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Best Books This Month – May 2021

Best Books This Month - May 2021

The BooksForTopics Top Picks for May 2021

We’ve picked five of our favourite new children’s books this month.

Priscilla Mante
Chapter book

Jaz Santos vs the World is the first in a new series about a girl who gathers an unlikely group of friends together to make their own girls’ football team. This is an inclusive and empowering tale with a real-life feel. This timely and heart-warming story about teamwork, self-belief and following your passions in the face of life’s ups and downs is likely to score big with readers aged 8-11.

Kate Hale
 & Andy Smith

Welcome to FACTopia!, a wonderland of crazily connected facts. Choose your own path through this hilarious world of 400 facts, all of which are verified by Encyclopaedia Britannica. Every fact in the book is connected to the next in an ingenious trail of information – making it a kind of ‘choose your own adventure’ of the fact world. From the attention-grabbing orange cover to the final recordbreaking endings, this book is a winner. It has an index, it has sources, it has picture credits, it has information about the author, illustrator and designer, it has a contents listing. But more, much more than these useful additions, it has facts, 400+ of them, presented so that readers can choose their own way through the book on the basis of what intrigues them most…

Louie Stowell & George Ermos
Chapter book

Myra and Rohan are life-long friends through a shared experience at birth. Every year they share a birthday party. Every year Myra causes havoc at that party. Last year, for example, she broke the magician’s hand and superglued Rohan’s cousin’s hair. This year she sets the shed alight. But while everyone is distracted, Rohan’s little sister Shilpa is kidnapped by the Fairy Queen and taken to Otherland – a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

With the help of another fairy, Myra and Rohan follow Shilpa to Otherland and accept a challenge from the Fairy Queen. If they can win three challenges in a deadly game set by the Fairy Queen, then Shilpa can return with them to their world. If they lose, all three of them stay in Otherland forever.

Louie Stowell’s newest story is a fabulous journey through the world of fairies, gods and vampires. The interaction between Rohan and Myra is hilarious and the characters visibly change throughout the story – both of them realising things about themselves and each other along the way. The challenges that the characters face and twists in the story keep the reader entertained all the way through. Each piece of action is superbly described and the tale was so fast-paced that I was desperate to read what happened next. For a teacher teaching story writing this is brilliant. The dialogue is superb, the pace fast and the descriptions wonderful.

Otherland is a fantastic escapist story, encompassing action, mischievous characters who are not quite what or who you think and an adventure that sees the children learn important things about themselves and each other. Just remember – in Otherland nothing is quite as it seems!

Tom Palmer
Chapter bookDyslexia-friendly

This well-researched and highly readable novel takes its title from the name of the medal that honours the Arctic Convoys during World War II. The story, with its concluding Author’s Note and accompanying online teaching notes available from Tom Palmer’s website, provides an exciting and informative classroom resource for the teaching of WWII as a curriculum topic, besides being a book many children will choose for the sheer enjoyment of reading. Winner of the BooksForTopics Book of the Year Award for Best Curriculum Support.

Laura Ellen Anderson
Chapter book

Rainbow Grey is a funny, smart and creative tale, sprinkled with weather-related characters and places. The characters are not human, but still remain highly relatable; the main characters had friendship issues to deal with, like any children their age, and it’s important for children to be able to recognise things that they might be going through in their own lives in a book. Likewise, the nod to dyslexia when Ray describes letters as being jumbled on the page and later on, when reading from coloured paper was referred to, would resonate with a lot of children…

Reviewers: Alison Leach, Jane Rew, David McBride, Kristen Hopwood

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