Kicking off our first set of recommendations for book clubs are seven titles that will provoke debate about consumerism, greed, right and wrong, gaslighting, hucksterism, loyalty, the importance of a free press in a world of corruption and fake news, hope, reality vs the supernatural, and that perennial question – was the book better than the film version? April 2022’s picks feature titles by Hayley Wells, Pooja Puri, Kelly Barnhill, Eloise Williams, Varsha Shah, Pam Smy and Nancy Springer.
April 2022 book club recommendations
The More Monster by Hayley Wells
Imagine an island dominated by a monster that every minute of every day wants more and more. Nothing is ever enough, and everyone else has to pander to the monster’s wants. But one day, one curious islander decides to take a rational approach and find out what’s really going on. A highly original and clever picture book that’s perfect for reading and discussing in circle time, PSHE or P4C. Exploring the importance of asking questions, thinking logically and focusing on how to improve a situation, ‘The More Monster’ is a really valuable book to read with KS1 children and explore further with KS2 children.
3-7 year olds | Author’s Twitter
A Robot Squashed My Teacher by Pooja Puri
When Esha Verma turned her teacher into a pigeon, she really didn’t mean it! With a graphic journal format, easy to read typeface and lots of illustrations, this will appeal to less confident readers in KS2. This madcap adventure is very funny and a real page-turner. ‘A Robot Squashed My Teacher’ will be perfect for fans of Tom Gates and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
7-9 year olds | Author’s Twitter
The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
When Stone-in-the-Glen suffers disaster upon disaster, the desperate villagers turn to the Mayor, a self-proclaimed dragon-slayer, to save the day. Soon, an orphan disappears and a mysterious Ogress is suspected. But the other orphans know who is really to blame, and how the Ogress might be the only person able to save them all. Can they reveal the truth before it’s too late? An epic 390-page fantasy saga with relatable characters and plenty of magical spark, this MG novel is perfect for KS2 book clubs.
The Tide Singer by Eloise Williams
With an enticing brew of magic, loyalty, and fighting for what’s right, The Tide Singer is great to read aloud or in groups. Mysterious, atmospheric and highly readable (with a reading age of 8), this clever modern myth is perfectly pitched to KS2 readers who need a high interest, fast-moving text for small group reading or book clubs.
Ajay and the Mumbai Sun by Varsha Shah
When Ajay starts up a school newspaper with his friends Saif, Vinod, Jasmin and Jai, he stumbles upon a web of corruption by powerful people. Can he evade danger and expose the crimes? With rich cultural details and compelling storytelling, Ajay and the Mumbai Sun is a sublime slice of life to wistfully lose a few days reading. It’s also a must-read for children involved in school newspapers, and an inspirational book to encourage pupils to care about finding the truth.
9-13-year-olds | Preview extract
The Hideaway by Pam Smy
When Billy runs away, he finds himself hiding in a neglected graveyard. There he meets an old man patiently waiting for a supernatural event on All Soul’s Eve. Told in alternating chapters through the wide eyes of Billy, and his worried mother’s point of view, The Hideaway offers teachers in years 7&8 plenty of ideas for character studies, perspective and hot seating. Spectacular, atmospheric and moving, this novel is an excellent choice for KS3 discussion and an easier read for KS4 fans of A Monster Calls and Stranger Things. Also, with pitch-black painted fore-edges, a substantial illustrated hardback cover and aromatic paper, this novel refuses to go unnoticed.
Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
In this gripping mystery set in the Victorian East-End, Enola Holmes follows in her famous brother’s footsteps to turn detective and help find her missing mother. Atmospheric and fast-moving, this is a short and satisfying middle-grade novel that will appeal to children in Years 8-10. Also available as a Netflix film
Themed day / social media opportunities for April 2022
These hashtag days might provide current and relevant talking points for secondary aged pupils aged 13+ in KS3, KS4 and KS5, especially when linked to related literature.
- Have a look at our writing competitions for April 2022.
Other recently released titles to have a look at:
- Our latest April 2022 books of the month.
- Our April 2022 books of the day on Twitter.
- Our guide on how to run a school book club, which covers both primary school book clubs and secondary school book clubs.
Click the button below to buy all this month’s recommended book club titles, or class sets of any of these books, from Bookshop.org UK.