Category: Library

The Summer Reading Challenge

Every year Coventry Libraries run the Summer Reading Challenge (SRC), calling for children aged 4 – 11 to sign up to read six books over the summer holiday. This year’s theme is Gadgeteers.

From Saturday 10 July children  can come and collect their Summer Reading Challenge free fun collector pack and stickers at a Coventry Library. At two further visits to Libraries through the summer children can collect more stickers to complete their Challenge.

Children don’t need to be big readers to enter the Challenge.  Coventry Libraries have lots of books to suit all abilities and interests including picture fiction, comic-style books and books about fun subjects like sports, crafts and cookery. There is also a Summer Reading Challenge for under 4s so no-one feels left out.

The Summer Reading Challenge is supported by The Reading Agency who this year have teamed up with the Science Museum Group inspiring children to use their curiosity and creativity to discover the science behind the everyday and celebrate the role of the imagination in both reading and the sciences.

Through taking part in the Challenge, with free materials from Coventry Libraries and online via the Summer Reading Challenge Website, children will be able to join six fictional Gadgeteers. The characters – brought to life by children’s writer and illustrator Julian Beresford – use their curiosity and wonder to understand the science behind a whole range of interests, from fashion and technology to cooking and music.

Through an exciting book collection and accompanying activities, the Gadgeteers will help to spark children’s curiosity about the world around them and encourage them to feed their imagination over the summer holiday. They will be boggled by brilliant facts, gaze at the stars, and be inspired by tales of creativity and invention.

Here are some of my favourites from this year’s collection.

One More Try by Naomi Jones and James Jones

Circle loves the tower that the squares and hexagons have built and wants to make his own.

But circles, diamonds and triangles are pointier, rounder and much wobblier – making a tower is not as easy as it looks! The shapes try and try but their tower just keeps tumbling down. Can Circle persuade them to have just one more try?

A glorious celebration of individuality, inclusion, teamwork and resilience all wrapped up in a fabulously fun story that can be enjoyed again and again. The wonderful world of shapes show how we all have things that we find easy and others that we find near impossible without patience, problem solving and people to support us. Vibrant illustrations bring the ideas circle comes up with, along with the frustrations and lightbulb moments to life.

The Most Important Animal Of All by Hannah Bailey and Penny Worms

The Most Important Animal of All is a beautiful picture book, illustrated by award-winning Hannah Bailey, where a teacher challenges her class to decide which is the most important animal of all. Seven children champion a different animal for the top spot. Is it BEES  as master pollinators, or BATS  who are night-time predators as well as pollinators? Is it ELEPHANTS who shape their landscapes and spread seeds, or BEAVERS  who create watery habitats? Is it TIGERS  or SHARKS who keep populations in balance so there is food for all? Is it tiny KRILL , food for so many whales and sea creatures? There is lots of information about them, and other keystone species, plus photographs to see them up close and in their habitats. This is a positive and gentle primer for young children from 5 years old about the issues of habitat loss, endangered species and climate change.

The Secret Explorers And The Missing Scientist by S.J. King

Meet the Secret Explorers – a band of brainiac kids from all around the world. Everyone in this diverse group of young experts has a speciality, from outer space to dinosaurs, and each story follows a character who gets chosen for a “secret exploration”.

In this fun, fact-filled children’s book, engineering expert Kiki and Connor the marine biologist are sent on a mission to the Arctic. There they discover a research vessel studying the effects of climate change that has become trapped in the sea ice. To make matters worse, one of the ship’s scientists who went to find help at a nearby research station hasn’t returned. It’s up to the Secret Explorers to find the scientist, free the ship, and save the day! Kids will love turning the pages to find out if the Secret Explorers manage to succeed in their mission!

With plenty more adventures in the series, this would be a great boxset to get stuck into over summer.

I’m A Neutrino: Tiny Particles In A Big Universe by Dr Eve M. Vavagiakis, illustrated by Ilze Lemesis

An accessible and visually arresting picture book about the smallest known and most mysterious particle of matter, for the youngest scientific minds.

I am one of the most mysterious particles in the universe.
I’m tiny and light, and I can pass right through you.
In fact, trillions of me fly through your body every second.
I’m … a NEUTRINO!

Before you finish reading this sentence, trillions upon trillions of neutrinos will have passed through your body. Not sure what a neutrino is? This dazzling picture book from a renowned cosmologist introduces young readers to the smallest bits of matter known to exist. And they exist everywhere! Filled with fascinating, full-bleed illustrations that swirl and splash the cosmos to life, this incredible STEM title shows us the wonders of our universe, encouraging children and future Nobel Prize-winners to dream of their own groundbreaking discoveries.

Sabotage On The Solar Express by M.G. Leonard

The fifth book in the Adventures On Trains series, and my favourite so far as we hurtle through the Australian Outback on the Solar Express. This is the most adrenaline fuelled mystery yet!

Billionaire train enthusiast August Reza has invited Harrison Beck and Uncle Nat on the maiden voyage of the Solar Express – the winning design of his Reza’s Rocket competition. But during the journey, they discover the train has been sabotaged, hurtling passengers into a heart-stopping, action-packed, thrill ride across the Australian Outback. Can Hal find the saboteur and stop the runaway train before disaster strikes?

With strong messages about respecting our planet and the need to replace our reliance on conventional fuel systems for the good of the land and every creature that depends on it, and a firm warning not to try Boaz’s experiments at home, this is perfect for budding engineers who love an action packed mystery.

Sabotage on the Solar Express can be read as a stand-alone novel, but is best enjoyed as part of the Adventures on Trains series, starting with The Highland Falcon Thief. Make sure you get your hands on Sam Sedgeman’s non-fiction title Epic Adventures to learn more about the routes and trains in the series too.

The Ship Of Doom by M.A. Bennett

Greenwich, London, 15th February 1894.

Luna thinks that an evening at her aunt’s butterfly club sounds deathly boring. But it turns out that the meeting, held in the Butterfly Room at the Greenwich Observatory, is not at all as Luna expects. The Butterfly Club is a society with an unusual secret – they use time travel to plunder the future for wonders.

Together with her friends, Konstantin and Aidan, and a clockwork cuckoo, Luna boards the Time Train. The gang travel to 1912 and find themselves aboard a great ship travelling from Southampton to New York. They locate a man called Guglielmo Marconi and his new invention: the wireless radio. But as the ship heads into icy waters, they discover its name: The RMS TITANIC.

Can Luna and the boys save Marconi and his invention from the doomed ship? Can they get the radio back home to the Butterfly Club? And how will their actions change the rest of time?

Highly entertaining and thought provoking in equal measure, The Ship Of Doom is a breath taking adventure through time aboard the RMS Titanic. I absolutely loved the immersive storytelling, and can’t wait to see what is next for our time-travellers in The Mummy’s Curse.

Happy Reading!

 

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!

Reception Challenge Miss Cleveland…

After choosing  all year, I’ve handed the choice of theme for Friday Library Recommendations to classes, and this week Reception have chosen… poo! Here are some fabulously funny picture books and brilliantly informative non-fiction linking to their theme.

Poo In The Zoo by Steve Smallman, illustrated by Ada Grey

Zoo Keeper Bob is exhausted. There’s too much poo in the zoo – and he’s the one who has to scoop it up. Then one day, a mysterious glowing poo appears! Could it be alien poop from outer space? And what on EARTH will Bob do with it?

Perfect for fans of The Dinosaur who Pooped Christmas, children will laugh out loud at this gloriously poopy, funny picture book! Packed with humour, the romping rhyme and deliciously cheeky wordplay is a joy to read aloud.

Who Flung Dung? by Ben Redlich

It’s a pleasant day for Furley the monkey until someone flings dung at him! Nobody is around to confess, so Furley goes on an investigation. “Who flung dung?!” Furley demands of Elephant and Rhinoceros. They deny everything, offended that Furley would think them capable of dung-flinging. Python and Crocodile didn’t fling the dung, and neither did Lion or Vulture! So who was it? As Furley becomes more and more frustrated, readers will giggle more and more loudly. But even though he’s frustrated, Furley’s not going to give up. He’s on a mission to find that dung-flinging culprit!

Even parents will delight in the quirky scatological humor of Ben Redlich’s Who Flung Dung? Redlich’s silly, sparse illustrations complement the story beautifully; both parents and children are sure to love the outraged faces of the animals accused of dung-flinging.

The Clue Is In The Poo by Andy Seed, illustrated by Clare Almon

Wild creatures leave a trail of clues wherever they go. Be a fearless nature detective and discover the curious clues of the wild.

A fascinating and funny guide to animals and their poo, and all the other tracks and traces they leave behind. You will be amazed (and perhaps a little revolted!) by the things that can be learned about wildlife from their deposits. Become a detective, find clues and learn all about animals from what they leave behind.

From faeces to footprintsskins to shells and eggs, discover all there is to know about wild animals – even those that are particularly dangerous to track like tigers and wolves! Whether you’re an armchair enthusiast or a forest forager, one thing’s for sure: this fully illustrated compendium of poops, pellets and prints is not to be sniffed at!

A Day In The Life Of Poo, A Gnu, And You by Mike Barfield, illustrated by Jess Bradley

If you’ve ever wanted to know what a panda does all day long, how your heart manages to shift all that blood around your body or what makes a rainbow shine, you’ve come to the right book, winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2021!

A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You features the answers to all of these questions and many more, all told in a super-fun comic book format in three awesome sections: Human Body, Animal Kingdom and Earth and Science. A Day in the Life… is packed with facts, laughs and amazing illustrations you can dive into all day long.

Meet your grumpy liver that has to do practically EVERYTHING; your trusty hands that are very, well, handy; the spiky porcupines ready to charge; lonely Mars rovers abandoned on the Red Planet; raging tornadoes ready to rip through the pages of the book and bubbly volcanoes ready to blow.

All entries are told in the fun, friendly and informative style of Mike Barfield, and are brought to life by the colour-explosion of Jess Bradley’s awesome illustrations.

I wonder what topic Year 1 will choose next…

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.