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Isabel Thomas is a science writer who has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize. She writes exciting non-fiction and fiction for children. When she's not writing, you'll find her experimenting, inventing, drawing, exploring and wearing out her library card. Her books include What You Need To Know Now, shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards.
Isabel read Human Sciences at Oxford University, before working in journalism and children's publishing. She lives in Cambridge, where she's zookeeper to three young sons and a primary school governor.
Right from the introduction, which explains that insects are not only the most numerous animals on the planet, out-numbering humans by 1.4 billion to one, but the most important, this excellent information book opens readers’ eyes to the wonders of planet insect. Attractive colour illustrations and diagrams support illuminating text which passes on facts in a way guaranteed to inspire and intrigue young readers as well as to inform them. The section on cockroaches for example, lets us know that while they have a bad reputation for breaking into buildings and spoiling food, they’re also some of the best recyclers in the animal kingdom. The book covers the huge variety of insects that exist, explaining the differences between groups and its author’s fascination with her subject is contagious. A final section encourages children to go out into gardens or parks to observe insects in their natural habitats and, inspired by what they’ve read, lots will be eager to do just that.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2022 Information Books 3-14 | Life is everywhere, we read at the close of this exceptional picture information book, and every page prior is brimming with it, so vividly depicted in Daniel Egnéus’ illustrations that you can almost hear the yapping and gekkering of the fox cubs, their mother’s barks, and all the constant bustle and hum of the natural world. Even in death we see there is life: the mother fox is hit and killed by a car but immediately tiny creatures get to work. As the seasons roll round and winter turns to spring, new life grows again and the particles that made up the fox become something else. Text and illustration together explain the circle of life with an extraordinary clarity while retaining a sense of the sheer wonder of it all. Share this with children who want to know what happens when something dies, or who just want to understand our world better. You can find more wintry & festive stories in our Best Books for Kids this Christmas collection!
With a short, simple but often lyrical text, and through striking, beautiful illustrations, Moth tells the story of the peppered moth, and through that explains evolution and describes the changing landscapes of our world. The peppered moth provides a perfect example of natural selection: some moths are born with speckled wings, some are charcoal black. The speckled markings are most effective as camouflage when moths are resting on pale tree branches, but as the Industrial Revolution begins and trees are covered in sooty deposits from factories and chimneys, suddenly the black moths do better and their numbers rise. Then, as laws are passed to reduce pollution and the air clears, the situation is reversed again, and the number of speckled moths increases. Not only does this encapsulate natural evolution, it also reminds us of nature’s resilience and offers hope for the future. The final line encourages children to go out and observe moths for themselves, something this book will surely inspire them to do.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amelia Earhart, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Dàlia Adillon is a charmingly illustrated biography of an aviation pioneer. The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart was a superstar of aviation in the 1920s and ‘30s and a pioneer of women’s rights. Her disappearance in 1937, while attempting to fly around the world, remains an unsolved mystery.
Marie Curie, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Anke Weckmann, is a charmingly illustrated biography of one of the world’s most famous scientists. Marie Curie was a brilliant scientist who coined the term ‘radioactivity’, discovered polonium and radium, and helped develop treatments for cancer. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.
Nelson Mandela, written by Isabel Thomas and illustrated by Hannah Warren is a charmingly illustrated biography of an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist. Nelson Mandela’s journey from political prisoner to president of South Africa is an incredible tale of triumph in the face of adversity. ‘I will not leave South Africa, nor will I surrender. Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days’.