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Children's book reviews

Children’s and YA book reviews

Below are our latest reviews of recent children’s and young adult fiction and non-fiction releases. Many thanks to the book publishers for sending review copies.

A Trip to the Future by Moira Butterfield

A Trip to the Future by Moira Butterfield

‘A Trip to the Future’ will challenge pupils to think, imagine, be creative, and look for solutions – all of which can be expressed in creative writing, oracy – in the form of debates or short films for home-learning, and deeper philosophical argument in persuasive writing.

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School Reading List Book of the Month

School Reading List Book of the Month

The School Reading List compiles this list of recommended books monthly. This book of the month list highlights new releases and editions of fiction and non-fiction books suitable for children and young adults aged 5-16.

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Challenge Everything by Blue Sandford

Challenge Everything by Blue Sandford

Blue Sandford’s startling book shows us a different way. In Challenge Everything, she not only spells out how all this has happened but also provides the would-be activist with practical advice on how to engage the media and make the biggest impact.

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Adventure in Athens - The Time Travel Diaries by Caroline Lawrence

Adventure in Athens by Caroline Lawrence

In Adventure in Athens, everyday sights, sounds and smells, the casual brutality, the strange conventions and the convincing sense that people in history always regard themselves as advanced, are all skilfully presented and interwoven with a gripping suspense story.

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Metropolis by Benoit Tardif cover ft

Metropolis by Benoit Tardif

Metropolis – a visually compelling picture book that transports the reader to 32 exciting and diverse cities around the world. Let your child build a bucket list of dream destinations to visit during their lifetime!

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The Extraordinary Elements by Colin Stuart cover

The Extraordinary Elements by Colin Stuart

The Extraordinary Elements is perfect for children who like to accumulate a lot of facts and information. Written in a catchy and accessible style, the nature of each element is explained concisely and clearly to appeal to children and encourage them to find out more.

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Taylor Before and After by Jennie Englund

Taylor Before and After by Jennie Englund

Taylor Before and After explores the turmoil experienced by teens in a way that will captivate not just YA readers, but their teachers, parents, and younger siblings. It’s perfect to read in one sitting during the summer holiday and ideal for book club discussion when schools return.

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Born Bad by C K Smouha

Sock Story and Born Bad by C K Smouha

It’s not easy being a child – even the happiest and most secure people have had to cope with days, weeks and months of uncertainty, unease and confusion. C K Smouha has produced two challenging and entertaining books for youngsters who may be facing these things.

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Scruff by Alice Bowsher

Scruff by Alice Bowsher

The bold, direct drawings, the jokes and observations (all dogs look like their owners, and vice versa) promise a nourishing and hilarious twenty minutes shared with your four-year-old.

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Build a Castle by Paul Farrell

Build a Castle by Paul Farrell

Build a Castle has great potential as a classroom resource in KS1, KS2, and KS3. With imagination and lateral thinking, this kit can be used to help form ideas for stories, build description and in KS3 there’s a great opportunity to link the graphic art and pop art style to medieval realms units in history.

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Time School by Nikki Young

Time School by Nikki Young

There is plenty of ‘nourishment’ here to satisfy a Year 7 group: action, mystery, humour, everyday detail and even a hint of romance. Two chapters provide more than enough to chew over in a half-hour lesson.

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The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle

The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle

The phrase ‘a rollicking good yarn’ appears to have dropped out of fashion in recent years, but if any book warrants its re-introduction, it’s this one. The Pear Affair is an ideal class reader for years 5&6 in KS2.

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The Big Green Activity Book by Damara Strong

The Big Green Activity Book by Damara Strong

The Big Green Activity book is bursting with ideas. It’s an ideal resource for wet playtimes, or extension classwork or homework; and it offers teachers ideas for short, fun informal AFL style tests on green and eco-related cross-curricular topics. It’s perfect for classrooms and school libraries.

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The Missing by Michael Rosen

The Missing by Michael Rosen

The Missing is an accessible, engaging and poignant account that will appeal to children aged 9-12. It provides an invaluable human link to events that must never be forgotten. It’s a book about the Holocaust, it’s a book about the present and it’s a warning for all our futures.

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The Pearl in the Ice by Cathryn Constable

The Pearl in the Ice by Cathryn Constable

This middle-grade novel is an interesting entwinement of realism and fantasy with a pacey mystery plot and a quest to find the truth – a story which will appeal to children who are just starting to consider and question their position in the world.

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A Million Dots by Sven Völker

A Million Dots by Sven Völker

Classroom activities and maths topics in KS2 will benefit from this eye-catching children’s non-fiction book. Sven Völker’s clever presentation and sharp graphics will pose questions for enquiring minds to solve and consider in greater depth.

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Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince by Liz Kessler

Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince by Liz Kessler

Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince is ideal for children in years 5&6 who like to rip through book after book of adventure based thrills and spills. The unique combination of fantasy-tinged seafaring thrills combined with contemporary characters will appeal to a wide demographic of children.

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Brilliant Brainz magazine for primary aged children

Brilliant Brainz Magazine

Brilliant Brainz is a vibrant and interesting magazine for children aged 7-11, and one which is ideal for classroom and school libraries. With a wide variety of topics each month, including art, philosophy, music, food, science, sport and tech – there’s something to grab every primary aged child.

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When It Rains by Rassi Narika

When It Rains by Rassi Narika

When It Rains is perfect for reading aloud and in small groups with EYFS and KS1 children and great for discussing different points of view and ways of looking at problems in circle time.

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Notes on my Family

Notes on my Family by Emily Critchley

This startling debut novel is bound to appeal to older teen readers who want something slightly different to read in one or two sittings. It would be perfect for Year 9, 10 and 11 book groups and reluctant readers in KS4 who want a book with bite.

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Peter in Peril

Peter in Peril by Helen Bate

Set in Budapest in 1944, this graphic novel follows the life of Peter, a child, who goes into hiding with his family when the Nazis occupy Hungary during the second world war.

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Our latest reading national curriculum year group recommended reading lists: Picture books for the under 5s | Books for Reception | Books for Year 1 | Books for Year 2 | Books for Year 3 | Books for Year 4 | Books for Year 5 | Books for Year 6 | Books for Year 7 | Books for Year 8 | Books for Year 9 | Books for Year 10 | Books for Year 11