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Being an experienced children’s book editor and science graduate, author Jenny Jacoby is perfectly-placed to write STEM-related books that kids will truly engage with. Continuing the engaging clarity of the author’s successful STEM Starters for Kids series, The Encyclopedia of STEM Words is a piece of non-fiction excellence, with 100 key concepts clearly explained, and Vicky Barker’s splendid artwork adding illustrative sparkle. Covering everything from adaptation, AI and algorithms, through to photosynthesis, quantum physics, and zoology, the writing is lively, lucid, and infused with an infectious love of science and technology. With handsome infographics adding to its “pick-me-up” appeal and engagement factor, STEM fans couldn’t ask for a better book to enhance their knowledge and passion. Moreover, The Encyclopedia of STEM Words might just be the book to encourage science-shirkers to discover the magic of STEM, making it a must-have for home and school libraries.
The Power of Women's Voices | International in scope and sweeping in history, Yvette Cooper’s She Speaks compendium gives voice to a dazzlingly diversity of powerful speeches selected on the basis of them being delivered by “women who believe in using words to build a better world, and persuading others to join them as they do so.” The introduction is both inspirational and edifying, with Cooper surveying the hostile landscape women have traversed - and still traverse - while making their voices heard, integrated with personal insights from her career as a Labour MP, Cabinet Minister and Secretary of State.Throughout it’s a joy to the savour the words and wisdom of dozens of seminal female figures, from Boudica’s stirring two thousand year-old polemic against violations of women, to Diane Abbott’s powerful 2019 House of Commons speech on the brutally unjust Windrush scandal. Other British women with political pedigree include the fabulously fierce Barbara Castle (her speech here is an exquisite example of sharp, scathing, socialist-minded oratory), Jo Cox, with her poignant maiden speech as an MP, Yvette Cooper herself, and former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. While it might seem out of place for Cooper to re-amplify the Iron Lady’s inflammatory “ideological assault on the public sector” by including her “the lady’s not for turning” speech, she frames the decision by referring to Thatcher’s mould-breaking persona and indestructible self-belief. Thatcher’s inclusion is also testament to the gracious spirit that runs through the anthology. Indeed, Theresa May’s speech on modernising the Conservative party is also included.Beyond Britain we hear from Audre Lorde, Benazir Bhutto and Michelle Obama; from razor-witted US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nigerian novelist and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and young education campaigner Malala Yousafzai. I was especially stirred by the 1851 speech of Sojourner Truth, a former slave turned activist whose work saw her campaign against slavery and champion women’s rights, and whose words sang for the oppressed. The last words are given to Greta Thunberg because “no one speaks about the future with more clarity or urgency than Greta Thunberg”.“She Speaks, I must listen”, Cooper writes in her introduction and this finely-curated anthology will certainly inspire readers of all ages to pay close attention to the women’s words it shares.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Shortlist Book Awards 2019 | Nominated for the 2019 Kate Greenaway Medal | Take a tour of the oceans in Yuval Zommer’s engaging reference book. It guides us through the seas in the company of the living creatures you’d see there, from the sea turtles and rainbow schools of fish in tropical waters, to whales and tuna, shoreline dwellers and the inhabitants of the deepest, darkest waters. Each page is wonderful to look at, and answers the questions children really want to ask: how fast does a flying fish need to swim to launch itself out of the water? Who does an octopus need eight arms? How long can a seal hold its breath underwater? There’s information too on the danger to the oceans from pollution and global warming, while a page of ‘fishy-phrases’ gives children the technical language to use when describing the animals that live in the sea. A book to inspire and entertain as well as inform.
Tom E. Moffatt has compiled an amazing collection of jokes which is enormous fun. The contents page contains about 25 separate subject categories so there are jokes to suit everyone. I know that my granddaughters would turn immediately to the chapters entitled 'Bare Bum Buffoonery', 'Body Part Puns' and 'Stinky Poo Gags'! Each chapter contains not only jokes but details on why the author has decided to create jokes on that subject and a little snippet of information related to it. I thought the text was extremely well set out with clear spacing and different fonts used for the jokes and responses. The cartoon type illustrations are great fun and match the content well. I also liked the fact that at the back of the book there are details about the author's website and children can become involved by joining his mailing list and contributing their own jokes. I have seen many joke books for children but this is by far my favourite and I shall be ordering copies for my grandaughters. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | 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.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2022 Information Books 3-14 | Critical Literacy Skills for All! We live in an information jungle! Join us to find your way through it with essential critical literacy skills. From spotting fake news to solving mysteries and investigating disasters, you will be able to THINK FOR YOURSELF and QUESTION EVERYTHING!
We humans take our domination of the planet for granted, but sometimes nature reminds us that this is an illusion. Tectonics rip open the earth, vast waves sweep away coastal towns, magma spews from volcanoes and hurricanes lay waste to entire countries. This book explores nature at its most destructive. Clear, coherent explanations break down the science behind phenomena including hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, alongside fascinating facts about the biggest and the worst. Informative, accessible illustrations by Sophie Williams make this so much more than your standard geography book.
December 2019 Book of the Month | Handsomely illustrated this information book is full of stories of adventure and exploration and takes readers to some of the wildest, most distant places on the planet, from the polar regions to the deepest underground caves. Each location is brought to life through maps and the geographical vital statistics but most vividly through the stories of the men and women who were among the first to explore them. Expect to get up close to the Matterhorn, the Arabian Desert and both poles while learning too about the threats to these beautiful places from climate change. Tyler’s striking graphic illustrations make the information even more memorable and there’s a useful glossary too.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Have you ever wondered how a forest gets started? With huge trees growing up close and dense undergrowth covering the ground, their scale is so mighty that it is hard to think that they could ever have been small. Are they man made? Did an enormous giant or a massive business enterprise put them there? In a gentle and elegant story matched by simple, evocative illustrations Who Makes a Forest? helps children explore the multi-faceted ecosystem that sustains the many forests that cover so much of the earth’s surface. From the soil, made from the decay left by tiny clinging plants such as lichen and the insects that feed on them, through the first flowers that grow in that soil and the butterflies and bees and birds that feed off them to the massive trees and shrubs that we see today all stages of forest growth are covered. The book ends with 5 pages of useful facts about forests.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2022 Information Books 3-14 | Have you ever wondered how a forest gets started? With huge trees growing up close and dense undergrowth covering the ground, their scale is so mighty that it is hard to think that they could ever have been small. Are they man made? Did an enormous giant or a massive business enterprise put them there? In a gentle and elegant story matched by simple, evocative illustrations Who Makes a Forest? helps children explore the multi-faceted ecosystem that sustains the many forests that cover so much of the earth’s surface. From the soil, made from the decay left by tiny clinging plants such as lichen and the insects that feed on them, through the first flowers that grow in that soil and the butterflies and bees and birds that feed off them to the massive trees and shrubs that we see today all stages of forest growth are covered. The book ends with 5 pages of useful facts about forests.
With over 150 flaps to lift, this fun maths book will take young learners on a journey via fact families, number bonds and using a number line. It tests their knowledge throughout with cute illustrations, and flaps giving them the answers beneath. As their confidence builds, they are introduced to bigger numbers and puzzles culminating in a super monster board game at the end to test their skills.
Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2021, Best Book with Facts | This engaging non-fiction book celebrates more than 50 incredible inventors from across the globe and throughout history. The importance of imagination and persistence when developing new ideas is emphasised, as well as understanding that failure is part of innovation, as it leads to improvement. Some of the featured designs have changed the world, while others have affected the lives of just a few people, but all are remarkable in their own way. A vast range of exciting inventions is explored, from early modes of transport to items that many readers may take for granted, such as the flushing toilet, television and frozen food. Children will learn that fireworks are thought to have been invented by a 9th century Chinese monk, while a windmill was built from scrap by a Malawian teenager to provide his remote village with electricity. A comprehensive glossary explains unfamiliar terms and a detailed index enables readers to easily look up the many inventions and their creators. Generously illustrated throughout, this is a fantastic introduction to the world of innovation for inquisitive children and may even inspire them to develop their own pioneering ideas that could transform the future.
The author, an acclaimed headteacher, author and international speaker, talks a lot about empowerment and this inspiring read should empower teachers, governors and parents to have the confidence to resist a data and results-driven efficiency agenda from usurping the true function of education. As he says “The human race has not evolved and developed through history because of a focus on efficiency; it has evolved because of our natural-born curiosity and our desire to learn, to challenge, to innovate and to be better”. The 2013 OECD “Skills Outlook” report which he references emphasises that education has to fit young people for a rapidly changing future. He is emphatically child-centred and believes that empowerment extends to them as well. A successful school works in partnership with learners and with the external community it serves but is, in and of itself, a collaborative learning community too. His mantra is “systems and structures change nothing; people do” A school can only be as good as its teachers and for both teachers and students it has to provide trust, security and a common purpose. His thoughtful analysis of what and why change is needed, with examples learned beyond education will provide a sustaining boost to morale for any teacher struggling in difficult circumstances and a timely reminder to those in charge to raise their heads above the parapet and stand up for the future of learning. This valuable read is not a practical how-to guide at all, nor an angry polemic, but rather a genuinely heartfelt plea to put purpose and people over structures and tests. He successfully advocates Ghandi’s challenge: “Be the change you want to be”
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