January 2023’s set of recommendations for book clubs features a selection of vibrant and creative nonfiction books to spark conversation and deeper learning, inspirational and lyrical picture books to read aloud and use as an impetus for writing and artwork, fun short stories to retell to siblings, and a compelling thriller for older teens that’s ripe to invite debate and argument! January 2023’s picks include titles by Britta Teckentrup, Joy Cowley, Stephanie Blake, i-SPY, Julie Vosburgh Agnone and Kerry Hyndman, Jonathan Meres, Ed J Brown & Maureen Johnson.
January 2023 book club recommendations
Stupid Baby by Stephanie Blake
From the author of the unforgettable ‘Poo Bum’ comes ‘Stupid Baby’, the story of Simon, whose every waking moment seems to be ruined by the arrival of a baby brother. The bold and vibrant illustrations leap out, making this story a joy to read to a class or at bedtime. The themes in the book also lend themselves to circle time and PSHE discussion in KS1.
3-5 year-olds | Author’s website
Song of the River by Joy Cowley
A beautifully written and lyrical picture book story about Cam, a young boy who follows a trickle of water through snowy mountain landscapes, to a waterfall, down to a creek, into a river, through a city and all the way to the ocean. A wonderful book to read and share with KS1 pupils, to use as part of topic work about rivers, or to use as a basis for creative writing ideas with KS2.
There Are Fish Everywhere by Britta Teckentrup
This spectacular large-format picture book contains fish of every size and description, presented differently and excitingly on each page. The reader is transported on a journey of piscine perception that includes types of fish, the properties of fish, the history and habitats of fish, fish food, lifestyle and families; and finally, the impact of humans. Not simply a detailed science book – the artwork is stunning – perfect inspiration for topic work and art displays.
The new i-SPY series will be familiar to parents who grew up in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and grandparents who remember the original books from the 1950s and 1960s. This new range, published by Collins, features over forty high-interest titles that will appeal to 7-11-year-olds. This ‘Winter’ title invites children to look for interesting sights including birds in the garden, and things to spot in the snow and in the night sky. It’s a little book to keep children interested for a long time.
5-11 year-olds | Publisher’s website
Amazing Rivers: 100+ Waterways That Will Boggle Your Mind by Julie Vosburgh Agnone and Kerry Hyndman
This magnificent large-format hardback is perfect for primary school libraries, and topic work on rivers in KS2. Packed with short and accessible blocks of facts and explanations, the level of detail is ideal for children in years 5&6 looking to find out more. Enlightened teachers will also appreciate its potential for use in nonfiction comprehensions for children who will benefit from a short and punchy text. Covering history, human and physical geography, biology, ecology tourism and STEM, this book takes a thematic approach to cover 100 rivers from around the world and reveal their secrets and surprises. Highly recommended.
Noodle the Doodle Wins the Day by Jonathan Meres
It’s Wigley Primary School sports day and Noodle, the class pet, now has a sidekick – Daniel the Spaniel. Will the event survive them trying to join in? Ideal for children who love sports and pets, but are less enthusiastic about reading, this fast-paced and anarchic tale about what can go wrong at school is great to read aloud with small groups. Driven by dialogue, the story is both funny and relatable.
Epic Animal Journeys: Migration and navigation by air, land and sea by Ed J Brown
Exploring nature’s Sat-Nav-free miracle of migration, follow birds, salmon, butterflies and elephants as they travel great distances. A magnificent large format, full-colour hardback, Epic Animal Journeys features enticing illustrations and lots of interesting facts. Stunningly Illustrated, this book will be a great resource for research and home learning in upper KS2.
Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson
Stevie and her gang of amateur sleuth friends travel to London to solve a perplexing cold case from 1995. When nine Cambridge graduate friends partied late into the night, only seven of them remained alive the next day. And years later, the murderer might still be active. With a simple and addictively engaging premise – ‘When Everyone Lies, Somebody Dies’, Maureen Johnson weaves a tightly plotted and unputdownable story. A compelling read for KS4 and KS5 students.
Themed day / social media opportunities for January 2023
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.
- January is ‘Veganuary’, highlighting the benefits of being vegan. The Vegan Society has created a useful guide for schools.
- January 2nd is Science Fiction Day. Have a look at our STEM and science fiction themed list for KS2 and KS3 students.
- January 4th is World Braille Day. RNIB offer a great resource pack for schools, covering all age groups.
- On January 6th, the RSPB’s Big Schools Birdwatch project begins. Have a look at the RSPB’s guide for teachers.
- January 22nd is Chinese New Year. Nat Geo Kids has a fun interactive guide.
- January 23rd is National Handwriting Day. If you enter any competitions, just remember to check your entries in case a year 8 student decides to send the local Women’s Institute handwriting contest a surprise submission – featuring exquisite penmanship – of Phillip Larkin’s ‘This Be The Verse‘.
- January 25th is Burns Night. Scottish Language has created a great set of free activities for learners.
- January 26th is Australia Day. Have a look at our Australian texts list for some inspo.
- January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day. The Holocaust Memorial Trust has written an extensive range of resources for schools, and author Tom Palmer is offering a range of resources to download from his website.
- National Storytelling Week begins on January 28th, and runs into February. Here’s a great guide to running a storytelling club.
- Have a look at our writing competitions for January 2023.
Other recently released titles to have a look at:
- Our latest Janauary 2023 books of the month.
- Our rundown of the best books coming out in spring 2023.
- Our January 2023 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.