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Children enjoy thinking about people of the past, and especially enjoy all the bits that are gory, nasty or just plain mad (that’s why Horrible Histories is so popular)! Whether it's the Great Fire of London, The Stone Age, or WW2 here are a selection of books for every lover of history.
If you could go back in time and talk to famous rulers from the past, what would you ask? Brave animal interviewer and author Andy Seed has adapted his incredible 'tranimalator' device into a time machine, allowing him to go back and talk to all kinds of figures from history! Get to know 10 famous rulers who take time out of their busy schedules to answer all sorts of (very nosy) questions about their actions and unique perspectives. Discover the good, the bad, and the unexpected as each ruler reveals the truth about their lives - and attempts to find out about the future! In this fun and fact-filled book, bite-sized text in a question-and-answer format is paired with engaging illustrations, perfect for reluctant readers and humour-seeking history fans. Featuring interviews with Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Boudicca, Hadrian, Harald Bluetooth, Genghis Khan, Montezuma II and more - plus bonus facts about key events in each ruler's life. Perfect for fans of the Horrible Histories books, this series offers a fun, fresh take on history, featuring true stories from historical figures from across the world. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to talk to animals, check out Andy Seed's Interview with a Tiger and Other Clawed Beasts Too and Interview with a Shark and Other Ocean Giants Too.
March 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | Young readers meet Amelia Earhart in the new book in this lively and inspiring graphic novel series, and what a character she was. If you don’t know much more about her other than the final tragic details – she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 attempting to become the first woman to fly around the world – then this short but information-packed biography fills in the rest brilliantly. It quickly paints a picture of a determined, adventure-obsessed young woman who would do whatever it took to fly aeroplanes and whose courage and determination opened up the way for other women fliers to achieve their dreams. While we encounter other people who helped Amelia on her way, including the redoubtable Neta Snook, who taught her to fly (and drive), it’s clear why Amelia became the poster girl for women in aviation and the quote which ends this story of her life, is as inspiring today as it was when she said the words, ‘Adventure is worthwhile in itself.’ There are some great illustrated biographies of famous figures from history being published at the moment, look out for the Little People, Big Dreams series as well and the First Names books.
‘Shirley Chisholm was one of those people who didn’t look left or right – but just looked straight ahead’ said President Obama of the extraordinary woman whose life-story is told in this inspiring, short graphic novel-style book, and readers will understand exactly how accurate his statement is. Growing up in Brooklyn after a childhood in Barbados, Shirley worked hard at school and college, but still found opportunities for her and other Black people were limited. She set out to change things, entering politics and making a difference locally before winning a seat on the New York Assembly in 1964, only the second Black woman ever to do so. She carried on getting things done, breaking rules when necessary, and taking ‘unbought and unbossed’ as her slogan. She became the United States’ first Black congresswoman and then, in 1972, broke the biggest (unspoken) rule of all: she ran for President. Though she didn’t win, Shirley Chisholm changed the way her country looked at women in politics, and her story, as told here, will prove to today’s young readers that it is possible to change things for the better with determination, hard work and by refusing to accept the status quo.
To celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, here is the story of her life... The Queen is one of the most famous women in the world. But what is she really like? This enthralling story of the life of Queen Elizabeth II is full of photographs and facts that capture the drama and grandeur of her reign as Britain's longest-serving monarch, from her childhood during the Second World War and her coronation up to the present day. Perfect for older fans of Little People, BIG DREAMS
Touching on major moments in the story of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights including the Stonewall Uprising, the first Gay Pride Rally and the dazzling history of drag and the ballroom scene, We Are Your Children is a wide-ranging and inclusive account of a multifaceted movement, with detailed and characterful colour artwork. This book showcases figures from queer history like Harvey Milk, Julian Hows, Carla Toney, Crystal LaBeija, We Wha, Vincent Jones, Marsha P. Johnson, Alan Turing, Sylvia Rivera and many more. From the secret slang adopted by gay Londoners the 60s, to the decades of sit-ins and marches, there are countless fascinating stories to be told: stories of resistance, friendship, love, fear, division, unity and astonishing perseverance in the face of discrimination and oppression.
From one of the nation's favourite storytellers comes this beautifully presented and poetic celebration of our Queen. Inspired by our longest serving monarch, Morpurgo shares how he wanted to celebrate her "constant and reassuring presence in a rapidly changing and unsettling world". Created to tie in with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in June 2022 and accompanied by Michael Foreman's beautiful watercolour illustrations, this book follows Elizabeth's story and brings her incredible reign to life for readers big and small. A perfect gift book and commemoration of the Jubilee, this will be a treasured keepsake for years to come and a great addition to any bookshelf.
Telling the real-life story of Mona Baptiste, a Trinidadian singer who was brave enough to follow her dreams and ambitions across the sea on the Emperor Windrush. With gloriously evocative, almost technicolour illustrations, full of life and movement, we follow Mona as she grows up on Trinidad and her growing passion for singing. She sings at festivals and carnivals and seeing an advertisement for the Windrush sailing, she persuades her parents that this is what would make her dreams come true. In England she started singing everywhere ‘so people would get to know my name’. She sang in clubs, on radio and television and became highly celebrated in Europe. Sometimes life was tough and sometimes she had ‘ to be quite strong’ but this is a very positive inspirational story of a girl who fulfilled her dream. ‘ I wanted to sing for the whole world,/ and I wanted to sing for me,/That’s why I got on the Empire Windrush/ and sailed across the sea’ The rhythmic text is equally evocative, full of the cadences and musical lilt of the Caribbean. Providing a brilliant aspirational role model and a useful support to history and diversity collections, this is published in good time to celebrate Windrush Day on 22 June.
Music can carry the stories of history like a message in a bottle. Lord Kitchener, Neneh Cherry, Smiley Culture, Stormzy . . . Groundbreaking musicians whose songs have changed the world. But how? This exhilarating playlist tracks some of the key shifts in modern British history, and explores the emotional impact of 28 songs and the artists who performed them. This book redefines British history, the Empire and postcolonialism, and will invite you to think again about the narratives and key moments in history that you have been taught up to now. Thrilling, urgent, entertaining and thought-provoking, this beautifully illustrated companion to modern black music is a revelation and a delight.
March 2022 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Here’s another brilliantly presented and engaging book from Kate Pankhurst. Typically accessible and readable, Fantastically Great Women Artists introduces eight inspiring women artists plus one culture-changing female collector (Peggy Guggenheim). They lived at different times and came from different countries and backgrounds, but all these women were talented and ready to stand up to those who told them they shouldn’t or couldn’t be artists. Young readers may have come across Frida Kahlo, one of the greats included, but are much less likely to have heard of Amrita Sher-Gil, Elisabeth Le Brun, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Faith Ringgold, Kathe Kollwitz or Dame Laura Knight. Pankhurst tells their stories through lively text, fully integrated with illustrations which carry even more information and insight, so that readers get a very vivid sense both of the lives of these women and of the art they produced or, in Guggenheim’s case, promoted. We understand the worlds they lived in, just how much hostility they faced, and why it mattered to them to create the work they did. This is so much more than a book about the women featured, it’s about history and art and women’s rights – everyone should buy a copy.
This book was inspired by a teacher who used to play famous speeches to her pupils as she taught them to knit. This is not something I can envisage happening in any schools now – but the inspiration has led to this fascinating book – which has 16 famous speeches (or extracts from those speeches) laid out in such a way as to add huge value to the words of the speeches. Each chapter takes a different speech, explaining the story of who made the speech and why they made it. If the speech was incredibly long (and some were!) the main points are captured here. There are panels explaining the speaker’s message and also how they used the language and their language to emphasize their message. The large glossary at the back helps with any difficult words or concepts. Although the book is arranged in date order due to the clever way signposts are given at the end of each chapter a reader can follow a theme through the book. As an example – starting with the Gettysburg Address (Lincoln) a link to follow the legacy of slavery takes you to Obama’s speech 50 years on from the Selma Marches, then the black history signpost takes you to Mandela’s Statement from the dock and so on backwards and forwards across the whole book. What a genius way of organising a book that is probably better dipped into thematically than read cover to cover! André Ducci’s screen-printed style illustrations make the whole a colourful and inviting book to use. A fascinating book to look at historical themes – highly recommended for class and school libraries, and a useful resource for home learning.
Professor David Olugosa has created this very accessible Illustrated History based on his previously published, bestselling adult versions of Black and British (adult), as well as the Short Essential History (aimed at teens). It is the book he wished he had when he was at Primary school. This version shows us key events in British history that have involved Black Britons – starting with the Romans and working through all the periods of history since. It explores the fact that Black peoples have been integral to the history of this country, as well as the more shameful impacts of the trades in enslaved peoples and the slow progress of the Abolition movement. Olugosa fascinatingly points out that it wasn’t until around 1661 when a Barbados Slave Code was introduced that the distinction between enslaved peoples and the white people became a social issue – to quote “It was around this time that some English people started to think of themselves as part of a group called ‘white’.” The Stuarts have a lot to answer for! The book follows history through to the modern day with illustrations of famous contemporary Black Britons. Each period has several double page spreads as appropriate to the activity of the time. The pages are well illustrated with historical documents, key dates and artefacts as well as depictions of the people discussed. Information highlights and maps are used throughout the book to aid understanding and accessibility to the reader. There is a very useful glossary of some of the less usual terms used to help readers understand what they are reading. This is a wonderful package, well laid out, full of fascinating illustrations and will be a vital book in classrooms and libraries.
The Story of a Home and a Hundred Years of History | Thomas Harding first shared this remarkable story in his Costa-shortlisted biography The House by the Lake - now he has rendered it into a deeply moving picture-book for young readers. With words that read like a haunting fairy-tale, and magnificent artwork by Britta Teckentrup, this is the astonishing true story of the house by the lake.
Relating the remarkable stories of 100 extraordinary women of colour, Maliha Abidi’s Rise is an inspirational, informative showstopper of an anthology. Global in scope and engagingly lively in style, it’s a powerful and beautifully curated testament to trailblazing women of colour from all walks of life, from all fields of endeavour (literature, science, engineering, business, banking, mathematics, politics, law, medicine, human rights activism, sport, art, music, dance), from all corners of the world. What a glorious gift this is to treasure - and draw inspiration from - for a lifetime. Featuring women from over 40 countries, these are pioneers who’ve risen above multiple challenges to have huge impact on the world, whether in the public eye, or behind the scenes. While the book includes seminal icons who are household names (among them Beyonce, Frida Kahlo, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks and Serena Williams), Rise also highlights lesser-known names whose work has had huge impact on our world. Like the women themselves, Maliha Abidi’s writing style is engaging and keenly focussed, and her striking portraits of each innovator are an exuberant, life-filled joy.
This eye-catching book is a compendium of inspiring women who dared to stand up for what mattered to them and to do things that those around them said they shouldn’t or couldn’t. In words and pictures - equally lively and informative – Kate Pankhurst tells fifty true-life stories of artists, writers, doctors, scientists, champions and campaigners. To put them in chronological order (and a handy timeline at the end does just that), she features great women from Hatshepsut, Egyptian Pharoah in 1479 BCE, to NASA scientist Katherine Johnson, who died just last year. Each has a double page to themselves, cleverly laid out to be visually appealing while delivering large amounts of information. Bringing together Pankhurst’s individual volumes but adding new faces too, this is a must read for every young person, and will fascinate their parents too.
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