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The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

It’s National Non-Fiction November, which means a month of sharing brilliant, fact-filled books that both educate and entertain. I’m delighted to be able to share that we have been chosen to run a Judging Panel in school for the prize, and these are the books that have been shortlisted this year.

Step Inside Science: Germs by Sarah Hull, illustrated by Teresa Bellón

Front cover of YPBP23 shortlisted book Step inside science: germs

Am I made of Stardust? by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, illustrated by Chelen Écija

People talk a lot about germs, but what actually are they? Open the pages of this friendly book to find out. Discover what bacteria and viruses are, how they can spread and lots of different ways to stop them.

Front cover of YPBP23 shortlisted book Am I Made of Stardust?

A brand new question-and-answer book from award-winning scientist and BBC broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, Am I Made of Stardust? is for insatiably curious young minds everywhere.

From whether there are rainbows on other planets, to what dinner tastes like on the International Space Station, this book is packed full of fabulous facts, mind-blowing insights and engaging explanations from the renowned space scientist.

Am I Made of Stardust? is written in Dr Maggie’s fun, accessible style, that readers came to know and love in her first book, Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System, and features out-of-this-world NASA photographs and stunning illustrations from Chelen Écija.

A Bug’s World by Dr Erica McAlister, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Front Cover of YPBP 23 shortlisted book A Bug's World

Bugs might be small, but their impact is HUGE! Discover the wonderful world of mini-beasts in this fantastic guide to insects and how they help humans every day.

Did you know that flies can help us solve crimes? Spiders can be astronauts? Moths are the ultimate fashion designers? From making our food to keeping the planet clean and solving crimes, bugs come to our rescue every day. Often without us even realising! Discover the extraordinary things that bugs do for us – and how we can look after them too – in this vibrant gift book written by the Natural History Museum’s senior entomologist.

Am I made of Stardust? by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, illustrated by Chelen Écija


Bodies, Brains and Bogies by Paul Ian Cross, PhD, illustrated by Steve Brown

Front cover of YPBP23 shortlisted book Bodies, Brains, and Bogies

This fantastic title from Paul Ian Cross, PhD, the writer of How to Vanquish a Virus, takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of everything that’s disgusting, unusual and amazing about the human body. Find out everything about poo, pus and bogies, while learning a whole lot about how our bodies work hard in hundreds of fascinating ways to keep us alive.

With tons of hilarious and informative illustrations from master artist Steve Brown, it includes lashings of Paul Ian Cross’s trademark laugh out-loud humour, in-depth knowledge and infectious optimism. It’s the perfect funny, accessible way to discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the human body, but were too grossed-out to ask!

Live Like a Hunter Gatherer by Naomi Walmsley, illustrated by Mia Underwood

Front cover of YPBP23 shortlisted book Live Like a Hunter Gatherer

Live Like a Hunter Gatherer is an informative and immersive guide to the Stone Age, written by a real-life hunter gatherer!

If you imagined that all Stone Age people lived in caves, were not very clever, not very clean and said “Ugg” a lot, then think again. Marking the start of all human history, the Stone Age lasted around 3.5 million years (the last part of that was only 71 grandparents ago!). Delve into that incredible time with this book packed full of amazing facts, information, crafts, storytelling and myth debunking to find out what it was really like to live as a hunter gatherer.

Many of our Stone Age ancestors’ everyday needs were similar to ours –how to keep warm, where to sleep and what to eat and drink. We find out how they met those needs, what a typical day was like, what medicine they used and even how they had fun – all brought to life with beautifully detailed illustrations. Dotted through the book are step-by-step craft activities and recipes that give you first-hand experience of some vital Stone Age skills –making a Mesolithic shelter, fat lamps, a digging stick, creating cave art, making a bow and arrow and a fishing hook are just a few.

A fictional tribe member pops up throughout the book to tell us about her life, describing the sights, sounds, smells and emotions she experiences. The safety of a warm cave with flickering firelight and other tribe members nearby, the gnawing feeling of hunger when food is scarce and the excited relief when a deer is hunted.

Ben Rothery’s Deadly and Dangerous Animals by Ben Rothery

Front Cover of YPBP 2023 shortlisted book Ben Rothery's Deadly and Dangerous Animals

Explore what it takes to be counted among the deadliest animals on Earth…

From the saltwater crocodile’s strong bite to the golden eagle’s speed as it attacks from the air, many of the creatures you’ll discover here are built for danger. But what makes a chameleon or ant so threatening, and which creature is deadliest to humans despite its tiny size?

Find out with award-winning illustrator Ben Rothery’s fact-filled world of the most spectacular and sometimes surprisingly dangerous creatures on our planet.


Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Evictions, Week 4

Another week and we say goodbye to three more fantastic books.

What’s The Story say goodbye to Inspector Penguin Investigates by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Ross Collins.

The famous Diamondo del Mondo has been stolen! There’s something fishy going on. And no one knows fishy quite like…Inspector Penguin! Spot the clues throughout the book to help Inspector Penguin solve the mystery! Who could have broken into Baron von Buffetworth’s super-secure top-secret safe? And where have they taken his precious diamond? There’s only one detective who can solve this mystery: Inspector Penguin! That is, if he can keep his mind off tuna long enough to find some clues…

If you liked this book, try Edgar And The Sausage Inspector by Jan Fearnley, a funny quirky picture book that’s guaranteed to cause giggles!

Edgar and Edith are hungry, and it’s up to Edgar to bring home something tasty. But just when Edgar finds some delicious sausages, they are confiscated by The Inspector, a very important-looking rat with a big hat. Poor Edgar and Edith are left with nothing but dry crackers! That is, until one day, when The Inspector is all fattened up, and Edgar does some inspecting of his own, and the tables are turned . . .


Telling Tales will be very sad to see Grimwood by Nadia Shireen leave the competition.

Fox siblings Nancy (the tough one) and Ted (the sensitive one) are forced to flee the big city for the countryside after Ted accidentally bites off pussycat boss Princess Buttons’ tail. Grimwood, where they find themselves, is a kind of paradise it seems, full of friendly if eccentric animal residents who love nothing better than a good game of treebonk. Ted feels right at home, Nancy needs convincing, but when Princess Buttons arrives, bent on revenge, and armed with a Brain Zapper 3000, and their new friends step up to help, she changes her mind.

If you loved this book, you’ll be delighted to know that your favourite inhabitants from Grimwood are back in Let The Fur Fly! You could also try Agent Moose by Mo O’Hara. 

Agent Moose, the best (worst) secret agent in the Big Forest, and his slightly-more-intelligent sidekick Owlfred are on the case in this new full colour graphic novel series.

Something fishy is going on at the South Shore. Folks just disappear and are never seen again. But when Agent Moose learns that a key witness has gone missing, he and Owlfred ride to the rescue. Will they find the missing turtle before time runs out?


Hooked On Books lose Misson Mayhem by Burhana Islam, illustrated by Farah Khandaker

The first in a laugh-out-loud series following the hilarious, and often chaotic, adventures of nine -year -old Yusuf Ali Khan. Yusuf’s responsible older sister is getting married and, as everyone keeps telling him, it’s time for him to become ‘the man of the house’, when his sister gets married and leaves home.. The problem is… that sounds like way too much work, so he decides with the help of his cousin to sabotage his sister’s wedding; but his plans often backfire in accidental and hysterically funny ways. Will he get away with all his mischief or is there a bigger lesson for him to learn?

If you enjoyed this book, try Little Badman And The Invasion Of The Killer Aunties by Henry White and Humza Arshad.

“You’ve probably heard of me, right? Little Badman. No? Oh. Well. . . Doesn’t matter. You will do one day. I’m gonna be big.” I’m Humza Khan, the greatest eleven-year-old rapper Eggington has ever known; soon everyone will know my name. Only problem is school has got really weird, man. All my teachers are disappearing and our aunties are taking over. It wasn’t too bad at the start, they keep feeding us delicious snacks. Like, all the time. But now these aunties are trying to mess with my music, so me and my best friends Umer and Wendy are going to hunt for the truth. Cos something big and bad is going on and we won’t let anything mess with my music… or you know, the world.

A hilarious and fast-paced adventure from comedian Humza Arshad and screen writer Henry White, perfect for fans of David Solomons and Jenny Pearson.

New Tablets!

Year 1 showed lots of enjoyment this morning, as the first to try out our brand new tablets. We used an app called “Hairy Letters”, this helped to practice our letter formation. A big thumbs up from us!

Money in maths

As an end to our maths topic on money, Year 3 have become shopkeepers and customers this morning! This was a great, fun way to revisit what we have learnt about money and giving change earlier this week. Children have all had a fantastic lesson!

Art Week!

Year 4 had a great time investigating different printing methods in art. We used polystyrene tiles and plastic acetate to print onto paper. Later this week we will be creating our own greetings cards.

Fossil Fun!

Year 3 have had a fantastic afternoon as scientists, we have been learning all about fossils! First, children discovered the process of how a fossil is formed. Next, we made our own fossils using bread as the ground and soil layers and sweets to represent the animal remains. We applied pressure to our layers of sediment using dictionaries. Children are very excited to become Palaeontologists and dig up their fossils in our next lesson!

Library: Virtual Visit from Jeff Kinney

Year 5 and 6 enjoyed a virtual visit with best selling author of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney this morning. He showed us how he plans his stories, sharing extracts from his own diaries, and led us in a draw-a-long of Greg.

Here are some of the children’s thoughts on the virtual visit:

  • I loved doing the draw-a-long.
  • It was really funny when Jeff tried to draw blind-folded!
  • Greg isn’t called Wimpy in Brazil as they don’t have that word. He’s called Banana Boy instead because that’s what his body looked like.
  • It was interesting finding out why Jeff became a writer
  • I can’t believe how long it took him to write his first book – 8 years!
  • The drive-thru book signing looked amazing!

Tasty Tuesday on Wellness Wednesday

This morning, Year 6 were making their very own salsa as part of healthy schools week. The children enjoyed creating their own dish using simple ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, fresh coriander, garlic and lime – they did this with little to no instructions. Mr Young judged their work Paul Hollywood style but due to the impressive quality of each dish, found it very difficult to decide on a winner!

Well done everyone and I hope many of you try this recipe out at home, your parents will love it!