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Are you fascinated to read about people and places? We have a collection of books about famous people, the jobs we do, the cities we live in and the world around us.
‘Shirley Chisholm was one of those people who didn’t look left or right – but just looked straight ahead’ said President Obama of the extraordinary woman whose life-story is told in this inspiring, short graphic novel-style book, and readers will understand exactly how accurate his statement is. Growing up in Brooklyn after a childhood in Barbados, Shirley worked hard at school and college, but still found opportunities for her and other Black people were limited. She set out to change things, entering politics and making a difference locally before winning a seat on the New York Assembly in 1964, only the second Black woman ever to do so. She carried on getting things done, breaking rules when necessary, and taking ‘unbought and unbossed’ as her slogan. She became the United States’ first Black congresswoman and then, in 1972, broke the biggest (unspoken) rule of all: she ran for President. Though she didn’t win, Shirley Chisholm changed the way her country looked at women in politics, and her story, as told here, will prove to today’s young readers that it is possible to change things for the better with determination, hard work and by refusing to accept the status quo.
In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first Black president, and his fight for equality. Little Nelson's given name was Rolihlahla, which means 'troublemaker' in Xhosa, his native language. But his rebellious nature would lead him to become one of the world's most inspirational civil rights leaders and anti-apartheid revolutionaries. Despite the many years of imprisonment and adversity he faced, Nelson remained firm in his mission to end the racist system of apartheid in South Africa. His bravery and resilience was rewarded when he was released from prison and later voted in to become South Africa's first Black president. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist turned president's life. Little People, BIG DREAMS is a bestselling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardback versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Matching games and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children . Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!
This book was inspired by a teacher who used to play famous speeches to her pupils as she taught them to knit. This is not something I can envisage happening in any schools now – but the inspiration has led to this fascinating book – which has 16 famous speeches (or extracts from those speeches) laid out in such a way as to add huge value to the words of the speeches. Each chapter takes a different speech, explaining the story of who made the speech and why they made it. If the speech was incredibly long (and some were!) the main points are captured here. There are panels explaining the speaker’s message and also how they used the language and their language to emphasize their message. The large glossary at the back helps with any difficult words or concepts. Although the book is arranged in date order due to the clever way signposts are given at the end of each chapter a reader can follow a theme through the book. As an example – starting with the Gettysburg Address (Lincoln) a link to follow the legacy of slavery takes you to Obama’s speech 50 years on from the Selma Marches, then the black history signpost takes you to Mandela’s Statement from the dock and so on backwards and forwards across the whole book. What a genius way of organising a book that is probably better dipped into thematically than read cover to cover! André Ducci’s screen-printed style illustrations make the whole a colourful and inviting book to use. A fascinating book to look at historical themes – highly recommended for class and school libraries, and a useful resource for home learning.
January 2022 Book of the Month | What a charming, and wonderfully practical how-to book this is. A junior ballerina provides all sorts of advice and information to her peers, from how to style your hair in a bun (NB it’s quite hard if you’ve recently cut it yourself), to the first steps you’ll learn, to what your teacher means by straight legs. It’s no-nonsense stuff, second position is dismissed as ‘boring’, though fourth position gets the thumbs up, and she warns us not to treat the barre as monkey bars, unless you want to spend time in the thinking corner. We’re left in no doubt though how much this little girl loves ballet and her last bit of advice is perfect, ‘if you’re dancing and your heart feels like it’s flying, you will know for sure that you’re a real ballerina.’ The text is full of humour and character, as are Jenny Løvlie’s gorgeous illustrations, and together they also capture the grace of ballet. This is a book to entertain and inspire all young ballerinas, and to make their parents smile in recognition too.
Professor David Olugosa has created this very accessible Illustrated History based on his previously published, bestselling adult versions of Black and British (adult), as well as the Short Essential History (aimed at teens). It is the book he wished he had when he was at Primary school. This version shows us key events in British history that have involved Black Britons – starting with the Romans and working through all the periods of history since. It explores the fact that Black peoples have been integral to the history of this country, as well as the more shameful impacts of the trades in enslaved peoples and the slow progress of the Abolition movement. Olugosa fascinatingly points out that it wasn’t until around 1661 when a Barbados Slave Code was introduced that the distinction between enslaved peoples and the white people became a social issue – to quote “It was around this time that some English people started to think of themselves as part of a group called ‘white’.” The Stuarts have a lot to answer for! The book follows history through to the modern day with illustrations of famous contemporary Black Britons. Each period has several double page spreads as appropriate to the activity of the time. The pages are well illustrated with historical documents, key dates and artefacts as well as depictions of the people discussed. Information highlights and maps are used throughout the book to aid understanding and accessibility to the reader. There is a very useful glossary of some of the less usual terms used to help readers understand what they are reading. This is a wonderful package, well laid out, full of fascinating illustrations and will be a vital book in classrooms and libraries.
November 2021 Graphic Novel of the Month | Even young readers who haven’t heard of Dolly Parton can’t fail to be excited and inspired by her rags to riches story. In full colour, graphic novel style format, this describes her life from her early days, growing up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, in a house with no electricity or running water, to her eventual world superstardom as a singer, film star and literacy campaigner. It gives a real sense of the struggles she had to face, and how she overcame them through talent, hard work and determination – never losing hope or good humour. Parton’s personality shines out as brightly as her costumes, the final pages describing her charity work, and her special ability to connect with people and help them make their dreams come true.
The Story of a Home and a Hundred Years of History | Thomas Harding first shared this remarkable story in his Costa-shortlisted biography The House by the Lake - now he has rendered it into a deeply moving picture-book for young readers. With words that read like a haunting fairy-tale, and magnificent artwork by Britta Teckentrup, this is the astonishing true story of the house by the lake.
Relating the remarkable stories of 100 extraordinary women of colour, Maliha Abidi’s Rise is an inspirational, informative showstopper of an anthology. Global in scope and engagingly lively in style, it’s a powerful and beautifully curated testament to trailblazing women of colour from all walks of life, from all fields of endeavour (literature, science, engineering, business, banking, mathematics, politics, law, medicine, human rights activism, sport, art, music, dance), from all corners of the world. What a glorious gift this is to treasure - and draw inspiration from - for a lifetime. Featuring women from over 40 countries, these are pioneers who’ve risen above multiple challenges to have huge impact on the world, whether in the public eye, or behind the scenes. While the book includes seminal icons who are household names (among them Beyonce, Frida Kahlo, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks and Serena Williams), Rise also highlights lesser-known names whose work has had huge impact on our world. Like the women themselves, Maliha Abidi’s writing style is engaging and keenly focussed, and her striking portraits of each innovator are an exuberant, life-filled joy.
October 2021 Book of the Month | It’s a big world out there and when you’re little it’s difficult to know where to start. The World Book makes it easy. It's a fantastic resource for young minds to get their heads around the customs, symbols, histories and … well, identities of the 199 countries explored within. The Contents page is sub-titled “Where do you want to go today?”, and that’s just what you do - pick a country, head to the page, and within ten minutes you’ve very easily built an accurate picture of a faraway place that one day you may just be lucky enough to visit. You couldn’t give a book such a big title as this without making it a substantial thing to hold. The World Book doesn’t disappoint and is reminiscent of some of the hefty picture atlases that used to lie around my house when I was a kid. There is a little mapping but more helpful are the abundant colourful illustrations that portray each nation. Dig a little deeper and the detailed short paragraphs that zoom in on particular facts and figures provide substance to the uniqueness of the place. The book is very accessible and punchy and I particularly liked its sense of equality and the way in which it is not dominated by the bigger nations. Sierra Leone, for example, enjoys as much space as Greece, and there is as much to learn about Canada as there is the USA. The World Book is a triumph in how it neatly and simply explains the world - even to an oldie like me! It seems there are still countries out there I’ve never even heard of...
This eye-catching book is a compendium of inspiring women who dared to stand up for what mattered to them and to do things that those around them said they shouldn’t or couldn’t. In words and pictures - equally lively and informative – Kate Pankhurst tells fifty true-life stories of artists, writers, doctors, scientists, champions and campaigners. To put them in chronological order (and a handy timeline at the end does just that), she features great women from Hatshepsut, Egyptian Pharoah in 1479 BCE, to NASA scientist Katherine Johnson, who died just last year. Each has a double page to themselves, cleverly laid out to be visually appealing while delivering large amounts of information. Bringing together Pankhurst’s individual volumes but adding new faces too, this is a must read for every young person, and will fascinate their parents too.
There are so many beautiful and interesting books about Earth, that you tend to think you have seen all the pictures, watched all the programmes, read all the books, but when you read this book, you will realise you haven’t even touched the sides. It is a wonderfully eye-popping book. Separated into different areas of the earth, and then sub divided into areas of interest, beauty, and fascination. It sparks an interest, like a free sample into a new experience. On each page there is just enough information to tempt you into finding out more through further reading and research, which as a learning tool in itself, is invaluable. The photography is superb, clear, vibrant and detailed. The whole book is packed with so much wonder. It makes you remember what a wonderful and partly unknown planet we live on, but also that however much we feel we have travelled, most of us haven’t really touched the surface. It made me feel rather ignorant of the world around me. The photography really is quite beautiful and it amazing to think that in over 200 pages, there is only a small boat on p59 and a lone house on p175. The anonymous photographers should be commended.
Football Rising Star | There are so many exciting moments described in this lively biography of football star Marcus Rashford. There’s the story of his first game for Manchester United’s first team, the club he’d followed all his life, a fairytale debut in which he scored twice to secure them a place in the next round of the Europa League. His first game in the Premier League was just as impressive – again, he scored twice to win the game. He scored on his debut for England too, at 18 years old, the youngest ever English player to do that. And yet, for many, what really marks him out is his success in persuading the government to extend free school meals for children during the summer holidays, and his campaigning against food poverty. It all makes for thrilling, inspiring reading, and Harry Meredith’s narrative does full justice to the drama. Thoroughly recommended for young football fans, whichever team they support.