Over the past two weeks, both of our KS2 fiction discussion groups met to discuss the titles they’d been reading and sharing with their classes this Autumn term. As always, lots of interesting thoughts were shared, teachers from a variety of schools elaborating upon how the books had (or hadn’t!) worked with their pupils.
Our group in the west of the county were the first to meet, at their usual venue of Fakenham Library! Here’s what they thought about the books they’d read for the Autumn term:
Werewolf Club Rules by Joseph Coehlo
- Performance poet and playwright Joseph Coelho has scooped the CLPE children’s poetry award for his first solo poetry collection. See this link for loads more fab poetry and teaching resources.
- The children who chose this book were happy to dip in and enjoyed what they found.
Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka
- This works well for years 3 and 4 but there are plenty of years 5 and 6 who will enjoy this funny story of science, robots and engineering.
- Childern enjoyed the language and thought the story was great.
- Cartoon style illustrations an good charaters make this a good choice which was enjoyed by many children.
Don’t Forget Tiggs! by Michael Rosen
- Any pairing of Michael Rosen’s words and Tony Ross’s scratchy drawings has to be a winner!
- This would read aloud well and makes a great story for your newly confident Year 2 or 3 readers.
- Many families will relate to the early morning chaos this book depicts.
Cowgirl by G.R. Gemin
- On the Waterstones’ Children’s bookprize shortlist this is a very different read for your top KS2.
- It celebrates community and difference as well as highlighting the problems of rural as well as suburban poverty. In trying to protect her beloved cows Cowgirl distributes them around the local estate with hilarious and touching results.
- Sadly the title means this wasn’t picked up by boys, but the girls really enjoyed it.
Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean
- Definitely for able top KS2, this was the teachers and librarians favourite, sadly not picked up by many children. Even the opening sentence has you hooked though!
- It is a brilliant story with great characterisation and would tie in beautifully with topic work on Australia.
Journey by Aaron Becker
- This wordless picture book was enjoyed by all the children who looked at it. Some schools have used this to lead into work on human rights.
- The story has magical qualities and lends itself to imaginative work around portals into other worlds, Wonderland, Narnia and the like.
This term’s meeting of the Norwich Reading for Pleasure group took place in the wonderful library at West Earlham Junior- we were even greeted with CAKE! (Thank you Rachael!) Here’s a summary of what was discussed in-between brownie bites:
The Tin Snail by Cameron McAllister
- Generally thought to be too long by all the children who attempted to read it, with many giving up before finishing.
- The adults who’d read it felt that the real-life facts in the story were interesting, but that overall there wasn’t much to get excited about.
- It was, however, suggested that it was very filmic and would perhaps work well if adapted for the big screen!
Demolition Dad by Phil Earle
- Features on the 2016 Peters book of the year shortlist.
- Enjoyed by the majority of those who’d read it so far- the book has lots of discussion points including health and bullying.
- Works well when read aloud- Rachael @ West Earlham had been reading it with some Year 4s.
- Accompanied by illustrations by Michael Broad which were well liked!
The Shark-headed Bear-thing by Barry Hutchinson
- A very popular read- very very funny!
- Louise @ Saxlingham noted that it was working especially well for her class which spans years 3-6; her year 6’s have even been reading it to the whole class. She felt this was a testament to the way that the book really has something for everyone in class- it can often be difficult to find books that cover this.
- The book’s gender politics were discussed, as well as how it could raise interesting discussions about inference and predictions- what’s left to happen?
I Never Liked Wednesdays by Roger McGough
- Published by Barrington Stoke, known for their titles aimed at those with dyslexia.
- This book generated lots of discussion amongst the group about what other books are available for those reluctant readers; we were able to recommend the little gems range, as well as author Michael Dahl as a follow-up for anyone who’d enjoyed this book in particular.
The Firebird by Mairi MacKinnon
- Inclusion of the CD went down really well- the opportunity for children to hear it read aloud by someone other than themselves or their class teacher!
- Julie @ Little Plumstead said a group of her year 5 girls were really captivated by the story, even taking inspiration to produce their own work to further the story.
Tale of a Tail by Margaret Mahy
- Not thought to be particularly special.
- Rachael felt that perhaps the cover illustration had put off a lot of the children who’d deemed it too boring!
You can read our previous FDG write-ups here.