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Clive Gifford is an award-winning author of over 200 books specializing in engaging and entertaining non-fiction books for children and young adults. His books have garnered much praise and won Children's Choice, NAPPA Gold Star, TES Book of the Year and Smithsonian awards. Refugees was shortlisted for The British Book Awards whilst Discover the Extreme World was on the four-book shortlist for the 2012 Blue Peter Book Award. In October 2018, Clive won The Sainsbury's Children's Book Award for The Book Of Comparisons. He also won The Blue Peter Book Award 2019 for The Colours of History.
With a lifelong interest in geopolitics, ecology and the environment, Clive has authored a number of titles on ecology and global issues for Heinemann, Franklin Watts, Lonely Planet, DK and now Buster Books. Clive has contributed many articles to Encyclopaedia Britannica, appeared on radio and at live events and written hundreds of articles to a wide range of publications. He is based in Manchester.
Is your new book This is Not a Science Book a science book or what?
Ahhh, that would be telling! I can tell you what it is not and that’s a stuffy school science textbook. It is an entertaining activities book with lots of drawing, investigating, colouring-in, project making and puzzling to be done but it does show how all around you, science is constantly happening.
The book is packed with surprising facts and phenomena and activities to scramble your brain with visual illusions and tricks. Why not have a look yourselves, then you can tell me whether the book is out science or about fun or, a lot of both.
Where do you live?
I live in a large three-storey tumbledown house on the very edge of Manchester. It's pretty old - I think it was built in 1906 - and there always seems to be bits of it falling off! It overlooks the Mersey Valley and I can cycle through countryside and canal paths to get to the centre of Manchester.
What do you carry with you when you travel for your writing?
I always carry a notebook and several pens (I am constantly losing pens) to jot down any ideas that spring to mind. I also carry a digital camera or my smartphone to snap pictures and a tiny MP3 player to record interviews. There’s always a pack of Post-It notes in one of my pockets to mark pages of books with useful information to return to, as well.
What is your favourite children's book ever?
That is a toughie! I can give you several favourites if that is okay, starting with the ‘Golden Compass/Northern Lights’ trilogy by Phillip Pullman which I think were truly magical examples of storytelling and David Almond’s ‘Skellig’ which is a truly beautiful story.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Books. No question. Every project I work on needs lots of books to research the subject and gives me the excuse to go to the bookshop and spend, spend, spend! I haven’t counted them but I reckon I’ve got over 7,000 books all littered round my house!
Do you still buy books at shops or do you get all your facts off the internet?
The Internet is, of course, very useful especially for checking and getting the most up to date statistic or snippet but the information on there often only tells a tiny part of the whole story. For a complete picture of how or why something works or more detail, I still think books and magazines are extremely important. I visit bookshops and use libraries all the time. The libraries in my area, Trafford, are excellent and we have an amazing old bookshop over in Sharston which has more than half a million old books!
What would you like to be if you weren't a writer?
Really good question! I really would have liked to have been a rock star but was lousy at playing the guitar. The other job I would have liked was to be a documentary film-maker.
Clive Gifford is renowned for the quality and accuracy of his non-fiction books and has been nominated for, and won, many awards for his books. The illustrations are bright and child friendly making this a great book to dip into or to pore over. The point is made in the book that comparing things is a great way to learn about them, as well as being useful it’s also fun. It’s not often you can see the biggest, tallest and longest creatures on the earth in one double page spread, or how fast different creatures run. It’s no wonder you can never catch your pet cat – they run faster than humans! Still on cats, I had no idea they contained less water in their bodies than dogs! Subjects covered range from changing seasons, to flying high, mighty machines and tiny creatures plus many more. A book I am sure many youngsters will get a great deal of pleasure from, as well as learning lots along the way.
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.
In these challenging times for our planet, children feel a particular pressure to take action. This book offers them the information they need to understand the issues as well as ideas and advice on the steps they themselves can take to improve things. It’s practical and pragmatic, reassuring and inspiring. Written in partnership with environmental charity ClientEarth it’s particularly good on how mass democratic campaigns like petitions can really make a difference, stressing to young readers that individual voices all count. It’s also packed with ideas for things they can easily do now, whether that’s recycling more or growing your own vegetables. The information is clearly laid out and very easy to digest. As Brian Eno explains in his introduction, becoming a Guardian of the Planet needn’t be as daunting as it sounds, especially if we all work together.
Grab your football boots and get ready for the 2018 World Cup in this incredible journey around the globe! Football is enjoyed in every nation of the world by millions and millions of different people. This unbelievable round-the-world adventure is a celebration of the beautiful game that will take you through all of the planet's continents.
Winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019, Best Book with Facts | | A fascinating information book, The Colours of History takes readers to different places at different times to show how humans have used colour in art, politics and trade. They’ll learn how indigo, made from plants that grow in Asia, began to be traded round the world in the 15th century, how hundreds of years later it was used to colour a type of cloth in Nîmes, which eventually became known as ‘denim’. It explains how pink has been regarded as a ‘boy colour’ and a ‘girl colour’, and why, in the US in the early 20th century, margarine was pink. And it describes how the discovery of a new mineral in a Russian gold mine transformed Van Gogh’s paintings. It’s an unusual and vivid way to demonstrate how interconnected the world has always been, and mankind’s endless ingenuity too.
Football crams dynamic action, breathtaking skills and heartstopping tension into 90 minutes of play. It is sport as drama, making heroes and villains out of its players, managers and officials. So says author Clive Gifford in his introduction to this book, which captures all the excitement, colour and drama of the world’s favourite sport. It’s packed full of information on the game, its key people and its history, as well as on tactics, illustrating these with real life examples from teams and players from across the world. There are stats when necessary, alongside Fact File extras, snippets of unusual and often quirky football info. Action photos in colour contribute to the sense of excitement and passionate emotion provoked by football and fans of the game will love this.
There’s a lot more to science than lab coats, test tubes and text books as this stimulating interactive activity book demonstrates. All you need is a pen or pencil to try out the more than 30 different projects contained within its bright pages and children will learn about all sorts of things, from plant reproduction to scientific phenomena such as light and mirrors. There are lots of really fascinating brain-bending puzzles to attempt too – science doesn’t get much cooler! ~ Andrea Reece
Features profiles of over 40 players, including members of the current men's, women's, Under-20 and Sevens teams, as well as some of England's greatest rugby legends. Relive England's most memorable matches, from the men's victory at Rugby World Cup 2003 to the women's at Rugby World Cup 2014. Crammed full of fun activities such as number puzzles, spot the difference and quizzes, this exciting and activity-filled book is the perfect gift for any young rugby fan.
A thrilling adventure in which you the reader decide the route of the adventure, using your knowledge and learning more from the book about robotics and inventions. You may have to sneak past sensors, pull the power on a monster robot and outwit an evil genius to make it out alive and save the day. The Rubik's Quest Robot's Revenge is part of a series of four exciting books. Each one takes the reader on an engaging adventure into the science and maths behind the Rubik's Cube which in 2014 celebrates its 40th birthday. Readers must use their problem-solving skills in a twisting-turning world of toys and puzzles.
Fully revised and updated, this is the perfect gift book for the 2014 World Cup and beyond capturing the triumph and despair of pivotal moments in world football. Includes in-depth coverage of every aspect of football, including rules and skills; fans and the media; managers and tactics. Packed with the latest statistics on the 'beautiful game' this is a superbly detailed reference book for all the family. It also Includes a pull-out 2014 World Cup wallchart to fill in as the tournament progresses.
Packed with facts and figures and handsomely produced, Fantastic Football makes perfect pre-World Cup reading. Everything about previous World Cups – who won, who lost, shock results and highlights about the superstars who created the thrilling moments is told in photos, charts and easy to read fact-filled text. The glossary and index make it easy to use for reference and there’s a World Cup chart to fill in when the great moment comes. Click here to link back to a page featuring all of our World Cup Selections
Hundreds of fascinating facts about the Olympics past and present, both summer and winter are to be found in this terrific compendium that will provide hours of entertainment whilst the Games are on this summer. From triumph and tragedy to details of the Olympic cheats, shocks and surprises as well as detailing the medal maestros. There’s even a special section about the Beijing Games including which 28 sports are going to be featured at the Games. Why not have an Olympics quiz using this book as a basis?