We were recently sent ten of Penguin Random House’s best picks of summer reading books for children. You can just imagine our excitement when they arrived all shiny and new. They know that we are best-placed to ensure they end up in the right hands – children who are going to read them many times over and treasure them, like it’s their first book, and for some that may well be the case. With the Santa Stork campaign kicking off after summer, we always need lots of new books to send out with the children’s presents, so donations like this are very welcome indeed.
So, in conjunction with it being Penguin Random House’s 5th birthday since their merger, and in celebration of Stripey Stork going 5 years strong, we thought we’d write some tips on summer reading with your kids and tell you a little bit about each of these books. Then, we thought we’d throw in a competition for good measure, since Penguin also managed to get hold of an autographed book of ‘The Racehorse Who Disappeared’ by Clare Balding. A prized possession for any young fan. You can enter the competition below.
Summer reading tips
Just because school’s out, doesn’t mean to say that learning and reading should stop. To prevent what’s referred to as ‘summer slide’, try keep up the momentum. Or, if you have a child starting school in September, get ahead. It will make the transition easier for everyone. Here’s our handy tips to encourage your little bookworm.
1. Love your library
Everyone loves a trip to the library. They certainly aren’t the places they used to be when I was a child. Where you could hear a pin drop and the scary librarian would give you one of those looks if you dropped that pin! With the introduction of children’s activities like rhyme time, libraries have worked hard to encourage children to think of libraries as fun places from an early age.
And, of course, there’s the library’s Summer Reading Challenge. This happens every year, where children are encouraged to read six books of their choice and then collect rewards for doing so. This year it runs from 14 July until 15 September and is aimed at ages 4-11. The theme this time is Mischief Makers, which is inspired by the much-loved children’s comic Beano.
2. What sparks their interest?
It makes sense that if you have an interest in something then you try harder at it, want to learn more and go back to it time and time again. It may sound obvious but discover what excites them and look for age appropriate books about the subject. And we guarantee, there’ll be a book out there!
3. Mix it up!
This one could be tied in with the Summer Reading Challenge. Introduce different themes throughout the holidays, a theme per week. Involve them in choosing the topic, it could be fiction, fact, comics, magic, the list is endless, but again, play to their interests and you’ll get more enthusiasm.
4. Holiday – it’s all in the planning
Do you have a holiday coming up this summer? Look for guidebooks, brochures and leaflets about where you’ll be going, they won’t be able to resist. We were lucky enough to take a trip to Disney and my kids could not get enough of looking through the guidebooks and discussing our plans as a family. And, don’t forget to pack them a book for the journey and whilst you are there. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to lose themselves in a good book.
5. Spend time together reading
Put some special time aside every day to read with your child, taking on different characters from the book yourself and discussing what’s happening in the story and the pictures, how you think the characters feel, what you think will happen next? Pick a time that works best for you and your child, this may not always be the end of the day, it could be outside enjoying the fresh air after your summer picnic.
Summer reading recommendations
Here‘s an introduction to Penguin’s top picks.
All About the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Price: £7.74 (Board Book)
Description: The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a beloved classic and this stunning chunky caterpillar-shaped book is the perfect first introduction to this timeless story. As they turn the pages, young children will learn all the words from the world of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, from ‘egg’ to ‘strawberry’, ‘lollipop’, and, finally, ‘beautiful butterfly’! I still know this book off by heart. Find out more…
Baby Animals: Baby Sparkle by DK
Price: £3.99 (Board Book)
Description: Suitable for children’s early learning, introducing simple rhymes and funny animal noises, this title engages young babies with sing-song rhymes and more. Find out more…
Pass It On by Sophy Henn
Price: £6.99 (Paperback)
Description: A joyful and uplifting picture book about finding happiness in the smallest of things, from picture book star Sophy Henn – World Book Day illustrator and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. Find out more…
Happy and the Dinosaurs have a Happy Birthday by Ian Whybrow
Price: £5.99 (Paperback)
Description: Harry and his dinosaurs love birthday parties, so Harry’s disappointed when big sister, Sam, says she’s going to one – alone. Not only is it Mr Oakley’s birthday, but Harry finds out that it’s the dinosaurs’ one hundred millionth birthday too! Harry decides to throw a surprise birthday party and soon even Sam helps to make the party treats. Mum invites Mr Oakley over and he is very surprised when he arrives; in fact, everyone agrees that it’s the best birthday party ever! Find out more…
The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith
Age: A tale which relates to all ages
Description: This is the moving story of a fox, a star and an eternal friendship, written and beautifully illustrated by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith – chosen as Waterstones Book of the Year and selected in Time Out’s 100 Best Children’s Books. Find out more…
George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl
Price: £4.99 (Paperback)
Description: George Kranky’s Grandma is a miserable grouch. George really hates that horrid old witchy woman. One Saturday morning, George is in charge of giving Grandma her medicine. So-ho! Ah-ha! Ho-hum! George knows exactly what to do. A magic medicine it will be. One that will either cure her completely . . . or blow off the top of her head. Find out more…
The Racehorse who Disappeared by Clare Balding
Price: £3.49 (Paperback)
Description: Life is slowly getting back to normal for Charlie after her reluctant racehorse, Noble Warrior, won the Derby and saved her family from financial ruin. But drama soon returns to Folly Farm when thieves break into the farmyard in the dead of night and kidnap Noble Warrior! With the police baffled and no trace of the prizewinning thoroughbred to be found, Charlie launches her own investigation… Find out more…
If you like the sound of this book, don’t forget to enter our competition below for your chance to win a signed copy.
A School Like Mine (Children Just Like Me) by DK
Price: £11.34 (Hardback)
Description: An amazing children’s book exploring schools around the world through the eyes of pupils. A modern take on DK’s classic children’s book reveals the lives of children as they learn at school in their own words. See school activities, classrooms, and playtime in photographs that will appeal to all children curious to learn about the lives of other schoolchildren on every continent. With classic DK design and text, using children’s own words, children will take a journey around the world to discover A School Just Like Mine. Find out more…
Doctor Who: A History of Humankind: The Doctor’s Official Guide by BBC
Price: £9.99 (Hardback)
Description: Over billions of years of time travel, the Doctor has run into his fair share of important people – and he’s formed opinions on most of them too. Now the Twelfth Doctor has got hold of a history textbook from Coal Hill School, and he’s decided to improve it with notes of his own. From Nefertiti to Robin Hood, this essential Doctor’s guide gives us his unique take on Earth’s most famous historical figures. Through annotations, scribblings and his trademark snarky humour, the Doctor has plenty to say about the pudding-brained humans he’s met on his travels. It’s history . . . but perhaps not quite as you know it! Find out more…
Hilo: The Great Big Boom by Judd Winick
Price: £7.74 (Paperback)
Description: When we last saw our INTREPID TRIO, Gina had been sucked into a mysterious portal to who-knows-where. But friends don’t let friends disappear into NOWHERE! It’s up to D.J. and Hilo to follow her! Will there be danger? YES! Will there be amazing surprises? OF COURSE! Will Gina end up being the one to save them? DEFINITELY! With the help of Polly, the magical warrior cat, the friends will have to battle bad guys and face disgusting food, an angry mom, terrible knock-knock jokes, powerful magic, and more! Will they survive and make it back to Earth before the portal closes again? Find out more…
Do you have any children’s reading suggestions, we’d love to hear them, let us know in the comments below.
Entering the competition
To win a signed copy of Clare Balding’s ‘The Racehorse who Disappeared’, all you have to do is answer the following question:
Up to what age of kids clothes do Stripey Stork rehome?
And we give you a clue, so you can’t go wrong. Enter using the Rafflecopter entry form below. Only one entry per person and UK residents only please. The competition opens on Tuesday 17 July and closes at 12am (midnight) on Wednesday 25 July 2018. The winner will be chosen at random, notified and announced shortly afterwards. Prize can be collected from our Redhill office (RH1 2LJ) or posted to a UK address. Good luck!
We’d like to thank Penguin Random House for their generosity in donating this lovely bundle of books and the competition prize. If anyone has any good condition or new books which they’d like to donate to our cause then please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We include books with every donation request and give brand new books with every Christmas present for our Santa Stork appeal.
Thank you #TeamStork.