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Blog Tour (Top Three): Children’s Books About Gaming by Helen Harvey, author of Emmy Levels Up

I'm delighted to welcome Helen Harvey, author of Emmy Levels Up, to The Reader Teacher today where she has specially chosen her top three recommended children's books about gaming...


1) A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby

This is a moving story about a girl whose mother has fallen into a coma. As Safiya waits at her mum’s bedside, she finds herself transported into another world, with an enormous house covered in silver branches. The more she explores, the more she discovers that this world is like a videogame. She must solve each puzzle in order to unlock the next piece of the story and soon she begins to believe that by completing the dream game she can save her mother. Meanwhile at school, Safiya is navigating old friendships and finding new ones through her favourite videogame, Fairy Hunter. I love that this book is about a girl gamer, and that it creates a powerful link between gaming, friendship, family and loss.


2) Knights and Bikes by Gabrielle Kent, illustrated by Rex Crowle and Luke Newell

This book is especially fun because it’s a companion book to a real videogame – also called Knights and Bikes. It follows lively Demelza and mysterious Nessa as they explore the island of Penfurzy and set out on a quest to uncover ancient treasure. Demelza and Nessa see the whole world as a game with monsters to beat and quests to complete. I love the Cornwall-inspired setting, which is quirky and homely and full of interesting characters. This book is high energy, hilarious and full of 80s gaming nostalgia. Oh, and the videogame version is excellent too.


3) Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett

The 90s tech might be a bit vintage now, but this is still one of my absolute favourite gaming books. Johnny Maxwell’s best friend Wobbler gets him a pirated copy of a game called Only You Can Save Mankind in which you shoot down an alien space fleet. But then the aliens send Johnny a message asking to talk, and Johnny’s world turns upside-down. Soon Johnny starts dreaming that he’s aboard a space ship in the game, leading the aliens to safety with the help of the mysterious fellow gamer Sigourney. This book has aliens, fast food, friendship and lots of laughs.


Emmy Levels Up by Helen Harvey

Emmy is brilliant at the computer game, Illusory Isles. Her avatar is a powerful fire elemental with magma claws and flaming breath. When Emmy's gaming video gets a front-page feature, thousands of devoted fans flock to watch her battle the ultimate online baddie, the Mulch Queen herself.

Life at school is the exact opposite. Emmy is friendless and bullied by Vanessa AKA the Queen of Mean. To Vanessa and her gang, Emmy is a weirdo with bad handwriting, horrible fashion sense and no dad.

But if Emmy can take on the Mulch Queen online, perhaps she can also find a way to take on Vanessa too? Emmy decides to level up and solve this challenge alone. But then Emmy discovers that Mulch Queens and Mean Queens are much easier to face when you have a little help from new friends...


Thank you to Helen and Liz for inviting me to be part of the Emmy Levels Up blog tour and to Oxford Children's Books, the publishers, for sending me a proof copy of the book. Extra thanks to Helen for her brilliant guest post!



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