Books for January

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Frederick Douglass

Reading is at the heart of life-long and successful learning.

It improves mental health and wellbeing, but most of all is a fun and enjoyable experience. Reading together for just ten minutes a day will further encourage a love of reading in your child.

By providing your child with the right environment and support for reading at home, you will be giving your child the essential tools for success in school and later life. 

Here are some easy and effective tips to encourage and support the reading habit.

Jersey Library book recommendations for different age groups of children

We are delighted to team up with Jersey Library who will be making book recommendations each month.

The library has plenty to offer for children and adults alike.

You can find out what's on at the library here.

Ages three to five

At this age, children are really curious about books and love listening to stories.
Schools will be focusing on encouraging a love of stories, developing vocabulary and reading aloud to children.
Your children will learn the sounds of alphabets and blending them together to read simple words. 

You can help by:

  • reading with your child every day. 
  • rereading books and talking about the story and the pictures
  • encouraging and praising independent attempts to read 

Here are three books that Jersey Library recommends for your January reading:

Peppa's Muddy Festival: A Lift-the-Flap Book

Peppa and her family are camping at a children's festival. Peppa can't wait for the crafts, music and lots of fun in the field.
But Mummy Pig is worried that it's going to rain and we know what happens when it rains. There will be lots of fabulous muddy puddles!
Lift the flaps to see all the muddy fun Peppa has at the festival.
This family favourite is a fun read and ideal for the wet winter month.

Aalfred and Aalbert by Morag Hood

This wonderful book about being friends and helping friends features two aardvarks and a little blue bird.
Aalfred and Aalbert both need a pal. But Aalfred sleeps in the day, and Aalbert sleeps at night.
How will they ever get the chance to meet?
Their mutual friend, the little blue bird comes up with a series of funny schemes to get the two aardvarks to meet but their paths simply refuse to cross.
Until one day, when they finally find each other in the most unexpected way and after that, they will never lose each other again.
This is a charming and humour-filled book with lively pictures.

Just one of those days by Jill Murphy

This is a big-hearted story about a day in the life of a family which parents and young children everywhere will relate to.
Mr and Mrs Bear wake up late. It's raining and Baby Bear is late for nursery.
Then Mrs Bear sits on her glasses and Mr Bear spills his coffee!
Oh dear, it seems this is just going to be one of those days when everything is going pear-shaped.
But the loveable Bear family muddle through cheerfully, and there's even a surprise for Baby Bear when Mr Bear gets home from work.
With all the hallmarks of an instant family favourite, this book will appeal to all.

Ages five to seven

At this age, children are rapidly developing their reading skills.
They learn to decode words using their developing phonic skills. They also read for meaning and are becoming fluent and expressive. They may even write and tell their own stories.

You can help by:

  • listening to your child reading every day
  • encouraging more independent reading, whilst supporting when necessary
  • asking them questions to check whether they understand what they read

Here are three books that Jersey Library recommends for your January reading:

 A present for Pig by Elli Woollard and Al Murphy

Woozy the Wizard has forgotten Pig's birthday.
Woozy relies on his spells to get Pig a present but all the spells go wrong.
Find out what Woozy will do to fix the problem.
This is the third book in the series about Woozy the Wizard and his pet Pig.
With its themes of magic, friendship and a surprise cake, this is the perfect read for four plus children who are moving on from picture books.

Sadiq and the Pet Problem by Siman Nuurali and Anjan Sarkar

Sadiq and his friends see another classroom with a class pet, and they decide they want one too.
Not only that, Sadiq has never had a pet of his own.
What kind of pet would be perfect for their class?
And how will they convince their teacher and classmates that they have found the perfect pet match?
This is a charming book about how to resolve differing opinions, work together to make good choices and get the job done.
Sadiq's Somalian culture and language are seamlessly woven into the story too.

Murray the Race Horse by Gavin Puckett

Murray the horse dreams of being a racehorse but he has one problem - he's just not that fast.
He is used at the track only for running errands.
Until one day, Ned the racehorse twists his ankle at the start line and Tom the jockey asks Murray to take Ned's place.
While his shoes are being put on Murray realizes something is wrong but Tom tells him follow his heart.
Soon Murray knows that his dream will come true but just not in a style everyone expects.
This gem of a book, written in rhyme, carries the message about believing in yourself and following your dreams.

Ages seven to eleven

At this age, most children have developed good decoding and comprehension skills.
The focus is now on developing more complex skills such as inference which is reading between the lines, identifying and explaining themes and making comparisons between books.

You can help by:

  • encouraging daily reading
  • helping with fluency and expression, sometimes by modelling the reading
  • discussing the book or text, asking questions and asking for a summary 

Here are three books that Jersey Library recommends for your January reading:

 The Thirteen Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton 

Friends Andy and Terry live in the world's best treehouse!
It's got a giant catapult, sea monkeys, a secret underground laboratory, a tank of man-eating sharks and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you're hungry.
Add to these, a giant mutant mermaid sea monster and a burp-gas-filled bubble.
With a mixture of text and cartoon-style illustrations, this funny book also has puzzles, a word search, a maze, spot the difference, quiz and jokes at the end. This hugely imaginative book has lots to keep your child engaged and entertained.

Barney the Horse by Michael Morpurgo  

Join in the daring rescue of a lost lamb. Meet a boy who loves butterflies and whose friends find a clever way to include him from afar, and discover how Barney the horse forever changes the life of the child who looks after him.
Full of friendship and adventure, this is a charming story collection from the nation's beloved writer Michael Morpurgo.
It is beautifully illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees and is perfect to read together.
It celebrates the way the countryside and its animals can leave an impression on a child's heart forever.

Toxic: The world's deadliest creatures by Ico Romero Reyes and Tania Garcia 

Many creatures in the animal kingdom use clever strategies to protect themselves.
One of the weapons they use is poison to defend themselves from predators. This is an important key to their survival.
In this entertaining and beautifully illustrated book, you will discover a spine-tingling collection of toxic animals.
It's a fun and scientific way to learn about scary bugs and wild animals such as tiny, flashy octopuses that can kill in minutes, the world’s deadliest spiders, snakes, and scorpions.
The book also contains facts and figures, as well as a quiz for children to test their knowledge.

Age 11 plus

By this age, most young people are independent readers.
The focus in secondary schools is on reading, discussing and responding to a wide variety of texts, both orally and in essay type formats.
These skills are vital for exams in KS4.
You can help by:

  • encouraging your child to continue to read regularly, from a range of different genres
  • discussing the book or text and asking questions
  • talking about your personal reading choices, both as a teenager and as an adult.

Here are three books that Jersey Library recommends for your January reading:

The Weather Weaver by Tamsin Mori 

Stella is visiting her Grandpa in the Shetland Islands but without Gran there, nothing is the same.
Then Stella meets Tamar, a Weather Weaver who becomes her mentor and teaches her some wonderful life's lessons.
Written beautifully with lots of vivid weather imagery, this lovely and suspenseful book offers a powerful lesson:
that by listening and understanding other people's views, we can all improve the weather around us.

The Lion above the Door by Onjali Q Rauf

Leo and his best friend Sangeeta are the odd ones out in their school and are bullied by the others.
Then, on a class trip to a nearby cathedral, Leo's attention is drawn to a large marble slab high above the doors of the hall.
Right there, bang in the middle of a list of war heroes, Leo finds himself staring at his own name.
Desperate to know who this other Leo was, the two friends embark on a search.
And together, they begin to uncover missing stories from the past, ones which they are determined to put back into their rightful place in the pages of history.
This is an incredible story which looks at forgotten heroes of World War Two and the power of friendship that can last through generations.
Told with humour and heart, the story also reminds us that we’re all part of one human race.

The Soup Movement by Ben Davis

To aid his recovery from a life-threatening illness Jordan and his family move out of the city for a healthy new start.
One day Jordan gives his homemade soup to a homeless man called Harry and it is the start of an unlikely friendship.
Soon the two of them begin giving soup to the other homeless people around town. When Jordan's sister shares this story on Instagram, they make it onto the news starting a movement.
This is a warm and positive story about friendship and about how we can contribute to society and enforce change.
The author deals with themes such as unemployment, childhood cancer, PTSD and homelessness in a way that shows that life can be full of hope when we take a stand for what is good.
Often moving, sometimes funny, always gripping, this is a gem of a book and a great way to introduce difficult topics to young children and teenagers.