No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
The non fiction books in this section all have a theme of conservation, raising environmental awareness and/or championing green issues.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2021 | A beautiful picture book full of fascinating illustrations that repay hours of close looking, this is also an astonishing fact-filled tour of the amazing five oceans on our planet. Using the turtle as a guide, Catherine Barr gives readers an introduction to the importance of all the oceans to everyone and then looks closely at the special features of each of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Southern Oceans. Here, and in all the further spreads which cover How Oceans Work, Ocean Habitats and Ocean Wonders before a final, heartful section on Save Our Seas, Barr presents all the information in brief, carefully written paragraphs which convey enough to be wholly satisfying without overwhelming readers with too much information. The whole is an inspiring and beautiful book which also carries an important conservation message.
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.
The Magic of Exploring the Outdoors After Dark | Calling all outdoor adventurers who want to walk on the wild side by the light of the moon! While there’s no shortage of brilliant books to inspire and guide nature exploration in young adventurers, Chris Salisbury’s Wild Nights Out is the first nature guide to focus on night-time activities, which gives both the book and its activities a distinct and decidedly magical edge. With a foreword by Chris Packham, this is a brilliant book for grown-ups to use with 7+-year-olds who share their passion for the great outdoors. The text addresses adults, as opposed to chattily speaking to children direct, but with a background in theatre and environmental education, and currently working as professional storyteller alongside directing the Call of the Wild Foundation programme for educators-in-training, the author is well-placed to advise on how to engage young explorers. As for the activities, the book covers a blend of games, walks and sensory experiences, the latter of which form an excellent foundation from which to explore the world at night, with exercises designed to focus and enhance one’s sensory perceptions. Then there are practical activities covering the likes of learning to call for owls, detect bats and understand the night sky alongside immersive theatrical activities, such as hosting nocturnal animal performances and fireside storytelling. With black-and-white illustrations throughout and activities to last the entire summer holidays, this certainly shines an inspiring and informative light on night-time nature.
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
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!
The future is in our hands | This is a book which follows through on commitment – not only is it sustainably produced, but one tree will be planted for every book sold in the UK. It is also a beautifully designed and illustrated book with a carefully thought out structure and page layout to really aid comprehension and understanding. The first section explains the causes of climate change, from greenhouse gases to deforestation, and the combined effect of agriculture, energy production and consumption, buildings and mining. The next section shows the effects on rising sea levels, biodiversity, storms, flooding, heatwaves, wildfires etc. Each spread includes a mix of images, graphic representations, text boxes and conveys a great deal of information in a clear, accessible and engaging manner. There is also a Changemaker feature on every page which gives brief details about a young person affected by these issues and what they did to combat them. The third section “Our Part” shows the individual contribution to the problem and is the clearest explanation I have seen of the carbon footprint of our food, our clothes, our homes, our travel and our stuff! But far from being a depressing book, the last section “ Inspiration” lists more young Groundbreakers and tells us what we each can do and what sort of green futures we can work towards, revealing more amazing ideas getting started than I had thought possible. A detailed and informative glossary ensures this book takes no chances with understanding. This is an outstanding information book which is useful for a wide range of students.
From the bestselling author and rewilding pioneer Isabella Tree, When We Went Wild is a heartwarming, sustainably printed picture book about the benefits of letting nature take the lead, inspired by real-life rewilding projects. Nancy and Jake are farmers. They raise their cows and pigs, and grow their crops. They use a lot of big machines to help them, and spray a lot of chemicals to get rid of the weeds and the pests. That's what all good farmers do, isn't it? And yet, there is no wildlife living on their farm. The animals look sad. Even the trees look sad! One day, Nancy has an idea... what if they stopped using all the machines, and all the chemicals, and instead they went wild? The author's own experience of rewilding her estate at Knepp has influenced conservation techniques around the world that are bringing nature back to the countryside and bringing threatened species back from the brink.
A profound, powerful and moving collection of 100 letters from around the world responding to the climate crisis, introduced by Emma Thompson and lovingly illustrated by CILIP award winner Jackie Morris.
Full of clearly presented facts and figures, plus useful advice on ways they can make a difference, this is an excellent introduction to the climate crisis for young readers. The language is simple and backed up throughout by illustrations making complex issues easy to understand and digest. Broken into five different chapters, the book explains the basics – the greenhouse effect and the danger from burning fossil fuels; introduces the IPCC and spells out why we are sure there is a crisis; talks about what we need to do, and why we’re not doing it faster; and finishes by listing things individuals can do now to make a difference, no matter their age. The conclusion reassures readers that having read the book, they will have the tools to imagine the future they want as well as ideas about how to get it. As always in Usborne’s reliable information books, it directs readers to websites where they can find out more via the special Quicklinks (usborne.com/Quicklinks). A stimulating, informative, expertly targeted, and positive guide to the major issue of our time. This would be good to read in conjunction with Josh Lacey’s new Hope Jones series which looks at climate change and what to do about it through the eyes of a fictional character.
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
Use Your Future to Change the World | Companion to We Are All Greta, Green Nation Revolution sets out impactful steps young citizens of the new Green Nation can take “in the immediate future to shape their destiny and help make the Earth a safer place for everyone”. Rich in data, case studies and strategies for bringing about lasting positive social, economic and environmental change, this is a punch-packing must-read for teen readers who are keen to get more involved with youth-led green movements. After opening with the positive context of how much the impetus for change has grown in the past two years, with an almost ten-fold increase in Climate Strike participants, the authors define the Green Nation as “a state with no entry or exit barriers, in which people are united by a deep sense of responsibility towards the planet”. And the citizens of the Green Nation are the millions of schoolchildren who “think beyond geographical borders and do not see themselves as belonging to a specific country in the world, but to something new and highly responsive”. Whether discussing the circular economy, regenerative agriculture, renewable energy, smart cities, sustainable tourism, or Green Nation jobs (“We do not need superheroes to save the planet; we need engineers, economists, scientists, biologists, environmentalists, architects and designers"), the authors are always upfront with - and respectful of - their young readers. Accompanied by crisp, contemporary illustrations, this accessible, inspiring toolkit for creating true long-term change is smart in style and content.
A Sun Bear in Trouble by Martin D. Hill is a sensitive introduction for young children to the issues of endangered species and their habitats. The author aims to inform his readers and through understanding to instil the desire to care for and protect the animals and find solutions to the problems. The book is illustrated by Iole Eulalia Rosa but since it's about the work of Lesley Small and the Sumatran Sun Bear Team and their efforts to build a Rescue and Conservation Centre, I would have thought that actual photographs of these amazing creatures and their magnificent habitat would have made a more compelling argument. The story tells of Uca, a young female sun bear, who is taken from her mother by poachers. Rescued by the team, she is cared for at a safe location and we watch her as she gradually adapts to centre life. We are treated to a display of endearing behaviours, as well as mischievous antics, until she is ready to be moved to a larger enclosure with her new 'sister', Mei. The fact sheets at the end of the book are useful, clear and informative but seem a little out of keeping with the rest of the book, which is aimed at a much younger reader. All in all, though, this is an enjoyable book and anything that raises awareness of the predicament of today's wildlife and habitats has to be a good thing.
Nothing is higher profile or more topical currently than concern for the planet, making this subject an excellent choice for the next topic to get the highly successful Kate Pankhurst treatment. Continuing her quest to pay tribute to the often-overlooked female pioneers in any field of human endeavour with her mission to provide accessible and engaging non- fiction, Fantastically Great Women Who Saved the Planet does all that and more. Once again, I was struck by the fascinating and diverse choices of the featured women and girls. Some are relatively well-known: such as Anita Roddick who founded the Body Shop and Jane Goodall and her pioneering research and protection work with chimpanzees. But I had never heard of Edith Farkas who discovered the ozone hole in the Antarctic or Mária Telkes and her pioneering work on solar power. Even more inspiring is the evidence that everyone, however humble, can make a difference. Such as Isatou Geesay in the Gambia and her fight against plastic pollution or the Chipko movement in India, village women literally hugging trees to prevent the deforestation of their land and the floods and landslides which would follow. Each double-page spread has accessible paragraphs of text and lively cartoon illustrations and speech bubbles to tell the story concisely and clearly. This visual style is very engaging to young readers and has great shelf appeal. A useful glossary of terms and a page of inspiring calls to action complete the book. Another triumph of information presentation. Highly recommended.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Have you ever wondered how a forest gets started? With huge trees growing up close and dense undergrowth covering the ground, their scale is so mighty that it is hard to think that they could ever have been small. Are they man made? Did an enormous giant or a massive business enterprise put them there? In a gentle and elegant story matched by simple, evocative illustrations Who Makes a Forest? helps children explore the multi-faceted ecosystem that sustains the many forests that cover so much of the earth’s surface. From the soil, made from the decay left by tiny clinging plants such as lichen and the insects that feed on them, through the first flowers that grow in that soil and the butterflies and bees and birds that feed off them to the massive trees and shrubs that we see today all stages of forest growth are covered. The book ends with 5 pages of useful facts about forests.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.