English Books

Librarian Recommended Children’s English Books

Reader Levels and Interests

The Sakura Medal - Winners

The Sakura Medal - Nominees

Jolly Phonics. How to support your child learning English in Japan and other non-English Speaking Countries

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There are many Jolly Phonic resources available for home teaching. Here are my recommendations.

Note before purchasing and Jolly Phonics Resources:
• The books have all new covers and artwork since I initially reviewed them. The originals versions are still great.
• Jolly Phonics used to produce Print and Cursive versions of their books. Which look almost identical.
• It seems they now only produce resources in Precursive. Notably it doesn’t say this on the cover.
• The thumbnails for regular books are the same as for big books and board books. Double check what you order!

In this Guide
• The Essentials
• Workbooks
• Songs
• Flash Cards
• Activity Books
• Grammar (or not)
• Decodable Readers
• Oxford Learning Tree
• Teachers Guides
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Go - Kazuki Kaneshiro

As a Korean student in a Japanese high school, Sugihara has had to defend himself against all kinds of bullies. But nothing could have prepared him for the heartache he feels when he falls hopelessly in love with a Japanese girl named Sakurai. Immersed in their shared love for classical music and foreign movies, the two gradually grow closer and closer.

One night, after being hit by personal tragedy, Sugihara reveals to Sakurai that he is not Japanese—as his name might indicate.

Torn between a chance at self-discovery that he’s ready to seize and the prejudices of others that he can’t control, Sugihara must decide who he wants to be and where he wants to go next. Will Sakurai be able to confront her own bias and accompany him on his journey?
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How We Roll - Natasha Friend

Quinn is a teen who loves her family, skateboarding, basketball, and her friends, but after she's diagnosed with a condition called alopecia which causes her to lose all of her hair, her friends abandon her. Jake was once a star football player, but because of a freak accident―caused by his brother―he loses both of his legs. Quinn and Jake meet and find the confidence to believe in themselves again, and maybe even love.
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Such a Fun Age - Kiley Reid

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains' toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix's desire to help. At 25, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix's past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.
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When a Wolf Is Hungry - Christine Naumann-Villemin

A darkly humorous tale with a twist ending

Edmond Bigsnout, lone wolf that he is, loves his solitary cabin in the woods. But lately he's been craving urban rabbit for dinner, so he travels into the city to catch one. Unfortunately, the rabbit has a lot of neighbors—who mistake Edmond for a kind and helpful resident! Perhaps Edmond can become a good neighbor, despite his bad intentions.

Readers of all ages will devour this story about a wolf who decides that if you can't eat them, join them.
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The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! - Carmen Agra Deedy

La Paz is a happy, but noisy village. A little peace and quiet would make it just right.

So the villagers elect the bossy Don Pepe as their mayor. Before long, singing of any kind is outlawed. Even the teakettle is afraid to whistle!

But there is one noisy rooster who doesn't give two mangos about this mayor's silly rules. Instead, he does what roosters were born to do.

He sings:
"Kee-kee-ree-KEE!"

Carmen Deedy's masterfully crafted allegory and Eugene Yelchin's bright, whimsical mixed-media paintings celebrate the spirit of freedom -- and the courage of those who are born to sing at any cost.
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The Rabbit Listened - Cori Doerrfeld

When something sad happens, Taylor doesn't know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn't feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that's not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to act, and one by one they fail to offer comfort. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen . . . which is just what Taylor needs.
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On a Magical Do-Nothing Day - Beatrice Alemagna

All I want to do on a rainy day like today is play my game. My mom says it’s a waste of time, but without my game, nothing is fun! On the other hand, maybe I’m wrong about that…

While reading On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, one gets the sense that the illustrator became lost in her drawings, and as a reader, you'll want to do the same. Perfect for fans of picture books by Julie Morstad, Carson Ellis, Jon Klassen, and Tomi Ungerer.

“Hands down, Beatrice Alemagna is my favorite contemporary illustrator," said the Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator of Last Stop on Market Street, Christian Robinson.

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We Don't Eat Our Classmates - Ryan T. Higgins

It's the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can't wait to meet her classmates. But it's hard to make human friends when they're so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . . .
Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.
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Charlotte the Scientist is Squished - Camille Andros

Charlotte is a serious scientist. She solves important problems by following the scientific method. She has all the right equipment: protective glasses, a lab coat, a clipboard, and a magnifying glass. What she doesn’t have is space. She has so many brothers and sisters (she is a rabbit, after all) that she is too squished to work on her experiments! Can she use science to solve her problem? This funny, satisfying story is a playful introduction to the scientific method and perfect for sparking an interest in STEM subjects.
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