game free zone!

First day of the school holidays, if its a bit damp and murky where you are, perhaps its a great day to be curled up with a book.  Personally, I think any day is a great day to be curled up with a book!

Choosing your next book is such a fab experience – that’s the thinking behind the Big Little Sister reading challenge for kids.  The idea is to encourage children and those caring for them to do more than just read but to talk and think books too!

You can find details on the reading challenge here

If you think its open to interpretation or a bit vague – you’re right and deliberately so.  This gives kids the chance to choose books that appeal and more hopefully inspire.

The list has been written to appeal to all age ranges (including those big kids – adults!) – even the littlest ones can help choose their library books to meet the challenge.

Here are some suggestions for children in the KS2 age range (7-10 yo).  I will try to update this with suggestions and I might even try to do an 11+ list or a younger readers list if there’s any interest for it.

But the joy of the challenge is for children to find the books themselves, and to interpret the categories as they like.  I may interpret them wrongly afterall!  So, if you get stuck have a look below.

 1.  A book with a profession in the title

The most obvious one here is David Walliam’s Demon Dentist.  This category is made a lot easier if you’re a royalist or simply think being a Princess, King or Queen is a profession – if you do then you won’t need much help!

My favourite here would be the Magician’s Nephew and anything Witch related (eg Jill Murphy).  Something left field would be Cow Girl by G R Gemin.  Other professions in the titles are:

Dr Dolittle
The Witches (Dahl)
The Mum Minder (Jacqueline Wilson)
Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter (Astrid Lindgren)
The Pet Sitter (Julie Sykes)

2. Someone’s story

Reluctant readers will love this one – after all there will be endless David Beckham and One Direction books!   This is about finding one individual’s story.  Is it a person or an animal?  You decide.

Perhaps a bit of Beatrix Potter and Jemima or Jeremy Fisher or what about Pippi Longstocking?

I recently read Pinocchio, I didn’t enjoy it but it’s definitely a classic and of course the original story is a world away from Walt’s version!  Talking of Disney, there’s a whole range of books that inspired the movies – anyone who saw Paddington might love the book.  There’s also a few books about a boy called Harry that were made into films.  Some others:

The Story of Tracy Beaker Jacqueline Wilson
Audrey of the Outback Christine Harris
Danny the Champion of the World Roald Dahl
Black Beauty
Charlotte’s Web

3. A book that’s won a prize

You could go for an American classic like The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Caldecott Medal winner).  My absolute favourite is Rooftoppers Katherine Rundell (Carnegie Medal & Guardian Children’s).  A winner this year is Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens (Waterstones) is another modern favourite.

The thing here is to research some of the prizes given to children’s authors.  And don’t restrict yourself to just your own country!

4. A book title that is size related

Ooh! this one is a just fab!  American classics Laura Ingalls Wilder or Louise May Alcott are good starters both for “little”.   Surely Roald Dahl’s BFG counts?  Well, if not James and the Giant Peach does!  Some other suggestions:

The Little Prince  Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea
101 Dalmations

 5.  A book that’s out of this World

Well, what does this mean – let the imagination run riot!  Books in this category is one of the main reasons that adults still read kid’s books so choose one for yourself!

My little one suggests Rooftoppers. But you might also like to go for Narnia, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson (Rick Riordan) or even Lewis Carroll’s Alice?  And if you like Sci-Fi I loved a Winkle in Time as a child.

There’s also some amazing Greek and Roman myth books out there.  Or what about the solar system?

7.  A book that solves a mystery

This is another vague category, ready for you interpretation.  I’m thinking mystery books – what about you?  Nancy Drew, Enid Blyton, Sherlock Holmes there’s so many to choose from.  Some less well known ones:

Ottoline and the Yellow Cat Chris Riddell
Violet and the Pearl of the Orient Harriet Whitehorn
Or what about a history book?  A chance to learn more about the Pyramids?  Or the mystery of the sea?

8. A book with a natural phenomenon in the title

For me I’d like to books with an amazing natural occurrence in them like Storm Boy (Colin Thiele).  But the natural phenomenon might be more of an everyday thing like Watership Down, The Wind in the Willows or Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Or an obvious natural occurrence like Treasure Island, The Jungle Book or Around the World in Eighty Days.

Michael Morpurgo is worth tracking down for this one – Listen to the Moon is a great story.

Remember its the title that has nature in it!

9. A factual book

So many to choose from but I love the horrible histories – the Vile Victorians are a fave!

10.  A book that delights one of your senses

This one should delight most children, it doesn’t have to be about the story.  Don’t forget choosing a book is about covers, titles, stories or illustrations.

My first choice here would be a Lemony Snicket book – I love the way the author’s name sounds and feels on my tongue, and of course it sounds funny and lemons taste and smell horrid!  Are there any other authors with great names?  Dr Seuss anyone?

You might be thinking titles with colours or music or clothes.  What about chocolate? Can you really go past Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

What about a cover you just love?


Well, that’s just for starters…..

I will update based on suggestions from others and ideas I come across.

2 thoughts on “game free zone!

  1. I love this idea. I would have been all over this as a kid. In fact, this would be a fabulous challenge for an adult book club as well. In fact, gonna tweet that! 🙂

    • Kate that is so so kind of you – thank you very much!
      Have to say that my little person has only made it half way through the list – she’s now gone on a Wimpy Kid book fest.
      Thanks again – I’m looking forward to book 4!

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