdignag. He then visits the flying island of Laputa, and finally meets talking horses in the land of the Houyhnmnms – who don’t think much of human “Yahoos”. 

There are lots of other books available, including plenty for adults, so why not download the BorrowBox and RB Digital apps, and as well as choosing a book for your kids,  you can choose something for yourself to read or listen to?

You can find us on:

Twitter: @Hill_Libraries

Facebook: @HillingdonLibraries

Instagram: @Hillingdon_Libraries

WordPress: HillingdonLibraries.wordpress.com

Book Bunch: ‘How To Survive Summer Camp’ by Jacqueline Wilson (Week 2: August 14th)

Introducing our new Digital Children’s Book of the Month: How To Survive Summer Camp by legendary author Jacqueline Wilson. This title is available for free audio download now, plus we’ll be posting fun new activities every week! 

In How To Survive Summer Camp, we meet Stella, who has been unceremoniously not invited to her own mum’s honeymoon! Instead she has to face terrifying trouble like swimming lessons and awful new frenemies like Karen and Louise on a surprise trip to summer camp.

As someone who borrowed heaps of Jacqueline Wilson books from the library as a child – and absolutely hated swimming lessons – I’m super excited for this month’s pick!

This is a lovely short novel that we have available as an audiobook for free loan on BorrowBox, the digital library app. With a three hour reading time, it’s ideal for a summer holiday road trip or a lazy afternoon at home!

To borrow your digital copy, all you have to do is install our BorrowBox app, sign in and download. Find out how here.

Recent research suggests that 25% of boys and 22% of girls have been using audiobooks more often recently. This type of book might particularly help boys, according to the National Literacy Trust, whose survey also showed that 51% of boys questioned have become more interested in reading because of using audiobooks. 

This title would also be a wonderful pick for any child who is taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge this year, which is all happening online and which you can find out about on our website here

If you’re new to our book club, you can find last week’s activities here.

Abbie’s Teeshirt creation workshop

Abbie from Hillingdon Libraries has created this brand new teeshirt creation worksheet, inspired by our chosen story! Kids can use it to design their own summer camp teeshirt, simply print off our template or draw your own onto paper.

We Want Reviews!

We’re very excited to hear what people think about this month’s book, How To Survive Summer Camp. We would love to hear children’s thoughts, the best review of the week will earn a special certificate. 

Kids could write a review, or even record a video or audio review. We’d love to see children’s most creative work. 

If you would like to share your children’s work with us, so we can show it off to the world, please do! We will assume work is okay for us to share on social media, unless you label your message ‘do not share.’ 

Share your reviews and creations at… 

Twitter: @Hill_Libraries

Facebook: @HillingdonLibraries 

Instagram: @Hillingdon_Libraries 

WordPress: HillingdonLibraries.wordpress.com

Book Bunch: ‘How To Survive Summer Camp’ by Jacqueline Wilson (Week 1: August 6th)

Introducing our new Digital Children’s Book of the Month: How To Survive Summer Camp by legendary author Jacqueline Wilson. This title is available for free audio download now, plus we’ll be posting fun new activities every week!

In How To Survive Summer Camp, we meet Stella, who has been unceremoniously not invited to her own mum’s honeymoon! Instead she has to face terrifying trouble like swimming lessons and awful new frenemies like Karen and Louise on a surprise trip to summer camp.

As someone who borrowed heaps of Jacqueline Wilson books from the library as a child – and absolutely hated swimming lessons – I’m super excited for this month’s pick!

This is a lovely short novel that we have available as an audiobook for free loan on BorrowBox, the digital library app. With a three hour reading time, it’s ideal for a summer holiday road trip or a lazy afternoon at home!

To borrow your digital copy, all you have to do is install our BorrowBox app, sign in and download. Find out how here.

Recent research suggests that 25% of boys and 22% of girls have been using audiobooks more often recently. This type of book might particularly help boys, according to the National Literacy Trust, whose survey also showed that 51% of boys questioned have become more interested in reading because of using audiobooks. 

This title would also be a wonderful pick for any child who is taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge this year, which is all happening online and which you can find out about on our website here.

Judge A Book By Its Cover Activity

Children might like to prepare to listen to this month’s story by thinking about the the book’s cover. What impressions does the cover give them about what the book might be like? There are no wrong answers here!

Abbie’s Summer Camp Letter Writing Worksheet

Abbie from Hillingdon Libraries has created this summer camp letter writing worksheet, perfect for anyone who would like to take an imaginary trip to their own summer camp! Either print it off, or simply follow the instructions using your own paper at home.

We Want Reviews!

We’re very excited to hear what people think about this month’s book, How To Survive Summer Camp. We would love to hear children’s thoughts, the best review of the week will earn a special certificate. 

Kids could write a review, or even record a video or audio review. We’d love to see children’s most creative work. 

If you would like to share your children’s work with us, so we can show it off to the world, please do! We will assume work is okay for us to share on social media, unless you label your message ‘do not share.’ 

Share your reviews and creations at… 

Twitter: @Hill_Libraries

Facebook: @HillingdonLibraries 

Instagram: @Hillingdon_Libraries 

WordPress: HillingdonLibraries.wordpress.com

Jane’s digital picks for kids: Children’s Classics

Jane from Hillingdon Libraries helps you pick books for the Summer Reading Challenge, by taking a look at some of the titles available digitally from our service.

This week, in the first of a two part post, we’re looking at some children’s classics. So here is a chance to revisit some books you may have enjoyed in your own childhood and now wish to introduce to your children, or you might be discovering some of them for the first time. 

These are titles that are available on our BorrowBox and RB Digital apps, which you can find out about here.

They’re also perfect for any children looking to join the Summer Reading Challenge this year: find out more here.

On BorrowBox

Age 5 upwards:

The Tale of Peter Rabbit/The Tale of Benjamin Bunny – Beatrix Potter. AudioBooks. 

Read by Pauline Brailsford. Listening time 7 mins (Peter Rabbit) 9 mins (Benjamin Bunny)

In the first of these two tales from popular author Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit is told by his mother to go and gather blackberries with his sisters, but not to go into Mr MacGregor’s garden. Peter promptly disobeys his mother, goes into the garden, eats Mr McGregor’s vegetables, loses his brand-new coat, and barely makes it out of the garden alive once Mr MacGregor spots him. 

In the second tale, Peter’s cousin, Benjamin Bunny joins him in Mr MacGregor’s vegetable garden to have more adventures. They find a well-dressed scarecrow wearing Peter’s missing coat. Then they get trapped for hours by a cat! But even more scary is what happens to the mischievous little bunnies when Benjamin Bunny’s dad finds out what they’ve been up to…

Age 6 upwards:

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The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame. AudioBook. 

Read by Michael Hordern. Listening time 6 hours 56 minutes. 

“There is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats.”

These classic riverbank tales of Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger and their adventures in boats – and Mr Toad’s shiny new car – have delighted children for generations. Listen to the waterside adventures of the friends as they try to protect the reckless Mr Toad from yet more driving mishaps…

Age 8 upwards:

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Little Women – Louisa May Alcott. AudioBook. 

Read by Anna Koval. Listening time 8 hours 50 minutes.

The four March sisters:  beautiful Meg; tomboy Jo who dreams of being an author; gentle, musical Beth, and spoiled and sassy Amy are growing up in New England during the American Civil War. Their devotion to each other, their arguments, and their struggles with poverty whilst their father is away fighting in the war are told in this classic novel which has delighted readers for generations.

The Magician’s Nephew (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 1)

 The Magicians Nephew – C.S. Lewis. eBook.

The first book in the acclaimed series, this story tells of the beginnings of the magical and enchanted land of Narnia. Two friends, Digory and Polly find themselves hurled into an unknown land, the unwitting victims of an experimental plot by Digory’s Uncle Andrew who thinks he is a magician. In the thickly wooded, snow-covered land of Narnia, the two children meet talking beasts brought to life by the mysterious Aslan, find a magical life-giving apple tree, and must escape from the evil sorceress Jadis before being able to return home. 

Many years later Digory, now an elderly professor, builds a wardrobe from the wood from the apple tree which provides a hidden gateway to Narnia just waiting to be discovered….

Age 10 upwards:

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The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien. eBook. 

This much-loved prequel to the Lord of the Rings tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who lives in a cosy ‘hobbit-hole’ in the ground. Bilbo enjoys his comfortable life in Bag End, near the village of Hobbiton, so when the old wizard Gandalf asks him to embark on an adventure with thirteen militant dwarves in order to reclaim their treasure from the dragon Smaug, the little hobbit is reluctant to leave. But Gandalf has seen something in him that others haven’t. 

Here begins an adventure of trolls and elves, eagles and treasure, a man who can change into a bear at will – and a mysterious and powerful ring…

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What Katy Did – Susan Coolidge. AudioBook. 

Read by Eloise Oxer. Listening time 6 hours 24 mins

Katy Carr is twelve years old, very tall and gangly, and manages to get into scrapes pretty much every day of her life as a result of her madcap schemes. One day, she intends to do something important but her plans are thwarted when an accident confines her to her bedroom for four long years. Helped by her invalid Cousin Helen whose kindness and generosity inspire Katy to improve herself. Katy decides to show some responsibility by running the household – but her idea of domestic management involves giving the servants instructions and summoning her sisters whenever she has a task for them! Katy must learn some hard lessons about how to treat others before she recovers and learns how to walk again. 

Age 13 upwards:

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain. AudioBook. 

Read by Trevor White. Listening time 1 hour 9 minutes.

Tom Sawyer and his friend Huckleberry Finn live in the small town of St Petersburg, Missouri in the 1840s. Living on the banks of the Mississippi River, their life is full of adventure and scrapes but also the importance of loyalty and courage, no matter what the cost. 

On RB Digital

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The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett. eBook

Mary Lennox has lost both her parents to an epidemic of cholera in India. She is sent home to England to live with an uncle, Archibald Craven, who she has never met. But Misselthwaite Manor, his Yorkshire home, is gloomy and miserable and a far cry from the sunny, warm Indian climate that she is used to. As a result Mary’s behaviour on her arrival is rude and stubborn with a tendency to tantrums. But Mary soon learns that her uncle’s life has been filled with tragedy, and she begins to mellow. Then one day, when her uncle is away from home Mary discovers a beautiful walled garden which is always kept locked, then she begins to hear someone sobbing from a distant room in her uncle’s mansion – but no-one will answer her queries about who it might be. Mary sets off on a quest to discover the history behind the secret garden and the strange crying boy.

There are lots of other books available, including plenty for adults, so why not download the apps, and as well as choosing a book for your kids,  you can choose something for yourself to read or listen to?

You can find us on:

Twitter: @Hill_Libraries

Facebook: @HillingdonLibraries

Instagram: @Hillingdon_Libraries

WordPress: HillingdonLibraries.wordpress.com

And remember to join this year’s Silly Squad Summer Reading Challenge!

Jane’s digital picks for kids: Short stories

It’s Summer Reading Challenge time again! To find out more about the challenge and sign your child up, click here.

You can find books on our BorrowBox app, plus there is now the RB Digital app with even more books to explore.

We don’t always have the time to get stuck into a long book but we still want to get engrossed in a good story, so here is a selection of anthologies of short stories, tales and fables, some of which may already be familiar from our own childhoods, plus there are new stories to discover. 

Books on BorrowBox

Age 0+:

Puffin Sleepy Tales: Ten Stories to Relax and Calm Busy Young Minds at Bedtime
Ladybird Sleepy Tales: Ten Calming Stories to Help Little Children Relax at Bedtime

Ladybird Sleepy Tales. AudioBook. Read by Candida Gubbins.

Puffin Sleepy Tales. AudioBook. Read by Ellie Heydon. 

Listening time 2 hrs 30 mins each

These two collections have been developed with the Children’s Sleep Charity and tested with parents. Each 15-minute tale will help children settle down at the end of the day. The Ladybird tales feature gentle stories about drifting snowflakes, floating bubbles, and rainbow journeys, whilst the Puffin stories include The Night Sky, the Sunset Beach, and The Garden Wall amongst others. They can be enjoyed by children of all ages, but the Ladybird tales will appeal to children aged 3-6 most of all, whilst the Puffin tales are aimed more at the over 7s. 

Age 4 and upwards:

Spectacular Stories for the Very Young: Four Hilarious Stories

Spectacular Stories for the Very Young – David Walliams. AudioBook. 

Read by the author. Listening time 33 mins

Four of David Walliams’ popular picture books are read aloud by the author himself. Hear all about the First Hippo on the Moon, the Slightly Annoying Elephant, The Bear who went Boo! and There’s a Snake in my School!’. These books have been described as ‘side-splitting’, ‘hilarious’ and ‘amazing’ so should be the perfect way to keep your kids amused over the summer.

Age 5 and upwards:

Just So Stories: How the Leopard Got His Spots

Just So Stories – Rudyard Kipling. AudioBook. 

Read by Johnny Morris. Listening time 3 hrs 7 mins

These classic tales by Rudyard Kipling are based on stories that the Jungle Book author heard whilst growing up in India, and on his later travels. They include ‘The Cat that Walked by Himself’, ‘The Beginning of the Armadillos’, ‘How the Camel got his Hump’ and ‘The Elephant’s Child’. These stories were written by Kipling for his own children as ingenious explanations as to how animals came to be as they are, so why not introduce your children to these imaginative fables, read by the much loved and missed TV presenter Johnny Morris?

Aesop's Fables

Aesop’s Fables. AudioBook. 

Read by Anton Lesser. Listening time 1 hr 19 mins.

How can the Tortoise run faster than the Hare? What happens when the dog growls at its image? Or when the Country Mouse goes to supper with the Town Mouse? Aesop’s Fables have enchanted adults and children for centuries. This collection told by Anton Lesser includes ‘Androcles and the Lion’, ‘The Fox and the Crow’ ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ and many others. Set against a background of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and other sound effects, this would be a great way to introduce young children to these stories that have become part of our culture.

The Cleo Stories

The Cleo Stories – Libby Gleeson. AudioBook. 

Read by the author. Listening time 50 mins.

Cleo is a little girl who finds that a big imagination is essential in finding ways to solve problems and have fun. Here are four stories of how Cleo really, really wants a necklace, but doesn’t want to wait for her birthday; how she comes up with a brilliant idea for her mum’s birthday present; how she finds herself a pet in the most unexpected way, and how she amuses herself on a rainy day. These stories would be ideal for encouraging children to use their own imaginations to come up with things to do over the holidays.

Age 7 and upwards:

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Dinosaur Cove: Attack of the Lizard King and other stories – Rex Stone. AudioBook. 

Read by Daniel Hill. Listening time 1 hr 31 mins.

In Dinosaur Cove you can discover dinosaurs of all kinds. In these stories Jamie and Tom meet a hungry T-Rex, try to avoid being squashed by a herd of triceratops and try to save a baby Ankylosaurus before it sinks into the mud. They then have to face the little dinosaur’s mother on her return!

Age 8 and upwards:

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2: 100 More Stories of Extraordinary Women

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Book 1 & 2 – Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo. AudioBook. 

Read by: Various. Book 1 listening time 3 hrs 20 mins. Book 2 listening time 3 hrs 47 mins.

Two anthologies read by inspirational women of today including Alicia Keys, Ashley Judd, and Janeane Garofalo amongst others. Each containing 100 biographies of celebrated women from history such as Nefertiti, Elizabeth I and scientist Ada Lovelace, plus modern-day heroines like Beyonce, Malala Yousafsai and Serena Williams, these books are written in the style of fairy tales, making them instantly accessible to young readers. 

Age 13 and upwards:

Tales from Watership Down

Tales from Watership Down – Richard Adams. AudioBook. 

Read by Clive Mantle. Listening time 6 hrs 50 mins.

The sequel to the much loved classic Watership Down,  these tales return to Fiver, Hazel, Bigwig and the legendary rabbit hero El-ahrairah, and introduce many other new characters. Join the rabbits as they battle the shortsightedness of human nature, and the tragic but inevitable cruelties of the natural world. Including new adventures and traditional rabbit mythological tales.

As well as BorrowBox you can also find audio and eBooks on the RB Digital App. Here’s an example of one of the books on offer by one of children’s literatures most beloved authors. 

A Twist of Tales

A Twist of Tales – Julia Donaldson. Audiobook. 

Read by Helen Keeley Listening time 21 mins. Aged 5+

These stories are a great introduction to short stories for younger children. What is the secret that the king hides under his crown?  How does a clever girl outwit the king, and what adventures will be had on a journey inspired by a wonderful dream?

There are lots of other books available, including plenty for adults, so why not download the BorrowBox and RB Digital apps? As well as choosing a book for your kids,  you can choose something for yourself to read or listen to!

You can find us on:

Twitter: @Hill_Libraries

Facebook: @HillingdonLibraries

Instagram: @Hillingdon_Libraries

WordPress: HillingdonLibraries.wordpress.com

Book Bunch: The Great Caravan Catastrophe (Week 3: July 23rd 2020)

Stop press! Special competition!

Author Mark Lowery, who wrote our children’s book of the month, The Great Caravan Catastrophe, has kindly offered a prize for a special competition!

Mark will award a signed book for the winning child’s entry.

To enter, children should create a Crazy Caravan using the activity below (no need to print the worksheet, use your own paper if you prefer).

Share your child’s work with us as a JPEG file to: SummerReadingChallenge@Hillingdon.gov.uk

Good luck!

Crazy Caravan Designer!

The caravans that feature in The Great Caravan Catastrophe are all relatively normal, but what if you could invent the most crazy or imaginative caravan ever? What features would it have inside to keep you occupied on your cool caravan holiday? Would milkshake come out of the taps? Is there a space for a pet? Does it have more than one floor? Use the worksheet below to invent your very own crazy caravan creation!

The Great Caravan Catastrophe

Book Bunch is our regular children’s activity which combines a fantastic free digital book offer with weekly things to make and do.

This month, the book we’re focussing on is The Great Caravan Catastrophe by Mark Lowery.

It tells the fantastically funny story of Roman Garstang, who has to go on a crazy, completely chaotic camping holiday, all because his cousin is getting married – to the cousin of his worst enemy, Rosie Taylor! 

To borrow your digital copy, all you have to do is install our BorrowBox app, sign in and download. Find out how here.

You have the option of either the eBook or audiobook version.

Recent research suggests that 25% of boys and 22% of girls have been using audiobooks more often recently. This type of book might particularly help boys, according to the National Literacy Trust, whose survey also showed that 51% of boys questioned have become more interested in reading because of using audiobooks. 

Each week, to help kids get the most of our chosen book, we publish new activities linked to the story. Here’s today’s:

Abbie’s ‘Terrible Taylors’ Creative Workshop

For Abbie’s activity this week, we’re asking kids to create an imaginative picture of the Taylor family from The Great Caravan Catastrophe. They also have the chance to do some creative writing, too!

(Bonus points for spotting the – entirely deliberate – typo!)

We Want Reviews!

We’re very excited to hear what people think about this month’s book, The Great Caravan Catastrophe. We would love to hear children’s thoughts, the best review of the week will earn a special certificate. 

Kids could write a review, or even record a video or audio review. We’d love to see children’s most creative work. 

If you would like to share your children’s work with us, so we can show it off to the world, please do! We will assume work is okay for us to share on social media, unless you label your message ‘do not share.’ 

Share your reviews and creations at… 

Twitter: @Hill_Libraries

Facebook: @HillingdonLibraries 

Instagram: @Hillingdon_Libraries 

WordPress: HillingdonLibraries.wordpress.com