Arm yourself with a list of quality books for 2015. We have chosen 3 recommended titles for each stage from Early Years to Key Stage 4.
Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes from Around the World collected by Elizabeth Hammill (Frances Lincoln)
A beautiful collection of multicultural nursery rhymes illustrated by a range of children’s book illustrators including Jon Klassen, Emily Gravett, Shaun Tan and Catherine Rayner.
Red Sledge by Lisa Judge (Andersen)
An almost wordless picture book illustrating the delight of playing in the snow. Excellent use of onomatopoeia and the expressions on the animal’s faces are priceless.
I am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon and illustrated by Vivianne Schwarz (Walker Books)
An inspirational picture book about a bird who tries to make a difference. A useful story for prompting discussion with young children who will also enjoy replicating the fingerprint illustrations. This book would also work with older children.
Key Stage 1
The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf and Grandma’s Wardrobe by Diane and Christyan Fox (Words and Pictures Press)
A cat is very patiently trying to read the story of Little Red Riding Hood to a dog but the dog (quite rightly sometimes) keeps interrupting and questioning the story. A very amusing and fresh look at a well-known fairytale.
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Burnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
A deceptively simple story about two boys digging a hole. Children will enjoy the visual play as the reader can see all the things that the boys keep missing.
My Life as a Goldfish and Other Poems by Rachel Rooney (Frances Lincoln)
Rachel Rooney won the CLPE Poetry Award in 2013 and this is her latest collection of very witty poems – such as this one:
Property for Sale
Two houses up for sale.
One stick, one straw.
See pig next door.
Key Stage 2
El Deafo by Cece Bell (Amulet Books)
A memoir in graphic novel form of a girl who becomes deaf through meningitis at a young age. Based on the author’s life, this is a humorous yet revealing look at what school is like for a child with a hearing impairment.
Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen (Doubleday)
An exciting sci-fi story set in London -this is The Day of the Triffids for 2014. Concrete-eating plants (Bluchers) have destroyed London and everyone has fled. However there is still one tower block left standing – can Ade and the others fight off the Bluchers and save their home?
Animalium by Jenny Broom (Templar)
This huge non-fiction book is a virtual museum and will fascinate children. Each strand of the Tree of Life is explored in detail and vividly illustrated.
Key Stage 3
The Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press)
12 year old Scarlet lives in fear of Social Services discovering that she has become the sole carer for her depressed mother and autistic brother, Red. When disaster strikes, Red’s obsession with birds become the key to Scarlet holding it all together.
Trash by Andy Mulligan (David Fickling)
This is not actually a new book but is worth revisiting as the film is about to be released and looks spectacular. Set in South America, the story follows a group of boys who live in poverty and work sorting trash in one of the biggest dumps in the world. A chance find one day changes their lives forever.
The Boy With the Tiger’s Heart by Linda Coggin (Hot Key Books)
A thrilling modern day dystopian fable featuring three children and a bear. To make the world safer, the authorities are eliminating danger. This includes nature, animals and even darkness. A very compelling story about fear and the importance of freedom and wildness.
Key Stage 4
The Door That Led to Where by Sally Gardner (Hot Key Books)
Whilst working in an archive, teenager AJ finds a key mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth and sets out to find the door that it opens. An exciting time travel/crime story set in modern and Victorian London for older readers.
A Song for Ella Gray by David Almond (Hodder Children’s Books)
A contemporary retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice set in the North East of England. Lyrical prose from David Almond and told from the point of view of a teenager.
The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices From The Titanic by Allan Wolf (Candlewick Press)
The ill-fated voyage of the Titanic is captured through 24 viewpoints of those involved including passengers, rats and even the iceberg. The extracts are told in prose and poetry but are based on fact which makes the collection even more compelling. Includes a wealth of background information on the Titanic and would work well as a starter for creative writing activities.
Feel free to add any titles you would recommend to your fellow student teachers by commenting on this post.