Michael Morpurgo Collections

By Chris Jarosh

Celebrate Michael Morpurgo Month this November with a range of popular titles from one of Britain’s most prolific children’s authors. Morpurgo’s books regularly top charts of children’s favourite books, and his 70th birthday is being marked with a special month of celebrations highlighting the popularity and breadth of his work. We have pulled together some books collected around some of the major themes he has addressed in his work, and indicated some non-fiction titles to complement them. These collections could form the basis of displays of Accelerated Reader-quizzed titles in your library or classroom, or be used alongside a teaching programme on the subjects covered.


Book covers for Michael Morpurgo island collection

Kensuke’s Kingdom sees Michael Washed up on an island in the Pacific struggling to survive on his own. He can’t find food, he can’t find water. In the end he curls up to die. When he wakes there is a plate beside him of fish, fruit and a bowl of fresh water. He is not alone.

Kensuke’s Kingdom | Mammoth Books | 978-0-7497-3639-2 | MY | BL 4.7 | Quiz #203268

The Wreck of the Zanzibar tells the story of Laura and her family in the years 1907 and 1908. Island life is not easy when you are always worried about the elements and the sea.

The Wreck of the Zanzibar | Mammoth Books | 978-0-7497-2620-1 | MY | BL 4.1 | Quiz #200744

Why the Whales Came is set around the mysterious Samson Island. Gracie’s father warns her to stay away from the Birdman. But Gracie and her friend Daniel discover that the Birdman isn’t mad or dangerous. The Birdman warns them to stay away from the abandoned Samson Island, telling them it’s cursed. Could he be right?

Why the Whales Came | Mammoth Books | 978-0-7497-0537-4 | MY | BL 5.2 | Quiz #201464

The Ghost of Grania O’Malley is a ghostly mystery story. Ten-year-old Jessie, helped by her American cousin and the ghost of a notorious female pirate, finds the strength to prevail over both a crippling disease and the greedy developers intent on destroying her Irish island home.

The Ghost of Grania O’Malley | Mammoth Books | 978-0-7497-2582-2 | MY | BL 4.9 | Quiz #200737


Islands Around the World by Jen Green is a basic introduction to islands. It explains what they are, why they form, the forces that shape them, how plants and animals survive on island conditions, and looks at different islands and island cities around the world.

Islands Around the World | Wayland | 978-0-7502-6795-3 | MY | BL 6.7 | Quiz #222327


Book covers for Michael Morpurgo's war collection

Private Peaceful is set during the First World War. Private Thomas Peaceful is only eighteen but he has seen the horrors of war and experienced the full weight of its unfairness.

Private Peaceful | Collins | 978-0-00-715006-9 | MY | BL 5.2 | Quiz #206723

War Horse has recently been adapted into a successful stage production. In England, Albert is growing up on a Devon farm with his young horse, Joey. However Albert, Joey and many other people will all be drawn into the nightmare of war as they struggle to survive in the blasted wilderness of the Western Front.

War Horse | Mammoth Books | 978-0-7497-0445-2 | MY | BL 5.9 | Quiz #204089

In Friend or Foe, it’s the Second World War, and because of the Blitz, David and his friend Tucky have been evacuated to the countryside where they must live with strangers. Then one night they see a German plane crash on the moors. Can they just leave the airmen to die?

Friend or Foe | Egmont | 978-0-7497-4690-2 | MY | BL 4.6 | Quiz #204917

Toro!Toro! takes Morpurgo’s storytelling talents to the Spanish Civil War. Antonito lives an idyllic life on his parents’ bull farm in Andalucia. But the idyll is shattered when he realises that his bull calf, Paco, is destined for the bullring. He has a plan of such daring, it will take enormous courage to see it through.

Toro!Toro! | Collins | 978-0-00-710551-9 | MY | BL 5.0 | Quiz #204386

A Medal for Leroy is a story of war told through family history. Michael finds out the sad and secret history of his family and the effect two world wars have had on his life.

A Medal for Leroy | HarperCollins | 978-0-00-748751-6 | MY | BL 5.1 | Quiz #223784

Waiting for Anya tells of the struggles of young Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. Young Jo helps smuggle Jewish children to safety in the mountains of southern France.

Waiting for Anya | Mammoth Books | 978-0-7497-0634-0 | UY | BL 5.1 | Quiz #200323


Animals in War by Jillian Powell is part of the Collins Big Cat series. Animals did important work in both World Wars. Find out what they did and how it helped.

Animals in War | Collins | 978-0-00-742885-4 | MY | BL 2.9 | Quiz #222039


Book covers for the orphans Michael Morpurgo collection

The Dancing Bear is set high in the mountains in a tiny village. An abandoned bear cub is adopted by a lonely orphan child. Soon they are inseparable, beloved by the whole village – safe, until the arrival of a glamourous film crew who need a dancing bear.

The Dancing Bear | Collins | 978-0-00-674511-2 | MY | BL 4.4 | Quiz #205095

Dear Olly is a story told from three different points of view: a brother working with orphans in Africa, his sister who watches the swallows prepare to leave for their winter migration to that continent and the swallow who faces terrible dangers on this flight.

Dear Olly | Collins | 978-0-00-675333-9 | MY | BL 5.1 | Quiz #206627

Long Way Home sees twelve-year-old George being sent to his seventh foster home and dreading it because none of the others worked out. But with Tom and his sister Storme, he grows to feel wanted and is devastated when he is forced to leave and return to the home.

Long Way Home | Mammoth Books | 978-0-7497-1659-2 | MY | BL 4.8 | Quiz #201934

Alone on a Wide Wide Sea is set in the Second World War. A young orphaned boy is separated from his sister and sent to Australia. There he survives a brutal existence on a farm, finds a new family, and becomes a boat builder.

Alone on a Wide Wide Sea | HarperCollins | 978-0-00-723058-7 | UY | BL 5.2 | Quiz #211997


Beatrice’s Dream: A Story of Kibera Slum tells the real-life story of a thirteen-year-old orphan in Kibera, Nairobi. Kibera is a Kenyan shantytown built on refuse and rubbish, and is one of the biggest slums in Africa. It is written by Karen Lynn Williams.

Beatrice’s Dream: A Story of Kibera Slum | Frances Lincoln | 978-1-84780-019-0 | LY | BL 4.2 | Quiz #220862


Book covers for Michael Morpurgo's farms collection

Farm Boy is the sequel to War Horse. There’s an old green Fordson tractor in the back of Grandpa’s barn, always covered in cornsacks. When I was very little, I used to go in there, pull off the cornsacks, climb up and drive it all over the farm.

Farm Boy | Pavilion Books | 978-1-86205-192-8 | MY | BL 4.4 | Quiz #205454

Out of the Ashes sees disease grip the countryside. When foot and mouth disease broke out on a pig farm hundreds of miles from the Morleys’ Devon home, no one believed it would spread very far. But now the nightmare is a few fields away. Will the Morleys’ flock be next?

Out of the Ashes | Macmillan | 978-0-330-39732-2 | MY | BL 4.7 | Quiz #204457

Who’s a Big Bully Then is a tale of bullying and trickery. Darren, the school bully, is beaten in a school race and is out for revenge. Darren knows he will win a straight fight, but he is fooled into acting like a coward in front of his mates. This Hi/Lo book has a simplified version in the 4u2read.ok series.

Who’s a Big Bully Then | Barrington Stoke | 978-1-84299-017-9 | MY | BL 3.6 | Quiz #206427

Who’s a Big Bully Then (4u2read.ok) | Barrington Stoke | 978-1-78112-307-2 | MY | BL 3.0 | Quiz #208098

The Nine Lives of Montezuma is all about a cat’s adventures on a farm. From a young kitten to a grand old cat, Montezuma, the farmyard cat, has nine lives full of adventure and excitement.

The Nine Lives of Montezuma | Egmont | 978-1-4052-3338-5 | MY | BL 5.8 | Quiz #212259


Farming and the Environment by Roger and Louise Spilsbury is part of the Food and Farming series from Wayland. This book discusses how farms shape the environment and how farmers are developing environmentally friendly ways of producing food.

Farming and the Environment | Wayland | 978-0-7502-5698-8 | MY | BL 7.6 | Quiz #222475

Posted on 29 October 2013 at 10:48 am
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