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Best Books This Month – March 2024

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best books for children march 2024

It’s easy to feel lost in the flood of so many new children’s books available. Each month, our review panel reads scores of new books and we highlight five of our recently published favourites.

Check out our Review Panel’s top books for you to read in March 2024.

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Rob Wilsher
 & Sophie Williams
Non-fiction

Stones and Bones: Fossils and the Stories They Tell is a captivating non-fiction text, perfect for independent readers in UKS2. Its curriculum links to rocks and soils and the Stone Age makes it a good text for teachers or parents to read aloud to younger readers.

Stones and Bones is like having a friendly guide to show you around Earth’s past. You’ll learn how fossils are made and what life was like during different periods of history. Each page is full of exciting discoveries waiting to be uncovered. It is full of stunning illustrations, accessible language and rich content, making it sure to ignite a spark of curiosity for Natural History.

With amazing pictures that make dinosaurs and ancient worlds come alive, this book is packed with fun facts and cool stories.

Jaspreet Kaur
 & Manjit Thapp
Picturebook

Finding tranquillity can seem like an elusive quest in the heart of our ever-busy world, where the din of traffic, road works, and sirens fill the air. The Spaces In Between by Jaspreet Kaur is a journey through the lives of children seeking solace in the crevices of urban life and brought to life through the evocative illustrations of Manjit Thapp. The narrative weaves through the experiences of various children, each navigating their emotions amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.

Themes of anxiety, fear, kindness, and joy are gently explored, making complex emotions accessible and understandable to a younger audience. The children’s journeys over a day showcase how they find peace in simple joys, be it the warm embrace of a loved one, the exhilarating sensation of splashing through puddles, or the tactile pleasure of autumn leaves underfoot. Though seemingly small, these moments are depicted as vast and significant havens of peace and happiness.

Located at the end of the book are practical tips and suggestions for finding calm. These ideas are theoretical and grounded in accessibility, ensuring that children from various backgrounds can find solace and joy in their everyday environments. This approach underscores the book’s commitment to inclusivity and universal well-being, offering a beacon of peace amidst the chaos. It is a significant tool for educators, parents, and all professionals involved in children’s education and well-being, illustrating the power of mindfulness and the importance of mental health from a tender age.

Perfect for initiating conversations about emotions, teaching mindfulness practices, and encouraging children to explore and appreciate the world around them while navigating their emotions and finding quiet spaces in a noisy world.

Alex Wharton
Poetry

Red Sky at Night, Poet’s Delight is the third poetry collection from Alex Wharton, who is Children’s Laureate Wales. Within the collection are many poems covering a range of themes from sports, weather and objects to animals and oak trees. There is a poem for everyone within this book.

The poems in the book showcase a good selection of what poetry looks and sounds like in different forms. They range widely in length (there are examples of one-verse and multiple-verse poems) and theme. There are some laugh-out-loud poems as well as poems that encourage any reader to celebrate their individuality and uniqueness. There are poems within this collection that could internalised and performed out loud and others that could be used to encourage a reader to create their poem in a similar style. Furthermore, the presentation is playfully brought alive by the illustrations for Ian Morris.

There is one poem – ‘Young Oak’ – which tells the poetic story of an oak tree near Wharton’s home, and of the nature and events it witnesses through the years and seasons. This is quite unlike any poem I have read before, both in terms of content and length, and would be a lovely choice for a discussion or poetry study in any Key Stage Two classroom.

Overall this was an enjoyable collection of poems that will no doubt inspire any reader to create their own.

Christopher Edge
Chapter book

Adventure in a sci-fi setting ensues with the usual edge-of-your-seat fast pace of a Christopher Edge story. If you liked Escape Room and Maisie Day or Jennifer Killick’s Dreadwood horror series, then you’ll love this.

Five friends find themselves sucked into the screen to become part of the 4D interactive film they were hoping to watch at the Black Hole Cinema club – so named due to a spelling error.

The friends have to complete a mission to find their way out of the film, but to do that they have to work out what the mission is! Some of the descriptions are trhilling (if a little scary!): ‘… a jet black tidal wave, a tsunami of darkness surging towards us without a sound.‘ and ‘…as the curtains kiss the music stops and the lights go out…

The book is beautifully presented and laid out with some bold text, simple line illustrations for items such as the cinema tickets and feature-framed chapter title pages. The text is well-spaced and easy to read, broadening the appeal to a wider range of readers in KS2.

Alex T. Smith
Chapter book

This is the first book in the new Early Readers series from Alex T. Smith.

The Space Cadets, Astrid, Zoink, Beryl and Dr. Quackers must complete tasks assigned to them to earn gold stars to be in the running for the grand prize. It is the Space Cadet mission to help at all times, no matter what – so when they get a distress call from the Planet Hortensis while cleaning the Milky Way, they rush to help. Snailiens have invaded the garden of Flora Mulch and are headed for her prize-winning Astro Potatoes. The cadets must figure out how to save the day in their own unique way.

This early chapter book is all about teamwork and helping people, which is a great message for young readers. The series contains easily accessible vocabulary and gorgeous illustrations to add to the appeal for young readers exploring short, illustrated chapter books. There is also a good deal of humour which also adds to the fun factor. I’m looking forward to more adventures from the crew!

 

Support independent bookshops

Many thanks to our review panel members Tami Wylie, Kate Spurrier, Hayley Warner, Amy Hilyard and Suzanne Booth for reviewing this month’s selection.

 

 

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