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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.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2019 | | Sally Nicholls has a rare ability to tell a story from the past by making it both of its time and also accessible for today’s readers. Her characters are always credible people facing up to the great challenges of the day while her details of the period make her settings authentic too. Here, she takes a moment in history when the world was completely changed because of the number of people who died: 1349, the year of the Black Death. Thirteen year old Isobel tells her story, shying away from no details as she describes what she sees as the Plague strikes her family and the whole tight knit community of the Yorkshire village where she lives. Sally Nicholls pulls no punches in her telling of this dramatic story.
Travel back to Ancient Greece to see magnificent marble temples, bustling market places, and to find out about Ancient Greek cities, armies, myths and sport. With lively illustrations, flaps to lift, and links to specially selected websites for more information, this book tells the story of the civilisation that changed the world.
Produced in association with the British Museum this highly illustrated book gives kids a real sense of what life was like in Ancient Rome. It does so by asking them to put themselves in the sandals of their young forbears and compare aspects of their lives – humorously, mainly the worst bits. For example, they’re asked to imagine how horrendous school maths would be if all the letters were numbers, as they were for the Romans – it gives a whole new meaning to long division. There are sections on food, medicine (SO much better now) and family life too plus an index and glossary. Entertaining, accessible and full of information this merits X out of X.
Kate Pankhurst’s picture information books celebrate the lives of some of the world’s most inspiring women and they fill the pages of this excellent activity book too. You can cut out and make butterflies while reading about 17th century naturalist Maria Merian; dream about travelling the world while colouring in balloons and learning about pioneering aeronaut Sophie Blanchard; and detail your characteristics while discovering DNA with Rosalind Franklin. It’s fun and informative, each page offering something different to do and a new history to enjoy. At the back, just before the pages of pull-out stickers, there’s a chance to make a list of all your own hopes and dreams for the future – readers should have no trouble filling the page after what they’ve read. A great activity book for girls and boys too.
DK produces another great book highlighting the journey through the ages, year by year, from prehistoric times to the modern day. In this updated volume covering global events, the timeline takes you from prehistoric times to 2018 and displays the influences, patterns, and connections between the events that have shaped our world.
2018 saw the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and this is a wonderful book to introduce children to one of the most inspiring figures of modern times. The text takes the form of questions from Nelson Mandela’s great-grandchildren Zazi and Ziwelene to their Grandma Zindzi. As she answers them, readers learn about Mandela and his years in prison, why he was arrested, what he was fighting for and the joy there was on his release. They’ll understand the hardships his children and family endured, and how they kept themselves strong. They’ll also take away the word ‘ubuntu’ - ‘I am because we all are’. The narrative puts readers at the heart of the story while Sean Qualls’s evocative illustrations reveal even more about Mandela’s fight for fairness and freedom.
Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Told with crystalline clarity and verve, and fabulously enhanced by the stylish illustrations, this tells the remarkable against-the-odds tale of Katherine Johnson from her days as an exceptional African American schoolgirl whose “boundless curiosity turned her into a star student”. But despite her brightness, ten-year-old Katherine faced the terrible restraints of segregation – as an African American she wasn’t permitted to study at her local high school. As she “burned with fury”, her family determined to get Katherine the education she deserved and so they moved to a town with a high school for black students. Her path to working on Project Apollo required incredible perseverance, but thanks to that, and to her outstanding mathematical skills, the world could count on Katherine to set the moon landings back on course. Shot-through with a rousing sense of Katherine’s determination and dedication to her work, and with her shining mathematical brilliance, this beautiful book deserves to be on the shelves of every space-loving child.
A History of LGBTQ+ Movement | Detailed and full of information - excellent coverage of the topic. From Prejudice to Pride looks at the rise and achievements of the LGBTQ+ movement and the different communities, pioneers and stories of heartbreak and courage that have marched alongside it. Perfect for readers aged 11 and upwards, this book will inspire courage and pride in young LGBTQ+ people and help answer questions for all readers interested in gender and identity.
May 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | Enduringly fascinating and inspiring, the story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Everest is always worth re-visiting. This strong narrative biography matched with atmospheric illustrations brings the two men to life from their childhoods in New Zealand and Nepal respectively to their amazing feat of climbing the world’s highest mountain. Alexandra Stewart and Joe Todd-Stanton capture something about the personalities of the two and the reasons that they felt the need to take on this great challenge. Most successfully, in words and pictures they describe the extraordinary landscape of Everest and the surrounding mountains and in particular the enormous dangers and the unique magic of mountaineering - especially when you take on the challenge of the highest mountain in the world.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | This is the story of life on earth from its earliest beginnings. With remarkable illustrations and a clear and concise text, this is a fascinating and thought-provoking discourse on the huge variety of life that had come and gone before humans ever appeared on earth.
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.
Shortlisted for the Teach Primary Book Awards 2019 | This hilarious and fascinating book written by by award-winning author Chae Strathie is packed with historical facts and brought to life with rich, humorous illustrations by super-talented Marisa Morea. A kid's life in ancient Egypt might sound like fun with all the cool pyramids and glorious sunny weather, but actually it was rather tough! Learn how difficult life really was, from dodging Deathstalker scorpions and cleaning up cow dung, to fetching water from the well, eating roast hedgehog and being slammed in the stocks for being naughty at school! Probably the first book about ancient Egypt that involves bubble wrap and skateboards! Packed with facts and fantastic illustrations, this funny and accessible introduction to ancient Egypt is a must-read for kids with a passion for horrible history Other titles in the series include: Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Aztec Age
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