Children’s English Books

The Sakura Medal Books and Librarian Recommended Books

COVID-19 Update: Parents, welcome. There has never been a better time to pick up a book! You may browse by school age, setting, and book type in the sidebar. All books here are recommended by a group of 60+ International School Librarians in Japan for the annual Sakura Medal Book Award.

The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg

The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg
"One day that little pencil made a move, shivered slightly, quivered somewhat . . . and began to draw."

Welcome back Banjo, the boy from THE RUNAWAY DINNER! Once a pencil draws him, there's no telling what will come next — a dog, a cat, a chase (of course), and a paintbrush to color in an ever-expanding group of family and friends. But it's not long before the complaints begin — "This hat looks silly!" "My ears are too big!" — until the poor pencil has no choice but to draw . . . an eraser. Oh no! In the hands of Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman, can anything but havoc and hilarity ensue?
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Sisters of the Sword by Maya Snow

Sisters of the Sword by Maya Snow
I see you blink with surprise. A girl? you are thinking. Surely a girl cannot be asamurai. But you are wrong.

Kimi dreams of being a great samurai warrior, but she and her sister, Hana, are young ladies of ancient Japan, daughters of the Jito of the province. Her future seems clear: Girls do not become samurai.

Then, a murderous betrayal shatters the sisters' world. Suddenly, Kimi and Hana are thrown headlong into a life of warrior codes, deadly swords, and dangerous enemies. Life has swept them into an adventure more heart-pounding than the sisters ever could have imagined . . . and once it has been set in motion, nothing will ever be the same.
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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.
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Numbers by David A Poulsen

Numbers by David A. Poulsen
You're about to receive your A-level results & then a future of university & journalism awaits. But the day they're due to arrive your old girlfriend turns up unexpectedly - with a baby. Your baby. You agree to look after it, just for an hour or two. Then she doesn't come back - and your life changes forever.
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Award winning English childrens books

The Sakura Medal Book Award Winners

The Sakura Medal Book Award Nominees

The Sakura Medal Book Award Authors and Schools

Book type

Story Location

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The Sakura Medal Schools Book Award Japan
Preschool English story books
relating to the time before a child is old enough to go to school.
Graphic Novels
a novel in comic-strip format.
synonyms: comic, comic book, cartoon; manga
Picture books
a book containing many illustrations, especially one for children.
High School Books
For high school students
Chapter Books
A story book intended for intermediate readers, generally age 7-10
Early Reader
The first books that children will be able to read independently.
Jolly Phonics
The very best texts available to help students learn to read and write.
Jolly Phonics website
Jolly Phonics And The UK National Curriculum
Parent/Teacher Guide. English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian versions.
Free Parent & Teacher Resources
Setting
International School students are very often interested in where the story is located. If it plays a key role in the story and is mentioned in the blurb then it has been tagged
All-new Kindle Kids Edition - Includes access to thousands of books - Rainbow Birds Cover

The Sakura Medal

The Sakura Medal Books Awards bring together students from international schools across Japan each year to vote for their favourite books.

Each year, librarians from various international schools meet and select 25-30 books in each of the Sakura Medal categories - Picture Books, Graphic Novels, Chapter Books, Middle School, High School, Japanese Picture Books, Japanese Chapter Books, Japanese Middle School, and Japanese High School. Books are chosen that are no more than two years old and that are from a variety of backgrounds and across a wide range of reading abilities.

Students who read five books (four for Middle School and three for High School books) in any category will be eligible to vote for their favourite. Votes will then be tallied across all participating schools and the winning author in each category will receive a Sakura Medal. While staff and parents are encouraged to participate, voting is only open to students. The deadline for voting will vary for each participating school, so please contact your library for details.

Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossoms, which are celebrated in Japan each year as a sign of spring.

How to read books aloud

Teaching tips
• Ensure all students / your children can see the book
• Allow students to settle before you begin reading. Turn of nearby computers or TVs to avoid distractions
• Allow time for students to absorb the illustrations on each page before reading the text
• Different voices for each character are engaging for students and fun for you if you are reading the story multiple times - if you can keep track of voices of the characters
• Inform your audience of the author and illustrator so they may ask for the story again and foster an interest in writers and drawing
• Take your time
• There is no need to be shy. Children will delight in listening to you

How often should you read with your child?
• Everyday
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