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Teachers Reading Challenge

Blether Board

This is a page to blether (chat) with the Teachers’ Reading Challenge community. We invite you to share reading experiences and great reads to inspire others.

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Title: Runaway Robot
Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Recommended for: Year 4+

“An enjoyable read, I thought the slow reveal of what had happened to the Alfie (main character) was well crafted. Eric the Robot was a character a lot of children will like and Shatter’s way of speaking would be a good focus point of discussion on author’s intended meaning and ”long-word">characterisation. I would recommend to Year 4+ independent readers."

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Zoe Sadler

Title: Jemima Small versus the Universe
Author: Tamsin Winter
Good for discussing: bullying, empathy, representation, female empowerment

“This is such a lovely story of female empowerment. Any girl who was or is being bullied at school should find inspiration from this emotional story of a child on the cusp of young adulthood. The main character, Jemima, does have a valuable close friendship, a loving aunt, a group of people going through the same worries and an inspiring mentor. Still it is hard for her to shrug off the comments and stares from classmates and strangers. I will definitely be recommending this to students at school. Reading books like this helps develop empathy and this is a great example of providing characters that help children to see themselves in literature. It is also very funny in parts.”

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Zoe Sadler

Title: Magical Children: The Boy Who Could Fly
Author: Sally Gardner
Recommended for: LKS2
Top tip: link it with the story of Icarus if studying Greek mythology!

“I would recommend this for LKS2. When Thomas meets the fat fairy and wishes to be able to fly, he finds his escape from his family and a new friend in Mr Vinnie. There’s an ending that I wasn’t expecting which was nice. Could link with the story of Icarus.”

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Zoe Sadler

Tear Thief by Carol Ann Duffy

“Exquisite language in a clearly structured story. The Tear Thief is gentle, yet mysterious. A beautiful picture book with enough intrigue to even appeal to older primary children.”

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Zoe Sadler

Review

We invite you to add a book, then leave a rating and a review (you will be instructed to do this once your completed book has been added). This book will then be logged against your reading goal. You will be able to access your reviews through your personal profile at any time. By adding books and reaching your goal, your completers badge and certificate will be activated! You can also copy your review into your downloadable diary if you wish.

If you decide to log a book and leave a review you can also copy your review into the blether/message board. This way you can read each other’s reviews and comment, starting interesting discussions with the Teachers’ Reading Challenge community.

The audience for your review is either:
A) other teachers
B) children (for the relevant age group) so you can share it in school

Add a completed book now

Title: Gargantis
Author: Thomas Taylor
Recommended for: age 9/10+
Good for: those looking for a fast-paced, twisty-turny adventure mystery!

“This is the second book in a series and author Thomas Taylor takes us back to the seaside town of Eerie-on-Sea where Herbert Lemon the lost-and-founder at the Grand Nautilus hotel is about to encounter another mysterious and ominous stranger. This book immediately serves up two things I adore in a mystery adventure – a map and a head-first plunge into the action. The town of Eerie-on-Sea is cracking apart, metaphorically and literally, in the face of a violent tempest … I do not want to reveal any more plot details as this is a book that propels the reader through so many twists and turns at such an inescapable pace that you just need to plunge in and allow it to envelop you. I highly recommend this perfectly crafted adventure for everyone of 9/10+ and with its cliff-hanging chapter endings, be prepared to read more than one chapter at a time if you are reading aloud as a class-reader or bedtime story!”

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Zoe Sadler

Title: A Kind of Spark
Author: Elle McNicoll
Recommended for: age 9/10+
Good for discussing: autism, diverse experiences and perspectives, celebrating difference, empathy

A Kind of Spark is an important #OwnVoices book about autism, highlighting the value of being true to yourself and also of standing in solidarity with those who are persecuted just because they are perceived as “different” in some way. The author Elle McNicoll is autistic and parts of the book are based on her own experiences – both good and bad – at school. One of the most striking things for me about the writing was Addie’s description of the sensory assaults that everyday situations caused for her … The story makes clear that autism should not be seen as a disability, rather that the ability to experience the world differently provides unique opportunities for creativity and should be celebrated. I would highly recommend this book to anyone of 9/10+, children and adults alike.

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Zoe Sadler

I am currently reading this and cross with myself about how fast I am getting through it. I am trying to ration myself as I just don’t want it to end!

karentulloch
Reply

Title: The Last Chip
Author: Duncan Beedie
Recommended for: young children
Good for discussing: homelessness, refugees, bullying, stereotypes, generosity

“A wonderful book to start a discussion on homelessness, refugees, bullying and generosity with young children. Percy visits different settings in the search for food. Fantastic at challenging stereotypes.”

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Zoe Sadler

Title: The Parker Inheritance
Author: Varian Johnson
Recommended for: UKS2
Good for discussing: prejudice around race and sexuality

“I love a good ‘grown up’ mystery…but how good could a mystery for children really be? The answer is, better than a lot of ‘grown up’ ones! Candice, with the help of her new friend Brandon, has to unravel a trail linked to her family, racial prejudice and ultimately to a life changing discovery. Thoroughly recommended for UKS2 (and adults!) with many opportunities for discussion of the struggles around race and sexuality but also because of a good, old fashioned page turner! star 5 stars from me.”

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Zoe Sadler