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STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are important to all aspects of our lives, from construction to space exploration, from the digital world to caring for the natural one. Here are 40 quick, easy to access STEM activities that can be done just as easily at home as at school; you don’t need to be an expert to carry them out, and yes, they really do take just 15 minutes. They are all hands on and will encourage curiosity, for example, experimenting with soap bubbles explains tensile structure, Newton’s third law of motion is demonstrated using a balloon and some bits of cardboard, while you can find out about kinetic energy while making a catapult. Practical, fun and instructive.
Three Cheers for Women is a hugely inspirational book for children. It is full of facts, quotes and jokes brought together in a really fun way to ensure you remember them. You may even feel having read about some of these women that one of them was you in an earlier life? Joan of Arc perhaps - the teenage warrior, Florence Nightingale or even Marie Curie - probably the most famous female scientist of the 19th & 20th century. This book could even be the catalyst to what you want to be when you grow up - a pioneer and adventurer, a leader and world-changer, a scientist that finds a cure for cancer or an environmentalist that stops global warming Marcia Williams' much-loved comic-strip style will encourage even the most reluctant reader to enjoy this inspirational book packed with facts, quotes and jokes. So be inspired by these incredible women and think beyond the ordinary.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A beautiful new edition of the first volume in the Surya Trilogy by Whitbread award-winning author Jamila Gavin. India, August 1947: Fleeing from their burnt-out village as civil war rages in the Punjab, Marvinder and Jaspal are separated from their mother, Jhoti. Marvinder has already saved her brother's life once, but now they both face a daily fight for survival. Together they escape across India and nearly halfway around the world to England, to find a father they hardly know in a new, hostile culture...
May 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April & May 2018 Table tennis champion Matthew Syed offers his very best advice on how all children can help themselves to become better at anything they put their hand to. Divided up into stories, visuals, charts and brief inspirational messages Matthew Syed is inspiring and uplifting as he address his readers. He stresses the importance of creating a confident mindset and argues that, armed with self-belief, anyone can achieve amazing things both mentally and physically. A book to browse and revisit again and again for the useful ways it exhorts and coaxes all readers to make the best of themselves. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for April 2018 The Grotlyn by Benji Davies The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Adam Stower Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley The Wardrobe Monster by Bryony Thomson The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | April 2018 Book of the Month | An utterly absorbing novel based on the real-life phenomenon of a group of Zimbabwean schoolchildren claiming to have experienced an extra-terrestrial encounter. With over fifty children asserting that they saw the same spaceship, and the same evil-eyed aliens, American psychiatrists have come to investigate. It could be a form of mass hysteria, but why are all the accounts and depictions so completely identical? How could so many kids tell the exact same lie for so long, and why would they lie? Alongside being gripped by the uniquely mysterious event at the heart of the novel, I was bowled over by the author’s mastery of multiple narratives. The intertwined lives of six young people affected by the encounter are explored in all their brutal complexities, and the novel’s real-life origins will surely draw in more reluctant readers. Magnetic, haunting, and richly rewarding.
A badly behaved little racoon Algernon learns all about manners and why they’re important when he enrols at Miss Molly’s school, and readers will too. Algernon has lesson in listening carefully, in sharing, in being polite and in good sportsmanship, and he realises that having good manners makes life better for him, and for everyone he meets. His day’s activities are illustrated in bright, busy pictures which are great fun to look at, and there’s lots to entertain children in the story too, while the message that manners matter is gently but firmly brought home.
Frances Hardinge creates a brilliant sense of menace in this chillingly dark fairy story . Something sinister, beyond just getting wet, happens to Triss when she falls into the Grimmer. Something that causes her to change in all kinds of ways which her parents don't recognise. Triss can feel the changes - she is always hungry, her hair is full of leaves, her tears are like cobwebs and her sister is terrified of her - but she cannot understand why they are happening. Somehow, Triss has been taken over. She is now a changeling and she needs to search through the underworld of the city itself to find the truth. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Award-winning Frances Hardinge is spellbinding is this hugely entertaining and dramatic Victorian thriller. When Faith’s father dies suddenly she knows she must try to find out exactly what he was hiding in the local caves she had recently visited with him. Discovering the extraordinary Lie Tree which thrives off hearing lies and, in turn, reveals secrets long kept hidden Faith begins to uncover a web of secrets and mysteries that will change her view of the world forever. Faith is a feisty heroine whose courage combined with a determination that girls can be brave and resolute leads to the exposure of much dishonesty and many deceptions. ~ Julia Eccleshare. WINNER of the 2015 COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR and Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. Winner of the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 12 - 16 year old category. The Lie Tree is only the second children’s book to take the overall Costa Book of the Year prize, and the first since Philip Pullman won with The Amber Spyglass in 2001. James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical, this is a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension. It’s not only a fabulous children’s book but a book that readers of all ages will love."
March 2018 Book of the Month Beautifully illustrated and with a touching rhyming text this is another excellent book to give young children a real sense of World War One. Lily, Ben and Ray are childhood friends, spending long summer days playing together in the fields and woods round their homes. They grow up into war however, Ben and Ray sign up leaving Lily at home. Soon she is too at the front however as a nurse at Passchendaele. There she is reunited with her old friend Ben. The story gently demonstrates the extraordinary courage and resilience shown by ordinary people in such a terrible situation, skilfully bringing the past to life through personal stories. There are echoes of the war poets in the text and the illustrations have a timeless feel. ~ Andrea Reece
Mr Shaha's Recipes for Wonder: Adventures in Science round the kitchen table will help families appreciate the wonders of science together. This is not a book just for children, it's a book for the grown-ups too who want to enthuse and inspire young people through science but may not themselves know the answers. Why does the ...? What is ...? How does ...? Why is ...? What are all the parts of a flower? I don't know!... But soon you will. Every child can be a scientist with the help of Mr Shaha's Recipes for Wonder. This is the perfect book to help create a scientifically inclined young mind as much as it is for an already scientifically inclined young mind. A message from the author: "When scientists are asked what inspired their career choices, they tend to fall into two groups: people who claim they always had a drive to understand the natural world (and have stories about how they did experiments in their parents' garages); and those who credit 'a good teacher'. I fall into the latter camp - I took no interest in science until I was about 14, when I finally had science teachers who made me see the joy and wonder in the subject. With my book Mr Shaha's Recipes for Wonder, I wanted to do more than provide the kind of step-by-step instructions you can find in countless other books: I wanted to equip parents with the skills they need to help their children engage more deeply with scientific ways of thinking. I appreciate that some people are turned off science by their experiences at school, while others may be put off by its apparent complexity or lack of relevance to their daily lives. With Mr Shaha's Recipes for Wonder, I'm hopeful that I can help such people to re-engage with science so they can help their own children get the most out of what the subject has to offer. I firmly believe that science can enrich our lives as much as literature, art, or music can, when we approach it in a way that is appropriate to our own needs and wants."
Join a group of school children on this voyage of discovery and discover the answers to lots of questions as well as fascinating facts about lighthouses and how they work. How Does a Lighthouse Work? provides a fascinating journey through the science and history of lighthouses around the world. Through history a lighthouse has been an important, in fact essential tool for sailors to navigate safely and this remains so today in order to protect all sailors from the dangerous coastlines and rocky outcrops out to sea that are found all over the world. Modern technology may have changed the way that lighthouses work but still their USP remains the same: to deliver a light as far as possible to forewarn sailors of potential dangers. This a terrific book to share with inquisitive children and the combination of stunning illustrations and interesting text makes this a well worthwile read both at home and to use in the classroom.
Who doesn’t like playing with balloons and bubbles? Now you can have all the fun and learn about science at the same time. There are 35 different activities in this book, each using a balloon or bubbles and, mostly, everyday household objects as equipment, from dried yeast to bubble wrap. There’s a strong ‘wow factor’ to the experiments, whether that’s making a long snake of colourful bubbles, or pushing a bamboo skewer through a balloon without causing it to pop, and they’re clearly explained with the help of illustrations and photographs. Each activity features paragraphs called ‘let’s investigate’ and ‘inside the science’ which explain the processes involved. Fascinating, informative stuff, and there’s even a chapter on cooking with bubbles – after all, what’s cooking if not science? ~ Andrea Reece
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