University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education, Primary PGCE 2019-20 discussion

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Books for Year 1/2

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message 1: by John-Mark (new)

John-Mark Winstanley | 9 comments If you find a treasure, list it here and include a link.


message 2: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Maine | 6 comments Traction Man Is Here!

A long time favourite


message 3: by Sam (new)

Sam | 3 comments Wolves
4 stars

An entertaining story about a rabbit who visits the library to find a book about wolves. The rabbit reads about wolves and the illustrations cleverly suggest a wolf is hunting the rabbit reader through the story. This book has a shock ending (alongside a humorous, alternative, vegetarian ending!)

Key features:
• Writing opportunities: writing a 3rd ending
• Literacy opportunities
o Discuss illustration: which is your favourite or why?
o Is it fiction? Is it non-fiction? Is it possible to be both?
• Art opportunities
o Make a wolf (i.e. pencil draw it, then enhance it using black pens)
o Generate success criteria based on the facts given in the story: 42 sharp teeth, dense fur and tics, a powerful jaw, pointy ears, sharp claws etc…
• Real-life links… do the pupils have a library at school?
• Humour
• Wonderful illustrations – engaging
• 4/5 stars as you need to make sure your pupils can laugh at the less-vegetarian ending (rather than cry!)


message 4: by Joe (new)

Joe Wilson | 2 comments Over the weekend I worked in a crèche, and picked up a book at random and read it to a mixed age group (5-8). That book was called 'Pearl Fairweather Pirate Captain'. The children were pretty captivated, and it gave me a chance to use my pirate voice. There were strong moral lessons - about why we have rules, and respect each other in shared environments - but they weren't overstated or hectoring, and actually enhanced the story. The children talked with me about the story afterwards in way that showed they really got what was going a on, and a few wanted to immediately hear it again!


Thepainterofmodernlife | 5 comments But Excuse Me That Is My Book

This book was read to Year 1 whilst I was on my HSP. I love Lauren Child and many of the children were also familiar with her illustrations and with the main characters, Charlie and Lola, which made the story particularly enjoyable.

This is a good book for developing reading for pleasure because it's about going to the library and enjoying books. It would easily lead into a discussion about what pupils' own favourite books are.

If you wanted to use it for a teaching point, it could be used to help the youngest children think about sharing. Lola has to learn that other children are allowed to read her favourite book in the library (the one she always reads) and branch out to find new books to enjoy.


message 6: by Hannah (new)

Hannah  | 4 comments Hannah's Night I might be prejudiced by the title, but this book is great for Y1. It's a gorgeous picture book by Komako Sakai that tells the story of a young child's midnight adventure around their home. The oil-pastel artwork and gentle pace is very soothing and great for when you need a story that with settle a class.


message 7: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Wykes | 6 comments Yours Sincerely, Giraffe

I absolutely loved reading this book! It is beautifully written and even more beautifully illustrated. The book explores the journeys of a bored giraffe and a bored pelican who work together to start delivering letters beyond the horizon. The story follows the letters to 'Whale Point' where they are delivered by a seal to a penguin and a whale. Here begins a heartwarming friendship between characters across the seas.

I would recommend this book for year 1/2 as I think it would be lovely to read as a whole class book alongside a geography topic. The book explores geographical themes as well as the science of what makes animals unique. The story is also entirely centred around letter writing and would be a fantastic basis for an English unit covering the topic. Whether used for an academic purpose of purely just within reading for pleasure, this story is a fantastic resource for exploring themes of friendship, teamwork and learning from one another.


message 8: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Cho | 1 comments The Snail and the Whale

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson is an enjoyable book for children to learn onomatopoeia, alliteration and rhyme. It is also a great resource for phonics as the book invites children to decode and sound out /ai/, /a-e/, /ow/, /igh/ and /ck/ words. The plot of the story is appropriate for the boxing up activity in Year 2, where children can even change the ‘problem’ stage of the plot. Furthermore, the use of adjectives, along with beautiful illustrations, allow the readers to be imaginative; the visual contrast between a tiny snail and an enormous whale immediately encourages children to be empathetic with the snail. It is a pleasurable book to discuss about friendship with young children!


message 9: by Henrietta (new)

Henrietta | 5 comments Yours Sincerely, Giraffe

This book is great for young and enthusiastic readers, as a whole class text or even to read to nursery and year one children. The picture books is divided into chapters so is a good step up from other picture books.
The story follows a lonely giraffe who becomes friends with a postman pelican. Giraffe gains a pen pal, a penguin.
The story ties nicely with important themes such as loneliness and the importance of kindness. Alongside being funny, it teaches you about the vastness of the globe and different climates. It encourages you to think about different species, adaptation and different characteristics of certain species.


message 10: by Hannah (new)

Hannah  | 4 comments Troll SwapThis is a highly-entertaining and visually engaging story about feeling out of place. The story follows Tabitha, a spirited human girl, and Timothy, a quiet troll boy. Tabitha is too messy for her human family; Timothy is too tidy for his. By swapping places, Timothy, Tabitha and their families learn about accepting people for who they are.

This book would be a fantastic text for a PSHE lesson, especially in the context of learning about accepting / celebrating differences.

The artwork is fun and engaging too.

It's an ideal read for EYFS and KS1.


message 11: by Iona (last edited Apr 27, 2020 02:33AM) (new)

Iona Davis | 11 comments Doing the Animal Bop
The book I read this week was, Doing the Animal Bop by Jan Ormerod and Lindsey Gardiner. I read the book first, followed by watching a video and listening to it as a song which meant I my body free to dance along to the rhymes! The book has some bright and colourful illustrations that are engaging and includes a variety of animals that children may have already come across, as well as other animals that they may not be familiar with. This book would work well for Reception and Year 1 children in particular.

I can imagine that this would be a fantastic book to make interactive with your class. Asking pupils to flap around like a penguin, wriggle like a snake or stomp like a rhino, will hopefully make the story more exciting and engaging! As a trainee teacher, I could see this book being linked to the teaching of dance in P.E or could be used to talk about rhyming words in English. If you chose to use the song and video that is available online, you could also use the story in music lessons, allowing children to use instruments to highlight the rhythm in the story.

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-an...


message 12: by Amelia (new)

Amelia Shepherd | 2 comments What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday

A delightful tale, perfect for KS1 as a fun, playful story to share. This book is wonderfully illustrated and is a great catchy story due to the rhyming pattern. The story is set in London and has links with the Queen, a perfect way to situate a tale into reality.
In this book, the ladybird witnesses Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len steal a monkey from the zoo to help them steal jewels from the Queen, luckily the ladybird jumps in and creates a cunning plan.
The rhyming prose support the engagement of the book, helping it flow well and keep the reader glued! Once again, the illustrations with the ‘spot the ladybird’ keep children on their toes and wanting to read on an see what happens. An amusing story that is playful and full of fun! Perfect to add some end of day energy into the classroom.

With a range of animal sounds included too, there is plenty to engage the children within this text. A lovely fun book also for EYFS! Easily adds a smile to any audience. Definitely an excellent story to support children making their own stories too - fits nicely with the other Julia Donaldson ladybird books.


message 13: by Beth (new)

Beth Saunders | 6 comments Something Else

Something Else by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell is a wonderfully gentle tale about a creature who just feels like he does not fit in.
Something Else tries to be just like everyone else, but he is just different. No matter what he does he just doesn't belong. Then something turns up who wants to be friends but Something Else isn't sure he likes him at all..

This story is a really well illustrated and emotive tale which helps children to learn that it is ok to be different. Perfect for KS1 and would be ideal for a PSHE learning material which enhances understanding of empathy, self-esteem and friendship.

This book is aimed at KS1 however I think this could act as a very useful tool to teach the understanding of difference throughout Primary as the characters are not set to a certain age or stereotype.

There is plenty to enthuse EYFS children about the story with creative certainly imaginative character designs and thoughtful narrative. This book is a really important teaching resource which can be used to teach social and moral views within the classroom.


message 14: by Hannah (last edited Apr 28, 2020 03:29AM) (new)

Hannah  | 4 comments The Squirrels Who Squabbled

Another great book for PSHE lessons! I used this book as a basis for my lesson plan on social problem solving. The story follows two squirrels, Cyril and Bruce, who 'squabble' over a pinecone. It's a funny and engaging read about falling out and making friends.

It's by the same writer and illustrator duo behind The Lion Inside.


message 15: by Henrietta (new)

Henrietta | 5 comments The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

It is a brilliant book with important messages of empathy and self-care, suitable for all ages. The text is short and simple but has deep and meaningful messages behind each page. This text could be used for various topics such as art (for example continuous line drawings), to demonstrate key punctuation and grammar skills (quotation and speech marks) and PSHE lessons.


message 16: by Katie (new)

Katie Hayhurst | 2 comments Archie Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat
This picture book has a similar plot to Six Dinner Sid by Inga Moore, but with a message about loneliness and isolation amongst older people. Cat has many different homes and is known by many different names. At number eighteen he is Valentine, who helps Miss Fernandez with her painting. At number three he is Archie, who always enjoys a plate of freshly caught fish. The only house on the street that he doesn’t visit is number eleven. Nobody ever visits number eleven.
One day, Cat goes missing. The residents look for him and find someone who is in greater need of their help and company.

The pictures in this book are vivid and beautiful, showing a warm and vibrant community. Much of the meaning in the text relies on making inferences from these pictures. Therefore, it would be a great resource for developing younger children’s ability to read and make inferences about multimodal texts.


message 17: by Claire (new)

Claire | 1 comments Lost and Found

Lost and Found is all about a boy who finds a penguin on his door step one day. The boy believes that the penguin is lost, so they have various adventures to get Penguin home. Through their journey they become good friends (although they don’t realise it at this point) and once the boy has delivered him safely to Antarctica he realises his new found friendship. The writing in this story is very clever, as you can instantly put yourself into the character of the boy, which helps to bring the book alive. This would be a lovely book to read to pupils within Reception, to Year 2.

What is also great about this book is how many subject areas you could link it to within your teaching, to help engage pupils in their learning. For example, this book would be really good to use within English lessons. The pupils could create a lost poster or they could write a story about how the penguin got to the boy’s house. Or they could write one of the stories the boy tells to the penguin on their journey across the sea or the pupils could re-write the story adding speech between the two characters. It would also be a great book to use within PHSE lessons, as you could talk about the range of emotions the boy and the penguin feel within the story or you could use it to discuss friendships. Or you could also use it to help teach about what loneliness means and how you can help someone if they are lonely.


message 18: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Wykes | 6 comments The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes

The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes is a modern take on the folk tale 'The Emperor's New Clothes', aiming to tell the 'real' story of the inaccurate events within the original. The book explores how the dishonest characters in this story were in fact the Emperor's Ministers and that the Chinese Emperor himself was actually the 'good guy' and the one who put things right. I would use this book within a year 1/2 class as I believe it explores some themes which are important to address within this age group. The book could be used as a resource when addressing personal and social issues such as honesty and dishonesty, highlighting how the truth always comes out in the end. It could also be used to explore the needs of helping those less fortunate than us and 'going good' in society throughout PSHE or citizenship lessons. In addition to this, the story is centred around the time of Chinese New Year and it would be interesting to use the book alongside studying the topic of new year. There is even a lovely section at the back of the book which explains how to 'make your own' Chinese New Year robe.


message 19: by Anelka (last edited May 03, 2020 11:57AM) (new)

Anelka | 6 comments The Day the Crayons Quit

A lovely story which is perfect for KS1 and could also be used in KS2.

Duncan loves colouring, but when he opens his crayons box, he finds letters from each of the crayons saying they quit.
Some of the crayons are fed up, some say they are not used enough, and others are saying they are used too much. The crayons have just had enough, they need a break.

What will Duncan do to make them happy again?

This book is a lovely read and children will love it.


message 20: by Natalie (new)

Natalie | 5 comments Oi Cat!
Oi Frog
Oi Dog!
Oi Duck-billed Platypus!

I love these books! and I was very excited to see there are more of them.

I have seen teachers read them at the end of the day and children have chosen them to listen to again and again because they love them.

Good for rhyming


message 21: by Sari (new)

Sari | 2 comments Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay

Based on the true story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, Ada and the children are guided by Favio in transforming waste into the treasure of music. This rags-to-riches story highlights the importance of imagination, resilience and music in bringing people together. There are many STEAM curriculum links: materials and sound in Science; playing string instruments in Music; and the global movement of waste in Geography.

Suitable for KS1 (with curriculum links in KS2 - particularly Y4 sound and string instruments).


message 22: by K (new)

K | 8 comments Paddington's London Treasury. This is a lovely collection of four classic stories of the well known bear from Peru. In the stories Paddington travels to Buckingham palace and London Zoo.

You could read one small story at the end of the day and discuss what the children might expect to see if they were to take the trip with Paddington and how they would feel about the trip. You could also use some sections of the story as a writing stimulus in English as well as linking it to a travel topic in Geography.

This is a book full of fun and exciting stories. I am very happy that I stumbled across it in a local second-hand bookshop.


message 23: by Henrietta (new)

Henrietta | 5 comments Zoo

A family go to the zoo but are not impressed. The illustrations and witty style of writing make the reader question whether the humans are more animal like than the animals in the zoo. I love this book as, not only is it funny and cleverly written, it shares an important message. The illustrations are as impressive as the text; you can interpret a lot from each page. This book could allow for some great conversation with older pupils or be a great independent read for key stage one.


message 24: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Wykes | 6 comments Mark Deeble

Wewe's World (Doesn't seem to be linked on here although others from the 'Wewe series' are!)

This is a really lovely book which tells the story of life in the Savanna from a baby elephant’s point of view. Not only does the elephant (Wewe) tell all about the animals who live in is world, he also gives little facts about each one. The whole story is also written in rhyming verse which makes for a really fun read with fantastic opportunities for children to join in! The way the book is illustrated also adds to its charm as each animal is illustrated in such detail and, although they are not ‘actual’ photographs of the animal, they are created to be as realistic as possible.

This book would be a lovely accompaniment to a range of topics. Whether looking at African landscapes in Geography or habitats in Science, this book would be a lovely entry point for children. It even has a ‘fact file’ at the end of the book which gives you more information about elephants like Wewe, where he lives and all his friends at home!


message 25: by Henrietta (new)

Henrietta | 5 comments May Ball Adventure


These are a great range of books that follow Fitz and Will through their journey across the most iconic parts of Cambridge. The author uses rhyming verse to capture their adventures which are displayed brilliantly with illustration Jia Han. these books would be great for Cambridge Primary teachers who are keen to explore Cambridge with their class (the Christmas Adventure is my particular favourite!)


message 26: by Anelka (new)

Anelka | 6 comments A lovely children’s book which could be used to teach children the art of sharing. Two very greedy squirrels are on a mission to find to last nuts in the season, but they fight over the nuts and cause trouble. The squirrels battle each other for the nuts, but neither are going to give in very soon. They both get close to the nuts on many occasions, but neither of them seem to be able to get there first.
This book has a lovely ending and can help show children the art of teamwork and sharing to help a friend. The Squirrels Who Squabbled is a lovely book which I would share across Key stage 1 and potentially year 3.
The Squirrels Who Squabbled


message 27: by K (last edited Jun 01, 2020 05:21AM) (new)

K | 8 comments This week I have read The Day the Crayons Quit.

I have seen and heard so many people discussing this book and I now completely understand why! I was smiling ear to ear reading it and imagining how fantastic children would find the idea that their crayons had feelings.

The story is about a little boy who finds out that he won't be able to do any colouring with his crayons because they've quit, and they've left him some letters explaining why too.

It's hilarious and a book which I imagine Year Two children would love. I am very excited to read this to my class in September!!


message 28: by Anelka (new)

Anelka | 6 comments Kitchen Disco

This book was introduced to me 3 or 4 years ago by a 5 year old boy, he said it was his favourite book and had a dance to go with it!
I instantly fell in love with this book and have been known to read it during my volunteering and PGCE placements.
This book is all about what the fruit in the fruit bowl get up to when the rest of the people in the house are asleep. This book has a lovely rhythm to it and could be used during music lessons or even to have a little sing and dance too.


message 29: by Natalie (last edited Jun 03, 2020 06:45AM) (new)

Natalie | 5 comments Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!
The Pigeon Needs a Bath!
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

I love these books and I have used them with younger children and they loved them just as much as me. I love being able to be the voice of the Pigeon. There a various books about the Pigeon and the adventures he has. Some of the books have great links to PSHE e.g The pigeon needs a bath and personal hygiene.

Really good for KS1 but older children also enjoy them


message 30: by Emma (new)

Emma | 6 comments The Smartest Giant in Town

Today I read The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson. This is a lovely picture book about a giant who starts of quite scruffy but then buys some very smart clothes. However, he then has to lend his new clothes to some of his friends in need. This book could be used to teach about sharing and being kind to your friends. A nice activity to go alongside could be to design some clothes for the giant as well. Lots of rhyming and repetition as well to make it fun to read with your class. This book would be great for EYFS or KS1.


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