Image
#PHOEBESPICKS March 24
BLOGS
Created: 19th March, 2024

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:

EYFS

L is for Love (Walker) is the latest collaboration between Atinuke and Angela Brooksbank, creators of B is for Baby, Catch That Chicken, and more. With a narrative centring entirely around the letter ‘L’, it follows a family as they embark on a day trip to the city of Lagos, which is revealed in a vibrant, bustling spread. A wonderfully supportive text for young children who are learning to read.

Also from Walker is A Good Place by award-winning author-illustrator Lucy Cousins, which stars a group of bugs looking for a new place to call home that fulfils all their needs. But as the patterned text unfolds, each place they encounter is beset by pollution or pesticides, and is met with the repeated refrain “Oh no! This is NOT a good place!”. Finally, the friends find the perfect insect-friendly garden. Perfect for encouraging little environmentalists to consider how to make their local outdoor spaces more welcoming for wildlife.

There is plenty to love about Luna Loves Gardening (Andersen), the latest in the charming Luna series by Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers. Set in an inner-city community garden, and bookended by suggestions for outdoor activities, it draws particular attention to the ‘community’ aspect and celebrates the global within the local – Luna hears stories about her great grandmother growing callaloo in Jamaica, swifts migrating to England from Africa, and her neighbour’s grandfather carrying beetroot seeds from Ukraine.

Continuing in the theme of gardens and minibeasts is What the Worm Saw (Emil Fortune and Hannah Peck, Scholastic, with RHS), narrated by a friendly earthworm who introduces the reader to their underground world, and shares all that is wonderful about worms, closing with a fact section. A good companion to Yucky Worms.

 

KS1

A delightfully sinister take on Little Red Riding Hood, Alberta: A Cautionary Tale (Margaret Sturton, Andersen) stars a wilfully naughty little girl who knows just how to get her way. She tricks ‘Little Red Riding Wolf’ out of the cake she baked for Granny, teases her for her “big nose and eyes”, and eventually gets her comeuppance once Little Red Riding Wolf’s “big teeth” make an appearance. Calls to mind Mr Wolf’s Pancakes as well as other Red Riding Hood tales.

Elki Is Not My Dog (Elena Arevalo Melville and Tonka Uzu, Scallywag) is a gentle tale of empathy and community about a stray dog who is given companionship by a group of neighbourhood children – she belongs to no-one, yet everyone, and so when Elki gets injured, everyone rallies together to help her. Particularly powerful for its authentic representation of children living in a block of flats, playing outside and taking action as a collective.

Astrid and the Space Cadets: Attack of the Snailiens! (Alex T. Smith, Macmillan) launches a brand-new, inclusive, illustrated and hilarious early fiction series from the creator of Claude and Mr Penguin. Astrid is an ordinary girl by day, but by night she becomes a space cadet, having outer-space adventures and completing quests alongside her intergalactic colleagues.

Coming soon from Magic Cat is a new series of information books, beginning with The Life-Changing Magic of Skateboarding (illustrated by Shaw Davidson) and The Life-Changing Magic of Chess (illustrated by Denis Angelov). Both are written by experts in their field – the first by young Olympian skateboarder Sky Brown; and the second by Maurice Ashley, the first African-American chess grandmaster – and serve as brilliant introductions to these two popular hobbies, filled with sequential, comic-style illustrations, activities and how-to's, and life lessons to be learned.

 

Lower KS2

Taking Shelter: A Hugh Dunnit Mystery (Guy Bass and Lee Cosgrove, Andersen) sees wannabe schoolboy detective set out to prove his new dog’s innocence by solving the case of who really shredded his homework. A comedy crime caper which satirises the genre through absurd similes that read like film noir narration – “Like a thief in a ketchup factory, I was about to be caught red-handed" – and flashbacks to the crimes of potential suspects presented in dramatic black-and-white comics.

Translated from its original German by Melody Shaw, Sounds Good! (Ole Könnecke and Hans Könnecke, Gecko Press) showcases fifty musical instruments, some familiar, and some less well-known. Each spread uses light-hearted, witty text to introduce the instrument on one side, with an accompanying illustration of an animal performer on the other. Readers can also download a short specially composed piece for each instrument by scanning a QR code.

Walker’s ‘People Power’ series profiles and celebrates diverse icons from particular vocations. The series so far has covered Inventors, Activists and Conservationists, and now comes Super Sports Stars Who Are Changing the Game (Rick Broadbent and Alexander Mostov), which spotlights twenty athletes and changemakers from the 1800s up to the present day who have challenged expectations, blazed trails, and made a difference within their field. With text box explainers and opportunities for activities and further engagement.

 

Upper KS2

Edited by author Lauren James and with a foreword by Nicola Davies, Future Hopes (Walker) is an anthology of short, hopeful eco-fiction from a range of contemporary authors and artists, including Tọlá Okogwu, Louie Stowell and M.G. Leonard. By placing imagination, hope and action in the spotlight, and closing with a practical section on sustainable living, this well-crafted book feels like a vital resource in managing climate anxiety and opening imaginative horizons to combatting the climate crisis.

Newly released in paperback, The Fossil Hunter (Kate Winter, Puffin) uses the narrative non-fiction form to juxtapose the life of Mary Anning alongside facts about the dinosaurs she was instrumental in unearthing. Sumptuous ink and watercolour illustrations by Winter depict fantasy sequences of Mary amongst her beloved prehistoric creatures, unveiled in fold-out spreads, plus labels, diagrams and extracts from Mary’s journal make for an immersive reading experience.

We, The Curious Ones (Marion Dane Bauer and Hari & Deepti, Walker Studio) explores the intersection of science and storytelling through lyrical text and evocative artwork. Presented in picturebook form, it muses on the notion of humans being the only species who tell stories in order to question and explain their world, and the vital role that myth and imagination play in our lives. A fascinating artefact, with an extended Author’s Note.

 

KS3

Award-winning author Sarah Crossan’s latest verse novel Where the Heart Should Be (Bloomsbury) sets an unexpected romance between an Irish scullery maid and the nephew of an English landowner amidst the social and economic disaster of the Great Famine in 1840s Ireland. Not only is the love story tenderly drawn, the political history of famine, landlords and labour rights is compellingly communicated.