Category: Friday Assembly

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!

Eggtraordinary Easter Reads

This week, I have chosen books that are perfect for the Easter Holidays, but first, thank you to Chris in Year 5 for the blog post title!

Egg by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet is a hilarious picture book about a non-conforming Egg. Perfect for Easter, or any time of the year, children will love telling the story themselves, looking at the pictures and using different voices for the various ‘egg’s. Plus the egg-shaped format adds to the eggy fun!

When an odd egg turns up with a big head and a pointy bottom, the other eggs don’t know what to make of it. Can they make the odd egg conform to Normal Egg Standards? The other eggs try turning it upside down, and even make it wear a hat on its bottom to show which side is ‘up’, but it takes the clever upside-down egg to show them that eggs can be any way up and still be eggs.

Clara Claus Saves Easter by Bonnie Bridgman is filled with fun, friendship and fantasy. With Easter activities at the end of the book, this is a fabulous read for younger children looking for a chapter book to get stuck in to.

Christmas may be over for another year, but when Rowan the forest elf goes missing and the Santa Scouts are in trouble, Clara Claus and her brother Nick must investigate.

Traveling from their home in the North Pole, they enlist the help of Gordon the grumpy gnome to track down the mysterious E.B. But with bunnies and squirrels to train and chocolate to wrap, can Clara and Nick crack the case to deliver the perfect Easter?

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders is packed with magic, adventure and chocolate – a winning combination in any book! All I can say is I wish I lived at 18 Skittle Street…

Oz and Lily’s family have inherited an ancient chocolate shop and they’re moving in upstairs. It’s the perfect home,  apart from the small fact that it’s haunted. And then they discover some solid gold chocolate moulds – with magic powers!

Soon the ghosts are joined by some evil villains determined to get their hands on the priceless secrets of the magical chocolate.

Food, Glorious Food!

I’ve seen lots of food in school this week – honey sandwiches in Reception, fruit salad in Year 2, smoothies in Year 3, pizza in Year 4, and a goodbye party in Year 5 and 6 for Mr Cotton and Mr Sawbridge – so this week’s books are all about food!

World Of Food By Sandra Lawrence, illustrated by Violeta Noy

Food, glorious food, from across time and the world is celebrated in this mouth watering new title from Templar Publishing.

Whether you’re interested in the food consumed at Romans banquets or modern day festivals and celebrations around the world, or what the different food classes are and how we use them in different countries, this is an absolute feast of a book packed with fascinating culinary facts displayed on colourful, engaging spreads mixing food, history, geography and culture.

From fruit and vegetables, to meat and seafood, to dairy products and grains, we see where these foods began and how they are used across the continents. I was left hungry for my guilty pleasures after the spreads on cheese and chocolate, and thoughtful pondering the tricky questions surrounding food production for the planet.

Chef Academy by Steve Martin, illustrated by Hannah Bone

Want to become a world-class chef? With sections on food skills, being a sous chef or head chef and a chef’s kit to end, Chef Academy is the ultimate guide for any budding master chef, but it’s most definitely not a recipe book. Chef Academy gives you the knowledge you need to set up and run a successful kitchen.

Food skills takes us through nutrition, food groups and how to follow a recipe, while Sous Chef introduces us to kitchen equipment, food hygiene, preparation and storage. Head Chef deals with menu planning and costing, as well as what you’ll need to do to get an elusive Michelin Star. The final section, Chef’s Kit is packed with stickers and games to put everything you’ve learned into practice.

Brilliantly informative, this is a great book to explore with friends and family. You can even cook up a couple of tasty dishes following the recipes inside.

Jolly Good Food by Allegra McEvedy

Have you ever dreamed of having picnics with the Famous Five, midnight feasts with the Malory Towers girls or party teas with the Folk of the Faraway Tree? With this cookbook, inspired by Enid Blyton’s stories, you can!

Packed full of yummy recipes, lively artwork and extracts from Enid Blyton’s stories, this cookbook will inspire children – and the whole family – to get busy in the kitchen. It’s the perfect way to share the pleasure of making and eating food together.

There are 42 exciting new recipes designed by top chef and Junior Bake Off TV judge, Allegra McEvedy, with fabulous illustrations by Mark Beech and glorious food photography too.

Books to celebrate Neurodiversity Week

The 21st – 27th March 2022 is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. Neurodiversity describes learning differences such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia and Tourette’s syndrome. it gives us all the opportunity to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual. This week’s books have all been written by neurodiverse authors, and have neurodiverse main characters.

You Are Enough is an inclusive and empowering picture book from Sofia Sanchez, a twelve-year-old model and actress with Down syndrome, reminds readers how important it is to embrace what makes you unique, be confident, and be proud of who you are. Imagine all of the wonderful things you can do if you don’t let anyone stop you! You are enough just how you are. Sofia is unique, but her message is universal: We all belong. Each spread features beautiful, full-colour illustrations, and includes a full cast of  characters with all kinds of backgrounds, experiences, and abilities. This book also includes a brief bio of Sofia and her journey so far, as well as additional information about Down syndrome and how we can all be more accepting, more inclusive, and more kind.

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Alice Tonks by Emily Kenny isn’t in the shops until May, but I do have a copy already. Alice Tonks is eager to make friends at boarding school, but she’s always found it hard to fit in. Then she discovers she is a switcher and can talk to animals. As she starts to explore her newfound abilities, to her horror she learns that creatures are going missing. Only Alice holds the key to solving the mystery, but she’ll need to harness her full powers first. And to do that she’ll need a bit of help from her new friends – animal and human alike. With plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing, this is a fantastically fun mystery that grips from beginning to end. And, as with any literary boarding school worth it’s salt, this one too has food that will have you craving sweet treats as you read. Stock up on cake and hot chocolate before you dive in.

Like A Charm by Elle McNicoll is one of my favourite reads so far this year. Edinburgh is a city filled with magical creatures. No one can see them… except Ramya Knox. As she is pulled into her family’s world of secrets and spells, Ramya sets out to discover the truth about the Hidden Folk with only three words of warning from her grandfather: Beware the Sirens. Plunged into an adventure that will change everything, Ramya is about to learn that there is more to her powers than she ever imagined. Utterly spellbinding, transportative writing that carries you along on a tide of emotions from beginning to the jaw dropping ending that makes it feel like a very long wait to see what comes next in this fantastically magical series!

Just Like Me by Louise Gooding is an anthology of 40 inspirational figures who are neurologically or physically diverse. The world is full of people who are a little different. Our uniqueness makes us who we are. We are all ‘different; not less’. This is a collection of the true stories of 40 inspirational figures from around the world, all of whom are physically or neurologically diverse. Each story includes struggles and triumphs, a motivational quote and information on each condition. Reflective of our diverse society, this book features Simone Biles, Selena Gomez, Temple Grandin, Warwick Davies, Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Hawking, Greta Thunberg and many more.



And, with it being Mothering Sunday this weekend, I can’t not share My Mum Is A Lioness by Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Dapo Adeola, a huge hug of a book filled with humour and heart. The bright, bold illustrations are packed with wry observational details and add laugh out loud moments to the engaging and imaginative story of a mother-son relationship, which also teaches about lion behaviour with it’s vivid vocabulary. In this family, this particular young boy is utterly convinced his mum is a lioness. She has sharp claws, is faster than anything he’s ever seen, and can catch him in a single pounce. When she not with the rest of her pride, mum is constantly showing him off and making sure you can hear her incredibly loud roar. What else could Mum be? But sometimes, especially when this boy is upset or worried a lovely warm protective lioness embrace is just what is needed.

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Second Eviction

This week, we lose another fabulous book from each category.

What’s The Story? say goodbye to What Happened To You? by James Catchpole, illustrated by Karen George, an inspiring and thought provoking book about disability, addressing how a disabled child might want to be spoken to. What happened to you? Was it a shark? A burglar? A lion? Did it fall off?  Every time Joe goes out the questions are the same . . . what happened to his leg? But is this even a question Joe has to answer? A ground-breaking, funny story that helps children understand what it might feel like to be seen as different.

If you loved this book, try Amazing by Steve Antony, a celebration of friendship and being yourself with a positive message about celebrating diversity. The perfect platform to start conversations about the importance of understanding and acceptance.. A little boy and his pet dragon are the very best of friends. They laugh, they sing, they dance, they snooze. They are both amazing – just like everyone else!

Telling Tales lose Genie and Teeny by Steve Lenton this week which is the first in a series of magical adventures. When Grant the Genie is cast out of Genie World, he lands on Earth with a big, fat bump! Without a lamp to call home, he has to settle for an old cracked teapot instead. Grant is very lonely until he meets the puppy, Teeny. Then Genie and Teeny are kidnapped by the evil purple-loving Lavinia Lavender, and find themselves on-course for a rollercoaster of an adventure – when all they really want is a place to call home…

If you loved this book, there are two more fabulous books staring Genie and Teeny to continue the adventures. Or you could try Buck N Bronco Hit The Road by Guy Bass, illustrated by Steve May, which is laugh out loud funny, and packed with jokes and puns. Buck ’n’ Bronco are mascots at the Happy Ranch theme park. It’s their mission to Bring the Happy™ to your day! But when Happy Ranch is demolished to make way for a futuristic new park, Buck ’n’ Bronco find themselves without a home and without a job. They head out on the road, determined to prove they’ve still got what it takes. Can Buck ’n’ Bronco Bring the Happy™ out in the real world, or are they doomed to be yesterday’s mascots?

Hooked On Books say goodbye to The Small Things by Lisa Thompson, Inspired by a true story, a ground-breaking robot helps friendship blossom in this poignant and uplifting short story with a powerful punch. Anna’s anxious when she’s picked to befriend the new girl in her class. For a start, Ellie is ill and can’t come to school herself. So Anna has to communicate with her through a new kind of robot. But Anna is also worried that her life’s too small and boring to be of interest to her new friend. Compared to the other girls, she doesn’t have anything exciting to talk about and so when Ellie asks her a question, a little white lie pops out. Then another and another. When Ellie finds out the truth, can their friendship survive?

If you loved The Small Things, try TrooFriend by Kirsty Applebaum. Imagine having the perfect friend, one who never steals, lies or bullies. Now you can, with the TrooFriend 560, the latest in artificial intelligence! What can go wrong with a robot buddy? Especially one that’s developing human characteristics and feelings, and who has just run away with her human? Intelligent and insightful, TrooFriend is an enthralling tale of family, friendship and what it means to be human, with a sinister undercurrent that sweeps you along.  In a world where humanity is dependent on technology, to the extent of providing a safe replacement to human friends for children, we see the desperate need for human connection, be it from family or friends. With themes of friendship, loneliness, morality, ethics around A.I., and what it means to be human, there are so many different discussions and debates that can arise.

Make sure you keep voting here to keep your favourite in!

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The First Evictions

It’s time to say goodbye to the first books in this year’s competition. Make sure you keep voting so that your favourite book doesn’t get voted out!

What’s The Story? said goodbye to I Don’t Like Books. Never Ever. The End by Emma Perry and Sharon Davey. Mabel hates books. She gets given loads of them but has no interest in reading them whatsoever. Instead of reading them, she uses them for all sorts of things, from juggling to sledging, but she never looks at the stories inside. One night, the books have had enough and piled up in her bedroom they come alive. The stories jump out of their covers and off the pages so that they can show Mabel their story worlds. She is intrigued by a detective adventure, excited by the chance to board a spaceship and take a trip to the moon, delighted by the thought of accompanying a knight on his quest to seek castles and to duel with dragons. However, there is no way she can find out what happens next in these stories unless she begins to read the books!

If you enjoyed Mabel’s story, try You Choose: Fairy Tales by Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Nick Sharratt. Make up your very own fairy tale adventure where YOU CHOOSE what happens next!
Which fairy tale hero would you like to be today? Where will you go on your fairy tale quest? And what fairy tale baddy would you least like to meet? The possibilities are infinite in this captivating creative toolkit which will inspire children from three up to make their own stories again and again.

Telling Tales lose Sohal Finds A Friend by Jion Sheibani. Sohal worries about a lot of things: the dark, mutant sheep, being alone – you name it, he worries about it! So one night he tries drawing his worries to make himself feel better – and somehow they look a lot less worrying once they’re scribbled down. But then imagine Sohal’s surprise when he wakes up the next morning to find a set of funny, furry friends at the end of his bed! His worries have come to life, and it’s not long before Hurt, Fail, Anger, Big and Alone have turned his world upside down. Now it’s up to Sohal to work out how to keep his worries under control – and have some serious fun while he’s at it!

If you enjoyed Sohal Finda A Friend, try Sam Wu Is Not Afraid Of Ghosts by Katie and Kevin Tsang. The first in a brilliantly funny series about the bravest scaredy-cat in the world. Sam Wu is NOT a scaredy-cat (except he is). When a trip to the Space Museum goes terrifyingly wrong, Sam begins a mission to prove to the school bully, and all of his friends, that he is a fearless space adventurer. A truly laugh-out-loud, voice-led and madcap story of ghost hunting, snakes and mischievous pet cats called Butterbutt

The first book out of Hooked On Books is The Last Gate Of The Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen. Often in trouble for his thrill-seeking antics and smart mouth, those same qualities make Yared a star player of the underground augmented reality game, The Hunt for Kaleb’s Obelisk. But when a change in the game rules prompts Yared to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos, Uncle Moti disappears. Suddenly, all the stories Yared’s uncle told him as a young boy are coming to life, of kingdoms in the sky and city-razing monsters. And somehow Yared is at the centre of them. Together with Besa and the Ibis – a game rival turned reluctant ally – Yared must search for his uncle… and answers to his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war.

If you enjoyed The Last Gate Of The Emperor, try Skywake: Invasion by Jamie Russell, an exciting and original debut sci-fi adventure trilogy for the gaming generation, from a screenwriter, film critic and gamer. Fifteen-year-old girl gamer Casey Henderson is obsessed with smash-hit game SkyWake – and she’s good at it, too. Little does she realize it’s actually an alien training tool created by an evil extra-terrestrial race. When the aliens swoop down on a national gaming tournament, Casey and her teammates discover they’re abducting the best gamers to fight in a distant alien war across the galaxy. And they’ve got her brother. Casey’s gaming skills are her best hope of stopping the aliens – but first she and her online teammates must learn to work together in real life…

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