Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when we produce our booklists?
Each year at around this time, we release our updated ‘50 Recommended Reads‘ Year Group lists. We’ve been super busy in recent weeks putting together the new lists for you. The new lists launched on the website on 26th April 2022. You can also order the packs from our partners at Peters Books.
Have you ever thought about how the books make their way onto our booklist? Here’s a sneak peek at five parts of the process that go into producing the lists, from book selection and stocking up on books to unboxing the packs in schools.
Year Group Booklists: Behind the Scenes
1. Bookpost Sorting
Our partners from various children’s book publishers submit books to BooksForTopics to review, with the hope of being featured on the website. During some weeks, we get a HUGE amount of bookpost to look through, and from this, we select which books will get a more detailed review. There are no sponsored positions or paid-for book promotions on our Year Group booklists; instead, the books are entirely selected by our team of experts for quality and classroom suitability. 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 purely based on our assessment of the books as genuinely top quality ‘read for pleasure’ options for the relevant year groups.
2. Review Panel
Some of the books received from our publishing partners for consideration on our website are sent on to be assessed by our panel of reviewers.
With a panel of 50 reviewers from across the primary education community, we are able to try out new books in a variety of school settings before we recommend them on the website, making sure that we are only recommending the most suitable books for your classrooms.
Our review panellists are teachers, TAs, school librarians, headteachers and education consultants and they feed back to us information about which books are most popular in their school libraries and classrooms, as well as writing detailed reviews for some of the books that we feature too.
3. Booklist curation
This is a fun and busy stage of the process!
In addition to our Review Panel feedback, we work with the booksellers at Peters Books to make sure that the books on our Year Group lists are readily available to be supplied to schools and classrooms in book packs. Taking into account the feedback from our partners and reviewers, we begin to put together curated 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.
We need a LOT of space to spread the books out (it feels like swimming in an ocean of books), and much deliberation goes into getting the balance of books just right. When we curate each list, we aim for a balance across different genres and text types. We recognise that reading for pleasure looks different to different children. Some children naturally navigate towards non-fiction, while others find graphic novels or poetry more appealing. Other still are looking for books with a tactile or novelty element or for something to make them laugh.
Each year group booklist contains a balance of age-appropriate fiction, picture books, non-fiction, poetry and graphic novels, with a handful of novelty or tactile books added in too. We’ve also aimed to collate lists that cater for different reading styles, interest levels, publication dates (you’ll find some true golden oldies as well as brand new titles on each list) and also books that reflect a diversity of characters and settings. The 50 spaces on each list are hotly contended, 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. To browse the Year Group lists, click here, or you can order the books from Peters Books.
4. Peters Packs
Next, we hand the lists over to the wonderful team at Peters Books, who work tirelessly in stocking and packing up the books ready to be shipped to schools.
The Peters team have stocked up on thousands of copies of the books from our updated booklists ready to send out to schools and they have been beavering away putting the relevant books into the packs of 50 for school orders. The Peters team handle all school book pack orders on our behalf, including managing school accounts, stocking, packing, shipping and creating posters and checklists.
Schools can order the books from Peters Books and will get an amazing 20% discount off the packs, too.
5. 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.
Some schools unbox the packs in staff meetings to give teachers a chance to get to know the books, while others let pupils take on the exciting job of unpacking the books. Others still load the books straight into libraries and classrooms and invite pupils to come and browse the new selections. You can also print and share the posters and checklists to help members of your school community see an overview of the books in each year group list.
> Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub
> Browse our Topic Booklists
> See our Books of the Month.
>View our Year Group booklists
Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when we produce our booklists? Each year at around this time, we release our updated ’50…