I enjoy reading books for children no matter what the level of challenge. In my classroom, we all acknowledge that reading has so many positives: it helps us develop our understanding of phonics and how sounds blend together to make words; it aids us to build upon our vocabulary; we can learn to empathise more which supports our relationships with others and it is a great way to relax and enjoy a good story! We have many rights as a reader to choose what we read – my mood dictates which pages I turn. Personally, growing up in the ‘Harry Potter’ generation, I have re-read the series many times as it provides a comfort to me when I am feeling down or anxious. When I am poorly, I often watch the films too as another avenue of escapism which seems to work just as well as antibiotics…
Anyway, I shall give you a snapshot of what I have really enjoyed reading in recent years and have recommended to my pupils. I can’t rank them in order, as I feel that each book is so different and thus is incomparable to an extent. My posts will then reflect on books as I read them. They will be new published works, old books sitting on your bookshelf that you have never read but wonder what on earth they are about and from a variety of genres.
‘Wonder’ by R. J. Palacio
We have read this as a class reader and the children were always asking for the next chapter! It is a stunning book following different characters in the story. It is based on a boy called Auggie who was born ‘different’. It follows his transition into school and addresses the challenges that he faces there. It is a fantastic book for children who are going through, or about to go through a transition themselves. You can’t help but reach out to Auggie and recognise that ‘normal’ is just a word and not a pigeonhole. The original use of writing from different perspectives has helped enable the children in my class understand how this writing style can be done successfully and they have endeavoured to replicate it.
“You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out”
This is a beautiful, yet slightly odd book… Personally I love the quirky and original way that Ness addresses a very challenging topic (that were originally inspired by Siobhan Dowd before she sadly passed away). I recommended this book to some of my more mature readers who have exhausted fiction for under 11 and who were up for a challenge. Although there is one use of some bad language and it is based upon a boy whose mum is very ill, the theme within the book ‘are things ever just right or wrong?’ intrigued me and the children that I shared the book with. One girl read it in a day she loved it that much!
See the website below to see where profits from books like this other work by Siobhan Dowd goes to:
‘Spilled water’ by Sally Grindley
Winner of the Nestle Children’s Book Prize Gold ward, this book is a touching story of a Chinese girl who faces enormous challenges in her young years when she is forced into work. It opens the readers eyes into the harsh realities that some children have faced and still face in some parts of the world where they are made to work in extreme conditions. It forces children to recognise that being part of the British schooling system, they are privileged and they must not take their education for granted.