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Children's books for adventurers and explorers

A good adventure story is a great way to turn your children into avid readers for life! Taking in swashbuckling pirate dogs, fast-paced adventures in an alternative universe, and plenty of super-cool kids, these stories of derring-do will keep children riveted throughout the Christmas holidays.

Picture books

Matty Long
Set sail with the Salty Dogs on an adventure through the Pirate Islands in search of treasure. Their journey won't be easy. They must outwit rival pirates, navigate stormy seas, and keep the poop deck clean if they are to become pirate legends.
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Books for ages 5–8

Philip Reeve, Sarah McIntyre
Kevin the flying pony blows in on a magical storm and – DOOF! – crashes into the balcony outside Max's flat. As the storm waters rise and the town is besieged with creatures, Max and Kevin set about putting things right. There's nothing this heroic duo can't achieve!
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Activity: Make your own comic [PDF]
Activity: Create your own legendary pet [PDF]

Michael Morpurgo
From brave heroes and battling beasts to mighty gods and magic spells, these are timeless tales to treasure forever. An enchanting selection of classic myths and legends, chosen by the UK's best-loved storyteller.
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Joshua Davidson, Buzz Burman
When Will accidentally creates a mysterious portal during a trip to the zoo, he’s transported into the world of the Night Zoo and thrust into an incredible adventure. The animals look to Will to save them, but does he have the strength to overcome his fears, and become the hero that the Night Zoo needs?
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Book extra: Meet the characters [PDF]
Activity: Create your own magical animal [PDF]
Activity: Write your own adventure story [PDF]

Roland Chambers, Ella Okstad
When Nelly returns home to discover that her mother has mysteriously disappeared, she vows to stop at nothing until she's found her. Climb to the tops of the clouds in a laundry basket? Why not? Dive to the depths of the ocean in an oversized tin can? Of course! Leave her turtle, Columbus, behind? Certainly NOT!
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Books for ages 9+

Tamsin Cooke
Fearless stunt double Finn is in Thailand working on the latest Rio Dinoni blockbuster. It's a dream job, but are the whispers around set true? Is the film really cursed? When stunt after stunt goes wrong, filming starts to get really dangerous. An action-packed adventure story with an exciting film location setting.
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Dan Walker
Zoya Delarose wakes aboard a creaking sky ship in the dead of night. She has no idea why she was smuggled aboard or that her life is about to change forever…
"This is the stuff of classic swashbuckling fast-moving adventure, complete with a wonderful cast of gloriously named characters, a deliciously evil baddie and a feisty heroine coming into her own." – Booktrust
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Philip Reeve
There was nothing, and then there was a train. A train with two passengers: a petty thief from a dead-end town, and an android girl who could be more human than the rest of us. Join Zen and Nova as they find out what really lies beyond the end of the universe…
If you're new to the series, be sure to read the first installment, Railhead .
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Jo Cotterill, Cathy Brett
Part book. Part comic. One electrifying superhero adventure! Holly Sparkes returns to Blue Haven after her summer holiday to find some strange goings on. Weird green slime is oozing out of the ground, there's been a spate of mysterious robberies, and, worst of all, she's losing control of her electrifying super-powers. If she could only stop blowing things up, she might just be able to save the day… again!
A great read for both boys and girls, with fast paced and exciting plots, this is perfect for comic book and superhero fans.
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This eye-catching boxed set is full of adventure and memorable characters in four of the greatest stories ever told. Set sail on the high seas in Treasure Island, be a part of the mischief by the Mississippi River in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, encounter danger in The Jungle Book, and join Mole, Ratty and the irrepressible Toad in The Wind in the Willows.
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Books for ages 11+

Philip Reeve
The Great Network is changing. For Threnody the changes have brought great power. For Zen and Nova they have brought separation. For the trains that run from world to world, they have brought questions. Now all of them must find out what really matters to them…
If you're new to the series, be sure to read the first installment, Railhead .
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Deborah Ellis
This beautiful graphic-novel adaptation of The Breadwinner animated film tells the story of eleven-year-old Parvana, who must disguise herself as a boy to support her family during the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan. Deborah Ellis's original novel, The Breadwinner, has been an international bestseller for more than 15 years.
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Books for ages 13+

Matt Dickinson
'The Butterfly Effect': the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.
When a butterfly startles a young rabbit, and the rabbit makes a horse rear, it starts a chain of events, over the course of one day, that will change people's lives… and end people's lives.
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Next: Books for young detectives