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Isabel Thomas is an award-winning science writer and children’s author. She has written more than 180 science books about science and nature for young audiences. Isabel has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Awards and won the AAAS Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books 2020.
When she's not writing, you'll find her experimenting, inventing, drawing, exploring and wearing out her library card.
Isabel read Human Sciences at Oxford University, before working in journalism and children's publishing. She lives in Cambridge, where she's zookeeper to three young sons and a primary school governor.
Part of the Very Short Introductions for Curious Young Minds series, The Invisible World of Germs delivers fascinating information in engaging style. Kicking off with a clear explanation of what germs are, and an intriguing history, colourful cartoons introduce us to the different types of germ - bacteria, fungi, protists and viruses. At every stage, readers are armed with terminology through “Speak like a Scientist” features as we discover how germs are transmitted, our natural defences, and the future of germs. Like all the books in the series, The Invisible World of Germs was written in consultation with an expert in the field, and presented in a cute, colourful, compact format that makes exploring the subject a rewarding breeze, with plenty of easy-to-digest infographics, photographs and fun dialogue boxes.
Right from the introduction, which explains that insects are not only the most numerous animals on the planet, out-numbering humans by 1.4 billion to one, but the most important, this excellent information book opens readers’ eyes to the wonders of planet insect. Attractive colour illustrations and diagrams support illuminating text which passes on facts in a way guaranteed to inspire and intrigue young readers as well as to inform them. The section on cockroaches for example, lets us know that while they have a bad reputation for breaking into buildings and spoiling food, they’re also some of the best recyclers in the animal kingdom. The book covers the huge variety of insects that exist, explaining the differences between groups and its author’s fascination with her subject is contagious. A final section encourages children to go out into gardens or parks to observe insects in their natural habitats and, inspired by what they’ve read, lots will be eager to do just that.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2022 Information Books 3-14 | Life is everywhere, we read at the close of this exceptional picture information book, and every page prior is brimming with it, so vividly depicted in Daniel Egnéus’ illustrations that you can almost hear the yapping and gekkering of the fox cubs, their mother’s barks, and all the constant bustle and hum of the natural world. Even in death we see there is life: the mother fox is hit and killed by a car but immediately tiny creatures get to work. As the seasons roll round and winter turns to spring, new life grows again and the particles that made up the fox become something else. Text and illustration together explain the circle of life with an extraordinary clarity while retaining a sense of the sheer wonder of it all. Share this with children who want to know what happens when something dies, or who just want to understand our world better. You can find more wintry & festive stories in our Best Books for Kids this Christmas collection!
With a short, simple but often lyrical text, and through striking, beautiful illustrations, Moth tells the story of the peppered moth, and through that explains evolution and describes the changing landscapes of our world. The peppered moth provides a perfect example of natural selection: some moths are born with speckled wings, some are charcoal black. The speckled markings are most effective as camouflage when moths are resting on pale tree branches, but as the Industrial Revolution begins and trees are covered in sooty deposits from factories and chimneys, suddenly the black moths do better and their numbers rise. Then, as laws are passed to reduce pollution and the air clears, the situation is reversed again, and the number of speckled moths increases. Not only does this encapsulate natural evolution, it also reminds us of nature’s resilience and offers hope for the future. The final line encourages children to go out and observe moths for themselves, something this book will surely inspire them to do.
An inspiring introduction to the life of one of the UKs greatest scientist, Stephen Hawking. When he was still a young man, Hawking was diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease which he knew would disable him and shorten his life. He was determined to achieve all he could despite this and he did. His research into black holes and the theory of the Big Bang was ground breaking and of the greatest importance to all subsequent scientific study.
Ferdinand Magellan, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Dàlia Adillon is a charmingly illustrated biography of a brilliant and brave explorer. Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition to sail all the way around the world. An intrepid sailor and navigator, he encountered lands and creatures that he could never have imagined, and the journey was fraught with danger and difficulty.
Anne Frank, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Paola Escabar is a beautifully illustrated biography of a little girl who became a victim of WWII. Anne Frank was an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times. Forced to go into hiding to escape the Nazis’persecution of Jews in World War II, Anne kept a diary that would become one of the most famous books in the world. Meet one of history’s most inspiring figures in this beautifully illustrated guide to her amazing life.
Charles Darwin, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Dàlia Adillon is a beautifully illustrated biography of a biologist who changed the world. Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution caused both outrage and wonder, and quickly made him one of the most famous men in history. From his five-year voyage across the high seas to 20 years of research, readers can follow Darwin on his adventure to prove a theory that would change the world.
Frida Kahlo, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Dàlia Adillon is a charmingly illustrated biography of a brilliant artist. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who endured great pain and hardship, but used her bright, vivid brushstrokes to express her emotions and reveal her true personality. She created over 50 self-portraits and is considered to be one of the most influential and inspirational artists of the twentieth century.
Amelia Earhart, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Dàlia Adillon is a charmingly illustrated biography of an aviation pioneer. The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart was a superstar of aviation in the 1920s and ‘30s and a pioneer of women’s rights. Her disappearance in 1937, while attempting to fly around the world, remains an unsolved mystery.
Leonardo Da Vinci, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Katja Spitzer is a charmingly illustrated biography of the Italian Renaissance genius. Most famous as the painter who created the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci is also one of history’s greatest geniuses – he was a mathematician, architect, astronomer, scientist and musician… and he even invented the helicopter!
Marie Curie, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Anke Weckmann, is a charmingly illustrated biography of one of the world’s most famous scientists. Marie Curie was a brilliant scientist who coined the term ‘radioactivity’, discovered polonium and radium, and helped develop treatments for cancer. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.
Nelson Mandela, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Hannah Warren is a charmingly illustrated biography of an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist. Nelson Mandela’s journey from political prisoner to president of South Africa is an incredible tale of triumph in the face of adversity. ‘I will not leave South Africa, nor will I surrender. Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days’.
Get ready to take control of the most important time of the year - and create your OWN Christmas! It’s time to take control of your festive destiny, says the introduction to this activity book with a difference. That sets the tone for what follows – bright, really attractive pages full of instructions on how to make Christmas decorations and games, from the conventional (paper chains) to the out-of-the-ordinary (catapult powered sleigh launcher). Good news for parents is that most projects use only scissors, glue, pens and pencils, though there are instructions on turning left-over Christmas dinner into paint! The book is livened up even further by the inclusion of Christmas jokes and quirky information boxes, how and why crackers bang for example, and will provide hours of fun. Andrea Reece
Dark Blue Band - KS2 - 9-10 Years | The award-winning book-banded reading programme from Raintree is precisely levelled to provide a reliable framework, perfect for guided, independent and shared reading. High quality design, contemporary illustrations and photographs ensure the books have real ‘shelf appeal’ to encourage even reluctant readers. A particularly pleasing design feature is the colour banded and numbered bunting on the reverse of the book which enables progression to be visually tracked. The 312 readers currently available are supplemented by comprehensive teacher support, extensive comprehension resources and interactive audio eBooks. A key feature of this programme is that In each band there are there are thematically linked fiction and information books, linked to the curriculum, using much of the same vocabulary for valuable reinforcement and really developing a child’s understanding and comprehension by giving context and background to the stories. The inside front cover of each title usefully summarises the key information: level, word count, text type, new vocabulary, inferential question suggestions and links to other titles.
May 2016 Non-Fiction Book of the Month The planet is under threat, but there are things we can all do to change that says this attractive guide book. It’s full of suggestions for practical – and enjoyable – things children can do to make a difference in their home or local area. There are projects to encourage wildlife for example, ideas for keeping rubbish out of landfill by turning it into something pretty or useful, and some clever gadgets to make that will help your family use less energy. With its clear, attractive design and easy to follow instructions this successfully challenges children to be more eco-friendly while having fun. There’s a useful list of websites offering more ideas and information at the back too. ~ Andrea Reece
Marie Curie was a brilliant scientist who coined the term 'radioactivity', discovered polonium and radium, and helped develop treatments for cancer. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, but her dedication to physics ultimately caused her death from radiation. From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, the Little Guides to Great Lives series tells the stories of the most amazing people from all over the world and across history, with colourful illustrations and fresh design to bring their incredible stories to life.
Did you know that without insects, humankind could not survive? This illustrated, fact-filled title explores the huge variety of insects, with a focus on what makes an insect an insect, the differences between the groups, and why insects are the most important animal group on Earth. Broken down into sections exploring each of the main types of insect, each section takes a different, playfully visual approach to really capture the character of the insects in the order being explored. As well as including practical advice for observing insects safely, a section at the back of the book describes ways to help insects and encourage them into a garden no matter how small.
Air, water ... what else? In What Do We Need to Survive? find out the things that plants, animals and people need to survive. The fiction book that accompanies this title is Survival in the Arctic. Oxford Reading Tree Explore with Biff, Chip and Kipper is a series of paired fiction and non-fiction books linked by curriculum-related topics. Each pair consists of an engaging story featuring well-loved characters and a compelling non-fiction book. These topic-linked pairings will develop and deepen their reading comprehension and foster a love of reading across both text types. This book is one of six titles at Oxford Level 7, which are phonically decodable featuring vocabulary to enrich the texts and support language development. All the books in the series are carefully levelled, so it is easy to match every child with the right book and enable them to progress.
Most famous as the painter who created the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci is also one of history's greatest geniuses - he was a mathematician, architect, astronomer, scientist and musician...and he even invented the helicopter! From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way. Launching with Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela and Amelia Earhart, Little Guides to Great Lives tells the stories of the most amazing people from all over the world and across history, with colourful illustrations and fresh design to bring their incredible stories to life.
Anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist, Nelson Mandela's journey from political prisoner to president of South Africa is an incredible tale of triumph in the face of adversity. 2018 marks a hundred years since his birth. From artists to aviators and scientists to revolutionaries, Little Guides to Great Lives is a brand new series of small-format guides introducing children to the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way. Launching with Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, Nelson Mandela and Amelia Earhart, Little Guides to Great Lives tells the stories of the most amazing people from all over the world and across history, with colourful illustrations and fresh design to bring their incredible stories to life.
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