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Vanessa Marsh, Independent Usborne Organiser

February Picks for Schools

18th January 2019

Reading Schemes

First Reading

Specially written for children just starting to learn to read, the First Reading series is divided into four levels that increase in difficulty.

This month's new title is a humorously illustrated re-telling of the classic fable The Hare and the Tortoise (Level 4).



Full of bright pictures and facts that grown-ups and children can talk about together, My First Body Book is an engaging picture book explaining how the body works, covering everything from blood and bones to dreams and digestion.


Packed with tips, tricks and techniques, Lift-the-Flap Multiplying and Dividing is a fun way for children to get to grips with topics including times tables, number lines and using fractions. There's even a treasure island puzzle at the back of the book, where new knowledge can be put into practice.


Our diverse fiction list is full of incredible characters and unputdownable plots, ideal for engaging any reader. 

Middle Grade Fiction

When Suzy hears a strange rattling noise in the middle of the night, she creeps downstairs to find a train roaring through her house. But this is no ordinary train. This is the magical delivery express for The Union of Impossible Places, and Suzy becomes its newest recruit! And with her cursed first package, an Impossible adventure begins...
Now in paperback, The Train to Impossible Places is a wonderfully magical read - just the ticket for middle grade readers with a strong sense of adventure.

Young Adult Fiction

The Extinction Trials: Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival. Welcome to the Extinction Trials. Storm and Lincoln's city is burning. The people are starving. The only place left to run is Piloria, the continent of monsters. It's up to Storm and Lincoln to keep their people alive as they colonize this lethal paradise. But will the biggest threat to their survival be the monsters in the jungle...or the ones inside the encampment with them? The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park in this wildly popular series filled with action, survival and betrayal.

The Stolen Ones: 'My name is Inge. I am sixteen. I live in Munich. Food is rationed, though the war ended years ago. My boyfriend is Jewish. My parents would not approve, so I hide this from them. I think they are hiding something from me, too. Letters arrive on my birthday, but they are not addressed to me. They are for a girl named Kasia. This is her story.'

From Vanessa Curtis, the critically acclaimed author of The Earth is SingingThe Stolen Ones is a stunning, compelling and shocking page-turner which focuses on the legacy of the Nazis' Lebensborn program (KS3 History), and one girl's search for her true identity.

The Earth is Singing: 'My name is Hanna. I am 15. I am Latvian. I live with my mother and my grandmother. My father is missing, taken by the Russians. I have a boyfriend and I'm training to be a dancer. But none of that is important any more. Because the Nazis have arrived, and I am a Jew. And as far as they are concerned, that is all that matters. This is my story.'

Winner of the Historical Association Young Quills Award and longlisted for the Carnegie, this heart-stoppingly beautiful and tragic historical novel is based on true accounts, focussing on a relatively unknown part of the Holocaust (KS3 History): the story of the Jews of Riga and the Rumbula massacre.

Home Learning

Get Ready for School

Little Wipe-Clean Dot-to-Dot: Wipe-clean pages, stylish illustrations and a wipe-clean pen combine to provide endless opportunities for children to practise number recognition and pen control skills.

Usborne Key Skills 

Written to support the National Curriculum, our Key Skills series is ideal for helping children to gain confidence in the skills they are learning at school, and is perfect for providing that extra support at home.

This month's new titles are: Wipe-Clean Comprehension 5-6 and Wipe-Clean Creative Writing 6-7.