Top Texts for November

This month’s top texts have been chosen by Simon Smith, a primary head-teacher in the wonderfully bookish Whitby.

The Gritterman

‘Sometimes it feels like I might be the only person awake in the whole country. People might find that a lonely thought. Not me…’ A beautiful melancholic delight. A first person stream of consciousness narrative about a man who lives for his job and has it all stripped away from him, wonderfully illustrated. Sad but in the most glorious way. It pings away at the heartstrings.

Curse of the WereWolf Boy

Priestley is in my opinion one of the best writers of children’s literature out there at the moment. He is the master of the creepy and the gothic. In this for slightly younger (Year4) readers he hits a perfect balance between creepy and slapstick. The book is laugh out loud funny but with an edge of darkness and anarchism that all the best children’s books seem to possess.


A challenging graphic novel recounting one boy’s epic journey. This is a powerfully told, HUMAN story, that had me shedding more than a few tears. The story focuses on the all-important truth, that the people making these voyages are all human, that no-one is illegal. The book is beautifully realised and punchily told. A great book.


About this month's reviewer

Simon Smith is currently a primary head-teacher in the wonderfully bookish Whitby. He has over 24 years teaching experience in the primary sector working predominantly in challenging schools in the North-East of England. He is equally a book obsessive and a firm believer in the power of reading to transform lives. He blogs here