Category: Friday Assembly

National Non-Fiction November: STEM

It’s our final week celebrating fascinating non-fiction books, and this week I have chosen books that explore each of the STEM topics: science, technology, engineering and maths.

Science is such a broad term and covers a huge range of different fields. Scientist Academy by Steve Martin shows children the essential skills required to start their own scientific journey with this fun and engaging title.

Packed full of great illustrations, fun facts, and absorbing activities, this book guides young readers through different strands of science: Laboratory, Investigative, Space, Earth, and Life. Practical projects, each carefully designed to introduce skills of the sort required by real-life scientists, help kids pick up the basics in a fun, hands-on way. Create a pendulum, investigate a crime scene, uncover some fossils, and study the solar system. The sky’s the limit!

Technology around phones has changed beyond recognition in my lifetime, and the thought of being able to use one to help build a new app is boggling! Become An APP Inventor by Karen Lang and Selim Tezel is perfect for budding coders.

Design, build and share your own apps with the official guide from MIT App Inventor. Follow simple step-by-step instructions for six different projects using MIT’s free App Inventor website, and you can make a maze game, a translation game and even a personalized chat app! Use what you’ve learned to come up with your own ideas, then download your new apps to a phone or table, and share them with friends!

Along the way, you’ll hear stories of young app inventors from all over the world, who are using MIT App Inventor to create amazing apps that solve real-life problems. Learn, invent and change the world!

Engineering has seen massive changes in the way we design, build and operate a whole host of buildings and machines. We can’t fail to notice how HS2 is changing our local area as the UK’s fastest rail network is built.  Locomotion by Alastair Steele and Ryo Takemasa is a stunningly illustrated tribute to all things train,  celebrating the ingenuity and usability of trains past, present and future.

From early steam engines through to the modern high-speed trains of today, Locomotion is a spectacular look at the history of trains throughout the world, and the wonder and escapism they evoke. Packed full of iconic trains including the famous Flying Scotsman and the grand Orient Express as well as encompassing scenic journeys like the majestic Trans-Siberian railwayLocomotion makes a stunning gift or reference book for train lovers of all ages. Beautiful artwork by the award-winning artist Ryo Takemasa, makes this book one that can be enjoyed over and over again.

And finally, Maths is a staple of everyday life as We Use Maths by Kim Hankinson and Jenny Jacoby shows us.

Reveal the hidden maths all around us! People use maths every single day in their jobs, sometimes without realising! From a football coach studying the stats to a chef making sure everyone’s food is ready at the same time, the jobs and occupations at the heart of this super-creative non-fiction read will inspire all children to seek out the everyday maths in the world around us.

Happy reading!

National Non Fiction November: Our Past

This week, we are looking at amazing books about history, the greatest story we can every tell and share. No book can tell us everything that has happened in history, but these books all pick out some of the major events that have shaped the world we live in today.

The History Atlas by Thiago De Moraes

Prepare to embark on a global tour through time. You might want to take a map…

But this is no ordinary atlas. The maps in History Atlas are rich visual extravaganzas, packed with kings, queens, heroes, villains, inventors, artists and explorers.

Travel from Ancient Egypt and Rome to Ethiopia, Russia and China, and meet movers and shakers of world history from Genghis Khan to Martin Luther King. With quirky facts, astonishing characters, humorous details and compelling stories, this is history at its most entertaining.

Tales Of Ancient Worlds by Stefan Milosavljevich, illustrated by Sam Cadwell

What links shipwrecks, Egyptian treasure, and fossilised Viking poo? They’re all things that have been discovered by archaeologists!

Pick up your shovel and Indiana Jones hat and dive into the world of archaeology in this nonfiction kids’ book by YouTuber Stefan Milosavljevich. Alongside beautiful illustrations by Sam Caldwell you’ll find incredible tales from history, including:

• The ancient Egyptian city found at the bottom of the ocean
• The terracotta army that hid underground for 2,000 years
• The mysterious Ice Age temple made from mammoth bones

Along the way you’ll also find out if you have what it takes to be an archaeologist, unearth (literally) groundbreaking scientific techniques, and meet the pioneering women and men who have brought the past back to life

It’s Her Story Series, featuring Rosa Parkes, Rosalind Franklin , Marie Curie and more

These books are special because they are all artfully illustrated and perfectly bridge the gap between picture books and graphic novels, and are part of an expanding series featuring amazing, inspirational women.

Rosa Parks was the courageous thinker and leader known as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement. Long before the Montgomery Bus Boycott made her famous, she was a social justice activist and organizer. In honor of her work, she received a Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Rosalind Franklin was a British chemist during the 1940s and 1950s, when few women worked in the sciences. During WWII, she expanded our knowledge of the physics of coal and carbon, and later she studied viruses. Her Photo 51 was central to understanding the double-helix structure of DNA, groundbreaking work she was never given credit for in her lifetime.

Marie Curie was the brilliant, trailblazing scientist who discovered radium and coined the term radioactivity. She is the only woman ever awarded two Nobel Prizes–one in physics and one in chemistry. She helped develop the use of X-rays and radiation therapies that have had a lasting impact on medicine and human health.

Big Ideas From History by The School of Life

The present can loom very large in a child’s mind: all the crises and challenges of the modern world can feel overwhelming and at times dispiriting. This book is a big history of the world, from the beginnings of the universe to now, which places the reader at its centre. It encourages them to think about how and why they experience the world as they do and offers a helpful perspective by placing their thoughts and feelings in the context of our history and evolution.

Big Ideas From History is an immense story of what has happened through time that speaks personally and constructively to a growing mind. What might the dinosaurs or the ancient Egyptians, the Aztec warriors or the Enlightenment thinkers of the 18th century tell us that could be interesting and useful to hear now? The insights we need are scattered in time and place, waiting to be discovered.

The book also looks to the future and asks the reader to imagine a world they would like to live in. What might they learn from self-knowledge? How can they grow, develop and create their own place in history? It is a thoughtful and inspiring introduction to the world around us, which encourages the child to engage with themselves and others through history.

Happy reading!

 

Non-Fiction November: Our World

This week, for National Non-Fiction November, I’ve chosen books that celebrate our world and are perfect for curious geographers and explorers.

Where In The World Are You? by Marie G. Rhonde

Where are you in the world? Can you imagine what your home would look like if you saw it from above and zoomed out further, and further, and further…? Join the mischievous pet cat on a journey of discovery that encourages young readers to think about their place in the world. Inspired by the feeling of being trapped inside and imagining the world beyond during the worldwide lockdowns, this enjoyable picture book reminds us that even when we are apart, we are all connected. The world keeps turning, a cat keeps purring and children will find their happy place in the world.

Earth Is Big: A Book Of Comparisons by Steve Tomecek, illustrated by Marcos Farina

Earth is big, compared to a frog. Earth is small, when it’s hiding in a galaxy.

And that’s not all. Earth is wet and dry, hot and cold, round and jagged, fast and slow. You get the idea. It depends how you look at it! Get to know our planet in a whole new way by comparing it to a huge variety of other incredible things – from tiny particles to giant star clusters. Did you know soap bubbles are some of the roundest objects in the universe? Or that we humans are totally outnumbered by chickens? Or that the driest desert on Earth isn’t scorching but freezing? Tour some of the most extreme places on the planet and beyond it, take a look at life forms from bacteria to elephants to redwood trees and explore what makes our planet the perfect home for us.

You’ll never see Earth the same way again!

 

 Amazing Islands by Sabrina Weiss, illustrated by Kerry Hyndman

Get ready to embark on a breath-taking tour of over 100 islands found all around the world!

Discover over 100 of the planet’s most magical islands their wildlife, history, diversity, people, cultures, treasures and more in this beautifully illustrated book. From islands that have been taken over by animals to disappearing islands, islands made of shells, artificial islands and even islands that were once prison colonies, this book takes you on an exciting tour of some of the smallest land masses in the world.

The book also includes a world map, which plots all the islands found in the book, plus fold out flaps with engaging lists of island facts, including the top 10 biggest and 10 smallest inhabited islands in the world.

Join author Sabrina Weiss and Blue Peter Award-winning illustrator Kerry Hyndman in this fact-filled celebration of some of the most Amazing Islands on Earth!

Explorers: Amazing Tales Of The World’s Greatest Adventurers by Nellie Huang, illustrated by Jessamy Hawke 

Live and see the world through the eyes of 50 of the world’s greatest explorers and their trusty companions!

This book for kids is brimming with first-person accounts of gripping adventures in explorers’ own words. Find exciting tales complemented by rare maps, specially commissioned photographs, and artworks that re-create history’s greatest expeditions. Get ready to take a leap into the unknown…

An adventure book that will surely rival even the most thrilling adventure movies! You’ll meet some of the most famous explorers and adventurers of all time in this exciting non-fiction storybook for children.

Great explorers have one thing in common – a desire to leap into the unknown, no matter the dangers it presents. This book will take you through Ferdinand Magellan’s first circumnavigation of the world 500 years ago to Barbara Hillary’s treks to the North and South poles while in her seventies, and beyond. This knowledge book documents the stories of men and women who rewrote our understanding of the world and inspired us by pushing the boundaries of human capability.

And finally, as it is Remembrance Day, I couldn’t let this week pass without sharing Please Write Soon by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Michael Foreman.  

Inspired by a true family story, Michael Rosen presents an astonishing account of perseverance, love and hope in wartime.  With breathtaking illustrations by beloved illustrator Michael Foreman, this is an unforgettable story of courage and love, perfect for the whole family to share.

Beginning in 1939, young Solly in London exchanges letters with his teenaged cousin, Bernie, in Poland. While Solly is evacuated and tries his best to adjust to life in the English countryside, Bernie’s parents know that as Jews they’re not safe staying in Warsaw, so they send Bernie to the Russian-occupied side of the country in the hope that he’ll be safer there. Soon, though, he is arrested and sent off to a forced labour camp in Russia. As the cousins exchange sporadic letters, they try to keep their spirits up, trading jokes and observations about the world changing all around them. Then Bernie seizes the opportunity to join the “Anders Army” and fight the Axis powers, and tells Solly all about his experiences in Iraq and eventually Italy, where he fights alongside the British at the famous Battle of Monte Cassino. Does Bernie survive and find a safe place to call home?

Happy reading!

 

Non-Fiction November: Words and Language

Without words, we wouldn’t have many of the books we love, whether fiction or non-fiction, so this week’s choices all celebrate words and language.

Britannica’s Word Of The Day

Become a word virtuoso in just one year with 366 zany words aimed to impress. This charmingly illustrated book features captivating words selected by the masterminds at Britannica to highlight the best of the English language.

Follow a menagerie of animals as they teach one new word for each day of the year, including a pronunciation guide, definition, sample sentence and interesting trivia about the word’s usage or etymology. Each month concludes with an outlandish story that features all the new words learned.

Today’s word is: erratic

Literally by Patrick Skipworth and Nicholas Stevenson

A feast for the mind, Literally is a mesmerizing journey around the world, old and new simultaneously, as we discover the origins of words and how their meanings have changed over time.

The stunning illustrations cleverly combine both original and current meanings of each word, capturing where the word originated from. Who knew that Caribou originally meant snow shoveller in  Mi’kmaq (an indigenous language of eastern Canada)? And when you see them nosing through the snow for food, their name makes perfect sense!

The linguistic diversity through the words chosen show just how far and wide the language we use has been influenced by the rest of the world. The map at the end shows in fascinating detail the language families spoken around the world, and the extent of their spread, or demise, is clear to see. A fabulous non-fiction browser that is sure to ignite the budding etymologist in anyone who reads it.

Journeys In Creative Writing by Rudi Haig, illustrated by Kim Hankinson

See how far your imagination will take you! Guide Ms. Adjective and Fluffy the dog through the Land of Creative Writing. There are 18 inventive landscapes buzzing with storytelling potential. Read the story openers then tackle the challenge using the fab fivers and top tips on each page. At the end of the book, you will have created your own unique story based in this fantastical world. And then you can do it all over again for a different outcome! A must for budding authors to channel their creativity.

The Hanmoji Handbook by Jason Li, An Xiao Mina and Jennifer 8. Lee

Learn Chinese with a new twist! This full-colour illustrated handbook introduces and explains Han characters and idioms through the language of emoji.

Even though their dates of origin are millennia apart, the languages of Chinese and emoji share similarities that the average smartphone user might find surprising.

These “hanmoji” parallels offer an exciting new way to learn Chinese – and a fascinating window into the evolution of Chinese Han characters. Packed with fun illustrations and engaging descriptions, The Hanmoji Handbook is entertaining, accessible and educational – as well as a quirky, visual gift book.

Year 6 Challenge Miss Cleveland

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.

Happy reading!

Year 5 Challenge Miss Cleveland

This week, Year 5 have chosen Space for our Friday Library Recommendations and it’s been a real struggle narrowing down the books!

Ada And The Galaxies by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastychiv, illustrated by Susanna Chapman

Stargazers rejoice at this beautiful, accessible and fascinating story about our incredible night sky, with stunning pictures from the Hubble telescope! There is so much for Ada to do while visiting her grandparents on an island in Maine, but no amount of beachcombing and kayaking during the day can take the place of looking at the bright and beautiful stars at night. She can hardly wait for the sun to set, but will a thick fog spoil her stargazing plans? Photographs taken from the Hubble telescope are seamlessly layered with charming illustrations to beautifully bring to life this enchanting story of a curious child and her caring grandfather, who share a love for our incredible night sky and the mysteries it holds.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, illustrated by Laura Freeman

Bringing the incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space to picture book readers! Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…really good. They participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America’s first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world. In this beautifully illustrated picture book edition, we explore the story of four female African American mathematicians at NASA, known as “colored computers,” and how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in a highly challenging STEM-based career.

An Adventurer’s Guide To Outer Space by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Yas Imamura

Pack your spacesuit and join adventurer Mia on a spellbinding journey to the depths of the universe, spotting spectacular constellations, discovering new asteroids and counting the sparkling rings of Saturn. On your way, you can visit: the Moon and Sun; the International Space Station; Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; the Asteroid Belt; the Dwarf Planets; the Kuiper Belt; Exoplanets; the Milky Way and distant galaxies. With breathtaking facts and interactive space activities, this captivating book will excite and inspire the adventurers of the future.

Space Maps by Lara Albanese and Tommaso Vidus Rosin

Do you want to go on a journey through space? Then all you have to do is look up at the night sky. What can you see?  This super-sized book of maps takes you on a space adventure from the stars to the solar system, and far beyond!  Marvel at the constellations, and learn what their names and patterns mean to different cultures. Then venture further out, past what the naked eye can see, and hop from planet to planet to explore Earth s celestial neighbours. Discover how humans have used rockets, probes and telescopes to explore space – and even stop off at the International Space Station to visit the scientists working there! Let Space Maps take you on a tour through the universe, with its 24 maps, stunning illustrations and amazing facts. Grab your telescope and get ready for the intergalactic journey of a lifetime!

How To Teach Grown-Ups About Pluto by Dean Regas, illustrated by Aaron Blecha

A witty guide to Pluto’s discovery and demotion, which puts kids in charge. Pluto has not been a planet since 2006. But this tiny world still inspires people of all ages while sparking controversy. In this delightfully witty book, astronomer Dean Regas teaches you how to educate your grown-up about the cutting-edge science of space, most crucially the reason why Pluto is NOT a planet any more. Delving into the history of space discoveries, the key players who have helped our understanding of the universe (including the 11-year-old girl who named Pluto in the first place) and the ever-changing nature of science, this book will equip every reader with the tools they need to bring their grown-ups fully up to speed, and to sneak in as many amazing astronomical facts as possible. And there’s a handy quiz at the end so that you can check your grown-up has been paying attention!

Phoenix by S.F. Said, illustrated by Dave McKean

A BOY WITH THE POWER OF A STAR… Lucky thinks he’s an ordinary Human boy. But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing to him, and wakes to find an uncontrollable power rising inside him. Now he’s on the run, racing through space, searching for answers. In a galaxy at war, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies, the only people who can help him are an Alien starship crew – and an Alien warrior girl, with neon needles in her hair…

Sublime storytelling with soul, and one of the best books I have ever read! The words sing off the page in the same way the stars call to Lucky in this action packed adventure to save the universe. Dave McKean’s atmospheric illustrations capture the intensity and emotion throughout bringing an extra depth to S.F. Said’s lyrical tale. Phoenix mixes sci-fi with social commentary effortlessly, in a story that is heartfelt, captivating and desperately needed in today’s world. Children need stories that will help them to build empathy and understanding for others, to fire their imagination that the way things are doesn’t need to be the way things will always be, that we should be breaking walls down and not building them, and this is that story.  If our children take the messages in Phoenix to heart, and act on them, they will be able to imagine a friendlier, kinder future, and maybe, this book will go a little way to changing the world, because if we want to change the world, first we have to imagine it’s possible.

Happy reading!

Year 4 Challenge Miss Cleveland

It’s Year 4’s turn to pick the theme this week, and they have gone for horror, which has been the trickiest yet! Year 5 & 6 already know about Chis Priestley’s Seven Ghosts, Dan Smith’s Crooked Oak series and Ross Montgomery’s Christmas Dinner Of Souls, and then as we move down the school, finding suitable horror becomes trickier. So, grab your cushion of comfort and get ready for some frightfully good reads…

There’s A Ghost In This House by Oliver Jeffers

A captivating new picture book with interactive transparent pages…

Hello, come in.
Maybe you can help me?

A young girl lives in a haunted house, but has never seen a ghost. Are they white with holes for eyes? Are they hard to see? She’d love to know! Step inside and turn the transparent pages to help her on an entertaining ghost hunt, from behind the sofa, right up to the attic. With lots of friendly ghost surprises and incredible mixed media illustrations, this unique and funny book will entertain young readers over and over again!

A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown

The simplicity of the text and the expressive beauty of the illustrations build up the tension to culminate in a surprising ending in this this mysterious, beautifully illustrated picture book. Children will delight in following the black cat’s progress through the dark, dark wood, into the dark, dark house, and eventually to the surprise discovery…

A Tale Dark And Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

A gorgeously grisly retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s tales with the most gruesome bits left in, and now an animated series on Netfix!

Reader: beware. Warlocks with dark spells, hunters with deadly aim, and bakers with ovens retrofitted for cooking children lurk within these pages. But if you dare, turn the page and learn the true story of Hansel and Gretel – the story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses and outwitted witches. Come on in. It may be frightening, it’s certainly bloody, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

Frankenstiltskin by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Freya Hartas

Frankenstein meets Rumpelstiltkin in this expertly-stitched story about a powerful king, a girl unafraid to stand up for her beliefs, and a monstrous little creature with magic – and greed – in his bones. The second story in a funny, deliciously dark, three-part series of twisted classics, written in verse by award-winning poet Joseph Coelho.

Joining the family business, animal-lover Bryony proves to be an extraordinary taxidermist, whose tender fingers create displays which comfort, educate and astound. But when Byrony’s proud father boasts of her skill, who should come calling but the secretive King of all Mythica. Locking her away, he gives her three horrible tasks … three impossible tasks! It’s only then that a strange, sinister creature emerges from the shadows of the castle, offering Bryony a helping hand… But at what cost?

Strange Star by Emma Carroll

A thrilling, deliciously creepy, gothic story, inspired by the creation of Frankenstein, that is sure to freeze your blood. 

Switzerland, 1816. On a stormy summer night, Lord Byron and his guests are gathered round the fire. Felix, their serving boy, can’t wait to hear their creepy tales. Yet real life is about to take a chilling turn- more chilling than any tale. Frantic pounding at the front door reveals a stranger, a girl covered in the most unusual scars. She claims to be looking for her sister, supposedly snatched from England by a woman called Mary Shelley. Someone else has followed her here too, she says. And the girl is terrified.

Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter by Marcus Sedgwick, illustrated by Thomas Taylor

A rip-roaring romp full of hairy horrors, villainous villains, and introducing the world’s toughest monster hunter: Scarlett Hart!

Scarlett Hart, orphaned daughter of two legendary monster hunters, is determined to carry on in her parents footsteps even if the Royal Academy for the Pursuit and Eradication of Zoological Eccentricities says she’s too young to fight perilous horrors. But whether it’s creepy mummies or a horrid hound, Scarlett won’t back down, and with the help of her loyal butler and a lot of monster-mashing gadgets, she’s on the case.

With her parent’s arch-rival, Count Stankovic, ratting her out to T.R.A.P.E.Z.E. and taking all the monster-catching rewards for himself, it’s getting hard for Scarlett to do what she was born to do. And when more monsters start mysteriously manifesting than ever before, Scarlett knows she has to get to the bottom of it and save the city . . . whatever the danger!

Strange But True: 10 of The World’s Greatest Mysteries by Kathryn Hulick, Illustrated by Gordy Wright

Prepare to have your mind blown! As you explore ten of the world’s greatest unsolved mysteries, you’ll witness a UFO encounter, search for the lost city of Atlantis, tour a haunted house and discover the kraken’s true form. Learn how sightings of flying saucers and stories of alien abductions can be explained by sleep paralysis, false memories and hypnosis. Find out what pareidolia is and how this psychological phenomenon may explain some ghost sightings. Explore possible real locations for the lost city of AtlantisBeautiful, haunting illustrations set the mood and spark the imagination. Along the way, you’ll use the scientific method and sharp thinking to separate fact from fiction and explain the unexplainable.

Happy reading!

Year 3 Challenge Miss Cleveland

With the return of seeing in summer at Stonehenge this week, it is very apt that Year 3 have chosen the theme of The Stone Age.  Here are a few of my favourites covering all ages in school.

Dave’s Rock by Frann Preston-Gannon

Meet Dave, Caveman Dave.

Dave love rock.
Jon love rock, too.
Dave’s rock bigger.
But Jon’s rock faster.

Who have best rock of all?

In this funny and stylishly illustrated sequel to Dave’s Cave, two lovable cavemen endeavour to make their rocks the very best they can – inventing, in the process, something rather remarkable. Written in hilarious caveman language that children will love to copy, Dave’s Rock is laugh-out-loud funny and perfect for reading aloud. A stylish, witty picture book with a brilliant message about the perils of being too competitive and the joy of working together as a team instead. If reading at home, every Nosy Crow paperback picture book comes with a free ‘Stories Aloud’ audio recording – just scan the QR code and listen along!

Stone Age Tales: The Great Storm by Terry Deary, illustrated by Tambe

Skara Brae, Orkney, Scotland, 5000 years ago… On the cold and windy island of Skara Brae, Tuc and his sister Storm try to catch birds in their fishing net. They eat fish day in, day out, and they’re sick of it. But when a thief steals half their tribe’s winter food stores, being bored of their dinner is the least of their problems. What if they starve? And even worse, what if it’s true that their father’s the thief? A brand new and exciting tale, based on real historical and archaeological evidence, this story is full of Terry Deary’s imaginative style and dry wit.

Skara Brae by Dawn Finch

This fascinating book is all about Skara Brae, a prehistoric Stone Age site in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. There is very little published material on the site currently available. Containing beautiful photographs and written with simple, clear explanation, this book is a fascinating insight into life in the Stone Age period.

The Stone Age Hunters, Gatherers and Wooly Mammoths by Marcia Williams

Hear all about the Stone Age from the great storyteller Sparrow – history like it’s never been told before! Join Marcia Williams on a journey to the Stone Age. Meet the people of Clan Woolly as they learn how to make fire, invent stone tools and turn wild wolves into tame dogs! Packed with jokes, comic illustrations and fascinating facts, this hugely entertaining fictional biography will make you look at the Stone Age in a whole new light! A fabulous non-fiction pleasure read!

The Wild Way Home by Sophie Kirtley

When Charlie’s longed-for brother is born with a serious heart condition, Charlie’s world is turned upside down. Upset and afraid, Charlie flees the hospital and makes for the ancient forest on the edge of town. There Charlie finds a boy floating face-down in the stream, injured, but alive. But when Charlie sets off back to the hospital to fetch help, it seems the forest has changed. It’s become a place as strange and wild as the boy dressed in deerskins. For Charlie has unwittingly fled into the Stone Age, with no way to help the boy or return to the present day. Or is there? What follows is a wild, big-hearted adventure as Charlie and the Stone Age boy set out together to find what they have lost – their courage, their hope, their family and their way home. A spellbinding time slip tale – you may need tissues!

 

Happy reading!

 

Year 2 Challenge Miss Cleveland

This week, Year 2 have chosen Sport as the Friday Library Recommendations theme and it was a rea struggle deciding which books to choose as there are so many great ones out there!

Sportopedia by Adam Skinner, illustrated by Mark Long

Weird But True Sports by National Geographic Kids

Everything has its weird side — even sports! Add wacky stats, facts, and stories to your arsenal of spots trivia with this new slam-dunk addition to the very popular Weird but True series! With the Olympics on the way, discover tons more zany fun, focused totally on the subject of sports! So step up to the plate to get 300 ALL-NEW amazing facts plus photos.

Mrs Armitage And The Big Wave by Quentin Blake

Mrs Armitage arrives on the beach with her surfboard and her faithful dog Breakspear, and paddles out to sea to wait for the Big Wave. But, of course, Mrs Armitage can’t be satisfied with just an ordinary surfboard and she is soon adding a hilarious variety of gadgets and contraptions. And when the Big Wave finally arrives, Mrs Armitage certainly surfs with style!

Go, Mo Go, Dinosaur Dash by Mo Farah and Kes Gray

Mo and his friends are jogging in the local park when Mo suggests they run backwards for fun. But what they hadn’t bargained for was running back in time. There are DINOSAURS everywhere, and they are hungry. Luckily Mo and his friends are wearing good trainers. It’s a good job they love to run! Follow Mo on his madcap adventures as his running skills go from strength to strength. The perfect book to share and read aloud.

Diary Of An Accidental Witch: Flying High by Perdita & Honor Cargill

Monday 1st November
There’s only fifty days until the Winter Solstice, the longest and witchiest night of the year. But before that there’s the Grand Tournament – the biggest and sportiest day in the witchy calendar! And I can’t wait!

Bea Black is all settled into her new life in Little Spellshire, a town with a magical secret. She’s made tonnes of friends at witch school, learned how to levitate frogs (just about) and been working hard on polishing up her broom skills. So when the Winter Solstice Grand Tournament rolls round, she’s ready to rise to the next challenge and fly high. But then Ms Sparks decides that this year’s tournament will be a bit … er … different. That is, it won’t be an Extraordinary Grand Tournament at all, but rather a very ordinary sports day with Spellshire Academy! With magic firmly forbidden and rivalry reaching new heights, who will emerge victorious? And more importantly, will Bea’s friendship with her best non-witchy friend Ash survive the competition? A perfect potion of magic and mischief, DIARY OF AN ACCIDENTAL WITCH is THE WORST WITCH meets TOM GATES.

The Race by Roy Peachey

This is what it feels like when I’m running. When I’m running fast, I feel free.

12-year-old Lili is determined to defeat her arch rival in front of the Queen during her school’s anniversary celebrations. Adopted from China as a baby, Lili also has personal challenges to overcome, but when her training is thrown into chaos by events outside her control, she realises that she must choose between family and the race of her life. Meanwhile in 1944, Eric Liddell, hero of the 1924 Olympics, finds himself in a war zone. Separated from his family, he is getting ready to run his final race in a prison camp in China when his lifelong principles are challenged by the imprisoned children he is trying to help…

Not your typical happily ever after, Roy has written a wonderfully relatable and inclusive tale, where all are welcome, and the beauty of sport brings everyone together in the end. There are life lessons to be learned in this inspiring story with friendship at its heart.

Happy reading!

Year 1 challenge Miss Cleveland…

This week Year 1 have chosen Under The Sea for their Friday Library Recommendations theme. Here are five books that take you on a journey beneath the waves.

 

The Tale Of The Whale by Karen Swann, illustrated by Padmacandra

A fantastical, rhyming tale of friendship, which highlights the distress caused to sea creatures by plastic. Come on a magical journey of wonder and discovery, from misty seaside shorelines to cold ice-capped seas. This beautiful tale of friendship between a child and a whale invites us to consider our responsibilities towards the environment and makes a direct plea to end plastic pollution.

Nen And the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton, illustrated by James Mayhew

Far out to sea and deep below the whispering waves lives a merman called Nen. Nen spends his days exploring his underwater kingdom, but something is missing: his heart is empty. So, Nen ventures to the forbidden world above and it is here that he meets Ernest, a lonely fisherman. But can two people from different worlds be together and what will happen when a terrifying storm gathers? A lyrical, beautiful celebration of love, acceptance and faith, with a gentle message about how we treat our oceans, and each other.

Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea retold by Jacqueline Morley, illustrated by Li Sidony

In Jules Verne’s epic tale, Captain Nemo and the crew of the undersea vessel, Nautilus, journey through an at times fictional, yet at times very real, undersea world, from the lost city of Atlantis to the Red Sea. “Graffex” is a series of illustrated literary classics retold for young readers, using a graphic novel format which is particularly popular with reluctant readers. Specially commissioned full-color artwork brings excitement and atmosphere to this stirring tale. Speech bubbles work with the main text to emphasize and enhance the retelling. A running glossary at the foot of each page helps young readers with any challenging vocabulary without disrupting their reading experience. Includes information about the author, the historical background to the period in which the author lived and a time line of world events that places the work in its historical context.

Oceanology: The True Account Of The Voyage Of The Nautlius

What if a sixteen-year-old assistant traveled aboard the storied Nautilus, the narwhal-shaped submarine of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? And what if he were the sole survivor of the ill-fated voyage and went on to relay his adventures to a certain . . . Jules Verne? Find this brave young man’s own account in the lavishly illustrated Oceanology, a tale of an 1866 voyage of discovery that investigates diving bells and shipwrecks; coral reefs and ice canyons; sharks, giant octopi, and luminous sea monsters; underwater volcanoes, and even the legendary island of Atlantis.

My Friend The Octopus by Lindsay Galvin

England, 1893, and aquarium fever is at its height. Twelve-year-old Vinnie Fyfe works in the tea-shop at Brighton aquarium, and waits for her milliner mother to return from Paris. The arrival of a giant octopus changes her life for ever. Discovering a talent for art, Vinnie begins to draw the extraordinary beast. She soon realises she can communicate with the octopus through colour and – as a gripping mystery begins to unfold – discovers what true courage really means. This is a stunning read that hooks you from beginning to end. The fast paced mystery transports you back to 1893 where you are immersed in the seaside setting and the mysteries that unfold. Themes of social justice run through the book, while the spectacular abilities of octopuses amaze and astound. Just brilliant!

 

Happy reading!