Discover more about these spectacular books from our knowledgeable book expert, Marcia, and uncover the reasons behind their inclusion in this coveted collection:
I Am Hungry by Michael Rosen
With expressive illustrations that jump off the page, and a lively, ridiculous, rhyming text from poet Michael Rosen, this book is a stand-out read aloud text ideal for your reception class.
The Boy With Flowers in His Hair by Jarvis
This beautiful and poignant picture book, by award-winning illustrator Jarvis, is a gentle tale of inclusivity, kindness, and creativity. It is a simple story with a variety of associations to explore from seasonal change to wellbeing. We would love to be a fly on the wall to see what this book draws out of your reception class.
Ada and the Galaxies by Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv
This stunning picture book seamlessly layers images from the Hubble Telescope with beautiful illustrations that capture the depth and beauty of the night’s sky. At the same time the text captures the excitement and joy of sharing a long-anticipated experience with loved ones. This glorious celebration of stargazing will captivate your year 1 class.
The Girl Who Noticed Everything by Jane Porter
The bright artwork in this engaging picture book plays with the reader’s point of view, and zooms in and out to great effect, giving us lots to notice each time we revisit this book. The text reminds us how irresistible curiosity is, when to keep it to ourselves and when to voice it. Encourage your year 1 class to look at the world around them and make connections with this appealing book.
Adoetee by Lydia Monks
Imagine the changes the trees around us have seen with this celebration of our arboreal neighbours from award-winning author-illustrator, Lydia Monks. This beautiful book encourages pupils in year 2 to think about local history and fosters a sense of community and responsibility, and a respect for trees. There is so much to explore and respond to that this book is a pleasure to revisit many times over.
Not Now, Noor! by Farhana Islam
This joyful celebration of the hijab and the women who wear them introduces us to the different members of a busy family. Our young protagonist is full of funny questions as she tries to work out why her relatives are wearing their hijabs and becomes increasingly exasperated until her ammu gently and beautifully explains. An enjoyable, funny, and tender read for all your year 2 readers.
My Father is a Polar Bear by Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo’s gentle tale of the search for a post-war missing father has a slightly surreal feel as he is revealed, by an article on a Snow Queen pantomime, to be one of the polar bears. The father remains a distant and mysterious figure but a constant one and is seen reading a picture book about a polar bear to his great granddaughter at the end. This new edition features the same evocative illustrations as the original and supports the readers understanding of a family growing through the decades.
Budgie by Joseph Coelho
This vibrantly illustrated, exquisite short story from Children’s Laureate, and poet, Joseph Coelho packs a punch for a little book. The breath-taking discovery of a beautiful little bird and the sadness of its loss is set within a story of increased understanding between an old man and a small boy from a tower block. It is a satisfying read with gorgeous descriptive language and emotional depth for readers in year 3.
The Wishkeeper’s Apprentice by Rachel Chivers Khoo
This extraordinarily entertaining and rewarding read for children in year 4 combines the thrillingly scary with the comfortingly cosy. Our hero is unsure of himself and his place in the world until he becomes a Wishkeeper’s Apprentice, shows great courage, and discovers how very dearly his teenaged sister had wished for him. May all your wishes be received and granted by your invisible Wishkeeper and may they keep you safe from the Wishsnatcher! Enchanting and exciting in equal measure.
Tiggy Thistle and the Lost Guardians by Chris Riddell
This exciting, stand-alone, adventure is set in an established rich magical world that has frozen over. Previous stories are brilliantly whispered of as history, or mythology from before the freezing, in this book. It features stunning world building, glorious illustrations, and gorgeous language. As you would expect from former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, it is a truly immersive book for readers in year 4.
The Magic of Endings by Tom Avery
This short and satisfying magical quest is reminiscent of E. Nesbit, with beautifully drawn themes of loss, memory, and family. It is poetically written and there is plenty to discuss here regarding themes, author intention, character development, language use and metaphor. Our hero, JoJo, can’t remember his father, he is a blank space because a fairy stole him away at the point death. JoJo has to go on a quest to find him to restore balance. Ultimately, he has to say goodbye to his father, but his families memories are returned and celebrated. A poignant and magical book for readers in year 5.
The Book of Legends by Lenny Henry
There is some really lovely challenging language in this entertaining, and funny, whirlwind of a fantasy adventure. Lenny Henry has been creating wonderful characters for television for decades and his skill as a writer shines through in this book. Our heroes are twins from the midlands who are drawn into a magical world of wizards, Viking armies and mud monsters. The adventure is broken up with stories from a book within the book featuring mythical black heroes and heroines. It is a lovely feature, and each story gives the protagonists a steer in the right direction when we get back to the action. Highly recommended for readers in year 5.
The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton
This stunning magical world is steeped in black New Orleans culture and features rich word-building, beautiful language, and exciting and rewarding storytelling. Our hero is the first child from the Conjure community to be allowed to attend the Arcanum Institute for Marvellers. The setting it reminiscent of the first black children to attend white schools in the US and her attendance has wider political and social implications. The cast of characters is richly diverse and the challenges or bringing different communities together forms a beautiful, sensitive, and outstanding subtext for readers in year 6.
Rivet Boy by Barbara Henderson
This gripping story of a boy sent to work on the Forth Bridge is rich in historical detail. The captivating, high-quality writing transports readers completely into this world of precarious rivet gangs and grandiose Victorian engineering. Just superb.
Look What I Found at the Farm by Moira Butterfield
This sumptuously illustrated book takes you on a tour of a farm, collecting ‘treasures’, such as a velvety apple blossom petal and a tuft of sheep’s wool, along the way. It features a gentle rhyming text alongside detailed information and encourages observation skills. This will be a favourite non-fiction book to pour over in KS1.
I’m Glad There Are Oceans and Seas by Tracey Turner
This joyful non-fiction text addresses the reader directly, talking about reasons to love different ocean environments. It starts with the familiar and moves on to estuaries and mangrove swamps, encouraging a keen interest in these diverse places and suggesting ways to get more involved. A fabulous book to help readers in KS1 to really engage with the subject.
Wild Child by Dara Mc Anulty
This stunning, evocative text is perfect for encouraging a love of, and deep interest in, British wildlife. It is packed with beautiful poetic writing, fascinating information, instructions for activities, and gorgeous artwork all presented in a variety of exciting ways. An enticing and captivating non-fiction text for readers in KS2.
The Green Planet by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe
Turn KS2 readers in to budding botanists, and keen conservationists, with this glorious companion book to the BBC’s Green Planet series. Discover the wonderful world of plant diversity across many unique habitats and their relationships with other plants, and animals, including humans. This will prove a popular pick from your library and undoubtedly promote a love of non-fiction reading.