Summer Reading: Time for Travelling and New Adventures

In this post we would like to talk to you a little about reading habits – a pertinent subject as we move towards the summer school break for most schools. Whatever your child will do this summer break, please remember to always bring a book with you and maintain good reading habits. We know that reading is one of the best ways for children to develop their literacy across a range of areas. Books not only expose children to new ideas, stories and concepts. They also provide children with new grammatical structures and vocabulary, and help them to reinforce correct spelling. Regular reading for pleasure is undoubtedly one of the best habits a child can form to improve their academic outcomes.

Here at Huili School Hangzhou, Jane Yu, our Chinese Librarian, has recently come on board in preparation for the huge number of new books we will receive in the coming weeks. Bethan Amena, our English Librarian, will also be on board in early August to finalise the categorising and organisation of this vast wealth of knowledge.

Jane Yu

Jane has worked at an international school library for over eight years. Her ability to relate to students, teachers, and parents is admirable. She weaves seamlessly from guiding children through the library system to recommending books and providing them with a welcoming environment. Jane makes visiting the library a pleasant experience for pupils and staff alike.

Bethan Amena

Born in Canada and living in the UK for many years, Bethan is moving to Hangzhou with her husband and two sons from England at the end of July. The whole family is excitedly looking forward to visiting a new and exciting land.

With this in mind, Bethan and Jane have been thinking about their favourite books on travelling, exploring the world and new adventures. Each book holds a special place in their hearts and is a real treasure to experience.

Below are some recommendations from both of our librarians:

The Snail and the Whale

By Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler

(For ages 3-5)

I love this because it is written in rhyme and has such beautiful illustrations!


One little snail longs to see the world and hitches a lift on the tail of an enormous whale. Together they go on an amazing journey, past icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins, and the little snail feels so small in the vastness of the world. But when disaster strikes and the whale is beached in a bay, it’s the tiny snail’s big plan that saves the day.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

By Michael Rosen

(For ages 3-5)

Parents can read this book together with children, especially for those aged 3-5. Children will find it particularly interesting with lovely background music and exaggerated facial expressions. Moreover, the related family-friendly video can be found on YouKu if you search with the name of the book.


“We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. Will you come too?”

For a quarter of a century, readers have been swishy-swashying and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favourite and now it can be read in three glorious dimensions in this incredible pop-up edition featuring seven full-page pop-ups. Follow and join in the family’s excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest! The award-winning classic brought to life as a pop-up adventure.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 

By Dr. Suess

(For ages 3-8)

This poem is great for all ages, I love the way that it twists and turns through life’s ups and downs and has some wonderful speeches that I always imagine would be perfect at a high school graduation. Very inspiring!


From fun times and triumphs to lurches and slumps, Dr. Seuss takes an entertaining look at the adventures that life may have in store for us.

The Gruffalo 

By Julia Donaldson

(For ages 5-9)

The Gruffalo, one of my favourite books, is certainly a western version of A Tiger in Tow. The relevant cartoon has been nominated at the 83rd Academy Awards, which can be found on YouKu. We encourage pupils to enjoy the cartoon with parents after read this book. 


A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there is no such thing as a gruffalo.

The Graveyard Book 

By Neil Gaiman

(For ages 9-11)

This book made me think about how children accept the world around them as it is, and they can be extremely resilient and open minded. Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors because he can find humour in almost any situation!


When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him – after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. Will Bod survive to be a man?

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell 

By Chris Colfer

(For ages 9-12)

Let’s travel to the land of stories, to meet all our familiar fables, such as Snow White, Evil Queen and Sleeping Beauty.


Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.

The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.


By Brian Jaques

(For ages 8-12)

As a child, I was a reluctant reader, but I absolutely devoured this book because of the vivid world created by the author through his storytelling. It wasn’t until years later I discovered that he had specifically written it for the blind children he knew at a local school. It really captured my imagination and got me reading regularly!


Welcome to Redwall Abbey. Inside its enormous doors, mice live in peace, helping those in need and throwing epic feasts for the great and the good of Mossflower Woods. But outside a grave threat is gathering. An army of evil rats led by a vicious, one-eyed warlord, is on its way.

Matthias is just one little mouse but he knows it’ll take more than stones and mouse-sized arrows to keep the rats at bay. Enlisting the help of a military hare, wild sparrows and argumentative stoats, Matthias sets out to defend his freedom, his friends, and the abbey he calls home.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul  

By Jeff Kinney

(For ages 9-13)

This is the ninth book of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and is one of my favourite series. The hero Gray is a kind, playful secondary school boy with sort of honesty and a little genius. However, he is not good-looking, so he try to draw others eye with interesting minds by improving his internality with great efforts. The book created an adolescent boy image of “sometimes naïve, sometime rebellious, sometimes naughty and sometimes helpless” in a lifelike tone with amusing joke and funny illustrations.


A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun . . . unless, of course, you are the Heffleys. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas station bathrooms, crazed seagulls, a fender bender, and a runaway pig—not exactly Greg Heffley’s idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure—and this is one the Heffleys won’t soon forget.

We wish you a pleasant summer holiday, and hope that you will remember to help your child build and maintain their healthy reading habits throughout this period. Our librarians will be on hand from the start of school to help our pupils continue the great reading habits they have developed over summer. Remember: wherever you go, don’t forget to bring a book!