John Hook -author visit to Wokingham Library on March 6th

Local author John Hook will be visiting Wokingham Library  talk about his debut novel Top Meadow.

Minnow, a young peasant lad grows from child to manhood in this novel set in medieval Berkshire at around the time of Henry 11

Discover how the longest establised building in Wokingham, a physically challenged youth, a Euopean experienced cook and three additional complete strangers from across the Narrow Sea combine to affect the lives of a small community

The event includes a book signing

Wokingham Library

Wednesday March 6 10.30am to 11.30am

Free Event

To book a place call the library on (0118) 9781368


Holocaust Memorial Day 2019 Books for Adults

In Support of Holocaust Memorial Day January 27, 2019 Wokingham, Woodley and Lower Earley libraries will have materials on display along with information booklets from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. Members of the public are also invited to find out about the lives of those who have experienced genocide from our display and write them a postcard.      

 Booklists have been created and a wealth of information is available to use on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website,

Suggested Book Titles for Adults

 A Lucky Child by Thomas Buergenthal

A Lucky Child is the memoir of Thomas Buergenthal, a survivor of Kielce ghetto and both Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps.  The story tells of a happy childhood and the vibrant parents who had to flee their peaceful life in Lubochna, Czechoslovakia. .  However, the story he tells is thoughtful, understated and very powerful.  His amazing strength at the age of 10 when he was finally separated from both of his parents in Auschwitz resonates throughout the book.  When, in 1945 he escapes from the deserted Sachsenhausen, the account takes an unexpected turn as we learn how he spent time in the company of the Polish army.  He later became a minor celebrity whilst in an orphanage, as it was so unusual for a child to have survived Auschwitz.  In these early post-war days, he desperately tries to ignore the likelihood that his mother and father are dead.  However, he is reunited with his mother in 1946, and we learn her story too. – See more at:

If this is a Man by Primo Levi

If This is a Man is Primo Levi’s memoir of his experiences in the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz III.  Between 1944 and 1945 Levi spent 11 months as a prisoner in the camp where conditions were so brutal that life expectancy was only three months for new prisoners.  If This is a Man recounts not only the author’s extraordinary survival of Auschwitz, but the reasons behind the inhumanity of the Nazi concentration camp system. – See more at:

Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally

Schindler’s Ark tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi Party member and factory owner, who saved over 1000 Jews from certain death. While the story is true the book is written as a novel.

The book also charts the story of the creation and liquidation of the ghetto in Krakow.  The book won the Booker Prize in 1982 and was made into the Academy Award winning film Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg in 1993.

– See more at:

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

Suite Francaise consists of the first two sections an uncompleted five-part novel examining life after the German occupation of France in 1940.  The novel was written as the events portrayed were actually unfolding and reflects the experiences of Irène Némirovsky and her family. – See more at:

The Book Thief-Marcus Zusak

The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, a nine-year old girl fostered by a family on Himmel Street, Molching, Germany in the late 1930s.  Liesel’s story includes her obsession with reading, her theft of books and the impact of the Second World War and anti-Jewish actions on the people of Himmel Street and is told to us by Death himself. – See more at:

The Children of Freedom by Marc Levy

The Children of Freedom is written from the perspective of 18 year old Jeannot who has, along with his younger brother, found refuge from Nazi persecution in Toulouse in 1942.  The brothers join the 35th Brigade – a group of young foreigners who fight back against their oppressors. Based on true accounts from the Resistance, including that of the author’s father, the book follows the stories of members of the 35th Brigade and looks at those who resisted – in small or large ways – the hatred of the Nazi regime. – See more at:

The OtherSchindlers by Agnes Grunwald Spier

In The Other Schindlers, Agnes Grunwald-Spier explores the motivation of those who rescued, hid, saved or assisted Jews in the Holocaust.  She explores the moral choices made by rescuers and asks us to consider the moral choices we make today. – See more at:

Alone in Berlin-Hans Fallada

Alone in Berlin is based on a true story.  Otto and Anna Quangel’s son has died whilst serving with the German Army.  In a moment of anger, Anna blames Otto and ‘his Fuhrer’.  Otto is offended and decides to resist the Nazi regime in his own unique way – writing and dropping anti-Nazi postcards.  The novel is an interesting look into the fear of ordinary Germans, how many people were made into criminals even though they were living their ordinary lives.  The story also follows the Quangels as they go to jail and their subsequent tria

– See more at:

Far to Go by Alison Pick

Fiercely patriotic secular Jew, Pavel Bauer, is helpless to prevent his world from unravelling when the Nazis invade Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia in 1939.  As the Czech government falls – a system he had great respect for – and then his business partners and neighbours all turn their back on Pavel and his family, only their adoring and dependant governess Marta remains loyal.  This book explores the Bauers’ heartbreaking struggle between doing what is right and acting to save themselves.  It shows how decisions born of fear, love and principle can have unimaginable consequences in wartime.  The reader feels the Bauers’ desperation on finally grasping the true enormity of the Nazi campaign and its destructive consequences for their family and particularly for their son Pepik.   – See more at:

My Enemy’s Cradle by Sara Young

Polish born Cyrla has been sent to live with her Aunt, Uncle and Cousin in Holland by her Jewish father in 1939.  Her family keep the secret of her heritage whilst the German Army occupy Holland and Cyrla lives in hiding, afraid that her neighbours suspect her.  Carrying the child of a German soldier, Cyrla’s cousin, Anneke is destined to move to a maternity home in Germany which houses the Lebensborn breeding programme.  Anneke’s death leaves Cyrla facing a dilemma – should she face her Uncle and his growing resentment, or should she take Anneke’s place at the maternity home? – See more at:

Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir with Damien Lewis

Tears of the Desert is the memoir by Halima Bashir, a survivor of the Genocide in Darfur.  In this book she talks about growing up in a village in Darfur, about the persecution of her tribe – the Zaghawa tribes by the Arab Sudanese government.  She speaks about her triumph of training to be a medical doctor in Khartoum and the escalation of violence and the use of rape and torture during the ongoing genocide, and her fight to find asylum in the UK.

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

The Cellist of Sarajevo is a novel which follows the lives of three inhabitants of Sarajevo during the Siege of Sarajevo which lasted from April 1992 to February 1996. The story is set during a brief period when a cellist plays in the street in remembrance of those killed in a mortar attack on a bread queue. The novel follows the lives of Kenan, who crosses the city to find water for his family; Dragan, who has become isolated from his friends and Arrow, a counter-sniper protecting residents from snipers on the hills surrounding the city. – See more at:

The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman

Wladyslaw Szpilman was born in 1911 in Sosnowiec in Poland.  He studied the piano and composition as a young man in Warsaw and Berlin.  On 1 April 1935 he joined Polish Radio, where he worked as a pianist performing classical and jazz music, until the German invasion of Poland reached Warsaw in autumn 1939 and Polish Radio was forced off the air.

Szpilman and his family were forced to move to the Warsaw Ghetto where he continued to play piano in cafes and bars. Szpilman survived with the help of friends and a German captain, Wilm Hosenfeld.  His family was murdered at Treblinka.  After the War Szpilman returned to Polish Radio and his music career and died in Warsaw in July 2000 at the age of 88.

– See more at:


Celebrating Extraordinary Women

Wokingham Library is joining with other organisations in Wokingham to take part in  Heritage Open  Days. This year the theme is Celebrating Extraordinary Women.

We are holding the following FREE events in the library:

Reminiscence Club-the theme for discussion will be Extraordinary Women and local links to the suffragette movement. Just drop-in!

Thursday September 6 10.30am to 12noon

First Thursday Book Group-join our Thursday evening book group as a guest when we will be discussing the Handmaid’s Tale by Margraet Atwood. Please bring in any other titles by great women writers that you would like to recommend.

Thursday September 6, 6pm to 7pm

Fantastically Great Women Activity Day-Fun facts for children on display about amamzing women with activity sheets to try out.

Saturday September 8 9.30m to 12noon

Also you can view a display about Extraordinary Women in Berkshire and beyond , September  6-15, with thanks to local historian Jim Bell for supplying the information.

Take part in the suffragette quiz with a chance to win a great prize!

More information from Wokingham Library on (0118) 9781368

Suffragettes display

Anna Jacobs-visit to Wokingham Library, August 23, 2018

Best -selling author Anna Jacobs will be visiting Wokingham Library to talk about her writing career and her new title One Kind Man which is the second novel in her Lancashire –based saga.

Anna Jacobs was born in Lancashire at the beginning of World War Two. Anna has since emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research.

Anna writes historical sagas and some modern relationship novels. She is very popular  with library customers and was recently listed as the fourth most borrowed author in Uk libraries.

She has been shortlisted for several awards. Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006, and The Trader’s Wife, Like No Other, Our Lizzie, Tomorrow’s Promises, Bright Day Dawning and The Corrigan Legacy have all previously been shortlisted

The event includes a book signing and refreshments.

Wokingham Library

Thursday August 23

2pm to 3pm

£3 charge

To book a place call Wokingham Library on (0118) 9781368

Anna Jacobs photo

The Girl Who Climbed Everest-A talk with Bonita Norris at Wokingham Town Hall on Friday September 7

As part of National Heritage Open Days in September whose theme this year is Extraordinary Women, former Holt School pupil Bonita Norris will be giving a free motivational talk called “The Girl Who Climbed Everest.”

Bonita Norris will be telling the story of how she went from novice mountaineer to the top of the world.  

Bonita is a highly experienced and professional speaker with over 8 years experience delivering conference key notes, after dinner speeches and awards presentations to clients in the U.K and internationally.

Her inspiring story of going from novice climber to standing on top of Mt Everest in only two years speaks to the hearts and minds of every audience member.

For more information, see

The talk will be on Friday September 7 4pm to 5pm upstairs at Wokingham Town Hall

Copies of Bonita’s book, The Girl Who Climbed Everest will also be on sale.

To book a place go to

The talk has been organised by Wokingham Town Council in conjunction with Wokingham Library.Ama-Dablam_Summit.JPG


Book Chat- Wokingham Library Thursday July 12

Come to our Book Chat session and swap recommendations for holiday reads or just come and chat about anything you have read recently.

Tea and coffee will be available.

The session will be held in the Wokingham Room downstairs  Free Eventat Wokingham Library

Thursday July 12

11am to 12noon

Free Event

Just drop-in!

New Books June 2018 1


CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 shortlist available to borrow from Wokingham Borough Libraries

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 shortlist available to borrow from Wokingham Borough Libraries

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. It is named after the popular and highly influential nineteenth century artist known for her fine children’s illustrations and designs. Awarded annually, the Medal is the only prize in the UK to solely reward outstanding illustration in a children’s book.

Winner will be announced on Monday June 18, 2018 at The British Library, London.

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 shortlist

King of the Sky by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin

king of the skyStarting a new life in a new country, a young boy feels lost and alone – until he meets an old man who keeps racing pigeons. Together they pin their hopes on a race across Europe and the special bird they believe can win it: King of the Sky.

A powerful eloquent story is evocatively brought to life by the soft smoky images of the mining community and the use of childlike capitalisation of the text cleverly reflects the narrative voice. The landscape of pit head chimneys, the surrounding hills and the pigeons in flight are hauntingly beautiful and contrast with the images of Rome and the memories of war. The Lowry-esque figures are poignant, characterful and full of emotion, fully capturing the sensitive power of this migration story.

Night Shift by Debi Gliori

night shiftA unique visual exploration of depression and anxiety and how these conditions can isolate sufferers of all ages. Night Shift offers insight, hope and a release from stigma.

This small book is a visual jewel. Its silvery, feathered endpapers frame a beautifully- illustrated narrative which offers respite from the inexorable cycle of depressive illness. Dragons are used throughout to represent depression: they suppress language, lay indiscriminate waste and cannot be outrun. Gliori’s command of technical execution is balanced on each page by subtlety, warmth and hope. Largely monochrome drawings flare into a dragon’s breath of fierce colour, but the abiding image is the feather of hope, ‘neither black, nor all white’.

A First Book of Animals by Nicola Davies and Petr Horáček

a first book of animalsA spellbinding treasury of poems about the animal world, illustrated in breath-taking detail. With polar bears playing on the ice, tigers hunting in the jungle, fireflies twinkling in the evening sky and nightingales singing in the heart of the woods – there are animals everywhere. A First Book of Animals takes you all over the planet to visit all kinds of different creatures. This book is a glorious celebration of life in the wild in all its variety and splendour.

These extraordinarily wide-reaching illustrations capture the wonder of the flora and fauna of Earth the world over. This book embraces and encapsulates the awe-inspiring base of the natural world with a range of artistic techniques, use of mixed media an accomplished use of scale. Double page spreads allow the poetic text to dance across the page whilst jewel-like colours and textured collages express the remarkable diversity of the natural world on a grand scale. Clever layouts and designs, with the occasional nod to works of natural history from yesteryear, make this a book which works on several levels. This is a visually arresting book that provides new experiences and exciting learning opportunities.

The Song from Somewhere Else by A F Harrold and Levi Pinfold

song from somewhere else (002)An atmospheric, quirky novel about two loners who become unlikely friends during one very strange summer holiday. Frank doesn’t know how to feel when Nick Underbridge rescues her from bullies one afternoon. No one likes Nick. But there’s more to Nick, and to his house, than meets the eye, and soon Frank realises she isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Or the only one who needs help …A poignant, darkly comic and deeply moving story from acclaimed poet A.F. Harrold about the power of the extraordinary, and finding friendship where you least expect it.

Pinfold’s swirling, smoky illustrations and limited use of palette add an unsettling layer of mystery and intrigue to this surreal adventure story about two young misfits. The sepia-tinted dust jacket with silver foil detail, and green nettle end papers, lead the reader into a dusty, small town where Frank and Nick strike up an unusual friendship. From our first sight of hulking Nick, to the small, detailed drawings which head each chapter Pinfold creates a very strong synergy, text and illustrations superbly marry together to create a sinister feel: a visual feast which offers a tantalising glimpse into another world…the magical world of trolls and ancient melodies which lives beyond Nick’s cellar.

Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith

town is by the seaThis beautifully understated and haunting story brings a piece of mining history to life. A young boy spends an idyllic summer day in his small hometown – he heads to the playground with his friends, has lunch and goes to the shops for his mother. In the afternoon he visits his grandfather’s grave and remembers; but his thoughts continually return to his father, hard at work digging for coal under the sea…

“It goes like this…” Smith’s stunning illustrations bring to life a bygone era and what it would have been like in a Cape Breton mining town in the 1950’s. Broad, black lines, washes of colour and subtle use of shadow create a sense of movement. The oppressive darkness of the mines is contrasted with the vastness of the light-dappled sea and the calm of the bay where the boy tends his grandfather’s grave. Extensive use of double-paged spreads enhances this, while the use of smaller panels in the domestic scenes creates a sense of warmth, intimacy and anticipation of the father’s safe return. The closeness of family life and the beauty and power of the Nova Scotia landscape are vividly rendered on each page, enhancing Schwartz’s narrative. Contrasting darkness and confined space with freedom and light above ground, these pictures linger in the mind.

Thornhill by Pam Smy

 thornhillOrphaned Mary lives at Thornhill, Institute for Children where she is cruelly bullied by the other girls. Ella is irresistibly drawn to the big old house that she can see from her bedroom window. Surrounded by overgrown gardens, barbed wire fences and ‘keep out’ signs, it looks derelict. But when Ella spots Mary in the grounds a powerful friendship develops between the two lonely girls. This chilling story of the need to belong and a desire for revenge is cleverly told through the combination of Mary’s diary entries and full page monochrome illustrations.

Adept use of illustration drives the narrative in this remarkable piece of pictorial storytelling. The illustrations have a cinematic quality that integrates perfectly with the text, creating a powerful, atmospheric novel. The strong black and white sequential illustrations skilfully emphasise the darkness of the story, creating a sense of menace, loneliness and despair. Bold, harsh lines set the scene and the pictures are able to tell the story without the use of text in many places. Dark and heavy production values provide an innovative and fully immersive reading experience that oozes suspense from the very start.

Under the Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup

under the same skyAnimals of land, sea and sky, from around the globe, come together in this illustrated treat which celebrates the closeness of the world’s communities through their shared hopes and dreams.

The illustrator creates a simple, flowing narrative through her effective use of die cuts, clever composition and carefully considered colour palette, which is framed by the same mountain-top landscape on the textured board cover and elegant evergreen endpapers. We are taken on a voyage of discovery around the world; to rooftops, savannahs, meadows, oceans, forests and rivers. There is a natural rhythm and effective transition between each spread, and the animals and their young are rendered in Teckentrup’s distinctive style and given depth and perspective with a very clever use of texture and layering.

You can borrow these books from our libraries, so check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you:

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 shortlist available to borrow from Wokingham Borough Libraries

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 shortlist available to borrow from Wokingham Borough Libraries

The Carnegie Medal, awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children, was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). A self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA, Carnegie’s experience of using a library as a child led him to resolve that “If ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries.” He set up more than 2,800 libraries across the English-speaking world and by the time of his death over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries.

Winner will be announced on Monday June 18, 2018 at The British Library, London.

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 shortlist

Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans

wed wabbitClever and slightly cynical Fidge is nearly 11 when she is abruptly thrown into the bizarre world of her little sister Minnie’s favourite story. The Wimbley Woos, colourful creatures who speak only in rhyme, live under the iron paw of evil dictator, Wed Wabbit. With only a band of sentient toys and her awful cousin Graham to help her, Fidge must solve a series of increasingly ludicrous puzzles in order to go home. If she fails they will be stuck in the land of Wimbley Woos forever and, back in the real world, Minnie will die.

Playful use of language and sharp, satirical humour abound in this vibrant novel. The interplay between danger and comedy is skilfully handled, resulting in a vivid focus on play and the inner imaginative world of childhood. The richly drawn cast of characters are depicted perfectly; individual personalities are slowly revealed and, as the story unfolds, experiences allow them to develop satisfyingly. The author demonstrates an innovative use of language through the dialogue of the toys; from banal verse to loud, authoritarian speech, a rhythm is established that makes the unreal world seem very real. Wit, wisdom and lashings of imagination make this a rich reading experience.

After the Fire by Will Hill

after the fireDeep in the Texas desert, Moonbeam lives with her Brothers and Sisters. They’re safe, protected by the Fence and Father John. Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. But then Nate arrives from Outside, stirring doubt…and suddenly Moonbeam is starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

An utterly compelling, dark and morally complex read that actively demands that the reader engages with issues and experiences beyond their knowledge. The plot is gradually revealed through the clever use of flashback and some unreliable narration; building tension and pace. Moonbeam is a completely authentic and believably confused and conflicted character and even the villains’ motivations are complex and understandable within the context of this powerful and thoroughly absorbing story.

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

where the world endsEvery time a lad came fowling on the St Kilda stacs, he went home less of a boy and more of a man. If he went home at all, that is…!    In the summer of 1727, a group of men and boys are put ashore on a remote sea stac to harvest birds for food. No one returns to collect them. Why? Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they have been abandoned to endure storms, starvation and terror. And how can they survive, housed in stone and imprisoned on every side by the ocean?

Based on a true story, McCaughrean masterfully takes the reader on a dark, atmospheric and incredibly gripping journey. Written in an historically appropriate, straightforward and yet poetic style, the unforgiving landscape and the struggle to survive within it, are evocatively portrayed. The interaction and relationships between the highly memorable individual characters are believable and beautifully written and while they are completely of their time and of their remote community, they resonate with contemporary readers and Quill, the main hero, is particularly appealing. A haunting, immersive and unforgettable reading experience.

Rook by Anthony McGowan

rookRook is the third standalone novel featuring brothers Nicky and Kenny, following McGowan’s earlier novels Brock and Pike. When the boys rescue a rook from a sparrow hawk attack, learning-disabled Kenny immediately becomes attached to the injured young bird. Nicky doubts the scruffy bird will make it, but then Nicky has plenty else to worry about – a school bully, his first love, and the fact that everything is about to go very, very wrong.

The power of this short novel lies in Nicky’s authentic voice and the author’s ability to represent the inner life of all his characters. Nicky’s cynicism, his protective love for his brother and his wry sense of humour are expressed with language that is both simple and poetic. Every word used is apposite. The novel deals thoughtfully with themes of bullying, first love, faith and what it means to be part of a family. Both the urban and natural settings are equally vividly portrayed as are the effects of poverty. It is undeniably gritty, unflinching and authentic and yet manages to demonstrate a life-affirming warmth too.

Release by Patrick Ness

releaseOn the single Saturday during which the book’s action takes place, Adam Thorn will meet with friends, employers, family and lovers; will experience revelations, attend a farewell party, and reshape his life. Everything in Adam’s life is going to fall apart. But maybe, just maybe, he’ll find freedom from the release. Time is running out though, because way across town, a ghost has risen from the lake…

With a trademark mix of the real and the fantastical effortlessly woven together Ness once again demonstrates his profound understanding of the complexities of being a young adult and what it means to have to live secretly, in fear of disapproval and burdened with shame. Elegant, flawless writing capture the nuanced detail of young love and relationships. While revealing truths can be excruciatingly painful, doing so might also bring refreshing, life-affirming release. Heart-breaking, intense and acutely honest, this novel casts a subtle spell of hope.

Saint Death  by Marcus Sedgwick

SD_cover_new strapThe inscrutable ways of Saint Death dominate Arturo’s world on the wrong side of the fence. Grinding poverty, corruption and the power of the narco-lords mean freedom is elusive and comes at a cost. Loyalty is equally rare. Life in Anapra, Mexico is almost impossible, but when Arturo is forced to gamble for his friend Faustino’s life and freedom, he risks his own in the process.

From its fairy tale opening paragraph, this powerful and atmospheric novel draws the reader into the desperation of Arturo’s world: the half-made town of Anapra, inhabited by dreamers, dealers, migrants and the faceless missing who have tried, and failed, to cheat Santa Muerte. A gripping, fast-paced narrative is interspersed with passages which offer a perspective on issues like free trade, globalization and climate change, without interrupting its flow. Sedgwick’s beautifully-crafted novel also reflects upon the nature of friendship, faith and those ‘breaches of brotherhood’ which make us flawed and very human.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

the hate you giveSixteen-year old Starr lives in two worlds: growing up with her family in Garden Heights, the poor neighbourhood where she was born, and going to school in an affluent suburban area. When her close childhood friend, Khalil, is fatally shot by a white police officer after a party Starr is the only witness. What she saw, and whether she speaks out, could affect her entire community and have an impact on her friends and close-knit family.

What animates this powerful debut novel is Starr’s unique narrative voice and how her character develops throughout the course of the novel as she fights for justice. The use of a first person narrative creates an immediacy that ensures the reader inhabits the world of the novel which deals unflinchingly with the fear and anger which arise from prejudice and racism. Musicality and humour underpins Thomas’s skilful writing throughout the novel, and there is genuine warmth and a sense of community to the family relationships she develops, despite moments of conflict and heightened tension. Dialogue and detail are authentic and integrated seamlessly into the plot. The realism and openness of the conclusion encourages discussion and is very effective in showing the on-going battle being faced by minorities.

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

beyond the bright seaTwelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbour across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.

Simple, sparing prose and a vivid sense of time and place combine beautifully in this quiet, enriching novel. The moving story of orphaned Crow’s increasing determination to discover the truth about her parentage provides profound comments on identity and what it means to belong. All three main characters are well-drawn, warm and loving people who intrigue the reader with their personal mysteries and pasts. The plot is skilfully controlled; with an appropriate slowness that reflects life on the island and a credible, satisfying ending. This is a lyrical story with imagery that powerfully evokes the isolation and loneliness of Crow’s simple life.

You can borrow these books from our libraries, so check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you:

Recommended Reads for Teens

Recommended Reads for Teens

ravenmasters boy

The Ravenmaster’s Boy by Mary Hoffman

Young Kit finds himself on a plague cart wedged between the bodies of his mother and father. But he is alive and is rescued and taken into the home of the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. He soon finds he can speak the language of the big black birds, a skill which proves useful when he finds himself caught up in a story of queens and treason, princesses and executioners.


a berlin love song

A Berlin Love Song by Sarah Matthais

Max is 17, a German schoolboy, when he meets Lili, a trapeze artist from a travelling circus that performs every year in Berlin. Lili is from a Romani gypsy family whose life and customs are very different from those of Max and his family. Their friendship turns into love – but love between a member of the Hitler youth and a gypsy is forbidden. As events tear them apart can their love survive?


rasputin dagger.png

The Rasputin Dagger by Theresa Breslin

Nina Ivanovna cares nothing for the troubles of her country. Russia in 1916 may be on the brink of revolutionary chaos, but with the death of her father, her world has just collapsed. Now she must travel to St Petersburg to escape her past, and find a future. Here she discovers a life, friends, and romance. But Nina is soon caught up in the domestic world of the Russian royal family, and as unrest on the streets threatens to reach breaking point, this is a very dangerous place to be. Though desperate to save those she cares about, and share her life with the boy she loves, Nina’s every move seems to be haunted by a beautiful, ruby-studded dagger. A dagger that will draw her ever closer to the mad, bad world of Grigori Rasputin.

All of the recommended titles can be borrowed from Wokingham Borough Libraries  or visit

Author’s Galore at Wokingham Borough Libraries Bookstart Rhymetime at Dinton Pastures Country Park on Monday June 18

The theme of this year’s National Bookstart Celebrations is ‘Bookstart Bird Boogie’. Children who attend any of the events will receive a free copy of the picture book A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins gifted by the children’s reading charity BookTrust, supported by Walker Children’s Books.

National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of BookTrust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart. Bookstart gives every child in England and Wales a free reading pack in the first year of their life and again when they are 3-4 years old. BookTrust works to remind families of the importance of reading for pleasure – even if it’s just for ten minutes a day.

Dinton Pastures Country Park on Monday June 18 from 10am to 12noon

Come and join us at Dinton Pastures for our National Bookstart Week celebrations for the under 5’s. So come along and bring your own picnic. There will be nursery rhymes, songs and a free book!

  • There will also be a performance area with a variety of children’s authors, who will be sharing their stories. Schedule will be:
  • 10am     Tina Stubbs
  • 10.20am     Cathy MacLennan
  • 10.45am     Layn Marlow
  • 11am     Rhymetime
  • 11.25am     Katrina Charman
  • 11.45am     Carol Otieno
  • There will be activities and information from the Children’s Centre Family Workers. The Early Years Team will be promoting their “Ready for School, ready for life” programme. There will also be stands from the NHS Nursery Nurses, Home-Start and Scottish and Southern Electricity with information about the services they offer.
  • A libraries goody bag can be collected along with a free “A Busy day for Birds” book.