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October 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | This book put smell, the Cinderella of the senses, into the spotlight. It examines smelly facts about the human body, some of them really rather disgusting, as well as the power and importance of our sense of smell. It looks at how animals use smell and how plants use it too to attract insects or keep animals away. And it looks at smells and smelling through history before taking a last look at weird and wonderful odours. With unusual facts and information on every page it’s well worth a nose. I was particularly fascinated by the ‘odorous occupations’ highlighted in panels throughout the book and children will be definitely tempted to try out the smelly experiments and activities it suggests too.
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.
The Sky at Night presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock was bitten by the space bug as a kid and does an excellent job of passing on her passion in this inspiring book. She encourages us to copy Einstein in his ‘thought experiments’ and follow her on an imagined journey through space to the very edge of the Solar System. The book features amazing NASA photos alongside full colour illustrations and is packed with up-to-date information presented in blocks of text or via charts and diagrams. It does exactly what books like this should: answering all the questions readers will have, while inspiring them to future journeys of discovery.
Charles Darwin, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Dàlia Adillon is a beautifully illustrated biography of a biologist who changed the world. Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution caused both outrage and wonder, and quickly made him one of the most famous men in history. From his five-year voyage across the high seas to 20 years of research, readers can follow Darwin on his adventure to prove a theory that would change the world.
The Story of the London Underground tells the extraordinary history of the world’s most famous underground railway. Explore Victorian London as the Brunels dig deep under the Thames. Take refuge in the tunnels during World War II and discover which world leader’s bath was found in an abandoned station. Marvel at the famous fossil wall, deserted ghost stations and unusual spiral escalators that are all part of the London Underground’s fascinating history.
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.
This little volume is just the right size to fit into a pocket or backpack and it’s well worth young readers keeping it to hand at all times as it’s packed with advice on ways to be more green. Chapters include ‘Do You Live in a Green House?’, ‘Shopping for the Planet’ and ‘Stop Polluting the Planet’ and after describing the impact of the ways of life we all take for granted, they list things we can easily do to make a difference. These ‘over to you’ sections are practical, do-able and empowering. There’s a list of websites to visit at the end to find out more, as well as Planet Pledges to sign – one for the reader, one for the reader’s family. Accessible, informative and positive, this is a great book for anyone who cares about the future of our planet and highly recommended.
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.
Level 5 - National Geographic Kids Reader | Newly adapted to British English and the Key Stage 2 Curriculum and benefitting, as do all the National Geographic Kids excellent series of readers, from their archive of superlative photography, this Face to Face series gives a fascinating insight into the skills, techniques and routines of the wild-life photographers who capture such wonderful images. Brian Skerry here shares treasured family moments as his 11-year old daughter is befriended by a manatee calf and the reader can share his genuine respect and interest in these gentle and increasingly vulnerable sea mammals. A carefully balanced account shows how manatees have in some cases gained from human developments such as power stations providing the warm water and expanding their habitable areas as well as the obvious dangers caused by pollution and increasing numbers of boats. The reader learns about their worldwide distribution and conservation issues as well as fascinating facts about their, place in myth, legend, history and biology. They are, in fact, most closely related to elephants! At Level 5 the text contains some complex, technical language and varied sentence structures suitable for a confident, independent readers, but the image quality, design and layout will engage readers and support understanding. Research skills are also facilitated with the help of all the correct information text features such as contents page, and excellent index and glossary.
September 2019 Book of the Month | From its dedication to Sir David Attenborough – ‘the most awesome human who has ever lived’ – this brilliant information book strikes exactly the right note, laying out the huge problems we and our planet are facing from plastic but at the same time showing us how we can change our behaviour to really make a difference, while still living a fun and happy life. Author, former McFly and Busted member Dougie Poynter makes sure the tone is friendly and accessible, while keeping a focus on the big issues, and what we need to do about them. He’s invited contributions from a range of scientist and campaigners, who all show that taking action is far more doable than we think. It makes for really lively, stimulating and inspiring reading, the kind of book we all need in our lives right now.
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.
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.
‘In her thirty-three years at NASA Katherine was a pioneer who broke the barriers of race and gender, showing generations of young people that everyone can excel in math and science, and reach for the stars’. That’s President Barack Obama on Katherine Johnson, his quote one of many contemporary sources that bring her extraordinary achievements to life in this concise but information-packed biography. The book covers Johnson’s life from childhood and early signs of her fierce intelligence through to the years at NASA where her calculations helped put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. It’s inspiring stuff, and the book is designed to appeal to a wide readership, with frequent illustrations, diagrams and information boxes. This is one of a number of titles in a well-thought-out new series. For further reading on this theme visit our special feature - 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing.
This exciting title in the Tara Binns mini- series is written by Lisa Rajan. Emerald/Band 15 books provide a widening range of genres including science fiction and biography, prompting more ways to respond to texts. Ideas for reading in the back of the book provide practical support and stimulating activities.
This exciting title in the Tara Binns mini series is written by Lisa Rajan. Sapphire/Band 16 books offer longer reads to develop children's sustained engagement with texts and are more complex syntactically. Ideas for reading in the back of the book provide practical support and stimulating activities.
This vibrant inter-planetary picture book sees mini Mercury, the smallest planet closest to the sun, fulfill his mythical job as a messenger when he warns his fellow planets that a sun storm is approaching. Mercury’s message makes its way to each planet in turn – loving Venus, lively Earth, warrior Mars, giant Jupiter (who “farts a lot”, due to being such a gaseous planet!), singing Saturn, ice-giant Uranus, before finally reaching freezing Neptune. Thanks to Mercury’s thoughtful warning and the planets’ varied ways of preparing for it, everyone stays safe from the storm. The story imparts an underlying message of friendship and support through the entertaining and educational personification of the planets, and the page of planet-themed questions at the back is a great extra. All in all, this is a fun way to introduce 4+ year-olds to the solar system. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador
With the school summer holidays approaching, thoughts turn to activity books and this one will have them dreaming of space even while stuck in the back of the car. There are all sorts of activities and challenges, some based on the solar system, some on our means of discovering it – one particularly lovely spot-the-difference for example features Herschel’s telescope, and readers are given the opportunity to design and draw their own telescope and spacecraft. It all looks absolutely gorgeous, no wonder given that the illustrations are by Christopher Wormell, and will keep them occupied for hours while conveying information that will last a lifetime.
There’s always something irresistible about flaps and lifting them to see what’s hidden beneath and they are put to very good use in this robust and attractive information book. Here lifting the flaps reveals facts, diagrams and illustrations all showing young readers more about our planet, from what’s under the Earth’s crust, to what’s inside a volcano or glacier, to how a tornado develops. It’s clever and well-thought out, an excellent and memorable way of conveying lots of information. Peep through cut-outs on each page make it feel even more fun and interactive.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.