No catches, no fine print just unconditional book love and reading recommendations for your students and children.
You can create your own school's page, develop tailored reading lists to share with peers and parents...all helping encourage reading for pleasure in your children.Find out more
Children are keen to learn about the world about them, who makes the laws, how they are governed and the philosophies and ethics that affect our country and the people who hold power. Learn more about citizenship and our political system with the books in this special section.
Emma Carlisle is a famous award-winning landscape artist known for her practice around Devon and Cornwall. As you would imagine from such a prestigious artist this is a glorious book with large illustrations – often deceptively simple in its approach, with very few words per spread. Having said that, this is a book that uses the short, written sections to create a very thoughtful look at nature, particularly trees, and how it can help create empathy, deep nature reflection and self-reflection. Simple questions encourage the reconnection with nature in the widest sense. The artwork is in the many tones watercolour allows - creating a beauty of a book. I was particularly pleased to see the last two spreads that explain simply how trees communicate with other trees in the area, and also the final spread that encourages the reader to become more like a tree – by taking your time, and self-care amongst a whole list of other vital activities. I can see this being a favourite – either just to enjoy the glorious pictures or to use the book as the basis for discussions on how readers could be more like a tree – a wonderful mildly philosophical exercise! The book feels as if it will be quite a large format (300x255) though, as I have reviewed this from a PDF copy, that is not as easy to assess.
July 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | This remarkable collaboration between Carnegie medal winning Jason Reynolds and acclaimed artist Jason Griffin has created both a lasting memorial to what the world endured in the pandemic of 2020 and a testament to the enduring horror of racism and what humans do to each other and the world. Printed on yellowed lined paper with every appearance of a notebook it looks and feels like an artefact of the troubled times we have all survived. This is lived experience we can all share with the creators, who have captured so brilliantly the sheer claustrophobia of being trapped within four walls, as indeed is the narrator. With a mother glued to the news with its rolling horror and a brother glued to his video games, a father coughing in isolation and a sister plotting protest, the boy wonders why the human race seems so intent on destroying themselves. The collage illustrations mainline emotion and every word of the spare poetic narrative hits home. The connection between George Floyd unable to breathe, tear gas victims unable to breathe, COVID victims unable to breath and the world in the grip of pollution, unable to breathe is truly powerful. But what we and the narrator realise is that the everyday mundane moments that we share with our loved ones is our “oxygen mask” and the repeated refrain as we are reminded to “breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth” brings solace and hope. While capturing a specific moment in time the messages are timeless and enduring. This is essential reading.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | This is the latest in a series of books by Steve Cole which let readers see the world through the eyes of young people the same age as them but living very different lives. Hanh’s family were conned into allowing her to travel to Hanoi, ostensibly for a job as a shop assistant. Instead, she’s forced to work in a sweatshop making clothes for Western fashion outlets. Little more than slaves, she and other young girls work long hours in horrible, dangerous conditions, locked in at night and beaten by guards if they complain. It’s a grim setting, but Cole’s story emphasises Hanh’s strength, character, and resilience as together the girls form a desperate plan to escape. It’s tense and exciting, and readers will identify with Hanh from the very beginning. The story leaves them in no doubt either as to the real cost of that cute pair of ripped jeans and makes us all aware of our part in the terrible treatment of children like Hanh. Published by Barrington Stoke, this is accessible for all readers including those reluctant, struggling or dyslexic.
June 2022 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ | This is a story that we need to be told. A Carnegie Medal winner, Tanya Landman is one of our finest writers. She is particularly good at writing about historical events, picking out their relevance to our lives today with an unflinching honesty. This short novel is set in the decade before the second World War. Elsie and her family live in a packed, noisy tenement block just off Cable Street in the heart of Stepney. The family are poor, but so are all their neighbours and, despite the daily arguments between Mrs Smith and Mrs Rosenberg, they get along. Until the arrival of Oswald Mosley that is. Elsie’s story details the rise of Mosley and his party, and the impact it has in Stepney, turning neighbours into enemies, bringing friends into danger, and playing to the very worst in people. The story concludes with the famous Battle of Cable Street when ordinary East Enders – in defiance of the Home Secretary and the police – bravely barred Mosley’s Blackshirt bully boys from marching through their home. The events are as shocking now as they were in 1936 and truths about the reception Mosley received from the British establishment will make you feel ‘sweaty and awkward’ as Elsie says. The facts speak for themselves, but Elsie’s voice is clear, direct, full of anger at the injustice she sees.
Touching on major moments in the story of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights including the Stonewall Uprising, the first Gay Pride Rally and the dazzling history of drag and the ballroom scene, We Are Your Children is a wide-ranging and inclusive account of a multifaceted movement, with detailed and characterful colour artwork. This book showcases figures from queer history like Harvey Milk, Julian Hows, Carla Toney, Crystal LaBeija, We Wha, Vincent Jones, Marsha P. Johnson, Alan Turing, Sylvia Rivera and many more. From the secret slang adopted by gay Londoners the 60s, to the decades of sit-ins and marches, there are countless fascinating stories to be told: stories of resistance, friendship, love, fear, division, unity and astonishing perseverance in the face of discrimination and oppression.
From an author acclaimed for her ability to tackle important global issues in the personal context of well realised and nuanced characters, we have a story set after a world-wide antibiotics crisis. Children must be protected until their immune systems have fully developed because a simple infection could kill. All schooling is on-line until the age of 14 and digital technology is central to all aspects of life. This theme is brilliantly worked through and will really resonate with readers who have experienced lockdowns, increased online shopping, online learning and of course not being able to meet their friends. They will understand the nuances of facing live interactions for the first time as these children join their designated boarding schools. How does live socialising work? What are the cues that help you understand behaviour? This would not be an Ele Fountain novel without also a cracking mystery to solve and wider political implications to consider, such as the risks to autonomy created by algorithms and realising just how easy it is to lose a digital identity. We learn that we need to watch very carefully how far big tech and big pharma can control our lives. This is a really rewarding read for children who are old enough to make the connections with the experiences they have lived through and who will be entirely gripped by the dilemmas, both ethical and physical which confront the main characters, as this gripping adventure plays out. Highly recommended
The latest title in the Changemakers series offers another inspirational collection of 12 real-life stories from across the globe. The author herself set up a company to build bridges between rural communities and the global fashion market and has selected some brilliantly diverse examples here of sustainable enterprises working to improve the world. As in the previous books, each story has a beautifully illustrated double page spread with lively images of busy young people. The layout guides your eyes to the fact boxes and nuggets of information that describe succinctly the problem and how the young person set about changing things. Covering genuinely global topics such as reducing paper waste, period poverty, sustainable farming and green energy through to fashion and healthcare, the examples show that children are making a difference to the future of our world with their resourceful actions. Inevitably the amount of information on each scheme is brief but, at the back of the book, the reader is directed to all the project websites that they can access ‘with the help of an adult’ for more information, which will be useful for teachers and older pupils. They can also find ten suggestions of how they could help to build a more sustainable world and ten ways to be a responsible consumer. This refreshingly positive series strikes just the right note to energise and engage young eco-warriors and will be a useful support to environmental studies.
Otherworldly, yet rooted in patriarchal realities, Kelly Barnhill‘s When Women Were Dragons is a storytelling masterwork. Set from the 1950s, it presents a magnificent maelstrom of fire-breathing women who refuse to keep quiet, exposing the trauma of enforced silence, and shining a blazing light on how vital it is to transcend imposed shame and live your own way. “I was four years old when I first saw a dragon. I was four years old when I first learned to be silent about dragons. Perhaps this is how we learn silence — an absence of words, an absence of context, a hole in the universe where the truth should be”. So shares Alex, the narrator of this brilliant novel, who lives at a time when adults remember the “mass dragoning” of women that occurred on 25th April 1955, but never mention it. Alex’s aunt Marla was among those who rose up and transformed into a dragon, but it’s as if she never existed. Marla is never spoken of again - not by Alex’s sick mother, and not by Alex’s father, who leaves her to raise Marla’s daughter Beatrice. Before her transformation and vanishing, Marla told Alex that, “All women are magic. Literally all of us. It’s in our nature. It’s best you learn that now”. Fearing little Beatrice won’t be able to resist her powerful urges to dragon, Alex shuns any such notions, and silences Beatrice’s talk of dragons. But librarian Mrs Gyzinska, who supports Alex’s plan to become a mathematician, shares her learned insights, and frames the phenomenon of dragoning in the context of patriarchy: “There are people who have problems with women, and alas, many of them are also women. That is because of something called the patriarchy… an unnecessary and oppressive obstacle, and best disposed of as soon as possible.” As Alex grapples with tremendous conflicts and prejudice, we’re presented with a spectacular prom scene, a tense but glorious reunion, a beautiful love of a lifetime, and glorious sisterhood. What a story.
The Inheritance tells of the greed of those who hold economic power, and reminds us that silence and inaction amount to complicity. With minimal text, this powerful story is told primarily through Armin Greder's distinctive illustrations that challenge the reader to question the status quo and fight for the future. Powerful storytelling from the internationally acclaimed, award-winning creator of The Island and The Mediterranean and Diamonds.
A World Book Day 2022 Mini Book | Ever thought making money was just for adults? Or that business was boring? And that inventing stuff was only for super clever people? Think again. Though this book may be small, it’s bursting with big ideas for budding entrepreneurs. From understanding money and looking after it, to the nuts and bolts of setting up a business, making your big ideas a reality and using your cash for good. Don’t have a big business idea just yet? Don’t fear. Being a boss isn’t just about making money. It’s about building confidence, thinking outside of the box, problem solving and being 100% fearless. Which isn’t a bad place to start, right? So don’t leave everything to the grown-ups. It’s time to boss it. Packed with tips and tricks from real businesses and fantastic role models.
‘Shirley Chisholm was one of those people who didn’t look left or right – but just looked straight ahead’ said President Obama of the extraordinary woman whose life-story is told in this inspiring, short graphic novel-style book, and readers will understand exactly how accurate his statement is. Growing up in Brooklyn after a childhood in Barbados, Shirley worked hard at school and college, but still found opportunities for her and other Black people were limited. She set out to change things, entering politics and making a difference locally before winning a seat on the New York Assembly in 1964, only the second Black woman ever to do so. She carried on getting things done, breaking rules when necessary, and taking ‘unbought and unbossed’ as her slogan. She became the United States’ first Black congresswoman and then, in 1972, broke the biggest (unspoken) rule of all: she ran for President. Though she didn’t win, Shirley Chisholm changed the way her country looked at women in politics, and her story, as told here, will prove to today’s young readers that it is possible to change things for the better with determination, hard work and by refusing to accept the status quo.
Exhilaratingly informative, compellingly personal, and outright inspirational (thanks to its practical “try this” activities and “over to you” calls to action), De Nichols’ Art of Protest is a must-read compendium for a new generation of change-makers. Exploring the history and transformative impact of protest art through the compelling lens of the author’s own activism experiences, this book about making a difference sure does things differently itself. Clearly framed in the context of why art matters to social movements, readers are presented with an overview of the history of protest art (from the anti-WWI activism of early-twentieth-century Dadaists, through the women’s suffrage movement, to current BLM actions), before embarking on a dazzling visual journey through key facets of design. We learn about symbolism, typography, the power and meanings of colours, and the role of tech, including memes, social media filters, and videos. With a feature on young contemporary climate activists, and tonnes of easy-to-follow suggestions for how to make your own change in the world, the book’s aims are perfectly précised by its final page: “Start making. Start creating the change that’s needed for a better world”.