Whilst scrolling through my Twitter feed a few weeks ago, I noticed a fantastic poster showing the locations of book settings across the United Kingdom and it really got me thinking. Why is there not one for just children's books? Maybe there is but I searched and searched and couldn't find one. It was time to make one!
As well as an interesting display poster, it got me thinking that it could easily be used for schools to consider which books their school chooses in terms of a reading spine. Could all primary schools have a book based on their local area that children study? Could books be chosen according to topics linking to coasts, rivers or cities in geography? Could classes who study a particular author, also look at settings, locations, dialects or cultures used in a range of that author's books?
Something I have started to do whilst going on holiday, is read books written in the locality to enrich my experience. I've done this in Croatia, the USA and France, but never in the U.K. Not only could this be something I start to do as a 'reading teacher' (see @thatboycanteach's #thisteacherreads hashtag) but could it also be promoted to parents and children who holiday in the U.K., especially when 'staycations' are becoming increasingly more economically viable for families. There is nothing better than talking to children about books and by offering reading opportunities depending on where they might be visiting, it could give children an added incentive to read.
Once again, the author and teacher community on Twitter responded to a request with some fantastic modern book titles, a range of historical novels, some unknown gems and lots and lots of enthusiasm!
I was also pointed in the direction of the following blog: www.didyoueverstoptothink.wordpress.com by LH 'Daisy' Johnson (@chaletfan) and her 'Reading Your Way Around the U.K.' spreadsheet featuring a range of KS1, KS2 and Young Adult novels and their setting locations. I was also directed to www.discoverkelpies.co.uk/kelpies-near-you/ by @DiscoverKelpies and their excellent Google Map of children's novels set in Scotland.
After removing any KS1 approporiate books, Young Adult books and books with no discernible reading ages, I was left with an amazing list of books set throughout the U.K perfect for children aged between 7-11. Whilst researching each book, I was taken through a rich history of stories set from the middle ages to today, I was shown prize winning books from the 1970's and modern classics secretly set in well-known locations. My 'must-reads' this summer suddenly jumped from about 5 to 500 in the space of a few hours!
I really do suggest you spend a little time looking into some of these brilliant novels, if only to appreciate the range and depth of children's books set within our shores. I hope you like the resource and I will keep updating it with any new titles suitable for KS2. Feel free to get in touch with ideas as well as letting us know how you plan to use yours. I am now considering making a reading display using a world map to show our whole school's reading spine for next year.
Download the resource here: