top of page

Summer Reading Recommendations from Ginger and Pickles Bookshop

Image above: Ginger and Pickles Children's Bookshop, 51 St Stephen St, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH3 5AH

Younger Readers

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, illus. by Chris Mould (2019) 6+

New edition of Ted Hughes’s classic story The Iron Man. Colourful and beautifully illustrated by Chris Mould, this edition is a wonderful introduction to young readers. Whether reading it to or reading on their own, children of all ages will enjoy this timely tale.

The Puffin Keeper by Michael Morpurgo, illus. by Benji Davies (2020) 6+

An enchanting story of an unlikely friendship between an artist and a lost puffin by the wonderful storyteller, Michael Morpurgo and beautifully illustrated by the equally talented Benji Davies. This title is in chapter book format and will be available in paperback in July.

Fox and Rabbit by Beth Ferry, illus. by Gergely Dudás (2020) 6+

A new graphic novel for reluctant or beginner readers. Share adventures with Fox and Rabbit who are very different from one another but have an endearing friendship nonetheless. The book contains five different stories perfect for bedtime reading and there is a sneak peak of the first story from the second book in the series.

The Math Kids Series by David Cole, illus. by Shannon O’Toole (2018 onwards) 7+

For any young reader who enjoys solving mysteries and math problems, this series is for them. Join the Math Kids, Jordan, Justin, Stephanie and Catherine on their mystery adventures. This series is both interactive and an enjoyable read. It not only shows that Math is fun but each story also conveys the importance of friendship.

The Time-Travelling Cat series by Julia Jarman (2006 onwards) 7+

This series is great for young readers who enjoy a blend of time travel, history and mystery. Topher’s new stray cat, Ka is very unusual. Little does Topher know that Ka is a time-travelling cat. Take a journey back into the past to a different era from Ancient Egypt to the Victorian times with this time travelling adventure series.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame with decorations by E. H. Shepard 90th anniversary edition (2020) 7+

This year celebrates Kenneth Grahame timeless classic’s 90th anniversary. This lovely paperback edition includes the original illustrations of E. H. Shepard. Embark on a reading adventure with Ratty, Mole, Mr Badger and the unforgettable Mr Toad. A delightful story for any age.

Maria’s Island by Victoria Hislop, illus. by Gill Smith (2006) 8+

A lovely children’s edition of Hislop’s novel, The Island. The story is told from the perspective of Maria Petrakis, one of the children from Hislop’s original story. This title explores many themes that are still relevant today for young readers such as stigmatising those who are different. A powerful story set in Greece – the landscape and seascape are captured by the gorgeous illustrations of Gill Smith.

Danny Cheung does not do Maths by Maisie Chan, illus. by Anh Cao (2021) 8+

Funny and charming, this story is told from the perspective of Danny, who loves to draw. Unfortunately, according to Danny, his parents and everyone else seem to think Maths is more important and what he should also be naturally good at. Will Danny have the courage to be his own person?

Tiger Skin Rug by Joan Haig (2020) 8+

When a family moves to Scotland, two brothers, Lal and Dilip are terribly homesick and yearn to return to India, but when they encounter a magic tiger rug in their new home with an encrypted message who needs their help, they realise this might be a chance to get back home. With their spunky new neighbour Jenny, in tow, the boys readily agree with the promise that the tiger will help them return back to India. A tale of magic and adventure and the message that home is never where you expect it to be.

Older and confident

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (2017) 9+

The Explorer tells the story of four children who survive a plane crash and are stranded in the beautiful, yet dangerous jungle of the Amazon. They must learn to put aside differences and work together if they are to find their way out. Whilst they face the vast jungle and the dangers within, they realise they are not alone…A story of friendship and an exciting read for the adventurer at heart.

Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin (2021) 9+

A blend of myth and fact, this adventurous tale depicts the story of Syms Covington, cabin boy on board the Beagle, Charles Darwin’s ship. During a storm, Syms is washed overboard and is shipwrecked on a Galapagos Island, where he makes an extraordinary discovery. Based on Charles Darwin’s journal, this story will cater to reader’s who enjoy both history and fantasy.

The Battle of Roar by Jenny McLachlan (2021) 9+

The third and final book in Jenny McLachlan’s series. Rose and Arthur are on another epic adventure in the land of Roar. When a storm veers them off course their voyage takes a turn for the worst and they become shipwrecked on a strange island. What is to become of Rose and Arthur and the land of Roar?

Middle School

New Kid by Jerry Craft (2019) 9+

In graphic novel format, this story tells the story of 12-year-old Jordan who loves art and dreams of attending art school. Instead, his parents enrol him into one of the best private schools in the state. What it has in prestige, it lacks in diversity as there are very few students of colour. Jordan must adjust to his new school by learning how to fit in and finding true friends. Written with humour, it is a must-read for children and adults alike.

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds (2021) 9+

Winner of this year’s CILIP Carnegie Medal Book Award, Jason Reynold’s book is a compilation of 10 short stories from each character’s point of view. Each story tackles a theme that young readers can easily identify with – from bullying to bereavement. This book is worthy of its award and is a clever and compelling read.

Sweet Pizza by G R Gemin (2016) 9+

Joe, who is proud of his Italian heritage, decides to spice up the Bryn Mawr high street in South Wales in his attempt to save his family’s café. Sweet pizza is a tale of two cultures coming together based on the Italian immigrants who came to make their new home in Wales during the war.


Cardboard Cowboys by Brian Conaghan (2021) 11/12+

Lenny is a lonely twelve-year-old who doesn’t quite fit in at school and feels equally isolated at home. When he meets Bruce – who lives in a cardboard house – an unlikely friendship is formed. A humorous and heart-warming story that teaches the reader about empathy and kindness.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (2021) 12+

Felix dreams of attending Brown University to study art and is grateful to gain extra credit at St Catherine’s summer programme. But when someone pulls a terrible and transphobic prank, Felix is set on revenge that does not go exactly to plan. Set in New York during the sizzling days of summer, this story is about falling in love and self-discovery.

From Stella Street to Amsterdam by Elizabeth Honey (2020) 12+

Henni is one “lucky duck” when she decides to accompany her elderly neighbour, Willa to the Netherlands, Willa’s childhood home. Henni believes Willa is returning to attend a wedding but when Willa reveals the true nature of her journey, Henni must decide whether or not to keep her secret. Another great Stella Street story by Elizabeth Honey.

These books can be ordered from:


bottom of page