Category: Library

Coventry Inspiration Books Awards – First Out!

The evictions have started for this year’s Coventry Inspiration Book Awards, and these are the first books to leave the competition.

Reception, Year 1 and 2

Otto Blotter Bird Spotter by Graham Carter

Otto’s family are keen bird spotters, indeed they are so keen they have turned their house into a hide. Otto, though, loves exploring and on one of his trips he finds a very unusual baby bird and brings it secretly into his home. He is able to hide it from his family because the bird is very good at camouflage. As the bird grows and grows, Otto realises that it’s missing its family and recruits help to track them down.

A really lovely picture book celebrating the natural world with stunning illustrations. I’m really surprised to see this go out so early!


Year 3 and 4

My Other Life by Polly Ho-Yen, illustrated by Patricia Hu

Mae spends a lot of time in hospitals. She’s had asthma since she was little and sometimes she just can’t breathe. She was in hospital the very first time she saw the hole – a tear in the universe which seems to appear only to her. Before she knows it she is drawn into a parallel world, where things aren’t quite the same…

This powerful fantasy story is full of big ideas and a great way to talk about chronic illness with children. With beautiful black-and-white illustrations throughout, it is ideal for children who are developing as readers.




Year 5 and 6

Fire Girl, Forest Boy by Chloe Daykin

Maya has to escape. Abandoned in the cloud forest, she’s on the run in a country she doesn’t know and has no idea who to trust. Raul is escaping too – travelling back to his home where a terrible tragedy happened, ready to stir up trouble. When their paths collide in the middle of the jungle, the sparks begin to fly. As modern world corruption meets the magic and legends of ancient times, can Maya draw on her hidden light to find the way through to the truth?

An amazing, thought provoking adventure set in the Peruvian rainforest, highlighting the plight of our Earth’s lungs. Told in dual narrative, this has magic, crime and mystery all wrapped in in a stunning setting. Sad to see this one exit so early.



If you want to make sure your favourite book isn’t evicted make sure you keep voting! You can vote here !

And finally, here’s a non-fiction book celebrating all things sport including all three Olympic Games – the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Winter Olympics. Sportopedia by Adam Long, illustrated by Mark Long features over 60 sports from around the world, and looks at the rules, kits and fascinating facts. A brilliant book to dip in and out of with captivating illustrations!


Books to celebrate Earth Day

Thursday 22nd was Earth Day, so this week I have chosen books that celebrate our planet.

For Reception and Key Stage 1, I have picked Dear Earth by Isobel Otter and Clara Anganuzzi.
When Tessa writes a love letter to the Earth, it’s the beginning of a glorious adventure. She blows bubbles with whales, soars with birds and joins in with the noisy rainforest hullabaloo! Tessa wants everyone to know how special our planet is. A stunning look at the wonders of planet Earth from the eyes of a child, who can see that we all need to work as a team to protect them from further harm.

For Year 2 and up, I’ve picked The Tindims Of Rubbish Island by Sally Gardner, illustrated by Lydia Corry. The tiny Tindims are like the Borrowers-on-Sea, who turn our everyday rubbish into treasure, creating a fun new world of characters and adventures in their empowering new series inspiring conservation and inventive ways to recycle. A whimsical and wacky look at the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans all wrapped in in a brilliantly fun story. There’s also plenty of ideas for creativity once you’ve finished reading too, with a fun recycling activity.

For Year 4 and up, I’ve picked The Last Bear by Hannah Gold. There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…
Beautifully told, this both heart-warming and heart-breaking as we see April connect with one of the fiercest creatures on our planet. To know that his plight rests solely as a result of the damage we have done to the planet.

For those in Upper Key Stage 2 who would like to find our more about the specific issues our planet is facing, the Climate Emergency Atlas: What’s Happening – What Can We Do by DK. Visual maps show where each issue is putting pressure on our planet’s natural resources and where climate change is having a major impact in our world.

Spring Into Some Easter Reads…

Egg by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet is a fabulous near-wordless picture book from the creators of Supertato.

When is an egg not an egg? Everyone knows that eggs have pointy tops and big bottoms – but what happens when an upside down egg turns up? Will this odd egg ever be accepted by the others?

A fabulously funny, thought-provoking, near wordless picturebook celebrating diversity and acceptance.

Egg is the only word used in the book where the pictures tell the story of a different egg trying to fit in. Children are encouraged to spot the differences in the bright, engaging illustrations while willing Egg on to stand up and be accepted for what it is – an Egg – just like all the others, but different!

The Great Chocoplot by Chris Callaghan is the best chocolate you will get your hands on this Easter.

Jelly Wellington loves a Blocka Chocha, but with the impending Chocopocalypse, supplies in Chompton are running low. And just as worrying, she has to make a vlog for her latest science project. Can she prove whether the Chocopocalypse is real? With her last Blocka Chocha sealed safely in a tin, she along with the rest of the world, will have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, Garibaldi Chocolati arrives in Chompton, with his bitter chocolate and a temperament to match. Why would a chocolatier be so delighted by the imminent demise of chocolate?

Chris Callaghan takes the reader on a fabulously imaginative journey; pacey plot and sharp humour, centred around a family where love shines through, and quite possibly the worst neighbour you could wish on anybody, combine to create a laugh out loud adventure that will have you turning the pages while reaching for more chocolate.

Web Wabbit by Lissa Evans is one of the best read aloud chapter books I’ve come across for Year 5 and 6.

Fidge is due to go on the best family holiday, if only she can get Mum and little sister, Minnie, organised in time. But, as ever, their shopping trip doesn’t go to plan. Mum and Minnie seem to be buying anything that isn’t on Fidge’s list, taking so long that the shops close before her things can be bought. When Minnie drops Wed Wabbit, Fidge takes her anger out on the smug looking, stuffed rabbit with devastating consequences.

Stuck with her Aunty, Uncle and exceptionally irritating cousin, Graham, Fidge’s anger resurfaces when given a bag containing Minnie’s toys and listening to Graham’s imagined problems, and once again Web Wabbit is the target for her wrath, along with Graham’s transitional toy.

With a storm closing in, news comes from the hospital that calms Fidge, but it’s too little, too late, and as the lightening strikes, and Fidge finds herself trapped, all alone, in a world she’s read about 48million times. But something is very wrong. There’s a tyrant ruling, who Fidge must defeat if she is ever to find her way home to Minnie, and reunite her with her favourite teddy

Outrageously funny, Wed Wabbit is a feast for the imagination. A brilliant adventure, that will have you laughing out loud, gasping in shock, and desperate to read on, in a wonderfully crafted fantasy world that is reminiscent of any preschool tv show setting, whether it’s Toy Town, Tellytubbies or In The Night Garden. And it has a map!

Fidge and Graham are wonderful characters, each vulnerable in their own way, each as isolated from their family by the protective walls they have built for themselves, and each resilient, brave and supportive as they grow through their adventures. The cast of toys are brought hilariously to life – Ellie is kind, caring and supportive as she aides Fidge, while Dr Carrot is calm and firm as she facilitates Graham’s journey through the Land Of The Wimbly Woos. The Wimblies themselves are just brilliant – each colour with their own unique personalities and talents, that shine through their spoken verse and actions.

Beneath the humour, and amidst the action and adventure, it’s a story of grief and anxiety, and the isolation they can bring. The need to face our fears, with friends and family at our side, rather than shutting them out or hiding from the world.


The Daily Joker by Gareth P. Jones & Rachel Delahaye

As it’s Red Nose Day, my book pick is one that will bring comic relief…

The Daily Joker has a belly-wobbling joke for every single day of the year and is packed with hilarious illustrations from Nigel Parkinson who also illustrattes the Beano.  Packed with information about World Celebration Days throughout the year (did you know tomorrow is World Happiness Day?) and hits and tips on how to create your own rib-tickling jokes, this is a must for wannabe comedians, and anyone struggling to find their smile. If the jokes don’t make you laugh, at least they’ll give you something to groan about.

The Children’s Bookshows

To celebrate World Book Day, this week children have had the opportunity to watch author-illustratotrs and poets at work, and put questions to them to be answered.

All of Key Stage 2 were able to see Michael Rosen (or Raisin as we now know him) on Wednesday morning, who entertained us with some of his best loved performance poetry, showing how much fun it is to play with language, rhythmn and rhyme.

On Wednesday afternoon, Upper Key Stage 2 were inspired by Kwame Alexander, an award-winning poet, who read us his very moving book, The Undefeated. His advice to improve your writing? “Read, read and then read.”

Here’s a few of the children’s thoughts from Year 5 on Michael and Kwame…

I thought that the authors were very inspirational and wrote some very good poems and stories; they were remarkable!

I think that they were really funny and they made me want to write more poems.

I liked the sessions, and I really want to have more. They inspired me!

On Friday morning, children from Years 2 -4 were able to see award-winning author-illustrator and environmemtalist, Neal Layton. He wowed us with a live illustration  reading us Stanley’s Stick He then talked to us about trees and how important they are to us, and we saw his sketch books that he used to create The Tree which only has 40 words!

On Friday afternoon, children from Key Stage got to see author illustrator Jo Empson, take part in a live draw along, and see her read her brand new story – it isn’t publishing until January next year! How lucky we are!

This is what the children thought, and created from Friday’s events.

Neal is very good at drawing and I like that he likes nature.

We enjoyed Jo Emspon. We both tried to draw the lion.


If you missed an author for your year group, don’t worry, you can watch again using the links below.

Jo Empson for Years 1 and 2:

Neal Layton for Years 2, 3 and 4:

Michael Rosen for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6:

Kwame Alexander for Years 5 and 6:

Cannon Park Primary Presents… The Masked Reader

To celebrate World Book Day while we can’t be together, 15 members of staff have disguised themselves before letting you know which book they will be sharing with you all next week.

Head to your Google Classrooms to complete the form with who you think is behind each mask. Happy guessing!

Unmaskings will begin at 10am on Wednesday…

The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery

My final recommendation of 202o is a wonderfully Christmassy fantasy from Ross Montgomery – The Midnight Guardians.

Sometimes at the darkest hour, hope shines the brightest… When Col’s childhood imaginary friends come to life, he discovers a world where myths and legends are real. Accompanied by his guardians – a six-foot tiger, a badger in a waistcoat and a miniature knight – Col must race to Blitz-bombed London to save his sister. But there are darker forces at work, even than the Nazi bombings. Soon Col is pursued by the terrifying Midwinter King, who is determined to bring an eternal darkness down over everything.

Magic, mythical beings, and so much love all woven together to create a captivating read perfect for escaping into that will live long in the memory and has earned it’s place on the bookshelf in my heart.

Col is so convincing as the young evacuee desperate to be with the only family he truly knows in time for Christmas, while Ruth is a tenderly written Jewish refugee. Their teamwork, tenacity and courage shines throughout the story and I love the way they support each other.

I loved the weaving through of folk lore and childhood friends, making this a fantastical take story set during the Second World War. Darker aspects of the war are not shied away from, but every dark moment is tempered with a glimmer of hope shining in the distance.

But my favourite character? Mrs Evans! Her eccentricity hides the truth and knowledge in her words and actions. I laughed, cried and I really want to wipe my memories so I can do it all over again for the first time.  A wonderful story for Year 3 and up.

How Winston Delivered Christmas by Alex T. Smith

From the author of Claude and Mr Penguin comes a brilliant book that signals that Christmas is on it’s way! An advent story told in twenty-four-and-a-half chapters!

When a mouse named Winston finds a lost letter addressed to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, he sets off on an unforgettable journey to personally deliver the letter to Santa! Starting on December 1, children can read a chapter a day, and each chapter is followed by a fun and festive holiday activity to complete.

This illustrated advent story tells of the adventures of an adorable mouse and how a good deed can lead to a very happy ending.  Alex’s joyful illustrations help transport us to Mistletoe Street where our fabulously festive adventure begins.

The activities are a mix of craft, writing and baking. I can confirm that the Stained Glass Window Biscuits are well worth the effort! It just wouldn’t be the run up to Christmas without Winston in it!

And this year, you can #JoinInWithWinston by following the hashtag on Twitter from the 1st December.


Reading for Pleasure Award

Congratulations, Miss Cleveland!

Last weekend, Miss Cleveland attended the virtual ceremony for the Egmont Reading for Pleasure Teacher Awards. Egmont Publishing, in partnership with The Open University and UK Literacy Association, aim to recognise teachers, support staff, and schools whose research-informed practices make a real difference to children’s reading for pleasure. Miss Cleveland was delighted to be Highly Commended as a School Reading Champion for all the work she has done at our school to help foster a love of reading in our pupils and staff, and sharing best practice with other schools.

It’s A No Money Day by Kate Milner

As today is Children In Need, I’m sharing this thought-provoking picture book suitable for everyone in school.

Mum works really hard, but today there is no money left and no food in the cupboards. Forced to visit the local foodbank, Mum feels ashamed that they have to rely on the kindness of others. Maybe one day things will be different but for now together they brighten up even the darkest of days.

It’s A No Money Day is a gentle exploration of the poverty in our country. and how it can affect anybody – a brilliant conversation starter!