Choosing the brilliant School Library Pack books

Published on: 08 October 2019

This week we've announced the titles that will be included in this year's free School Library Pack. If you're wondering how the books are chosen then read on to get a glimpse behind the scenes and thoughts from our selection panel.

The 2020 School Library Pack books

School Library Pack 2020 titles

A lively discussion

As with all our programmes, a lot of thought goes into choosing the 15 titles for the School Library pack, and we’re really pleased with this year's selection. All the longlisted books are read by experienced readers before a book selection meeting, and we enjoyed a lively discussion about which would be the best books.

School Library Packs are made up of five titles we think could be considered as classics of the future; five non-fiction titles and five titles which offer something different, for example graphic novels and easier to read books.

The reading group books

In previous years, the five future classics titles made up the reading group books. But his year, following feedback from schools that it might work better if the reading group books appealed to different types of readers, we’ve selected the five reading group books from across all three categories.

Thoughts from the book selection panel on the reading group books

Lightning Mary, Anthea Simmons

'A really engaging read featuring a working class girl in the 1800s and the discovery of the first dinosaur. The portrayal of her character is brilliant, clever, determined and matter-of-fact, and the description of working class life is unsparing.'

The Dog Runner, Bren MacDibble

'This book offers so much: the dystopian landscape is brilliant and lower ability readers could follow it. There are lots of cross-curricular discussion points and controversial subjects to discuss, for example ethical farming.'

Ghost, Jason Reynolds

'Ghost engages you from page one. The tone and characters are really accessible for less confident readers without it being a really easy read.'

Race to the Frozen North, Catherine Johnson

'Punchy, pacey and lovely short chapters. The language is accessible but still beautiful, and the story is not one that is at all well-known.'

Looking at the stars, Lewis Hines

'Written really simplistically, Lewis Hines talks humbly about his life and living with disability. We’re really pleased to have an autobiography in the pack. The gritty issues are dealt with well throughout and could lead to safe and helpful discussions.'

The School Library Pack is a free reading for pleasure programme giving 40 books to every secondary school in England with a year 7 intake.

Find out more about this year's books

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