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November 2019 Book of the Month | Greta Thunberg is the inspiration for this heartfelt and moving allegory. A little girl lives happily in a beautiful forest until the actions of neighbouring giants start to threaten her home and the wild animals who share it. The fictional Greta, like her real-life counterpart, begins a strike and is gradually joined by more and more people until the giants take notice. In this story they change their ways and everyone lives happily. Simply but powerfully the story explains the impact of human activity on the climate and our world, but reassures children that there’s something they can do: within notes about Greta Thunberg at the end is her quote, “No one is too small to make a difference.”
Twenty Inspiring Stories of People Saving Our World | Timely and inspirational, this edifying exposition of twenty individuals who are actively working to save our world will surely chime with a generation of young readers who’ve grown up mindful of climate change and will be acutely aware of – if not also engaged in – contemporary climate activism movements. The familiar names of David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg are covered, with fascinating information about their backgrounds and the pivotal moments that set them on their earth-saving quests. Lesser-known but equally as inspirational figures are presented too, such as Isabel Soares of Portugal who pioneered a scheme to cut down food waste (“beautiful people eat ugly fruit”) and Amelia Telford, a young woman with Aboriginal roots whose clever actions as a teenager - and beyond - brought climate change and the voice of Indigenous Australians to the attention of the Australian Prime Minister. Throughout the tone is – importantly and commendably – engaging and easily readable yet refreshingly grown-up, in that its audience of young readers are never talked-down to about big issues. The book must also be commended for Jackie Lay’s illustrations and its smart design, with pithily inspirational quotes opening each person’s entry. Teeming with heart, hope and humanity, this non-fiction treasure is ideal for reading alone or using in the classroom.
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.
Anne Frank, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Paola Escabar is a beautifully illustrated biography of a little girl who became a victim of WWII. Anne Frank was an ordinary girl living in extraordinary times. Forced to go into hiding to escape the Nazis’persecution of Jews in World War II, Anne kept a diary that would become one of the most famous books in the world. Meet one of history’s most inspiring figures in this beautifully illustrated guide to her amazing life.
Frida Kahlo, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Dàlia Adillon is a charmingly illustrated biography of a brilliant artist. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who endured great pain and hardship, but used her bright, vivid brushstrokes to express her emotions and reveal her true personality. She created over 50 self-portraits and is considered to be one of the most influential and inspirational artists of the twentieth century.
Our World Explained in 12 Simple Maps | Maps are endlessly fascinating to children but this book will really open up the world to them. In Prisoners of Geography Tim Marshall reveals how geography has affected civilisations and how countries’ histories – and the lives of their people – have been shaped by the position of mountain ranges, valleys, rivers and coastlines. Take Russia for example: even as it grew bigger and more powerful over the centuries, it’s always been exposed to attack from the west because of the North European Plain, and still is. In another chapter he explains why it’s so important to China that it controls Tibet, and the islands in the South China Seas. By showing the ways geography, history and politics converge he makes complicated stuff – the situation in the Middle East for example – accessible and fascinating. It’s a book to get readers of any age thinking and seeing things differently.
Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories | Young people looking for inspiration will find it in the true stories told in this book. In punchy, direct text and eye-catching illustrations it introduces 29 young people who have each done something extraordinary and overcome the challenges facing them. Some of them are famous already, their names known across the world: Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg. Other names are less well known but their stories are just as inspirational: Ayesha Farooq, Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot; young Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba. Alongside their stories are tips for readers on how to get your voice heard or, accompanying stories of amazing physical feats, how to push yourself beyond what you think is possible. It’s a book to show just how much can be achieved with courage and determination.
November 2019 Book of the Month | Prepare to explore ten of the most haunted places on Earth in this striking book, and then to learn their secrets ingeniously with the help of coloured lenses. With the naked eye, the huge colour illustrations are just a jumble of lines; enticing, but baffling. View the same pages through one of three different coloured lenses, and suddenly a whole new vista springs into life. The red lens shows the people who inhabited these special places (ranging from Bran Castle, Romania to San Juan Chamula Cemetery, Mexico), the green lens shows us the place and its surroundings in detail, while best of all the blue lens magics up the ghostly and supernatural beings that haunt it. Short, sharp snippets of information accompanying vignettes on the following page tell us more about our discoveries. It’s a treat to explore, deliciously spooky and the illustrations are super stylish.
October 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.
October 2019 Book of the Month | A brief guide capturing the courage and creativity of the exceptional African American author, poet, playwright, and civil rights activist. Maya Angelou used her tremendous writing talent to get her voice, and the voice of millions of other African Americans, listened to as she supported many important causes including the Civil Rights Movement.
An inspiring introduction to the life of one of the UKs greatest scientist, Stephen Hawking. When he was still a young man, Hawking was diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease which he knew would disable him and shorten his life. He was determined to achieve all he could despite this and he did. His research into black holes and the theory of the Big Bang was ground breaking and of the greatest importance to all subsequent scientific study.
October 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2019 | Follow in Greta Thunberg's footsteps and join the global mission to save our planet from climate change. With in-depth text and data, this necessary and timely book will answer readers' questions on what climate change means, what its consequences will be, and what must be done to protect our world.
Interest Age 5-8 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2019 | A wonderful adventure for a little girl who overcomes all her fears and gets an unexpected flight in a hot air balloon. Nick-named Scaredy Cat -Sophie by her sister, Sophie seems to be frightened of almost everything and so gets left out of a family trip to the fair to see a famous balloonist show off the tricks of his trade. Alone after the family have gone, Sophie’s great longing to see the amazing balloonist go up, up in the sky inspires her to overcome her fear and bravely set off for the fair alone. Soon Sophie finds that she too has an unexpected and very exciting trip ahead of her! Based on a story of Sophie Blanchard one of the first female astronauts this is a charming story that will encourage all readers to be brave. High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.
Every young person will have heard of Greta Thunberg, the schoolgirl whose strikes for the climate have developed into a world-wide movement and put young peoples’ voices at the heart of the efforts to protect our planet. This book tells Greta’s story, explaining how a wary, quiet girl from Sweden has found the courage and determination to stand up for what she knows is crucial to the future of every one of us. It’s an inspiring story, and unique to Greta, but it also demonstrates how together we can all make a difference, and work towards the future we want. In addition to Greta’s story, there’s a chapter explaining the science of global warming, notes on what we can do as individuals and suggestions for further reading. This could be the most important book your children will read all year.
This series describes itself as the ‘true life stories of the most amazing people ever!’ and already has several volumes available, including Emmeline Pankhurst and Ada Lovelace. This life story of Malala is both very instructive on the political turmoil that led to her shooting, and in portraying Malala as a very engaging, brave and dedicated young person. It is written in an easily readable text using side panels to explain situations and traditions without interrupting the flow of the biography. It also contains a timeline taking us from 1947 – Pakistan’s independence – right through to 2018. A very useful glossary explains unfamiliar words and a well detailed index all add enormously to the value of this biography. I particularly liked the explanation panel on the mechanics of writing this book (verso title page) – so that readers can know which are Malala’s actual words (in italic) and which are the authors interpretations – vital to students in this world of fake news. The line illustrations add a graphic novel feel to parts of the story – all making this a fascinating, well-written biography that will find a well-deserved place in many classrooms and libraries.
Each of the 15 subjects selected for this collection gets a lively, well-designed, double-paged spread with bite sized and accessible chunks of information about the life and career of each extraordinary individual. These range from the familiar – David Attenborough, Michelle Obama, Nelson Mandela, Mo Farrer etc- to those that were completely new to me and, I am sure, to most young readers! These include Britain’s first female spy- Krystyna Skabarek; Aeham Ahmad, the pianist of Yarmouk and Keiko Fukuda Sensei, who became the only woman to be awarded the 10th Dan in Judo at the age of 98! The illustrations by Annabel Tempest are very effective in capturing both time and place as well as the character and emotions of the individual. Written by a graduate of the Penguin Random House WriteNow scheme, which endeavours to ensure that books and authors better reflect the society we live in, this is a rich resource for KS1 libraries and classrooms. It will support the study of lives of significant individuals in the past and show good examples of resilience and positive role models. It is a book which will be dipped into and read with pleasure but lack of contents or index means that it is less useful as a research tool. But this is an author to watch: one whose evident passion for writing information texts which are set to ignite curiosity in young readers shines through.
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.
This year sees the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, so interest in space exploration will be particularly high. Handsomely illustrated with Chris Nielsen’s bold retro images, and packed with information, Balloon to the Moon will answer all the questions any potential astronauts might pose. It covers the entire spectrum, from mankind’s first attempts to get off the ground via balloons in the 1700s to the space race as it developed in the 50s, 60s and 70s, with revealing descriptions of the personalities involved as well as the technology. It all makes for a fascinating story, and one that will appeal to readers of all kinds. Concluding with a page on space careers and the future of humankind’s exploration of our universe this is a book to inform and inspire.
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.
A self-confessed ‘white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer’ Neil Armstrong became the most famous man on the planet when he walked on the moon in 1969. This concise but information-packed biography provides the background to his life, from his birth in Ohio in 1930 through his experiences as a pilot in the Korean war, to those era-defining small steps on the moon. It also describes in just the right detail the political and technological developments that made the Apollo 11 trip possible. The text is clear and accessible, supported by frequent illustrations, diagrams and ‘Did you know?’ information boxes and it provides both a timeline and index. This is one of a number of books in carefully-thought out new series. For further reading on this theme visit our special feature - 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing.