Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Teachers’ Favourites

Teachers' Favourites

Books of the Year: Winners

We love to hear about which books are popular among our community of primary teachers! We asked our community to vote for their favourite children’s books published in 2022 (see the full shortlist here). We invited teachers to vote for their best classroom read-alouds, the books that were the biggest hit with their pupils and the top books to support their curriculums.

Here are the books that our community of teachers and librarians voted as their favourites.

teachers favourites 2022

Category Winners:

Upper KS2 (Ages 9-11)

Upper KS2
Best
Classroom Read-Aloud

Our comments:

“A highly-recommended story with themes of family bonds, parental mental health and marine conservation. The story centres around a connection between an eleven-year-old boy, Rio, and a beautiful grey whale. The tale highlights the topic of environmental sustainability but also draws a picture of the wonderful connection that can develop between children and animals, placing hope and empowerment in the hands of the young to make a difference in the planet’s future.”

Upper KS2
Best
Children’s Favourite

Our comments:

“We love this full-throttle mystery adventure series set on trains, with likeable characters and well-paced plots. This latest instalment invites readers onboard a journey through the never-ending night of the arctic winter towards the Arctic Circle and Northern Lights. The clues and red herrings unfold one by one and the high spirit of adventure and atmospheric setting are enough to set imaginations tingling just as much as detective senses. An absolute winner of a story – just like the rest of the series.”

Upper KS2
Best
Curriculum Support

Our comments:

“Award-winning author Emma Carroll has returned to the classic world Eva Ibbotson created in Journey to the River Sea – a popular read-aloud in classes studying rainforest or river topics. Now, readers are invited to journey down the Amazon and dive into the next chapter of the story. War is over and Rosa Sweetman, a Kindertransport girl, embarks on an adventure full of danger in search of giant sloths, jaguars and a place for herself. Author Emma Carroll continues to engage with the education community both online and in person, and also answered questions submitted by Y6 pupils about the book on our blog.”

Category Winners:

Lower KS2 (Ages 7-9)

Lower KS2
Best
Classroom Read-Aloud

Our comments:

“This is a story of adventure and friendship. The setting of the Serendib (Sri Lankan) mountains will transport children to a place that many are likely to know very little about and provides an opportunity to introduce them to different lifestyles and cultures. The issue around animal hunting is an interesting one to explore and would make the basis for a good class discussion. The relatively short chapters help to keep the story moving at a good pace and make it an easy book to dip in and out of for teachers reading it as a class story. For children who are daunted by longer chapters and books, this will make it all the more appealing. This book has also been selected for our Recommended Reads For Year 6 booklist.”

Lower KS2
Best
Children’s Favourite

Our comments:

“This story marks the start of a new detective adventure series about a travelling school. The series promises adventures in different cities around the globe, and this first one is set in Paris.
Just the right amount of peril for a younger audience combined with a fun boarding school element and enough clues to keep the predictions rolling makes for a perfect stepping stone into the detective fiction genre for the younger end of the middle-grade market.
With themes of friendship and loyalty, a positive tone and a good sprinkling of fun, it’s no wonder this story has been a big hit with lower KS2.

Lower KS2
Best
Curriculum Support

Our comments:

India, Incredible India written by Jasbinder and brought to life by artist Nina Chakrabarti is a joyful celebration of India. For years the BooksForTopics inbox has received requests for recommendations of good books to support curriculum learning about India – and for the first time we really do have a book that hits the spot. Layered between the information is a story of the bond between Nanijee (Grandmother) and Thara (her granddaughter). Each night when Thara sleeps over, Nanijee lets her choose an object from her beautiful carved trunk. Each of the objects has been lovingly collected over many years and when it is taken out, Nanijee tells a story of the object and where it is from over a series of beautiful and informative double-page spreads.”

Category Winners:

KS1 (Ages 5-7)

KS1
Best
Classroom Read-Aloud

Our comments:

“There’s so much to love about this warm and humorous series that feels like a cross between Paddington and Pingu. Last year, the first Einstein the Penguin book was a huge success and the second book, The Case of the Fishy Detective, has also gone down a storm with KS1 classes. The stories are an enjoyable mix of whodunnit and a hilarious story of a penguin who comes to live with two children, causing them to put aside their sibling squabbles and come to his rescue. This is a lovely choice of a class read and children will enjoy the parody of incompetent teachers/zoo keepers/detectives/parents while also prompting several discussion points about right and wrong. This second book in the series sees the loveable penguin Einstein return with a new adventure involving a surprise kidnapping and a mystery to solve.”

KS1
Best
Children’s Favourite

Our comments:

“Tom Percival’s Big Bright Feelings series is a hit in classrooms up and down the country. Children love the personification of big feelings like worry, fear or anger and enjoy seeing how recognising and dealing with big feelings is better than ignoring them or bottling things up. This story is about dealing with jealousy, which aptly appears as a green-eyed monster. The monster keeps popping up with Milo when his best friend is playing with a new neighbour.
Children love the appeal of the big bright monster that gives a visual way of showing an all too familiar emotion. Young readers also love that the story shows a very relatable scenario and will help them to navigate the daily ups and downs of friendships. 
A super story belonging to a highly recommendable series.”

KS1
Best
Curriculum Support

Our comments:

“Slime is so often a winner when it comes to making children laugh. In the absence of make-your-own-slime kits or putty-testing YouTubers, young slime aficionados might be easily persuaded to keep their fingers dry and open the pages of this super-fun text about the animal world.  
Lenny the Lemur is taking a trip and decides to track down the source of some mysterious slime. On his quest he encounters opossums, dolphins, salamanders and sea-lions and finds out about the unique properties of the goo each creature produces. 
Plenty of humour coupled with oodles of facts make this a winner with children and offers a fun and unique twist on information books about animals.”

Category Winners:

EYFS (Ages 3-5)

EYFS
Best
Classroom Read-Aloud

Our comments:

“Dadaji’s Paintbrush is a sumptuous story of a young boy’s special relationship with his grandfather, set in a small village in India.
This is a beautiful story that deals with the difficult subject of the loss of a grandparent in a gentle and understanding way.  The beautiful Indian setting that will be unfamiliar to many readers highlights the universal experiences of love and loss, showing that no matter where you are, some human experiences unite us all. 
The illustrations are simple and beautiful and we particularly liked how the colours linked with the main character’s emotions. We also loved the evocative and sensory setting descriptions in the story – we could almost taste the mangoes!
As well as gently exploring the topic of grief, the story is ultimately filled with hope and draws out the values of art, community and legacy. There’s so much to unpack in this stunning story.”

EYFS
Best
Children’s Favourite

Our comments:

“Following on from Never Show a T-Rex a Book and Never Teach a Stegosaurus to Do Sums, this latest what-if dinosaur adventure has captured the imaginations of little ones afresh. 
The story invites the reader to suppose what could happen if a big fun-loving dinosaur let her artistic side go wild. From crayons and paint to full colour explosions – anything could happen! Young children love the larger-than-life character and can relate to the sheer joyfulness of getting vibrant and messy with art projects. Adults who have ever set foot in an EYFS classroom while the paints are out will find plenty of familiar scenes to smile about too. 
Amid the host of dino-themed books available, we especially enjoyed this series. It is refreshing to have a female dinosaur as a lead character, doing something other than marauding after prey!
A super-fun ode to boundless creativity.”

EYFS
Best
Curriculum Support

Our comments:

“This delightful and charming picturebook tells of the story of a young girl celebrating her dual-heritage family tree. This makes a wonderful book for young children learning about families or as an excellent classroom choice to go with an ‘All About Me’ topic. The joyous and colourful illustrations match the positive tone of the rhyming text, giving the book a really special celebratory feel.
The girl in the story points out the traits she has inherited from her Black and South Asian family heritage. She explores physical traits (like how her nose is like Nanny’s and her skin is like her Grandad’s) and also personality traits like how her love of dancing comes from her other Grandpa. She’s happy to be her unique self, and she’s happy to be rooted in her special family with dual heritage.
The story celebrates family bonds, heritage and what makes us special. It’s an excellent choice for an EYFS setting and could be a springboard for many conversations and class projects.”

Congrats to our winners!

You might also like...

KS2

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl

review

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?

yes

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments