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How? Why? When? What? And Where? Kids are fascinated with the world around them and are like sponges ready to absorb details and statistics - and take great pleasure in remembering all sorts of wonderful and weird facts! This section picks a selection of non-fiction titles - we also have specialist collections on all sorts of subjects including History, Music, Science, Space, People & Places and much more!
The Devonian period is often called ‘the Age of the Fishes’, and of all the fishes, the Dunkleosteus was the scariest and most powerful of all, the apex predator. Huge, with an armoured head, and the fastest bite you can imagine, it ate everything, including other Dunkleosteuses (i?). None of that helped of course when the Dunkleosteus faced a mass extinction event, in its case, it was a victim of the Late Devonian mass extinction, the only one that might have been caused by trees. In the second in his excellent series on extinction, Ben Garrod brings this amazing creature back to life, and explains all that we think happened during the Late Devonian era. This is non-fiction at its very best – completely up to date, packed with information explained clearly and through some excellent analogies, it tells us everything about the period and creature in question, and lots about our own world too. Buy the set!
With this book, you’ll have everything you need to explore the universe, and from the comfort of your own home. It’s full of information on the planets, stars and constellations, together with practical learning activities that can be done in the back garden or your bedroom, from how to make an astronomical torch, to how to take a star trail photo, to how to explore gravity with the help of marbles. You can use the book as a journal, recording your findings as you go, while regular ‘did you know?’ boxes add to the sense of excitement and discover. The design is bright and appealing, with colour photos scattered throughout too, and this is accessible, stimulating and lots of fun.
Like a small worm, but with a head and teeth, and spines, and legs, the Hallucigenia is not something most of us could identify, and no wonder: this little sea dwelling invertebrate went extinct 450 million years ago. It was the End Ordovician extinction that did for the Hallucigenia, along with 85 per cent of species living in the seas and oceans at the time. All this is explained quite brilliantly in Ben Garrod’s book, the first in his new series Extinct. By the end of the book, not only will readers know all we know about Hallucigenia (and how we’ve worked it out), but they will have a really good understanding of extinctions and the Ordovician in particular. In Garrod’s hands, this is absolutely riveting, the book is full of information and scientific ideas, made clear as can be, his inspiring text illustrated with charts and colour illustrations. This extinct worm’s-eye view of the world is exactly the thing to make us understand our planet and our place on it.
There are sure to be hundreds, maybe thousands of books written about the pandemic and its impact, but few will match Outside Inside for insight, power or truthfulness. In 48 pages and less than 500 words, LeUyen Pham manages to describe and explain the events of the last 18 months, how we all moved outside inside (except those who needed to carry on – the doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, hospital porters). The words are beautifully simple; the pictures, a mix of full double page spreads, smaller montages and vignettes, seeming so but full of details, nuance and meaning. In a key moment, a page turn answers the question, ‘So why did we all go inside?’ with, ‘Mostly because everyone knew it was the right thing to do.’ Featuring people from across the globe, it unites us all, no matter how different our lifestyles and, though it’s not afraid to acknowledge loss, it ends on a message of hope: the arrival of spring, inside and outside. A timely, welcome book, composed with immense care and attention.
The Young Cyclist’s Companion is a brisk guide for the aspirant bike rider all the way from choosing a first bike to techniques for wheelies and bunny hops and the finer points of riding in a group. Peppered with inspirational quotes from pro cyclists as well as the likes of Freddie Mercury and Albert Einstein, it includes lots of practical advice on equipment, maintenance and road safety as well as fun facts from the history of bikes and bike racing. Whether you want know how to adjust your brakes to perfection, corner at speed or which side of your helmet straps the arms of your sunglasses should be on, all the key elements of riding and looking after your bike are covered with infectious enthusiasm. At 38 pages long it’s short enough to be easily digestible for young readers and riders but those pages are packed with a surprisingly large amount of useful and entertaining information. Best of all it makes you want to get out and ride. ~ Sam Huby, Bikemonger Read a short Q&A with author Peter Drinkell in World of Adventure - 50 Books to Inspire
You almost know this is going to be a beautiful book by its title. It is described as a Muslim book of shapes, but it is so much more. I have to say I learned a lot from this book and was extremely glad of the informative and helpful glossary. The book offers so much – history, shape and pattern, culture and colour. It is so clever that in addition to the different shapes written about on each page, there are more ovals, or arches to look for in the illustrations, subtly hidden in fabrics and the decorations of the mosque. As with many books for young children the use of rhyming couplets adds a lovely rhythm to the pages, as does the fact that the book tracks a whole day from morning prayer to the night sky. Each page is bright and detailed and all the characters in the illustrations seem to shine with a sense of wonderment as if something magical is happening. There is so much to see and discuss on each page which makes it a perfect book to share.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2021 | Packed full of illustrations, exciting experiments - and even comic strips - That's Life! encourages young scientists to start looking for the living things around them. Life is everywhere on planet Earth. Jungles, deserts, seas, plains, fields and forests - all of them teem with life but, amazingly, you can also find lots of living things hidden in your home, and even hidden inside you!
“Do You Love Dinosaurs?” – surely THE all-important question on the lips of thousands of children, and one to which they will undoubtedly roar in reply, “Yes, I do!”. If you know any such dinosaur devotees, I urge you to give them this fact-filled picture book at the earliest opportunity - it’s a romping, stomping exploration of why dinosaurs are absolutely amazing. Beginning with laying down the ten rules that must be obeyed when it comes to dinosaurs (among them, never turn your back on a hungry hunter, and don’t judge a dino by the speed it can go), the book introduces readers to fearsome hunters, gentle giants, leaf-loving veggies, armoured dinosaurs, and raptors, with a super-cool, double-page-spread devoted to the mighty t-rex. There’s also coverage of how fossils are formed, and dinosaur eggs, speed and the creatures they lived alongside, with loads of exciting information for prospective palaeontologists to absorb on every page.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Over one hundred years since it happened, the story of the sinking of the Titanic still grips the imagination. After all, as David Long says in this new book, ‘almost everything about [its sinking] sounded extraordinary’. Long is a Blue Peter Book Award winner and knows exactly how to describe the events to convey the facts, share the drama, and capture the effect on history. The book explains how the Titanic and her sister ships the Olympic and the Britannic, were designed to be both huge and luxurious, with details that bring this home – the ship was as long as three football pitches, there was a squash court, swimming pool and Turkish baths on its ten decks. There are human details too, such as the fact that passengers took advantage of its state-of-the-art technology to send 200 ‘Marconigrams’ from the ship to friends and family back home. Ably assisted by illustrator Stefano Tambellini, Long relates just how this extraordinary ship sank, but ends by describing the positive changes that came about as a result – new rules about lifeboats and drills, new rules for radio operators, new safety measures for ship design, all designed to prevent future tragedies. Together, it makes for a fascinating record of this unique story and remind us why the Titanic is the ship no-one can forget. Published by dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, this is accessible to all readers. Discover David Long's fascinating Apollo 13 space mission facts!
Inspiring children to protect our planet is an essential part of the fight against climate change and the neglect of our wild and special places. Antarctica is bursting with beautiful illustrations and surprising facts, with nature, history and even geo-politics wrapped up in an entertaining and logical narrative. Kids reading this book will get to learn the importance of research and science to the environment, while at the same time adding to their knowledge of whales, penguins, seals, volcanoes … and of course ice! The stories and pictures also speak to the adventurer within all of us, bringing to life an alien yet magical landscape which in the grand scheme of things has only been recently discovered. My favourite fact is that when you are at the South Pole the only way you can look is north. If only I’d thought about that that when I was seven… Antarctica is a wonderful example of how a book in the hands of a child might just change the world.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2021 | Filled with curious and intriguing illustrations and with an original text filled with unusual and fascinating facts, this handsome, large format picture book takes a completely new look at vegetables. Accompanying each vegetable, or sometimes a pair of vegetables as with a carrot and a parsnip which are similar although they are described as ‘an odd couple’, there is an elegant text telling something of the history of how each one comes to be on our tables, something of how each one grows and something about the traditions about how we eat them. The delights in this book are perfect for sharing for all ages.
March 2021 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | The Usborne Book of the Brain (and How it Works) by neuroscientist Betina Ip is a delightful science book aimed at children aged 5+. It takes young readers on a journey inside the human head to see how the brain works and what it does, looking at the main brain cells (neurons) and their connections. It uses simple terms to explain how we see, think, use our senses, feel emotions, form memories, sleep and make decisions. Using age-appropriate practical examples, such as ‘How do we decide which ice cream to have?’, the book gives young children plenty to talk about with their family, friends and teachers. There are also sections on how to look after your brain and how scientists learn about brains. With its colourful illustrations and packed full of fascinating facts, this book is perfect – and great fun – for inquisitive children (and their parents).