October 2022’s set of recommendations for book clubs features eight titles with slightly mysterious and darker storylines including lockdown isolation, the strange ways friendships work, magical mysteries, witches and monsters, unsettling fairytales, and historical folklore – all perfect to read and discuss in loosely Haloween-themed book clubs this month.
October 2022’s picks include titles by Marie G. Rohde, Jairo Buitrago, Ole Könnecke, Andy Shepherd & Sara Ogilvie, Stephen Mulhern, Benjamin Read & Laura Trinder, Tom Knight, and Scott Lauder & David Ross.
October 2022 book club recommendations
Ways to Make Friends by Jairo Buitrago
Toad has a plethora of ideas for how to make friends. But not all of them work quite as planned in this charming and funny hardback picture book for 4-7 year-olds. We particularly liked the cinema-going hippo, seen determinedly munching popcorn, and the Wellington boot-clad centipede. A beautifully produced hardback, with lovely touches such as the patterned endpapers, ‘Ways to Make Friends’ is a joy to read to younger children in nursery and EYFS classes.
Where In The World Are You? by Marie G. Rohde
Inspired by a sense of confinement and isolation during the lockdown, ‘Where In The World Are You?’ shows younger readers all the different ways everyone can feel connected. With bold and high-contrast illustrations and thought-provoking lyrical text, each spread invites an instant response from readers and promotes discussion when reading in groups. This picture book hardback is perfect for reading and sharing, and even better to read as a call and respond with a whole class in EYFS.
Dulcinea in the Forbidden Forest by Ole Könnecke
When Dulcinea’s father doesn’t come home from collecting blueberries, she begins to wonder what has happened to him. Are the tales of a wicked witch in the magic forest true? Determined to find her father, brave Dulcinea dares to explore the forbidden forest in this clever modern fairy tale. The illustrations are a joy – full of character, quirkiness and expression. We particularly liked the tree with a moustache and the witch’s all-action keyboard playing. Ideal for emerging independent readers in KS1, this text will also be useful for teachers looking for high-quality fairytale texts to teach in lower KS2.
The Ultimate Guide to Growing Dragons by Andy Shepherd and Sara Ogilvie
Grand High Dragon Master Tomas decides to create the ultimate guide to growing dragons. But it turns out that he, and his friends Ted, Kat, Kai Liam and Aura, still have quite a bit to learn. A highly readable blend of first-person narrative show and tell, how-to style explanations, information fact files, and messaging dialogue; The Ultimate Guide to Growing Dragons will be a valuable resource for KS2 literacy teachers. It’s a fun text that will not only appeal to 7-9-year-olds but will help teachers to model those harder-to-reach informational genres for writing.
Max Magic by Stephen Mulhern
Aspiring master magician Max discovers a mysterious antique. Will it help him to defeat the bully at school and the gangsters on the street? As the cover catchline says, “anything is possible”. With well-spaced text set in a high readability typeface, interspersed with quirky illustrations, Max Magic is a light-hearted read that will appeal to less confident readers in years 4-6. And with bright blue painted edges, your child won’t be losing this book in the depths of their school bag. Fast-paced, fun and empowering, KS2 readers will love this.
The Midnight Hunt by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder
Something sinister is afoot in this atmospheric and well-written adventure set in Victorian times. Can Emily save London from the Make Britain Dark Again party using only her wits and a less-than-awake magic hedgehog? With a fast-paced plot, tinges of fantasy and sparkling descriptions, this book is a great option for teaching as part of a Victorian-themed topic with years 5 or 6.
Curse Breaker by Simon Tudhope
You find yourself alone and scared in a prison cell, locked up for something you didn’t do. In this book, you are the story, and you decide your fate! With interactive gameplay, a game log and combat at the roll of a dice – or a nifty QR code online roller – Curse Breaker is creepily irresistible. 10-14-year-old readers will lose themselves in the dark mysteries of Mirewick for at least a weekend in the monster-filled tight prose, clever characterisation and mysterious pictures containing hidden clues. Part of the Usborne Adventure Gamebooks series, ‘Curse Breaker’ is a surefire KS3 library loan chart-topper. It’s addictive – upper KS2 and KS3 children won’t be able to put this down – and parents, who remember this style of storytelling from the 80s and 90s, will also undoubtedly sneak a read too.
The Terracotta Horse by Scott Lauder and David Ross
Salma Mansour hopes she’ll never have to use her black belt taekwondo skills in real life, but that’s before she’s thrust into a time travel science fiction timeslip adventure. Part of the Three Hares series, The Terracotta Horse is a cracking middle-grade novel, with a fast-moving, rollercoaster action and dialogue-driven plot. A heady mix of science fiction, ancient magic, and life-or-death period combat – spanning thousands of miles and thousands of years – this novel will appeal to history and science fiction readers in KS3.
Themed day / social media opportunities for October 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.
- October is Black History Month. There are some invaluable resources from National Geographic Kids for 5-11-year-olds, videos and interactive resources for KS2, KS3 and KS4 from BBC Teach, free lesson plans for secondary schools from Stonewall, a collection of resources from the NEU, and this selection of articles and columns from The Guardian for sixth formers.
- International Walk to School Month takes place in October. There’s a wealth of information on the ‘Living Streets‘ website.
- Also, October-wide is International School Library Month. There are lots of ideas on the IASL website.
- During the first week of October, Dyslexia Awareness Week takes place. The BDA has lots of ideas to help schools get involved on their website.
- World Teachers Day on October 5th is probably best celebrated by giving hardworking staff the day off. But let’s face it, in most schools that will never happen. UNESCO has a history of the event and participation ideas on its website.
- And there’s National Poetry Day on October 6th is “the UK’s biggest mass-participation celebration of poetry”. This year’s theme is ‘The Environment”. There are lots of ideas for schools on the official website, including a trove of resources.
- Word Smile Day on Sunday the 9th asks everyone to commit to an act of kindness. For pastoral coordinators concerned about potential smile shaming, the Young Minds website has to useful resources for schools about all forms of body image.
- World Mental Health Day on the 10th of the month is celebrated on the mentalhealth.org.uk website, which features posts to download and free podcasts.
- And finally, there’s Halloween on October 31st. There are some great resources for primary and secondary schools on BBC Teach, and STEM.org.uk has some great ideas for integrating spooky themes into maths and science lessons.
- Have a look at our writing competitions for October 2022.
Other recently released titles to have a look at:
- Our latest October 2022 books of the month.
- Our rundown of the best books coming out in autumn 2022.
- Our October 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.