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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.
Scientifically detailed and packed full of information, this is a high-level introduction to the exceptionally complex demands of the building of bridges, tunnels and high rise city sky scrapers and how they have been solved. Structural engineer Roma Agrawal has chosen some iconic structures as case studies ranging historically from the Pantheon in Rome and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico which was built on a sucken Aztec pyramid to the great engineering feats of the nineteenth century including the Brooklyn Bridge and the London sewers. Bringing the story of development up to date she has a detailed account of the building of the Shard in London which she worked on! In addition the case studies, there is a mass of technical detail about how to make buildings watertight, stable and strong. From the humble brick to the latest methods of computer modelling everything that has helped man make buildings is included. A book to explore again and again this is also a celebration of great engineers and especially great women engineers!
Written by Tracey Turner and Andrew Donkin in consultation with British Museum experts, A History of the World in 25 Cities is a wonderful concept that’s been dazzlingly executed through exquisite design as Libby Vander Ploeg’s luminously detailed illustrations draw the eye and spark the mind. Presented as a large format hardback, and resplendent with a striking neon cover, this mighty feat takes young readers on a magnificent journey around the world’s most fascinating cities, offering an exhilarating window into history and humankind. “Cities are full of possibilities. They are where big ideas are born, because they welcome people from far and wide.” So explains the lively, thought-provoking introduction before readers are welcomed to embark on a thrilling voyage of discovery through 25 cities, among them Jericho in 8500 BCE, ancient Athens and Rome, rain-forested Benin in the 1500s, seventeenth-century Delhi, eighteenth-century Paris, 1930s New York, and modern-day Tokyo. Each city is presented with fabulous maps and a feast of fascinating facts, with the book rounding off with a look ahead to cities of tomorrow. What a glorious gift-that-keeps-giving this will make for 7+-year-olds who are keen to learn more about the world.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Animal lover, Suffragette, favourite of Queen Victoria, lifelong campaigner – Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was a truly remarkable person and Bali Rai brings her wonderfully to life in this short, but action-packed biography. He writes it in Sophia’s voice as first-person narrative and readers will absolutely feel they are there in the different moments described and will fully understand Sophia’s sense of being caught halfway between two words – the British aristocracy and her Indian homeland. Everyone should know her story and I’d press this into the hands of all young people to inspire them with the sense that you can make a difference to the world, and to let them see through the eyes of this extraordinary woman. Published by Dyslexia specialists Barrington Stoke, this is super-readable to all.
Adapted for a younger readership from the author’s celebrated adult book of the same name, this illustrated history of the Silk Roads, bound in a majestic gold and blue package, is the perfect present for fledging historians. The book’s journey leads armchair adventurers along thrilling, far-reaching roads, taking in the history of ancient Persia, Constantinople, Rome, Attila the Hun, the emergence of Islam, Viking slavery, Genghis Khan, Columbus - and more - from a holistic perspective. “You might even think of the Silk Roads as the world’s central nervous system, linking all the organs of the body together”, the author suggests in the introduction, and his engaging exploration of the interplay between politics, science, religion and trade certainly gives this book far greater tang than your standard textbook. Indeed, generously spiced with exquisite illustrations and maps that inform as they enthrall, young history buffs will undoubtedly devour this pitch-perfect treasure, and grown-ups will get much from it too.
The eye opening and fascinating true story of Lily Parr, Alice Woods and their teammates in the Dick Kerr Ladies Football team are the inspiration behind this engrossing story of football obsessed Polly Nabb, who would much rather kick a ball than stay at home and help her mother, which is the role society expects her to fulfil. As men, including her beloved brother, were sent to fight in the war, women and girls took their place in munitions factories. When Polly sees these women playing football in their breaks, she lies about her age to get a job there too and eventually she is recruited to the famous Sparks team, who were playing public matches to sell-out crowds, but also on the receiving end of public vilification and scorn. Indeed, despite drawing crowds of 50,000, women's football was to be outlawed by the Football Association in 1921, who deemed it 'unsuitable for females'. This little-known fact will astonish modern fans of the Lionesses England team, as will the authentic detail of the dangers of the munition factories and the wider struggle for female independence and respect. This is a very well-rounded picture of life on the Home Front during the First World War, full of fascinating detail and incident, populated by vivid and memorable characters and infused with a real passion for the game of football. A very entertaining and enjoyable read that adds useful depth to any historical study of the period and a salutary lesson for any sexist sports fans!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2021 | Thoughtful and inspiring, Protest! covers the theory of protest – how it works, why people take part, why it is so important in bringing about change – and, above all, the tactics to bring about change that were used in any particular protest. The individual protests are grouped together under headings including: Independence and Resistance which contains ‘Resisting the Nazis’; Rights for Women from ‘Suffragettes’ to ‘Women’s Lib’ and, bringing the subject up to date, Global Uprising including ‘Arab Spring’, ‘Hong Kong’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ and New Grassroots including ‘Extinction Rebellion’ and ‘School Strikes’. In the text and illustrations, Alice and Emily Haworth-Booth make these campaigns from the past vivid. Through their telling of these stories – which they acknowledge are the campaigns that they themselves are committed to -they inspire all those with a cause to support to get involved.
'I'm Proud of Who I Am: I Hope You Are Too' is a series of 15 books by Barbara Woster, for young readers of eight to 12 years. They take the format of a one page 'letter' from a young inhabitant of a country, region or state somewhere in the world, in which they describe unique facts about where they live and share their hopes and aspirations for the future. In Book 5, for example, the areas covered range from Aruba to Wyoming, Japan to Venezuela and each 'letter' is accompanied by an artistic impression of the contributor superimposed on an actual image or images of things that have been described. I particularly liked and related to the page from Izan, a Spanish teenager, who describes the tradition of eating one grape on each of the 12 strokes of midnight on New Year's Eve (which I've tried and failed to do myself!) and La Tomatina, the late August festival of throwing tomatoes at other people, which has always fascinated me. I was very surprised to learn that it only began in 1945. The accompanying picture of the festival and Izan's image also contains a photo of a vet treating a dog, which is his ambition. This book is very interesting and informative but not one to read cover to cover, rather it is insightful, sympathetic and well researched and ideal for reference. It succeeds in it's aim to illustrate that all the differences in the world cannot outweigh our common humanity. Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
In this excellent series, Professor Ben Garrod tells the story of life on Earth through the history of creatures caught up in one of the various mass extinction events, and if that sounds counter-intuitive, it works brilliantly. This book looks at the End Permian, aka the Great Dying, the closest we’ve ever come to completely losing all life. Only 3% of Earth’s marine species survived and trilobites, despite being one of the most successful groups of animals ever, weren’t among them. Though it happened 252 million years ago, Garrod describes it as though it was yesterday, mixing science and drama, and best of all, making clear the scientific discoveries and detective work that has told us what we know. An inspiring book for any young thinker and a must have for young paleontologists.
Like a small worm, but with a head and teeth, and spines, and legs, the Hallucigenia is not something most of us could identify, and no wonder: this little sea dwelling invertebrate went extinct 450 million years ago. It was the End Ordovician extinction that did for the Hallucigenia, along with 85 per cent of species living in the seas and oceans at the time. All this is explained quite brilliantly in Ben Garrod’s book, the first in his new series Extinct. By the end of the book, not only will readers know all we know about Hallucigenia (and how we’ve worked it out), but they will have a really good understanding of extinctions and the Ordovician in particular. In Garrod’s hands, this is absolutely riveting, the book is full of information and scientific ideas, made clear as can be, his inspiring text illustrated with charts and colour illustrations. This extinct worm’s-eye view of the world is exactly the thing to make us understand our planet and our place on it.
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. There is a companion graphic book from Sunbird Books, It's Her Story: Rosa Parks, the hero behind the Montgomery Bus Strike.
This short (44 pages) graphic novel on the life and impact of Rosa Parks – the woman known as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA - packs in a huge amount of information simply and clearly. The author commented she decided that It’s Her Story: Rosa Parks would celebrate a lifetime of activism versus a single moment. And that she would depict late nights, setbacks, and moments of doubt so that children … learn that while change is possible, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to put in the work. This book does just that – it shows with commendable brevity the many sides of the struggles that Rosa and the movement in the USA faced. The story develops as a young girl is taken to see an exhibition by her grandmother – who tells her granddaughter the story of Rosa’s life. The novel is a model of brevity but which packs in the information we all need to know and remember about Rosa and her struggles. Illustrator Shane Clester has produced Graphic novels for Marvel and Nick Jnr, as well as publishing his own picture books. A book that needs to be on book shelves – not only in Black History Month. There is a companion graphic book from Sunbird Books, It's Her Story: Marie Curie, a biography of the trailblazing scientist.
Floella Benjamin’s touching, well-observed and generously un-judgemental memoir is a classic which is a pertinent now as when it was first published 25 years ago. In a simple story Floella recounts her own experience of her family moving from Trinidad to London when she was a little girl. She brings to life her experience in the family’s original home in Trinidad; the brightness of the light, the joy of Carnival and, above all, the warmth of her family. She records the pain of separation as, initially, her parents went on ahead to England leaving her and some of her siblings behind and she describes the difficulties of adjusting to the new country when she finally arrives. It is a smart child’s view of migration which is as valuable now as when it was written as well as a stark reminder of the entrenched prejudices of the 1960s.
A large-format non-fiction picture book that describes the incredible creatures that once walked the Earth, with a lively mix of illustrations, comics and facts. Explore the story of a spiny sea worm without tail or head, a walking fish, a peaceful sea dragon, and many other incredible creatures. Translated by Daniel Hahn
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Over one hundred years since it happened, the story of the sinking of the Titanic still grips the imagination. After all, as David Long says in this new book, ‘almost everything about [its sinking] sounded extraordinary’. Long is a Blue Peter Book Award winner and knows exactly how to describe the events to convey the facts, share the drama, and capture the effect on history. The book explains how the Titanic and her sister ships the Olympic and the Britannic, were designed to be both huge and luxurious, with details that bring this home – the ship was as long as three football pitches, there was a squash court, swimming pool and Turkish baths on its ten decks. There are human details too, such as the fact that passengers took advantage of its state-of-the-art technology to send 200 ‘Marconigrams’ from the ship to friends and family back home. Ably assisted by illustrator Stefano Tambellini, Long relates just how this extraordinary ship sank, but ends by describing the positive changes that came about as a result – new rules about lifeboats and drills, new rules for radio operators, new safety measures for ship design, all designed to prevent future tragedies. Together, it makes for a fascinating record of this unique story and remind us why the Titanic is the ship no-one can forget. Published by dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, this is accessible to all readers. Discover David Long's fascinating Apollo 13 space mission facts!
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