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Visit our new Sooper Books library…

Shiver Me Timbers at The Word

“Shiver Me Timbers: Pirates on Page, Stage and Scree” was originally conceived as a physical exhibition and was on display at The Word.¬† It proved very popular with people of all ages and they have now created an online version featuring amazing stories, myths and facts that visitors to the exhibition found so fascinating.¬† If you are ready, dive in and immerse yourself in this exciting – and occasionally dangerous – world of pirates!¬† Click on the image below

New children’s books we love

Every month, we review dozens of books for children and teenagers. Here are the ones we like best in March: guaranteed to get your child reading…¬†

Lockdown Reading ideas that still work…!

In order to support your child’s reading at home, we have created Key Stage Log-ins on the Oxford Owl website for your child to access at home. This will give them access to a range of reading books, materials and resources that are suitable for their reading level / stage.

Please ensure that your child is reading the appropriate stage book – your child’s teacher will be able to give you this information if your child is unsure of their stage. Texts are also available for our younger readers, who will be able to access Read Write Inc books to support their phonics learning.

Visit www.oxfordowl.co.uk and click the ‘login’ button. To access your Key Stage log in, use the details showing below:

EYFS: Class name: dspseyfs Password: dspseyfs

KS1: Class name: dspsks1 Password: dspsks1

KS2: Class name: dspsks2 Password: dspsks2

If your child does read a text from here, just let us know. This way we can keep a record of what they are accessing, and can provide any further suggestions if necessary.

More guidance can be found in the attached file if needed.

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The idea for The Ickabog a long time ago when JKRowling read it to her two younger children chapter by chapter each night while she was working on it. However, when the time came to publish it, she decided to put out a book for adults instead, which is how The Ickabog ended up in the attic. She became busy with other things, and even though she loved the story, over the years she came to think of it as something that was just for her own children.

Then this lockdown happened. It’s been very hard on children, in particular, so she brought The Ickabog down from the attic, read it for the first time in years, rewrote bits of it and then read it to her children again. They told her to put back in some bits they’d liked when they were little, and here we are!

The Ickabog¬†will be published for free on this website, in instalments, over the next seven weeks, a chapter (or two, or three), at a time. It isn‚Äôt Harry Potter and it doesn‚Äôt include magic. This is an entirely different story…

Click here for Live Activities during Empathy Day.

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Best books for 0-8 year olds about “empathy” – click here.¬†

Best books for 8-12 year olds about “empathy” – click here.

Visit our page for fabulous ideas to keep you reading whilst at home… click here!

Looking for books to help children learn at home?

We’ve put together a list of recommended books to keep primary school aged children learning from home. Click here for different age groups to find online lists and printable guides.

With access to libraries, classrooms and bookshops limited for many,¬† we’ve been busy finding some of the best online storytimes for children to access freely at home. The QR codes and links in the document link to story readings on Youtube and all of the books we’ve chosen are read aloud by their fabulous authors and illustrators. CLICK HERE for Story-Time Online!

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This is lovely from the people at The Literacy Trust.

Over 100 famous authors have contributed to a free Online Book ‘The Book of Hope’ that is dedicated to the NHS. Click on the link to have a read.


Completely free for all children and families, the extraordinary collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures has contributions from more than 110 children‚Äôs writers and illustrators, including Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz, Greg James and Chris Smith, Michael Morpurgo, Liz Pichon, Axel Scheffler, Francesca Simon, Jacqueline Wilson ‚Äď and Katherine herself.

Visit our page for fabulous ideas to keep you reading whilst at home… click here!


The nationwide campaign is to help change children’s lives, by making story-sharing a habit of a lifetime and creating readers for life. Reading for pleasure is in decline, so we want to boost it back up, raise awareness and spark millions of imaginations.

Dunn Street will join the fun nationwide social event¬†to share the enjoyment and pleasures of reading … SHARE A STORY¬†on World Book Day‚Ķ and every day. Spending¬†just 10 minutes a day¬†reading and sharing stories with children can make a crucial difference to their outcome and it‚Äôs fun for all involved. You can read together¬†anywhere and everywhere, from breakfast to bedtime!¬†In the park, on the train, on the sofa, on a plane ‚Äď reading and sharing stories can happen anywhere at any time.

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Why should adults get all the self-help books?! There are also lovely reads and activities for youngsters who need some extra support to feel relaxed, mindful, grateful, inspired and happy.  Click the picture above to explore 13 books to help your child feel more calm and mindful.

Supporting your child with their phonics reading

There are two sites, we recommend, that will give you easy reference to phonics and activities that you can use to support your child’s early reading journey:

The first is the ceebeebies Alphablocks Guide to Phonics – click here to visit the page.

Say the sounds

There are 26 letters of the alphabet but they make 44 sounds. Which  sounds would you like to hear spoken aloud and in example words?  Visit the Oxford University Phonics Made Easy site to hear examples!

Click her for: Oxford University Phonics Made Easy site – this also offers advice on the Year 1 Phonics test.

There is also advice about the Year 1 Phonics test on our assessment page…click here.

Click here to “JOIN US”¬†for FREE and access a great range of FREE E-BOOKS that compliment the school’s Reading Scheme! ¬†Great for encouraging reluctant readers or a different experience for everyone that LOVES books!

Click here to access the Parents’ Book Finder!

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The nation’s favourites

The Book Trust asked the nation to vote for their favourite top 10 and here is the definitive ranking:

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  3. The BFG by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake
  4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  5. Winnie-the-Pooh by A A Milne, illustrated by E H Shepherd
  6. The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
  7. The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien
  8. Charlotte’s Web¬†by E B White
  9. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
  10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis

Blue Peter Book Awards 2022

Since 2000, the enormously popular and influential Blue Peter Book Awards have been recognising and celebrating the best authors, the most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children.

Shortlist submissions for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2022 are now closed

A shortlist of three books will be drawn up for two categories (Best Story and Best Book with Facts) by a panel of judges. Over 200 children across the UK will then vote to choose the winner of each award, announced in March 2022… in the meantime, have a look at some past winners…

We’ll announce the shortlist here soon.

2021: Two winning books

Best Story

The award for Best Story was awarded to¬†A Kind of Spark,¬†the brilliant debut novel¬†by Elle McNicoll. Offering an utterly convincing and honest narrative voice,¬†A Kind of Spark¬†challenges the stereotypes that can be associated with autism, and teaches us that there are ‘many different ways to be autistic.’

Elle said:¬†‘As someone who grew up watching Blue Peter and discovering brilliant new books from the show, it is an extraordinary moment to be recognised. To be a part of their World Book Day celebrations is great, and to have been voted the winner by readers is life changing.’

Best Book with Facts

The award for Best Book with Facts went to Mike Barfield and illustrator Jess Bradley’s hilarious book,¬†A Day In The Life Of A Poo, A Gnu And You.¬†Packed full of zany trivia about everything worth knowing¬†‚Äď from pimples to porcupines¬†‚Äď and with each element written in the form of a first-person diary and brilliantly presented in cartoon strips.

Mike and Jess said:¬†‘Winning any award is a huge honour but winning the Blue Peter Book Award is extra special. I adored the programme as a child, and again as a parent, watching it with my own (now grown-up) children. The child in me that still persists to this day does find it rather amusing that a book with “Poo” in its title will now have to be mentioned several times on the show.

‘I had so much fun drawing everything from poos to gnus, and I‚Äôm really happy to know that so many children enjoyed reading about them!’

Blue Peter Book Awards 2020

Real life tales of extraordinary children and a fantastical world of captivating inventiveness took the top spots in 2020, with Rise Up and Wildspark voted for by over 500 children.

The Best Story: Wildspark by Vashti Hardy

The Best Book with Facts: Rise Up: Ordinary Kids With Extraordinary Stories by Amanda Li and Amy Blackwell

Blue Peter Book Awards 2019

The vibrant history of colour and the loving tale of a refugee boy’s new life in London took the top spots in 2019, with¬†The Colours of History¬†and¬†The Boy at the Back of the Class¬†voted for by over 500 children.

Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 – Best Story

Winner: The Boy at the Back of the Class

By Onjali Rauf, Orion Children’s Books

The Blue Peter Book Award for Best Story 2019 was¬†The Boy at the Back of the Class.¬†Onjali Rauf’s first book tells the story of how one ordinary nine-year-old child and three classmates are full of empathy for Ahmet (the boy at the back of the class), who comes to their school as a refugee from Syria.¬†Through their sensitivity, curiosity, ingenuity, bravery and innocent niceness, they make a massive impact on Ahmet’s life, friends, class, school, community and wider world.

Discussing the award, Onjali said:¬†‘What a wonderful, surreal and truly epic honour it is to win this wonderful award! I can hardly believe that my childhood dream of owning a Blue Peter badge one day has come true in the most unexpected way possible! I am utterly bowled over by the love and support¬†The Boy at the Back of the Class¬†has received not just from the marvellous Blue Peter Judges, but all the children who voted for its place as a winning title this year ‚Äď thank you.’

Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 – Best Book with Facts

Winner: The Colours of History

By Clive Gifford, illustrated by Marc-Etienne Peintre, QED Publishing

The Blue Peter Book Award 2019 winner for Best Book with Facts was The Colours of History. Who would have thought a book about colour could be so interesting? Each brightly coloured page brings another shade of colour to life. Using pantone samples, this book teaches us about origins and uses for over 20 different colours to illustrate the history of colour. From red to green to purple, this is a book which covers everything.

Author Clive Gifford said:¬†‘To be recognised by a show I watched and loved as a child (and still do as an adult) is a remarkable thing. I’m tickled pink! I want to thank all the children who voted for The Colours of History. And a big thank to BookTrust for the remarkable work they do. Awards like these are so important in getting across how books with facts can tell incredible and important stories and excite, inspire and entertain young minds as much as fiction.’

Illustrator Marc-Etienne Peintre commented:¬†‘I was very lucky to get to work with Clive and the Quarto team on such an interesting subject. I am extremely honoured to have won this prize, and most of all, to know that the children the book is intended for have read and enjoyed The Colours of History.’

Blue Peter Book Awards 2018

Tales of unexplained phenomenon and magical witches and warriors took the top spots, with Real-Life Mysteries and The Wizards of Once voted for by over 500 children.

Winner: The Wizards of Once

By Cressida Cowell, Hodder Children’s Books

Blue Peter Book Awards 2018 ‚Äď Best Book with Facts

Winner: Real-Life Mysteries

By Susan Martineau, illustrated by Vicky Barker, b small

2017 Winners: Podkin One Ear and Survivors have won this year’s Blue Peter Book Awards

Podkin One Ear

2016 The Epic Book of Epicness and The Nowhere Emporium

2015 The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff and The Spy Who Loved School Dinners 

2014 Best Story: Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (Faber & Faber); Best Book with Facts: Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders: World War II by Tony Robinson and illustrated by Del Thorpe (Macmillan Children’s Books)

2013 Best Story: Tom Gates – Genius Ideas (Mostly) by Liz Pichon (Scholastic); Best Book with Facts: Horrible Science: House of Horrors by Nick Arnold and Tony De Saulles (Scholastic)

2012 The Considine Curse by Gareth P Jones (Bloomsbury)

2011 Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St John (Orion Children’s Books)

2010 Frozen in Time by Ali Sparkes (Oxford University Press)

2009 Shadow Forest by Matt Haig (Corgi Children’s)

2007 The Outlaw Varjak Paw by S. F. Said, illustrated by Dave McKean (David Fickling Books)

2006 Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins)
2005 Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo (Collins)
2004 Man on the Moon by Simon Bartram (Templar)
2003 Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Scholastic)
2002 Feather Boy by Nicky Singer (Collins)
2001 The Wind Singer by William Nicholson (Egmont)
2000 A Pilgrim’s Progress retold by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft (Hodder)

Still looking for new and exciting books to read?  Why not try the Book Sorter?

All of the books in the Book Sorter have been added by children just like you!

Now you can find out what other children have recommended by clicking here.