WHAT WE’RE READING
Want to know what each class is reading at the moment? Look no further.
Author of the Month
Sophie Anderson grew up with stories in her blood, from her mother, who is a writer, to her Prussian grandmother, whose own storytelling inspired The House with Chicken Legs.
Born in Swansea but now living in the Lake District with her family, Sophie loves walking, canoeing and daydreaming. Her dream is to create stories that help children to explore the world and fall in love with its beautiful diversity.
Her debut novel, The House with Chicken Legs, has been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, shortlisted in the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, shortlisted in the Blue Peter Book Awards and shortlisted for Children’s Fiction Book Of The Year in The British Book Awards.
Need some inspiration to use those book tokens you got for Christmas? Look no further!
3+: Swarm of Bees
by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Rilla Alexander
This witty, hugely entertaining and stylishly illustrated picture book offers an explanation of anger that is absolutely spot on. ‘Swarm of bees!’ cries the narrator, ‘You are so angry! What will you do?’ And the bees are angry, because a boy has hit their hive with a tomato. They swirl from page to page, a furious crowd of yellow and black spots, meeting a variety of possible targets - a sailor, his mother, people in a block of flats. Meanwhile, we see that the boy with the tomatoes has thrown them at everyone in the book – who’s angriest now? Fortunately, the beekeeper recaptures the swarm and a parent similarly calms down the boy. Peace is restored after the busy, buzzing pursuit. Every child understand it can feel good to be angry, but will agree with the message here that it can feel better to stop.
ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS
5+: After the Fall
by Dan Sanat
Anyone familiar with the story of poor old Humpty Dumpty will be intrigued by Dan Santat’s story of what happens after that fall. In his version the king’s men do manage to put Humpy together again but the cracks are still there, and not just on the outside: a shadow of his former self, Humpty is too afraid to climb back up onto the wall where he used to love to sit and watch the birds. At last though he finds a way to enjoy the skies again and in a surprise ending flies away himself. A powerful story of recovery and overcoming fear this will resonate with all readers. The illustrations are full of clever jokes but portray Humpty’s emotional state perfectly while the sequence that sees him soar away on golden wings is glorious.
ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS
by Ben Major and Chris Sprenger
A wholesome hygiene message about how, when and why to wash your hands is here delivered through irreverent loo, poo and goo humour (even the queen gets slimed!) that’s sure to appeal to seven+ year-olds. Pands is woefully resistant to washing his hands. In fact, he “believed washing dirt off his skin was a bad thing.” But thankfully his brother Seb comes to the rescue as a hygiene Superhero, armed with an antibacterial cape and the knowledge that “germs were nasty and cruel”. Seb’s mission to persuade Pands to clean up his act begins at home (the detailed cross-section of their slide down a toilet pipe is sure to raise a few eyebrows and elicit some grins), before he undertakes an epic quest save the earth from succumbing to an invasion of zombiegerms. This provides parents and teachers with an original way to teach kids about hygiene, with the glossary and hand-washing instructions that follow the story delivered in the same comic style.
JOANNE OWEN, NOSY CROW PUBLISHING
9+: Eternal Seas. The Relic Hunters: Book One
by Lexi Rees
This action-packed blend of magical fantasy with classic kids’ adventuring is a swashbuckling read for 8+ year-olds, peppered with soft line-drawings and propelled by a strong sense of urgency.
Siblings Finn (the narrator) and Aria, and their smuggler dad are undertaking a voyage aboard their home, a boat called Alcina. Their dad has to pick up a parcel, but this time they’re charting an unknown course. “This new route is dangerous”, Finn observes and, what’s more, they’re journeying to New London, a place that’s been “enclosed by the high stone city walls since the Last War”, a place “strangers are forbidden to enter”. And they are strangers…
When they reach a port and Dad heads off to collect the parcel, Finn and Aria also go ashore (against Dad’s wishes) to explore the bustling bazaar where a mysterious vendor issues them with a grave warning. Then, soon after, Finn learns the shocking truth of his true identity as “a child born with the clan magic in their blood”, as a Sea-tamer, and so an elemental tale of ancient lore and magic unfolds as the family are pursued by a warlord with the weight of saving civilisation on their shoulders.
JOANNE OWEN, NOSY CROW PUBLISHING
11+: Running on Empty
by S. E. Durrant
S E Durrant writes convincingly and movingly about ordinary young people in extraordinary situations, and Running on Empty finds beauty and certainty in an apparently bleak situation. Eleven-year old AJ’s parents both have learning difficulties and he becomes their main carer when his grandfather suddenly dies. It’s a struggle, especially at first when no-one at his new secondary school realises just what AJ has to cope with. His love and tenderness towards his parents is beautifully described, as is the warmth of his extended family and things slowly sort themselves out. Somehow too his grandfather – who loved running as much as AJ does – is never really far away. Without a trace of sentimentality, this ends on a note of hope and happiness that is both believable and uplifting.
This is one to recommend to fans of Susin Nielsen and even R J Palacio.
ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS
Non-fiction: Everest: The Extraordinary Life of Katherine Johnson
by Devika Jina, illustrated by Maggie Cole
‘In her thirty-three years at NASA Katherine was a pioneer who broke the barriers of race and gender, showing generations of young people that everyone can excel in math and science, and reach for the stars’. That’s President Barack Obama on Katherine Johnson, his quote one of many contemporary sources that bring her extraordinary achievements to life in this concise but information-packed biography. The book covers Johnson’s life from childhood and early signs of her fierce intelligence through to the years at NASA where her calculations helped put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. It’s inspiring stuff, and the book is designed to appeal to a wide readership, with frequent illustrations, diagrams and information boxes. This is one of a number of titles in a well-thought-out new series.
ANDREA REECE, LOVERREADING4KIDS
Graphic Novel: Cardboard Kingdom
by Chad Sell
At the start of THE CARDBOARD KINGDOM, 16 kids spend the last days of summer making superhero costumes and using their imaginations to stage epic battles. Some are heroes, some might be villains, but all learn lessons about getting along while being true to who they are in real life. The highly diverse cast deals with divorcing parents, difficult grandparents, neighbourhood bullies, and their own inner demons.
This kindhearted, warm, and funny graphic novel captures the many delights of imaginative play among old friends and newcomers to the neighborhood. In The Cardboard Kingdom, author-illustrator Chad Sell has a bold, expressive drawing style, perfect for capturing the subtleties of kids with different backgrounds, interests, and abilities. Geared toward younger readers, the book tells a complete story but also invites further adventures.
COMMON SENSE MEDIA
Rocky of the Rovers - France 2019 World Cup Story
Once again, Tom Palmer, author of the Foul Play series and the re-booted Roy of the Rovers series, is writing a live story which unfolds alongside the events of this year's Women's World Cup in France. Featuring three popular characters from the Roy of the Rovers series (Rocky Race, her brother Roy and her coach Ffion), readers will be able to follow their adventures as the follow the Lionesses around France on their quest to become world champions.
Each chapter will be published before 8:00am each Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning and shall be posted below for you to follow either in school or at home. The first chapter is already available below and each new chapter will be added every day. Last year's Defenders live story was fantastic and we can't wait to see what happens to Rocky and her friends in this year's edition!
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 - Harry
What a fantastic newspaper article! Harry included all the features we talked about in class, including quotes and embedded clauses. I am particularly impressed with his ambitious vocabulary choices. Well done Harry - your best piece of writing this year.
Class 2 - Ethan
Excellent progress in your handwriting, especially in the Varjak newspaper report.
Class 3 - Henry
A wonderful Varjak Paw newspaper.
Class 4 - Eva
What a creative Cat! Super Egyptian artwork and descriptive writing.
Class 5 - Katie
A very thrilling, tense and exciting adventure story.
Class 6 - Ari
The language in this paragraph is fantastic. He's used a range of strategies to build tension.
Class 7 - Lottie
She tries so hard to produce such fantastic writing. I love this atmosphere setting with all the ingredients we practised.
Class 8 - Finn
Victorian Setting: such fabulous vocabulary and phrases. He even used spellings from our weekly set.
Class 9 - Elodie
Great sentence constructions and amazing choice of vocabulary.
Class 10 - GiGi
Becoming so much more confident with extended writing.
Class 11 - Isobel
A wonderfully detailed piece of creative and colourful writing
Class 12 - Ji-Ji
Lots of excellent, factual detail coupled with some creative flair to hook the reader.
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:
- Tell the story from each Chimp's point of view.
- Add in dialogue as it is missing in the film.
- Write predictions - what happens next? Create a newspaper story detailing the events.
- Write from the point of view of the big gorilla, perhaps he is recounting the day he first heard the chimp play the piano.