Alexander the Great By Dominic Sandbrook is a beautifully produced book. With its marvellous illustrations by Edward Bettison, it’s full of fascinating facts and valuable life lessons and, perhaps most important, it is hugely enjoyable to read.
By Rowan and Yew by Melissa Harrison – the parallels with our disappearing environment are powerfully obvious and the reader is never in doubt that we have to work together to save the world that we share with nature.
The Bear Who Sailed the Ocean on an Iceberg by Emily Critchley – the witty and playful use of language delivered mainly through Monty, and the humour that runs throughout the book will appeal to both young and adult readers.
Rita Wong and the Jade Mask by Mark Jones has a dreamlike, almost hypnotic quality that works brilliantly and the cover and illustrations by Seamus Jennings capture the shadowy mystery and warm humour beautifully. I read the book in two sittings.
When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari does much more than just describe people and locations; it examines deep human impulses. The failures of a systems-driven society that so often neglects and then ignores young people are laid bare.
Antigua de Fortune of the High Seas by Anna Rainbow and Oli Hyatt explores themes of good and evil and love and hate and examines issues of gender and class expectations and family relationships and reconciliation. But most important of all the book is a great adventure story.
Song of the Far Isles by Nicholas Bowling is a marvellous book with a beautifully calm and satisfying conclusion to the story. Highly recommended for late Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 independent readers.
Sports Legends by Rick Broadbent. This great book is all about hearts, stomachs and feelings, drama, passion and joy. It is about learning from, and being inspired by others and invites you to confront your own doubts and prejudices.
Big Sky Mountain by Alex Milway. The importance of peaceful co-existence with nature is delivered with humour and fun. The maps and illustrations add greatly to the overall reading experience in this great read-aloud for year 2.
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town – direct and spare, it examines deep human impulses: love, acceptance and security; and isolation, anger and instability. Accessible and easy to read, this is an ideal short story collection for Year 10 and 11.
Picklewitch & Jack reminds me what a magical place the seaside is, and how much I miss it. The plot storms along at a great pace with magic, great fun, an original storyline and playful use of language.
A Case of Grave Danger. A gripping first person mystery with a strong female protagonist and high quality writing. Violet Veil is a character with the potential for many more adventures in this world and the next.
The Awesome Power of Sleep is full of fascinating facts, hugely enjoyable to read and the science is presented in an entertaining way. A great resource for teenagers, secondary PSHE teachers and parents overseeing KS3, KS4 and KS5 home learning.
Darwin’s Dragons is a marvellous tale that plunges the reader into Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle voyage and adds a young boy’s wonder, imagination and bravery into the historical mix. This is a fantasy firmly grounded in historical fact and geographical realism.