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April 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | Take an inspiring journey into sixteen very special and important landscapes each of which is brought to life in glorious large-scale illustrations. These set the scene for amazing dramas of nature that are taking place within them. From tropical rainforest to scorching deserts, these protected environments are home to rare and beautiful animals and plants which are shown here in glorious illustrations that display their finest details. While the illustrations will draw the readers in, there is also a wealth of information included in the fact file at the end making this a book that is full of value as well as beauty.
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.
Tara comes up with a big safety idea, but can it save her own skin and can she prevent a fatal crash? The old dressing up box in the attic propels Tara Binns into a new job each time she lifts the lid. She never knows what challenges she will face and we can all enjoy finding out with her. Luckily she is always accompanied on these pacy adventures by Ayesha and Ortez who work alongside her and encourage faith in her own abilities. Her powers of deduction are really tested here by problems on the factory floor and inspire her to think like an engineer. She comes up with a design solution for personal protection, but can she act in time to avert a terrible accident? Each title in this colourfully illustrated, inclusive series progresses to another levelled book band offering more depth and engaging detail to develop readers’ thinking, inference and reasoning skills alongside this inspiring, anti- stereotypical heroine. An excellent choice for the classroom or library. I can see that Tara Binns is all set to be the Mr Ben of this generation and this time we have a female role model! David McKee’s book and TV series no doubt inspired many boys in the 1980’s to reach for their dreams- whatever they may be. But as the WISE campaign for gender balance in STEM professions, which endorses this series from Collins Big Cat, tells us: only 8% of girls go on to study STEM subjects and only 22% of women are employed in STEM careers. Tara Binns could help to change that and inspire girls to open their eyes to their full potential! Each story in this book banded series has a reading guide at the back providing practical support and stimulating activity ideas. There is a full teaching guide and lesson plan available on the website https://collins.co.uk/pages/tara-binns and WISE are providing real life case studies for each of the careers featured. High-Flying Pilot and Double-Quick Doctor are available now and 3 more STEM career titles will follow later in the year.
May 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | Enduringly fascinating and inspiring, the story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Everest is always worth re-visiting. This strong narrative biography matched with atmospheric illustrations brings the two men to life from their childhoods in New Zealand and Nepal respectively to their amazing feat of climbing the world’s highest mountain. Alexandra Stewart and Joe Todd-Stanton capture something about the personalities of the two and the reasons that they felt the need to take on this great challenge. Most successfully, in words and pictures they describe the extraordinary landscape of Everest and the surrounding mountains and in particular the enormous dangers and the unique magic of mountaineering - especially when you take on the challenge of the highest mountain in the world.
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”