Strauss House

Jasper Space Dog

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Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, ‘Jasper Space Dog’ is the first in a new series from Hilary Robinson and is set to be a huge success.

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The story is told through a series of letters between eight-year-old Charlie Tanner and Dr Isabelle Star, a rocket scientist at Explore Space UK. Charlie’s dog, Jasper, is very keen to find out as much as possible about space and space travel as he is thinking about becoming a space dog. As the letters go back and forth, not only do we learn more about Charles, Jasper and their parrot, Parrot, we learn so much about space and astronauts.

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Told with great humour and charm, the story is also an excellent source of information about the lunar landings. Many fascinating details are included in the book like why Buzz Aldrin was called Buzz, how food was specially prepared for the astronauts and how various things were named. The book is perfect for using in class to support learning about space and could be used as a stimulus for writing in various forms.

Full of lovely illustrations, ‘Jasper Space Dog' is a very accessible, enjoyable read. It is great to know that the very engaging characters of Charlie and Jasper are going to be appearing in more adventures soon.

Jasper Space Dog Hilary Robinson, illustrated Lewis James

Strauss House ISBN: 978- 1999338909

Published 8th April 2019

NSTBA Past Winners- Quality Fiction Category

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We love a good book which inspires both teachers and children to produce amazing work and are constantly on the hunt for those special texts we think will achieve this. There are so many lovely books available, but it takes something special to make a book a quality text. Here are the wonderful titles that have won this category over the past four years.

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Beautifully written, ‘The River Singers’ was our first winner in this category. The adventures of Sylvan and his siblings are a compelling read, full of stunning descriptions and lyrical language. Tom was able to join us for the awards with his lovely wife in 2015 and they were absolutely lovely. You can read our review here.

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In 2016, this category was won by Horatio Clare with his extraordinary book, ‘Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot’, a very powerful, moving story. You can read out review here. Horatio and Jane were not able to attend the awards due to other commitments, but I caught up with them at Hay Festival and gave them their award then.

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Hilary and Martin won again- this time in the Quality Fiction Category with their poignant and beautiful book, ‘A Song for Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan’. Based on historical evidence, it tells the story of the gardeners of Heligan who went to the First World War, some of whom returned and others who did not.

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Both Hilary and Martin were able to come to the awards and you could not meet two nicer people. Each of their books is written from the heart and with the greatest attention to detail. You can read our review here.

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Last year’s winner was Saviour Pirotta’s novel, ‘Mark of the Cyclops’. Saviour came all the way from Yorkshire to join us at the awards ceremony and was delighted to win. His book is a fabulous mix of historical detail and mystery, perfect for engaging children with work on the Ancient Greeks. You can read our review here.

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Each of these books has been widely used in our schools and each has ideas for a book event and /or teaching notes to go with them which are available to our members. It is a pleasure to see them being used in classes and enjoyed by so many children! If you haven’t read any of them, give them a try- each one is really wonderful! What will this year’s long list bring?

NSTBA Past Winners- Poetry Category

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Here at NSTBA HQ, we love poetry and value sharing it in our classrooms. Hugely versatile, poetry is so appealing and can be performed as well as created, discussed and enjoyed. There are so many styles of poems from so many cultures and eras and yet, this is the category we have to search the hardest for!

Here is a reminder of the winners from the past four years…

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Our first winner was ‘Buzzing’, a wonderful collection of poems about insects by Anneliesse Emmans Dean. Full of energy and enthusiasm, Anneliesse was as lovely as her poetry which is illustrated with her stunning photography. This book has been an excellent as a guided reading text. You can read our review here.

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In 2016, ‘Flo of the Somme’ was our choice. Beautifully illustrated with Martin’s wonderful watercolours, Hilary tells the story of Flo, one of the many animals used in war, in rhyming text. It is a beautiful book in so many ways and is perfect for sharing. Martin was able to attend the awards and it was a delight to meet him. You can read our review here.

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Three poets won our 2017 award with this marvellous collection of poems celebrating women. The range of women written about from diverse backgrounds and historic periods and the use of different styles makes this a real treasure trove. Liz Brownlee and her wonderful dog, Lola, were able to join us for the awards.

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A wonderful collection to use with children, you can read our review here.

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In 2018, Liz was back, accompanied by fellow poets Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens with their wonderful collection of shape poems which won the award. They are a wonderfully friendly crowd and we were delighted that they were all able to attend- with Lola!

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You can read our review here.

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Each of these books has been widely used in our schools and each has ideas for a book event and /or teaching notes to go with them which are available to our members. It is a pleasure to see them being used in classes and enjoyed by so many children!

We will revisit the Read Aloud Category next!