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This week, the Junior Librarians, Zoe (Hawk class) and Alex (Owl class), are sharing with us one of their favourite reads. Interestingly, they have both selected books from the Year 2 Reading Road Map collection.

The Year 2 Adventure Reading Road Map programme is a reading for pleasure initiative, aimed at broadening children’s horizons. All the titles on each map (apart from the Classics genre) have been published in the last twelve months and no author has more than one title on the map. We believe that the best way to increase literacy levels is through reading for pleasure and having a strong reading culture across the school. Research by the Open University found that the children in schools who participate in the Road Maps read a wider range of books and discuss reading with their peers more than they would before.

This reading for pleasure initiative has been endorsed by the Open University, whose research has shown the important role reading for pleasure plays in a child’s development. In England, reading for pleasure in schools is receiving increasing attention in both policy and practice.  Teachers are required by the National Curriculum (DfE, 2014) to ensure children read for pleasure, but one cannot oblige children to develop a love of reading, they need to be enticed, tempted, and engaged, and build a legacy of satisfactions that will sustain them. In the current culture of testing and high accountability it is not easy to balance reading instruction and reading for pleasure. However, there is international research evidence that indicates that the will to read influences the skill and vice versa (e.g., OECD, 2002; Schugar and Dreher, 2017). Furthermore, young people who make the time to read in childhood accrue significant benefits, socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Reading for pleasure is associated with a wider general knowledge, richer vocabulary and narrative writing, enhanced empathy and imagination as well as raised attainment in both literacy and numeracy in adolescence (e.g., Sullivan and Brown, 2015; McGrane et al., 2017; Senechal et al., 2018).

Alex recommends one of his favourite fiction books, The Goat and the Stoat and the Boat written by Em Lynas and illustrated by Matt Hunt.

Alex explains his choice: “This is a really funny story which I think all Grimsdell children will enjoy!”

Alex’s Reading Road Map book, The Goat and the Stoat, was on the final list of the Sunday Times Best Children’s books of the Summer in 2023.

“With the rhythm of This Is the House That Jack Built and the humour of Oi Frog! , this drama of a few rhyming words involves a contest, a crisis and a reconciliation. Rollicking to read aloud, with bright, involving, comic pictures, it should float anybody’s boat.”Nicolette Jones and Lucy Bannerman, The Times

This brilliantly fun picture book is a rowdy adventure involving a stoat, a boat, and a goat in a fancy yellow coat. Stoat is floating in his favourite boat until he is disturbed by a goat who rather fancies a float in the boat! But Stoat is not at all happy – this is Stoat’s boat and it’s certainly no place for a goat! A chaotic and wibbly wobbly battle begins as Goat tries everything possible to climb aboard Stoat’s boat. Can Goat and Stoat stay afloat? More importantly, can Goat and Stoat find room for them both?

With its clever rhyme scheme and tongue-twister text, adults will have lots of fun reading this book aloud and children will love the silly humour and delight in seeing the animal antics unfold. The vibrant neon and expressive illustrations are attention grabbing and it’s hard not to root for Goat until the very end!


Secondly, Zoe recommends Nala’s World written by Dean Nicholson and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon. Frann Preston-Gannon led our Book Week literacy workshops last year, with great success.

Zoe tells us: “This is my favourite Reading Road Map story. It is actually a true story. My mummy read it to me and my brother and we LOVED it!”

Mrs Harvey also finds this book very inspiring. This is a heartwarming picture book based on the incredible true story of social media sensation and round-the-world-cyclist Dean Nicholson and his trusty cat companion, Nala. When Dean Nicholson found an abandoned kitten by the side of the road one day, he hadn’t bargained on the lessons he’d learn from his unlikely companion, Nala. Both curious, independent, resilient and adventurous, they were a perfect match – and so together, they set off to travel around the world.

This inspirational true story, with an underlying message about loving and caring for animals, will show young readers everywhere that you can find friendship in the most unlikely places. With gorgeous illustrations from winner of the Waterstones Gift of the Year, Frann Preston-Gannon, and also featuring photos of Dean and Nala’s real-world adventures.

Dean and Nala’s story has become a social media and publishing phenomenon. Dean’s book for adults, Nala’s World, spent two weeks on the Sunday Times‘ bestseller list and has been translated into twenty-five languages.

Happy Reading!

Mrs Harvey