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Book of the Month

Every month our Book Club editors choose a Book of the Month for each age range – the perfect stories to share at home or in the classroom. Here are our children’s book experts’ top picks for September 2020.

Baby Sensory: Say Hello to the Sun
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Ages 0–2 Book of the Month

Baby Sensory: Say Hello to the Sun

“This month, I’m excited to share with you Say Hello to the Sun as my 0–2 Book of the Month choice. Since the very first Baby Sensory class started in 2003, thousands of babies have enjoyed cuddling up and joining in with the Say Hello to the Sun chant. Now you can snuggle up and bond at home with your little one (or use in an Early Years context), as you stimulate their visual and vocabulary skills by reading aloud or singing the chant as you share the vibrant and eye-catching illustrations. Encourage them to join in with the action rhymes (shown for you on every page) and note the calming influence of the words as they move from play to rest.

Baby Sensory was founded by Dr Lin Day, one of the UK’s leading parenting experts and a renowned author within the field of childcare and education. She states that ‘research shows that reading to your baby boosts brain activity, improves memory, promotes speech and language, and enhances empathy. Best of all, when you read to your baby and she listens, your brains synchronize as one!’

A great choice to nourish sensory and emotional development – a ray of sunshine and the perfect end-of-day wind down. Curl up and share again and again…”

Yvonne – Book Club Editor, Ages 0–6
Yvonne – Book Club Editor, Ages 0–6

The Leaf Thief (C&F)
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Ages 3–4 Book of the Month

The Leaf Thief

“I am lucky enough to get to see a lot of books and I usually reserve judgement until I’ve digested them whole. But, one quick peep at the adorable squirrel on this cover and I was HOOKED.

Meet Squirrel. He is so cross. Yesterday there were loads of beautiful leaves on his tree, but now some are missing and he is convinced they’ve been stolen and there’s a leaf thief on the loose! As Squirrel’s anxiety increasingly rises, he repeatedly accuses the other animals in the wood of stealing them. All the while his friend Bird sits quietly in the background, offering a reassuring and calming voice of reason and reminding him that this happens every year…

Nicola Slater’s illustrations are just sublime. They are just bursting with autumnal colours, so rich and absorbing you can almost hear the leaves crunch. Nicola has a real talent for making her characters highly expressive and accessible. This is the perfect book to use in school as part of the Early Years curriculum, when looking at the change in seasons during the autumn. It offers lots of discussion points around patterns and changes, friendship, stability and anxiety (with extra information at the back about what happens during this time, including migration and dark nights). Ask the children to predict what they think is happening? Why is Squirrel accusing people? How does Bird help Squirrel?

A book that is funny, hard to resist and has tremendous heart. I am now shamelessly in love with the relationship between Squirrel and Bird and I think you will be, too. Perfect to share in class for the starting or return to school moment, or on the sofa at home.”

Yvonne – Book Club Editor, Ages 0–6
Yvonne – Book Club Editor, Ages 0–6

Dog Man 9: Grime and Punishment
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Ages 5–6 Book of the Month

Dog Man 9: Grime and Punishment

“My Book of the Month pick for 5- to 6-year-olds, the new ninth instalment in the Dog Man series, Dog Man: Grime and Punishment, will also appeal to readers aged 6+!

I have chosen this because I challenge any young reader to resist. This is the kind of book that kids will want to pick up and the stats show that children are five times more likely to finish a book that they have picked themselves. Furthermore all the reading experts agree that kids actively search for funny books!

This hilarious adventure from a crime-fighting half-human, half-dog and his unlikely cat sidekick has all the ingredients to make kids howl with laughter. The Supa Buddies bamboozled the baddies, but all’s not right in the world. Dog Man has a new problem to pound, and he’s going to need his entire pack to help him. Will he go barking up the wrong tree?

From children’s firm favourite Dav Pilkey, author and illustrator of the worldwide bestselling Captain Underpants series which kids will also recognise from film and TV. The Dog Man series as a whole explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence and the importance of being true to oneself. The full colour, comic book-style pages make it easy to read the text alongside the pictures, and makes it easily accessible to readers of all ages.”

Yvonne – Book Club Editor, Ages 0–6
Yvonne – Book Club Editor, Ages 0–6

Skunk and Badger
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Ages 7–8 Book of the Month

Skunk and Badger

“Want to get swept up this autumn on a reading journey? If you’re looking for a book with hints of Winnie-the-Pooh meets Wallace and Gromit, this book fits the bill. Good as a satisfying read to yourself but also perfect if you are a parent looking for a book with a classic feel and real warmth to stimulate reading enjoyment. Written by award-winning American author Amy Timberlake, Skunk and Badger is told through a lightly comic story and interspersed with pictures by the inimitable Jon Klasson (illustrator of Pax).

Badger is set in his ways and likes order and routine. Skunk is laid back and a bit unconventional. On paper, they don’t mix! But as each begins to understand the ways of the other, they both learn precious lessons and grow to form an odd-couple relationship. It’s a tale of celebrating differences and appreciating that friendships comes from the most unexpected places, and in all shapes and sizes! If you are reading this aloud, get your child involved by asking what they think about the plot, the events and the characters. How does their relationship change, and why? A satisfying tale you can stretch across those autumn evenings!

(Please note: American spellings used)

Yvonne – Book Club Editor, Ages 0–6
Yvonne – Book Club Editor, Ages 0–6

The Witches: The Graphic Novel
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Ages 9–10 Book of the Month

The Witches: The Graphic Novel

“I am so excited about this book! It is the first ever graphic edition of a Dahl classic and is my Book of the Month: a) because it brings a popular classic to life with beautiful art and b) because September 13th is Dahl Day! This is designed for those who have already read the original novel and want to revisit in glorious colour but also for new readers who find it easier to engage with fewer words on the page and need their reading confidence built up gradually.

Sometimes grown-ups think that older kids don’t need or like pictures in books but we all need a variety of texts and genres to keep us going on our reading journeys and being able to decode and relate to visual storytelling and narratives is a great skill.

For those of you who don’t know the original story of Luke and his grandma and how they battle with the Grand High Witch, you are in for a treat!”

Su – Book Club Editor, Ages 7–11+
Su – Book Club Editor, Ages 7–11+

Tamarind & the Star of Ishta
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Ages 11+ Book of the Month

Tamarind & the Star of Ishta

“Our 11+ Book of the Month pick for September is Tamarind & the Star of Ishta, from Jasbinder Bilan. Bilan’s debut novel, the stunning Asha & the Spirit Bird won the 2019 Costa Award.

I have selected it because quite simply it is a beautifully written emotional family drama lightly woven with magic, in a breath-taking Indian setting. I loved it and I think it is perfect for those confident readers who want to be transported away on a magical adventure!

Tamarind never knew her Indian mum, Chinty, who died soon after she was born. So when she arrives at her ancestral home, a huge mansion in the Himalayas surrounded by luxuriant gardens, she’s full of questions for her extended family. But instead of answers, she finds an ominous silence – and a trickle of intriguing clues: an abandoned hut, a friendly monkey, a glowing star ring, and a strange girl in the garden who calls herself Ishta. Slowly, Tamarind unravels a mystery at the heart of who she is …”

Su – Book Club Editor, Ages 7–11+
Su – Book Club Editor, Ages 7–11+

The Bridge
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Teen Book of the Month

The Bridge

“This absorbing, lifesaving novel is our teen Book of the Month pick for September. From acclaimed author Bill Konigsberg, the story is told across four alternate timelines. Heart-breaking, life-affirming and beautifully written, this perfectly pitched contemporary YA novel sees a tough subject handled with humour, compassion and unflinching truth.

Two teenagers, strangers to each other, have decided to jump from the same bridge at the same time. Aaron and Tillie don’t know each other, but they are both feeling suicidal, and arrive at the George Washington Bridge at the same time, intending to jump. Aaron is a gay misfit struggling with depression and loneliness. Tillie isn’t sure what her problem is – only that she will never be good enough. On the bridge, there are four things that could happen: Aaron jumps and Tillie doesn’t. Tillie jumps and Aaron doesn’t. They both jump. Neither of them jumps. Or maybe all four things happen, in this astonishing and insightful novel.”

Su – Book Club Editor, Ages 7–11+
Su – Book Club Editor, Ages 7–11+

Browse all September Books of the Month