Once again we’ve been wowed by the ‘young writers’ across all our courses lately, from our youngest members at ‘My First Story’, to older members preparing to take the 11 Plus. In our ‘Master Your Creative Writing’ Kings and Queens series, our writers have come to the end of their epic tales following the young King Charles II’s adventures in 1651. They’ve fought the roundhead soldiers, escaped to Boscobel, met faithful companions and scheming martyrs at every turn, and changed the course of English history forever!
After half term, they will be transforming our pens into quills as they travel back to Shakespeare’s time – the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First! In this story, ‘The Spymaster’, our young novelists will immerse themselves in a world of spies, cryptographers and hidden enemies in order to foil a dastardly plot in which Queen Mary of Scots is trying to seize the throne for herself!
Sounds exciting? We’ve put together a Kings and Queens booklist to satiate the appetites of our keen young readers and writers. From the silly to the heroic to the gory, you’ll be able to find a tale for all kinds of story-dwellers to get their teeth into this summer.
Starting Out: Story Squires (KS1)
Stories for children starting out on their reading journey, perfect for reading aloud or for independent reading. Daniela Drescher, one of Germany’s best-loved illustrators, provides beautiful artworks to transport young readers into the Brothers Grimm’s fantasy worlds of princes, princesses and magic. Nicolas Allan’s classic tale ‘The Queen’s Knickers’ transports us to the daydreams of a young girl as she imagines all the adventures the Queen gets up to – from parachuting to horse riding – and her knickers that go with her! In ‘Feast Fight!’, from Peter Bently’s ‘Knightmare’ series, haphazard squire Cedric Thatchbottom has to make arrangements for the King and Queen’s visit – prepare for misadventures and mayhem!
Progressing: Plot Princes and Princesses (KS2)
Great stories for children reading competently on their own. The universally loved Terry Deary’s ‘Shakespeare Tales’ are brilliant for kids to get to know Shakespeare on their own terms – in ‘Macbeth’, Deary transports his witty writing style into orphaned pot-girl Mary as she clears up stage blood from a particularly gory production. The ‘Adventures of Alice Laselles’ is not about Kings and Queens, but it is written by one! Written and illustrated by 10¾ year old Queen Victoria, Jaqueline Wilson states that “If Victoria hadn’t been destined to be Queen, I think she might have made a remarkable novelist”. In ‘Me, the Queen and Christopher’, we follow a young girl’s remarkable meeting with the queen. Silly, hilarious and inclusive of people with disabilities – we love this one!
Confident: Creative Writing Cavaliers (KS2+)
Ideal books for children reading stories with challenging language and more complex plots on their own. In Manga Shakespeare’s beautifully illustrated ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ancient and modern collide, as we dive into an alternative history of Greece where God-given monarchies and rigid class systems still exist in the modern day. Valerie Wilding’s ‘Bloody Tower’ – of the well loved ‘My Story’ series – takes the reader to 1554 and the pen of Tilly Middleton at the Tower of London. Tilly records in her diary the drama of the reign of Lady Jane Grey, who is Queen for only 9 days before being sentenced to a traitor’s death at just 16. ‘The Seeing Stone’ is first in Kevin Crossley-Holland’s epic ‘Arthur’ Trilogy. Set in 1199, young Arthur Cadicott is given a mysterious stone, in which his namesake of legend, King Arthur, is revealed – a complex and rewarding plot, this one is ideal for sophisticated readers looking towards reading YA literature.