Emily Weston’s June Reading Round-Up

And just like that, we are halfway through the year! June has brought with it (some!) sun, busy weeks at school and some amazing books! Here, I’ve rounded up the best 5 new releases of the last month for you to choose from, as well as a sneaky preview of one that is coming soon…

1. Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun –  Tola Okogwu

Perfect for: Year 4+

Onyeka has a lot of hair; hair that has made her self-conscious her whole life. When an incident with her friend results in Onyeka’s hair saving their life, her life changes forever: she has discovered that she can control her hair with her mind! Because of this, her mother whisks her away to Nigeria where the Academy of the Sun accepts children with superpowers. Soon, the academy is put to the test when a battle between truth and lies may tear them apart.

An exciting read that will build pride and possibility in the children who read it. 

2. My Friend the Octopus – Lindsay Galvin

Perfect for: Year 5+

Vinnie loves working at the milliners with her mother designing new hats for the fashionable ladies of London. But when her mother has a mysterious trip to Paris, Vinnie is taken to Brighton where she will be staying with her aunt. During her visit, Vinnie befriends the giant octopus next door who she begins to produce drawings of; they are developing a bond. Underneath blossoming friendships and seaside frolics, though, is a dark mystery that Vinnie and her friends need to uncover to save lives. 

Not only does this feature action and adventure, but is underpinned by an emotional story of family and friendship. 

3. Zo and the Forest of Secrets – Alake Pilgrim

Perfect for: Year 5+

When Zo decides to run away from home, she isn’t scared; after all, she knows the island like the back of her hand. But, as she journeys through the once-familiar forest, terrifying creatures and warped visions begin to emerge. With a beast on her heels and a lost boy was thrown into her path, could a mysterious abandoned facility hold answers? There are secrets in the forest Zo never expected to uncover, let alone have to unravel to save herself from being lost forever.

A story of adventure and discovery which will have you gripped from the first page to the last! 

4. Big Hedgehog and Little Hedgehog Take an Evening Stroll – Britta Teckentrup

Perfect for: EYFS+

The little hedgehog and big hedgehog are walking home together but it’s taking them a while! Little Hedgehog wants to stop and take in the wonder of everything around him – when Big Hedgehog asks what they’re waiting for, Little Hedgehog describes lush landscapes which are illustrated beautifully for the reader.

A reminder to slow down and take in nature and the world around us. 

5. Ghosts – Raina Telgemeier

Perfect for: Year 6+

Catrina has to move across the country with her family as her little sister is sick. Maya has cystic fibrosis, so will benefit from the cool, salty air of the Northern Californian town they have moved to. When she begins to learn more about the town she lives in, she finds out there are rumoured to be ghosts living amongst the living. Although Maya is keen to meet one, Cat isn’t interested in seeing one, let alone meeting them! However, can she put her fears aside to make her sister happy? 

A graphic novel that explores friendship and family, life and death. 

6. Can You Feel the Noise – Stewart Foster 

Perfect for: Year 5+

Life is going well for Sophie. She’s getting by at school, has some pretty awesome friends, and their band have made it through to the semifinals of the Battle of the Bands competition.

But when Sophie wakes up completely deaf one morning, the life she once knew seems like a distant memory. With lessons replaced by endless hospital appointments, and conversations now an exercise in lip-reading, Sophie grows quieter and quieter. Until she discovers the vibrations of sound through an old set of drums and wonders whether life on stage is actually still within reach.