by Phoebe Demeger
Each month CLPE's Librarian, Phoebe Demeger, will reveal some of her favourite books she has recently added to our Literacy Library.
Discover August's below:
Two new titles from Barefoot Books:
From Barefoot’s ‘Feelings & Firsts’ series, Too Green! (Sumana Seeboruth and Maribel Castells) is a lively rhyming board book about trying new foods, packed with phonics and onomatopoeia and featuring multi-ethnic same-gender parents.
Bring Back the Babka (Marilyn Wolpin and Madison Safer) is a celebration of Jewish food and community, a patterned narrative centred around two brothers’ quest to track down a missing babka loaf. Each neighbour gifts them a new type of food to bring home, recipes for which can be found at the back of the book. See also: Eight Nights, Eight Lights (Natalie Barnes and Andrea Stegmaier, Little Tiger), which follows eight different families as they celebrate Chanukah.
Good Morning, My Deer! (Mel Amon and Sophie Beer, Scribble) is a witty picturebook following a day in the life of a mother and son, based entirely around homophones and wordplay – we see the characters brushing their hare and picking flours. With visual humour throughout, and a gallery of homophones in the endpapers.
The third book in Chitra Soundar’s celebrated chapterbook series, soon to be televised on CBeebies, Nikhil and Jay: Off to India (illustrated by Soofiya, Otter-Barry) sees the brothers travel to India to visit family and experience new traditions together.
New in paperback, The Spectacular Suit (Kat Patrick and Hayley Wells, Scribble) centres on gender expression and euphoria – a young girl is looking forward to her party but doesn’t feel comfortable in any of her party dresses, until she is gifted the suit of her dreams. Perfect for introducing concepts of gender and identity to young readers.
From Ivy Kids, Quarto’s sustainable imprint, Little Tree and the Wood Wide Web (Lucy Brownridge and Hannah Abbo) explores in narrative form the emerging scientific research about the ‘mycorrhizal network’: how trees communicate and sustain one another through an underground network of fungi.
Peanut, Butter & Crackers (Paige Braddock, Nosy Crow) is a new graphic novel series for young readers; in Book 1, Puppy Problems, a dog and a cat must contend with the arrival of a new puppy. With gentle humour and adorable illustrations.
Godfather Death (Andersen) is a cautionary folktale collected by the Brothers Grimm and brilliantly retold by Sally Nicholls, alongside Júlia Sardà’s evocative illustrations. This spooky tale explores death, honesty and trickery, in picturebook format with short chapters.
In The Council of Good Friends (Nikesh Shukla and Rochelle Falconer, Knights Of), the first novel by Shukla for younger readers, the equilibrium of a friendship group is disrupted when Vinay’s cousin comes for an extended stay. An accessible, relatable, inclusive and funny look at friendships between young boys.
Imagine a Garden (Rina Singh and Hoda Hadadi, Greystone Kids) combines picturebook with non-fiction and poetry, telling real-life stories of contemporary human rights activism in short poetic vignettes, with cut-paper collage artwork and a closing fact file on the activists and movements profiled.
Brian Wildsmith’s Animal Kingdom: Paws Claws Tails & Roars (Brian Wildsmith, OUP) is a compilation of animal artwork by Wildsmith (originally created in the 1960s) and new poetry by Deborah Sims. Each poem features the collective noun of that animal, and Michael Rosen pens the book’s foreword.
The highly anticipated debut verse novel from poet Matt Goodfellow, with artwork by Joe Todd-Stanton, The Final Year (Otter-Barry) follows the journey of one boy over the course of Year 6, and the trials and tribulations of friendship, family and illness that surround him. Partially written in Mancunian dialect.
Impossible Creatures (Katherine Rundell and Tomislav Tomic, Bloomsbury) launches a new novel series by Rundell, a high-concept sprawling fantasy about a boy and a girl, a mysterious archipelago, and the mythical creatures who live there. Beautifully written, and bound to draw comparisons to Philip Pullman and Ursula K. Le Guin.
Read, Scream, Repeat (HarperCollins) is an anthology of thirteen new horror stories by contemporary authors, including Sharna Jackson, Elle McNicoll, Joseph Coelho and Jennifer Killick, who also curates the collection. On a similar theme is Strange Tales (Daniel Morden, Firefly), a horror anthology which draws its inspiration from folklore and mythology.
Finally, two information titles with differing and equally engaging approaches to Black British history:
Brilliant Black British History (Atinuke and Kingsley Nebechi, Bloomsbury) is a comprehensive, chronological tour through the history of Black people in Britain and Ireland, from prehistory and early civilisations, through to the British Empire and contemporary Black icons, presented as a reference book and perfect for the UKS2 classroom.
Bright Stars of Black British History (J.T. Williams and Angela Vives, Thames and Hudson) uses extended and evocative prose to profile fourteen notable Black British people from throughout history. Vives’ artwork interacts beautifully with Williams’ text; each page border reflects the art styles and even paint pigmentation from that era.