Quiz Writers’ Highlights from 2020

By Lee Burkwood

As 2020 draws to a close, we asked the quiz writers to choose some of their favourite books they’ve quizzed this year. It’s safe to say 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, and I think we’ve all spent more time at home than we’d been planning to! But these titles have provided the team with some much-needed escapism. From Samurai and ninja cats to crime mysteries and self-discovery books, there’s a great mix of titles to inspire children of all ages here. We can’t wait to see what new reads 2021 has in store!


Lower Years

Toto the Ninja Cat and the Superstar Catastrophe by Dermot O’Leary
BL 6.1 | Quiz # 239162 | Hachette Children’s Books

In this third instalment of the series, Toto and Silver find themselves attending the world’s greatest music festival, Catstonbury, thanks to their good friend Catface. However, right from the train journey there, this turns out not to be the relaxing trip away they had been hoping for. All too soon, they find themselves in some perilous situations! Laura said its  “not only humorous but encourages inclusivity – as well as highlights the importance of friendship and teamwork.”


Middle Years

To Liberty! The Adventures of Thomas-Alexandre Dumas by Catherine Johnson
BL 4.9 | Quiz # 239162 | Bloomsbury

Alex is happy living with his siblings on his father’s farm on Haiti but his father wants to go back to France and can’t afford to take his children with him. Soon, Alex must fight for his freedom and that of France.

Peter, who wrote the quiz on this, recalled how it brought back childhood memories of The Three Musketeers: “The sense of adventure, danger and intrigue just transported me away, but I had no idea that these stories were inspired by the life of the author’s father. This shines a light on this forgotten hero and has made me want to learn more about Alex and the prejudices he had to overcome. It brings fond childhood memories back for me and I am very grateful for it!”



A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby
BL 4.7 | Quiz # 237765 | Egmont Children’s Books

This is a story about Safiya and her mum, who have never seen eye to eye. Safiya’s mum doesn’t understand her love of gaming and Safiya can’t imagine they could ever have anything in common. When her mum falls into a coma, Safiya finds she can visit her mum’s childhood memories. What she sees helps her make sense of her own life and find the strength and confidence to be herself. Liz loved the book’s “magical atmosphere” and stated that it has “positive messages about finding ways to be true to yourself while growing up in a complicated world.”


Middle Years Plus

Young Samurai: The Return of the Warrior by Chris Bradford
BL 6.4 | Quiz # 238559 | Puffin

In the ninth book of the Young Samurai series, Jack brings his friends to London in search of his sister Jess, but his homeland is not as he remembers it, and he must face many challenges which test his Samurai skills. Cecelia stated, “I found it every bit as absorbing as the earlier books. Mystery, intrigue, action and adventure set amidst a brilliantly realised historical background. I couldn’t recommend it more – for all children!”

Upper Years

Savage Her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan
BL 5.7 | Quiz # 239172 | Little Island

In this classic story, a chieftain remarries following his wife’s death, and his new wife – a witch – uses magic to transform his four children into swans. Sullivan tells this legend from the point of view of Aífe, the witch. Sarah recounted that the book is “dark and feminist yet also subtle and nuanced, and challenges the things traditional fairy tales take for granted.”


Wranglestone by Darren Charlton
BL 5.0 | Quiz # 237931 | Stripes

In post-apocalyptic America, Peter lives in a national park. His community live safely away from the hoards of the undead by living in the middle of a lake until winter arrives and freezes the lake. Krista stated that this was “easily one of the most unique novels I have read all year. I’m beyond pleased that zombies are having a comeback! This book had everything for me: chilling ambience, twists galore, secrets, and a romance to root for at its core. “

Sonny and Me by Ross Sayers
BL 4.5 | Quiz # 238567 | Gobstopper

When Daughter and Sonny’s favourite teacher leaves school unexpectedly, and no one will say why, they start to investigate and end up discovering a darker secret than they’d bargained for. Kerry said, “The teen dialogue in this book felt so authentic and had me giggling away. Although it’s a crime mystery with serious elements, there are lots of heartwarming moments too.” She added, “What really made me want to keep turning pages was the relationship between Sonny and Daughter, which was really touching at times. I can’t wait to read more from Ross Sayers!”



Head over to Twitter or Facebook and let us know which books have helped you through this year. See you in 2021!

Posted on 18 December 2020 at 8:00 am
Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quick Links

Monthly Quiz List

Each month, we publish a list of the new AR quizzes released in the previous month.

January 2024

Previous months

Subscribe to monthly newsletter

Partners & Special Offers

We work with carefully selected partners who share our mission of accelerating learning for all and provide services that complement our programmes.

Special offer!

Logo for The Book Nest

Favourites from Twitter