The wonderful people at the Book Trust have just released the Great Book Guide. It's full of amazing, age-appropriate recommendations across a range of genres - an excellent place to look if you're struggling to pick out your next read! Click the image above to view the guide.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Want to know what each class is reading at the moment? Look no further.
Author of the Month
Born and raised in England but now living in Minnesota, bestselling author Neil Gaiman has long been one of the top writers in modern comics, as well as writing books for readers of all ages. He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers, and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama.
A self-confessed “feral kid who was raised in libraries”, Author of the Month Neil Gaiman, spent much of his childhood devouring the books of J.R.R. Tolkein, Edgar Allan Poe, C.S. Lewis, Michael Morcock and a host of others. He has achieved cult status in the world of fiction with his award winning, unpatronising writing for young people, including The Graveyard Book, Fortunately the Milk and Odd and the Frost Giants (originally written for World Book Day 2009).
Neil's work has brought his numerous awards including the Newberry Medal (the highest honour in US children's fiction), the Hugo Award (for science fiction and fantasy) and the Eisner Award (the comic equivalent of an Oscar).
Here's our latest book recommendations with the help of those wonderful people at LoveReading4Kids.
3+: The Adventures of Moose & Mr Brown by Paul Smith, illustrated by Sam Usher
Mr Moose and Mr Brown first meet on an aeroplane flying from America to London. Mr Moose should be with his brother Monty, but absent-minded Monty has got on the wrong plane. Mr Brown, who is a famous fashion designer (as is the book’s author Paul Smith), offers to help his new friend find his missing brother. As they travel the world, Mr Moose helps Mr Brown with his fashion range, suggesting some very interesting garments – parkas for penguins, sneakers for cheetahs, scarves for giraffes. As they fit out an Alaskan bear for snow-shoes Mr Brown has an idea … It all ends with a happy reunion at a big catwalk (moosewalk?) show. It’s an engaging story and very strong on the fun and satisfaction that comes from designing things and from creative partnerships. Sam Usher paints some wonderful scenes, including a witty reimagining of Hopper’s Nighthawks, 1942.
ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS
5+: Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker, illustrated by Zoe Persico
Greta is a little girl who lives in a beautiful forest threatened by Giants. When the Giants first came to the forest, they chopped down trees to make houses. Then they chopped down more trees and made even bigger homes. The houses grew into towns and the towns grew into cities, until now there is hardly any forest left. Greta knows she has to help the animals who live in the forest, but how? Luckily, Greta has an idea...
This inspiring picture book retells the story of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg - the Swedish teenager who has led a global movement to raise awareness about the world's climate crisis - using allegory to make this important topic accessible to young children.
7+: Harriet Versus The Galaxy by Samantha Baines
At once amusing and affectionate, this early Middle Grade novel combines real-world alienation with actual aliens!
Harriet feels terribly out of sorts when she moves in with Gran while her dad works away, but before she’s even had chance to say goodbye to him, she learns that her hearing aid enables her to understand alien languages, such as that spoken by the Sock Muncha she finds beneath her new bed. What’s more, Harriet discovers that Gran is part of a secret intergalactic organisation that’s working to protect Planet Earth from an invasion of Sock Munchas. Harriet runs into conflict when she’s taken on as Gran’s apprentice: how can she possibly banish her new alien friend, given that he was bullied by other Sock Muncha’s and isn’t at all like them? Alongside the action-packed alien adventure, there’s much sensitivity around making friends and making everyone feel welcome. For example, Harriet’s unquestioning acceptance of new friend Robin’s non-binary identity, which she describes as “kind of awesome.”
What a sweetly empowering debut this is from a hearing aid-wearing comedian, actor and Ambassador for Action on Hearing Loss and the British Tinnitus Association.
JOANNE OWEN, NOSY CROW PUBLISHING
9+: The Golden Unicorn – Secrets and Legends by Selwyn E. Phipps, illustrated by Rae Ritchie, Oana Befort, Aitch and Zanna and Harry Goldhawk
This follow up to the hugely popular Official Handbook of the Magical Unicorn Society will entrance fans of the original and new readers alike. It is again written by the mysterious Selwyn E Phipps, president of the Magical Unicorn Society, and tells eight separate stories, each one featuring a different unicorn. There are Water Moon Unicorns, Storm Chasers, Ice Wanderers and of course the Golden Unicorn. Each story is full of magic and mystery and is preceded by a short profile of the unicorn it features while the pages are full of delicate, atmospheric colour illustrations. It all makes for a beautiful book which really will send shivers of delight through anyone who dreams of one day, somewhere, somehow, seeing a unicorn.
ANDREA REECE, LOVEREADING4KIDS
11+: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell
Award-winning Neil Gaiman shows all his story telling skills in this gripping fusion of familiar fairy tales told in a dark-hearted version with some original characters. Especially a bold-hearted queen. Not far from where the queen lives, a princess is under the spell of an enchantress who has put a whole country to sleep. Despite it being the eve of her wedding day, the bold queen decides to take action. Slipping into her mail shirt she arms herself with her sword and sets off out of the palace accompanied by the three dwarves who will lead her through the tunnels…The dark magic, great courage and spell-binding imagination that power this story is perfectly realised in Chris Riddell’s awesome illustrations.
JULIA ECCLESHARE, GUARDIAN CHILDREN’S EDITOR
Non-fiction: Everest: Illuminightmare by Lucy Brownridge, illustrated by Carnovsky
Look through the green lens to see the place and its surroundings by day. See which plants and animals, buildings and cultural artefacts you can spot on the map. Use the red lens to learn about the history and real-life inhabitants of this place. Then turn the page to learn more about the cultural highlights and natural wonders in the field guide. If you dare, look through the blue lens to reveal the hidden horrors, supernatural goings-on and ghosts who haunt this place. There's so much more to the world around us than meets the eye.
Graphic Novel: Lumberjanes Vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis & Shannon Watters
Best friends for life Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are determined to have the best summer ever at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penninquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types. But what's up with the mysterious Bearwoman, the three-eyed foxes, and the talking, arm-wrestling statues? What does it mean to "Beware the Kitten Holy"? The five Lumberjanes (the name of their brand of scouts) are determined to find out, even if it puts them in mortal danger from a host of supernatural critters.
With crazy humour and nearly nonstop action, this frenetic series of illustrated adventures spotlights five young girls at their spunky, take-charge best. The Lumberjanes aren't afraid of much (other than their strict cabin counsellor, Jen), and they throw themselves at anything that threatens their summer together.
MICHAEL BERRY, 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.