Finding books that capture a classroom or have students begging to borrow it from library is not always easy. We asked our Reading Leaders to make some recommendations that they know are sure-fire winners with students.

Check out these titles for drop in Read-Aloud, recommendation in a school newsletter, or a school-wide share at assembly. Sharing books with students is a magical way to advocate reading!

This book is appealing to years 2-5 because it deals with the common problem of bullying. Kathryn Apel has written in prose and her words do a wonderful job of highlighting the fear and anguish of bullying.

A great book for discussing harassment and how to deal with it. This is a fairly quick read and yet tells so much.

Provided by Jane Moore, Ardtornish Primary School Library.

Bully on the Bus

by Kathryn Apel 2014

Summary:

Leroy must learn to deal with the bully on the bus. How will he find the strength to overcome the situation once and for all?

I would never be able to make a list of books and omit the Dragonkeeper series. These are so well written and the books just beg to be read aloud. I love the way that Carole Wilkinson finishes each chapter with suspense. If the students love this book they will read the rest of the series.

Provided by Jane Moore, Ardtornish Primary School Library.

Dragonkeeper series

by Carole Wilkinson

Summary:

Ping, a slave girl in Ancient China, has been chosen by Danzi, possibly the last living dragon, as his keeper. She needs to go on a dangerous journey across China and keep Danzi safe from all the evil forces that want to kill him

This was the novel we used with the year 3/4 test class for the SSR with intervention reading program.

Using Sheena Cameron’s comprehension ideas, we read and discussed the text and illustrations for a deeper meaning and understanding. There was not a lot of writing and question answering, more an unpacking of the story.

So many children enjoyed this book they went on to read the others in the series.

Another great book in this genre would be Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade by Jol and Kate Temple.

Provided by Jane Moore, Ardtornish Primary School Library.

Eric Vale Epic Fail

by Michael Gerard Bauer, 2012

Summary:

Eric Vale has a lot of problems including his nickname, his best friend and a lot of bad luck. A humorous book with lots of cartoon-style illustrations scattered throughout the pages.

I highly recommend all of the books in the Our Australian Girl series. This is a wonderful novel to read to year 4/5’s especially as an adjunct to their history curriculum. This has been a hit at our school for years now and the students love to read the whole series.

Provided by Jane Moore, Ardtornish Primary School Library.

Meet Grace series

by Sofie Laguna 2011

Summary:

Grace lives in London in 1808 and has to survive on the streets. A small act of stealing an apple finds her sent to jail and eventually transported to Australia.

I highly recommend all of the books in the Our Australian Girl series. This is a wonderful novel to read to year 4/5’s especially as an adjunct to their history curriculum. This has been a hit at our school for years now and the students love to read the whole series.

Provided by Jane Moore, Ardtornish Primary School Library.

Yoko’s Diary

by Paul Ham 2013

Summary:

This book contains the words of a real Japanese school girl who lived in Hiroshima during WW2. This poignant novel gives an insight into the experiences of the Japanese at the time of the Hiroshima bombing.

This is a book that leads to interesting discussion around friendship and students from diverse backgrounds. It has beautiful illustrations and clever text that are wonderful exemplars for teaching comprehension and writing. This text is a highly recommended text and example of rich literature.

Provided by Sandra Hodge-Neill, Hawker Primary School.

My Two Blankets

by Irena Kobald, 2015

Summary:

Cartwheel moves to a new country with her auntie, and everything is strange: the animals, the plants—even the wind. An old blanket gives Cartwheel comfort when she’s sad—and a new blanket just might change her world. This multicultural story of friendship is about leaving home, moving to a foreign and strange place, and finding a new friend. It's a story for all who have experienced change. Irena Kobald’s poetic text, paired with Kate Greenaway medallist Freya Blackwood's powerful paintings, renders an emotional and heart-warming story about two children from diverse backgrounds coming together to become new friends.

This book is recommended for upper primary and onwards. It is unique, well written and has amazing illustrations. It provides a different experience of reading a book as it cleverly combines elements of a graphic novel, picture book and novel. This text provides lots of teaching moments with both the text and the illustrations (which are like a wordless book).

Provided by Sandra Hodge-Neill, Hawker Primary School.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick, 2007

Summary:

The Invention of Hugo Cabret follows the adventures of an orphan who secretly lives in the walls of a Paris train station, as he tries to complete a mysterious invention left by his father. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. Intricate, innovative, and utterly spellbinding, the story was nominated for a National Book Award and received the coveted Caldecott Medal, America's top prize for children's illustration.

This book is beautifully written and illustrated. This story is thought provoking and hopeful. It can be linked to a variety of themes/ topics such as immigration, refugees, leaving home and finding a new one, metaphors, struggles of life and hope.

Provided by Sandra Hodge-Neill, Hawker Primary School.

Teacup

by Rebecca Young, 2015

Summary:

Teacup is about a boy who must leave his home and find another. He brings with him a teacup full of earth from the place where he grew up, and sets off to sea. Some days, the journey is peaceful, and the skies are cloudless and bright. Some days, storms threaten to overturn his boat. And some days, the smallest amount of hope grows into something glorious. At last, the boy finds land, but it doesn't feel complete… until another traveller joins him, bearing the seed to build a new home.

A great book for all ages that is written by another wonderful Australian author. Both the descriptive text and beautiful illustrations are wonderful teaching exemplars. The text is a springboard for poetry, vocabulary and descriptive language. It also supports themes such as: exploration of Australia, Aboriginal culture, Australian Aboriginal smoking ceremonies, art, country, the natural world, animals and plants.

Provided by Sandra Hodge-Neill, Hawker Primary School.

Why I Love Australia

by Bronwyn Bancroft, 2010

Summary:

Why I Love Australia is a superb and unique showcase
of Australia’s many rich and varied landscapes. In this magnificent celebration of country, Australia’s much loved Indigenous children’s illustrator, Bronwyn Bancroft, uses both images and words to explore the awe-inspiring beauty of the Australian continent, and to express her feelings for it. The hope is that this book will inspire children to develop their own love of and respect for the Australian landscape – its colour, uniqueness and beauty

This book, "an oldie but a goodie," has so many amazing resources that have been developed over recent years to support teachers with teaching moments. It is a good book for middle and upper primary students. This text is an example of rich literature for themes such as: belonging, bullying, culture and traditions, identity, relationships. time, values, war and conflict, Australian history and geography.

Provided by Sandra Hodge-Neill, Hawker Primary School.

My Place

by Nadia Wheatley, 1988

Summary:

My Place, the classic
Australian picture book, is a ‘time machine’ which takes the reader back into the past. It depicts the history of one particular piece of land in Sydney from 1788 to 1988 through the stories of the various children who have lived there. It aims to teach the reader about the history of Australia, about families, settlers, multiculturalism, and the traditional owners of the land. Each child’s story covers a decade in time, showing their particular dress, customs and family life. The book also features maps that the successive generations of children have ‘drawn’ which demonstrate the things that have changed – as well as the things that have remained constant.

This story is an enjoyable read. It is light hearted yet also has undertones of character traits to teach young children. A little boy who seems quite unheroic, ends up helping neighbours, friends, and even the world through his talents. The super hero theme and illustrations are a big hit. It is a useful teaching tool for practising comprehension strategies.

Provided by Sandra Hodge-Neill, Hawker Primary School.

Eliot Midnight Superhero

by Anne Cottringer, 2013

Summary:

By day, Eliot is a quiet boy who likes to read and play with his toys. But when the clock strikes midnight, Eliot is transformed into a superhero! When he's
not showing off his incredible swimming skills or wowing the crowds with his expert lion-taming, you can find him assisting the Queen. One day Eliot receives an urgent message from the world's Most Important Scientists: a giant meteor is hurtling towards Earth! Will Eliot be able to rise to the challenge and save the world from destruction in the nick of time? A fantastically fast-paced adventure story, gloriously brought to life by best-selling illustrator
Alex T. Smith.