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Geography is the study of Earth's landscapes, peoples, places, and environments and helps us to understand the world in which we live.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2021 | Until approximately 100 years ago wolves had roamed freely in Yellowstone Park and their existence had shaped the eco-system of that vast expanse of wilderness. But, over the years, hunters killed off the wolves and everything in Yellowstone Park began to change. Elk took over the valleys eating everything they could so many plant species disappeared, bears went hungry and many of the familiar birds flew away. Yellow stone Park was changed! A plan was hatched to put wolves back into the habit making sure that their arrival would only do good. It was complex and daring but, once it had been carried off, fourteen wolves began a new life and the ecology of Yellowstone Park began to change again… Catherine Barr tells most of the story as narrative non-fiction which brings the environment and the animals vividly to life. Further facts are added in an additional, fact-filled section. Jenni Desmond’s illustrations evoke the wild and mysterious background of Yellowstone Park perfectly.
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!
50 Things to See and Discover | Beautifully presented, packed with puns, and shot-through with an environmental ethos, Heather Buttivant’s Beach Explorer is the perfect companion for days at the beach, with fifty activities and oceans of facts that are sure to inspire and astound children and adults alike. Highlights of the practical projects include finding fossils, starfish bums and mermaid purses (yes, you read that right!), and the step-by-step instructions for pressing seaweed and making your own plankton net. What’s more, alongside all the “how to make and find” activities, Beach Explorer is packed with facts that are sure to enliven even the most dedicated of beach bums, from finding out about the world’s largest poo (which, by the way, is the “bright-orange rancid-smelling poo” of the mighty blue whale), to discovering how fish camouflage themselves. The book ends with an excellent chapter on how to “Be a Wildlife Champion” that highlights how “humans are creating environmental problems”. Importantly, the author shares lots of ways young eco-minded explorers can help combat these problems through the likes of picking litter and planning climate-friendly beach trips.
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.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2021 | Hike is a book in which dreams become memories through adventure. It’s a wordless, wonderfully illustrated story of a boy and his father stepping out into wilderness for the day. My own memories of favourite walks with my father are very often just fleeting moments, lasting impressions and scenes which have somehow stayed with me and have no doubt gained colour over the years. Hike is a story about love. Love for the world, love for nature and love for family. Pete Oswald has portrayed adventure in a way that will inspire children and evoke happy memories for their parents. ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival
Calling all young Jacques Cousteaus! Here’s a book to take them bobbing through the oceans, and to introduce them to some of the amazing creatures that live there, and all from the comfort of a cosy submarine. It starts with a splash as a little girl and her dog set off on an epic submarine adventure that takes them from the freezing Arctic Ocean (the world’s smallest), through the breezy Atlantic with its underwater mountains and caves, into the warm Caribbean, across the vast Pacific, and from the busy South China Sea into the Indian Ocean. Caryl Hart’s rhyming text provides the perfect introduction to each ocean, slipping in fascinating facts and drawing our attention to life above and below the waves. Bethan Woollvin’s illustrations are glorious too, every page vivid and distinctive, and with the help of pairs of smiling eyes, she manages to imbue the oceans with their own particular character. A stylised atlas on the final pages lets little fingers trace the route they’ve taken. Oceans of fun and information!
Inspiring children to protect our planet is an essential part of the fight against climate change and the neglect of our wild and special places. Antarctica is bursting with beautiful illustrations and surprising facts, with nature, history and even geo-politics wrapped up in an entertaining and logical narrative. Kids reading this book will get to learn the importance of research and science to the environment, while at the same time adding to their knowledge of whales, penguins, seals, volcanoes … and of course ice! The stories and pictures also speak to the adventurer within all of us, bringing to life an alien yet magical landscape which in the grand scheme of things has only been recently discovered. My favourite fact is that when you are at the South Pole the only way you can look is north. If only I’d thought about that that when I was seven… Antarctica is a wonderful example of how a book in the hands of a child might just change the world. ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival
March 2021 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2021 | A wonderful introduction to how a modern place somewhere in the UK will have been created over the centuries, this beautiful picture book cleverly records the history of a place as it would look from the perspective of an oak tree. Oaks are famous for the exceptional number of years that they live and their permanence makes an interesting contrast to how frequently humans change the landscape. “I first was an acorn, so tiny and round,/I fell from a branch and sank into the ground./ Then as I grew up, I turned into a tree…/ over hundreds of years! So, what did I see?” Taken together, the simple rhyming text matched by beautiful and carefully detailed illustrations offer a delightful history lesson. The book ends with a useful timeline: "What was happening in the world while the oak tree grew?". It comes right up to the present with the spreading of the Covid-19 virus!
Discover all there is to love about our Blue Planet, the stories of its inhabitants, and realise how you can help protect this wilderness beneath the waves. In collaboration with BBC Earth, this illustrated non-fiction book captures the wonder, beauty, and emotion of the landmark Blue Planet II TV series. Find out more about Blue Planet II in this interview with Leisa Stewart-Sharpe and Emily Dove
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2020 | Nature is full of record-breaking adventures which are brought to life in the detailed and dramatic illustrations that fill every inch of the large scale book. Global in its reach, it is a gold mine of information as it takes readers on a world tour of astonishing achievements. There’s the fastest land animal – the cheetah from Botswana, the hottest place on Earth – Ethiopia, The Longest-erupting Volcano – Italy and many more. Across thirty gloriously bold spreads readers will discover wonderful and surprising facts about all kinds of aspects of the planet.
Winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards 2021, Best Book with Facts | A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You is packed with facts, laughs and amazing illustrations you can dive into all day long. Meet your grumpy liver that has to do practically EVERYTHING; your trusty hands that are very, well, handy; the spiky porcupines ready to charge; lonely Mars rovers abandoned on the Red Planet; raging tornadoes ready to rip through the pages of the book and bubbly volcanoes ready to blow. All entries are told in the fun, friendly and informative style of Mike Barfield, and are brought to life by the colour-explosion of Jess Bradley's awesome illustrations.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2021, Best Book with Facts | This highly-illustrated reference book celebrates the incredible achievements of various ancient civilisations, exploring their lifestyles, discoveries and inventions, many of which have influenced modern-day society. A brief introduction outlines how humans evolved from apes several million years ago, and explains that homo sapiens, who originated in Africa, are the only species of human alive today. Maps on each page help children to visualise the location of the different civilisations, while a useful timeline at the end places them together in chronological order. Stylish, full-page illustrations provide a colourful and informative backdrop to the wealth of facts contained within this marvellous book.
A globetrotting Penguin is the young reader’s tour guide as they explore the world and broadening a child’s horizons has never seemed more meaningful or relevant. 28 cities are explored within these pages- each city having its own double page spread. There has a been a commendable effort too, to ensure a good global spread of locations and cultures. Children will love pouring over the detail of the map and images of famous landmarks, museums and galleries and examples of food and culture which really bring the city alive and give a flavour of its history and development. The pages are colourful, but the soft tones mean that the pages do not appear too busy and the clever design and judicious use of text boxes does not overwhelm the reader. Each city has a basic fact box detailing the country, language, currency and population which makes for interesting comparisons. Young readers will also particularly enjoy the fun quizzes and games to test their knowledge and understanding. A valuable addition to classroom collections.
Winner of the Ordnance Survey Children's Travel Book on the Year 2019 | Hand-picked by adventurer Alastair Humphreys, this compilation retells the extraordinary journeys undertaken by his personal heroes. These men and women have ventured into space, oceans, deserts and jungles and inspired Alastair's own adventures. They may do the same for you too.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Maps are endlessly fascinating to children but this book will really open up the world to them. In Prisoners of Geography Tim Marshall reveals how geography has affected civilisations and how countries’ histories – and the lives of their people – have been shaped by the position of mountain ranges, valleys, rivers and coastlines. Take Russia for example: even as it grew bigger and more powerful over the centuries, it’s always been exposed to attack from the west because of the North European Plain, and still is. In another chapter he explains why it’s so important to China that it controls Tibet, and the islands in the South China Seas. By showing the ways geography, history and politics converge he makes complicated stuff – the situation in the Middle East for example – accessible and fascinating. It’s a book to get readers of any age thinking and seeing things differently.
We humans take our domination of the planet for granted, but sometimes nature reminds us that this is an illusion. Tectonics rip open the earth, vast waves sweep away coastal towns, magma spews from volcanoes and hurricanes lay waste to entire countries. This book explores nature at its most destructive. Clear, coherent explanations break down the science behind phenomena including hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, alongside fascinating facts about the biggest and the worst. Informative, accessible illustrations by Sophie Williams make this so much more than your standard geography book.
A Collection of Natural Wonders, Marine Marvels and Undersea Antics from Across the Globe | The 5th title in the best-selling Atlas of Adventures series, that has now been translated into 31 languages, is a highly topical guided tour of marine wonders from each of the world’s five oceans, taking the reader from the depths of the Marianas Trench to colourful reefs, kelp forests, tropical beaches and to seabird’s rocky nesting sites. Each featured animal (and often these are often the fascinatingly less familiar examples) is given a double-page spread with a full-colour backdrop illustrating the habitat with illuminating snippets of text invitingly laid out, including useful maps that show the locations of the animals. A stand-out feature of this series is the humorous writing which instantly engages young readers and makes the books accessible to a wide age group. The beautiful illustrations include some fun oddities too- an octopus playing the violin or a penguin with a bucket and spade, and these are listed at the back for readers to search for throughout the book. A recurrent theme is the the dangers of floating plastic and other pollution which comes together at the end in a spread titled “Oceans in Danger.” With an excellent index this is another great example from this team of an invaluable information resource that is an entertaining and absorbing book which can be dipped in and out of and read with great pleasure. A recommended addition to any school library.
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