All of the books highlighted today are now part of my permanent collection. The collection I take to schools and share with staff and students but bring home to read again and again. I keep these books because they have heart, soul and empower the imagination. I share them for those same reasons and hope each time they are read, that they will be loved and form special memories for those readers. These are all incredible, in text and illustration. What talented authors and illustrators these are!
The Seed of Doubt by
Irena Brignull and Richard Jones, Published by Walker Books
Sometimes I read a book and feel it was written for me…this is one of those powerful books that speaks to your heart and soul. Utterly beautiful illustrations and a fantastic use of colour help the reader to connect with this young dreamer. When the boy first plants a seed, he sees it as full of hope and potential for his future, though as he grows, life and responsibility weigh heavy on him. Dreams, goals and hopes are now more fear inducing than excitement. The tree he planted and once wished to conquer, fills him with dread, until his father speaks the wise words that filled my own eyes with tears. “You can do anything, as long as you believe it.” This is the ultimate message to share with our children when they express their dreams and hopes for their life and our world. The father, watching his son climb and providing encouragement is such a heartwarming moment in this story and I could feel his pride as a parent myself. The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld, Published by Templar Books
This is a special story and the illustrations are wonderful and intricate, begging readers to study each page in-depth. Simply told, this story begins with a King and Queen who want a child. Each visits someone who delivers a version of a child to the couple. Love lives in the castle and family, so deeply that your spirits will be lifted upon reading this. When a few mistakes are made, the children must each embark on a fascinating adventure to find their way back home and back together, some elements of which are shortened, allowing the readers imagination to take hold. Even when these journeys seems arduous and long, there was such hope in the wooden robot and log Princess. This is a perfect read aloud for any age and the fairy tale elements are given a new lease of life within this book, from the character and settings to the adventures had! A complete joy to read! Shoo! By Susie Bower
and Francesca Gambatesa, Published by Pushkin Press
Mrs Golightly lives alone but finds that animals seem to like her and be around her, causing her to shriek “Shoo” constantly. From cats, squirrels, birds and butterflies, no animal is welcome in her home or garden! When a zoo moves in next door, Mrs Golightly has a new challenge on her hands in the form of dancing animals in her garden, a giraffe in the bath and a kangaroo on the loo…causing her to loudly shriek, “Shoo”. Day after day, new animals pay her a visit, even ants in her pants which is the final straw. Locks, alarms and bars on the window finally allow her some peace and quiet. Her next few days are so quiet and it seems as though they aren’t as enjoyable without the animals…could it be she misses them? What happens next is heartwarming and lovely! Filled with fun rhyme and delightful illustrations, this one will have readers dancing round the room! Ten Delicious Teachers by Ross Montgomery and Sarah Warburton,
Published by Walker Books
A countdown book with a twist…one that is sure to delight students and teachers alike! Told in perfectly rollocking rhyme, it is hard not to laugh and smile as each teacher falls behind on their walk home and a monster nabs them. As the reader, we can see what is going to happen next and I can imagine a class of children shouting at each teacher just before each monster makes their move! The nursery teacher, used to dealing with “noisy, smelly creatures” is the last teacher and with a name like Miss Hunter, those monsters had better watch out! Colourful, bold and completely charming illustrations will have readers searching each page for the monsters like a darkly funny search and find. A superb ending to this tale, one I will not spoil for you had me and the class chuckling and pointing. Sure to be an absolute favourite with many classes and children. Daisy’s Dragons by Frances Stickley and
Annabelle Tempest, Published by Studio Press
Daisy has dragons who represent her emotions and while no one else can see them, their impact can be quite far reaching. When Daisy suffers through a particularly bad day, some of the dragons become larger and push the other ones out. This then cause those emotions to grow within Daisy until she can feel nothing but the larger, growing ones like anger, sadness and scared. Playing on her own isn’t helping but when Sadness mentions, “But all of us are part of you…and none of us are bad.”, Daisy comes to understand that they all have a role to play but they can balance each other out perfectly. Each dragon explains their role and emotion perfectly to Daisy so she can understand their importance and place in her life. Reading this to a class could be vital to some children coming to terms with handling emotion and learning to cope in new situations. The illustrations and dragon designs are wonderfully apt for this story, truly bringing the story and emotions to life. Rock and Roll by Hazel Terry,
Published by Tiny Owl
You can’t help but be captivated by the use of illustrations throughout this story, they are colourful, vibrant and emotive. Rock and Roll stand tall and proud near enough to each other to connect, share and wonder at the world. Countless years pass and they enjoy their time spent looking around them and shyly glancing at one another. Love can be felt throughout the beginning pages of this book. When people begin visiting, it is a joy and Rock and Roll are adorned with gifts which they love but over time jealousy whittles it’s way in. They no longer smile and share beautiful moments but sling insults and cruelty to each other. The impact of their jealousy cause a storm and they begin to lose themselves. I had two views on this story- one on the damage the human race can cause to the beauty and wonder of the world, and the other in just how powerful anger and jealousy can be to friendships. The story highlights just how interconnected we all are in this world. My Beautiful Voice by Joseph Coelho and Alison Colpoys,
Published by Frances Lincoln Books
Pure delight in a book! For those shyer students, children still finding their voice or lacking confidence, this is the perfect book! In all honesty, this book will benefit everyone. The use of rolling language, imagery and illustration join together to create a young boy’s voice. I loved Miss Flotsam exploding into the room as a riot of colour and poetry. Her stories, adventures and ability to connect with each student is awe inspiring and beautiful! The use of colours is divine, peaches, blues, pinks and greens- exploding off the page. You truly feel a part of this boy’s journey, from feeling nervous to whispering ideas to finally feeling brave enough to share. My heart was so hopeful for him and I was crying by the end. The descriptions of just walking to the front are so sure and relatable, climbing a mountain, tipping on the edge of a cliff, heart pounding but then beauty! Utterly wonderful from beginning to end! The Planet in a Pickle Jar by Martin Stanev,
Published by Flying Eye Books
This is a book to be savoured! Having read it a few times, I found myself discovering new things each time- things the children were neglecting to see as well as their time with Grandma was shared with the reader. Thinking Grandma is boring, they miss the Jaguar, the suit of Armour and the absolute brilliance that is their Grandma! The illustrations are detailed, beautifully colourful and provide clues to the excitement and wonder of Grandma’s work in preserving the planet, memories and history. An entire new world is found hiding under the house and the room full of pickle jars, one that must be protected and cared for. This positive message of care, kindness and preservation of our world is powerful and could be shared with any age, each taking what they can from the tale. Overwhelmingly, this is a book about making changes to protect what we have, to make memories with family members and to look closely at the world around us.
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I am a primary school teacher, turned librarian. Now I have the title Reading Advocate for ASSET Education Trust, based in Suffolk.
I read constantly and have more books than bookshelves, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
I celebrate reading every day at work and at home with my two children, aged 11 and 9.
I sit on the National Executive Committee for the Federation of Children’s Book Groups and run an OU/UKLA Teachers as Readers group!
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