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Each week our team of book lovers choose a selection of books they have loved and think deserve an extra shout out. Everyone fights to get theirs on the list. Here are this week’s faves...
May 2021 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Andy Seed’s book puts us up close and personal with some of the amazing giants of the ocean. Using his special ‘tranimalator’ machine, which allows him to talk to animals and which works just as well underwater it seems, Andy dives into the sea and starts interviewing. Among those he questions are a bull shark, a blue whale, a giant squid and an anglerfish. He asks exactly the kind of questions kids would ask, and the answers are very revealing, full of information about where they live, what they eat, and what likes to eat them! Some of their answers are pretty funny – these creatures have a good sense of humour and like to tease Andy – but there are constant reminders too about the dangers they face from plastic pollution, fishing and global warming. With lively, appealing illustrations by Nick East, this is a quirky but really effective information book.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2021 | Packed full of illustrations, exciting experiments - and even comic strips - That's Life! encourages young scientists to start looking for the living things around them. Life is everywhere on planet Earth. Jungles, deserts, seas, plains, fields and forests - all of them teem with life but, amazingly, you can also find lots of living things hidden in your home, and even hidden inside you!
As we know, Marie Curie was a trail blazer in so many ways – a woman in science, the first woman to win Nobel Prizes, a major protagonist in the discovery of radiation and x-rays. We may know much less about her background and her family history. This graphic novel shows us just some of the many problems Marie Curie had to rise above in her native Poland - where women were not allowed at the Universities. Told through a series of panels this biography includes all the scientific discoveries in a simple, easily accessible format that exposes the dangers, as well as the advantages of radiation. The illustrations are clear with plenty of room given to the text so that is easy to read and follow. A good addition to classroom collections – and will have special appeal for those pupils who may prefer a graphic approach or be less enthusiastic readers.
Extinct is the spectacular full colour book series from leading evolutionary biologist and broadcaster Professor Ben Garrod. In his trademark lively and accessible style, Garrod makes top level science accessible to everyone as he explores the story of life on earth and the forces that have brought about the extinction and near-extinction of eight iconic species. The protégé of Dr Jane Goodall and David Attenborough’s co-presenter on Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur, Garrod kicks off the series with three books focusing on the landscape of a mass extinction and an animal that we have lost in each. Meticulously researched full colour illustrations by top palaeoartist Gabriel Ugueto further reveal everything we never knew about extinction.
Filled with breath-taking double-page spreads, this beautiful picture book not only encourages children to stretch, uncurl and spread wide like a tree, it demonstrates how very similar we are (Your skin is bark/protecting what’s within), and shows how our good health is mutually dependant. Glowing illustrations depict a variety of trees, viewed from different angles and perspectives, but always centre stage while human beings, often tiny in comparison, walk or play underneath or climb the branches. The text doesn’t say it outright – it doesn’t need to – but this is a depiction of the world as it should be, one of harmony and community, where we are all reaching for the sun. There’s so much to enjoy and so much to wonder at and learn; the final pages feature facts and information about trees, their anatomy as well as what you can do to help them, and instruct readers too on how to be a tree in their community. This is one of those books that makes you see the world differently.
Winner of the Wainwright Prize for UK Nature Writing 2020 | Winner of the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards for Non-Fiction | Shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2020 | Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2020 | Diary of a Young Naturalist recounts a year in the life of an autistic and highly gifted 15 year old, struggling with school, bullies, moving house and fearing the decline of the natural world whilst rejoicing in it. Dara McAnulty is clearly an extraordinary person and a beautiful and mature writer. His descriptions of his adventures in nature are inspiring for children, but also sure to brighten the souls of many an adult too. The intensity with which nature presents itself to the author is overwhelming, and his ability to share this with the reader is enthralling. It’s a rollercoaster ride being in the head of this young man, but the book has the magic to open our eyes and ears to what beauty is around us each and every day - if only we looked! McAnulty's knowledge of wildlife and nature is simply extraordinary. His autism is a burden but also a super-power, providing him with piercing insight to a world that simply cannot be ignored with all its truth, tragedy and hope pouring out of every hedgerow, pond and dry stone wall. This is a diary which highlights our essential connection with the natural world, the landscape and our history embedded within it - but more importantly, it is also about our futures. Dara McAnulty is on a mission, and if the quality of this book is anything to go by, he will have a huge impact. For many children, this book will be the beginning of a wondrous journey. ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival
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