The Books

Student and Teacher Books for the critical years before and during early adolescence (ages 8-13) are now available. It is possible to start a year earlier (Year 3) if that fits better into the school. Links from this page give you two sample chapters from each Student Book and one corresponding one from the Teacher Guide.

We have also included online exercise pages from all five Student Books Years 4-8 to print out or project in the classroom. Scroll down and you will find them to the right of this page. 

Below the exercises, you will find the subject frameworks for each year, taken from the Teacher Guides. These can be printed out or used online to help construct lesson plans.

Please note that, while books are named by Year Group, the demarcation can be flexibly treated. The books also work well in the home, as school readers or for assembly work outside the designated age group and this is to be encouraged. A complete set of books is available at an introductory discount.

It is intended to continue developing the programme to produce materials for all school years (ages 5-18) and to include various media in addition to books. The timescale for this cannot yet be given.

Year 4

We Are a Team addresses the concerns of 8–9 year olds (Year 4). Charlie and Alice are surprised to be told that sport is as important to their schooling as academic study. They discover that games have played a formative role in every society.

The cousins also find out, through the guidance of their PE teacher and from their own experience on the playing field, that the fun of sport rests on everybody following the rules, training, acting as a team and being prepared to lose well as well as to win. All these and other qualities, such as perseverance, self-control, respect, truthfulness, magnanimity and obedience, apply not only to sport but to all aspects of life, in the home, at school and in every community where people live and work alongside each other.

Year 5

Caring and Sharing addresses the concerns of 9-10 year olds (Year 5). Charlie and Alice are uprooted when their fathers find new work in another town. Parted from their old school-friends and with both their families cramped into one rented house, the cousins discover what it means to belong, to own and to share. They discover the importance of families helping each other, and that sharing extends to time, space, talents and even life itself. Living in any community, at home, at school, or in the neighbourhood at large, demands generosity, respect for others and for their property, and also the give and take of saying sorry and thank you.

Year 6

Different and Complementary addresses the concerns of 10–11 year olds (Year 6). Charlie, Alice and their classmates have their eyes opened at school to the cultural differences that exist in the world. There are differences, too, between one person and another in the same neighbourhood and among their friends at school. They discover that some differences are complementary, and it is these which help build the bonds of society, starting within the family. There is a tension we all feel between wanting to belong and be accepted by others and wanting to be appreciated for our individuality. The most puzzling differences are between the sexes, as the young students discover. They learn that, to live happily alongside other people, the key is to accept and respect themselves.

Year 7

Friends! addresses the concerns of 11-12 year olds (Year 7), for whom friendships of all kinds are becoming more important. Making friends, sharing friends and discerning which friendships are positive and which negative all lead to questions on what it is to be a good friend, how to recognise one and how to apply sound values within the family, at school and in the community. While learning to understand group dynamics and what makes a leader, students also learn to recognise negative peer pressure and to resist behaviours such as smoking and the misuse of drugs.

Alice and Charlie’s responsibilities naturally increase as their social horizons broaden. Changing relationships with parents and family members are looked at and are found to answer the same values as those found in true friendship.

Year 8

Changes and Challenges addresses the concerns of 12-13 year olds (Year 8). Charlie and Alice enjoy their first move from dependence to independence when they get after-school jobs. They find that increased freedom brings responsibility and that various of their classmates react differently to the challenges of growing up. This is an age when young people are growing fast, taking on new responsibilities and finding themselves having to defend their own values and need for privacy while also wanting to be accepted among their peers. Standing up for good human values can be uncomfortable and it tests Charlie and Alice’s integrity as well as their friendships. Life at home brings its own joys and frictions as they and their families adjust to the changes of puberty and gauge the duties which accompany new freedoms, but through the book they learn to understand their own mood and bodily changes and to savour the adventure of making new friends and being treated at home as young adults in the family.

Alive to the World books

It works!

I enjoyed the Year 6 book a lot. The stories are great and Charlie and Alice are wonderful characters!

Helen (aged 11)

Every child (and adult) should read these compelling stories! Helen’s teenage brother and sisters have also been riveted by them. Their style is perfectly attuned to today’s youth, and the messages are conveyed in a simple and direct way. These books are a powerful reminder of the values which make for true happiness and fulfilment, and they are an invaluable guide for our children!

Helen's mother

I was delighted to find a set of PSHE books written and edited by Catholics. The Alive to the World books are true to our Christian values and are just what we were looking for at our school. The teachers enjoy using them and most importantly the children do too. The programme does exactly what it says: it brings alive the values and good things of the world so that, little by little in one scenario after another, the children learn to want what is good and to make that extra effort to attain it. I recommend the books to other schools and to parents.

Mrs Stephanie Bell, Headteacher, Rydes Hill Preparatory School, Guildford

As a Catholic school we were delighted to find the Alive to the World series. We have introduced this very successfully in Years 7 and 8. The approach not only fulfils government guidelines on PSHE but also the SMSC content. Our students have reacted very favourably as it is very age appropriated but also deals with emotional wellbeing - an aspect often overlooked.

Mrs M Butcher, Head of RE & PSHE, The Towers Convent School, West Sussex