Members of our Primary ITE team share some children’s literature with us in their new blog series
6th February 2019
Welcome to the first in a new series of blog posts with primary ITE lecturers, Rachel Eperjesi and Tracey Wire. Rachel and Tracey both lecture in English on the undergraduate and postgraduate primary teacher training courses. In this series, they will be sharing some children’s literature with us…
So, what is the inspiration for this new series of blog posts?
Tracey: There is a wealth of research out there which indicates that teachers’ own knowledge of children’s literature is a significant factor in whether or not children develop a love of literature and read for pleasure.
Rachel: We therefore encourage our student teachers to read as much children’s literature as possible. You can’t know what to read with children or recommend to children if you don’t know what’s out there. So, we are joining in! We have both been reading lots of children’s literature recently, particularly novels, and felt that blog posts offer the opportunity for others, including our student teachers, to join us on our reading journey.
So, you are doing this because you want to support your students in expanding their awareness of high quality children’s literature…?
Rachel: Yes, but also because we love it!
Tracey: We are both avid readers and there is so much good reading material out there.
Rachel: We are so lucky, as we are doing something that supports us in our roles here in the School of Education and which is also so enjoyable.
Tracey: It’s not just the reading, but the discussions we have about the books; we tend to take turns to read the books, swapping with each other, passing on recommendations and so on.
That sounds good. So, what have you got to share with us this time?
Rachel: Well, we’ve chosen to focus on a loose theme with our choices.
Tracey: Yes, we’re calling it ‘the magic in books’.
Rachel: Our first choice is Pages & Co: Tilly and the Book Wanderers by Anna James (@acaseforbooks).
Tracey: This book is just delightful and perfect for those who are already developing their love of books.
Rachel: It’s set in a bookshop and the world of books. Tilly discovers that she is a book wanderer, which means that she can walk into books and interact with the characters.
Tracey: Tilly’s powers are so great that she can take her friend Oskar with her and they embark upon a dangerous adventure to solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance.
Rachel: We love this story because it’s all about books and on her wanderings Tilly allows us to revisit some old favourites.
Tracey: This isn’t a hard book to read; this is because it’s so skilfully written and the plot makes you want to keep on reading.
Rachel: We love the occasional illustrations and the way the font itself is used to convey meaning.
Tracey: For the benefit of our students, we think this book is perfect for sharing with KS2 pupils.
That’s great. What else have you got to share with us?
Rachel: Our second choice is a real favourite at home, with my children desperately waiting for me to finish so that they could read it.
Tracey: Well, it is a real page-turner.
Rachel: This one is called The Nowhere Emporium and it’s by Ross MacKenzie (@RossAuthor). It’s won a Blue Peter Book Award and a Scottish Children’s Book Award.
Tracey: And with good reason.
Rachel: The Nowhere Emporium is a magical shop, run by a magical man. The shop can ‘appear at any time, in any city’.
Tracey: Like the bookshop in Pages & Co, the Nowhere Emporium is a place where adventures begin. The main character is a boy called Daniel who has run away from bullies at the children’s home where he lived and is welcomed into the Nowhere Emporium by its owner, Lucien Silver.
Rachel: Inside the shop are endless rooms, each filled with the most amazing themes. Unlike in Tilly’s adventure there is really only one book in this story: The Book of Wonders, where Lucien writes his ideas for the rooms that fill his shop.
Tracey: Again the book contains illustrations and uses text format to add to the appeal and meaning of the story.
Rachel: I love the way there are two storylines running that eventually come together in a captivating finale.
Tracey: I can confirm that the sequel is equally enjoyable, but more of that in a later blog. . .
Rachel: This book is better suited to upper KS2 children. Share this text and see their pleasure.
Tracey: We have both really enjoyed these books. Just because they are aimed at children doesn’t mean they aren’t a good read for adults too. The second Pages & Co book is yet to be published but we’re already looking forward to finding that on our bookshelves.
Thanks, I’m feeling inspired to go and read straight away – I just can’t decide which one to start with. What can we expect from future blog posts in this series?
Rachel: Well, we have quite a few more recently published texts to share with you, but we also want to consider some ‘older’ texts.
Tracey: We may also include some ‘guest readers’ in future posts.