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Free books you say?

Celebrate World Book Day This March 7th

As a primary school teacher, World Book Day is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the joy of books. As a Dad, reading with my daughter is part and parcel of our lives – we are both massive bookworms!

Every year, the team behind World Book Day collaborate with brilliant authors and illustrators to bring accessible and varied books to children. What’s even better is that every child will be provided with a £1 voucher (usually through school) to collect their choice from a possible 12 books!

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Here is a rundown of the 12 books available and a few suggestions to pick up whilst you’re in the bookshop:

Cruella and Cadpig – Peter Bently & Steven Lenton

Written by Peter Bently and illustrated by Steven Lenton, this is a story featuring a classic villain and a famous set of spotty dogs. A firm favourite in our house is another of Bently’s books, ‘Dustbin Dad’ which was requested every night for about three weeks solid!

Ten Little Bookworms – Mike Brownlow & Simon Rickerty

I expect this one to be very popular. The ‘Ten Little’ series has quite the range now, and there are plenty of other themed versions to suit your child’s interests. Lots of opportunities for counting with your child along with some cracking bold illustrations.

Hubert Horatio: A Very Fishy Tale – Lauren Child

This book has been produced by none other than the current Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child. A bit more in-depth than the previous two in terms of vocabulary, so perhaps suited to a patient listener or aspiring reader. Looks like a very intriguing book from the preview, with quirky humour and illustrations throughout. You may recognise the illustration style from the famous Charlie and Lola books, which may already be on your bookshelves at home already.

Minifigure Mayhem – Beth Davies & Helen Murray

This is pretty much what it says on the cover – if your child is a fan of Lego, splash a pound on this one and use your voucher to broaden their horizons with one of the other books! There are lots of Lego books covering both fiction and non-fiction, including spin-offs from the games and films as well as project books to give your master builders new ideas.

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Bad Mermaids – Sibeal Pounder

This is a new author to me, though one who has already established herself with eight books under her belt which include her take on the lives of witches and mermaids. She has collaborated with both of her illustrators to create a one-off crossover tale which is sure to be a hit with fans.

Claude: Best In Show – Alex T. Smith

This book is an extension of a series of books about a dog named Claude, and is delightfully illustrated and full of silly moments that children will love. However, Alex T. Smith has some cracking titles for older readers (perhaps 7-11) such as his Mr. Penguin series and the beautiful ‘How Winston Saved Christmas’ which I picked up this year and have stored away for December.

Percy Jackson and the Singer of Apollo – Rick Riordan

The Percy Jackson series is well established now, and tends to go down well with 9-11 year olds in my class. This is another delve into the world of Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, and his life split between present day and the world of ancient Greek gods.

The Great Rocket Robbery – Frank Cottrell-Boyce

If Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably down to his involvement in the BBC’s 500 Words writing competition. He wins bonus points for being one of the only authors to have included my favourite hobby of Games Workshop in a story! This particular story tells us of the adventures of Laika, the first animal to orbit Earth and links back to Boyce’s book Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth.

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Diary Of Greg Heffley’s Best Friend – Jeff Kinney

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a long-running, very popular series of books by Jeff Kinney. They tend to be go-to book choices for 7-11 year olds thanks to the combination of images and comedy throughout, along with an easy-read style. This is bound to be a popular one given how big the rest of the series has become.

Ever Dark – Abi Elphinstone

Abi Elphinstone is a writer and adventurer, and her stories are inspired by her time outdoors and her experiences. Her most recent book Sky Song has been on my ‘To Be Read’ pile for some time now, and comes very highly recommended for her characters and magical fantasy landscapes. One to check out if you’ve worked your way through Harry Potter or similar books.

Snap – Patrice Lawrence

This is another new author on my radar, and one of two books aimed at the YA (Young Adult) reader (12-18). The preview offers a great description of family life, and the blurb hints at a tense story about a missing brother. Her other books also centre strongly around families and the challenges some face.

Nought Forever – Malorie Blackman

Malorie Blackman, former Children’s Laureate, returns to her Noughts and Crosses universe for this tale. I first encountered Blackman’s tale of class and racial tension back during teacher training, and being sucked straight into the world she had created. It isn’t suitable for primary-aged children, and touches on some themes that you might want to read up on in advance. However, excellent story-telling awaits and she has more books that are suited to younger children in Pig-Heart Boy, Hacker and Thief.

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Hopefully this has pointed you in the direction of a few new family favourites, and don’t forget to use your local library to see if they have them.

About Adam Parkhouse


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