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Created: 14th April, 2022

Each month CLPE's Librarian, Phoebe Demeger, will reveal some of her favourite books she has recently added to our Literacy Library.

Discover March's below: 



Noah’s Seal (Oxford University Press, £6.99, 3/3/22), written and illustrated by Layn Marlow, I would describe as ‘The Snowman on sand’, a gentle story starring a little boy who builds a seal from beach sand. The book leaves it up to the imagination as to whether the seal really comes to life.

An author-illustrator dream-team comes together in We Sang Across the Sea (Scholastic, £6.99, 7/4/22) by Benjamin Zephaniah and Onyinye Iwu, telling in poetic, songlike form the story of Trinidadian singer Mona Baptiste, who came to the UK on the Empire Windrush and went on to achieve world fame. Perfect for introducing conversations about Windrush to EY readers.

My biggest laugh this month came from Bork by Rhys Kitson (Sunbird Books, not yet published), as a global group of dogs share their own words for “bark” in various languages: “ouaf” in French, “wau” in German, and so on. Great fun to read aloud, with a closing message about the importance of being understood.

Bumblebee and Grumblebee (Gecko Press, £7.99, 3/11/21) an illustrated board book of consequential animal puns – for example, an elephant puts on a tutu and becomes a ‘balletphant’. Lively illustrations by David Elliot.



The latest picturebook by the creator of ‘Maya & Cat’ Caroline Magerl, Piano Fingers (Walker, £12.99, 7/4/22) tells of a young girl with wild hair from a musical family, searching for her own talent and form of expression. Remarkably original figurative language – a violin becomes “a honey fog machine” – and painterly illustrations.

The latest collaboration between Michael Rosen and Tony Ross, Rigatoni the Pasta Cat (Andersen, £5.99, 7/4/22) is a charming comedy about a pasta-loving cat whose owners go on holiday, leaving him in the care of a young man who fails to understand that all Rigatoni wants to eat is pasta, not cat food. With mouthwatering descriptions of food, such as “whirly twirly fusilli”. Great for KS1.


Lower KS2:

The Marvellous Granny Jinks and Me (Simon & Schuster, £6.99, 20/1/22) – a light-hearted story about intergenerational friendship between Jada and her magician grandma; the book closes with a list of real-life magic tricks for readers to try for themselves.

This month sees the launch of a new non-fiction imprint, Neon Squid, focussing on beautifully designed information written in collaboration with scientists and other experts: Their debut list includes The Hospital: The Inside Story (£9.99, 5/4/22), an illustrated tour inside a hospital and its departments – a good general interest guide, and a useful explainer to children who may be visiting a hospital.

From Tom Percival’s ‘Dream Defenders’ fiction series, and drawing on the themes of his ‘Big Bright Feelings’ picturebooks, Silas and the Marvellous Misfits (Macmillan, £6.99, 14/10/21) is an imaginative adventure for LKS2 about friendship, difference, and being yourself. A Marcus Rashford Book Club pick.


Upper KS2:

Magicborn (Usborne, £7.99, 26/5/22) is an ambitious new historical fantasy from the author of Cogheart, on magic, destiny, royalty and folklore, featuring some real historical figures from the Georgian era, making for an interesting learning opportunity for history curriculum. Publishes in May.

The 22nd title from author and poet Sharon Creech, One Time (Guppy Books, £6.99, 14/4/22) is a promising school story from an independent publisher, on imagination and the power that books, reading and storytelling hold to help you discover who you are.

Ajay and the Mumbai Sun (Chicken House, £7.99, 7/4/22) from debut novelist Varsha Shah stars Ajay, an Indian boy who dreams of being a journalist and gathers a team of young reporters to help fight for justice and against corruption in their community.

The Light in Everything (Bloomsbury, £12.99, 14/4/22) – a dual perspective novel from Katya Balen, the author of October, October, narrated in beautifully poetic prose by two children in a blended family. Would also suit KS3.

From author, illustrator and World Palindrome Champion Medalist Jon Agee, Otto: A Palindrama (Dial Books (Penguin), £8.99, 1/11/21) is a thrilling and surreal dreamlike adventure told entirely in palindromes, featuring: characters including Dr Awkward and Mr Alarm; a game of “stack cats”; and an owl in the desert who finds it “too hot to hoot”. The sophisticated wordplay lends itself well to either UKS2 or KS3.



To find out more about the books featured in CLPE’s Literacy Library, discover CLPE's Corebooks List...

For more recommendations from our Librarian, discover CLPE booklists which are available to download for free from our website and act as a handy support guide to teachers looking to develop activities around key themes in the National Curriculum. 


Phoebe's Picks - Episode 2