Teddy & Harry's artwork.

Be Inspired By Books!

We love books. While we enjoy spending time reading together, we also use beautiful books to inspire learning.

You can use books to inspire painting and artwork, poetry and storytelling, cooking recipes, making and inventing or playing imaginatively.

Here are Jeanie's unsolicited top ten favourite books she uses with her children. The links below click on to Amazon where Hands-On Education are affiliate members; meaning we earn a small commission if you purchase through this link. Jeanie is not paid in any way for suggesting these books. As a family we either own or regularly take out these (and many more) books from our local library. In each year group topic, you will also find additional, topic related books Jeanie recommends.

Enjoy!

Jeanie's Top 10 Book List*
*We receive an Amazon affiliate contribution if purchased from this link. Better pricing and local options may exist.

# Purchase Link Title Comments
1 Recommended Books
    Title: Slow Down
    Author: Rachel Williams
    Illustrator: Freya Hartas
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: Seasons / Plants / Nature Journal
    Subject: English / Science / Art
Summary:

A beautifully illustrated book reminding us of special moments in nature to observe. 'Stories' are factual and simple, looking at a dew drop on a leaf or a snowflake falling from the sky.

We use this to guide our observations in nature and inspire our drawings and artwork.

2 Recommended Books
    Title: An Anthology of Intriguing Animals
    Author: Ben Hoare
    Illustrator: Daniel Long
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: Animals / Habitats
    Subject: English / Science / Art
Summary:

A truly lovely book with wonderful large photographs and illustrations showing each animal in detail. We particularly enjoy the Gila Monster, where you can clearly see their bumpy scales and purple tongue. Pictures are accompanied by factual information about each animal.

We use this to look more closely at animals which you do not always see in other books.

3 Recommended Books
    Title: Journey / Quest / Return
    Author: Aaron Becker
    Illustrator: Freya Hartas
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: Explorers / Castles
    Subject: English / Art / History
Summary:

This trilogy depicting a magical adventure story through colourful and magical illustrations. These wordless picture books tell the story of a little girl who enters a magical world when she draws a door in a wall.

We use these books to encourage verbal storytelling and enjoy the way the narrative changes every time we look at it. We have also used this to create our own wordless picture story.

4 Recommended Books
    Title: King Maximo and the Number Knights
    Author: Howard Schrager
    Illustrator: Malign Lager
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: Castles
    Subject: English / Maths / History / Art
Summary:

This story cleverly links numbers and maths concepts to nature, as twelve Knights are sent on a quest to find the best number. Each Number Knight travels on his own journey to discover the most important number.

We used this book alongside our Year 2 castles topic to inspire and develop maths skills, including numbers, shapes, patterns and fractions. We have used the illustrations to inspire our artwork.

5a Recommended Books
    Title: Stories for boys who dare to be different
    Author: Ben Brooks
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: All
    Subject: English
Summary:

A different story on every page describing how different people have overcome challenges in their lives. These stories are truly inspiring and help us to consider events in history and cultures around the world.

We use these books to instigate discussions about different people, cultures and the lives they lead. The book includes stories about David Attenborough and Vincent van Gogh.

5b Recommended Books
    Title: Goodnight stories for Rebel girls
    Author: Elenore Favilli
    Illustrator: Freya Hartas
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: All
    Subject: English
Summary:

A different story on every page describing how different people have overcome challenges in their lives. These stories are truly inspiring and help us to consider events in history and cultures around the world.

We use these books to instigate discussions about different people, cultures and the lives they lead. The book includes stories about David Attenborough and Vincent van Gogh.

6 Recommended Books
    Title: The Amazing Animal Atlas
    Author: Dr Nick Crumpton and Gaia Bordicchia
    Illustrator: Freya Hartas
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: Animals / Habitats
    Subject: English / Science / Geography
Summary:

This atlas shows the different environmental habitats different animals live in.

We use this book to lookup the locations of different animals around the world.

7 Recommended Books
    Title: A Seed is Sleepy
    Author: Diana Hutts Aston
    Illustrator: Sylvia Long
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: Animals / Habitats
    Subject: English / Science / Art
Summary:

This book shows a variety of different seeds, where they come from and how they grow. The illustrations are bright and colourful and the information provides some really interesting facts.

This book is part of a series and we have enjoyed all of them. The illustrations in particular have inspired our artwork and nature journaling.

8 Recommended Books
    Title: Swirl by Swirl
    Author: Joyce Sidman
    Illustrator: Beth Krommes
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: Seasons / Plants / Nature Journal
    Subject: English / Maths / Science / Art
Summary:

Bold illustrations of nature showing different pattens and shapes.

We have used this book to inspire our artwork, focusing specifically on shapes and patterns. We have also used this book to develop vocabulary skills, using adjectives to describe the images.

9 Recommended Books
    Title: Usborne Big Picture Atlas
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: Where I live / U.K.
    Subject: English / Geography
Summary:

This large atlas is full of colourful images to show the key characteristics and of places around the world.

We use this book to look up places we read about and identify different parts of the world.

10 Recommended Books
    Title: A Street Through Time
    Author: Steve Moon
    Illustrator: Dr Anne Millard
    Year: 1 and 2
    Topic: Castles
    Subject: English / History
Summary:

On each double page a large image portrays a scene of the same town as it changes and develops over time. From Stone Age Hunters to modern day, there is a lot of detail to look at.

This book has helped our children to visualise different time periods we have read about and notice features like the clothes people are wearing, the development of the land and buildings.

Rank: 1
Title: Slow Down
Author: Rachel Williams
Illustrator: Freya Hartas
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: Seasons / Plants / Nature Journal
Subject: English / Science / Art
Summary:

A beautifully illustrated book reminding us of special moments in nature to observe. 'Stories' are factual and simple, looking at a dew drop on a leaf or a snowflake falling from the sky.

We use this to guide our observations in nature and inspire our drawings and artwork.

Recommended Books
Rank: 2
Title: An Anthology of Intriguing Animals
Author: Ben Hoare
Illustrator: Daniel Long
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: Animals / Habitats
Subject: English / Science / Art
Summary:

A truly lovely book with wonderful large photographs and illustrations showing each animal in detail. We particularly enjoy the Gila Monster, where you can clearly see their bumpy scales and purple tongue. Pictures are accompanied by factual information about each animal.

We use this to look more closely at animals which you do not always see in other books.

Recommended Books
Rank: 3
Title: Journey / Quest / Return
Author: Aaron Becker
Illustrator: Freya Hartas
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: Explorers / Castles
Subject: English / Art / History
Summary:

This trilogy depicting a magical adventure story through colourful and magical illustrations. These wordless picture books tell the story of a little girl who enters a magical world when she draws a door in a wall.

We use these books to encourage verbal storytelling and enjoy the way the narrative changes every time we look at it. We have also used this to create our own wordless picture story.

Recommended Books
Rank: 4
Title: King Maximo and the Number Knights
Author: Howard Schrager
Illustrator: Malign Lager
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: Castles
Subject: English / Maths / History / Art
Summary:

This story cleverly links numbers and maths concepts to nature as twelve Knights are sent on a quest to find the best number. Each Number Knight travels on his own journey to discover the most important number.

We used this book alongside our Year 2 castles topic to inspire and develop maths skills, including numbers, shapes, patterns and fractions. We have used the illustrations to inspire our artwork.

Recommended Books
Rank: 5a
Title: Stories for boys who dare to be different
Author: Ben Brooks
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: All
Subject: English
Summary:

A different story on every page describing how different people have overcome challenges in their lives. These stories are truly inspiring and help us to consider events in history and cultures around the world.

We use these books to instigate discussions about different people, cultures and the lives they lead. The book includes stories about David Attenborough and Vincent van Gogh.

Recommended Books
Rank: 5b
Title: Goodnight stories for Rebel girls
Author: Elenore Favilli
Illustrator: Freya Hartas
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: All
Subject: English
Summary:

A different story on every page describing how different people have overcome challenges in their lives. These stories are truly inspiring and help us to consider events in history and cultures around the world.

We use these books to instigate discussions about different people, cultures and the lives they lead. The book includes stories about David Attenborough and Vincent van Gogh.

Recommended Books
Rank: 6
Title: The Amazing Animal Atlas
Author: Dr Nick Crumpton and Gaia Bordicchia
Illustrator: Freya Hartas
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: Animals / Habitats
Subject: English / Science / Geography
Summary:

This atlas shows the different environmental habitats different animals live in.

We use this book to lookup the locations of different animals around the world.

Recommended Books
Rank: 7
Title: A Seed is Sleepy
Author: Diana Hutts Aston
Illustrator: Sylvia Long
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: Animals / Habitats
Subject: English / Science / Art
Summary:

This book shows a variety of different seeds, where they come from and how they grow. The illustrations are bright and colourful and the information provides some really interesting facts.

This bookies part of a series and we have enjoyed all of them. The illustrations in particular have inspired our artwork and nature journaling.

Recommended Books
Rank: 8
Title: Swirl by Swirl
Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Beth Krommes
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: Seasons / Plants / Nature Journal
Subject: English / Maths / Science / Art
Summary:

Bold illustrations of nature showing different pattens and shapes.

We have used this book to inspire our artwork, focusing specifically on shapes and patterns. We have also used this book to develop vocabulary skills, using adjectives to describe the images.

Recommended Books
Rank: 9
Title: Usborne Big Picture Atlas
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: Where I live / U.K.
Subject: English / Geography
Summary:

This large atlas is full of colourful images to show the key characteristics and of places around the world.

We use this book to look up places we read about and identify different parts of the world.

Recommended Books
Rank: 10
Title: A Street Through Time
Author: Steve Moon
Illustrator: Dr Anne Millard
Year: 1 and 2
Topic: Castles
Subject: English / History
Summary:

On each double page a large image portrays a scene of the same town as it changes and develops over time. From Stone Age Hunters to modern day, there is a lot of detail to look at.

This book has helped our children to visualise different time periods we have read about and notice features like the clothes people are wearing, the development of the land and buildings.

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