We know it’s good to encourage our children to ‘be creative’, alongside their homelearning. In particular time to read is so important, offering an ‘escape’ for young minds and inspiring imaginations. But with schoolwork to do, our own work to complete and the daily juggle on going, it’s a bit of a challenge, to say the least!
Help is at hand with the multiple online resources available to provide inspiration – but time to navigate these is also short! Today, I’ve gathered some on the blog that have caught my eye, and that I think will give your young readers the opportunity to get creative and encourage their reading for pleasure.
Award-winning Umbrella by Elena Arevalo Melville tells the story of Clara who finds a magical umbrella in the park which leads her on a wonderful journey of discovery! Read my review here. Ideal for storytime, author Elena has recorded the story (approx 10mins). There are delightful activities including inviting children to imagine what they would wish for if they found a magical umbrella! For more formal teaching, there is a scheme of work available exploring the themes and characters in the story. Published by Scallywag Press.
Larger-than-life story What’s in the Truck? by Philip Aardagh and Jason Chapman tells the tale of a dog prince and his ever changing vehicles! You can read an extract of the story and there are fun activities to entertain young readers. There’s also an online event hosted by indie bookshop, The Book Nook in Hove with Philip and Jason participating in a storytime and drawalong which children will love! Published by Faber.
Big Cat by Emma Lazell is a hilarious story about Isobel and her Grandma and their discovery of a very Big Cat in the garden. Read my review here. Fans of cats will absolutely love this story; you can read an extract here, listen to Emma read the story aloud and there’s an activity pack to encourage budding young illustrators. Published by Pavilion Books
Sky Private Eye by Jane Clarke & Loretta Schauer is a delightful series featuring Sky, who can be found searching for clues and solving mysteries involving fairytale characters we know and love ( think Red Riding Hood, the Gingerbread Man) – and also has a fondness for baking! Read my review here. There are some lovely activities available including making cakes for the young bakers in your lives (but don’t let the Big Bad Wolf find out…!) Published by Five Quills.
The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie is a hugely popular series for 7-9 year olds. The fifth and final book in the series published this month and the author has created a range of fantastic resources to bring the stories to life through activities, book talk and arts and crafts ideas. Andy has also created a brilliant mini dragon story resource with a video and ideas for illustration. Published by Piccadilly Press
Jasper and Scruff by Nicola Colton creates a fabulous new friendship between a cat and a dog! Warm and funny, young readers will love reading about Jasper and Scruff’s adventures. Nicola has created some brilliant illustration activities, so children can have a go at recreating this wonderful duo themselves. Book 3 in the series publishes next month, in the meantime you can watch a drawalong with Nicola here. Published by Little Tiger.
The incomparable A F Harrold selected the poems in Midnight Feasts, illustrated by Katy Riddell. Shortlisted for the CLiPPA 2020 award, there is a full teaching sequence available from CLPE. Rather brilliantly you can also watch A F Harrold perform poems from the book via his website. A great way to keep children entertained and introduce them to the wonderful world of poetry. Published by Bloomsbury
Wilde by Eloise Williams was definitely one of my favourite reads of 2020. A contemporary fantasy story, you can read my full review here. Author Eloise, the inaugural Welsh Children’s Laureate , has put together a whole host of creative writing activities and there is a resource pack available here. The pack includes story extracts, Shakespeare and illustration activities – ideal for building on the imagination brought to life in the story! Published by Firefly Press.
After the War by Tom Palmer is another triumph in accessible, historical fiction for author Tom, who has worked tirelessly to support Holocaust Memorial Day. This story is utterly moving – read my full review here – focusing on the lives of three Jewish boys rescued from a concentration camp. Tom has produced multiple teaching resources, video content and creative writing support and whilst Holocaust Memorial Day itself may have passed, the messages around After the War are relevant every day. Visit his website to find out more. Published by Barrington Stoke.
I absolutely adored Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan and revisiting Roar in the sequel, Return to Roar. Author Jenny was previously a teacher and has created some inspiring, imaginative resources to encourage creativity including videos to make your own fantasy-land map, characters and fantasy poo!! There’s also a treasure hunt and ideas for bringing Roar to life at home and in the classroom. Great all round! Published by Egmont.
Faber Booktime is a fantastic resource featuring readings and activities from a huge variety of children’s authors – Chris Mould, Emma Carroll, Swapna Haddow & Sheena Dempsey and many more. Great for storytime and encouraging creativity in young storytellers. Find out more
Puffin Schools features multiple resource packs, one-off activities and video draw-alongs, storytime and the Puffin Storymakers Show. Search for an author or Puffin title to find an activity for your young readers – think Wimpy Kid, Jacqueline Wilson, Roald Dahl and other classroom favourites. Great for supporting literacy but also brilliant for encouraging reading for pleasure! Find out more.
These are just a few of the many and varied book-related resources that creative folk and their publishers have put together to help home-learning. Following #readingrocks, #edutwitter, #kidlit and of course #homelearning, will shine a light on others. And make sure you follow your children’s favourite authors, illustrators, poets and publishers on social media to keep a track of the live events and new content being published.