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The DOWNS SCHOOL FESTIVAL in partnership with BOOKS ON THE HILL

Books on the Hill is delighted to yet again work with the Downs School to bring some amazing authors to the school for a week of literature.

J.M Joseph 

Fire Boy is a laugh-out-loud story about friendship, unexpected superpowers, magical sweets, Inca legends and a cat named Lemon - perfect for fans of My Brother is A Superhero and The Parent Agency. When 11-year-old Aidan receives a mysterious package of sweets from South America in the post, he and his two best friends Sadie and Hussein eat one sweet each - and suddenly develop amazing superpowers. Sadie can move objects with her mind.

Hussein can control any electronic device. And Aidan can ignite his body at will...though he can't always control the resulting flames. When they discover that the sweets were sent by a dangerous criminal who is trying to hunt them down to get them back, they have to use all their new powers to outwit him ...

before everything goes up in a fiery blaze. But can three ordinary kids keep their powers a secret? Will Aidan learn to control his fiery capabilities? Or will the ultimate bad guy spoil the whole adventure?

 

A laugh-out-loud story about unexpected superpowers, magical sweets, friendship and a cat named Lemon - perfect for fans of My Brother is a Superhero and The Parent Agency. Aidan (aka Fire Boy) has finally started to master his fiery super-power (obtained after accidentally eating a sweet filled with the juice of a magical Incan tree) and is thrilling the crowds at the circus. But with a newspaper prowling around investigating how Fire Boy really flies, his beloved circus about to leave him behind in London, and a pet cat that can now turn in to a tiger (thanks to eating one of those magical sweets herself), Aidan still has quite a bit to be dealing with...

Then the news leaks that a supervillain is on the loose, so Aidan, his friends Sadie and Hussein, and the circus all flee to New York City. But will they be able to protect the priceless remaining sweets, stop Lemon from terrorising the local bird population and stay alive long enough to finish the school year?Find out in the sequel to the 'snortingly funny' (Booktrust) Fire Boy!

 

Jamie Russell

 

An exciting and original debut sci-fi adventure trilogy for the gaming generation, from a screenwriter, film critic and gamer. Fifteen-year-old girl gamer Casey Henderson is obsessed with smash-hit game SkyWake - and she's good at it, too. Little does she realize it's actually an alien training tool created by an evil extra-terrestrial race.

When the aliens swoop down on a national gaming tournament, Casey and her teammates discover they're abducting the best gamers to fight in a distant alien war across the galaxy. And they've got her brother. Casey's gaming skills are her best hope of stopping the aliens - but first she and her online teammates must learn to work together in real life...

 

 

Andy Seed

If you could talk to animals, what would you ask? 'What are your top tips for catching prey, Tiger?' 'How do you help yourself to honey, Honey Badger?' 'Why do you howl, Wolf?' Get familiar with 10 fierce and furry beasts as they step up to the mic and share their habits, behaviour, likes and dislikes, favourite foods, and more. Each animal has its own story to tell... and its own attitude!

In this fun and fact-filled book, bite-sized text in a question-and-answer format is paired with colourful and engaging illustrations throughout, perfect for emerging or reluctant readers, or any young animal enthusiast who enjoys a bit of humour! Features 'interviews' with a tiger, wolf, honey badger, giant armadillo, lion, jaguar, giant anteater, snow leopard, polar bear, and three-toed sloth. Plus, ideas for how to do your bit to help endangered species and their habitats.

 

 

 

Get familiar with 10 extraordinary ocean giants as they step up to the mic and share their habits, behaviour, likes and dislikes, favourite foods, and more. Each animal has its own story to tell... and its own attitude!In this fun and fact-filled book, bite-sized text in a question-and-answer format is paired with colourful and engaging illustrations throughout, perfect for emerging or reluctant readers, or any young animal enthusiast who enjoys a bit of humour!Features 'interviews' with a great white shark, blue whale, orca, sunfish, giant squid, narwhal, manta ray, octopus, conger eel, and angler fish.

Plus, ideas for how to do your bit to help endangered species.

 

 

 

Keith Gray 

 

In this compelling story of teenage rivalry and friendship, award-winning author Keith Gray captures the subtle agonies and reality of life growing up in a small town. Sully is the best climber in the village. He can scale the Twisted Sister's tangled branches and clamber up Double Trunker with ease.

But when new kid Nottingham shows up and astonishes everyone with his climbing skills, Sully's status is under threat and there's only one way to prove who's best. Sully and Nottingham must race to climb the last unnamed tree. Whoever makes it to the top will become a legend.

But something spiteful and ugly has reared its head in Sully ... Is it worth losing everything just to reach the top?

 

 

Jen Carney 

 

 

Enter the hilarious world of Billie Upton Green . . .

The start of an exciting new series full of Billie's laugh-out-loud observations and doodles!There is a new girl at Billie's school, and Billie takes it upon herself to show her around, teach her the Biscuit Laws, and remind her that yes, two women can get married (after all, Billie's mums' wedding is the event of the year). But then suspicion sets in. The new girl seems very close to Billie's best friend Layla.

And doesn't she know a little too much about the latest big school heist - the theft of Mrs Robinson's purse...?

 

 

It started with The Accidental Diary Of B.U.G. - now get ready for the second hilarious diary of unforgettable Billie Upton Green!School just got INTERESTING. Not only is Billie's class learning how to P.E.E.

in the classroom (don't ask), they now have some very important contacts in the TV world. So as long as Janey McVey doesn't keep doing the splits for attention, and Billie's mums don't keep distracting her with a huge secret thing they seem to be planning... well watch out, because it's time for B.U.G. to make it BI

 

 

Kwame Mbalia

 

An action-packed Afrofuturist adventure about a mythical Ethiopian empire. Sci-fi and fantasy combine in this epic journey to the stars. Yared Heywat lives an isolated life in Addis Prime - a hardscrabble city with rundown tech, lots of rules, and not much to do.

His worrywart Uncle Moti and bionic lioness Besa are his only family... and his only friends. Often in trouble for his thrill-seeking antics and smart mouth, those same qualities make Yared a star player of the underground augmented reality game, The Hunt for Kaleb's Obelisk.

But when a change in the game rules prompts Yared to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos, Uncle Moti disappears. Suddenly, all the stories Yared's uncle told him as a young boy are coming to life, of kingdoms in the sky and city-razing monsters.

 

 

Sophie Kirtley

 

 

When Charlie's longed-for brother is born with a serious heart condition, Charlie's world is turned upside down. Upset and afraid, Charlie flees the hospital and makes for the ancient forest on the edge of town. There Charlie finds a boy floating face-down in the stream, injured, but alive.

But when Charlie sets off back to the hospital to fetch help, it seems the forest has changed. It's become a place as strange and wild as the boy dressed in deerskins. For Charlie has unwittingly fled into the Stone Age, with no way to help the boy or return to the present day.

Or is there?What follows is a wild, big-hearted adventure as Charlie and the Stone Age boy set out together to find what they have lost - their courage, their hope, their family and their way home. Fans of Piers Torday and Stig of the Dump will love this wild, wise and heartfelt debut adventure.

 

 

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Born with a serious heart condition, Dara has been waiting for his Big Operation forever, and this summer it's finally going to happen. The moment his heart is fixed he'll row out to the island in the bay all by himself just like he's always dreamed. But when his op is postponed, Dara snaps.

When will he get to live his real life? Maybe the adventures he dreams of are just silly fantasies. And then he finds a girl hiding in the boat shed. She wears animal skins.

She has a real live pet wolf. She is, simply, impossible. Could Mothgirl really be from the Stone Age? And what is she seeking on Lathrin Island? As Dara and Mothgirl set out on a wild, windswept sea journey Dara begins to realise that when you stop worrying about what's impossible, you can do anything.

A brave, life-affirming middle-grade timeslip adventure about finding your family and finding yourself, from the author of The Wild Way Home.

 

 

 

Jion Sheibani  

 

 

One day Lily was playing on the beach with her Grandpa when she spotted something in the distance . . .

POLAR BEARS! Lots of polar bears! All floating on pieces of melting ice. One evening, Lily is playing on the beach. And who should float in, but LOTS of polar bears! Lily is excited to welcome them home for dinner (of fish fingers and ice cream, of course) and to have them stay for a sleepover.

Lily has even more fun with the bears when they go swimming, ice skating, and visit the fun fair - and it soon turns out that polar bears are really quite good at a lot things, becoming polar bear postmen, opening ice cream parlours, and even becoming astronauts!

 

 

 

 

 

Sohal worries about a lot of things: the dark, mutant sheep, being alone - you name it, he worries about it! So one night he tries drawing his worries to make himself feel better - and somehow they look a lot less worrying once they're scribbled down.

But then imagine Sohal's surprise when he wakes up the next morning to find a set of funny, furry friends at the end of his bed!His worries have come to life, and it's not long before Hurt, Fail, Anger, Big and Alone have turned his world upside down. Now it's up to Sohal to work out how to keep his worries under control - and have some serious fun while he's at it!The Truth Pixie meets Inside Out in this hilarious, highly illustrated new series, perfect for helping children gently work through their worries and concentrate on having fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also joining the festival 

 

      Jo Earlam and Mark Hannon                                       

Author Jo Earlam and illustrator Mark Hannon have worked together on three children's stories in the last five years. Their first was 'Tuamor the Turtle', published in November 2015, about a Pacific Ocean turtle and marine plastic pollution. This book has been used by many schools for National Curriculum KS1 and KS2 literacy project work linked to Seas and Oceans. Their second book in May 2019 was 'Archie Space Dog', a tribute to the many small dogs sent into space, as part of mankind's bid to reach the moon. Newly published in October 2020 is 'Rosa's Footprint', a story of environmental awareness based on a real trace fossil footprint, left by a pre-dinosaur reptile 240-million-years-ago and found on Sidmouth beach in the winter of 2012/13.

Jo was a journalist for 25 years writing for newspapers and working in BBC local radio. She has a passion for writing stories that she hopes children will engage with and enjoy reading. This is inspired by her love of reading as a child and learning as an adult that her father was dyslexic and had never been given structured help at school to learn to read. Mark has been involved in Art and Design all his life, with roots in primary school comics and the influence of his Art Teacher father. As well as doing the illustrations, Mark has done the layout and graphic design for all three books.