Must-have books for Year 6

October 9th, 2018

Year 6


Polar bear explorer’s club By Alex Bell

General information – An orphan has a magical adventure when she joins a group of explorers who are embarking on an expedition to explore a frozen wilderness.

It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk – but Stella really, really didn’t want that to happen, just the same.

Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy ice lands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages.

When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?

– Rich, imaginative & well written fantasy with an engaging cast of characters. A few more of the excellent illus would have been welcome but overall a strong adventure story for top JF.


The humanual By Ben Elcomb, Chris van Tulleken & Xand van Tulleken

General information – TV doctors, Chris and Xand take a tour of the human body and how it works.

Take a tour of one of the most complex, diverse and downright unusual places on the entire planet – the human body!

Find out all about what makes YOU tick, from the wonders of the human brain to the tingling in your ticklish toes.

From crazy bodily functions to bizarre real-life medical cases, this is the ultimate guide to getting to know yourself, inside and out!

NOTE : Contains photos of maggots, leeches, and infected eyes & toenails. Also contains a number of puzzle pages which readers may be tempted to fill in.

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Fantastic array of human body facts, home experiments, gross photos and corny jokes. Excellent leisure read and has plenty of info for projects too.



The wild folk By Sylvia V Linsteadt

General information – Two children embark on an adventure to save the mystical Wild Folk that reside in the land of Farallone.

In the land of Farallone, City boy Tin and Country girl Comfrey are guided on a quest by two young hares.

Their task is to save the mystical Wild Folk from destruction. But the Wild Folk don’t trust humans, and the children face impossible challenges and meet extraordinary creatures as they battle to save the land they love.

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Well written but very readable fantasy quest adventure, rich in folklore & with convincing world building & characters. Enchanting stuff to stretch top juniors & set for more.



Cogheart By Peter Bunzl

General information – A 13-year-old girl enters the dangerous underworld of Victorian London when her father goes missing

When 13-year-old Lily’s inventor father vanishes after a Zeppelin crash, Lily’s determined to hunt down the truth behind his disappearance, helped by Robert, the local clockmaker’s son, and her wily mechanical fox Malkin.

But shadowy figures are closing in and treachery lurks among the smoky spires of London – along with a life-changing secret.

First title in a new series

NOTE : Contains a couple of incidences where the main character is knocked out with drugs, and the death of a baddie but these are not graphically described or dwelt on.

NOTE : Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Shortlist 2017

NOTE: Branford Boase Shortlist 2017

Review – Classic plucky orphan steampunk adventure with dastardly baddies and unlikely wills, old fashioned in the best possible way! Well worth buying.



Who let the Gods out? By Maz Evans

General information – Elliot teams up with Olympian gods when he and the zodiac Virgo accidentally released the sleep daemon from his prison.

Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever.
The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission.

But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help.

After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too?

First title in a new series

NOTE: Branford Boase Longlist 2018

Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Shortlist 2018

Review – Appealing mix of adventure and humour which engages from the start. The zany characterisation of the gods is masterful (especially Hermes – BOSH!). Promising start to a new series



Cloud busting By Malorie Blackman

General information – Although Sam bullys Davey in front of his friends, when he gets to know him, he realizes he likes him, but won’t let his friends know, until a joke endangers Davey’s life.

He’s gone.
And it’s his fault –
The fault of the class idiot
The class bully

Davey is a new boy and Sam can’t stand him. He thinks Davey is a first-class, grade A, top-of-the-dung-heap moron. But when the two are thrown together, Sam discovers that Davey’s eccentric way of looking at the world makes life a lot more exciting…

Until something terrible happens…

A beautiful, funny and sad story, told completely in verse.

Book banded for guided reading by the Institute of Education – verse novel / profound themes for discussion

NOTE: Davey is allergic to nuts and when Sam’s friend, Alex makes Davey unknowingly eat a peanut, he suffers a severe allergic reaction and the teacher has to inject him with adrenaline.

Review – Sensitive and imaginative, a nicely told relationship of bully and victim



Wonder By R J Palacio

General information – A 10-year-old boy born with a facial abnormality attempts mainstream school for the first time

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, this shy, bright ten-year-old Auggie Pullman has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school.

But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

NOTE : Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2013 ; Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2013

Review – Ending feels a little contrived but this is still a wonderfully heartwarming read that will make you laugh and cry in equal amounts.



My brother is a superhero By David Solomons

General information – An 11-year-old boy helps his 13-year-old super-powered brother stop an obsessed business man as well as an asteroid from destroying Earth

Luke is a comic-mad eleven-year old who shares a treehouse with his geeky older brother, Zack. Luke’s only mistake is to go for a wee right at the wrong time. While he’s gone, an alien gives his undeserving, never-read-a-comic-in-his-life brother superpowers and then tells him to save the universe.

Luke is massively annoyed about this, but when Zack is kidnapped by his arch-nemesis, Luke and his friends have only five days to find him and save the world…

NOTE : Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Winner 2016 – Younger Fiction

NOTE : Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2016

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Original concept in the adventure genre. Accessible writing, characters & culture references. Consistent humour throughout. Perfect top JF choice. A must-read.



The trials of Morrigan Crow By Jessica Townsend

General information – A girl born under an unlucky sign and destined to die on her 11th birthday is given a chance to join a secret magical society which would save her from her fate.

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks – and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears.

Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor. It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organisation: the Wundrous Society.

In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have.

To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city and confront her deadly fate once and for all.

First title in a new series

NOTE : Morrigan is considered to be cursed, and is due to die during a certain celestial event. She is narrowly saved, but the description of her impending death and the danger she is saved from may be disturbing to some readers.

NOTE: Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Winner 2018

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Captivating from the first chapter, with a well structured mystery and excellent world building. A satisfying read that still leaves enough open for the next in the series. Fantastic!



Time travelling with a hamster By Ross Welford

General information – A twelve-year-old boy discovers his dead dad’s time machine and goes back in time to try to prevent the accident that killed him

I suppose if you’d asked me before, I’d have said a time machine might look something like a submarine? Or perhaps a space rocket. Instead, I’m looking at a laptop and a tin tub from a garden centre. This is my dad’s time machine. And it’s about to change the world. Well, mine, at any rate.

Al Chaudhury has a chance to save his dad’s life-but to do it he must travel to 1984…

NOTE : Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2016

NOTE: Costa Children’s Book Award 2016 Shortlist

NOTE: Blue Peter Book Awards Shortlist 2017 – Best Story

NOTE: Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Shortlist 2017

NOTE: Carnegie Medal Longlist 2017

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Both poignant and amusing at the same time, tackling many themes without getting too bogged down. Style maybe not as gripping as it could be but still well worth having.



Just call me Spaghetti-Hoop boy By Lara Williamson

General information – An 11-year-old adopted boy decides to search for his birth mother.

My name is Adam Butters. I live on planet Earth, I like eating spaghetti hoops and I’ve decided I’m going to be a SUPERHERO.

Everyone loves superheroes, they solve problems and make people happy, and that’s good because my mum needs cheering up. Also, I’ve found out that before I was adopted my real mum called me ACE. So now I’ve just got to prove to the world that’s what I am. One mission at a time.

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Our eLoveable characters, a laugh-out-loud slice of family life and a wonderful, hopeful, uplifting ending – this is brilliant stuff. Buy loads!


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