The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
This is a beautifully written book about a girl, a witch, a swamp monster, a madwoman, a young man and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. It deservedly won the Newbery Medal last year. A must read for any lovers of fantasy.
Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari
Mira Levinson is 12 and of part-English, part-Indian heritage. Her grandmother, Josie, is dying of cancer and Mira has to work out how to deal with the imminent loss of a very special person in her life. At the same time she is dealing with bullying, friendship and first love.
This is a very powerful book that would be suitable for mature Year 6 and up.
Beetle Boy by M G Leonard
I loved this book about a boy, Darkus, whose dad has disappeared, bugs who can communicate with humans, an evil woman (who reminds me of Cruella De Vil, but with bugs), and bad men who want to turn Darkus into a pie. There's lots of action, combined with facts about beetles. It turns out that's a great combination!
The Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen
Ade lives with his mother in a tower block. His mother has become mentally unwell after an attack and Ade is having to shoulder more responsibilities to look after them both. As if that isn't enough, strange plants appear, buildings start to fall down, and the world he lives in begins to change, while his mother sleeps on...
This is a fabulous, unusual, survival story, with well-rounded characters and some moments so tense I had to skip ahead a bit to make sure everything would be okay!
The Pest in the Nest (Rabbit & Bear #2) by Julian Gough, Jim Field (illustrator)
A bird arrives, makes a racket and really upsets Rabbit. I love the developing friendship between Rabbit and Bear, and the patience Bear shows as he helps Rabbit, whose "brain is getting into a fight with the world". One of our Year 2 teachers read this to her class, I thought they might be a little young, but they LOVED it!
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
This book is funny and filled with action. It has references to Marvel characters, squirrels with cool names, and an evil villain - a very enjoyable read! (It was also nice to read a book with a great deaf character in it).
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Roz is a robot who is shipwrecked and ends up on a remote island. She has to adapt to the different conditions there, and deal with the local animal population, who think she is a monster. Her adoption of an orphaned goose egg is a catalyst that leads to her and the other animals learning from one another.
A beautiful survival tale that celebrates nature, kindness and friendship.
The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell
I'd highly recommend listening to the audiobook of this story, especially if you like the lovely Scottish accent of David Tennant. He does great voices for the characters, and we loved the way he says 'spoon'! The story itself is humorous, well-paced and full of interesting characters.
Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton, Don Tate, illustrator
An interesting non-fiction picture book about Lonnie Johnson, his life and his inventions, including his most famous invention - the Super Soaker.
Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka
I am not a huge poetry fan, in fact, this is the fourth year I've blogged about my 5 star reads and this is the first book of poetry I've ever included. This is a very clever collection of shape poems, you really have to see it to understand how brilliant it is. The poems and the shapes fit perfectly together, making a book ideal to share with people who claim they are "not a huge poetry fan"!