Upper KS2 (9-11 yr olds) 5 Plagues of Reading
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AuthorNotes about the book: content summary and how it fits the plague
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A Christmas CarolCharles DickensThere are so many versions of this story nowadays - the Muppets, several film versions called Scrooge and a one man show played by Simon Callow. It also appears in some form every Christmas. The languge is archaic - Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner - and the sentences long and complex. It would be interesting to parts of the original text and a film version to comapre them and see how it has been adapted.
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The Lost MagicianPiers TordayFour children sent to a house in the country because their hose was hit by a bomb. In the attic they discover another world called The Library. There are many parallels with The LIon, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The speech is of the era - "You are a perfect pip, Evie." plus other vocabulary from the time in the narration.
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The War that Saved my LifeKimberly BradlyThis is the story of a disabled girl who is liberated from her abusive mother when she and her brother are sent from London to the countryside to escape the bombs of World War 2. She discovers she has strenghts she never knew she had and she learns what it means to be part of a family. This story often jumps back in time to reveal more about how the children lived before the war.
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Serafina and the Black CloakRobert BeattyNo one knows Serafina exists because her father has kept her a secret in the Biltmore Estate. This has made Serafina adept at hiding and she knows all the secret nooks and cranies. This comes in handy as she sees things that no one else sees. As children start disappearing, she must emerge from the shadows to solve the mystery and in doing so she discovers things about herself and her family she never knew. This story is full of twists and turns. It deliberately keeps readers offbalance as they struggle to figure out what is happening and why. It is super engaging and is the first in a triligy.
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Escape from Mr. Limoncello's LibraryChris GrabensteinThis book is all about games and reading. A group of children have won the prize of spening the night before its grand opening in the new library. Little did they know that they would be competing for an unknown prize and solving a puzzle.
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The Ugly ducklingHans AndersenThis is a story where we find out how a duckling feels the indifference of a world, and the difficulties it has to face. But finally he discovers the beauty of life
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Comet in MoonminlandTove Jansson
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Tom's Midnight GardenPhillipa PearceAn example of an archaic text from Lemov's 5 plagues of reading. Tom is sent to stay with his Aunt and Uncle when his brother contracts measles. At first thinking his situation dire, Tom is surprised to discover a garden that appears only when the clock strikes thirteen... Venturing into this newfound world, Tom encounters trouble and friendship along the way. But questions abound as Tom starts to question why no one else can see him in the garden. A truly magical and delightfully old-fashioned tale that develops an engaging mystery that keeps you questioning right until the last page.
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SkelligDavid AlmondComplexity of story (plenty of interesting concepts and symbolism) with amazing characterand setting descriptions. It's a challenging book so we have used it as a class reader and then, for the more able readers in Y6. The basic plot: Michael moves into a crumbling, old house with an ancient garage that he cannot resist going into, he encounters a mysterious creature named Skellig. Slowly they come to trust and care for each other and help each other through the most difficult phase of their lives.
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Wonder R J PalacioMultiple narrators tell the story of a child with a facial difference as he starts school for the first time. There is also another bbook that retells parts of the story from the perspective pf 3 other characters
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The Highwayman Alfred NoyesA narrative poem with a repetitive rhythm that makes it so interesting and satisfying to read aloud. Not one for younger children - this poem deals with themes of death, sacrifice and suicide and needs to be handled sensitively. The language is outstanding and can be used to inspire some great creative writing.
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The Nowhere EmporiumRoss MacKenzieComplexity of plot and non-linear time. Daniel stumbles upon the Nowhere Emporium and becomes embroiled in a complex story, with many problems to solve along the way. My Year 5 class loved it
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The Selfish GiantOscar WildeArchaic language. Written in the 1880s, it has many examples of vocabulary to challenge children. However it is a short story rather than a novel, so is manageable, and the story is understandable.
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Clockwork Philip PullmanIt's a while since I read this (teach in Y3 now!) but I remember it being challenging due to the complex plot and the non-chronological timeline. It's a great book though!
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The White Giraffe Lauren St. JohnLinks really well with our topic of Africa. The children can make links well between a range of subjects and found recently the poaching of animals in Africa a good topic to debate about.
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The Secret GardenFrances Hodgson BurnettLovely description, interesting plot and excellent examples of character development. Given the time period of the text, the language can be complex and references activities, objects, people etc. that students may not be as familiar with.
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River BoyTim BowlerAn obvious narrator but the text is somewhat reistant to interpretation by readers at this age. The descriptions are frequently beautiful but the symbolism is complex. Grandpa is dying and wants to complete his last painting so the central character of Jess gets involved, both deliberately and in other mysterious ways.
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Wolf BrotherMichelle PaverAside from being a brilliantly plotted book, there is both a boy and wolf narrator. See if the children can dicern when the switch to wolf's perspective takes over.
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The ArrivalShaun TanA complex picture book that allows for children's interpretations of symbols and imagery to emerge.
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Fly by Night & Twilight RobberyFrances HardingeAlternate world, complex ideas, fabulous characterisation and the quality of the writing is superb. Same can be said for all of Hardinge's books.
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The Earthsea seriesUrsula le GuinDiversity, rich and complex vocabulary. Alternate worlds.
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Anything by Leon GarfieldLeon GarfieldOlder books now - like Dickens for younger readers. Great at evoking historical atmosphere. Dense text. Archaic language.
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HoleLouis SacharSplit narrative, 2 tales interwoven but comuing together at the end.
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Just So StoriesRudyard KiplingArchaic language. Very rich vocabulary, rhyming, repetition, play on words, combined with humor and morals. Each one is relatively short, but it is good to read a few and compare them.
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