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Picture books for older readers

Who says we have to leave picture books behind in KS1? These wonderful books use spellbinding illustrations to introduce children to big ideas.

A Child of Books

Oliver Jeffers, Sam Winston
Age: 5+ | Oxford Level 7

A beautiful picture book all about the wonder and importance of books. What’s not to like?

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How to Live Forever

Colin Thompson
Age: 5–7 | Oxford Level 13–14

Exquisitely detailed illustrations bring this tale of a boy who lives in a world of books to life. Join him as he travels through strange worlds to find the secret of how to live forever.

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Town is by the Sea

Joanne Schwartz
Age: 5–8 | Oxford Level 8

This wonderful book works on so many levels. On the one hand, it is the story of a boy growing up by the sea, but many other themes are woven into the story though the words and enchanting illustrations.

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The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

Mordecai Gerstein
Age: 5–8 | Oxford Level 15

In 1974, Philippe Petit walked across a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. This picture book tells the story of the event through glorious images and well-chosen words. For adults reading, the ending is especially poignant.

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The Arrival

Shaun Tan
Age: 6–11

A wordless masterpiece that explores what it is like to leave all you have know and travel to somewhere new and strange.

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The Rabbits

John Marsden, Shaun Tan
Age: 6–11 | Oxford Level 10–11

A rich tale about man’s effect on the environment, told through a story about rabbits.

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FArTHER

Grahame Baker-Smith
Age: 7+ | Oxford Level 13–14

Drawing on the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, this exquisite picture book tells the story of a father’s obsession with flight and his relationship with his son.

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Black Dog

Levi Pinfold
Age: 7–9 | Oxford Level 10–11

When a black dog appears at the Hope family’s door, everyone but the youngest Hope hides from it. The dog grows bigger and bigger until it is confronted. A beautifully-illustrated allegory perfect for talking to children about confronting their fears.

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Chart: Book Bands and Oxford Reading Levels

Age 4–5 Age 5–6 Age 6–7
Year: Reception Year: 1 Year: 2
Band: Lilac / Level: 1 Band: Blue / Level: 4 Band: Turquoise / Level: 7
Band: Pink / Level: 1+ Band: Green / Level: 5 Band: Purple / Level: 8
Band: Red / Level: 2 Band: Orange / Level: 6 Band: Gold / Level: 9
Band: Yellow / Level: 3 Band: White / Level: 10
Band: Lime / Level: 11
Age 7–8 Age 8–9 Age 9–10
Year: 3 Year: 4 Year: 5
Band: Brown / Level: 9–11 Band: Grey / Level: 14 Band: Dark Blue / Level: 16
Band: Grey / Level: 12–13 Band: Dark Blue / Level: 15 Band: Dark Red / Level: 17
Age 10–11
Year: 6
Band: Dark Red / Level: 18–20