Friday Library Recommendations – Tea-riffic books!

Hello, and welcome to the Summer Term! Today, as it’s National Tea Day, I get to talk about two of my absolute favourite things – books and tea! This week’s recommendations blend my two passions, so grab a brew and settle down with a fabulous book.

Teatime Around The World by Denyse Waissbluth and Chelsea O’Byrne reveals all the wonderful ways we can enjoy a cup of tea––or two!

Did you know that po cha, the traditional tea in Tibet, is thick and salty like soup? Or that in Iran, tea is served with a rock? (A rock candy, that is!) Or that afternoon tea was dreamed up in England by a duchess who complained of being hungry between lunch and dinner?

With vivid poetry, vibrant illustrations, and unique facts about different tea cultures, Teatime Around the World tells the delightful story of a beloved beverage.

For our youngest readers, Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham, illustrated by Juan Wijngaard is a beautiful traditional tale that was shortlisted for the Greenaway Medal Winner.

Tashi lives in a tiny village below the tea plantations where her mother earns a living. One day her mother falls ill, and Tashi must pick tea to earn the money for a doctor. But she is too small to reach the tender shoots and the cruel Overseer sends her away empty-handed. Tashi needs a miracle. Then, on the mountains high above the plantation where only monkeys live, something extraordinary happens that will change her life for ever…

For Year 3 and up, Yesterday Crumb And The Storm In A Teacup by Andy Sagar is the first book in a magical series that I cannot get enough of!

Yesterday Crumb is no ordinary girl. She was born with fox ears that have cursed her to a lonely life working in the circus and her origins are a complete mystery. But she is about to escape into the adventure of a lifetime when she learns that she’s a strangeling who’s lost her magic.

Taken in by Miss Dumpling the flamboyant Tea Witch, Yesterday is introduced to a magical, walking teashop filled with fantastical customers, a flying teapot turtle called Pascal and powerful spells in every teacup!

Yesterday starts to rediscover her magic and to feel a sense of belonging. But a mysterious figure of darkness is working hard to ensure her new life comes crashing down – and it all starts with a deadly shard of ice in Yesterday’s heart…

But there’s nothing that can’t be solved with a pot of tea, a slice of cake and a BIG dash of magic!

For Year 5 and up, Arsenic For Tea by Robin Stevens is St Trianians meets Miss Marple, and murderously good fun!

Schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy’s home, Fallingford, for the holidays. Daisy’s glamorous mother is throwing a tea party for Daisy’s birthday, and the whole family is invited, from eccentric Aunt Saskia to dashing Uncle Felix. But it soon becomes clear that this party isn’t really about Daisy at all. Naturally, Daisy is furious.

Then one of their party falls seriously, mysteriously ill – and everything points to poison. With wild storms preventing anyone from leaving, or the police from arriving, Fallingford suddenly feels like a very dangerous place to be. Not a single person present is what they seem – and everyone has a secret or two. And when someone very close to Daisy looks suspicious, the Detective Society must do everything they can to reveal the truth . . . no matter the consequences.

Happy reading!

Coventry Clothing

Coventry Clothing, which is a charity that can help with clothes and school uniform, have just received a donation of primary school children’s swimwear from a school provider that has ceased trading.  If you need help with swimwear for swimming lessons (in or out of school), please speak to Mrs Smith, who can contact them and see if they have the size you need.

Also, should you need support with uniform for September, especially those starting secondary school, the school can refer you to receive a donation.  The charity will then deliver to the school if they have your requirements.

Alternatively, you can also self refer but you will need to pick the clothes up from Hillfields.

If you have clothes to donate, they would be very grateful for this.

To find out more, please go to the Coventry Clothing Facebook page

or their website

Finally, we have a range of donated school uniform available for parents in need just inside the main front entrance. If you have any uniform that you could donate to enable us to keep our stocks up, please speak to Mrs Smith.


Reading Activities Over Easter

There are two brilliant opportunities over the Easter holidays to meet authors and enjoy reading. Both are free, but you do need to sign up.

The first is this Sunday at Warwick Arts Centre – The Big Read – which is a celebration of reading, writing and storytelling.

The second is on Friday 14th April, and is an opportunity to meet our current Children’s Laureate, Joseph Coelho.

Happy reading!

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Runners Up, Week 2

This is our final week celebrating this year’s Coventry Inspiration Book Award shortlist, looking at the final runners up in each category.

Our final What’s The Story Book is Story Soup by Abbie Longstaff, illustrated by Nila Aye

Ollie and Susie are mixing a story soup in their kitchen. They think it will be easy to brew a story, but every time they throw an item into the soup the story takes an unexpected turn. Ollie wants a skateboarding story; Susie wants one about a princess – so they end up with a twisting turning tale about a skateboarding princess and a pirate who is a reluctant bad guy. But what happens when the story soup gets out of control? Will Ollie and Susie be able to work together to save the day?

If you loved this book, try Once Upon A Fairy Tale by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara

Did you ever wish to feast with fairies, live in a tree, or ride a unicorn across the sun-lit sky? Here, in this magical world, you can. You can choose to be a clever princess, or a curious gingerbread man, or perhaps a gentle knight. Maybe you’ll live in a tree, or a tower on a hill. You can eat fresh-buttered sunbeams with fairies, or newt pie and pigtail pudding with ogres. Everywhere you look, you will find a new adventure. Just pick the one you like best.

A captivating book where the child chooses the story they want to tell – empowering children to become storytellers and weave their very own fairytale.

Our last book in the Telling Tales category is Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor by Lucy Brandt
Leonora Bolt spends her days creating incredible inventions in her TOP SECRET laboratory, under the watchful eye of her terrifying uncle. Everything changes one day when a strange boy washes up on an inflatable lobster and reveals that Uncle Luther has been stealing her inventions and selling them on the mainland. Leonora, armed with her most important inventions, must leave Crabby Island for the first time EVER to embark on an unforgettable journey that will test her brainpower to its limits. With the help of an otter with a special skill, a questionable cook, and a singing sea captain, can Leonora dream up an invention that will defeat her evil uncle once and for all?
If you loved this book, try Ollie Spark And The Exploding Popcorn Mystery by Gillian Cross and Alan Snow. Machines, mysteries and mayhem – this must be a case for Ollie Spark!

Ollie Spark loves mending machines and solving mysteries. But he gets more than he bargained for when fixing Aunt Caz’s van throws him into a real-life spy adventure!Ollie is whisked away to a mysterious city with strange plants, an unknown language and suspicious people round every corner. With the help of Gasket, his new dog best friend, he sets off on a mission to save the city – and Aunt Caz – from disaster.

Can Ollie fix things before it’s too late?!

Our fnial book for Hooked On Books is a firm Year 6 favourite – Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List by Jenny Pearson
Young Frank John Davenport is hit with two massive surprises. First, he learns that he’s been left £462,000 by a step-grandma he didn’t know he had, then that he has a grandpa. However, there is a condition to his grandma’s bequest and the money must be used for the care and well-being of his grandpa. With his parents arguing about the money and his dad’s dodgy dealings, Frank is only too happy to team up with Grandpa Frank and embark on delivering the best bucket list ever (whether that’s what his grandpa wants or not). This leads to hilarious adventures such as balloon rides, monster-truck lessons, and synchronised swimming lessons!

If this was your favourite, try Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce Heart-achingly funny, touching and brilliantly clever, Millions is a fantastic adventure about two boys, one miracle and a million choices.

Brothers Damian and Anthony didn’t mean to get caught up in a botched train robbery. But what would you do if a massive bag of cash dropped from the sky and you had only a few days to spend it before it became worthless? Buy a million pizzas? End world poverty? Not such an easy decision, is it? The boys soon find out that being rich is a mug’s game. Not only is the clock ticking, the bank robbers want their money back . . .

Happy Reading!

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Runner’s Up, Week 1

This week, we are celebrating some of the books that were runners up in this year’s Coventry Inspiration Book Awards.

In the What’s The Story Category, lots of you loved The Who’s Whonicorn Of Unicorns by Kes Gray, illustrated by Garry Parsons, a funny and surprising new take on the unicorn craze. This book is jam-packed with joyful wordplay and hilarious illustrations. Get ready  to discover: – spooky BOO!nicorns – polite AFTERYOUnicorns – floating BALLOONincorns – smelly POOnicorns – clumsy BUMPINTOnicorns – and so many more!

If you loved this book, try The Blue-Footed Booby by Rob Biddulph

Let’s follow the footprints!
Let’s hunt for some clues!
Left footprint! Right footprint!
No time to lose!

As everybody knows, Red-Footed Boobies are fabulous bakers. But when Desmond’s frangipane tart goes missing amidst a flurry of footprints, the Blue-Footed Booby becomes the chief suspect. But all is not as it seems…

Featuring one of the stars of Draw With Rob (video number 24), this is a gloriously silly rhyming story about the perils of jumping to conclusions.

One of the Telling Tales runners up was Future Hero: Race To Fire Mountain by Remi Blackwood

When Jarell discovers that the fantasy world, he is obsessed with drawing is real, he is launched into an incredible adventure. Ulfrika, the land of his ancestors, is in trouble and he is the hero they need. With the help of brave and wise-cracking Kimisi, Jarell must stop the evil Ikala. The future of Ulfrika depends on it… A winning blend of future tech gadgets and a fantasy world inspired by the mythology of Africa and its diaspora. Jarell, an ordinary boy who loves to draw, is the chosen one to save the world of Ulfrika.

If you loved this book, try Stuntboy, In The Meantime by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Raul The Third, a hilarious, hopeful, and action-packed novel about the greatest young superhero you’ve never heard of.
And finally for this week, a much loved runner up for Hooked On Books is Twitch by M.G. Leonard. The beauty of nature is the backdrop for a murky web of crime in this fabulous book celebrating family, friendship and feathered creatures. A nail-biting joy!
Can a birdwatcher outwit an escaped convict?

Twitch has three pet chickens, four pigeons, swallows nesting in his bedroom and a passion for birdwatching. On the first day of the summer holidays, he arrives at his secret hide to find police everywhere: a convicted robber has broken out of prison and is hiding in Aves Wood. Can Twitch use his talents for birdwatching to hunt for the dangerous prisoner and find the missing loot?

If you loved Twitch, try Eagle Warrior by Gill Lewis.
Bobbie is thrilled that a golden eagle has settled in the forest near her family’s farm. She loves to walk the hills with her granny and watch the bird soar through the sky. But not everyone shares Bobbie’s awe for the spectacular bird. When her granny’s beloved dog is killed by poisoned bait, it soon becomes clear that someone is out to get the eagle – and they’re ready to take down anything, and anyone, that gets in their way. Bobbie is determined to save the eagle but is it worth the risk? A stunning new wildlife adventure from multi-award-winning author Gill Lewis.
Happy reading!

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Winners

We have loved this year’s Coventry Inspiration Book Awards; reading, talking and voting each week. But now, it is time to announce the winners. Did your favourite win?

The What’s The Story Winner is…

Bad Apple by Huw Lewis-Jones, illustrated by Ben Sanders

In this fun cautionary tale, a really badly behaved apple is awful to lots of acquaintances. As one silly scenario unfolds after the other, Bad Apple shows what he’s really made of by making life miserable for Pear, Pea, Cat, Spud and Spoon, among others. In a twist at the end, Bad Apple receives his comeuppance when he eats the cake baked by snake.

If this was your favourite, try When Cucumber Lost His Cool by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Tom Knight

A perfectly-pitched rhyming tale of fun and friendship, from a previous Coventry Inspiration Book Award winner, packed with bright bold colours that will have you laughing out loud as you explore other’s emotions.

Kevin the cucumber is so cool – everybody knows it! Whenever anyone gets hot and bothered, Kevin is always there to cool them down. He even has his own super cool cucumber song! But when Kevin starts to feel like his friends are leaving him out, something happens that has never happened before: KEVIN. LOSES. HIS. COOL!

Will Kevin’s friends be there for him when he needs them most?

The Telling Tales Winner is…

Bad Panda by Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey
Everyone thinks that Lin is the cutest panda in the world. So much so that they send her off to the local zoo, away from her beloved brother, to be looked at my all the visitors. But Lin HATES being cute, and now she will do everything in her power to prove that she’s the baddest, meanest, most un-cute animal in the zoo. Being a bad panda isn’t as easy as Lin thinks it could be.  No-one believes her and she is finding it hard to convince her fellow zoo animals from taking back control of the zoo.
If this was your favourite, Evil Emperor Penguin by Laura Ellen Anderson

In the icy, snow-covered depths of Antarctica is the secret lair of an extraordinary penguin. Evil Emperor Penguin! From the bottom of the world, he’s got his sights set on taking the whole thing over! Unfortunately, he’s really not very good at it. Especially when his rival, Evil Cat, is trying to beat him at his own world-domination game!

With his lovable assistant Eugene, and octopus butler Number 8, Evil Emperor Penguin is the most devious, cutest and funniest evil mastermind ever to waddle the Earth! Just not the most successful…

And finally, the Hooked On Books Winner is…
When I See Blue by Lily Bailey
A boy struggling with OCD starts at a new school, but the bully is in Ben’s head.
There are 4 things you should know about Ben:
1. He’s 12 years old
2. He’s the new kid at school
3. His special number is 4
4. He has a bully in his brain
Sometimes Ben’s brain makes him count to 4 to prevent bad things happening. Sometimes it makes him tap or blink in 4s. Mostly it makes the smallest things feel impossible. And with a new school, a moody big brother, an absent dad, and a mum battling her own demons, Ben feels more out of control than ever. But then he meets April, and with his new friend, Ben might finally figure out how to stand up to the bully in his brain, once and for all.
If this was your favourite, try A Kind Of Spark by Elle McNichol, one of my all time favourite books! It’s a hugely entertaining and challenging book in equal measure, and a testament to the vulnerability, strength, and courage neurodivergent children show everyday.
A Kind of Spark tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard?
This isn’t a book about being autistic, it’s a book about difference and discrimination that has autistic characters. It’s authentic, honest and just blooming brilliant. Many children will be able to recognise themselves in Addie which is so important – every child deserves to see themselves reflected in books.  And while enjoying a brilliantly told story, neurotypicals might learn an awful lot too, and gain some understanding of how the world looks and feels when viewed through a different lens.
And, once you’ve read the book, you’ll be able to watch the CBBC adaptation from 17th April!
Huge congratulations to all of the winning authors and illustrators!
Happy reading!

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Evictions, Week 5

It’s the final week of evictions before we find out this year’s winners of the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards, so it’s time to get voting for your winner. But before we do, let’s have a look at what you can read next if your favourite was voted out this week.

The final book to be voted out in What’s The Story? is Books Make Good Pets by John Agard, illustrated by Momoko Abe.

Books make good pets and don’t need going to the vet. You don’t have to keep them on a lead or throw them a stick. They’ll wag their words whenever you flick their dog-eared pages. Even howl an ancient tale for the inward-listening ear. Did you know that a book can take you anywhere? You only need to turn the pages of a story, and in a moment, you and your book could be crossing the waves in a pirate ship… or diving with mermaids… or even snoozing with a dragon. Books really DO make good pets! Why don’t you peep inside this one and take your mind on an adventure.

If you loved this book, try Not Just A Book by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross.
A book is not just a book. It can be so many things, a hat or as a building block, a flower press or a fly-swatter. But books are so much more than that. They can make you feel, they can take you anywhere, they can make you laugh and can teach you anything you want to know.
Count by Melvin Burgess, illustrated by Chris Mould is the last book to be evicted in Telling Tales.
When Boastful Brandon brags that he can count to 10 million no-one believes him. It sounds impossible. But once Brandon has started, nothing is going to stop him! He counts all through school – and gets into trouble for doing so. Even when he is sent to the furious head teacher who has never seen such disobedience, he doesn’t stop counting. He counts at home, through meals and all through the night. Soon, his extraordinary feat becomes a money-making sensation.
If you loved this book try, Max Counts To A Million by Jeremy Williams

Do you like epic quests of amazing counting? Do you dislike global pandemics, being stuck at home, and the number 7? Then I have a story for you. It’s about how I counted to a million during lockdown – with help from Mum and Dad, friends and neighbours, and Grandad. And some birds. And a bucket of marbles. And an awesome TV reporter.

Sometimes, just keeping on going makes you a hero. Eight-year-old Max is counting to a million. Normally, school or having anything interesting to do would get in the way, but school is shut and everyone has to stay home because the UK is in its first lockdown. Max’s dad works at the hospital and counting helps Max with missing him, but as the pandemic progresses and Max’s grandad journeys through his own battle with the virus, what starts as a distraction turns into record-breaking effort that brings Max’s community together.

Suitable for readers aged 7 up, this funny, uplifting story reflects the experiences shared by so many during the Covid pandemic and celebrates how ordinary people accomplish epic things. £1 from the sale of every copy of this book will be donated to NHS Charities Together

And finally, the last book to be voted out of Hooked On Books is Escape Room by Christopher Edge.
Ami arrives at the Escape Room expecting a game. Only when they are locked inside does she realise it’s much more serious and Ami and her teammates are the ones chosen to save the world. They must learn how to work together quickly so they can solve all the problems they are presented with. There are a series of different games and puzzles to solve – from beating a chess computer to finding a way out of a tomb until the final showdown in a computer game simulator that seems suddenly to be out in space and the asteroids heading for the ship are real. However, it’s not until the final chapter when a surprising reveal shows there may be a way forward to save the world.

If you loved this book, try Adam-2 by Alastair Chisholm. With incredible twists and turns and an action-packed story, this is a thrilling, unputdownable adventure.The robot Adam-2 has been locked in the basement of a lost building for over two hundred years – until one day he is discovered by two children, and emerges into a world ruined by a civil war between humans and advanced intelligence. Hunted by both sides, Adam discovers that he holds the key to the war, and the power to end it – to destroy one side and save the other. But which side is right? Surrounded by enemies who want to use him, and allies who mistrust him, Adam must decide who – and what – he really is.

Happy reading, and don’t forget to vote for your favourite to win!