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Recommended Reads for Reception: New Additions for 2024

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Recommended Reads: New Additions for Reception

If you’ve previously purchased our 50 Recommended Reads pack for Reception, then this list is for you! Update your collection with this special list of books which have been newly added to our 50 Recommended Reads list for Reception.

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New Additions to our Reception List

Peter Millett
 & Sam Caldwell
All aboard the ship that Jack built for a rollicking picture book adventure.Jack’s ship has set sail with a precious cargo of gold in the hold, but a whole host of thieves are out to snatch it from under his nose. From the squid that opens the lid and the seal that tries to steal, to the cat and the rat and the whale with its splashy tail, Jack really has his hands full.With a joyful, rhyming text full of super-catchy repeated lines, this cumulative tale builds and builds to an epic crescendo. Told by Peter Millett and brought to life by Sam Caldwell, bestselling illustrator of Buster Books' popular picture book Sheldon's New Shell, this picture book voyage is one readers will want to take again and again.
Simon Mole
 & Matt Hunt
Smile and stomp along with this celebration of all things DINOSAUR, with exuberant poems by a National Poetry Day ambassador and joyful artwork.Welcome to a world where it’s eat or be eaten – depending on how ferocious you are. From T-Rex to Triceratops, Stegosaurus to Velociraptor, meet the most awe-inspiring creatures ever to walk the Earth!Author Simon Mole turns fascinating facts into over 30 poems and fragments, full of humour and heart; Matt Hunt’s magnificent illustrations bring these prehistoric beasts thundering off the page.Here are the dinosaurs in all their larger-than-life glory – and here is a book that children will want to read over and over again.
James Catchpole,Lucy Catchpole
 & Karen George

Joe is widely admired for his presence, whether he’s playing on the playground or enjoying a treat – after all, he’s SO AMAZING! Despite his admiration for his athletic friend Simone, Joe constantly receives compliments from onlookers. Wanting to shift the focus to Simone, Joe attempts to blend into the background, only to be mistaken for feeling sorry for himself.

Reluctantly, Joe participates in activities, feeling the pressure to maintain his “Amazing Joe” persona, a struggle that resonates with disabled individuals. As playground visitors gawk and point at his physical disability, Joe becomes exhausted with the attention. Seeking solace, he engages in soccer with a friend and discovers the joy of accomplishment through perseverance.

In this picturebook, the authors skilfully portray strangers’ well-intentioned yet patronizing behaviour through vivid illustrations. The narrative paints a picture of the importance of supportive friendships rather than offering direct strategies for handling uncomfortable interactions. Illustrated with diversity in the character portrayal, the story offers a glimpse into the disability experience.

A. M. Dassu
 & Junissa Bianda
With vivid illustrations and a heartwarming story, this picture book is the perfect Eid gift!It's the evening before Eid, and Hana is helping her mum lay the table. Hana loves the colourful decorations they've arranged around the house! But there is still much to do, so when Hana's mum asks her to get the Eid presents ready to take to Nani's house the next day, Hana is at the ready to help!There's just one problem: where are the Eid presents?With a gentle search-and-find element running alongside the story, this gorgeous picture book is a wonderful introduction to Eid.Written by award-winning author of Boy, Everywhere, AM Dassu and with heartfelt illustrations by Junissa Bianda
Sarthak Sinha
Farah loves mangos! She could eat them all day long and she wouldn't mind living in one either. Every summer when she visits her Grandpa they always pick the ripe fruit from his mango tree. This year, however, the tree is empty! Farah puts her mind to it and decides she will make the tree grow fruit. But perhaps Farah will learn there is more to a mango tree than just the fruit it bears?

Rob Biddulph

Gigantic by Rob Biddulph is a heartwarming tale that casts a vast net, capturing themes of perseverance, friendship, and self-belief in a vibrantly illustrated, marine-filled adventure perfect for the primary classroom.

Biddulph transports the reader into an ocean teeming with life, where we meet our unlikely hero, Gigantic, the smallest blue whale in the stormy Atlantic. Despite his size, Gigantic’s journey is one of might and mettle, where his diminutive stature in the ocean’s vastness doesn’t deter his big-hearted valiance.

The rhythmical prose lends itself beautifully to read-aloud sessions, with the alliterative play and evocative imagery poised to capture children’s imaginations. Biddulph’s illustrations are equally engaging, using a palette that mirrors the stormy yet spirited oceanic setting. Beyond the narrative, the book serves as a springboard for discussions on marine life, ecosystems, and the importance of determination. It illustrates that even the smallest creature has value and strength, a message that resonates with children navigating their place in the world.

‘Gigantic’ aligns well with lessons focused on resilience and teamwork. It also provides ample opportunity for cross-curricular activities, from exploring oceanography in science to creative writing tasks inspired by Gigantic’s aquatic escapades. ‘Gigantic’ is a tale of little fins and a lesson in big hearts and the power of believing in oneself. It’s a testament to the notion that no one is too small to make a difference, making it a standout addition to any educational setting or library.

Raahat Kaduji

Flora, the smallest dormouse, ends up discovering the amazing world there is around her when all the other dormice go back to sleep. Her head is full of questions so Flora bravely sets off to explore where she finds the answers…and more, along the way.

This wonderful book offers the reader a little glimpse into the lives of different animals across the seasons and demonstrates the love and friendship of others when it is needed. Through the beautifully detailed illustrations and the simple but informative text, readers can follow Flora as she goes on an adventure and learns more about nature, from tadpoles wiggling in the pond during the spring to squirrels gathering nuts in the autumn. However, as winter arrives, Flora begins to feel sleepy and ends up finding a rather unsafe place to fall asleep. Her new friends rescue her with the help of the other dormice where they see for themselves the world that Flora had talked about in her postcards to them.

I especially like the addition of ‘Flora’s Nature Diary’ at the back of the book which provides interesting facts linked to the animals she encountered on her journey. This heartwarming book is a must for young children and encourages them to learn more about the wildlife around them – a perfect accompaniment to developing knowledge and understanding of the world.

Lily Murray
 & Jenny Lovlie

This is a beautiful book, super for Reception, Y1 and Y2. The story is rhyming and has a good rhythm for reading aloud; I would suggest more to one or a few children as a shared focus with room for discussion of the pictures. The artwork is soft but intricate, full of detail which will stand many re-reads, spotting all the little insects (and a kitten or two!).

It would be absolutely ideal for a small nurture or gardening group, and suitable for a class or school library too. Evie herself is a child many of us will have met before, deeply passionate about her subject and willing to break a few rules out of curiosity! Of course, everything does go a bit wrong when she brings her bug collection into the house, which leads to both tension and humour as her whole family descends for a visit. However, this results in a surprising ally in formidable great-gran, and together they create a wonderful bug hotel. I particularly like the last illustration of Evie as a more grown-up girl exploring the jungle (“Who knows what wonders she may one day find?“) gently encouraging children to stay curious.

There are some simple ideas in the back of the book around insect habitats which could easily be turned into a class project, and a short biography of entomologist Evelyn Cheesman who inspired the story. Observant readers will also note that Evie wears both glasses and what appears to be a hearing aid; it’s good to see this representation without it being the main issue of the book.

Gaia Cornwall

A gorgeous story book for younger children with themes of perseverance and learning not to give up, as well as STEM and engineering. Jabari wishes to make a flying machine that can really soar through the air in the garden. Just like many of the best inventions, it doesn’t work properly on the first attempt and a little trial and error is needed to tweak the design. Jabari is disappointed, but with a bit of encouragement from his family to keep on trying, he soon begins to see success.

Young children will be able to relate to the frustration of models and designs not working properly and the challenge of not giving up. Jabari’s father and sister offer fantastic encouragement and we also see familiar family dynamics as Jabari is not sure that he wants to include his sister in his game, but the teamwork pays off in the end. Jabari becomes a good role model when he adapts the attitude to keep trying to reach his goal, and readers celebrate with him when his success is the fruit of his tenacity.

The book could inspire some STEM-themed projects, research into some of the scientific figures mentioned to simply discussions on the topic of perseverance.

Joseph Coelho
 & Fiona Lumbers

Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho returns with his well-loved character Luna. This time, Luna is exploring the magic of gardening.

Luna is impressed by the community allotment when she visits with her family.  Luna takes time to wonder about each seed she encounters – where in the world it came from and what it will turn into. With the help of Grandpa and Nana from Jamaica, Luna realises that every new seed planted will have its own story to tell.

This is a really beautiful picture book celebrating nature, gardens, community, the interconnectedness of humanity and the importance of stories. Fiona Lumbers’ artwork is stunning, drawing out the elements that most capture a young child’s imagination with an abundance of colour, while also contrasting the vibrancy of the community garden with the grey, surrounding cityscape.

This wonderful picturebook is an essential story for modern classroom and home libraries.

Libby Walden
 & Ekaterina Trukhan

This book is a fantastic resource with something in it for all primary-school-aged children. The topics are varied – from telling the children what a body is and naming parts of the body, to specific chapters on the heart, lungs, five senses etc. The book is aimed at children from 4+ and would suit this age group well.

Many of the pages contain technical vocabulary but are aimed at Reception and KS1. The explanations and text are very clear but there is also a further level of detail to explore for those children who are interested in science or the human body, or for older children who will still get something from the book.

The illustrations in the book are simple and very effective. They are clearly labelled and easy for children to understand. All in all, this book is perfect for a classroom non-fiction collection.

Benjamin Zephaniah
 & Nila Aye
Picturebook Poetry

Benjamin Zephaniah had a huge talent for noticing and appreciating his surroundings and using his writing to make them special.

This illustrated poem is a call to appreciate the humble marvels of nature that surround us all – the woodlice, the baby daddy-longlegs, the creepy-crawlies. How easy it is to ignore or look down on what is familiar. Many children want to create settings from rainforests rather than the view from their doorstep; they prefer to describe tigers rather than the squirrels they see every day. However, I love the way this book validates the local and the ordinary and encourages children to observe proudly the small wonders of wherever they live. Even those who don’t have the luxury of a garden will recognise most of the things Zephaniah zooms in on.

I also enjoyed the deceptively simple rhymes that subtly emphasise the humming, the buzzing and the flowering that is all around us all the time. The accompanying illustrations have plenty of details for young children to have fun spotting, and the style does seem to define it as aimed at Nursery, Reception and Year 1 rather than older children.

It would accompany any work on minibeasts beautifully and could lead to both practical investigation of the outdoors and interesting creative work on observational writing, rhyme work, drawing and painting.

Linda Newbery
 & Katie Rewse

“Rubbish? Don’t Throw it Away” is a delightful, innovative book for early years education in the 21st century. It is a wonderful resource to introduce concepts of recycling and sustainability to children. It’s a story that invites young readers to think differently about the ‘stuff’ around them, fostering an early respect for the environment and teaching the value of resourcefulness and creativity.

Linda Newbury’s narrative skillfully introduces young readers to the Dragonflies Nursery, a group of industrious children who brilliantly transform what most consider ‘trash’ into treasured items. The book’s lively prose is peppered with imaginative ideas, showcasing how everyday waste items can be repurposed and brought to life again. It’s a testament to the power of creativity and problem-solving, underpinned by a clear, essential message about recycling and reducing waste.

Katie Rewse’s vibrant illustrations perfectly complement Newbury’s text, adding depth, character, and life to each page. Each illustration is eye-catching and detailed, offering opportunities to explore and engage with the transformation of pine cones into decorative owls or turning old curtains into amazing costumes.

“Rubbish? Don’t Throw it away” is a must-have addition to any preschool library or classroom. Parents and carers, too, will find the book enjoyable and inspirational. It’s not just about telling children what they can do with their ‘rubbish’ – it’s about sparking their imagination to develop their own ideas. It’s about laying the foundation for a generation that sees not waste but potential, reinforcing that every object, no matter how seemingly trivial, has potential value if approached with creativity and ingenuity.

Kael Tudor
 & Nicola Slater
A silly, funny book from debut author Kael Tudor filled with hilarious and bright illustrations from Nicola Slater, the bestselling illustrator of The Leaf Thief.Welcome to the ice cream shop, where there's a goose line, a moose line and a slightly bossy goose who wants everyone to be in the right line. But it is not as easy as it sounds!This mix-up picture book perfectly captures the chaos of queueing up, and features a fun counting element too. Witty and original first book in a brand-new series. 
Simon Philip
 & Ian Smith

An unusual take on naming animals!

This tale is a hilarious journey through the city to spot llamas. Our guide sadly can’t spot them, despite being right under her nose! Children and adults will love to read through the book – naming the animals that are seen and trying to spot the llamas on the pages.

A great story that’s guaranteed to have EYFS children laughing aloud.

Rachel Bright
 & Nadia Shireen

Gail is determined to get more out of life than the other snails. She’s not content with keeping her foot on the ground, eating greens and growing old; she’s not your average snail, she wants to blaze a different trail. This snail wants to go into space! Accomplishing her ambition will take perseverance and hard work, overcoming last-minute hurdles, but, as Gail shows, if you have a dream anything is possible.

Bold, bright illustrations complement this humorous, rhyming story from two skilled picture book creators, about the power of purpose and persistence, showing that resilience is key to success.

Gail is an endearing snail, standing out from the rest with her leopard print shell. Her character is brought vividly to life with her emotions and thoughts conveyed solely through the illustrations of her eyes, providing a masterclass in how important it is to read the pictures as well as the words. Featuring a sparkling, inviting cover, this is ideal for sharing with Early Years and KS1 children to enjoy and encourage self-belief.

Genevieve Aspinall

Percy the Penguin lives in the South Pole and is a post-penguin who runs his own post office, but there is one problem – there is no post to deliver! He keeps busy by cleaning and tidying up his post office, but there is still no post – nobody seems to know where his post office is.

Not wanting to give up his dream, Percy sets himself the challenge of making his post office known and starts his advertising campaign – handing out leaflets and putting up signs. Has his determination worked? Will he ever be a fully functioning post-penguin?

This picture book is all about determination and not giving up on your dreams and goals. It teaches young children that hard work pays off and that you may face hurdles in the pursuit of your goals. The book is full of beautiful and detailed illustrations that add to the story and make it more enjoyable to read through the use of different size fonts and the text in different formats including a letter within the story.

Early Years children will love looking at the illustrations and finding Percy on each page. It is not too long which makes it easier for little ones to remain focused on the story. It would link to some PSHE topics about perseverance and People Who Help Us, and would make a great Reception class storytime read.

Ed Vere

Looking at the fun, exuberantly coloured monster on the front cover of The Artist, it’s easy to recall countless children concentrating intently on their artwork. That fearless, limitless creativity which can be witnessed in classrooms around the world certainly must have inspired Ed Vere to write his wonderful book!

The book is written about ‘an artist’ and how artists can see the world differently from other people because they take time to really ‘look’. As the story continues, it unpicks how artists work with different materials and media, using their imagination to take them to faraway places or bring them closer to the ones they love.

The artist in this book paints a blank canvas of a town but makes a mistake and loses some of the bravery and creativity it has had; taking advice from a young child to get it back.

As a text to share to support children in regaining some of their bravery around art, it’s a brilliant resource. It also works well as a book for younger readers who are looking at how to use different materials creatively. The illustrations are amazing and would be a brilliant inspiration for class or whole school art projects which focus on creativity and imagination.

Dr Roopa Farooki
 & Viola Wang
A new series on a hugely popular topic – the human body! First up, award-winning writer Dr Roopa Farooki explores the wonderful workings of the BRAIN.Every second of every day, something is happening in every tiny bit of your body, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet... And if you think of your body as a machine, your BRAIN would be the control room – with billions of buttons for all kinds of incredibly important jobs.With words by medical doctor and writer of acclaimed memoir Everything Is True, Roopa Farooki, and pictures by award-winning artist Viola Wang, this book explores how different bits of the brain work and (just as importantly) how they work TOGETHER... As well as sharing handy tips for looking after your brain!
Rachael Davis
 & Mike Byrne

A high-energy rhyming book featuring a particularly cute bunny who pays a visit to a new friend. Fans of The Tiger Who Came to Tea or The Lamb Who Came to Dinner will recognise the trope and will be excited to find out what kind of impression the bunny at the door will leave.

There’s a thump on the door and a bunny is there. Bunny is a very happy house guest who loves to eat breakfast, bounce around and sniff out chocolate eggs!

The perfect book for Easter and beyond, capturing the joy of spring, hospitality, unexpected friendships and of course, of chocolate!

Kirsty Applebaum
 & Sahar Haghgoo
Chapter book

These stories are perfect very first chapter books for young readers. The text is larger and wider spaced than most chapter books and the pages are fully colour-illustrated with a bright and bold palette.

Princess Minna is an adventurous, modern princess who is full of life and keen to use her resourcefulness to help whoever is in need along the way. From dealing with dragons to saving a prince in distress, Minna always has an adventure to tackle head on.

Not short of funny moments, this early chapter book series makes for a highly entertaining reading book for children ready to move on from picturebooks to something short and illustrated with multiple chapters.

Catherine Rayner

Augustus the tiger has lost his smile and he now feels sad. This delightful book follows his journey through different landscapes to find his smile again. He looks everywhere he can think of to find his smile but is initially unsuccessful in his search. Only when he spots his reflection in a rain puddle does Augustus realise that his smile returns whenever he is happy – in this case because he has found happiness looking at the wonderful world around him.

This is a beautifully illustrated picture book with images that capture the emotions of the story and bring them alive for young readers.

Cassie Silva
 & Frances Ives

The loss of hearing strikes such a sad note, but although sadness is eloquently conveyed in both words and pictures, this beautifully inclusive story – of a child, Jacki, and her Mama – resounds with hope.  It is a celebration of a relationship not defined by disability, but by love.  So Jacki learns to listen to the quiet which is slowly enveloping her Mama. She begins to be more alert to rhythm and mood and smell.  Indeed, mother and daughter become atuned to each other in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.

The story shows that deafness does not have to isolate.  It can deepen wonder, inspire mutual respect and be life-enhancing.  (The Author’s Note gives context and encourages readers to learn sign language.)

The clear font and large, expressive illustrations mean that teachers can easily share this with a whole class, either to celebrate diversity or when teaching about acceptance.  Not all children will have encountered hearing impairment, but all will benefit from this new perspective, as well as provided much needed representation for those who live with hearing impairment in the day to day realities.

Highly recommended for the school library and classroom book corners.

Nishani Reed
 & Junissa Bianda

Nabil Steals A Penguin is an absolute hoot for Reception or Infant classes. With rhyming text and lots of action, the story of how Pierre the Penguin falls in love with curry and steals away in Nabil’s rucksack in the hope of a lifetime of delicious food (definitely NO FISH!) will have your little ones giggling (and also hungry).

Nabil’s family is warm and welcoming when Mum finally discovers Pierre in the bath, and they feed up their visitor with joy. The book works well as a class read as there’s plenty you can act out with lots of expression; but the illustrations are great for a shared-focus read with a parent too as there’s lots to see. The colours are vibrant but not overwhelming. I would suggest younger children would borrow this most often from the library, but any primary children just starting French would also find it fun to hear the greetings (and a few “ooh la las!”) in context.

The book comes with the Nosy Crow “Stories Aloud” QR code, so that you can listen along, which is a great bonus.

Julia Donaldson
 & Lydia Monks

A springy rhyming book from super duo Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks (also known for What the Ladybird Heard).

This story book is about a rabbit who loves poetry and rhyme. He feels a lack of belonging with the other rabbits, who are not so delighted by his literary talents. In search of companions who share his passion, he leaves home to look for somewhere he belongs and find a place his poetry might be more appreciated.

Julia Donaldson is renowned for excellent rhyming picture books, so there is something extra pleasing in a book from her that is about rhyme as well as being told in rhyme. Perfectly pitched to support phonics learning as well as being a distinctively illustrated fun animal tale, we found this to be a lovely story for children in the Early Years.

Mariesa Dulak
 & Rebecca Cobb

This is a really good book to read to your little one, or to the whole class. It is written mainly in rhymes and the illustrations bring the story to life. The message about the dad being too busy on his mobile phone to take any notice of his son is also topical. On a train journey to the seaside, the dad and little boy are joined by all sorts of animals that the boy is fascinated by – and the dad does not notice! This leads to a fun adventure with the boy and the tiger. This is a story about connection and imagination, and there’s a message for adults too, here – don’t miss those early years of fun with your child!

For more information and ideas for using the book with children, check out author Mariesa Dulak’s guest post on the BooksForTopics blog.

Ruth Doyle
 & Alexandra Finkeldey

A Horse Called Now is a delightful book perfect for primary school classrooms. This heartwarming story beautifully illustrates the importance of living in the present moment and the power of friendship in overcoming worries. The gorgeous illustrations engage young readers, making the story come alive as they follow Now on a journey to help his friends.

This book provides an excellent opportunity for teachers to discuss themes of friendship, anxiety and empathy with their students. It also encourages children to appreciate the beauty of each moment and to support one another through challenges. A Horse Called Now is sure to captivate young children while imparting meaningful life lessons.

John Kane
What is black and white? A penguin. What is black and white, and can't fly? Still a penguin.A hilarious, deceptively simple, interactive picture book which plays on a much-loved memory game - brought to life by the award-winning picture book maker John Kane.A master of child-centric humour, John Kane's best-selling series I Say Ooh, You Say Aah won the English Picture Book Awards 4-7 category and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Children's Book of the Year.

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