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National Storytelling Week Reads

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Happy National Storytelling Week! We’re bringing you our top recommended reads to celebrate a week of sharing stories and reading for pleasure. We challenge you to get through reading as many of these as you can within a week – but of course, here at World Book Day, we want every week to be a storytelling week. Be sure to also check out our reading recommendation lists, where we have book lists for all readers of all ages with all types of interests. For younger readers, discover our Share a Story Corner video books and more content on our Youtube channel to keep reading fun and interactive. 

For early and beginning readers

How Do You Make a Rainbow written by Caroline Crowe, illustrated by Cally Johnson-Isaacs, published by Macmillan

Stuck inside on a cloudy day, a little girl asks her grandad to help her paint a rainbow on the sky. But as Grandad tells her, rainbows aren’t painted on the sky, they grow out of kindness, hope, and helping other people.

How Do You Make a Rainbow? is a reassuring, heart-warming story of colours, kindness, community and nature, that shows that brighter times are always around the corner.

One Little Bird, written by Sheryl Webster and illustrated by Helen Shoesmith, published by Oxford University Press

When someone cuts down Rosa’s tree to make space for crops, the little bird makes herself a new nest at the top of his house and refuses to budge. News of her protest sweeps through the animal kingdom and inspires other animals to start moving into people’s homes too. This tale is a well-pitched fun introduction to the power of group activism and wildlife conservation.

The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Book by Lucy Rowland, illustrated by Ben Mantle, published by Oxford University Press

A wonderfully witty take on a much-loved fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Book celebrates the magic of reading and storytelling, and being kind to others.

When Ben’s mum gets distracted halfway through his bedtime story, he decides to finish the tale himself. There’s only one problem – he can’t quite read yet. To Ben’s surprise, the three little pigs come knocking on the door, and the big bad wolf isn’t far behind … But this time, will the story have a different ending?

For fluent readers

Willow Wildthing and the Shooting Star, written by Gill Lewis and illustrated by Rebecca Bagle, published by Oxford University Press

In the Wilderness, there are magical creatures and strange powers at work. In this story the Wild Things—a group of children who have taken on the characteristics of the wild creatures they are named after—find that their camp has been destroyed by a flood. If only it would stop raining, then, perhaps, they could enjoy the meteor shower and the wishes that they make on the shooting stars would come true…

Vega Jane and the Secrets of Sorcery written by David Baldacci, illustrated by Tomislav Tomic, published by Macmillan

Full of monsters, magic, danger and mystery, Vega Jane and the Secrets of Sorcery is the first title in the thrilling fantasy adventure series by bestselling master storyteller David Baldacci. 

Vega Jane is fourteen when she is secretly given a map that reveals a mysterious world and dangerous creatures beyond the walls of Wormwood, a place no one has ever left – or wanted to. Until now. The map makes her question everything she has ever been told about the place she calls home. Her friend Delph and her dog, Harry Two, are the only ones Vega trusts. Trapped by secrets and lies, they want freedom and truth.

Effie the Rebel, written by Laura Wood, published by Scholastic

Dark forces are at work at Highworth Grange school: the student council has been taken over by a tyrannical villain with his own agenda… but Effie Kostas isn’t about to stand idly by and watch the pillars of democracy crumble!

She’s leading the resistance – but politics can be a dirty game and Effie will need to keep her wits about her as she faces down the enemy. With the help of her brilliant band of misfit friends, a bad-tempered parrot, and a former nemesis, can Effie save the school she loves before it’s too late?

For independent readers (NB: these titles may contain mature content).

Forever Ends on Friday by J. A. Reynolds, published by Macmillan

What if you could bring your best friend back to life – but only for a short time?

Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know that he died, and that he’s about to die . . . again. He doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save him. And that the reason they haven’t been friends for two years is because Jamal blames Q for the accident that killed his parents.

But what if Jamal could have a second chance? A new technology allows Q to be reanimated for a few weeks before he dies . . . permanently. And Q’s mom is not about to let anyone ruin this miracle by telling Q about his impending death. So how can Jamal fix everything if he can’t tell Q the truth?

Last One to Die written by Cynthia Murphy, published by Scholastic

Young, brunette women are being attacked in the city of London.

16-year-old, Irish-born Niamh has just arrived for a summer of freedom, and quickly discovers that the girls being attacked look frighteningly similar to her.

But Niamh is determined not to let her fear destroy her Summer. But can her new friends be trusted?

Will she be able to stay ahead of the attacker?

Or will she be next?

Packed with voice-driven whodunit storytelling, and a retro slasher movie feel, this dark, pacy, and irresistibly-creepy debut really has something for everybody.

Liberté by Gita Trelease, published by Macmillan

Camille Durbonne gambled everything she had to keep herself and her sister safe. But as the people of Paris starve and mobs riot, safety may no longer be possible . . .

Not when Camille lives for the rebellion. In the pamphlets she prints, she tells the stories of girls living at society’s margins. But as her writings captivate the public, she begins to suspect a dark magic she can’t control lies at the heart of her success. Then Louis XVI declares magic a crime and all magicians traitors to France. As bonfires incinerate enchanted books and special police prowl the city, the time for magic – and those who work it – is running out.

In this new Paris where allegiances shift and violence erupts, the answers Camille seeks set her on a perilous path, one that may cost her the boy she loves – and even her life. If she can discover who she truly is before vengeful forces unmask her, she may still win this deadly game of revolution.

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World Book Day is a charity funded by publishers and booksellers in the UK and Ireland.