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A selection of books especially selected for children in Year 1 (5 - 6 year olds) of average reading ability for the 2018/19 academic year.
If your child is a competent reader or has read all these titles then try the books from the Year 2 list. Our overall mission is to promote reading for pleasure with quality texts that are perfectly pitched for the age group and the curriculum. We have particularly avoided blockbusters, classic or set texts, known to everyone, so that we can include poetry, stunning information texts and inspirational books in which all children and young people can find themselves reflected.
Thanks to our partnership with Browns Books For Students we are able to offer all the books on this list at an exclusive price.
One of our 2018 Books of the Year | Witty, a bit silly, with irresistible characters, fabulous illustrations and a serious point to make, Giraffe Problems is an outstanding picture book, one that will easily stand repeat readings. Edward the giraffe stresses about his neck, a lot. He compares it unfavourably to all the other necks around and does his best to disguise it (most memorably with a mountain of scarves and bow ties). Only when he meets Cyrus, a creature also frustrated by the size of his neck, does he come to terms with it, making a special friend in the process. Lane Smith’s textured, brushy artwork is a perfect match for Jory John’s sharp and very funny text, and this is a picture book to entertain and amuse readers of all ages.
Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup with typically vibrant colours and eye-catching compositions, We Are Together is a beautiful book. On each page children stand in different scenes, some are there on the page, others we glimpse through carefully-placed cut-outs. More and more appear on each page until at the end they all stand together, one big, happy crowd. The text emphasises the importance of community, of embracing all that life has to offer, and of the importance of friends particularly ‘when the icy winds blow’. Young readers will love looking at the different children, who though small are all individual characters, while the different scenes are wonderfully bright and lively, teeming with animals, birds or flowers. A book to inspire readers.
The Little Monster thinks he's brave but we're not so sure! Little Monster really wants to be in a scary story but he won't listen to the narrator who thinks a funny story might be better... But the dark and scary forest is just too dark and scary. And the creepy witch is just too creepy. And the ghost? Oh jeepers creepers! Jean Julliene's illustrations jump off the page; the Little Monster pulls the most wonderfully expressive faces. A cute, funny and just a little bit scary, picture book perfect for Halloween fun.
June 2018 Debut of the Month | Joseph Coelho dedicates this lovely picture book to ‘everyone who misses someone’ and it’s particularly apposite for any child who has recently lost a grandparent. The story is narrated by a little girl who describes happy times with her grandad, ordinary everyday experiences interspersed with vivid metaphor, ‘if all the world were deep space, I’d orbit my grandad like the moon and our laughs would be shooting stars’. As the story continues, it’s clear Grandad has died, but writing down her memories ensures he will always be with her. Joseph Coelho is a fine poet and this is a joy to read aloud; Allison Colpoy’s illustrations make it beautiful to look at too and it deserves a place in every child’s collection.
The Station Mouse is a perfect bedtime read. Every page is a feast to the eye, with jokes and things to spot to keep it interesting read after read. The hero of our story is a most diligent mouse employed in the local railway station on a mission to keep the site clean and tidy. He does this under a strict Rule Book which, amongst many, dictates he must stay out of sight and never approach a passenger. He follows these rules most conscientiously until he spots the opportunity to reunite some lost property as a little boy drops his comforter while crossing the concourse. Hurray for the Station Mouse! I think we've all been unfortunate enough to lose something whilst travelling - if only there were more busy little mice reuniting property. This is a lovely book with original and charming illustrations and a cheerful storyline.
July 2018 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2019 | Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, Ocean Meets Sky is a celebration of love and the imagination, and a wonderful book to prompt discussion of loss, particularly of a grandparent. Finn has vivid memories of his grandfather and the exciting stories he told. On the day his grandfather would have been 90, Finn builds a boat out of junk and leftover bits of wood. Falling asleep, he dreams an amazing adventure where, in the company of a golden fish, he visits the magical place his grandfather described, where ocean meets sky. Surrounded by whales, strange vessels and starbright jellyfish, he floats up to the moon and finds it has his grandfather’s face, until his mother’s voice calls him home for supper. With a rare sense of silence and wonder this is a story to pore over, to share and to return to again and again.
Shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2019 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2019 | Already shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, Julian is a Mermaid is an outstanding picture book, surely destined to become a classic. Julian is out with Nana when he notices three women dressed as mermaids. In his heart of hearts – we see it described over three fabulous wordless spreads – Julian knows he is a mermaid too and while Nana takes a bath he sets out to transform himself into one. Nana’s response is life-affirming and the two head out to join the mermaid party. The illustrations dazzle and as a celebration of individuality, the imagination, freedom and love, it can’t be beaten. The Klaus Flugge judges said: it reminded me of Sendak, it’s hard to believe it’s a debut; the illustrations say things that words would struggle to express; delivers an important message without feeling didactic.
March 2018 Book of the Month | Little Juniper Jupiter is a wonderfully bold heroine and her adventure is a real celebration of play and the imagination. Juniper is a super-hero – super-kind, super-brave and, of course, super-super-smart. But she’s missing a sidekick and as everyone knows, all super-heroes need a sidekick. Bright, vivid pages illustrate the audition process as she sets out to recruit the perfect companion and there’s a happy twist in the tale as she finds one surprisingly close to home. In her red cape, hair held up with pom-pom bobbles, Juniper is a whirlwind of dynamism and determination; the illustrations are full of detail and energy and this is a book to delight and invigorate all readers.
Best-selling duo Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb reunite in a lovely story that begins in a Year One classroom before taking us on an exciting, fantastical journey. Scenes in the classroom and at home with the children as they play with their shared Everywhere Bear are beautifully depicted in Donaldson’s nimble rhyming text and Cobb’s sketchy, lithe illustrations. Their imaginations take flight when the poor bear is lost, swept down a drain and into the sea in dramatic scenes before finally, almost miraculously, he’s reunited with Class One. In the hands of star author and illustrator, it all makes for an exceptionally satisfying adventure for young readers, with much they’ll recognise, much to make them wonder. ~ Andrea Reece Best-selling Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb create some wonderful adventures for the much-loved class bear in this warm-hearted and dramatic story with a strong classroom background. One thing is for sure - the Everywhere Bear knows that his life will never be dull! He goes home with a different child every weekend and no-one knows what surprises the weekend will bring! ~ Julia Eccleshare
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | What a wonderful book to give to a child. It’s one which will inspire a real interest in nature and the creatures that share our planet, as well as an appreciation of art and poetry. Nicola Davies shares her delight in animals in specially written poems, each of which is illustrated by Petr Horacek across dazzling double pages. Grouped by themes such as colours and shapes, or animals in action, creatures big and small are vividly brought to life, from the whale shark, ‘like a piece of fallen starry sky’ to a barn owl, ‘quiet as the floating moon’. The images are breath-taking, full of movement and colour; the poems too are varied and memorable, sometimes precise, sometimes ethereal. It’s a book that recipients will treasure into adulthood.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | October 2016 Book of the Month A stylized, colourful picture book that highlights the power of perception and will gently introduce young readers to the concept that we all see the world a little differently. It harnesses not only the visual but also touches on the effect of spatial awareness and emotions such as fear to show how it can influence what we see and our reactions. The bold, vivid illustrations work together with simple, rhythmic prose to provide plenty of opportunities for discussion with your young readers as they embark on a new journey of exploration alongside the cat. Each animal’s vision of the cat is informed by a combination of proximity, physiology and emotion, in a quietly brilliant demonstration of the power of perception. ~ Shelley Fallows
Winner of the UKLA Award 2015 in the 3-6 years category. Winner of the Red House Children's Book of 2015. Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013. | Award-winning Oliver Jeffers and Drew Daywalt’s highly-entertaining book is now available in board book form. Colouring will never be the same again! When Duncan goes to take out his crayons one day he finds a stack of letters inside. Every crayon has something to say. The red crayon complains he is used too much – too many things such as fire engines and strawberries are red; the purple crayon is a neat minded soul and hates it that so much of Duncan’s drawing goes outside the lines; the black crayon hates just to be used for outlines – and so on! Saddest of all, the peach crayon has lost his wrapping – how can he come out of the box naked? In an attempt to satisfy them all, Duncan does a final drawing. Overall, a brilliant book for every age to enjoy.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Winner of the English Association 4-11 Picture Book Awards 2016 - Fiction 4-7 category | Winner of Little Rebels 2016 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 3 - 6 year old category. | All finches make a lot of noise! Henry Finch has grown up with a terrible racket all around him from morning until night. But he is sure that there could be more to life – if only he could have space to think! How one brave little finch becomes a hero and gives all the other finches the chance to do their own thing is beautifully realised in Viviane Schwarz’s witty thumb print illustrations.
Winner of the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 3 - 6 year old category. | Little Red Riding Hood transposed to an African town setting where a lion is really no match for a clever small girl. The inventive layout of the text and its relationship to the witty, beautifully coloured illustrations really enhance the child friendly storytelling. The empowering portrayal of different cultures and a heroine who is not a naive victim ensure that this will become a classic for the classroom and the nursery. A wonderfully engaging classic fairy tale with a twist by the bestselling Alex T. Smith.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 3 - 6 year old category. Shortlisted for Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Younger Children category - Shortlisted for Oscar’s First Book Prize 2015 | A little girl, a big dog, and a very badly-behaved book! Bella is taking her dog for a stroll across the page when something odd happens. Her dog disappears and it becomes apparent to Bella, her friend Ben, and the rescue services that peril lurks in the pages of this book. But where the police and fire brigade fail, you - the reader - can help!
Winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 - Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 3-6yrs 2014 - Winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal. One of Julia Eccleshare’s Stand-out Children’s Book of the Year 2012 | Best-selling illustrator Jon Klassen follows up his successful I Want My Hat Back in this witty, almost wordless picture book about a tiny fish who steals a hat from a very big fish – and hopes to get away with it. The eloquent but simple illustrations show the audacious behaviour of a hapless fish heading for disaster. Young children will love the joke...and the fact that they know what the little fish doesn’t.