NSTBA READ ALOUD CATEGORY LONG LIST part 1

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We passionately believe in the importance of the daily story in all its forms! There’s nothing like gathering your class round you to collectively enjoy a book, a poem or an oral story! Each of our choices would make a great class read…

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Isla and her parents have moved from Edinburgh to the Orkney Islands after the death of Isla’s little brother, Corey. Although she is able to walk to school along the beach and starts making friends there, things still feel wrong. Watching the seals swimming round the island, Isla learns of the legends of the selkies, the tales of how they are the souls of the drowned. When her mother delivers- and names- her first ‘island baby’, the family can start to come to terms with their loss.

This is a deeply moving, beautifully written tale of love and loss. Deceptively simple, there are many elements to this story which are effortlessly combined through Sita’s poignant writing. The illustrations are equally powerful, capturing the emotions of the characters and the beauty of the locations. The entwining of the selkie legends and Isla’s story adds a magical quality, allowing some distance for those who might need it. The lyrical language, the folklore and the depth of compassion the story inspires make this a wonderful text for sharing with the right class at the right time. Just beautiful!

Corey’s Rock Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Jane Ray

Otter-Barry Books ISBN: 978-1910959978

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Jack is very neat and organised and is delighted to be starting a new school for high achievers. However, everything about his ordered, tidy life starts to unravel when he meets a strange girl living in a tree. Picklewitch is everything Jack isn’t and she turns his life completely upside down as she somehow manages to get a place at Jack’s new school- and with her magic, changes everything.

A wonderfully comic story, ‘Picklewitch and Jack’ is also a story about the importance of friendship, of valuing others and being true to yourself. Full of mischief and fun, Claire’s writing is highly engaging, with wonderful descriptions. Teemu Juhani’s quirky illustrations are the perfect complement to the text, adding to the humour.

Perfect for reading aloud, ‘Picklewitch and Jack’ offers plenty of scope for reading in ‘character’ voices and will have a class begging for the next instalment.

Picklewitch and Jack Claire Barker, illustrated by Teemu Juhani

Faber and Faber ISBN: 978-0571335183

You can read another review of this book here.

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Harry Stevenson is a guinea pig who loves eating, sleeping- and more eating! He is also very fond of his owner, Billy, who looks after him well and shares all his problems with him. When the family moves house, Harry (who is busy eating!) gets left behind and has a great adventure, following the family’s van by hitching increasingly perilous lifts. In his second tale, Harry takes off with some party balloons and ends up in the middle of a football match.

Full of gentle humour, these stories are perfect for sharing with a younger class. As well as Harry’s escapades, the stories also look at how Billy is coping with moving house, his worries about his birthday party and not fitting in . The warmth between boy and guinea pig is a joy to read and there is much to learn about looking after your pet well from these stories. The fact that guinea pigs ‘popcorn’ is wonderful and the illustrations of him doing this are as joyful as they sound! The stories are highly illustrated in orange and black, adding to the fun of the book.

The Adventures of Harry Stevenson Ali Pye

Simon and Schuster ISBN: 978-1471170232

You can read another review of this book here.

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Milly never misses a story time at Minty's Bookshop. The owner, Mrs Minty, might be a bit creaky, but she knows about every book in the world and can always find something for Milly to read. Like Mrs Minty, the bookshop is showing signs of age and Milly worries that it might have to shut. To her horror, she arrives one day to find Minty's Bookshop closed and soon it is for sale. But Milly comes up with a plan. Can she save the bookshop?

This is a delightful story about the importance of stories – and the shops that sell them. The value of Mrs Minty and her shop to the local community who no doubt take her for granted until faced with her loss reminds us all of the independent bookshops we all know and love and the booksellers whose invaluable advice keeps us returning- something to discuss with children in terms of local libraries as well as bookshops!. Milly is a sweet little girl with a warm caring nature who is a pleasure to read about.

Full of lovely colour illustrations, 'The Missing Bookshop' is a heart warming story, perfect for reading aloud and sharing.

The Missing Bookshop Katie Clapham, illustrated by Kirsti Beautyman

Little Tiger ISBN: 978-1788950428

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In the Outermost West, Kevin, a roly-poly flying pony, is sitting in his tree top nest, thinking about biscuits when a wild storm blows him away until he comes to rest on the balcony of a block of flats. This is the home of a boy named Max and his family. Max longs for a pet and so is delighted to meet Kevin and tries to keep him as a secret pet. However, torrential floods lead to Kevin being at the heart of brave and daring rescues.

A joy to read, ‘The Legend of Kevin’ is everything we have come to expect from the dynamic duo of Reeves and McIntyre. The plot moves quickly, including many exciting moments. The floods bring with them sea monkeys from ‘Oliver and the Seawigs’ which cause chaos and confusion! Lavishly illustrated, each page is a joy to linger over and enjoy the details as the illustrations are as essential to this tale as the words. Family, friendship and community are all important elements of the story and the sub-plot about the guinea pigs- Beyoncé and Neville- is great fun! As a read aloud, this story has so much to offer- fun, frolics and laughter are sure to follow!

The Legend of Kevin, Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

OUP ISBN: 978-0192766083

You can read another review of this book here.

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Anna is the new owner of Hotel Flamingo and is somewhat dismayed to find it lacking in guests and looking the worse for wear. However, she is determined to bring the hotel back to its former grandeur and with the help of her staff- new and old- she works day and night to get Hotel Flamingo up to scratch. A visit from a hotel inspector could shut the place down. Have Anna and her staff done enough?

Beautifully illustrated and full of vibrant colour, Hotel Flamingo is immediately appealing. The staff are just wonderful and bursting with personality- an excellent excuse for doing all the voices when reading aloud!. Strong messages about a warm welcome for all come shining through the story, making it heartwarming as well as humorous! This is a story that will not only have a class crying out for the next chapter, but the next in the series as well!

Hotel Flamingo Alex Milway

Piccadilly Press ISBN: 978-1848127753

You can read another review of this book here.

Look out for part two of our Read Aloud Category long list tomorrow!