Putting the right book into a child’s hands can sometimes be all that’s needed to set that young person off on a lifelong journey of literary discovery and enjoyment. Developing a love of reading in children is so important, but with over 10,000 new titles for children published in the UK every year, how are busy parents supposed to identify genuinely outstanding stories, with real potential to engage and entrance readers?
Amongst the many prizes that recognise brilliant writing for young people, the Teach Primary Book Awards are unique in highlighting books that not only will children love to read, but that will also support learning – for example, by opening up opportunities for deeper discussion and encouraging language play. The final books chosen are as educationally enriching as they are creatively satisfying. We are pleased to be able to share this year’s winners here, and hope your children enjoy them at least as much as the judges clearly did!
Click on any of the book images to go directly to the page on Amazon!
|We Found a Hat – John Klassen
Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat… Evoking hilarity and sympathy, the shifting eyes tell the tale in this perfectly paced story in three parts, highlighting Jon Klassen’s visual comedy, deceptive simplicity and deliciously deadpan humour.
|Here we are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth – Oliver Jeffers
Our world can be a bewildering place, especially if you’ve only just got here. Your head will be filled with questions, so let’s explore what makes our planet and how we live on it. From land and sky, to people and time, these notes can be your guide and start you on your journey. And you’ll figure lots of things out for yourself. Just remember to leave notes for everyone else… Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you’ve just got to be kind.
|The Night Box – Louise Greig/Ashing Lindsay
Max has a key and a box of midnight blue.
Louise Greig’s lyrical voice and Ashling Lindsay’s warm, endearing illustrations hold a candle up to the magical nature of night-time in this soothing picture book. Perfect for cosying up to read and share before bedtime, The Night Box is an original bedtime tale that sits perfectly alongside classics such as The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark – great for reassuring little ones who have a fear of the dark and calming down lively children before bedtime!
|The Treasure of Pirate Frank – Mal Peet/Elspeth Graham/Jez Tuya
A boy and his dog set sail in search of treasure, braving stormy seas . . . mountains snowy and cold . . . the forest where the monkeys swing . . . the swamp where the bullfrogs sing . . . and other challenging obstacles, before finally reaching the end of their quest. But wait! Pirate Frank is A GIRL! And she doesn’t want to share. Back home they go, retracing their steps before sailing away to dream of the treasure they’ve lost.
|Grumpy Frog – Ed Vere
Grumpy Frog is not grumpy. He loves green, and he loves to hop, and he loves winning. But what happens when Grumpy Frog doesn’t win, or encounters – horror of horrors – a Pink Rabbit?
|Giraffe and Frog – Zehra Hicks
Frog and Giraffe are going to the beach… but where is it, again? Giraffe is convinced of the route and sets off confidently, striding ahead of Frog . . . but when they arrive, Frog knows that’s not the beach! Where’s the water? Where’s the sand? Can they EVER find the right way?
Key Stage 1
|The Incredible Dadventure – Dave Lowe
Holly’s dad is an explorer, having amazing adventures all over the world, while Holly is stuck at home with her mum, her baby brother and the dog. Now Dad’s on a new expedition and he’ll miss her tenth birthday. She’s not happy – until she finds out that he’s planned a special treasure hunt, just for her. She has ten days to complete ten tasks – some silly, some tricky and some downright terrifying.
Maybe life at home isn’t quite so boring after all.
|Storm Whale – Sarah Brennan/Jane Tanner
‘Bleak was the day and the wind whipped down, when I and my sisters walked to town…’ So begins the story of three sisters and their wild and magical encounter with a whale, stranded on a beach. With illustrations full of light and movement, a powerful text that reads like a ballad, children and adults alike will be transported to beachside holidays of long ago, feel the wind in their hair and taste the salt spray, as the girls battle against huge odds to save something precious and vulnerable.
|Museum Mystery Squad and the case of the Hidden Hieroglyphics – Mike Nicholson
Hieroglyphics: hard to spell and even harder to decode! When a strange message is found hidden on the casket of Pharaoh Raneb, the Museum Mystery Squad must crack a code nobody’s seen since ancient Egyptian times. But this mummy’s keeping mum. The Squad are not the only ones working on the mystery: they meet Egyptian expert Professor Peter Gyptex, and the very odd Vera Damclot, a fan of mummified cats. Can the Squad reveal the mummy’s secret before it unravels?
|The Big Red Rock – Jess Stockham
When Bif finds a big red rock blocking his way, he decides it has to go. But how? Nothing he tries will move it. Bif’s friend Bop knows some monsters who might be able to help. When none of their ingenious methods work, they all have to decide what to do next – with surprising results! A simple and comic tale about teamwork and problem solving.
|After the Fall – Dan Santat
After the fall, Humpty Dumpty is a broken egg. Life is tough: he’s so afraid of heights, he can’t even bear to climb onto his bed, or reach his favourite cereal on the top shelf at the supermarket. But one day, fuelled by his passion for bird-watching, he decides to conquer his fears and something amazing happens…
|Pigsticks and Harold in the incredible journey to… the ends of the Earth! – Alex Milway
The adventures of Pigsticks, the world’s most optimistic pig, and his sidekick Harold, an over-anxious hamster.
Pigsticks and Harold set off on a journey to the Ends of the Earth armed only with a sense of adventure (Pigsticks’), common sense (Harold’s), and a lot of cake. They pick their way through jungles, trek across deserts and climb a huge mountain, but the Ends of the Earth are always just out of reach. When their last crumb of cake is stolen and it doesn’t look like they’ll ever make it home again, they finally find the Ends of the Earth – in the last place they’d ever think to look.
Key Stage 2
|Sky Chasers – Emma Carroll
A encounter with a boy dangling from the sky changes pickpocket Magpie’s life forever. Like her, the boy dreams of flying over the rooftops of Paris. His family, the Montgolfiers, are desperate to be first to discover the secret of flight. Together with Pierre, Magpie is soon caught up in a world of inflatable bloomers, spies and a trio of unruly animals in a race to be the first to fly a hot air balloon – in front of the King and Queen of France.
|Charlie and Me – Mark Lowery
Thirteen-year-old Martin and his younger brother Charlie are on a very special journey. They’re going to be travelling 421 miles all the way from Preston to the very tip of Cornwall. They’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphin that regularly visits the harbour there. But is that the only reason they are going?
It’s a journey that’s full of challenges and surprises. Martin adores his brother Charlie but he’s not like ordinary kids. He’s one in a million. He was born far too early, and ought to have died. And cheeky, irrepressible, utterly unique Charlie is always keeping Martin on his toes – especially on this crazy trip they are now on. Martin is doing his best to be a good big brother, but it’s hard when there’s something so huge coming once they get to Cornwall …
|The Girl Who Drank the Moon – Kelly Barnhill
Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is in fact a good witch who shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.
One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna’s thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge – with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth’s surface. And the woman with the Tiger’s heart is on the prowl . . .
|Kick – Mitch Johnson
Budi’s plan is simple. He’s going to be a star. Budi’s going to play for the greatest team on earth, instead of sweating over each stitch he sews, each football boot he makes. But one unlucky kick brings Budi’s world crashing down. Now he owes the Dragon, the most dangerous man in Jakarta. Soon it isn’t only Budi’s dreams at stake, but his life. A story about dreaming big, about hope and heroes, and never letting anything stand in your way.
|The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop
This story is about a little girl named Property Jones, so-called because she was left in the lost property cupboard of a bookshop when she was five years old. Property loves living in the bookshop, but she has a whopper of a secret … she can’t actually read! So Property doesn’t see the newspaper article announcing the chance to win the Montgomery Book Emporium, the biggest and most magnificent bookshop in the world! When her family win the competition, Property finds herself moving to the Emporium, a magical place filled with floor upon floor of books and a very bad-tempered cat. But all is not at it seems at the Emporium and soon Property Jones finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.
|The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle – Victoria Williamson
Reema runs to remember the life she left behind in Syria. Caylin runs to find what she’s lost. Under the grey Glasgow skies, twelve-year-old refugee Reema is struggling to find her place in a new country, with a new language and without her brother. But she isn’t the only one feeling lost. Her Glasgwegian neighbour Caylin is lonely and lashing out. When they discover an injured fox and her cubs hiding on their estate, the girls form a wary friendship. And they are more alike than they could have imagined: they both love to run. As Reema and Caylin learn to believe again, in themselves and in others, they find friendship, freedom and the discovery that home isn’t a place, it’s the people you love.