We're very excited to share the official Book Collection for the Summer Reading Challenge 2021, Wild World Heroes!
Developed with WWF, the world's leading independent conservation organisation, Wild World Heroes is a celebration of reading for pleasure that will inspire children to stand up for the future of our planet.
The Summer Reading Challenge is delivered in partnership with public libraries and launches across the UK in June and July. Children will also be able to take part in Wild World Heroes at home through the online Challenge platform. Wild World Heroes will be brought to life with bespoke artwork from award-winning author and illustrator Heath McKenzie.
The Summer Reading Challenge Book Collection comprises 70 must-read titles for children aged 4-11. Each title has been specially chosen to reflect key Wild World Heroes themes including the natural world, young heroes, and taking action for the environment.
Selecting the books
The Summer Reading Challenge Book Collection is supported by publishers from across the UK and Ireland, who sent us nearly 400 books and top-secret proofs to consider for the 2021 collection.
Every submission was read by members of our 80-strong expert readers panel, with librarians, teachers, reading group leaders and their children reviewing each title to help us find books that resonate with our Wild World Heroes themes and offer Challenge participants plenty of variety to choose from. Our advisory panel, consisting of representatives from organisations including WWF, Libraries Connected, ASCEL, CILIP and Glorious Reads, used our readers' recommendations to shape the final collection.
The Wild World Heroes Book Collection
Click here to view the titles selected for the Summer Reading Challenge 2021 Book Collection.
The collection is presented in two lists - one for younger children and one for more confident readers - representing exciting contemporary children's fiction, poetry, non-fiction and picture books with nature and environmental themes. Many of the books in the collection are newer titles publishing in 2021. A number of titles will be available to enjoy in additional formats, with eBook and audiobook availability noted where possible.
This year the younger list features a fantastic range of books from 22 different publishers.
Families will enjoy diving in to picture books including Meet the Oceans by Caryl Hart and Bethan Woolvin (Bloomsbury) and Setsuko and the Song of the Sea by Fiona Barker and Howard Grey (Tiny Tree). Back on land, there's plenty of joy to be had with favourites Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul in Winnie and Wilbur: The Bug Safari (Oxford University Press) and the charming Pedro the Puerto Rican Parrot by Beverly Jatwani and Sunita Chawdhary (Little Steps).
For younger Challenge participants honing their reading skills, the collection includes fun and fact filled early reader titles such as The Great Dodo Comeback by Fiona Sandiford and Clare Elsom (Usborne); Lottie Loves Nature: Bee-ware! by Jane Clarke and James Brown (Five Quills); and An Engineer Like Me by Dr Shini Somara and Nadja Sarell (Wren & Rook).
Wild World Heroes will also encourage readers to explore the nature on their doorsteps and care for their surroundings with books including Omar, The Bees and Me by Helen Mortimer and Katie Cottle (Owlet Press), The Extraordinary Gardener by Sam Boughton (Tate Publishing) and Benjamin Zephaniah's Nature Trail, illustrated by Nila Aye (Orchard Books).
The older list includes a variety of exciting middle grade fiction, poetry and non-fiction from 21 different publishers.
Poetry fans will enjoy collections including The Last Straw: Kids VS Plastics by Susan Hood (HarperCollins), Cast Away: Poems for our Time from Naomi Shihab Nye (HarperCollins) and A Poem for Every Summer Day edited by Allie Esiri (Macmillan Children's Books).
Wild World Heroes will also love embarking on new adventures from Abi Elphinstone in Jungledrop (Simon and Schuster), from Nizrana Farook in The Boy Who Met a Whale (Nosy Crow), and from Charlie Higson in Worst. Holiday. Ever (Puffin). Hoot and Howl Across the Desert: Life in the World's Driest Deserts by Vassiliki Tzomaka (Thames & Hudson), The Secret Explorers and the Rainforest Rangers by SJ King (DK) and The Weather Weaver by Tamsin Mori and David Dean (UCLan Publishing) are just some of the brilliant titles waiting to transport readers to different locations this summer.
How to Save the World with a Chicken and an Egg by Emma Shevah (Chicken House) and Effie the Rebel by Laura Wood and Mirelle Ortega (Scholastic) will inspire older readers seeking to make a difference to their communities, while non-fiction titles such as Guardians of the Planet: How to be an Eco-Hero by Clive Gifford and Jonathan Woodward (Buster Books) and Activists Assemble: Save Your Planet by Ben Hoare and Jade Orlando (Macmillan Children's Books) will provide plenty of practical advice for standing up for our planet.
Welsh language Book Collection
We're pleased to share that the Books Council of Wales is curating a list of Welsh language books to resonate with the Wild World Heroes theme. Check back soon for more information.
Libraries and schools can order the Wild World Heroes Book Collection via their usual suppliers.
Find out more about the Challenge with our Summer Reading Challenge Quick Guide
Summer Reading Challenge coordinators can find more information on our library practitioner page.
Visit the Summer Reading Challenge website for competitions, book recommendations and activities all year round.