Top Texts for April 2021

Rumena Aktar chooses some humorous read alouds for April

Llama Out Loud

by Annabelle Sami

Yasmin is a selective mute. She is overshadowed by her larger than life, extended family. Even on her birthday, she is not the centre of attention.

When she is bought a toy llama, that turns out to be alive (only when she is alone) and tries to solve all her problems, chaos ensues. Levi, the llama tries his best to solve her problems in a fairy godmother type way, but fails hopelessly.

This own voices story will have you and your class laughing their heads off. There are lots of cringe worthy moments with Yasmin, who eventually finds her voice and friendship along the way. Levi is one of the most annoying but lovable characters ever and will definitely become a favourite with your class. A great read aloud for years 3-5.

Lori and Max

by Catherine O’Flynn

Super organised Lori, lives with her quirky nan and dreams of being a detective. But she never has any real life mysteries to solve. When troubled new girl Max starts school, Lori takes it upon herself to befriend her new class mate and a lovely friendship begins to form between the odd pair. But a charity fund goes missing and Max is blamed. Then, just like that, Lori finds herself trying to solve not one, but two mysteries – missing charity money and a kidnapping.

This is such a fun book. Lori’s observations are hilarious and children will love trying to piece together the mystery. What I liked most about it, was that it felt so real. The author very skilfully touches on issues of grief, abuse, depression and weaves a lovely story of friendship throughout. The second book is just as good.

Effie the Rebel

by Laura Wood

Vote for Effie (the first book in this series) was a firm favourite with every child that I know, who read it. The story is told almost like a teen movie, which is why it is so appealing. Effie the Rebel, like the first book, focuses on democracy and fighting for what you believe in. This time, Effie goes on a crusade to make her school more environmentally friendly and is determined to succeed, but will she stoop to the low levels that her nemesis, acting school president, Matt Spader goes?

This book is full of great characters, Greek culture and is an empowering story that will make you determined to make a difference, whatever you believe in. With short chapters, links to popular movies, lots of memorable scenes and extracts from the school newspaper, this is an ideal book to engage readers. A perfect read aloud, for years 5-8.

Rumena Aktar

About this month's reviewer

Rumena Aktar is a primary school librarian, based in Birmingham. She also writes book reviews for Just Imagine and is a host on the book club show on Teacher Hug Radio. She is passionate about getting the right books into the hands of readers and believes strongly in diversifying texts in schools to make them more inclusive and relevant to today’s readers.