Friday Library Recommendations: Nature

Welcome back after a lovely Easter break. It’s great to see signs of Spring everywhere, so this week, I’ve chosen books on the theme of Nature.

First, I’ve got a lovely poetry collection; Outside In: Nature Poems by Daniel Thompson and Julia Murray.

This inspiring collection of 50 poems will spark a love of nature, bring calm and happiness and let the outside in. Beautifully illustrated, it is filled with poems for children to read alone or enjoy with the whole family.

With poems about the seasons, senses, wildlife, weather and the joys of mud, it’s the perfect gift book for children to treasure.

Next, I’ve picked a fabulous Non-fiction book; Nature’s Fascinating Friendships by Kerry Hyndman and Mike Hills

Did you know pom pom crabs wear sea anemones as boxing gloves to fight off enemies? And greater honeybirds guide humans to hidden beehives? And bats use pitcher plants as sleeping bags?

From ravens and wolves to trees and fungi, learn how these unlikely alliances are formed and find out all the incredible, funny, weird and disgusting reasons why these partnerships work. Every page is beautifully illustrated and packed full of facts that should surprise and inspire us all to overcome our differences and work together more.

And finally, How To Be A Nature Explorer by Peter Wohlleben, illustrated by Belle Wuthrich is  the perfect companion for every child’s next outdoor adventure!

Whether you are in the forest, in your own backyard, or in the city, there are so many exciting ways to engage with nature—and forester Peter Wohlleben has the best ideas for doing so. With Be A Nature Explorer,  kids will learn how to press flowers, harvest algae, skip stones, observe spiders, and even how to build their own tiny sailboat in one of the 52 short, fun, and hands-on activities to help children explore and discover the outdoors, and it’s the perfect size to throw in a rucksack and refer to on adventures.

Happy reading!


Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Runners-Up

Last week, we announced the winners, which means there are some very worthy runners up that were class favourites that we haven’t looked at books to read after.

What’s The Story – How To Count To One by Casper Salmon, illustrated by Matt Hunt

A hilariously bossy picture book about counting that children will love to outsmart!

You know how to count, right? GREAT! There are LOADS of fun things to count in this book. Whales, baboons, rainbows, pyramids . . . There’s just rule. You must ONLY ever count to ONE. So don’t even about THINK bigger numbers. OK?!

Get ready to show off your skills in this fun new counting book! But all is not as it seems . . . is this book really only about counting to ‘ONE’? Because there are SO MANY fun things that you could count. But – wait – maybe there’s a way to outsmart the book . . . and count all the way up to 100!

If this was your favourite, do try One Fox by Kate Read

A stunning counting book and thrilling farmyard adventure from the brilliantly talented author and illustrator, Kate Read whose luscious artwork is a mixture of collage, printing and drawing, creating layers of beautiful texture and detail.

One famished fox with two sly eyes is on the prowl . . . three plump hens had better watch out!

The rich, close-up illustrations take the reader to the heart of the drama in this exciting story set in a moonlit farmyard. With something different to count in every picture, learning numbers from one to ten has never been so much fun, while the story will keep everyone gripped to the last, hugely satisfying page.

Telling Tales –  Wildsmith by Liz Flanagan, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton

When war threatens her beloved city, Rowan and her mother must flee to the Dark Forest, meeting Grandpa and his white wolf Arto for the first time. Though she misses her father, Rowan makes new friends – including a trio of powerful witches. When she rescues a baby dragon from poachers, she discovers the secret of her own identity: Rowan is a wildsmith! Fostering a whole clutch of dragons, the summer speeds by. But when danger threatens, Rowan and her grandpa must call on all their friends for help.

If this was your favourite book, look out for the next book in the series, Wildsmith: City Of Secrets. You can also try Do Not Mess With The Mermaids by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Sharon Davey

Wondermere is expecting a very important visitor: the mermaid queen of the Outer Ocean. That means frilly dresses and best behaviour – and absolutely NO RULE BREAKING. But when a purple dragon egg falls into the moat of Wondermere castle, Grace and her sister Princess Portia find themselves babysitting a big secret. One teeny tiny little dragon called Dennis couldn’t possibly disturb the royal visit, could he?

A cheeky, charming and laugh-out-loud funny read

Hooked On Books – Deadlock by Simon Fox 

An explosive new adventure from the author of the unputdownable Running Out of Time. Simon Fox is a rising star in a new generation of thriller writers.

Archie Blake thought his policeman father teaching him how to pick locks and open safes was just a bit of fun. But when a diamond necklace is stolen and his dad is arrested, Archie realises the only way to prove Dad’s innocence is to go on the run and use everything he’s learned to uncover the truth.

But Archie soon finds himself deeply tangled in the criminal underworld, where it’s hard to know who to trust and even harder to see what’s right or wrong. Will Archie be able to find a way out before it’s too late?

If this was your favourite book, try S.T.E.A.L.T.H. Access Denied by Jason Rohan.

They’re in a race to save his dad … and the world.

When his dad disappears, Arun Lal is amazed to discover that he was secretly working on a classified project and has been kidnapped by people intent on stealing it.

Along with his geeky best friend Sam and tough-talking Donna, Arun is plunged into a race to rescue his father and find his creation before the thieves can turn it into a destructive global weapon…

Full of thrilling high-octane car chases and more, this is the first in an explosive new action-adventure middle grade series. 

Happy reading!

Coffee Morning Reminder

Just a little reminder about the coffee morning on Thursday 21/03/2024 at drop off.

Unfortunately Holly from Clothing Coventry is ill so cannot do the pop up shop but we will still take donations and they will be picked up later. 

We will also have details of the charity and how you can access the support.

For more info, visit


Coventry Inspiration Book Awards – The Winners!

What a fantastic selection of book in each category this year – I have loved reading and talking about the books with all of the children in school and taking votes every week since January. We had an amazing final three in each category, but the votes have all been counted and verified and we now have this year’s winners…

What’s The Story –  The Eyebrows Of Doom by Steve Smallman and Miguel Ordonez

As featured on CBeebies Bedtime Stories and read by Steve Carell, The Eyebrows of Doom is an outrageously funny and bonkers adventure story written by the rhyming genius, Steve Smallman, with bright, bold and brilliant artwork by award-winning illustrator, Miguel Ordóñez.

The Eyebrows of Doom are trying to take over the world! Join Dave and his friends as they try to stop them leaping from one unsuspecting animal to the next. And just when it looks as though the eyebrows’ antics have been thwarted . . . all is not as it seems!

This hilarious rhyming romp will have readers young and old laughing out loud.

If this was your favourite book, do try Inspector Penguin Investigates by Eoin McLaughlin and Ross Collins, an exciting, interactive detective story that will have readers hooked from the beginning.

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…

Telling Tales – Lenny Lemon and The Invincible Rat by Ben Davis, illustrated by James Lancett 

Huge congratulations to Ben who wins his second Coventry Inspiration Book Award, but this time in a younger category, with a laugh out loud funny book that pupils and teachers can all relate to!

Lenny Lemmon is looking forward to Olden Days Day at school. It’s a chance to break the routine and try school as it was years ago. It explains the blackboard in the corner, his teacher’s bad temper and why his friend Sam looks like Oliver Twist. Lenny is pleased with his own contribution, too. It’s in a cardboard box at the back of the class at the moment because it’s not yet time to shine. Except it escapes and ends up in the bowl of sick, sorry, gruel, that Amelia Kelly has brought up, sorry, in.

Soon there are small, gruelly footprints all over the classroom and also a lot of screaming because the rat that Lenny found by the back of the chip shop is FREE. It takes the arrival of cool new girl, Jessica Conrad, to distract everyone. Jessica has a plan to catch the rat but it’ll cost them!

Can the three kids round up the rat before more damage is done? Or will they end up in the headmaster’s office – again. Maybe, but they’re going to need a bigger net… Make sure you don’t miss the next hilarious book in the series – Lenny Lemon And The Trail Of Crumbs.

If you loved Lenny Lemon, do try Cally & Jimmy: Twins Together by Zoe Antoniades and Katie Kear.

Join Cally and Jimmy in four hilarious stories, perfect for newly confident readers. They get into scrapes together, bake some poisonous cakes, almost ruin their school assembly and finally have a twintastic birthday party.

Hooked On Books – The Wall Between Us by Dan Smith.

This is Dan’s second win – the first being back in 2017 with Boy X – and the two books couldn’t be more different.


Anja and Monika live opposite each other. They play together every day, with Otto the cat. One night they wake up to bangs and shouts. Soldiers are building a huge barbed wire fence between them. A terrible forever wall that gets longer and higher until it divides the whole city. On the East side, Monika is scared – neighbours are becoming spies and there are secret police everywhere. It’s Anja who spots that Otto has found a way across. If he can visit Monika, then perhaps she can too. But Anja gets trapped and there’s no safe way back …

Anja and Monika’s story is set in what feels like a terrifying dystopian world, yet it is one that existed in living memory. Dan has brought the terror of Berlin in 1961 to life in a gripping, unsettling read that will stay with me for a very long time.

Told through files, letters and newspaper articles, they really rooted the story in the reality that families would have lived. Most disturbing were the extracts from the Stasi files – as the reader, we could see a disastrous conclusion to Anja’s trip across the wall was coming, which cranked up the tension with each creaking floorboard and turn of the page.

If you loved this, try The Week At World’s End by Emma Carroll

Britain, 1962

Nothing ever happens in World’s End Close. So when Stevie discovers a runaway girl in her coal shed, the first thing she does is fetch her best friend, Ray. Both are dying for a bit of adventure, and when the girl begs for help, they readily agree. Yet they soon realise they’ve taken on more than they bargained for. The girl, Anna, reveals she’s on the run from people who are trying to poison her. Meanwhile, on the news, the Americans and Russians are arguing over missiles in Cuba.

As the threat of war grows, Anna’s behaviour becomes more mysterious. And when Stevie unearths a dark family secret, she wonders if Anna has come to World’s End Close on purpose, with a special message just for her…

Friendship, family and fear for the future are woven together to create a gripping story. Tension grows steadily as we adventure with Stevie and Ray through the week that was the Cuban Missile Crisis. A week where the world was on the brink of a war that no one could win.

Emma brings the world as it was in Britain in 1962 to life – a world of Mods and Rockers, new household appliances and the dreaded cane. With news focused on America, we not only see the Cold War at work, but the American Civil Rights Movement and peaceful protest brought to the fore. And that is just the backdrop to their adventure!

Huge thanks to everyone at Coventry Schools Library Service for organising another amazing Coventry Inspiration Book Awards this year. We have loved reading, talking and voting

Happy reading!

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Fifth Eviction

It’s the final eviction from the competition this week, and sadly we say goodbye to three amazing books.

What’s the Story? (Reception to Year 2) – The Dragon Painter by Lesley Sims, illustrated by BlueBean

A charming retelling of a traditional Chinese story makes the perfect addition to the ever growing series.

Chang is the best painter in all of China, so it’s Chang the Emperor sends for when his new temple needs painting. But why is Chang painting dragons without any eyes? Is it true, as he claims, that if you add eyes, painted dragons come to life? This delightful retelling has sweet, simple text and gorgeous illustrations, with plenty for children to spot as Chang paints his surprising dragons.

If this was your favourite story, try Luna and the Sky Dragon by Bethan Woollvin, an inspiring story perfect for little stargazers.

Luna loves the sky and finding out about all the wonders she can see above her. But the villagers can’t stop worrying about the mythical Sky Dragon – a fearsome creature who is said to dwell in the sky. Can Luna share her love of the sky and show the villagers that the Sky Dragon is nothing to be afraid of?

Featuring real constellations as well as facts about the milky way, eclipses, comets and other astronomical delights, this enteratins and educates in equal measure.

Telling Tales (Year 3 and 4) – Batpig: When Pigs Fly by Rob Harnell

BATPIG follows the amazing, porktastic adventures of Gary Yorkshire – an entirely normal piglet whose world is turned upside down when he’s bitten by his friend, Brooklyn the bat, and develops the power of flight! And what could Gary do with this newfound talent other than become a superhero?

Alternating between Batpig’s origin story and a furious and hilarious battle with his nemesis, Repto-Man, this is a brilliantly funny and skilfully rendered commercial young graphic novel series, with each book containing two separate stories.

If you loved Batpig, make sure you look out for the other books in the series, the latest of which is Go Pig Or Go Home, featuring magical sharks – and summer camp!

First there’s the sudden appearance of Sharkraham Lincoln (half shark! half president!), who sets off a major test cheating scandal. And then, at the worryingly named Camp Whomp-a-Pig, Gary’s hoping to finally get a break from superhero-ing, but a grumpy lake monster isn’t letting this sleeping pig lie. Will Batpig ever catch a break to just relax and enjoy a tasty sandwich, and not have to save the world?

Hooked On Books (Year 5 and 6) – Canaligator by Giovanni Eposito, illustrated by Purri Pankras

Canalligator is a graphic novel set in the canals of Birmingham and tells the rhyming tale of Casey, an unlikely reptile hero, and his friendship with four young people.

The combination of verse and graphic is quite unique and a QR code at the start of each chapter takes you to the author’s YouTube channel where the reader can view a short film about each chapter.

If Canalligator was your favourite, try Another Kind by Cait May and Trevor Bream, which is not your average monster story.

Tucked away in a government facility nicknamed the Playroom, six not-quite-human kids learn to control their strange and unpredictable abilities. Life is good—or safe, at least—hidden from the prying eyes of a judgmental world. That is, until a security breach forces them out of their home and into the path of the Collector, a mysterious being with leech-like powers.

Can the group band together to thwart the Collector’s devious plan, or will they wind up the newest addition to his collection?

You now have one more week to vote for your winner. Happy reading and don’t forget to vote for your favourite!