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The People Who Took Care of the World | Every one of us has visited a doctor or nurse, or taken a trip to hospital at some point in our lives, but it took Coronavirus to make us really notice the men and women who look after us when we need it, and to recognise them as heroes. This inspiring and informative book begins with introductions to the very first doctors, nurses and surgeons (starting with Hippocrates), then comes totally up to date. Real, live ‘health heroes’ working in a range of different locations and roles tell us about their working lives, what they do and why they love it. It’s stirring stuff, many of the anecdotes and stories they share are really moving and all are fascinating. This is an excellent book for anyone interested in a career in medicine or care, but a great read too for all who’ve watched, wondered at and applauded the people who have done so much for us during these difficult times.
Book Band: Brown Ideal for ages 7+ | Polly Ho-Yen’s story presents readers with big questions about life and what’s really important to us. Mae suffers from severe asthma and often needs to make frightening dashes to the hospital with her parents. It’s on one of these occasions that she notices a strange black hole opening – it leads to a parallel universe, one where she doesn’t have asthma. That’s not the only thing that’s different however, and Mae has a decision to make about whether being asthma free is worth the other things that would change. In the new Bloomsbury Readers series, this story is written specifically for children growing reading confidence and understanding, with short chapters and frequent illustrations. The telling is simple, effective and guaranteed to catch and hold children’s attention, while the issues the story raises are complex and important, certain to prompt discussion (and there’s a list of questions to put to children at the end to help with this).
Book Band: Lime Ideal for ages 6+ | Dylan dreams that he’s living in a jam jar, cut off from his family, in a silent world. In fact, he’s losing his hearing and that brings all sorts of issues. He doesn’t like how loud the world is with his hearing aids in, doesn’t like the way the others in his class treat him differently now; and he feels that without sound to anchor him he’s somehow floating away. It takes a hair-raising experience, and the quick-thinking and love of his dog Pluto to bring him back down to earth. In the new Bloomsbury Readers series, this story is written specifically for children just growing reading confidence and understanding, with short chapters and illustrations on every page. Nonetheless, the story is subtle and moving, with lots to prompt discussion and reflection. There are questions to share with children at the end to help them get the most from the story.
Book Band: Dark Red Ideal for ages 10+ | Catherine Johnson writes terrific historical novels, and this story of the adventures of Thomas-Alexandre Dumas is more thrilling by far than most fiction. Thomas-Alexandre was the father of writer Alexandre Dumas and believed to have provided the inspiration for his classic, The Three Musketeers. We follow him through his childhood, a mixed-race child growing up in Haiti, sold into slavery as a teenager by his aristocrat father to pay off gambling debts; bought back and trained in swordsmanship, before joining the Dragoons. Johnson brings him vividly to life, a man driven by a passion for equality and liberty, and ready to fight for it. In the excellent new Bloomsbury Readers series, this story is written specifically to help children grow reading confidence and understanding. A separate ‘Reading Zone’ section at the end suggests activities to do while and after reading, and includes a quiz to test your knowledge. .
Book Band: Grey Ideal for ages 8+ | Maxx the alien is sent to earth to study humans and specifically to learn about their feelings. His education comes on in leaps and bounds when he makes a human friend, Jibreel. The two have fun together, but there are real worries and sadnesses in Jibreel’s life too – he’s a refugee and is separated from his mother, and to a group of boys in his class, he’s the ‘alien’. Fortunately, Maxx is there to apply his other-worldly logic to the problem. Zanib Mian has a real gift for comedy and dialogue too and this is extremely funny, while at the same time it makes some very serious points. In the new Bloomsbury Readers series, the story is perfect for children growing reading confidence and understanding, with short chapters and frequent illustrations. A separate ‘Reading Zone’ section at the end lists discussion points and also encourages readers to think about the book’s narrative structure.
Reading Planet - Votes for Women - Level 8: Fiction (Supernova) | Votes for Women is included in the Rising Stars Reading Planet reading scheme at the Red+ level. The book is a fictionalised version of events leading to the suffrage of women in 1918. The main protagonists in the book are Alice, a keen member of the suffragette movement, and her younger sister Rose, who whilst interested in the prospect of votes for women, is less certain about the approaches used to gain attention for the cause. Composed of diary extracts, letters and a third-person narrative, the story is engaging and also enables the reader to appreciate the complexity of the issues from the perspective of different characters. As with all books in the series, there is a set of comprehension questions asking readers to retrieve key information; to consider the meaning and effectiveness of vocabulary; and to evaluate the actions of characters at different points of the narrative. Further research prompts are also provided, ensuring that pupils have the opportunity to extend and apply their understanding of the text. Whilst a fascinating read in its own right, the book offers opportunities to understand the effect of key aspects of British history, such as the impact of World War I on the movement for women’s suffrage, making it a valuable addition to the school history collection.
Reading Planet - Under a Parrot Sky - Level 6: Fiction (Jupiter) | Under a Parrot Sky is included in the Rising Stars Reading Planet reading scheme at the Blue A level. Keen wildlife photographer, Lily, is disappointed when instead of heading to South Africa for a holiday, her parents take her on a work trip to Norway. Unhappy that she’ll be unable to photograph the abundant and colourful animals of South Africa, Lily reluctantly attempts to join in with the life of her Norwegian hosts. This does not go well, and Lily finds herself isolated in an unfamiliar and unwelcoming new world. Eventually, she discovers that the wilderness of Norway is home to a host of magnificent creatures and so she sets-off to explore its wonders on her own. Disaster strikes when Lily falls into a deep snow drift, far from her hosts’ home and without anyone knowing her whereabouts. Under a Parrot Sky is a story about difference and learning to get along with people from unfamiliar backgrounds. It takes the reader on a journey to the Arctic Circle, introducing them to the natural wonders of this wilderness environment, including the Northern Lights. In keeping with the rest of the books in this series, Under a Parrot Sky includes a set of comprehension questions for readers to complete after reading. There is also an author’s note outlining the inspiration for the story and prompts to encourage readers to further research the Northern Lights and other aspects of the story. A most enjoyable addition to the Reading Planet reading scheme.
Level 1 - National Geographic Kids Reader | Published in the UK by Collins, the National Geographic Kids Readers are a valuable resource for classroom and library collections. Beautifully designed and produced, with clear text boxes and layout, interactive features such as quizzes and benefiting, of course, from the superb photography that the parent magazine is renowned for. Each book has been carefully levelled against Book Bands and all have the key information text features such as index, contents and glossary, making them very useful for guided reading. But their main appeal is in the genuinely engaging writing and the sound research behind every title. Many children prefer to read information books about the real world and with attractive, appealing texts like these it is no wonder!
Reading Planet KS2 - Level 7: Saturn/Blue-Red band | Get ready to explore the world of William Shakespeare! Your guide is Kit, one of Shakespeare's oldest friends. He will show you around the famous Globe Theatre in London, and tell you the story of the man behind the plays, from his early childhood and his schooldays, to the incredible legacy of his writing. You'll also get to act out some scenes from his best-known plays, including Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth! Read on, and you'll discover why Shakespeare is considered to be one of the greatest writers ever.
Reading Planet KS2 – The Finney Island Files: Alien Invasion – Level 1: Stars/Lime band | The Finney Island File: Alien Invasion is part of the Rising Stars Reading Planet reading scheme for children in KS2. This is the first in a series of titles featuring Ash, his sister and mad-cap scientist Aunt Emmy as they battle the aliens that have taken over the quiet and boring life of residents on Finney Island. The book is both funny and adventurous and will appeal to both boys and girls. Banded at Lime level, this book is suitable for children making steps toward independent reading at the beginning of KS2. The chapter-book format is interspersed with plentiful illustrations to support comprehension, and the high interest-level of the book also makes it suitable for readers with a higher chronological age but lower reading ability. As with all the books in this series, a set of comprehension questions are provided to check understanding, which is always useful for teachers looking for meaningful post-reading activities.
Reading Planet - Level 7: Fiction (Saturn) - Reading age: 10-11 years | The Apollo Time Capsule is included in the Rising Stars Reading Planet reading scheme at the Blue-Red level. The book is an engaging fantasy story involving two characters: Ryan and Clare. On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Ryan’s class, 6A, unearth the time capsule buried by the pupils of 6A in 1969. Ryan discovers a letter written by Clare in which she seems to predict the details of several space missions undertaken after the famous events of 1969, and so the mystery unfolds. After much investigation, the now adult Clare is brought back to her old school where she meets Ryan, and both experience an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu. This is a delightful fantasy asking pupils to consider the possibility of time travel whilst framed in the familiar setting of home and the primary school. The book also deals with the themes of aspiration, hard-work and honesty and includes several characters who have fulfilled their potential through pursuing STEM subjects at school and beyond. The Apollo Time Capsule includes comprehension questions from across the range tested in the KS2 tests and provides children with sufficient additional activities to extend and secure their understanding of the text.
This exciting title in the Tara Binns mini series is written by Lisa Rajan. Sapphire/Band 16 books offer longer reads to develop children's sustained engagement with texts and are more complex syntactically. Ideas for reading in the back of the book provide practical support and stimulating activities.
This exciting title in the Tara Binns mini-series is written by Lisa Rajan. Diamond/Band 17 books offer more complex, underlying themes to give opportunities for children to understand causes and points of view. Ideas for reading in the back of the book provide practical support and stimulating activities.
Tara Binns never knows what job her old dressing up box in the attic will chose for her. In this series of inspirational fast-paced adventures, she finds herself magically transported to a different setting and facing some tough responsibilities. In the A&E department she will need to think and act quickly to save lives. Luckily she is always accompanied on these adventures by Ayesha and Ortez who encourage her to have faith in her abilities and work alongside her. Even a deadly allergy can be averted by our problem solving heroine. Each title in this colourfully illustrated and engaging series progresses to another levelled book band offering more depth and detail to the story to keep young readers hooked and making this an excellent choice for the classroom or library. I can see that Tara Binns is all set to be the Mr Ben of this generation and this time we have a female role model! David McKee’s book and TV series no doubt inspired many boys in the 1980’s to reach for their dreams- whatever they may be. But as the WISE campaign for gender balance in STEM professions, which endorses this series from Collins Big Cat, tells us: only 8% of girls go on to study STEM subjects and only 22% of women are employed in STEM careers. Tara Binns could help to change that and inspire girls to open their eyes to their full potential! Each story in this book banded series has a reading guide at the back providing practical support and stimulating activity ideas. There is a full teaching guide and lesson plan available on the website https://collins.co.uk/pages/tara-binns and WISE are providing real life case studies for each of the careers featured. High-Flying Pilot and Big Idea Engineer are available now and 3 more STEM career titles will follow later in the year.
This exciting title in the Tara Binns mini- series is written by Lisa Rajan. Emerald/Band 15 books provide a widening range of genres including science fiction and biography, prompting more ways to respond to texts. Ideas for reading in the back of the book provide practical support and stimulating activities.
Independent Reading Turquoise 7 | Developed with and endorsed by literacy experts from the UCL Institute of Education, Reading Champions are high quality, visually attractive and engaging supplementary reading resources. They are uniquely designed specifically to support independent reading alongside guided reading in the classroom. With clear exterior labelling linked to Book Bands, children can be confident that the carefully levelled text will be accessible to them. Developing readers need to build their reading confidence and stamina by extended practise within levels to embed and secure their skills while experiencing an enjoyable reading opportunity. There are at least six books in each level to offer choice and variety and they are ideal for reading practice at home. Parents and carers will feel supported by the extremely helpful guidance notes in each book on how to share and discuss the book with their child and by the opportunities to extend their learning with some enjoyable activities linked to the subject matter. Most importantly of all these original stories are lively and relevant to children’s lives. They feature a broad range of genres and contemporary topics and both the quality text and the vibrant illustrations reflect genuine diversity, so that every child can identify with characters and settings.
Book Band Black 12 - KS2 | Summer loves reading and she knows she would never have enough money to buy all the books she wants to read and so she cannot understand why her friends are not bothered by the proposed library closure. But she is undeterred even when rain destroys her posters and her dog eats the cakes, she had baked to raise campaign funds. Her friends find out why they do need the library after all and the size of the community protest and the money saving ideas they all come up with persuade the mayor to keep the library open. This lively, empowering story is a Reading Champion title for independent reading aimed at Key Stage Two readers who are working at Book Band Black 12 in class and gives them an opportunity to practise those skills and develop confidence and enjoyment. Notes for parents and carers offer supportive suggestions to help them ensure their child makes the most of reading the book; including perhaps the Write it Yourself challenge inviting them to think about protests and how to solve problems. The Things to Think About questions at the back of the book may even encourage the whole family to make more use of their own community library!
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