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All the books we feature as Books of the Month on LoveReading4Schools are selected because we think they deserve to stand out from the crowd. We select a few each month across the key stages.
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December 2019 Book of the Month | Greta Thunberg is the inspiration for this heartfelt and moving allegory. A little girl lives happily in a beautiful forest until the actions of neighbouring giants start to threaten her home and the wild animals who share it. The fictional Greta, like her real-life counterpart, begins a strike and is gradually joined by more and more people until the giants take notice. In this story they change their ways and everyone lives happily. Simply but powerfully the story explains the impact of human activity on the climate and our world, but reassures children that there’s something they can do: within notes about Greta Thunberg at the end is her quote, “No one is too small to make a difference.”
December 2019 Book of the Month | Set in 1912, this action-packed adventure feels both classic and contemporary, with Marina, its young heroine, yearning to break free from societal constraints to become the “new woman” she’s read about in modern magazines. Namely, the kind of woman who is “mistress of her own destiny”. Frustratingly, Marina’s father dismisses her desires outright. Being a naval captain he’s often away at sea and, with her mother gone, Marina is about to be shipped off to boarding school when all she really wants to do is set sail with her dad. So much so, Marina ends up stowing away on his ship. As his mission is vitally urgent, Captain Denham has little choice but to continue with Marina aboard. As their perilous voyage progresses, the thrilling dangers of enemy sightings, superstitious shipmates and icebergs are interlaced with myth and mystery as Marina feels an inexplicable “urgent tugging in her chest to go north” after being accused of possessing the power to “call up storms”. Indeed, Marina’s affinity with the sea adds an extra edge of intrigue throughout, leading to an eerie explanation as the novel twists and swells to its pulse-quickening crescendo.
December 2019 YA Debut of the Month | This compelling, nuanced tale is set in the town of Lucille in a future society where evil, the ‘monsters’, have been eliminated in an epic struggle by the ‘angels’ to create a better world for their children to grow up in. Jam, our selectively-nonverbal, black, trans heroine, is one of those children. When she accidentally spills her blood onto her mother’s painting, a creature called Pet emerges. Looking like a monster but here to hunt a monster preying on the family of her best friend, a boy named Redemption. But the identities of the victim and the predator are still unknown and Jam and Redemption have to face what their society fails to acknowledge: that monsters exist and hide in plain sight- that evil still resides in humanity. One of the huge strengths of this book is that Jam’s trans status is not there to score diversity points. The story does not centre around gender identity, but also does not ignore the impact upon the character and plot in a very natural, unforced way. Dialogue is used extremely creatively too. Emezi Jam speaks aloud in quotation marks and sign language is indicated with italics and when Jam and Pet speak telepathically, Emezi uses no punctuation marks whatsoever. On top of that, dialects, phrases, and cultural traditions from across African American communities appear throughout, giving a real flavour and authenticity to the narrative. Emezi has spoken of her inspiration being teenagers discomforted by the monsters in plain sight in our current society. This is a thought-provoking reading experience that could inspire valuable discussion in a lot of classroom contexts.
A new Nature Storybook about one of the most beautiful creatures in the world, with words by Planet Earthproducer Justin Anderson and pictures by Patrick Benson. A spellbinding new Nature Storybook about snow leopards, with words by Planet Earth producer and first-time children's author Justin Anderson and pictures from award-winning artist Patrick Benson. Something moves in the rocks ahead. My hands start to tremble. My heart is beating fast. There, just a few footsteps away, is a snow leopard... Join us on a journey high into the snowy peaks of the Himalaya, and discover the secret world of a rare and utterly majestic creature - how it has adapted to the harsh environment it lives in and how it looks after its young. Complete with an index and a conservation note, this is a wonderful addition to the series and the debut of an exciting new voice in non-fiction writing for children.
Reading Planet - Under a Parrot Sky - Level 6: Fiction (Jupiter) | Under a Parrot Sky is included in the Rising Stars Reading Planet reading scheme at the Blue A level. Keen wildlife photographer, Lily, is disappointed when instead of heading to South Africa for a holiday, her parents take her on a work trip to Norway. Unhappy that she’ll be unable to photograph the abundant and colourful animals of South Africa, Lily reluctantly attempts to join in with the life of her Norwegian hosts. This does not go well, and Lily finds herself isolated in an unfamiliar and unwelcoming new world. Eventually, she discovers that the wilderness of Norway is home to a host of magnificent creatures and so she sets-off to explore its wonders on her own. Disaster strikes when Lily falls into a deep snow drift, far from her hosts’ home and without anyone knowing her whereabouts. Under a Parrot Sky is a story about difference and learning to get along with people from unfamiliar backgrounds. It takes the reader on a journey to the Arctic Circle, introducing them to the natural wonders of this wilderness environment, including the Northern Lights. In keeping with the rest of the books in this series, Under a Parrot Sky includes a set of comprehension questions for readers to complete after reading. There is also an author’s note outlining the inspiration for the story and prompts to encourage readers to further research the Northern Lights and other aspects of the story. A most enjoyable addition to the Reading Planet reading scheme.
This captivating collection comprises intensely poignant profiles of people and places; of domestic life and wild landscapes, especially Scotland’s “dark and stormy waters”, with flashes of crimson running through the poems in the form of fire, a fox, red shoes, a red balloon. Among the cast of memorable characters is Mrs Dungeon Brae, terrifying in both life and death, and The Knitter, who “knits to keep death away” and urgently recounts big life occasions knitting has accompanied her through, all the while “casting on, casting off”. Then there’s the grandmother lamenting the fact that “it’s no like the past for grannies these days...nobody knows how to make a conversation/ let alone make a home-made meal or a fresh baked scone.” Brimming with humanity - with love, anger, frustration and flashes of humour - this engaging, accessible anthology makes a richly rewarding gift for language lovers of all ages.