Reading Matters – news from the world of children’s books

Welcome to another Reading Matters, a look back at some of the latest news about children’s books. As schools resumed this week, albeit as a remote version, many children’s authors and publishers have increased the range of resources available to help teachers, librarians and parents. Some of these are included here but I am aware that there is a risk of overloading people so have kept these to a minimum. If you are looking for a wider range of resources supporting reading you may find Reading for Pleasure – Resources to Help Children Enjoy Books at Home helpful. I hope that some of the articles I have enjoyed this week will appeal to you too.

What I’m reading…


Earlier this week I read and reviewed some Fabulous Nonfiction for Children from Flying Eye Books.two new books, Professor Astro Cat’s Deep Sea Voyage and Obsessive About Octopuses, about life in the oceans that will appeal to many children. My comfort reading at the moment is The Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson and I have decided I would like to spend time with Moominmamma, a soothing presence even on the written page.

News, articles and resources…

The English Association: Our Top Five Reads Series – Jo Bowers, an Associate Dean at Cardiff Metropolitan University, has chosen her top five reads with a Welsh setting and they are a great selection. It is worth having a look at previous choices too, including poetry and wordless picture books.

Federation of Children’s Books Groups: Guest Post by Richard Jones – this is a lovely read by the creator of new picture book Perdu describing how working in a library revealed the joy of storytelling. 

Back to School (Remotely) by Clare Zinkin – Clare highlights some excellent resources connected with children’s reading and literacy among the array now available in this helpful post.

Supporting Reading at Home Poster – the Open University Research Rich Pedagogies website has a fabulous range of resources supporting reading for pleasure including a free to download poster available on the link above.

Love My Books Newsletter – the latest edition is packed with creative ideas for home learning during school closures including brand new activity pages for fabulous books.

Malorie Blackman: A New NormalPerspectives is a series of essays from Penguin authors offering their response to the Covid-19 crisis. In this article Malorie Blackman reflects on key workers, compassion and the future we want.

Staying Home by Sally Nicholls and Viviane Schwarz – this generous duo of writer and illustrator have created a free book that can be downloaded via the Andersen Press website. This is a kind and reassuring look at family life during lockdown which will comfort children and quite probably parents too.

Just Imagine Free Webinars – a wide range of subjects are covered in these free training sessions several of which are taking place over the next month. Registration is required.

Longlists Announced for the School Library Association Information Book Award – a selection of books which reflect both current trends in publishing and the issues children are concerned with. There are three age groups represented and these lists are an excellent way of keeping up with the best new nonfiction titles.

The Dam by David Almond and Levi Pinfold on BBC Radio4 – this sounds an absolute treat. “In a programme resonant with birdsong, running streams, sighing trees, leaping salmon and first-person testimonial, this is a story about the reservoirs of music, poetry and song in us all.”  To be broadcast on Sunday 26th April at 4.30pm.

The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris due in October – the long awaited sibling to the marvellous The Lost Words will be published on 1st  October. This article tells us more about its creation.

Herts Primary English Weekly Blog  – the first in a new series, this includes wonderful teaching ideas, CPD suggestions & news to support in school (or adapt for home). This week’s includes a whole school book study resource for a real favourite, The Tear Thief.

Book Share Time – this website created by Cecile Ferreira is a fabulous resource for searching for picture books by theme, language content, narrative style etc. Thank you to Jon Biddle and James Clements for sharing the details this week.

Year 3 Top 100 Recommended Reads – Scott Evans ( The Reader Teacher) has created this list of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books, graphic novels, classics and newly published titles too. Complete with printable display poster and checklist to use in the classroom.

Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Teacher Book Reviews – Primary Advisory Teacher Jonny Rodgers reviews Corey’s Rock by Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Jane Ray (Otter-Barry Books). I loved this book when I read and reviewed it a while ago and feel that it deserves more attention. Perhaps this video review will tempt you.

When the Pandemic Came to Town by Clare Vanderpool –  “What can we learn from the good citizens of Manifest, who lived this experience before us? What would they tell us?” The Newbury Medal winning children’s book, Moon over Manifest set over one hundred years ago has a particular relevance at the moment.  A thoughtful article.

I wish more people would read … The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith – this lovely article by Alison Flood made me want to reread this, one of my own childhood favourites.

World Book Day World of Stories – thank you to Ben Harris for alerting me to the wide range of high quality children’s audiobooks still freely available on this website at the moment.

Lastly a couple of reviews that caught my eye…

Flight For Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape From East Germany by Kristen Fulton & Torben Kuhlmann – Paul Watson’s review of “ an almost perfect picturebook” definitely made me want to find out more. This sounds like an excellent addition to primary school bookshelves.

The Bird Within Me by Sara Lundberg translated by B J Epstein – this wonderful review by Mathew Tobin of a picture book based on the paintings, letters and diaries of the Swedish artist Berta Hansson has persuaded me to order a copy.

That’s all for this week. Happy reading!


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3 Responses to Reading Matters – news from the world of children’s books

  1. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your weekly round-up. It has been a wonderful source of ideas for the Library Club page I am running on our school’s Google Classroom!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Winding Up the Week #118 – Book Jotter

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