November 2023’s set of recommendations for book clubs features eight titles to keep children in primary and secondary schools active on half term, with absorbing traditional stories, exciting chapter books, outdoor nature activities, inspiring nonfiction and gripping fantasy worlds. November 2023’s picks include titles by Michael Rosen, Polly Ho-Yen, Sarah Darwin, Rachel Lawston, Nona Willis Aronowitz, Andrea Warner, Sebastien de Castell and Nicholas Bowling.
November 2023 book club recommendations
Not So Little Red Riding Hood by Michael Rosen, illustrated by David Melling
It’s Little Red Riding Hood but not as you know it in this hilariously funny story from the children’s picture book dream team of Michael Rosen and David Melling. When Little Red Riding Hood rides Pebbles to the woods, she wonders what ‘big surprise’ Granny has in store for her. With repetition, wordplay, call-and-response questions, and a reassuring rhyming refrain from the wind, this is a memorable story to read aloud and share with younger children and EYFS classes. Highly recommended.
3+ year olds | Author’s website
The Girl Who Became a Fish by Polly Ho-Yen, illustrated by Sojung Kim-McCarthy
Young Ita is plagued by phobias is this immersive and heart-warming story for readers aged 7+. When she learns that she can turn into a fish, suddenly she is able to confront her fear of water. Polly Ho-Yen’s warm delivery deftly navigates themes of anxiety, transition and change, and young readers will be encouraged to think about how to overcome fears and confront what makes them uncomfortable. With charming and empathetic illustrations by Sojung Kim-McCarthy, this first independent chapter book is recommended for Years 2-4.
7+ year olds | Author’s website
Evolution by Sarah Darwin & Eva Maria Sadowski, illustrated by Olga Baumert
Evolution, natural selection and life on Earth are brought to life by Charles Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter Sarah Darwin. Explaining complex theories in graspable and accessible bursts of graphics and information, ‘Evolution’ is an excellent primer for KS2-aged children. This stunning large format hardback is sumptuously illustrated by Olga Baumert with watercolour images, annotated timelines and short ‘pioneering people’ biographies. There’s also a useful glossary and a selection of sources to encourage further independent reading and research for older readers and educators.
8+ year olds | Author’s Wikipedia
My Nature Trail! by Rachel Lawston and Paul Lawston
Curious and exploring minds will love this beautifully illustrated and practical activity book aimed at UKS2-aged children. With a myriad of activities such as looking for leaf and cloud shapes, building hedgehog feeding stations, going rock pooling, matching leaf shapes, and creating secret nature signs, children won’t get bored. Covering autumn, spring, summer and winter, My Nature Trail will be especially useful for topic teaching about the seasons. We really liked the section on spotting the first signs of spring. Equally at home in the school library, your EYFS department’s Forest School, or for parents to use at home with their children at the weekend, My Nature Trail is a gloriously engaging, practical and positive read. As this book reminds us, ‘An adventure begins every time you step outside!”
8-10 year olds | Author’s website
Growing Up Powerful Journal: A Confidence-Boosting, Totally Inspiring, Joyful Journal by Nona Willis Aronowitz, illustrated by Caribay Marquina
This 144-page paperback journal is an engaging and empowering resource for independent-minded pre-teens. Filled with colourful pages, quizzes, prompts, and inspiring content, it encourages self-reflection, goal-setting, and positive thinking. The sections on building friendships and changing the world will be particularly useful to 8-12-year-olds. The undated format can be used at any time this book will be a fantastic tool for encouraging resilience and improving a youngster’s self-esteem. It’s a must-have for fans of the Growing Up Powerful guidebook, and an ideal gift idea for parents who want to help boost their child’s confidence. Highly recommended.
8-12 year olds | Author’s Wikipedia
Rise Up and Sing!: Power, Protest, and Activism in Music by Andrea Warner and Louise Reimer
This empowering and inspirational book takes a deep dive into musical expression as a force for protest. Chapters on gender equality, the anti-war movement, liberty and climate justice show us that artists such as Tracy Chapman, Lizzo and Bod Dylan really can change the world and effect positive change for disability rights, civil rights, gender equality, world peace and more. A valuable resource for KS3 libraries. Highly recommended.
12+ year olds | Author’s website
Fate of the Argosi by Sebastien de Castell
The third instalment in the Argosi trilogy follows Ferius Parfax as she helps Chedran, a Mahdek inmate, to lead their persecuted people to safety. But Ferius has a difficult moral dilemma to face, one that will test her loyalties. This is a fascinating insight into the origins of the Spellsinger series that will keep fans gripped until the final page.
12+ year olds | Author’s website
The Undying of Obedience Wellrest by Nicholas Bowling
Strange goings on in the graveyard spook Ned, and sixteen-year-old Obedience doesn’t want to marry the man of her father’s choosing, Phineas Mordaunt. But when Mordaunt delves into the dark history of Obedience’s uncle, Obedience and Ned’s worlds collide in this dark gothic tale of alchemy, politics and death. A fascinating combination of science and dark magic, it explores how both narratives can fill the gaps of what we don’t know about the natural world, and how powerful forces seek to control what we believe. It’s a blindingly refreshing read.
13+ year olds | Author’s X
Themed day / social media opportunities for November 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.
- This month is ‘National Non-fiction November’. Have a look at our narrative nonfiction titles and our collection of topic book resources for inspiration!
- November 5th is Guy Fawkes Night / Bonfire Night. BBC Bitesize has a great guide for KS1.
- November 6-12 is Children’s Book Week 2023. Every Child A Reader has a great selection of free resources.
- November 8th is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM) Day #STEMDay. Have a look at our STEM-related stories.
- November 10th is World Science Day. UN Action has lots of ideas and activities for schools.
- November 11th is Remembrance Day. Have a look at our Remembrance topic books list page for ideas and free resources.
- November 13th is World Kindness Day. Have a look at Kind by Jess McGeachin
- November 13-19 is Transgender Awareness Week. Trans EDU has produced a range of useful resources for schools.
- November 14th is National Biscuit Base Day #NationalBiscuitBaseDay. Biscuit bases are a crucial component of cheesecakes and similar desserts. According to Biscuit Base Confederation guidelines, approved biscuit bases must be at least 1cm thick to form a mouthwatering foundation for success.
- November 13-17 is Anti-Bullying Week. There’s a great pack of free school resources here.
- November 16 is International Day for Tolerance #ToleranceDay. Unesco has created a useful website here.
- November 31st is World Celebration Day Celebration Day, a special day where all special days are commemorated and observed and the act of acclamation is recognised, talked about and honoured as a unique event. This wing-ding day only takes place in years ending in ’02’ in Washington DC, or on planets with long orbits, such as Jupiter.
- Have a look at our writing competitions for November 2023.
Other recently released titles to have a look at:
- Our latest November 2023 books of the month.
- Our rundown of the best books coming out in autumn 2023.
- Our November 2023 books of the day on Twitter.
- Our guide on how to run a school book club covers both primary school book clubs and secondary school book clubs.
Click one of the buttons below to buy all this month’s recommended book club titles, or class sets of any of these books, from Bookshop.org UK or Amazon.co.uk. As an Amazon Associate schoolreadinglist.co.uk earns from qualifying purchases.