December 2022 book club picks

December 2022 book club recommendations

December 2022’s set of recommendations for book clubs features a diverse collection of picture books, short chapter novels and short stories that will spark debate, encourage care for the environment, reconnect generations, champion differences, help to develop empathy and compassion and help us all stay fit this Christmas season. December 2022’s picks include titles by Kallie George, Ken Wilson-Max, Kate Simpson, Joe Wicks, Debi Gliori, Ulrich Hub and Rainbow Rowell.

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December 2022 book club recommendations

I Hear you, Ocean by Kallie George

“The Ocean has lots to say, if you listen,” explains one child to a younger sibling in this beautifully illustrated picture book featuring diverse characters. With rich figurative language and alluring aural and visual descriptions, pebbles, wildlife, rockpools and seaweed come alive. Readers in EYFS and KS1 will almost taste and smell the experience through thoughtful and lyrical writing. Highly recommended.

3-5 year-olds | Author’s Instagram | Author’s website

I Hear you, Ocean by Kallie George

Eco Girl by Ken Wilson-Max

Eve loves caring for the trees, particularly the incredible Baobab tree, and after a surprising turn of events and with the help of her Grandma, she finds herself connected to the future of the forest in ways she could not have imagined. Eco Girl is a positive and informative conservation-themed picture book story with lyrical text that highlights the magnificent Baobab trees and the importance of planting trees, protecting the landscape and combatting climate change in Africa. A cracking follow-up to the bestselling ‘Astro Girl’. Ideal for reading and discussing in EYFS and KS1.

3-5 year-olds | Author’s Twitter

Eco Girl by Ken Wilson-Max

Dear Grandpa by Kate Simpson, illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh

Henry lives further away from his grandpa than all the world’s whales placed end to end. But through imaginative writing, the two of them can keep in touch. The clever use of letter writing to tell this heartwarming and positive story will appeal to teachers in lower key stage two. And with gorgeous and radiant artwork, this book is bound to inspire art and writing display ideas. A heartwarming story that’s highly recommended for 4-8-year-olds.

4-8 year-olds | Free activity sheet | Author’s Twitter

Dear Grandpa by Kate Simpson, illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh

Snail Trail by Ziggy Hanaor, illustrated by Christos Kourtoglou

Whatever Marjorie does, she can’t seem to find anywhere to spend time on her own. Someone always follows her trail and wants to talk to her. A great story that will appeal to children who sometimes just want to be left alone. The full-colour illustrations are engaging and characterful and this is an ideal text to help younger children develop inference skills.

5+ year-olds | Author’s Twitter

Snail Trail by Ziggy Hanaor, illustrated by Christos Kourtoglou

The Burpee Bears: A Christmas Adventure by Joe Wicks

Granny bear is about to visit and there’s so much to do before she arrives for Christmas! But when a sudden snowfall threatens their plans, can the bears find a way to save Granny’s day? This energetic story combines onomatopoeia, catchy rhymes and a madcap plot, with recipes and fun Christmas-themed festive exercises for all the family. This is bound to appeal to children, aged 3 to 5.

5-7 year-olds | Video | Author’s Twitter

The Burpee Bears: A Christmas Adventure

A Cat Called Waverley by Debi Gliori

For many years, Waverley the cat has had a happy life. But one day, his best friend Donald goes off to war. For years Waverly survives and longs for him to return. Will the two of them ever be reunited? This poignant narrative picture book is inspired by real characters and explores themes of homelessness, loyalty, loss, PTSD and war with great sensitivity. This an excellent text to read and discuss with KS2 pupils in PSHE lessons.

6+ year-olds | Author’s Twitter

A Cat Called Waverley by Debi Glori

Duck’s Backyard by Ulrich Hub

A limping duck and a blind hen club together – the duck as a guide and the hen as support – and embark on an amazing quest to a magical land where dreams come true. Empowering, heartwarming and inspiring, this story will help children to set goals and believe. This energising quest story is the perfect first chapter book for newly independent readers in KS1 and lower KS2 who want thrills, twists and surprises.

6-9 year-olds | Video | Q&A with the author

Duck's Backyard by Ulrich Hub

Scattered Showers by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Jim Tierney

With sparkling dialogue, humour and short sharp plots, these nine short stories are beautifully presented in hardback. Including five brand new stories about high school life, loves and experience, readers will be pleased to see the return of Simon Snow. A great Christmas gift for teenage Rainbow Rowell fans.

12+ year-olds | Video | Author’s Instagram

Scattered Showers by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Jim Tierney

Themed day / social media opportunities for December 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.

  • December is ‘Gift Of Sight month’, highlighting the importance of eye health. There’s a range of posters, flyers and resources here.
  • December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities #IDPWD. Clifton Primary School has a page on their website that will inspire whole school ideas.
  • December 3rd is Tree Dressing Day. The Woodland Trust has published lots of free ideas for schools to get involved.
  • December 8th is Christmas Jumper Day. We recommend this wonderful ‘Value’ Tesco Christmas jumper. Note, as an eBay Partner, we may be compensated if you purchase this sensational jumper.
  • December 8th is also Pretend to be a Time Traveller day. Wired Magazine has some interesting ideas that might be useful for librarians to integrate with science fiction books. It’s also ideal for late homework excuses or forgetting the Christmas Jumper Day.
  • December 10th is Human Rights day. The United Nations has produced a series of resources that will be useful for schools looking to organise awareness and events.
  • December 29th is World Mangelwurzel Day. Celebrate this unusual vegetable by carving it, cooking it, throwing it, making musical instruments out of it, writing odes to one, or hiding lots of them in strange places for people to find unsuspectingly. #wheresmewurzel

Extension activities:

Other recently released titles to have a look at:

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About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is a highly qualified (BA Hons, PGCE, QTS) children's literature expert and teacher with over 25 years of experience. He has led inset courses, developed curriculum materials, spoken at conferences, advised on longlisting for several international children's literature literature awards and written for educational publishers including contributing to a BETT award-nominated app. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin