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How? Why? When? What? And Where? Kids are fascinated with the world around them and are like sponges ready to absorb details and statistics - and take great pleasure in remembering all sorts of wonderful and weird facts! This section picks a selection of non-fiction titles - we also have specialist collections on all sorts of subjects including History, Music, Science, Space, People & Places and much more!
May 2022 Book of the Month | Here’s a book parents are going to want to share with their daughters, as it celebrates confidence, difference and everything that makes us feel happy in ourselves. Shelina Janmohamed was inspired to write it by a conversation with her own young daughter and the approach she takes is clear, fun and full of information that young people will find stimulating and useful. She’s open that how you feel about the way you look matters but shows that, as ideas of beauty are always changing, across cultures and time, beauty can be what you want it to be. She introduces us to lots of women, all regarded as beautiful, who challenged conventional ideas of beauty, confident in themselves and their bodies and encourages readers to be the same. She explores the role of social media, enabling readers to look critically at images they are shown and form their own opinions. The text is always engaging and supportive, and the photos and accompanying illustrations by Chanté Timothy amplify the message being delivered. Inclusive, intelligent and inspiring, this is an empowering examination of a topic that has been preoccupying girls for centuries. Shelve it alongside Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be by Gemma Cairney, another invaluable illustrated guide to navigating growing up.
Part of the Very Short Introductions for Curious Young Minds series, The Secrets of the Universe tackles big questions in manageable bite-sized chunks. This colourful, compact book can’t be beaten on the accessibility front as it answers questions like “what is the universe?”, “how big is it?”, “what’s our place in it?”, with “Speak like a Scientist” boxes highlighting key terminology budding scientists will relish adding to their vocabulary. As the book takes us through the history of studying the universe, and explains everything from gravity, galaxies and the lives of stars, to the Big Bang, the infographics, photographs and cartoons make digesting big concepts a tasty delight. And, like all the books in this impressive series, The Secrets of the Universe was created by experts. In this case, the book was written by a doctor of astrophysics in consultation with a Cambridge University cosmologist.
Part of the Very Short Introductions for Curious Young Minds series, The Invisible World of Germs delivers fascinating information in engaging style. Kicking off with a clear explanation of what germs are, and an intriguing history, colourful cartoons introduce us to the different types of germ - bacteria, fungi, protists and viruses. At every stage, readers are armed with terminology through “Speak like a Scientist” features as we discover how germs are transmitted, our natural defences, and the future of germs. Like all the books in the series, The Invisible World of Germs was written in consultation with an expert in the field, and presented in a cute, colourful, compact format that makes exploring the subject a rewarding breeze, with plenty of easy-to-digest infographics, photographs and fun dialogue boxes.
Prize winning illustrator Mini Grey has used her many talents to create this wonderful tour of the development of our planet and all its inhabitants. Our guide in this amazing show is Rod the Roach and he and his insect pals all put on the most amazing stage show illustrating each of the developmental stages of the world. Where the stages’ wings would be there are side panels packed with information, small illustrations, and useful guides to how life might have been. The orchestra pit is where we can see the tape measure which gives us a timeline with lots of annotations, tiny illustrations and notice of when all the ice ages or warm ages happened. This is a visual delight that will have children poring over it as they look at the amazing planet that we live on. Each double page spread has so much to read and marvel at on it, that children will find it engrossing and informative in equal measures. I can see this being a classroom favourite for many years to come. This reader certainly gained a lot more knowledge about microbes than she had ever thought possible - and in such an entertaining way. The last double page spread is a full glossary of all the unusual and difficult terms that readers may not have come across before. This makes it into so much more than just an illustrated book but into a vital information resource for young readers.
Kids love collecting and what could be bigger and better than collecting mountains? The Wainwrights Pocket Log and Tick List is a handsome little book, small enough to pop into a pocket and take up into the Lakeland fells. Conveniently grouped in accordance with the famous Wainwright Pictorial Guides, the pocket log has a dedicated page for each of the 214 Wainwright Fells and kids will love to record details of their walks and keep a tally of their achievements. With a velvet-like cover and gilded pages it has a quality feel and would be a welcome addition to any young walker's Christmas stocking.
TV presenter Adam Hart-Davies turns his attention to some of the key inventions which changed the world. His clear and simple explanations are supported by illustrations including flaps that lift and wheels which vividly demonstrate how toilets flush and the basic principles of the steam engine. Fun to ‘play’ with, this is also a book which will teach each young reader about the machines they use in everyday life - and take for granted.
A Complete (and Completely Disgusting) Guide to the Human Body | This is an information text that will be read with great pleasure and is actually as unputdownable as a novel. It is very apparent that the multimillion-copy selling author and medical doctor has never grown out of his gleeful fascination with the human machine and has a real knack for presenting complex facts both clearly and concisely while making the reader laugh out loud. Similarly, the illustrations by Henry Parker combine accurate explanatory diagrams and zany amusing cartoons, often on the same page. Much of the humour is, of course, derived from the more disgusting aspects of the internal and external body and to making fun of the complicated language and terminology doctors and scientists use, but nonetheless using and explaining all those terms. Indeed the book concludes with a brilliantly educative glossary (and even the jokes are indexed!) A running gag is Clive and the ‘naming committee’ responsible for naming body parts, as is the continued references to the author’s dog Pippin, but always in a way which enhances an explanation or a description and develops understanding. Chapters cover all the organs and systems of the body as well as reproduction, life and death and germs (including COVID-19) and include Kay’s Kwestions (another running gag about needing a replacement Q on his keyboard) and True or Poo sections which answer the sort of questions inquisitive children will be dying to ask and expose the myths, misinformation and old wives tales that you might have heard. He does not shrink from difficult topics or giving unpopular advice – junk food, smoking and drinking really are bad for you and washing your hands properly is important. As genuinely useful as any textbook or revision guide, I would suggest multiple copies will be needed to satisfy demand in any school library.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2022 Information Books 3-14 | This is an information text that will be read with great pleasure and is actually as unputdownable as a novel. It is very apparent that the multimillion-copy selling author and medical doctor has never grown out of his gleeful fascination with the human machine and has a real knack for presenting complex facts both clearly and concisely while making the reader laugh out loud. Similarly, the illustrations by Henry Parker combine accurate explanatory diagrams and zany amusing cartoons, often on the same page. Much of the humour is, of course, derived from the more disgusting aspects of the internal and external body and to making fun of the complicated language and terminology doctors and scientists use, but nonetheless using and explaining all those terms. Indeed the book concludes with a brilliantly educative glossary (and even the jokes are indexed!) A running gag is Clive and the ‘naming committee’ responsible for naming body parts, as is the continued references to the author’s dog Pippin, but always in a way which enhances an explanation or a description and develops understanding. Chapters cover all the organs and systems of the body as well as reproduction, life and death and germs (including COVID-19) and include Kay’s Kwestions (another running gag about needing a replacement Q on his keyboard) and True or Poo sections which answer the sort of questions inquisitive children will be dying to ask and expose the myths, misinformation and old wives tales that you might have heard. He does not shrink from difficult topics or giving unpopular advice – junk food, smoking and drinking really are bad for you and washing your hands properly is important.
Following the enormous success of Kay’s Anatomy, this is another tour-de force of informational writing. Children will be rolling around with laughter at all the gags, including a scribbled commentary from Great Aunt Prunella, who does not approve of the author’s obsession with farting and poo, and the hilarious comic strips and copious illustrations from the talented Mr Paker. But don’t be fooled – they will be learning an enormous amount about how humans came to understand the workings of the human body and how to fix it when it went wrong. Kay obviously relishes the ridiculous theories that abounded from ancient times through to relatively recent history and the frankly bizarre and terrifying treatments that were developed, as well as having a sincere respect for the pioneers who took the science forward. There is a great Doctorography section at the end to remind readers of all the stories they have read in the course of chapters which look at different parts of the body as well as individual sections on Surgery, Infections and Genetics. Each chapter ends with a look at the Future and Adam’s Answers where he explains facts and fallacies too good to miss out! The pioneers of medicine generally have a little feature Five Facts and A Lie about them, so the author is actively encouraging critical reading as he does with True or Poo fact boxes about some familiar misconceptions. He is also at pains to highlight the women who, despite being banned from medicine throughout most of its history nevertheless managed to innovate and discover. In a hugely enjoyable, page-turning read, this librarian particularly enjoyed he fact that the excellent index also contained jokes. Do see if you can spot them!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2022 | Science fiction has long delighted readers with its inventive ideas and incredible technology. Ideas such as time travel, teleporting and the creation of artificial life have always seemed destined to remain a fiction: just something to dream about. Beyond Belief takes a look at how scientists and inventors have been inspired to turn some of these fantasies into reality. They are hard enough to imagine and it is even more remarkable to think that they might one day become part of everyday life.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Discover some of the baby animals that begin their life in an egg. There are turtles, alligators and even a platypus. Stunning art by renowned artist Alexandra Milton combined with her informative text make this a very special and surprising picture book.
This book results from a unique, direct collaboration with children and young people aged from 8-18, where Alex Strick, co-founder of Inclusive Minds, asked them what they would say to their younger selves to inspire, reassure and enthuse them about the future. Their responses have been worked into a truly remarkable text, which follows 14 characters from babies to toddler through to young adults. Each character is brought vividly to individual life by the beautiful, richly detailed illustrations of Steve Anthony and reflects a truly diverse range of different interests, identities and friendships. Each vignette tells a continuing story as they grow and change, and a clever and subtle use of colour enables even very young readers to track their development. The language is beautifully paced and the scenes depicted are absolutely redolent of authentic life experiences. Inspirational, aspirational, reassuring and hopeful, this important book deserves a place in every classroom and will truly allow every child to feel seen, heard and respected.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2022 Information Books 3-14 | Modern Art Explorer is a witty and brilliantly illustrated introduction to modern art for children that takes readers undercover to discover the stories behind thirty famous artworks from the Centre Pompidou's collection in Paris. Modern art has never seemed so exciting!
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.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Award ages 3-6 | I wonder, then, what freedom is. Is it a place? Is it a thought? Can it be stolen? Can it be bought? As powerful as it is beautiful, Freedom, We Sing is a lyrical picture book designed to inspire and give hope to readers around the world. Molly Mendoza's immersive, lush illustrations invite kids into the text, to ask themselves what it means to be free, while lyrical and emotive text is provided by musician Amyra Leon.
This book offers a fun and quirky introduction to famous artists, writers and scientists, via their pets. We learn a great deal about Sigmund Freud for example through the story of his beloved chow chow Jofi, who was present in his owner’s famous treatment rooms for seven years. Similarly, it’s much easier to identify with Isaac Newton once you know about his little dog, Diamond, or Henri Matisse as you learn about his cats Minouche, Coussi and la Puce. Some of the pets of course are interesting in their own right too – the crocodiles Dorothy Parker kept in her bath, or Charles Dickens’ talking raven Grip, who stars in Barnaby Rudge and also inspired Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Raven. There are full page illustrations of each pet and owner and opposite a page of lively, accessible information about the pair and their relationship. Unusual, handsomely illustrated and inspiring.