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  • Key Stage: Reception, 1, 2
  • Year Group: Reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Type of Book: Fiction, Poetry
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Age 4–11: Hottest New Titles for Summer 2024

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Your classroom libraries deserve a bit of that bookshop bling — the hot-off-the-press titles, the shiny fresh covers, and the new book smell! Keep a buzz around your bookshelves with this latest instalment of our Hottest New Titles packs. Hundreds of children's books have been published so far this year, and we have scoured publishers' lists, pored over piles of manuscripts, and whittled them down to the best two books for each year group. The places in this pack are hard-won on merit alone to ensure you have brand-new books worthy of being your next class text and high-quality titles to help your pupils fly through the reading miles in first class.

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Age 4–11: Hottest New Titles for Summer 2024
Age 4–11: Hottest New Titles for Summer 2024 Age 4–11: Hottest New Titles for Summer 2024
Age 4–11: Hottest New Titles for Summer 2024

Learn more about these stunning books from one of our Badger book specialists, Marcia, and find out why they've earned their place in this highly sought-after collection...

Books for Reception:

Click Clack by Pip Jones

This brilliant book bounces with rhythm and engages children learning their phonics with entertaining alliteration. Follow Nitwig who starts out looking for a friend and ends up knitting clothes for all the animals of the world, before going to bed happy in the knowledge that the whole world is warm. It is a lovely lesson in what we can gain from being kind to others, a great read-aloud, and the whole class will enjoy coming up with their own suggestions to follow berets for bees, slippers for spiders, and leggings for long lines of lions.

One Little Word by Joseph Coelho

This book is more than a rhyming picture book about how a playground argument can become inflated, it is a poem about the power of saying sorry from Children's Laureate, Joseph Coelho.  Children will be very familiar now with the personification of emotions in picture books but here a subtle difference creates a richer reading experience and a more emotionally engaging book. Here the argument becomes a big monster, the children's feelings remain their own and are seen in their faces, words and body language. The text and inclusive illustrations come together in very relatable scenes. This is an important distinction because it is the argument that has blown up, that dominates the children's attention and that loses its power when they say sorry, and because this is not a book about one child's emotions but about a falling out among children. There is so much to talk about in this book from the lovely language to the feelings and motivations of different characters but at its heart, it is a warm and comforting lyrical story about the power of one little word.


Books for Year 1:

All the Wonderful Ways to Read by Laura Baker

This joyful celebration of reading is just the ticket for children and teachers who need light at the end of the phonics tunnel. This book enthusiastically proclaims that reading is for everyone and encourages children to explore a wealth of reading choices and take pride in their preferences. The different ways that we read, different types of books, the way that books can transport you to other places and how reading can inspire and enable, are all warmly embraced. With a strong rhyming text that changes rhythm and plays with language, lovely use of typography to convey meaning, and entertaining illustrations, this is a book that delivers what it promotes, reading for pleasure.

The Bowerbird by Julia Donaldson

With a rollicking repetitive rhyming text that builds from the unsurpassable Julia Donaldson and stunning emotionally engaging illustrations from the incomparable Catherine Rayner, this book will captivate children and adults. Bert the charming bowerbird is trying to court the haughty Nanette but despite his growing assortment of gifts, she is never satisfied. Readers will enjoy Bert's efforts, and feel his disappointment when his gifts are stolen by another successful suitor, which makes it all the more satisfying when another bird is happy with Bert and his original offering of a pretty purple flower. Fabulous fun to read aloud and join in with and the perfect choice for promoting reading for pleasure.


Books for Year 2:

The Library Mouse by Frances Tosdevin

This utterly charming and captivating story of a mouse who yearns to be an author and share his writing with the world provides plenty of encouragement for children to write their own stories. It features rhyming language and gorgeous illustrations and is emotionally engaging and satisfying to read. The mouse is determined to be heard, trying different ways to get his story noticed, and feels defeated before his small voice is heard by a helpful library cleaner with a hearing aid tuned to mouse pitch. At the end of this brilliant book is some advice and open questions about the story from the mouse to the reader. This is sure to be a firm favourite with pupils and teachers and an invaluable classroom resource.

Turtle Rescue by Xuan Le

Dive into all things turtle in this detailed and glorious book. Flora, Fauna and their young son Bud are on an adventure to find out why the turtles have not come to a beach where they usually lay their eggs; many turtle facts are discovered along the way and the importance of keeping beaches clean is explored. A gorgeous double gatefold spread of a coral reef, a storm at sea, and intriguing flaps that reveal photographs and non-fiction information and add drama to the story. Newspaper and journal pages, and speech bubbles all make this an engaging read with lots to explore. This is a book for children to pore over on their own or in pairs, it is a book to spend time with and appreciate...just make sure you have more turtle and sea life books on hand to meet the eager demand it will create.


Books for Year 3:

The Minute Minders by Mary Murphy

This superb, high-quality text for Year 3 is a fascinating, absorbing, exciting, entertaining and heart-warming read with an engaging narrative style. It starts by simply introducing tiny Fidders, Stevie and her dad, and gradually builds a compelling, imaginative and rich hidden secret world of Fidder departments, rules and culture. Fidders are tiny people who nudge humans in the right direction be that morally, creatively, socially, or to keep them safe. Stevie and her dad are assigned to two human children who need friendship and who might require them to break a Fidder rule or two! Being a good listener, empathy, kindness, and doing the right thing for others are strong themes. Loneliness, moving away from home, bullying, and wanting to run away are all softly explored too and there is a lot to talk about with your class. The narrator often addresses the reader directly, and at the end, Stevie describes how she wrote the book and then nudged and whispered it into author Mary Murphy's head. This is the book discovery that has delighted us the most this year.

Hotel for Cats by Marie Pavlenko

This delightful and entertaining short chapter book is a brilliant translation of a French best seller and has a timeless classic feel that falls somewhere between Disney's Aristocats and Michael Morpurgo's Kaspar. There is a smattering of French words but these are all explained, including how to pronounce them, by the charming narrator. We particularly enjoyed the role of the narrator in this story who generously sprinkles in feline puns and occasionally invents words explaining 'It isn't a word but I wrote it and I like it'! However, the main characters are a group of older cats who consider it their duty to help new residents of their cattery to settle in. In this story, one young cat refuses to leave his room and it is revealed that because he is a black cat, and considered unlucky, he is being bullied by some of the other residents. The bullies are outwitted by the older cats and apologise for their behaviour. It is an enjoyable and cosy read that the whole class will warm to.


Books for Year4:

The Wonder Brothers by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Three children and a giant rabbit are astonished when the world's most famous magician makes the Blackpool Tower disappear in front of them. How they travel halfway around the world and get it back, now that is a story…a brilliant one told by the incomparable Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Irresistible characters, a delightful story of children astounding adults, and an entertaining mix of facts about the history of magic, Blackpool Tower and Las Vegas make this book a rewarding and pleasurable read. The narrative and the narrator hop about in time and from character to character but it is all held together by the interviewing officer from the Las Vegas Police Dept. The message is that the world is full of magic and wonder but that we often forget to notice it. This is a confident Year 4 read, would make an ideal class text, and is a thoroughly good book.

Dinosaur Pie by Jen Wallace

This superbly funny, enjoyable and satisfying read had us roaring for Rory, a boy with ADHD, who is transformed into a dinosaur after he eats a budget pie. Rory is the most appealing and relatable character, his struggles are engaging and he manages to be hilarious and engender sympathy at the same time. He lives in a flat with his lovely mum, who cannot afford to miss a day’s work because she will not get paid, his life is chaos, and he lives for gaming on an old PC. Rory struggles with getting ready for, and focussing in school, and occasionally has meltdowns or 'episodes'. As a dinosaur, he develops a serious sausage habit, can't talk, can't use the toilet or his bed 'because of the tail', or see screens with his dino eyes, but is still Rory inside and desperately wants to be human again. It was a joy to read a book that explicitly explored the challenges of living with ADHD, and other challenges like poverty, but that also made us laugh and asked us to think about what it would be like to wake up as a dinosaur! Your whole class will love rooting for Rory who, in turn, will get them thinking creatively and with empathy.


Books for Year 5:

Pirates of Darksea by Catherine Doyle

This fantastically fun pirate fantasy is chock full of adventure and fizzing with magic. It is beautifully written and award-winning author, Catherine Doyle, has packed it with delicious language that adds to the reading pleasure and will enrich children's vocabulary.  Our hero Max, an ordinary boy, has been given an invitation to join a magical pirate crew meant for his brother who is seriously ill in hospital. He accepts it to seek some magic to heal his brother but also because he is avoiding his own worst fears and is unable to bring himself to visit the hospital. This touching overarching story is deftly woven into the narrative in quiet moments between dramatic surprises, daring rescues, mutiny, sea monsters and sea battles. This is a romp of a read, hugely entertaining with more swashbuckling than Treasure Island and more swagger than Jack Sparrow,  and a larger theme at its heart.

Stitch by Padraig Kenny

We eagerly await any new title from the award-winning author Padraig Kenny, we know the writing will be exceptional and the story compelling, but even our high expectations were astounded by the fabulous Stitch. This gothic adventure draws heavily on Frankenstein to explore themes of difference, acceptance and what it is to be human and humane. These are not new themes for this skilful author and the writing is adept, beautiful and gloriously inventive, and the heart-stopping drama brilliantly paced. What is truly exceptional is that Kenny achieves such depth, and impact on readers, with such an apparently simple story and with so few words. This is a short book, and its larger font size and line spacing means that it is shorter than its page extent indicates but there is so much to unpack and talk about. It delivers drama, entertainment, pathos and big ideas far beyond most weightier books. This is one we cannot recommend more highly.


Books for Year 6:

Moonshifter by Penny Chrimes

Children have limited access to wild places and literature like this is an important window into a world that needs them to care about it. Penny Chrimes is an absurdly talented author who writes poetic, engaging, and beautiful books about wild nature that can inspire a passion for it. This book has a shape-shifting protagonist so that we can see both the impact of the changing human world through her eyes as a girl and the natural world through her senses as a wild hare. Magic is woven into the natural world to create a sense of awe and political change in the village is used to represent the move away from respect for the natural world. According to the new village Elder, shape-shifters are to be eradicated and the community persuaded to abandon their age-old beliefs, embrace modernity and mine the land for gold. The dominant theme of the book is the damage wrought on the earth by humans and their greed, and how we used to live in harmony with the natural world and the seasons. The joy and fear of the hare are brilliantly portrayed and the protagonist saves her village by reminding them of their connection to the land, something she feels strongly as a wild hare.

The Tree That Sang to Me by Serena Molloy

This short, dyslexia-friendly, verse novel is a brilliant portrayal of what it is like to have feelings so big you cannot express them, the effects of stressful family events on a child and genuine sources of solace and hope to be found. Kai has been overwhelmed by his feelings since his older sister ran away, he is blaming himself, feels he needs to be perfect, works too hard, and has started to pull his hair out. He seeks refuge in a tree on some disused land, it is his safe place and where he finds a new friend. This place and this friend provide Kai with the stability he needs; and with time, indicated by the passing of the seasons, and a poetry project at school he learns to express some of his turmoil and is relieved from his burden. There is no unrealistic resolution here, it takes time, but there is plenty of hope and a slow healing for Kai's family and, supported by social services, his sister returns home at the end of the book. This is a memorable, powerful, and hopeful story with themes of poverty, bullying, friendship, family and the importance of communication. In a longer novel, or with a lesser author, this story could weigh heavy on readers but instead, it sings.


Poetry for KS1

Courage Out Loud by Joseph Coelho

This superb poetry book from children's laureate, and champion of poetry in schools, Joseph Coelho, offers more than a brilliant variety of verses. It is also packed with poetry tips, ideas to get the creativity going, and encouragement to explore poetry performances. The theme of being brave and facing fears is not only a wonderful subject for these 25 poems, it is also effectively used to draw out the courage children need to write and perform poetry. Coelho's passion for poetry and the role it can play in children's lives comes through on every page. Everything about this book, from the picture book presentation to the comforting and encouraging introductions to each poem, has been designed to help children become confident readers and creators of poems and to have a keen appetite for more.


Poetry for KS2

Spin!: 10 Exciting New Voices in Poetry by Joseph Coelho

Britain's Children's Laureate has selected the work of ten gifted young poets from diverse and under-represented backgrounds to champion and offers you a fabulous preview of the next generation of British poetry in this stunning volume. The poems are gloriously illustrated, cover a wide range of themes including gaming, family, friendship, football and identity, and are meant to be read aloud and shared. Diverse authors are essential to school libraries and this is a far too rare opportunity to increase the diversity of poets and poetry available to your pupils.

More Information
Key Stage Reception, 1, 2
Year Group Reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Type of Book Fiction, Poetry

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