School reopens to Years 1 – 6 on Tuesday 6th September. If your child is starting in Reception this year, please refer to your letter with your transition schedule.
We look forward to seeing you all back in school soon – enjoy your final week of the holidays!
Every year Coventry Libraries run the Summer Reading Challenge (SRC), calling for children aged 4 – 11 to sign up to read six books over the summer holiday. This year’s theme is Gadgeteers.
From Saturday 10 July children can come and collect their Summer Reading Challenge free fun collector pack and stickers at a Coventry Library. At two further visits to Libraries through the summer children can collect more stickers to complete their Challenge.
Children don’t need to be big readers to enter the Challenge. Coventry Libraries have lots of books to suit all abilities and interests including picture fiction, comic-style books and books about fun subjects like sports, crafts and cookery. There is also a Summer Reading Challenge for under 4s so no-one feels left out.
The Summer Reading Challenge is supported by The Reading Agency who this year have teamed up with the Science Museum Group inspiring children to use their curiosity and creativity to discover the science behind the everyday and celebrate the role of the imagination in both reading and the sciences.
Through taking part in the Challenge, with free materials from Coventry Libraries and online via the Summer Reading Challenge Website, children will be able to join six fictional Gadgeteers. The characters – brought to life by children’s writer and illustrator Julian Beresford – use their curiosity and wonder to understand the science behind a whole range of interests, from fashion and technology to cooking and music.
Through an exciting book collection and accompanying activities, the Gadgeteers will help to spark children’s curiosity about the world around them and encourage them to feed their imagination over the summer holiday. They will be boggled by brilliant facts, gaze at the stars, and be inspired by tales of creativity and invention.
Here are some of my favourites from this year’s collection.
One More Try by Naomi Jones and James Jones
Circle loves the tower that the squares and hexagons have built and wants to make his own.
But circles, diamonds and triangles are pointier, rounder and much wobblier – making a tower is not as easy as it looks! The shapes try and try but their tower just keeps tumbling down. Can Circle persuade them to have just one more try?
A glorious celebration of individuality, inclusion, teamwork and resilience all wrapped up in a fabulously fun story that can be enjoyed again and again. The wonderful world of shapes show how we all have things that we find easy and others that we find near impossible without patience, problem solving and people to support us. Vibrant illustrations bring the ideas circle comes up with, along with the frustrations and lightbulb moments to life.
The Most Important Animal Of All by Hannah Bailey and Penny Worms
The Most Important Animal of All is a beautiful picture book, illustrated by award-winning Hannah Bailey, where a teacher challenges her class to decide which is the most important animal of all. Seven children champion a different animal for the top spot. Is it BEES as master pollinators, or BATS who are night-time predators as well as pollinators? Is it ELEPHANTS who shape their landscapes and spread seeds, or BEAVERS who create watery habitats? Is it TIGERS or SHARKS who keep populations in balance so there is food for all? Is it tiny KRILL , food for so many whales and sea creatures? There is lots of information about them, and other keystone species, plus photographs to see them up close and in their habitats. This is a positive and gentle primer for young children from 5 years old about the issues of habitat loss, endangered species and climate change.
The Secret Explorers And The Missing Scientist by S.J. King
Meet the Secret Explorers – a band of brainiac kids from all around the world. Everyone in this diverse group of young experts has a speciality, from outer space to dinosaurs, and each story follows a character who gets chosen for a “secret exploration”.
In this fun, fact-filled children’s book, engineering expert Kiki and Connor the marine biologist are sent on a mission to the Arctic. There they discover a research vessel studying the effects of climate change that has become trapped in the sea ice. To make matters worse, one of the ship’s scientists who went to find help at a nearby research station hasn’t returned. It’s up to the Secret Explorers to find the scientist, free the ship, and save the day! Kids will love turning the pages to find out if the Secret Explorers manage to succeed in their mission!
With plenty more adventures in the series, this would be a great boxset to get stuck into over summer.
I’m A Neutrino: Tiny Particles In A Big Universe by Dr Eve M. Vavagiakis, illustrated by Ilze Lemesis
An accessible and visually arresting picture book about the smallest known and most mysterious particle of matter, for the youngest scientific minds.
I am one of the most mysterious particles in the universe.
I’m tiny and light, and I can pass right through you.
In fact, trillions of me fly through your body every second.
I’m … a NEUTRINO!
Before you finish reading this sentence, trillions upon trillions of neutrinos will have passed through your body. Not sure what a neutrino is? This dazzling picture book from a renowned cosmologist introduces young readers to the smallest bits of matter known to exist. And they exist everywhere! Filled with fascinating, full-bleed illustrations that swirl and splash the cosmos to life, this incredible STEM title shows us the wonders of our universe, encouraging children and future Nobel Prize-winners to dream of their own groundbreaking discoveries.
Sabotage On The Solar Express by M.G. Leonard
The fifth book in the Adventures On Trains series, and my favourite so far as we hurtle through the Australian Outback on the Solar Express. This is the most adrenaline fuelled mystery yet!
Billionaire train enthusiast August Reza has invited Harrison Beck and Uncle Nat on the maiden voyage of the Solar Express – the winning design of his Reza’s Rocket competition. But during the journey, they discover the train has been sabotaged, hurtling passengers into a heart-stopping, action-packed, thrill ride across the Australian Outback. Can Hal find the saboteur and stop the runaway train before disaster strikes?
With strong messages about respecting our planet and the need to replace our reliance on conventional fuel systems for the good of the land and every creature that depends on it, and a firm warning not to try Boaz’s experiments at home, this is perfect for budding engineers who love an action packed mystery.
Sabotage on the Solar Express can be read as a stand-alone novel, but is best enjoyed as part of the Adventures on Trains series, starting with The Highland Falcon Thief. Make sure you get your hands on Sam Sedgeman’s non-fiction title Epic Adventures to learn more about the routes and trains in the series too.
The Ship Of Doom by M.A. Bennett
Greenwich, London, 15th February 1894.
Luna thinks that an evening at her aunt’s butterfly club sounds deathly boring. But it turns out that the meeting, held in the Butterfly Room at the Greenwich Observatory, is not at all as Luna expects. The Butterfly Club is a society with an unusual secret – they use time travel to plunder the future for wonders.
Together with her friends, Konstantin and Aidan, and a clockwork cuckoo, Luna boards the Time Train. The gang travel to 1912 and find themselves aboard a great ship travelling from Southampton to New York. They locate a man called Guglielmo Marconi and his new invention: the wireless radio. But as the ship heads into icy waters, they discover its name: The RMS TITANIC.
Can Luna and the boys save Marconi and his invention from the doomed ship? Can they get the radio back home to the Butterfly Club? And how will their actions change the rest of time?
Highly entertaining and thought provoking in equal measure, The Ship Of Doom is a breath taking adventure through time aboard the RMS Titanic. I absolutely loved the immersive storytelling, and can’t wait to see what is next for our time-travellers in The Mummy’s Curse.
This weeks Friday Library Recommendations are all on the theme chosen by Year 6 – The Great Outdoors! Here is a selection of fiction and non-fiction highlighting the wonderful world around us.
Unplugged by Steve Antony
A delightful picture book about the fun you can have when you unplug yourself and get outside! From the author of the much-loved Mr Panda series. Blip spends all day plugged into her computer, playing games and having fun. But when there’s a power cut, Blip goes down the stairs and out the front door, where she discovers playing games and having fun… outside! Isn’t it wonderful to be unplugged? This simple story is perfect for families trying to strike the right balance between screen time and outdoor play.
My Big Book Of Outdoors by Tim Hopwood
Discover the great outdoors with this beautifully illustrated treasury that celebrates the wonder of nature in four glorious seasons. From vibrant springtime flowers to sweet fruits on summer trees, the falling of autumn leaves and snowdrops in winter, this book of four seasons is the perfect introduction to the big outdoors. Discover why birds fly south in winter, find animal footprints in the snow and learn to make the perfect snowflake; grow a sunflower, find a feather and make a daisy chain. Full of activities, poetry and fun facts to explore, this bumper book is jam-packed with amazing things to see and do outdoors – the perfect gift for every season.
Wild Child: A Journey Through Nature by Dara McAnulty
Wild Child: A Journey Through Nature is a beautiful book, illustrated in full colour by Barry Falls, and divided into five sections: looking out of the window, venturing out into the garden, walking in the woods, investigating heathland and wandering on the river bank. Dara pauses to tell you about each habitat and provides fantastic facts about the native birds, animals and plants you will find there – including wrens, blackbirds, butterflies, tadpoles, bluebells, bees, hen harriers, otters, dandelions, oak trees and many more. Each section contains a discovery section where you will have a closer look at natural phenomenon such as metamorphoses and migration, learn about categorization in the animal kingdom or become an expert on the collective nouns for birds, and finishes with an activity to do when you get home: plant wild flowers, make a bird feeder, try pond dipping, make a journey stick and build a terrarium. Dara ends the book with advice for young conservationists.
Zo And The Forest Of Secrets by Alake Pilgrim
Sci-fi meets myth in this heart-stopping race for survival in the Trinidadian forests. When Zo decides to run away from home, she isn’t scared; after all, she knows the island like the back of her hand. But, as she journeys through the once-familiar forest, terrifying creatures and warped visions begin to emerge. With a beast on her heels and a lost boy thrown into her path, could a mysterious abandoned facility hold answers? Zo must unravel the secrets of the forest before she is lost in them forever…
Not for the faint-hearted, this is a nail-biting thriller that doesn’t let up from them moment Zo strikes out on her own, and I cannot wait for the second book in this duology to answer the questions pinging around my head!
The Rewilders by Lindsay Littleson
Esme is annoyed and braced for boredom when she’s sent to stay with her gran for the weekend, until she discovers a terrible mistake. Cora, the abandoned kitten Gran found on the Rothiecraig Estate, is in fact a wild lynx kit and she is growing—fast! Suddenly, Esme find herself on a dangerous mission to rewild Cora, along with Callum Docherty for company, the school’s ‘bad boy’, and Shug, the worst guard dog in the world. The situation takes a terrifying turn when the children pitch their tents on a bleak Highland moor and hear wolves howling outside…
The Rewilders is such a captivating, immersive and thought provoking read. I felt as if I was walking the moors with Esme and Callum on their mission to rewild Cora. Told from both Esme and Callum’s perspectives we really get to know the two children on their journey. Without spoilers, there were two moments in the book that I read with wide eyed wonder and a hint of jealousy. This is a celebration of our natural world, a reminder of the delicate balance of ecosystems, and that we must take responsibility for looking after the world we live in before we damage it beyond repair. For those not sure of the Scottish dialect, there is a glossary at the end of the story, which came in handy as I had no idea what gowping meant!
Rewilding by David A. Steen, illustrated by Chiara Fedele
Discover inspiring stories of wildlife brought back from the brink of extinction in this kids’ non-fiction book about animals and the environment. Rewilding means returning animals or plants to places where they used to live. In this book, acclaimed conservation biologist and science communicator David A. Steen introduces children to the scientists determined to turn back the hands of time to create a greener future. Read about awe-inspiring rewilding projects, including:
• The wolves that returned to Yellowstone National Park and dramatically improved the ecosystem
• The beavers reintroduced to their old territories to build dams to stop them flooding
• The Galápagos giant tortoises who beat the odds to survive extinction and return to their island home
Throughout the heartwarming true stories, beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Chiara Fedele, children will learn how different species evolved to live side by side and will see what it takes to be a conservation scientist. They might even be inspired to become a wildlife activist themselves! By the end of the book kids will be left with a key message: it’s not too late to fix the planet.
Tidy by Emily Gravett
A very funny rhyming woodland story about the perils of being too tidy. Pete the badger likes everything to be neat and tidy at all times, but what starts as the collecting of one fallen leaf escalates and ends with the complete destruction of the forest! Will Pete realise the error of his ways and set things right? Lush foliage and delightful characters abound in this cautionary tale of overenthusiastic neatness that delivers its message of environmental preservation with subtlety and humour. The freshness of the illustrations and the many comic details make this a very special book. Once you enter this forest, you’ll never want to leave.