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Home > Blog > BEHIND THE SCENES: Updated Year Group Booklists Launched

BEHIND THE SCENES: Updated Year Group Booklists Launched

Our updated Year Group booklists have launched on the BooksForTopics website and we can’t wait to hear what you think of the chosen titles! In this blog post, we’re giving you some insights into the different stages of the processes that go into producing the lists, from book selection and stocking up on books to unboxing the packs in schools…
new year group lists behind the scenes

new year group lists behind the scenes

NEW Year Group booklists launched!

Our Year Group Recommended Reads lists contain 50 top book recommendations for each primary year group from Preschool to Year 6. The lists are some of the most visited pages on our website and are a popular choice for schools looking to purchase full packs of year group recommended reads from Peters. Individual books from the lists can also be purchased via Amazon or our Bookshop Store.

printable booklists for primary schoolsThe booklists are curated with a huge amount of care and attention and schools know that they can trust us to only recommend the most classroom-suitable and top-quality, engaging books for each age group.

We’ve been incredibly busy in recent weeks compiling the new lists for you, which launched live on our website on Tuesday 25th April 2023.

Here are the quick links to the lists:


Schools can share the lists or posters with their community and they also have the option to order the packs now from our partners at Peters.

But have you ever wondered about the process behind the scenes when we create our booklists?


Year Group Booklists: Behind the Scenes

How do the books end up on our booklists? Who chooses the books? How do the books get into classrooms? Here’s a sneak peek into the five steps involved in producing the lists, from selecting the books and stocking up on them, to unpacking the packs in schools.


1. Every Day’s a Happy Post Day

At BooksForTopics, we receive book submissions from a variety of children’s book publishers who hope to have their books featured on our website. We always look forward to receiving review copies from our publishing partners, and each day feels like a happy post day in our office (the jury is out on whether our postman agrees…).

We receive a tremendous amount of submissions to review during certain weeks, and from this selection, we carefully choose which books are deserving of a more thorough review.

Our Year Group booklists are never influenced by sponsored positions or paid-for book promotions. Instead, our team of experts selects the books purely based on their quality and suitability for classroom use. This means that out of the thousands of books out there, the titles that make it onto the 50 Recommended Reads lists deserve their place on merit, based on our assessment of the books as genuinely top quality ‘read for pleasure’ options for the relevant year groups.


2. Review Panel Process

After our initial assessments of the books’ suitability for our year group booklists, some of the books that we receive from our publishing partners for consideration on our website are then sent to our school-based panel of reviewers.

Our panel comprises of 50 reviewers from across the primary education community, including teachers, TAs, school librarians, headteachers, and education consultants. They help us test out new books in a variety of school settings before we recommend them on our website, ensuring that we only recommend the most suitable books for your classrooms.

Our panelists provide us with valuable feedback about which books are popular in their school libraries and classrooms. They also write detailed reviews for some of the books that we feature on our website. This information helps us to determine which books are the best fit for our booklists and to provide our readers with an accurate assessment of each book’s quality and suitability for classroom use.

We’re really proud of the work of our Review Panel and we know that their input turbo-charges our booklists to make them a step above the rest.

3. Booklist Curation –  Created With Care and Expertise

This stage of the process is both fun and busy!

Along with the valuable feedback from our Review Panel, we collaborate closely with the booksellers at Peters to ensure that the books we select for our Year Group lists are readily available to be supplied to schools and classrooms in book packs.

Taking into account the insightful feedback from our partners and reviewers, we carefully and lovingly curate lists of 50 books for each year group. For the Year Group booklists, we are choosing books for reading for pleasure at various ages and stages (either independently or for shared reading with adults), rather than choosing books with strong topic links or for English study texts, which can be found on other places on our website like our Primary School Topic Booklists.

To create these Recommended Reading lists, we require a significant amount of space to lay out the vast array of books available to us. It’s like diving into an ocean of books, and we invest a great deal of time and effort in getting the balance of books just right. We aim for a balance across different genres and text types, recognizing that reading for pleasure means different things to different children. Some children gravitate towards non-fiction like the stunning fold-out The Street Beneath My Feet , while others prefer graphic novels like Mr Wolf’s Class or poetry collections like Zim Zam Zoom. Others still seek out books with tactile or novelty elements like Inside the Villains (a mega-hit with Year 2) or those that can make them laugh like the giggle-worthy Mr Gum. We also pay close attention to the values being promoted by the books in each collection, and this is another example of where our Review Panel system really helps us to dive into the details.

As well as the balance of text type, we’ve also aimed to collate lists that cater for different reading styles (including a lovely handful of Barrington Stokes dyslexia-friendly titles like Race to the Frozen North and Gamer), interest levels and publication dates (you’ll find some true golden oldies like Not Now Bernard and Tom’s Midnight Garden as well as brand new titles like My Life on Fire on each list), as well as books that reflect a diversity of characters and settings. Each list serves as a smorgasbord of tasty reading treats for children to try, as they find their identities as readers and dive deeper into the delicious world of reading for pleasure.

The 50 spaces on each list are hotly contested, and consequently, some of our most highly reviewed titles may not make it onto these lists. Instead, we assign them to other places on the website, like our topic booklists or other more specific reading-for-pleasure collections. The reason that we update the lists each year is to make space for newly published books and to make sure that we offer the best balance of titles available for each year group. The annual refresh also allows us to take into account the latest reading for pleasure trends as well as to remove out-of-print titles from our lists.

To browse our new Year Group lists click here, or you can order the books from Peters.


4. Handing Over to Peters

After curating our lists, we entrust them to the exceptional team at Peters. The team works tirelessly to stock and pack up the books, ensuring they are ready to be shipped to schools.

The Peters team has stocked up on thousands of copies of the books from our updated booklists, and they are currently busy putting together packs of 50 for school orders.

They handle all school book pack orders on our behalf, including managing school accounts and invoices, stocking new books, packing, shipping, and even creating posters and checklists.

Schools can easily order the books from Peters, and they will receive a fantastic 20% discount on the packs as well.


5. The Really Exciting Part – Schools Receive the Packs

This is our favourite part of all! We LOVE hearing from happy schools who use our recommended reads year group packs to boost reading for pleasure in their schools.

There’s nothing quite like the magic and excitement of new boxes of books to explore! Some schools conduct staff meetings and unbox the packs together to give teachers an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the books. Other schools assign the task of unpacking the books to enthusiastic students, while some schools load the books directly into libraries and classrooms and invite students to browse the new selections. We’ve also seen some amazing library displays to showcase the range of titles in each collection.

To make it easier for members of your school community to get an overview of the books in each year group list, you can print and share the posters and checklists. These resources are valuable tools that can help facilitate reading engagement among students. Schools are also welcome to share the links to the lists directly from their school websites.

To browse the newly updated Year Group lists, click here. Schools can order the books now from Peters.


booksfortopics websiteWhere next?

> Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> See our Books of the Month.

>View our Year Group booklists

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Your Review

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Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?


Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments