The North recommends: Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books

The Seven Stories Bookshop, located in Ouseburn Valley is a treasure trove of delightful books sure to tickle the fancy of developing and confident readers. The bookshop is recognised by The Bookseller’s Association as one of the best independent children’s bookshops in the country and offers a wide range of titles and choice, from baby and toddler picture books to young adult novels. A specialist team of booksellers are on hand to help customers find the perfect book and their recommendations are always spot on; here are a selection of the latest best book reviews by the team at Seven Stories.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced read, packed with murder, ancient curses, old fashioned hauntings, and a good old romance then How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather (Walker Books, publication date Jan 18) should be at the top of your shopping list.  A cross between The Craft, Hocus Pocus and Mean Girls, How to Hang a Witch tells the tale of Sam and her stepmother who have relocated to Salem only for Sam to become embroiled in a dark and twisty repeat of history in the form of a curse that encompasses all the direct descendants of those involved in the original witch trials. With historically accurate accounts of the Salem Witch Trials, this modern-day witch-hunt is a spectacular debut from Mather and will be a sure-fire hit with teens.

Letters from the Lighthouse (Faber & Faber), by queen of fiction Emma Carroll, is perfect for those readers on the lookout for a classic book with a timeless feel. With a similar voice to Goodnight Mr Tom, the story follows a brother and sister’s evacuation to the Devonshire coast during the blitz and a mystery to solve, delving into the issues of immigration and judgement.

On a festive theme, I Killed Father Christmas (Barrington Stoke) by Anthony McGowan is a charming story of a boy named JoJo who is convinced that Christmas is cancelled and that it’s all his fault!  Beautifully illustrated by Chris Riddell this Christmas gem of a book is printed on high-quality cream paper with a special easy-to-read font – making it a perfect choice for a dyslexic reader who wants a story to share or read on their own.

Finally, North East illustrator Helen Stephens has paired up with author Lou Peacock to create Oliver Elephant (Nosy Crow), a beautifully illustrated story about a little boy, Noah, his toy elephant, Oliver, and a Christmas shopping trip with his family. Everyone is having a great time playing and dancing around until Oliver goes missing! The shop suddenly feels very big; will Noah ever find his beloved Oliver again? To celebrate Christmas this year, the supremely talented Helen Stephens has produced a stunning mural of this charming story in the reception of Seven Stories.

To find out more about Seven Stories visit their website.