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Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Mythical monsters have always represented humanity's greatest fears and the environmental monsters in Planet SOS are no different. In all, 22 monsters feature in Planet SOS and each is paired with the mythological beast it is based on. And each monster is accompanied by a Monster Card outlining the big, bad beast's weaknesses and how to use each one to your advantage.
Young children are by nature curious about the world and how everything works, and this highly visual and beautifully designed picture book wonderfully explains some difficult scientific concepts by putting them in the context first of animals and nature and then of daily human lives. It also highlights how much of our learning comes from our senses and the challenge which Invisible Nature takes on so brilliantly is to explain things that we cannot see, feel, touch, hear or smell and yet which are a fundamental part of our everyday life. These include electromagnetism, microwaves, ultrasound, infrasound, ultra- violet and scents ( those that are beyond human perception but not that of an ant or an albatross) The author has declared her passion for presenting ‘ big issues for small people’ and the clarity of the text is well matched here by the colourful and detailed illustrations and page designs which engage and lead the eye through the explanation. One of the most fascinating images is at the end of the book where we see a human body and the impacts upon it of these invisible forces and you can see that some things pass through the body completely undetected – cosmic microwaves, radio waves and electromagnetism from the Earth. The reader will be awed and inspired to learn, for example, about ultra violet lichen which enable reindeer to find food in the dark Arctic winter or the magnetic map that migratory birds hold in their heads or be terrified by piranhas’ use of infrared to detect prey in murky waters. While the use of ultrasound by bats may be familiar it had certainly not occurred to this reader that this was how automatic doors function. This brilliant and enticing information book will attract a wide readership and certainly deserves a place in every library.
From the author of Seeing Stars which detailed all 88 known constellations for older children, this stylish and sturdy book introduces just six of the most familiar and recognisable constellations to the very young. Young children like nothing better than books which invite them to guess what is under the flap and here each constellation is introduced by the line-connected star cluster sparkling against the deep blue background of the night sky. As you read aloud the verbal clues, children are asked to guess the creature and the answer is revealed, with more lines filling in the details of the animal, under the flap, alongside more information about the constellation and its major stars. Flaps can be quite flimsy and often considered unsuitable for classroom use but, in this case, it is a solid full-page fold-out that will withstand multiple uses. Children will definitely be inspired to do their own star gazing and to investigate further. Personally, this has helped enormously to understand how constellations got their names and to see the animal properly revealed. I still wonder, however, at the imagination of the Ancients that first connected those dots!
Read this book and you will see flowers with quite different eyes. That’s its intention, as laid out in the introduction, and one it achieves quite brilliantly. Seventeen flowers are featured, most familiar to us all (dandelion, thistle, poppy, marigold), full colour, full page illustrations opposite a page of text. The text gives us size and appearance, where the plant grows, but also includes bits of history and folklore plus information on medicinal properties and how the plant has been used to heal over the centuries. Fascinating stuff, and you get a strong sense of the author’s expertise and enthusiasm. The illustrations are just as special, stylized, folk-art inspired images of the flowers with figures or birds and insects. Beautiful and mind-expanding.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2020 | Taking a philosophical approach, this is a comprehensive look at the challenging question: What is Time? Having posed the question, author and illustrator Kathrin Köller and Irmela Schautz take readers through the past and present stories, myths and symbols of time from around the world which help to explain some of the mysteries which we all experience. These set the scene for a detailed look at the realities of how time is recorded and counted before closing with a section on travelling through time as in across time zones and in futuristic fantasies.
March 2020 Book of the Month | ‘My body is strong. My body can do amazing things. My body is my own.’ That’s the message for young girls to take from this comforting, uplifting and much-needed self-help guide. Our bodies are unique and amazing, it says, all of them, and there’s no one size, shape or colour that’s perfect. The message is demonstrated via colour illustrations featuring a range of young women happy with the way they look and who they are. The accompanying text reinforces this and also provides self-help tips for those times when you’re feeling down or insecure. There’s a really useful ‘Now What?’ section too full of self-care practices, while the jacket doubles as a poster for your wall, a self-care list for everyday life. It’s been carefully thought out from beginning to end, while illustrator Carol Rossetti’s young women feel like a group of friends cheering you on. “When girls are worried about how their bodies look, 8 out of 10 of them will opt out of important life lessons such as engaging with friends and loved ones. This is a feminist issue.” – Jessica Sanders You can find more books with a strong feminist message in our collection; Work It Girl - Inspiring and Informative Books on Feminism for All Ages
A mindful fall-asleep book | How to calm down at bedtime is a regular problem for busy children and their parents. The words and pictures of this beautiful book link relaxing sleep exercises with an introduction to the wonder of the stars shining in the night sky. Good yoga exercises and breathing techniques are the foundation of this helpful preparation for bedtime. The book also provides a wealth of scientific and mythological facts about the stars which tie in with the yoga poses. Presented partly in words and partly in pictures these provide the perfect support for learning how the exercises help falling asleep.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | This book was designed with bright, curious readers in mind and serves them really well. Author Jamia Wilson was just such a child, never happier than when asking questions about the hows and whys of the world (one of them being why most of the big thinkers in her schoolbooks were white European men). She sets out here to get young people thinking and debating too, posing big questions like ‘is God real?’ and ‘what is the imagination?’. She outlines the beliefs of different thinkers to provide a history of thought – often including quotes and short biographies – but emphasises that everyone picking up the book is a philosopher with equally meaningful, important views. Bursting with ideas, this will start all sorts of conversations and discussions, and open up a world of debate.
Become a leader like | Not only does this lively, smartly designed book tell readers lots about Michelle Obama’s story, it also conveys brilliantly her attitude to life and work, making it thoroughly inspiring reading. Beginning with a description of her schooldays, it lists the family members, people and events that shaped her early life, and the path that led to her becoming a top lawyer and influential First Lady of the United States. Her story reinforces her message that you can do whatever you want if you’re determined, focussed and confident in who you are and what you believe. A fascinating book with something to say to all readers.
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.
March 2020 Book of the Month | ‘Colours are great, let’s celebrate!’ is the message of this big, quirky and really rather gorgeous book. Otto a little cat and his friend Leon the chameleon guide us through colour themed pages – grey, black, yellow, orange, red, pink, blue, green and brown – all of which are packed with objects and characters, all in the relevant shade. You’d be hard pushed to find more eclectic collections: yellow submarines juxtaposed with cheese, emojis, pots of Tandoori and fishermen in yellow oilskins. Everywhere you look there’s something unusual and surprising, as well as intriguing facts and lots of jokes too. Children will spend hours poring over the pages and still find something new, while grown ups will be fascinated too.
(and other lies) Amazing women on what the F-word means to them | Published in partnership with Girl Up, the UN women’s foundation, Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and other lies) is an exhilaratingly empowering anthology of essays by 52 women written in response to the question: what does the F word mean to you? The contributors’ answers are as varied and individual as womankind itself, with the book innovatively divided into sections covering Epiphany, Anger, Joy, Poetry Break, Action and Education, followed by helpful Further Reading recommendations and rousing Last Words essays. Often amusing, and always honest, edifying and powerfully personal, contributors from the world of screen and stage include Keira Knightly, Emma Watson, Lolly Adefope, Kat Dennings and Amy Trigg, while activist authors include anti-FGM campaigner Nimco Ali, Amika George, creator of the #FreePeriods campaign, and Alice Wroe, founder of Herstory. Readers beginning their feminist journey will find Claire Horn’s ‘A Short History of Feminist Theory’ especially useful, summarising as it does the movement’s origins, multi-stranded history and contemporary incarnations. Diverse, empowering, and united by a spirit of sisterly solidarity, these essays are a motivational, supportive rallying call to young women.