Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Second Eviction

Another week sees three more fabulous books leave the competition. Has your favourite survived the second round of evictions?

What’s the Story? (Reception to Year 2) – Dodos Are Not Extinct by Paddy Donnelly

Dodos are extinct, right? WRONG!
They’re not! They’re just in disguise, and they’re not the only ones. This book reveals the secrets of the woolly mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers and even dinosaurs! These famous creatures are in disguise everywhere, so keep your eyes peeled! You never know who might be right under your nose …

From author-illustrator Paddy Donnelly comes a hilarious story that will keep kids giggling and guessing on every page.


If this was your favourite book, try Dogs In Disguise by Peter Bentley, a joyful peek into the crazy antics of all sorts of dogs in disguise! Dressing up in clothing they find at home, these adventurous pooches blend into the crowd at all the places dogs aren’t allowed, like the store, the cinema and the swimming pool! But not all of their disguises go quite to plan, with hilarious results…

From schnauzers in trousers to cosmonaut cockapoos, this jaunty rhyming text from hugely popular, award-winning author, Peter Bently, with brilliantly witty illustrations from John Bond, creator of the Mini Rabbit books, will have children howling with laughter!

Telling Tales (Year 3 and 4) – The Wishkeeper’s Apprentice by Rachel Chivers Khoo

Wanted! A wishkeeper’s apprentice.

When Felix makes a very special wish, he doesn’t expect to be offered a job as an apprentice to wishkeeper Rupus Beewinkle. Now Felix must save the town’s wishes from the wishsnatcher, who wants to destroy hopes and dreams everywhere. Beautiful black-and-white illustrations by Rachel Sanson accompany this magical story.

If this was your favourite, look out for Rachel’s new book, The Magician Next Door, which publishes on 7th March. Late one night a flying house crash-lands in ten-year-old Callie’s garden. It is the home of magician Winnifred and all of her magical artefacts. Winnifred asks for Callie’s help finding her lost Wanderdust – until she realizes it is Callie’s sadness that is causing her malfunctioning magic.

With Winnifred’s most precious magical possessions at risk from malicious pixies and dangerous giants, can Callie and her friend Sam find the Wanderdust in time to save the magician?

Hooked On Books (Year 5 and 6) – The Stories Grandma Forgot by Nadine Aisha Jassat

“Grandma Farida has Alzheimer’s – but I’m going to help her remember a huge secret…”

Twelve-year-old Nyla’s dad died when she was four, or that’s what she’s been told. So when Grandma Farida insists she saw him in the local supermarket, Nyla wonders if Grandma is simply “time travelling” again – the phrase she uses when Grandma forgets.

But Grandma is Nyla’s best friend and when she asks Nyla to find her dad and bring him home, Nyla decides to make a brand new promise to her Grandma: to find him. As Nyla turns detective and sets out on a journey through her family’s past to try and find the truth, she also hopes that uncovering important stories will help her understand who she is, and where she fits in the world…

If you loved this emotional tale told in vers, try The Way Of Dog by Zana Fraillon.

Be strong. Be fierce. Life is more than a concrete floor.

Scruffity is born into a harsh, grey world. What he yearns for most is Family. But no one wants him. Just as his chances of adoption grow thin, Scruffity is set free by a boy as unwanted as he is. He learns how to run, to dig, to howl and, biggest of all, to love. But then tragedy strikes… How does a dog find his way home when he never had one to begin with?

If you don’t want your favourite book to be evicted next week, make sure you keep voting!

Happy reading!

Green Doctor – A new service for parents from the Family Hubs

Green Doctor can help families who are struggling with cost of heating and other household bills.

Green Doctor can also help regarding benefits, fuel and food bank vouchers, Big Difference (water bills) etc.

Our new Green Doctor Prasanna will be running sessions to coincide with Stay and Play sessions in the following hubs/ dates. Prasanna has a separate room booked for private consultations but it would be great if he could come into the stay and play sessions to talk to parents about the service.


Fourth Thursday

1st Feb, 22nd Feb, 28th March (or 21st TBC)

9.00- 1.00


Last Wednesday

31st Jan, 28th Feb, 22nd March (or 21st TBC)

1.0-    4.00


First Wednesday

7th Feb, 6th March, 3rd April

10.00- 3.00

Park Edge

Third Tuesday

20th Feb, 15th March

9.30- 1.30

Parents can book an appointment to see the Green Doctor or just drop in informally during the latter part of the session.

PSS are able to make bookings for consultations during the  Family Hub sessions.

If parents are unable to attend at the above Family Hubs they can book an appointment for phone/ online support and a home visit using the following link (self service or referred by a worker)

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The first eviction

We’ve read, we’ve discussed, and we’ve voted, and now the weekly vote offs have started.

The first books to leave the competition are:

What’s the Story? (Reception to Year 2) – Anansi And The Golden Pot by Taiye Selas

“Allow me to introduce myself.”
But he needed no introduction. “Anansi the spider!” said Anansi the boy. “The tales were true!”
“Traditional tales are always true,” the spider answered, laughing. “Nothing lasts so long as truth, nor travels quite so far.”

Kweku has grown up hearing stories about the mischievous spider Anansi. He is given the nickname Anansi by his father because of his similarly cheeky ways. On a holiday to visit his beloved Grandma in Ghana, Anansi the spider and Anansi the boy meet, and discover a magical pot that can be filled with whatever they want. Anansi fills it again and again with his favourite red-red stew, and eats so much that he feels sick. Will he learn to share this wonderful gift?

This charming retelling of a West African story teaches readers about the dangers of greed, and the importance of being kind. Tinuke Fagborun’s colourful illustrations bring the magic and wonder of the tale to life. When you’ve finished sharing the story, you can also find out more about the origins of Anansi folktales. This beautiful storybook is one that children will treasure forever.

If this was your favourite, look out for other Anansi stories of which there are many to enjoy regardless how old you are.

Telling Tales (Year 3 and 4) – Granny Came Here On The Empire Windrush by Patrice Lawrence

This heart-warming and heartfelt debut picture book from multi-award-winning author, Patrice Lawrence, will help ensure that the struggles and achievements of the Windrush generation are never forgotten.

One day, Ava is asked to dress as an inspirational figure for assembly at school, but who should she choose? Granny suggests famous familiar figures such as Winifred Atwell, Mary Seacole and Rosa Parks, and tells Ava all about their fascinating histories, but Ava’s classmates have got there first – and she must choose someone else. But who?

And then Ava finds a mysterious old suitcase – Granny’s “grip” – and Granny begins to share her own history, and how she came to England on the Empire Windrush many years ago. She tells her story through the precious items that accompanied her on the original voyage, each one evoking a memory of home, and as Ava listens to how Granny built a life for herself in England, determined to stay against the odds and despite overwhelming homesickness, she realises that there is a hero very close to home that she wants to celebrate more than anyone – her very own brave and beloved granny.

If you’d like to find out more about the Windrush Generation, try The Place for Me: Stories About the Windrush Generation, with 12 moving tales of sacrifice and bravery, inspired by first-hand accounts,

Hooked On Books (Year 5 and 6) – Kingdom Over The Sea by Zohra Nabi

My own Yara, if you are reading this, then something terrible has happened, and you are on your own. To return to the city of Zehaira, you must read out the words on the back of this letter . . . Good luck, my brave girl.

When Yara’s mother passes away, she leaves behind a letter and a strange set of instructions. Yara must travel from the home she has always known to a place that is not on any map – Zehaira, a world of sorcerers, alchemists and simmering magic. But Zehaira is not the land it used to be. The practice of magic has been outlawed, the Sultan’s alchemists are plotting a sinister scheme – and the answers Yara is searching for seem to be out of reach.
Yara must summon all of her courage to discover the truth about her mother’s past and her own identity, and to find her place in this magical new world.

If this was your favourite, look out for the second book in the series, The City Beyond The Stars, which will be published in April.

If you don’t want your favourite book to be evicted next week, make sure you keep voting!

Happy reading!

When is a book not a book?

When it’s an onion…

The Onion’s Great Escape by Sara Fanelli asks young readers to help the onion break free by answering thought-provoking questions and completing the activities within, finally pressing a three-dimensional character right out of the pages.

Asking big questions about themselves and the world around them, The ONion’s great escape helps children understand big ideas and emotions, and in turn, helps them to help others, including the onion to face their fears and live their best lives.

When it’s a quiz…

Name That Thing by Dr Gareth Moore, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke stretches your brain power with 20 fact-packed picture quizzes from expert puzzle master Dr Gareth Moore. Can you name a bird from its feather? How about a meal from its ingredients? What about a scientist from their discovery?

Covering themes, from nature, science and technology to sport, History and Geography, keep everyone guessing with hours of family fun. Part quiz book, part encyclopedia, with gorgeous hand-lettering and traditional artwork, this book is the ultimate gift book that can be enjoyed by the whole family and the large format makes it the perfect quiz book for curious children and their families to gather around.

When it’s a game…

Fighting Fantasy: Crystal Of Storms by Rhiamma Prachett is an astonishingly imaginative, edge-of-your-seat adventure – part story, part game! Grab your dice and a pencil, because you, the hero of this story, are a member of the Sky Watch keeping the floating archipelago of Pangaria safe.

When the Nimbus isle suddenly crashes out of the sky into the Ocean of Tempests below, you must explore the remaining islands, and battle both storms and sea beasts in your mission to raise Nimbus from the deep. You will be hunted by demonic harpies, rabid rats and even a Great White Squark and you’ll need every ounce of courage and quick wits to survive.

When it’s a robot…

Build A Robot by Steve Parker, illustrated by Owen Davey is this super-charged book will give you a unique, interactive guide to the world of robots. Combining a fact-filled book (did you know there are robot explorers and even robot doctors?) with a slide-out box containing three motors and pre-cut card pieces, you will become an expert robot-inventor in no time!

Once you have learned about the different robot that help in our world in a whole host of different ways, you can get stuck into building your own. Can you figure out how they work once you’ve built them all?

Happy reading, quizzing, gaming and building!

Books that ask big questions

This week, I have chosen books on the theme of Big Questions – those seeming simple questions that have big answers that will be every so slightly different for everyone.

I’m starting with Great Minds: 2500 Years Of Thinkers and Philosophy by Joan Haig and Joan Lennon, illustrated by Andre Ducci.

Discover 19 brilliant thinkers and their unique ideas that changed the world over 2,500 years!

Aristotle’s ideas shaped our understanding of the natural world for hundreds of years. Yacob’s Hatäta laid the grounds for equality long before our time. Gandhi’s philosophy inspired non-violent protest movements all over the world, and Langer shook up our understanding of what art is and can be. The brilliant ideas from each of these amazing thinkers have stayed with humans for centuries, teaching us new ways of uncovering our world and understanding each other.

Covering ideas from the last 2500 years, explore the time periods that shaped each thinker’s ideas, unpack the theories in accessible, easy to digest text and discover the impact they had for the years to come. Presented in graphic novel style, this is a book to inspire a new generation of thinkers and philosophers.

Next, for our younger readers, I have picked The Treasure: A Story About Finding Joy In Unexpected Places by Marcella Ferriera and Brian Lambert. 

The Treasure unfolds atop a desolate mountain, where an old chest houses a fabled treasure promising the fulfilment of dreams. Hare embarks on a quest, seeking adventure and excitement, only to encounter Bear and Bird, each with their own heartfelt aspirations: friendship and overcoming shyness.

As they journey together, the trio faces challenges, anticipating the grandeur of the treasure. Yet, when they reach their destination and uncover the long-awaited prize, a profound realization dawns on them. The true treasure is not the elusive object within the chest; instead, it’s the bonds of friendship they’ve forged along the way.

The Treasure beautifully encapsulates the essence of friendship and the inherent value it holds, delivering a touching and timeless message about the true treasures to be found in our world.

Finally, for Year 4 and above, I’ve chosen Stitch by Padraig Kenny.

Stitch’s simple questions dive deep into the essence of what it means to be human, exploring themes of acceptance and self-discovery. Stitch and Henry aren’t just artificial creations; they’re everything it means to be a good person with their unwavering friendship, loyalty, ability to forgive, and offer kindness in the face of cruelty.

He and his friend Henry Oaf were brought to life by the genius Professor Hardacre, and have spent all their days in a castle deep in the woods, far from humankind. But when the Professor dies and his pompous nephew comes to take over the laboratory, they soon find out that his sights are set not on scientific discovery, but personal glory. And Henry is his next experiment. Can Stitch and Henry escape his clutches and make their way in a world they were never built for – and may never be ready for them?

Stitch is a story about identity, friendship, and the pursuit of freedom in a world that struggles to understand or accept differences. Stitch and Henry, far from monstrous, grapple with their unique origins and their place in a society that may never be ready to accept them. Their world is thrown into danger when the Professor passes away, leaving them vulnerable to the desires of his nephew, a man shrouded in ambition and moral ambiguity. Tension, terror, escape, and a quest for a place to call home follow.

Happy reading!