September - Books of the Month

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The Booksfortopics September 2018 Top Picks

Five of our top recommended new children's books this month.

Armistice Runner

Tom Palmer

Best-selling author Tom Palmer has a track record of bringing together his passions for sport and history in popular stories with a high appeal in primary schools. His new story, Armistice Runner, brings into the spotlight messenger runners on the front line of World War I and is perfectly timed to celebrate the Armistice centenary this November. As with all of Tom’s books published by Barrington Stoke, these books are ‘super-readable’ due to their accessible layout including a dyslexia-friendly font and tinted paper.


The front line of the First World War couldn’t seem further away from Lily’s modern day life. Lily is a young girl who enjoys running in fell races and filling in the details in her running log. Lily has her own battles to fight, as she worries about finishing behind her running rival Abbie, putting up with her annoying younger brother and, most worryingly, attempts to come to terms with her gran’s Alzheimer’s. During an emotional visit to her gran’s house, Lily is pleasantly surprised to receive a box of running logs that once belonged to her great-great-grandfather, Ernest, including his detailed diaries from the First World War.


Intrigued, Lily becomes quickly drawn into Ernest’s first-hand account of his journey from being a young fell-runner just like Lily to signing up to fight on the front lines in France. As she works through the diary, events at her gran’s house cause her to pause between reading different parts of Ernest’s story. The two stories begin to alternate, with parallels cleverly drawn between each one.  Lily keeps her discovery to herself but is easily able to relate to the mirrored themes of family, running, loss and coping with rivalry. Despite being alive 100 years after his story took place, Lily feels a strong connection to Ernest and finds that his experiences give her strength to face her own struggles.


This is a wonderful story to use in the classroom to explore the history of World War 1.

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I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree

Fiona Waters & Frann Preston-Gannon

This beautiful poetry anthology that includes a new nature poem for every day of the year is likely to become a primary classroom essential. 

The collection of 366 poems (to make sure leap years are covered too!) contains a really interesting mix of poems from well-known favourites from Christina Rossetti and Walter de la Mare to more modern offerings by Benjamin Zephaniah and Carol Ann Duffy. The book is structured into monthly sections and the poems accompanied by beautiful illustrations that celebrate the beauty of the natural world and changing seasons.

The poems have been hand-picked by anthologist Fiona Waters, who has carefully selected verses that are both accessible to children and sing of the splendour of the natural world. This is the type of book feels special in your hands too, with its cloth binding, high-quality paper and ribbon page marker. 


For teachers, finding a place for this book on your desk will provide a quick and easy way of inspiring pupils with a taste of poetry to look forward to each day and I would recommend the collection across the whole primary age range.

A Darkness of Dragons

S.A. Patrick

Fantasy fans will be blown away by this exciting and original adventure. Imagine a cross between How to Train Your Dragon and The Pied Piper of Hamelin and throw in some musical spells, dracogriffs, spectacular battles and a quest of epic proportions.

Patch Brightwater wants to be a successful piper, using the music from his pipe to make magical spells. But things do not quite go to plan when he tries to help a village with a rat problem and ends up being put in jail for playing a forbidden spell song.


In prison, Patch uncovers a disturbing secret about the infamous Piper of Hamelyn. Patch soon seizes an opportunity to escape his cell. Together with Wren (a girl living under a curse that has turned her into a rat) and a friendly dracogriff called Barver, Patch sets about on a world-saving mission to stop the Piper of Hamelyn. The trio encounter sorcerers, dragons, magical substances and evil villains, with their adventure culminating in a nail-biting climax that readers will not want to put down.


This is a clever and original spin on a well-known story. S.A. Patrick has created an immersive magical world that will thrill its audience with its action-filled fantasy plot, its dark magic and its homage to the power of music.


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There's Room for Everyone

Anahita Teymorian

This is the first book in a new series called ‘Hope in a Scary World’ from publisher Tiny Owl. The story uses words and images to tackle the subject of immigration in a sensitive and creative way, with a positive message about the impact of kindness.


The narrator of the story recalls a childhood with enough space for everything; from the toys in his bed to the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea. Growing older, he begins to observe that human beings constantly seem to be fighting for space. The narrator puzzles over the spaces for which people fight when surely, he says, if we are kinder then there will be enough room for everyone.


There is so much to think about in Anahita Teymorian’s painted illustrations as each page is cleverly filled with shape and pattern motifs that emphasise the contrast between the open and crowded spaces. Readers will have fun noticing the playful composition of the double-page spreads as Teymorian manipulates the page boundaries to fit the amusingly tall characters and oddly shaped creatures into the page.


The author had the idea for the story as she was feeling angry watching news items on the television, but the mood of the book is more of a call to positive action and tolerance than an expression of frustration.


A striking picture book with much to discuss and think about, this is highly recommended for KS1 classrooms.


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The Legend of Kevin

Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre

This illustrated chapter book about a flying pony is just so endearing and very entertaining.


As you'd expect from this author-illustrator dream team that brought us Cakes in Space and Oliver and the Seawigs, this story is amusingly original at every turn and is overflowing with the feel-good factor.


Kevin is a flying pony who lives on the Outermost West hills and loves biscuits (especially custard creams). One day, a wild storm brings Kevin roly-polying through the air and crashing into Max's flat in the town of Bumbleford. Max has always wanted a pet and is delighted by Kevin's arrival.


As the rising storm waters wreak havoc in the town, Max and Kevin set about to save the day in a hilarious rescue mission. Perfect for the 7-9 age bracket, this book is a real hoot - complete with mermaids, cheeky sea monkeys and plenty of custard creams!

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You can buy these books online by clicking on the links provided, or from your local book shop or library.

More new releases for September
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