So many students and parents have asked me for book recommendations for summer reading.
You may remember that for the first time, Dover Court was involved with the ‘Red Dot Readers’ Cup’. The Red Dot Book Awards is run by Singapore International Schools’ Librarians. Students from each age range, from Nursery to Year 12 are encouraged to read eight carefully selected books. The books cover a wide range of genres, from current authors and often raise topical issues. There is usually a Singaporean author in the selection which helps students connect with the list. The project is a wonderful way to broaden students’ reading scope. The upcoming academic year’s shortlist does not disappoint. Find the full list here: https://www.reddotawards.com/2021-2022-shortlists/
During Term 3, I went around to most classes in the Upper Primary School to introduce the 2021-2022 selections. The students were very excited by so many of the titles. I will highlight a few which have captured their attention and which I think will be guaranteed favourites.
The one book which particularly struck me as interesting was, ‘Invisible enemies, A handbook of pandemics which changed the world’. Written by TV news journalist Hwee Goh and illustrated by historian and artist David Liew, this book answers questions children may pose, such as, ‘What are super spreaders? How do pandemics start?’ It was fascinating for me, coming from an adult’s perspective, I felt I have reached saturation point on reading about pandemics, and would not choose to read about them in my reading for pleasure time. However, when I asked each class whether they would like to read this book the answer was a resounding, yes! Children are still absolutely fascinated by the topic and have so many questions. It was a timely reminder for me to consider book choice from a child’s perspective.
On a lighter note, The Boy Who Grew Dragons, by Andy Shepherd is a perfect book for a child starting chapter book reading. This book sounds like lots of fun with lots of humour which will appeal to so many students. When I read the blurb to the Year 3 and Year 4 classes they were very enthusiastic about the storyline - a boy grows dragons from a dragon-fruit tree.
Wishtree is another title which caught my attention, because of the author. Katherine Appleton’s previous book, ‘The One and Only Ivan,’ is extremely popular in the library. Due to the vocabulary and length of Appleton’s previous titles, I suspect this may be a book which would be best enjoyed being read to a child, which makes it a great family time text.
In the older readers’ age range, there are too many great books for me to choose from. Each Year 5 and Year 6 class I visited were captured by different titles. Lizard’s Tale by Weng Wai Chan caught the attention of many. ‘A heart-racing middle-grade adventure mystery set on the streets of Singapore against the backdrop of World War II, exploring issues of belonging, race and diversity.’ The main character, Lizard, steals a box from Raffles Hotel and gets caught up in an espionage story. So many students loved hearing familiar locations, such as Chinatown and Raffles Hotel when I read the blurb.
Personally, I can't wait to read, ‘When Stars are Scattered’, by Omar Mohamed and Victoria Jamieson, which is a true story based in a Kenyan Refugee camp. From reading the blurb, it made me think of ‘Boy Overboard’ by Morris Gleitzman, another of my favourites for teaching children about global issues. I am intrigued by the story having an uplifting theme and look forward to reading it.
I really enjoyed the Early Years book choices last year, I know I appreciate getting away from reading Julia Donaldson with my 3 year old! I love ‘Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles’, by Steve Antony, as a means to teach tolerance and understanding to even the youngest of students.
Bat vs Poss by Alexa Moses, also strikes me as a great read, dealing with sharing and kindness through storytelling.
And if you are still looking for more recommendations, please browse through the previous years’ winners. The winners have all been voted for by students; there is no better recommendation than those given by students themselves!
Ms Doyle - Librarian