WHAT WE’RE READING
Want to know what each class is reading at the moment? Look no further.
Author of the Month
Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood running wild across the moors, hiding in tree houses and building dens in the woods.
After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as an English teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London.
She is the author of The Dreamsnatcher, The Shadow Keeper, The Night Spinner, Sky Song and Ever Dark. Abi has been shortlisted for numerous awards and Sky Song was selected as a Waterstones Children's Book of the Month.
When she's not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk (a reading charity), speaks in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventures include living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and dog-sledding across the Arctic.
Need some inspiration to use those book tokens you got for Christmas? Look no further!
3+: Looking after Daddy by Eve Coy
In this wonderfully warm role reversal story a little girl assigns herself the role of parent and spends a day ‘looking after’ her daddy. She makes sure he’s up early, that he gets lots of exercise and keeps a watchful eye on him in the supermarket. The pictures tell a quite different story to the text though and it’s clear who’s really in charge. What’s also clear is just how much fun the two have together and how much love there Is between them. The illustrations are realistic and full of tenderness. This is Eve Coy’s first picture book and she is very talented.
The Klaus Flugge Judges said: “The images tell their own stories; really good interplay between text and illustration; I smiled all the way through.”
ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS
5+: Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Already shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, Julian is a Mermaid is an outstanding picture book, surely destined to become a classic. Julian is out with Nana when he notices three women dressed as mermaids. In his heart of hearts – we see it described over three fabulous wordless spreads – Julian knows he is a mermaid too and while Nana takes a bath he sets out to transform himself into one. Nana’s response is life-affirming and the two head out to join the mermaid party. The illustrations dazzle and as a celebration of individuality, the imagination, freedom and love, it can’t be beaten.
The Klaus Flugge judges said: “It reminded me of Sendak, it’s hard to believe it’s a debut; the illustrations say things that words would struggle to express; delivers an important message without feeling didactic.”
ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS
7+: It’s Your World Now by Barry Falls
This bright, busy book – the text delivered via an irresistible bouncy rhyme – presents children with lots to look at, and lots to think about too. The story is told by a parent, who excitedly details all the world has to offer, and all the potential for children to find happiness and fulfilment as they grow up. There are warnings too that it’s not always easy, but that’s followed by the reassuring reminder that whatever happens, one thing won’t change: from your head down to you toe, no matter what, I love you so. The artwork is contemporary but the message is timeless and it’s an excellent book for parent and child to share.
ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS
9+: Malamander by Thomas Taylor
Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep...
Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy - especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma's parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger...
11+: Runaway Robot by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, illustrated by Steven Lenton
No matter how exciting, zany and surprising the action, you can always be sure that Frank Cottrell-Boyce will build his stories on real human emotions, and that’s as true of this brilliantly funny, original and touching novel as of any of its predecessors. Alfie ‘swerves’ both school and the Limb Lab, where he should be going to learn how to control his state-of-the-art new hand, by hanging out at the airport. But everything changes when, through various happy accidents, he finds an enormous robot called Eric in Lost Property. Eric holds the Allen key to the book’s mysteries, both a generations-old legend, and the secrets that Archie is keeping from the reader and himself. Beautifully told and full of characters readers will love, this book will have you laughing out loud one minute, in tears the next. Robot Eric, unfailingly polite, kind and helpful and trying to explain himself through misremembered jokes is an iron man for our time. Unmissable.
Once readers have finished this, point them in the direction of Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s other books including The Astounding Broccoli Boy and books by Ross Welford. Peter Brown’s story The Wild Robot is another great automaton adventure.
ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS
Non-fiction: Everest: The Remarkable Story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay by Alexandra Stewart, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton
Enduringly fascinating and inspiring, the story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Everest is always worth re-visiting. This strong narrative biography matched with atmospheric illustrations brings the two men to life from their childhoods in New Zealand and Nepal respectively to their amazing feat of climbing the world’s highest mountain. Alexandra Stewart and Joe Todd-Stanton capture something about the personalities of the two and the reasons that they felt the need to take on this great challenge. Most successfully, in words and pictures they describe the extraordinary landscape of Everest and the surrounding mountains and in particular the enormous dangers and the unique magic of mountaineering - especially when you take on the challenge of the highest mountain in the world.
JULIA ECCLESHARE M.B.E, Guardian Children’s Editor
We love to celebrate those children who have been going the extra mile in learning their spellings on Spelling Shed. We do this by looking at the children’s ‘shed score’. This is calculated as their total score for the previous seven days and so enables us to promote and celebrate consistent use over time. We’ll share the individual winners and the class of the week below along with their scores.
HINTS, TIPS & IDEAS FOR HOME
Here, we’ll share some ideas that you could use at home to help your children learn their spellings. Many of these will be activities we use in class and should therefore be familiar.
Use newspaper and magazine headline cuttings to spell the words in your spelling list. This should help you focus on the letters needed to create each word and their position within each one.
We have included an image of a headline cuttings alphabet that you could save and use at home.
Each month, we celebrate an amazing piece of writing in each class and display it on our display in the corridor. Children can become a Writer of the Month for a range of reasons, including wonderful use of description, excellent progress, fabulous vocabulary use and fitting the purpose of a piece perfectly.
Class 1 - Hamish
An excellent description of the 'dogs' in Varkak Paw. Hamish has used lots of powerful vocabulary throughout and has started his sentences in different ways. This is one of his best pieces of writing.
Class 2 - Oscar
An excellent and very informative non-chronological report on 'Majestic Mammoths'.
Class 3 - Ion
Lovely vocabulary choices and openers.
Class 4 - Heidi
A well presented newspaper article which used fantastic openers.
Class 5 - Jack
A newspaper report about Howard Carter's discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Jack worked really hard to write in the style of a news report.
Class 6 - Hannah
This dramatic piece of writing really built tension well. Exploring the perilous journey of Tadeo Jones, Hannah uses a range of fantastic language and sentence starters to great effect.
Class 7 - Samuel
Such exciting writing about Theseus and the Minotaur! I love the vivid, scary descriptions.
Class 8 - Elsie
Lovely description based on Street Child - lots of different features of the Stickman described.
Class 9 - Sana
Sana writes with real flair, testing out new vocabulary and new sentence structures. She is not afraid to take a few risks in order to express some great ideas.
Class 10 - Hussain
A real flair and some terrific language.
Class 11 - Oscar
Great knowledge and language.
Class 12 - Leah
Her first ever piece of independent writing! So much hard work has gone into creating a wonderful story. Well done!
This year, some classes have been participating in #FreeWritingFriday; a campaign launched by The Literacy Trust and author Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon, Emily Brown & The Wizards of Once) to give children the opportunity to write for their own pleasure and have complete ownership of their writing. Each child has their own writing book which is not monitored by their teacher and use them during a half hour slot on a Friday to write in any way they wish. For more information on the campaign, visit www.freewritingfriday.com.
Got a little time on your hands? Why not do a spot of writing? If you’re looking for some writing inspiration for home, look no further. Each week, you’ll find a different inspiration for writing – a photo, a drawing, a video or some text – that you could use to create your own masterpieces.
This week’s inspiration:
-Create a comic strip or picture board from the story.
-Write more missions for Walter which are spoilt by the pigeon.
-Write a news report on events, interviewing key witnesses etc.
-Write a persuasive argument giving an argument for why it was not the pigeon’s fault.