Month: September 2021

Friday Library Recommendations…

This week has been The Great British Beach Clean Up and also Recycling Week, so this week’s books all have an environmental theme.

Clean Up by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola is a heart-warming, timely and empowering picture book, showing how we ALL can make a difference.

Join lovable, passionate Rocket as she sets off on a mission to save a Caribbean island from plastic pollution! When Rocket goes for a holiday to visit her grandparents, she’s shocked by the pollution that is spoiling their island home and putting the local sea life at risk. Can she think of a way to save the day?

Being just about as far from the sea as we can be, I’ve also picked Tidy by Emily Gravett, which is a wonderfully humorous woodland story about the perils of being too tidy, with a subtle environmental message about preservation of our environment.

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?

Perfect for newly independant readers, Sona Sharma: Looking After Planet Earth by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Jen Khatun is another fabulous story set in Sona’s bustling family household, spotlighting daily life, culture and traditions in Chennai, India. Perfect for younger readers looking for a mirror to their own family life, or window to an authentic view of a different culture, they will relate to the school setting, while the cultural detail will immerse them into Sona’s world. Jen’s delightful illustrations highlight Chitra’s characters in beautiful, expressive detail, and bring the settings, family and traditional drawings to life.

When Sona learns about the climate crisis at school and is very worried that no one is doing enough to combat it, she takes up the challenge herself. But Appa isn’t amused when Sona throws out her baby sister’s nappies and Thatha isn’t happy when she tells him to get rid of his colour-coded plastic files. When Sona learns that many of the kolams – the traditional art that people draw in front of their homes to celebrate the winter months and the festival season – are not organic, she sets out to make some big changes by getting everyone involved.

For older children, Pop! by Mitch Johnson is a jaw-dropping look at consumerism and profiteering above all else, the damage it creates to our world, and fizzy drink addiction. Mitch combines the perfect amounts of satire, suspense and serious laughs to create a gripping story fizzing with Mitch combines the perfect amounts of satire, suspense and serious laughs to create a gripping story fizzing with flabbergasting moments where I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I mainly laughed, but when you stop and think… The exaggerated boardroom scenes are both hilarious and horrifying.

When the priceless recipe to the world’s most popular drink – thought to be lost forever – washes up at her feet, Queenie’s life instantly changes. Everyone wants it, and with a $10 million bounty on her head, Queenie’s soon on the run. Pursued by bounty hunters, black-ops helicopters and angry mobs, Queenie’s journey involves a trip to Area 51, a man-eating alligator and an unlikely new friend, Todd.

But being on the run also makes Queenie begin to see the world around her more clearly – a world in which a big corporation’s excess has left the planet covered in its plastic bottles and waste. Suddenly, the home she always dreamed of escaping, and the ocean she grew up with and took for granted, don’t seem so bad. If Queenie and Todd can bring down the bad guys, maybe she can go back home and make a difference…

And finally, Old Enough To Save The Planet by Loll Kirby and Adelina Lirius is a beautifully illustrated non-fiction browser celebrating young people who have made a difference to our planet.

From Shalise in Australia cleaning up pollution from the shores, to Amy and Ella in the UK committed to eradicating single-use plastics, we see 12 inspiring ideas to help save our planet. Meet kids – just like you – taking action against climate change. Learn about the work they do and discover how the future of our planet starts here… with you. Maybe it will inspire you to take action at home or maybe even in school!

If you like Roald Dahl, try…

Tuesday 13th was Roald Dahl Story Day, so to celebrate, I’ve chosen books inspired by his funny, fantastical stories.

For younger children, I’ve picked The Secret Of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton, a magical tale of finding the truth to the legends that surround Black Rock. Highly imaginative, with a gentle environmental message, Erin’s tale is a fabulous read with dazzling illustrations.

Erin loves to lie on the jetty, looking for the weirdest fish in the sea the weirder, the better! And she knows the best ones must be further out, where her mum won’t let her go…

Out there in the deepest sea lies the Black Rock: a huge, dark and spiky mass that is said to destroy any boats that come near it! Can Erin uncover the truth behind this mysterious legend?

For Year 3 and up, I’ve chosen The Magic Place by Chris Wormell. Stunning illustrations bring this charmingly funny story to life. with villains reminiscent of the Twits, this is sure to be a hit with Dahl fans.

“And even though she only saw it in her dreams, she felt sure it was real.”

Clementine works as a slave for her wicked aunt and uncle. But she dreams of a magic place, and she’s determined to escape and find it. With the help of a very clever cat, she sets off on an adventure that might just make her dreams come true.

For older children, Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard, is full of charm and quirkiness, with characters to both love and loathe – a tale of mystery, adventure and beetles with a side order of slapstick that just cries out for one more chapter. The first of a trilogy that gets better with every book!

Darkus can’t believe his eyes when a huge insect drops out of the trouser leg of his horrible new neighbour. It’s a giant beetle – and it seems to want to communicate. But how can a boy be friends with a beetle? And what does a beetle have to do with the disappearance of his dad and the arrival of Lucretia Cutter, with her taste for creepy jewellery?

Happy reading!

Running like Usain Bolt

Year 3 had a fun afternoon of Science finding out about Usain Bolt and his world record in running the 100 metres. First, they predicted how long it would take them to run the same distance. Then using trundle wheels, they measured the exact distance and worked in groups with stopwatches to record their times. We have some great athletes in Year 3, who will no doubt be breaking records like Usain Bolt very soon!

Welcome to the first Friday Library Recommendations of the school year!

It’s lovely to see all of the children back in school! I completed the Summer Reading Challenge 10 times over (more than 60 books!) and these are a few of my favourites.

For Reception and Key Stage One, Ten Delicious Teachers by Ross Montgomery and Sarah Warburton is a monstrously dark  book told in verse about the perils of missing the bus home and walking through the woods. Laugh out loud funny, Sarah’s delightful illustrations are the perfect backdrop to Ross’s raucous rhyming tale that is bound to have children joining in. With plenty to discover in each spread, this is a book that I am sure will be read over and over again.

For Year 3 and 4, and beyond, Peanut Jones And The Illustrated City by Rob Biddulph, the man behind the world record breaking #DrawWithRob event last year, is glorious celebration of imagination and creativity, Peanut Jones And The Illustrated City is a laugh out loud funny adventure with a huge heart. Highly illustrated throughout, this is exactly the kind of book I would have loved as a child. Short chapters mean just one more could easily extend to three or four more… Dastardly villains, brave heroes, and an eclectic supporting cast in a beautifully created world will have you routing for Peanut and her companions as they work together using their unique skills to tackle every obstacle that comes their way. Creativity, physics and code-breaking are all required to stay one step ahead of Mr White’s Razers. There is even a glossary at the end for anyone who wants to find out more about the artists we encounter along the way.

For Year 5 & 6, we have Adam-2 by Alistair Chisholm. a dystopian sci-fi set in a world at war. Packed with twists and turns from beginning to end, this is a thrill-a-page story with much to discuss beyond the story, from the evolution of Artificial Intelligence, to the rights and wrongs of war, and how differing cultures can come together and live in harmony. While much of the story is dark, it is hopeful and heartfelt.

And finally, a picture book that is suitable for everyone and sings of our school values. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman is a celebration of every one no matter their race, religion or background. Bright, bold illustrations accompany the uplifting verse, with the repeated refrain of All Are Welcome Here, reminded me of the wonderfully kind, friendly, diverse community that makes up Cannon Park Primary School.