- Key Stage: Reception, 1, 2
- Year Group: Reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
- Format: Book Collection
- Type of Book: Fiction
Age 4–11: Hottest New Titles for Autumn 2023
Generate an excited buzz around your book shelves and promote a love of reading with the hottest current titles for your class and school libraries. Featuring two brand new books for each year group from Year R to Year 6, this collection has undergone a rigorous selection process to bring you the most compelling, beautiful, engaging, exciting, emotive, entertaining and powerful high-quality fiction published last term. By choosing the very best books you can have the biggest impact on your schools reading culture and the reading experiences of your pupils for the smallest investment. Our termly new titles packs highlight the books that will have the most impact now and for years to come.
For Reception: A Best Friend for Bear
Internationally acclaimed illustrator Petr Horacek uses his extraordinary wit and charm to tell this gentle story of two bears who band together in search of friendship.
The engaging art work and text draws the audience in and offers them the pleasure and satisfaction of realising the bears have found friendship with each other before the bears do.
For Reception: The Artist
This gloriously vibrant and expressive book from award-winning author/illustrator Ed Vere is a celebration of art and artists. In it we follow a young dinosaur as she shares the joy of her art with others, becomes discouraged when she accidentally colours outside the lines, and recovers her confidence.
The message that perfection is not the aim is a powerful one for young artists, who can become discouraged early if they believe they have made a mistake. There is also a more subtle message here about the power and importance of art that can light a fire under budding artists.
For Year 1: Dragon Post
Excite and enthral pupils with this interactive book that invites ideas and discussion. Alex has found a dragon under the stairs and does not know how to look after it. He decides to ask for help from different people, starting with the fire brigade, and gets five hilarious letters in response.
Each letter comes inside its own envelope in the book, and is brilliantly written and beautifully produced, adding to the reading pleasure. Dragon Post is sure to become a class favourite.
For Year 1: An Adventure for Lia & Lion
Lia and Lion burst from the pages of this exuberant and beautiful book. It is the story of a clash of two different points of view that gradually incorporate each other and children will recognise the parallel with how they resolve conflict in games.
The gorgeously lithe illustrations are paired with brilliantly expressive language and come together to make a joyful book that will be enjoyed many times over.
For Year 2: Henri & the Machine
With captivating illustrations, an intriguing question, and a surprise twist at the end, this book is an enjoyable and thought provoking read. We meet Henri in a fabulous art gallery but he does not see the point of art when he longs to be at the beach. Only one painting fills him with ideas and feelings and then he sees a chair with a sign above it asking ‘Is this a chair?’ and decides to sit, setting a fabulous machine in motion.
We love the use of interesting descriptive language, the diagram of the machine, and the moment when Henri feels he has done something terribly wrong only to discover that the artist has been waiting for someone to sit on the chair for 30 years. The lively explanation of all the things that art can be and that ultimately the point of it is to make us feel is the perfect ending to this engaging book.
For Year 2: The Zebra's Great Escape
This critically acclaimed, longer, more substantial picture book, from award-winning author Katherine Rundell, will immerse readers in an audacious rescue mission and delight them every step of the way. Sarah Ogilvie’s enchanting illustrations are a perfect match for the lively text and enhance the immersive qualities of this beautiful book.
The Zebra’s Great Escape will challenge confident readers in Year 2, with interesting vocabulary and requiring more sustained reading, and is sure to be a favourite class text.
With high-quality writing, delightful art work, a touch of magic, an anarchic young heroine, an adorable baby zebra, and an evil baddie to challenge Cruella Deville, this entertaining and exciting caper has all the features of a modern classic.
For Year 3: Polly Pecorino
This high-quality chapter book has a Dahlesque feel with a touch of Judith Kerr. The book features beautiful illustrations throughout, as you would expect from much-loved author-illustrator, Emma Chichester Clark.
It is the story of a girl who conquers her fear of bears, so entrenched in her town, to return a stolen cub to his family in the forest. It has surreal and comic elements and explores themes of kindness, empathy, and fear. The narrative fizzes with delicious tension but is also soothing, a triumph of superb writing.
For Year 3: I Am Lenny Brown
This warm and sensitively written book is immediately engaging and will have the whole class rooting for Lenny, an 8-year-old multi-racial boy who only speaks to his Mum and his dog.
Lenny has a hole in his life after losing his dad aged 3, he does not like change, has difficulty understanding friendship, and ‘spirals’ when he gets upset; so moving school and being targeted by the class bully is a big challenge for him. At the end Lenny has negotiated it all brilliantly, with help, and is beginning to unlock his speech.
Appealing diary pages break up the story, invite us into Lenny’s world, and add emotional depth throughout. With strong themes of empathy, friendship, football and resolution, the story has wide appeal. A young Amazon reviewer described reading this book as better than playing FIFA and we are sure that you will love Lenny too.
For Year 4: Annie Lumsden, the Girl from the Sea
This beautiful short read features high-quality writing from David Almond and stunning artwork, reminiscent of a soft, colour-drenched Quentin Blake.
Annie has blackouts, has trouble learning to read and write, and is trying to work out who she is, but is a very happy child. The story of her life in a coastal cottage is infused with her mother’s tales of a long gone mer-father and the magic of the sea. At the end of the books Annie feels more settled in who she is, has fewer blackouts and is starting to read and write.
The book is a life-affirming celebration of the warmth and completeness of a single-parent family and being different.
For Year 4: The Lucky Bottle
Chris Wormell brings us this absorbing children’s tale of shipwrecks, treasure islands and pirates, with a good sprinkling of magic and allusions to The Tempest and Robinson Crusoe.
Jack is shipwrecked on a tropical island in the 18th century and befriends Robinson, who has lived there happily alone for 19 years. Together they make some extraordinary discoveries including the bones of a pirate, the pirate's treasure, the remains of a witch, and her book of spells. With the witches magic they shrink Jack down so that he can make the perilous journey home inside a bottle. At sea he encounters giant squid, sharks, and pirates, but is rescued by his friend who has followed in his own bottle.
This book is a brilliant choice for sharing with the whole class and is packed with captivating mystery, entertaining drama, and a wonderfully expressive use of interesting new vocabulary to explore.
For Year 5: Digging for Victory
This superb diary-style book is written in free verse with an interesting text layout that reflects the meaning of the words on the page. With a historical setting, and a strong theme of non-judgement, the powerful writing both transports the reader to another time and transforms them in the present.
Bonnie’s diary is concerned with what it means to be a hero and how to contribute to society as her brother goes off to fight in WWII and his room is taken by Mr Fisher, who appears to be doing nothing. Her discovery of Mr Fisher’s important, dangerous, and secret role challenges all her assumptions draws out her own heroism.
The writing style of this exciting story is direct but emotionally complex and subtle, as Bonnie gradually develops an understanding of others and herself. The vegetable plot that she is ‘digging for victory’ is a satisfying metaphor for this personal growth.
For Year 5: The Boy Who Made Monsters
Jenny Pearson always grabs our attention with her ability to sensitively discuss difficult themes while being incredibly funny, and she delivers yet again with this beautiful and hilarious story.
The irrepressibly positive Benji is in denial about the loss of his parents, and busy with madcap plans to save his uncle’s business, and the family home, from a local developer. His brother appears to be struggling with his grief while Benji feels like he has ‘won at counselling’, having told them what they want to hear. Benji’s focus is on the monster he has seen in the loch and is sure customers will come flocking if he can get, or manufacture, proof. The monster turns out to be a representation of Benji’s repressed grief and he gets help to deal with it.
Jenny’s skill as a writer means that she can write a heart-warming book about coming to terms with grief which is also happy, irreverent, and reassuring. Benji is a lively, fully formed, character who jumps off the page and demands our attention. It is emotionally engaging writing at its best.
For Year 6: Until the Road Ends
Beau is a stray dog, rescued by young Peggy, loyal and loved. When Peggy is evacuated from wartime London and Beau is left behind, he devotes himself to search and rescue operations in the blitz. Only when Peggy’s parents fall victim to the bombs does he leave on an impossible journey, with Mabel the family cat and Wilf the pigeon, to comfort her.
This thrilling adventure has heart-swooping and heart-stopping moments and is peppered with humour and love. Award-winning author, Phil Earl’s writing is evocative, emotionally powerful and masterful.
For Year 6: Giant
Highly acclaimed author, Nicola Skinner, delivers yet another powerful, enjoyable, and extraordinary feat of imagination with this beautiful, and utterly compelling, fable-like tale.
At 13 Minnie knows she will have to kiss the giant servant, who has cared for her all her life, and turn her to stone to be used for rebuilding the war-ravished and earthquake-damaged town where they both live. However, the closer the day gets the more certain she becomes that she cannot, and Minnie goes on the run for the love of her giant. This sets her on a journey that challenges everything she has been told about her community, reveals injustices she has always accepted, and inspires her to pull it all down.
This richly imagined, and enclosed, fantasy island world can be completely immersive or used to shine truth on our own world. It can be enjoyed simply as a story of the triumph of truth and love over fear and hatred; or explored in more depth, with themes of propaganda, slavery, colonisation, punishment, social control, inequality, and privilege there to be drawn out if you look. It is a book that can be enjoyed at multiple levels, contains multiple points of view, and readers will discover something new on each reading.
|Reception, 1, 2
|Reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
|Type of Book