What the Chickens read ...

Posted by Jazz on Monday August 3rd, 2020

The Chicken House team reminisce over the books they've loved ... 


While we’ve shouted a little about the books we’ve published that could take you away on a summer adventure, it got us thinking – what books have we enjoyed in the summers of years gone by?

Here, some of the Chicken House team have shared their favourite summer reads – and we have to say, it’s a fairly eclectic library of choices ...


Barry, What the Chickens read...

For young teens like my past self (!), I LOVED John Wyndham's science fiction and have re-read them all over many a summer. 

Scary, creepy, thought provoking and strangely prophetic – here are my originals balanced on a Troggs album from same era! YA before its time. NB count the fingers – see what I mean?


Elinor, What the Chickens read...

Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden is one of my most favourite summer reads. 

 An evocative tale that combines the long hot days of summer with first adolescent love. All told against the faded elegance of a crumbling house in France that is resonating with history and love stories – all waiting to find a conclusion ...

The first time I read it when I was thirteen, I was so sure it was going to happen to me. Am still waiting ...


Jazz, What the Chickens read...

I have cheated by technically picking three! I absolutely adore Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper graphic novel series. 

It’s so cute and wholesome and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy – tbh I would recommend it for any time of year, but especially during this tumultuous summer, it’s an ideal comfort read. Loooooove.


Kesia, What the Chickens read...

One of my favourite genres is horror – and I especially like to read it in the summer. 

Who wants a cosy cup of tea when they’re basking by the pool? No, you need a refreshing icy lemonade with a sour kick! And something about this turbulent world has made me a little nostalgic for those slender, gripping Goosebumps and Point Horror books I devoured as a child. 

Recently I picked up a copy of Diane Hoh’s chilling The Invitation on eBay for 90p and I am loving it – RSVP or DIE!


Laura, What the Chickens read...

This summer has been all about the dystopia for me. In these somewhat unusual times, what’s better than reading about a post-apocalyptic society? Things could be worse, right?!

 Marie Lu’s Legend series ticked all the boxes when I first started it back in 2011, and in the era of dystopia it stood out to me as one of the best of its genre; fast-paced action, intriguing plot and, most importantly, complex characters. Can’t wait to dive back in! 

Rachel H

Rachel H, What the Chickens read...

Am I allowed to pick my own book, I wonder? It is filled with summer. Indeed, it's called One Silver Summer and it is everything that I think a summer in Cornwall is – or it was, or still might be. The list of ingredients includes: the sea, horses, a small dog, an unexpected boy, a girl in search of escape, promises, secrets, mystery, and romance in wild places ...

Rachel L 

Rachel L, What the Chickens read...

I’ve never been much of a sun-worshipper, so as a child I was always trying to find ways to be in the cool indoors and hope no one was going to make me go outside where it was itchy and hot! 

One of my favourite cooling summer reads in those days was White Boots by Noel Streatfeild, a story of ice-skating and friendship and much-longed-for white skating boots. Photos are of my precious first hardback edition (1951) and a pair of slender white boots that I saw in the window of an antiques shop and had to buy … I can just about get my left toe into one … Roll on winter!

To discover a new summer read of your own, take a look at our 2020 summer reading recommendations here


Summer reading 2020

Posted by Jazz on Wednesday July 15th, 2020

(Home) School is out for the summer! 

While teachers and school librarians up and down the country have a (much deserved) rest, it doesn’t mean the reading has to stop!

Reading for pleasure is so great for childhood development. From the short-term benefits of imagination building and improved creativity to longer-term benefits like enhanced adult empathy and a better social skills*, reading outside of term time is a great way of fostering creative minds.

We know there are so many distractions once school’s out for the summer – even after months of homeschooling! – but perhaps, if we can encourage them to pick up the right book, this might be the summer you create a reader for life!

Below, you’ll find some of our favourite summer reads – even if we might not be able to go away on holiday this year, perhaps a book can take you there ...

Enjoy your summer, and happy reading!

Milton the MegastarSummer Reads 2020, Milton the Megastar, Chicken House

Can you believe it? Milton is now an eight-legged superstar! But instead of enjoying his fame, he’s feeling a bit stressed out. So when Dad and Greta plan a trip to Hawaii, Zoe knows she has to take Milton along too – everyone needs a bit of a break. 

However, with a live volcano, an endangered spider species, an unscrupulous entrepreneur and Milton’s ego to contend with, this is hardly a holiday …

Milton the Megastar is a brilliantly funny adventure story, featuring illustrations from Alex G Griffiths and Lisa Reed and ideal for readers aged 8 and up.

Find out more and get your copy here!

The Mask of AribellaSummer Reads 2020, The Mask of Aribella, Chicken House

Imagine waking up one morning and realising that you can shoot flames from your fingertips when you’re angry! Well, that’s exactly what happens to Aribella on the eve of her birthday. Running frightened, she’s rescued by an elusive magical group that are sworn to defend Venice – but can they defeat the evil rising from the Island of the Dead?

Set in the beautiful Italian city of Venice, The Mask of Aribella is ideal for readers aged 9 and up – especially if they enjoy magic, mystery and adventure!

Find out more and get your copy here!

Asha & the Spirit BirdSummer Reads 2020, Asha & the Spirit Bird, Chicken House

Not many of us have been as lucky as to see the Himalayas first-hand, but that’s precisely where Asha & the Spirit Bird will take you! Asha and her friend Jeevan embark on a journey across the Himalayan mountains to try and find Asha’s father and save their home.

Following the path of a majestic bird that Asha believes to be the spirit of her grandmother, the pair’s adventure is rich in visual language, taking your imaginationon a real journey(even if your body is still very much at home).

Find out more and get your copy here!

SpylarkSummer Reads 2020, Spylark, Chicken House

When it stops raining (and even when it doesn’t), there are few places as beautiful as the Lake District. For Tom – who has struggled to walk since an accident – flying his drone, Spylark, over the place he grew up gives him a little freedom. But the beauty of the lakes isn’t the only thing that Tom spots through Spylark. He stumbles upon a terrorist plot, and he has to find a way to stop it … before it’s too late.

Find out more and get your copy here!

*For more info on storytelling in childhood, the BBC has some fantastic resources: https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/why-is-storytelling-important-to-children/zvqcnrd

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