Apart from this blog (obviously!), there are lots of ways of finding quality children’s books and ways for you to keep your book knowledge up-to-date. Keeping an eye on the children’s book awards is one way, but there are also many resources out there designed with teachers in mind. I have listed a few key recommendations for you here:
Fantastic children’s bookshop in Hove. Run by Vanessa and Julie who have years of experience in teaching and the book trade so expect expert advice. The Book Nook also have a lot of author and illustrator events that are worth looking out for. Students get 15% off.
Excellent children’s bookshop in Lewes. They work with teachers and schools so can recommend books to use in your teaching practice. They also have very useful booklists on their website based on key stages and a ‘Teacher’s Book Clinic’ blog.
Family-run bookshop in West Sussex which specialises in children’s books (Julia Donaldson also lives in Steyning…).
BOOK REVIEWS AND NEWS
Books for Keeps is a free online children’s book journal that comes out every 2 months. It has reviews by teachers and librarians of the latest children’s books and also articles on authors, illustrators, book awards and on using children’s books in your teaching practice. You can also sign up for their newsletter to get reviews and news straight to your inbox
English 4-11 is a hard copy journal published jointly by The English Association and UKLA. The magazine has a reader – friendly approach, backed by sound pedagogy, to inspire teachers to try out new ideas to develop their own practice. We always have the latest copy on display and keep previous issues on the shelves of the English Journals section of the Centre.
The Guardian regularly publishes a children’s book roundup, which highlights newly published books for children and teenagers.
An excellent website that has reviewed nearly every children’s book out there. Their primary reviewer is Julia Eccleshare who is a highly respected children’s book expert. The site features numerous lists including recommended new books of the month, books for boys, books reviewed by children, books by age group, and book awards. The site also features a section called If They Like…They’ll Love which recommends similar authors/genres for children who have exhausted all of a series or author.
Primary topics website from Bags of Books children’s bookshop in Lewes
Booklists and recommendations for primary curriculum topics
The Booktrust is a charitable organisation which actively promotes reading to children and families. Their website is an excellent source of information for teachers and features book news, blogs, reviews and numerous booklists on various genres such as fantasy and on specific topics such as disability.
The CLPE promote high standards in the teaching of literacy and quality children’s literature at the heart of all learning. They are based in London and run fantastic CPD courses for teachers. Keep an eye on Ann’s Book of the Week where expert Ann Lazim reviews a new title every week – if Ann recommends it, it is sure to be an excellent book. They also have a library of quality children’s books which teachers visit to get ideas on what to stock in their school libraries. The CLPE have recently published their Core Booklists online (register for free) which is an essential resources for teachers.
Fantastic bookseller that specialises in children’s books that celebrate equality and diversity. You can search by themes including bullying, mixed race representations, disability and LGBT. They search the UK and overseas to find books that represent the diversity of children around the world and I can’t really recommend them enough!
Very comprehensive site which lists recommended books by year level, dyslexia friendly books and lists of titles by key stage for reluctant readers. You will need to register (free) to access the lists.
The School Reading List is curated and reviewed by a small group of librarians, teachers and parents who meet each summer to discuss newly published children’s books and books which have worked well with groups of children.
The Poetry Archive (primary and secondary)
The Poetry Archive website includes lesson plans and classroom materials for both primary and secondary students. Visit their related site The Children’s Poetry Archive for examples of poetry written by children.
Poetry Line (primary)
Poetry Line is run by the CLPE and is a very useful resource for primary teachers. You can view poems by poet or by theme and similarily by poetic device such as alliteration or haiku. Teaching resources include booklists, teaching sequences and classroom practice suggestions. It also features videos of well-known poets in action, such as John Agard, Julia Donaldson, Grace Nicholls and Michael Rosen.
There are loads of great children’s book blogs out there. I would recommend:
Magpie That – a picture book blog written from the point of view of a teacher
The Book Sniffer – picture book blog
Library Mice – school librarian blog
Playing by the Book – blog written by a very experienced children’s book reviewer
Miss Cleveland Is Reading– school librarian blog