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#SummerReads with the Book People: the books to read this summer (part III)

“What books should I read?” we hear you cry! At the Book People we are passionate about reading and we want to help you find your perfect book for summer, so we’re back with part III of our #SummerReads book reviews and recommendations. Whether you’re looking for the best books to take on holiday, the best books to take to the beach, the newest bestselling titles, classic fiction, summer cookery books, or even if you’re looking for children’s activity books for the summer, the staff at the Book People have picked out books to read for the sunny summer months so that you can create your own 2014 summer book list.

Summer Reads | The Book People

Hannah, the Book People’s Online Marketing Executive, has chosen Step-by-Step Cake Decorating by Karen Sullivan as her #SummerReads book recommendation. Read on to find out more about Hannah’s reasons for choosing Step-by-Step Cake Decorating as one of her book recommendations for summer:

“I am going to be spending the summer becoming a cake master. With the help of Step-By-Step Cake Decorating, I intend to learn how to create a variety of figures and designs to impress friends and family. You shall find me in the kitchen covered in icing sugar, hopefully learning from my mistakes and creating a masterpiece… only time will tell.”

There is nothing quite like an affirming book recommendation from someone who has read and fallen in love with a fantastic story, craft or recipe book. So, if you have any recommended recipe books which you would like to suggest as one of the best books to read this summer to fellow bookworms, why not take your own #BookShelfie and post it on InstagramTwitter or Facebook? Together we can create an online book club where people all over the world can share their own personal book reviews.

Or if you’re not into the whole social media thing, take a peak at the books our Summer Reads category on the Book People’s new website. You’re sure to find some fantastic books to read in summer 2014.

Find the best young adult fiction at Red House

Our Red House shop is here to provide children of all ages with the most exciting books as they embark on their reading journey – we have everything from baby books to awesome activities and timeless classics, all available at half price or less. Young adult fiction is a genre that continues to go from strength to strength and Red House has some of the finest new reads from some extremely talented authors.

But first, we’ll focus on something completely different – Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek (A Memoir) is a debut from Maya Van Wagenen which is already going to be turned into a film by Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks. Critically acclaimed, the book shows what happened when Maya found a Guide to Teenage Popularity from 1952 and decided to follow its advice in a brave, secret experiment in the year that led up to her high school prom. Written with a refreshing and self-aware voice, this is a book with themes that many children will identify with as they head into adulthood…

Set to arrive in cinemas in August and ready to challenge the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent as the new dystopian teen favourite, Lois Lowry’s The Giver tells the story of Jonas, a sensitive 12-year-old who discovers the ugly truth that lies beneath the surface of his seemingly perfect world… The film starring Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift has already gained rave reviews so now is the ideal time to read up on the book before it hits the big screen. Bestselling author Lauren Kate has also made a welcome return, with Teardrop. A heartbreaking and romantic, yet deliciously dark, read it follows Eureka, a 17-year-old girl who has never shed a tear, in the aftermath of her recovery from a car crash that killed her mum and her blossoming relationship with Anders…

For those who’ve enjoyed watching – and reading, we hope – The Fault in Our Stars during the early summer months, may we recommend E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, a book acclaimed by both John Green and 2012’s Teen of Queen Maureen Johnson that details the summers and secrets of Cadence Eastman. Another author often associated with – and compared to – John Green is David Levithan and his Every Day is a unique take on teenage life as its lead character, A, finds themselves waking up in a different body and living the day of a different person’s life every day – but then A falls in love… Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith is a tantalising mixture of coming-of-age tale, dark humour and out-of-the-ordinary sci-fi themes. Austin and his best friend Robby have unleashed an army of hungry, six-foot tall mantises on their hometown of Ealing, Iowa – but no one knows about it… yet.

Another coming-of-age tale we absolutely loved was This Song Will Save Your Life, a book specifically written with older teens in mind, especially those who are just beginning to develop a love of slightly more alternative music. Elise Dumbowski is an outsider at her school, but when she comes across the unbridled joy of indie nightclubs, she not only falls in love but finds her true passion – DJing. Packed with pop culture references and coming across as a teen version of High Fidelity, this really does capture the joy and enthusiasm many people have when they discover the music that will define their lives.

Book benches!

Launched by the National Literacy Trust in a celebration of reading, classic scenes and iconic characters from books will be seen on benches throughout London in the coming months. The striking benches will then be auctioned at London’s Southbank Centre in October to raise funds to tackle illiteracy in deprived communities across the UK.


Designed to look like open books, the campaign will celebrate everything from Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels to Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, alongside the likes of classic authors Jules Verne, Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll. Favourites like Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Lauren Child’s Clarice Bean are also featured as well as Paddington Bear and War Horse.


With the film adaptation of How to Train Your Dragon 2 due in cinemas soon, Cressida Cowell’s bestselling series is also given the bench makeover treatment. Sure to delight fans of Hiccup, Toothless and co, this is a great way to mark what is sure to be one of the hit films of the summer – and encourage children to read the further adventures in this exciting series.

The benches are brilliantly designed in association with the authors and world class illustrators, offer eye-catching photo opportunities and provide a great way for readers of all ages to rejoice in their favourite novels and perhaps pick up one of those books that have been on their ‘to-read’ lists for a while.

See some of the book benches on the Telegraph here.

Read more about the book benches on the BBC here.

25 years of Elmer the patchwork elephant

Elmer the patchwork elephant

This year, Andersen Press are celebrating 25 years of popular pre-school character Elmer the patchwork elephant, whose iconic look and playful character has made him a firm international favourite in millions of households since 1989. Universally appealing to both boys and girls, Elmer’s iconic, design-led look and message that it is ok to be different has helped him become an evergreen children’s character that has stood the test of time. The Elmer books are used in schools nationwide and he is as popular with teachers and educators as he is with children and parents.

Publishing in the 25th anniversary year are a special signed limited edition hardback of the first Elmer story, a brand new hardback Elmer adventure Elmer and the Monster, the paperback of Elmer and the Whales, My First Elmer Collection; a set of four board books, and Elmer’s Treasury; a beautiful padded gift book containing 5 of the most popular Elmer stories.

Andersen Press are celebrating with a year-long anniversary campaign holding Elmer’s Parade events up and down the country. To get involved and show your colours download the free Elmer’s Parade Pack here:


Here are ten facts about Elmer and his creator David McKee you may not know!

  1. Elmer creator David McKee has written and illustrated over 50 picture books for Andersen Press
  2. David McKee is the creator of a number ofchildren’s classics including Mr Benn, King Rollo, Not Now Bernard and of course, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant.
  3. Over 7 million copies of the Elmer books have sold worldwide.
  4. To date Elmer has been translated into 50 languages, including Curacaon Papiamento, Aruban Papiamento, Luxembourgish and coming soon Azerbaijani.
  5. There is now a popular Elmer merchandise programme which sells over £5 million per year at retail worldwide.
  6. Elmer has been published in over 10 different formats, including board books, pop-up books and an interactive sound book.
  7. There are 22 original Elmer stories.
  8. Elmer has popped up in some surprising places on TV including an episode of QI alongside Stephen Fry, Gavin and Stacey, and more recently in an episode of Rev.
  9. David’s style has been influenced by many great artists including Paul Klee, the Fauvists and Brueghel.
  10. If you look carefully you can spot Elmer in two of David’s other books - Not Now Bernard and King Rollo.

The Savages and American Savage – a brilliant two-course meal of reading

The Savages Matt WhymanAmerican Savage Matt Whyman

Published in the summer of last year, bestselling author Matt Whyman’s The Savages was a favourite here at the Book People. To celebrate the release of the much-anticipated sequel American Savage, we have a very special offer – you can get the new book for half the price of its RRP when you buy the original for just £3.49, meaning you’ll get both books for under £7. Now, that’s a tasty offer if ever we’ve seen one…

Dark, slightly disturbing and bitingly satirical, the first Savages book told the story of Sasha Savage as she fell in love with Jack Greenway – a boy who was everything a girl could ever want. Although he is a vegetarian – and Sasha and her family like to have a bit more meat on their plates… They’re not sure he’ll fit in to their outlook on life and food. Darkly delicious humour, a dysfunctional family and thought-provoking issues made it a book well worth taking a bite out of…

Now after that starter, the Savage family have returned for another serving, relocating to the land of Super Size meals… American Savage finds them hiding in plain sight as they run a surprisingly successful vegan cafe in the Sunshine State of Florida. Will they be able to hold onto their cannibalistic secret in a new country or will the knives (and forks) be out for them?

Books to be savoured, you’ll love tucking into the stories of The Savages.

Buy The Savages for £3.49 and get its sequel American Savage for just £3.49 too.

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