As a famous West Midland singer once said, "So here it is Merry Christmas, Everybody's reading books...!" Or something like that.
Welcome to the Festive Eagle Primary Reading Newsletter - December 2020, the final one of this year.
This is the 27th edition, which means I have recommended around 80-85 books and 27 authors so far and I am already planning a DNS’s thinking about the next few months, so I hope these continue to be of interest to you all.
This month, I am sharing a selection of books that are best shared over the Christmas period, a range of happy, curious and 'alternative' tales for this time of year.
What are your favourite festive tales?
Do you have any Christmas story telling traditions in your home?
I'd love to hear about them.
Whether you share the books with your children or if you encourage them to read them for themselves, it doesn't matter. I would simply like to see children get the opportunity to develop the breadth and depth of books that they see are available to them.
EYFS/KS1 Book of the Month
From Alex T. Smith, bestselling author of the Claude series, comes How Winston Delivered Christmas – the irresistible story of the brave little mouse who sets out on an adventure on Christmas Eve. Featuring beautiful colour artwork from the author and Christmassy activities to make-and-do throughout, this gorgeous book is sure to become a festive family tradition that will be enjoyed year after year.
Winston the mouse is on a Very Important Mission. On Christmas Eve, he finds a letter that has gotten lost on its way to Father Christmas – so, with no time to lose, he sets out to deliver it himself in time for Christmas Day! He has a lot of Very Exciting Adventures on his Very Important Mission and makes some wonderful friends along the way.
Each chapter includes it's very own festive activity for all the family to enjoy together – including writing a letter to Father Christmas, making mince pies, designing your very own Christmas cards, making presents, creating decorations, and so much more!
This beautiful hardback features a festively foiled jacket, a ribbon marker and head and tail bands, making it the perfect Christmas gift.
MR WATSON SAYS: What an absolute delight! Follow Winston on his mission, with a gorgeous short story to share every night up to Christmas Eve! This one will become a Christmas Family Tradition! Lots to do and share, that is guaranteed to raise a smile!
LKS2 Book of the Month
It's Christmas Eve and Theo - left at home with a babysitter - sees an odd-looking star out of his window and decides to make a wish. He wishes that he had some friends to keep him company. Moments later the Christmas decorations begin to disentangle themselves from the tree behind him, ready to wreak a little havoc .
Written with generous helpings of warmth and humour, this is a timeless Christmas story about treasuring the people and values that really matter at this time of year. With breathtaking illustrations by Emily Sutton capturing the magic of the season in stunning detail, this modern classic from master storyteller and bestselling children's author Katherine Rundell makes the perfect Christmas gift.
NOMINATED FOR THE CILIP GREENAWAY MEDAL 2019
NOMINATED FOR THE CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL 2019
)MR WATSON SAYS: This story weaves together threads of lots of well known Christmas stories, that come together as something new. A delicate story, which celebrates to true meaning of Christmas. Family, Sharing and Being with those we love and care for.
UKS2 Book of the Month
It's a dark and lonely Christmas Eve in the dining room of ancient Soul's College. The kitchen boy, 11-year-old Lewis, has helped prepare a highly unusual meal, made with unrecognisable ingredients, cooked by a mysterious chef. And then the guests arrive ... and carnage ensues. They are ex-students of Soul's College, and they are all completely demented. They demand bottle after bottle of wine, flinging their cutlery and howling like banshees until ... silence. The Dean of Soul's College has arrived, and the evening's ceremonies must begin.
For this is the annual meeting of a secret club for those who despise children, warmth, happiness, and above all Christmas. Each member must try to outdo the others by telling the most terrible, disgusting story they know.
A spooky, shocking, bloodthirsty alternative to festive cheer that will appeal to, fascinate and delight young readers.
MR WATSON SAYS: To be honest, I am loving this twisted Christmas tale - so creepy and yet it is so much fun! I would have loved to read the whole thing in one sitting, but sadly time hasn't allowed me to. Deliciously wicked!
Author of the Month
Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy lives in Manchester, where she is Professor and Creative Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.
She has written for both children and adults, and her poetry has received many awards, including the Signal Prize for Children's Verse, the Whitbread and Forward Prizes, and the Lannan and E. M. Forster Prize in America.
In 2005, she won the T. S. Eliot Prize for Rapture.
In 2009, she was appointed Poet Laureate.
MR WATSON SAYS: Carol Ann has a huge and ranging variety of stories and poetry. However, she has an impressive selection of Christmas stories that appeal to a range of readers, young and older. She has linked in lots of historical events to many of them which give an extra dimension to the stories..
As ever, this Newsletter shouldn't be just about my choices.
I would love to hear recommendations from you too.
If you have read and enjoyed a book and think that someone else might enjoy it too, then share the name of the book and author with me, along with a brief summary of the plot and why you think someone else would enjoy the book.
Share the love of books.
You can E-mail your ideas, recommendations and reviews to: firstname.lastname@example.org
How can you help your children with reading?
Created with images by freestocks.org - "untitled image". Carol Ann Duffy https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-45837842 Book synopsis and author biography from Amazon.co.uk. Other sources cited.