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February 2019 Book of the Month | Here’s another inspiring, information-packed picture book in what’s becoming something of a series (see also Great Women Who Made History and Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World). It tells the stories of pioneering women who achieved amazing things, often in the face of prejudice or downright hostility from society. There are familiar names – Rosalind Franklin is included – plus lots that are lesser known, but just as fascinating: balloonist Sophie Blanchard for example, and Sarah Breedlove, beauty entrepreneur. Their stories are told through lively, engaging text and pictures, it’s a treat to read. Kate Pankhurst is something of a fantastically great woman herself, and there’s lots for all readers to marvel at and enjoy in this book.
The brilliant new book from Megan Rix, telling the story of Florence Nightingale through the eyes of her young ward. Florence loved cats, and had many during her lifetime. This is the perfect introduction to the Lady with the Lamp for young children, told with warmth, humour and adorable animals.
It’s impossible not to be inspired by this picture book and the great women featured in it: their stories are told across bright spreads, which are enticing to look at, and packed with information all presented in a way that will make readers excited about the remarkable achievements described. It’s a varied line up of subjects, including a scientist, a writer, an athlete, an explorer and fashion designer alongside civil rights campaigner and even secret agent! Each page explains what these pioneering women did, and shows that everyone has the potential to change the world – just follow your heart and don’t listen when people say you can’t do something!
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.
This fascinating book tells the true stories of more than 100 inventive, positive young people who dreamed big and somehow changed the world for the better. It’s divided into seven sections: STEM, film and music, the environment, sports, business, art and literature, and politics. Some of those featured will already be well known to readers, for example, Mark Zuckerberg, Taylor Swift, Malala Yousafzai, but most of the others won’t be, yet all the stories are equally inspiring because they prove that with good ideas, determination and dedication, young people really can make a difference. Best of all it includes practical suggestions on how children can be heroes in their everyday lives. Full colour illustrations make it even more appealing and attractive.
August 2018 Book of the Month | Kate Pankhurst inspires thousands of young readers with her books about the fantastically great women who made history. This book reunites us with those women, including astronaut Valentina Tereshkova, dancer Josephine Baker, and code breaker Noor Inayat Khan – and encourages readers to think more about them while they complete some fun and creative write in activities. There are writing and drawing tasks, a set of postcards to send to the great people in your life, and the book concludes by asking how you will make history, inviting readers to make a list of their own hopes and dreams for the future. Bright stickers featuring Pankhurst’s lively drawings of her subjects make it even more appealing.
A brilliantly accessible, fantastically funny biography in the First Names series all about Emmeline Pankhurst. A strong and inspiring woman who led the suffragette movement which gave British women the vote one hundred years ago! Get to know Emmeline on FIRST NAME terms! First Names is a series of fun, lively and highly illustrated biographies that introduces some truly amazing individuals who lived incredible lives, to an audience of young readers. EMMELINE fought a tough battle to win the vote for British women and inspired others around the world to do the same - find out why she hated school, how she had to take lessons in stone throwing, what she thought when her daughter spat at a policeman and an awful lot more besides. Get to know Emmeline on FIRST NAME terms!
First Names is a series of fun, lively and highly illustrated biographies that introduces some truly amazing individuals who lived incredible lives, to an audience of young readers. And Elon Musk is definitely one to watch - he's a multi-billionaire, mega-brain entrepreneur who's building the world's biggest space rocket and some awesome electric cars too. And those are just a couple of Mr Musk's many projects. Find out what drove him to shovel gloop, how parties helped fund his college years and why he wants to move millions of people to Mars. Get to know Elon on first name terms!
What an interesting and original way to think about important people! This book picks out fifty men and women from different centuries and continents and gives them ‘awards’ for their achievements. Most get very specific awards just for them – Einstein for example gets the Curiosity Award – but there are categories too: the Brilliant Idea Awards recognise Isaac Newton as well as Sejong the Great who created the Korean alphabet. All sorts of people feature from David Bowie and Simon Bolivar to J.K. Rowling and Ana Nzinga. Most are represented with full page portraits opposite smaller pictures showing scenes from their lives. A useful timeline at the back puts everyone in their place chronologically. Here are stories to entertain as well as inform, and maybe to inspire too.
The history of rock is chronicled through forty world-famous artists and groups in this stylishly designed and illustrated book. It begins with Elvis Presley, whirls through the psychedelic 60s and the protest songs of the 70s, then via glam rock and reggae takes us into the punk era, new wave and hip hop, leaving us with Beyoncé and Arcade Fire. It’s clearly a personal choice (Blur but not Oasis? And where are the queens of soul and disco?) but covers a huge range of styles and movements, and gives a real sense of the evolution of popular music. Each artist has a double page and they are represented via stylish, graphic illustrations accompanied by useful captions – dotted lines lead from Bob Dylan’s head to the words ‘Politically engaged’, while Elvis’s hips are labelled ‘provocative’. Fun, stylish and informative.
July 2018 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | 2018 sees 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.
July 2018 Book of the Month | This clearly written visually stunning book will have children jumping in to learn all about a wide variety of topics – history, nature, science, medicine, even philosophy: who’d have thought that holes could contain so much? They are a passion of the author and his enthusiasm spills onto the pages. Whether he’s looking at natural holes, manmade holes, holes in humans (mouth, nose, eyes, bottom), or the ways holes have been described in maths and philosophy, the information presented is fascinating and often dramatic. The painterly illustrations match the text for depth, and are often quite beautiful to look at. Like the best non-fiction, this is full of answers but will leave readers ready to ask more questions.