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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!
June 2022 Book of the Month | When Martha invites us into her wonderful world, she’s too small for readers to see. That’s because the first spread in the book is an illustration of the universe. We zoom in tighter and tighter, as Martha maps out the solar system for us, then Earth, her city, her street until finally we see inside her bedroom and her head. All the way through, Martha is the cheeriest of guides, her maps and cut outs labelled to show us all the most important and interesting things. It’s lovely to look at and Martha’s excitement and enthusiasm for the world around her is catching. It’s also a brilliant way of demonstrating the ways we’re all connected, to our communities and our world. Expect readers to be drawing their own maps as a result.
We are all on Earth but for a fleeting moment, yet no two lives are the same. From the delicate mayfly, which lives for just a few precious hours, to the death-defying immortal jellyfish, this book about animal life cycles is a celebration of creatures big and small. Beautifully written by bestselling children's author Lily Murray, this book explores lifespans across the animal kingdom. Beginning with the very shortest, and ending w ith the longest, learn about the lives of the incredible monarch butterfly, the mysterious axolotl, the grand Galápagos tortoise and many more in this uplifting and eye-opening book. It has never been more important to appreciate and understand the diversity of life. Stunning illustrations by highly-commended artist Jesse Hodgson perfectly capture each animal in their natural habitat, making this the ideal gift book as well as educational.
Emma Carlisle is a famous award-winning landscape artist known for her practice around Devon and Cornwall. As you would imagine from such a prestigious artist this is a glorious book with large illustrations – often deceptively simple in its approach, with very few words per spread. Having said that, this is a book that uses the short, written sections to create a very thoughtful look at nature, particularly trees, and how it can help create empathy, deep nature reflection and self-reflection. Simple questions encourage the reconnection with nature in the widest sense. The artwork is in the many tones watercolour allows - creating a beauty of a book. I was particularly pleased to see the last two spreads that explain simply how trees communicate with other trees in the area, and also the final spread that encourages the reader to become more like a tree – by taking your time, and self-care amongst a whole list of other vital activities. I can see this being a favourite – either just to enjoy the glorious pictures or to use the book as the basis for discussions on how readers could be more like a tree – a wonderful mildly philosophical exercise! The book feels as if it will be quite a large format (300x255) though, as I have reviewed this from a PDF copy, that is not as easy to assess.
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 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.
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.
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.
Knowing how to say hello is one of the most important life skills, and this lively, inclusive board book demonstrates lots of different ways to do it, so that however confident they are, or not, little children will find a method that suits. We see people bumping elbows, saying hello with a wave, a kiss, a cuddle, even a dance. Offering a snack can be a way to say hello, or you can do it with a high five. If you need to do it from a safe place (behind your parents), well that’s OK too. The tone is relaxed and positive, and the busy scenes illustrated are lovely to look at, full of detail and unwritten stories. A welcome addition to any small child’s book collection.
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.
TV scientist Ben Garrod presents the biggest extinction events ever, told from the point of view of evolution's superstars, the most incredible animals ever to swim, stalk, slither or walk our planet. Whether you're 9 or 90, his unique exploration of the most destructive, yet most creative, force in nature makes top level science fun. Here are the superstars of the story of life, from the super-weird to the super-ferocious. Usually a species has 10 million years or so of evolving, eating, chasing, playing, maybe doing homework, or even going to the moon before it goes extinct. Thylacine was super-hunted. Wiped out by humans. The last wild thylacine was shot in 1930, and the last captive one died in 1936. We humans are the only species with the power to eliminate other species from the story of life. But who are the winners and losers? Collect all eight books about animals we have lost in mass extinctions caused by asteroids or mega-volcanoes, clashing continents and climate change.
Megalodon was a unique and terrifying killer, dominating every food chain in the ocean for millions of years, the ultimate prehistoric predator. So what happened to make it go extinct 3.6 million years ago in the Pliocene epoch? Scientist and TV presenter Professor Ben Garrod’s series examines the world’s mass extinctions from the point of view of creatures around at the time, and makes for an absolutely fascinating way of telling the story of life on Earth. Each book in the series is packed with scientific information, well presented through accessible text and lots of colour illustrations by a palaeoartist no less. There are additional contributions from experts, a glossary and – particularly useful – a pronunciation guide. Every book in the series will grab and hold the attention of young palaeontologists, but the story of the ferocious megalodons will be particularly gripping.
A World Book Day 2022 Mini Book | Ever thought making money was just for adults? Or that business was boring? And that inventing stuff was only for super clever people? Think again. Though this book may be small, it’s bursting with big ideas for budding entrepreneurs. From understanding money and looking after it, to the nuts and bolts of setting up a business, making your big ideas a reality and using your cash for good. Don’t have a big business idea just yet? Don’t fear. Being a boss isn’t just about making money. It’s about building confidence, thinking outside of the box, problem solving and being 100% fearless. Which isn’t a bad place to start, right? So don’t leave everything to the grown-ups. It’s time to boss it. Packed with tips and tricks from real businesses and fantastic role models.
‘What is the most important animal of all?’, asks a teacher of a young class after they’ve spent a term learning about animals big and small. They all have different suggestions. George thinks it’s elephants, Nimmie puts forward bees, Seb votes for sharks and Kai nominates beavers. Others namr bats, tigers and even krill. As they make the case for their chosen animals, the children explain just why they’re so important, describing the effect they have on the environment and fellow creatures. Illustrations are perfectly combined with photos, fact boxes and text to demonstrate just how interconnected is our world and its ecosystems. The book provides a wealth of information presented clearly and in a way that will inspire young readers. The final spreads explain ‘keystone species’ and provide a glossary and ‘Find our more’ section. A very impressive and well-thought-out information book.
From its attention-grabbing title to its lively, inclusive illustrations, this is a book which will instantly attract young readers to pick it up and, once opened, they will be completely engaged by this first-rate explanation of genetics. The concept of every individual thing having its own recipe is one that is firmly anchored in what young children can understand from their own lived experience and the facts are quite literally mind-boggling and certainly added to my own knowledge. It had (foolishly) never really occurred to me that we would have genetic links to plants or that a grain of rice could have more genes than a human being. Explaining about “bossy” dominant genes, and what genetic characteristics we share with other creatures and then what percentage we share (99 % with chimps of course) leads to an understanding of how alike we all are- we are 99.9% identical to every other human on earth and yet we are all uniquely ourselves. This is not just an important scientific concept beautifully explained, but, through words and images, it carries the message of understanding, empathy and tolerance for others. An essential addition to school and home libraries.
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