Top Texts for September 2023

Tash Hyde has chosen a wonderful mix of texts for KS1, KS2 and KS3

The Girl Who Planted Trees

by Caryl Hart and Illustrated by Anastasia Suvorova

A beautiful tale of a little girl’s dream and how one person can inspire others to make a difference. This picture book tells the story of a young girl who wants to make the mountain green again after seeing pictures with her grandfather. She strives to grow her trees but storms wash them away and the blazing sun scorches the shoots. But she remains determined and never gives up. With the help of the village her dream becomes a reality and the mountain forest flourishes as she grows into old age. An empowering read!

The illustrations capture the atmosphere and environment perfectly with the changes from pinks to lush greens at the end.

How Does Chocolate Taste on Everest?

by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe and illustrated by Aaron Cushley

A non-fiction book with a twist! The sub-title – Explore Earth’s most extreme places through sight, sounds, smell, touch and taste – says it all! Readers are invited to imagine sensory experiences as they embark on a fascinating journey around the world.

The five senses are experienced in each of the book’s 12 extreme locations on Earth: the hottest, the darkest, the deepest, the coldest, the stinkiest and more. From the extreme heat of Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression to the frozen wilderness of Antarctica, this round-the-world adventure is packed with interest and humour, with plenty of additional information to dip into on each page.

And there’s extra entertainment in spotting Herbert the Tarantula who is hiding in each location. And as for finding out how chocolate tastes on Mount Everest, well… the answer may surprise you!

You Think You Know Me

by Ayaan Mohamud

For fans of The Hate U Give, this is a powerful debut YA novel which confronts the issues of discrimination and Islamophobia within a school setting.

Hanan is a model student quietly working hard in her traditional British grammar school. She is resigned to absorbing the taunts and comments that have followed her since arriving from Somalia six years earlier. When someone she knows is murdered close to the school Hanan begins to experience more overt racial prejudice. At the same time, she notices how secretive her twin brother has become. Ultimately, Hanan has to make her voice heard to challenge prejudice and resolve issues of family and friendship. Written in the first person, this is an emotionally-charged book that can, at times, be uncomfortable reading. It is necessary reading however, particularly with the inclusion of the backstory of the war in Somalia. The glossary of Somali words at the end is an added bonus.

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About this month's reviewer

I am new to Read for Good, having started as Schools’ Project Officer in October 2022. I work as part of the Readathon team but I have also taken on the challenge of revamping our Book Recommendations page of the website! My background is as a children’s & outreach librarian, I worked as a Sure Start Librarian for Derbyshire County Council for 13 years before making the move to Gloucestershire and Read for Good.