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July 2020 Book of the Month | There’s never been a better time to encourage children to dream up adventures and then turn them into written stories. This lively how-to book will certainly inspire them and is packed with story-writing ideas to get them started, and a wealth of really good writing advice (whatever your age). Its author Joanne Owen is herself a successful writer for children and it shows. She shares real tips of the trade, from ways to spark ideas to techniques that will make your writing really effective. There are lots of practical exercises, all of them fun and stimulating. With space to write your stories down, young writers can get going straightaway and the lessons they learn will be useful throughout their lives. Get a copy in time for National Writing Day on 24th June, a chance for everyone to enjoy some creative writing. **** Read a Q&A with the author, Joanne Owen with tips for writing and recommendations for Summer Reading
A globetrotting Penguin is the young reader’s tour guide as they explore the world and broadening a child’s horizons has never seemed more meaningful or relevant. 28 cities are explored within these pages- each city having its own double page spread. There has a been a commendable effort too, to ensure a good global spread of locations and cultures. Children will love pouring over the detail of the map and images of famous landmarks, museums and galleries and examples of food and culture which really bring the city alive and give a flavour of its history and development. The pages are colourful, but the soft tones mean that the pages do not appear too busy and the clever design and judicious use of text boxes does not overwhelm the reader. Each city has a basic fact box detailing the country, language, currency and population which makes for interesting comparisons. Young readers will also particularly enjoy the fun quizzes and games to test their knowledge and understanding. A valuable addition to classroom collections.
June 2020 Debut of the Month | This book takes a poetic look at what it means to be alive. Nuto is a debut author – a teacher in Tasmania, who asks some of the big questions about who we all are, about friendship and our place in the universe. It’s the sort of book that will be a bouncing off point for lots of discussions – but is presented in an accessible and colourful format. Charlotte Ager’s naïve style of illustration means it will appeal across the very young and the not so young. The bold illustrations offer colour and shade in big pictures. Starting with the big questions – that we are made of the stuff of stars, and that we are tiny in comparison to the universe, it goes on to show we have the means to explore, to be both positive and negative. It shows that though we are a small short-lived speck we have the ability to change the world for the better. There are some glorious illustrations – full of colour, detail and action, as well as others that are more contemplative. A good book to have in your classroom!
Suitable for Key Stage 2+ | I really liked the style of this book and the clear and punchy way the information was delivered. Having taught from years 2&3 who need to understand basic punctuation to years 7&8 who are tackling the more complex use of colons and adverbials I am always looking for varied and interesting ways to present the information. By its nature punctuation is a rather dull, dry topic, so anything new and fun is always a treat. In some places, the book reminded me of Eat, shoots and leaves. Another fun look at punctuation. There was lots here that would be really useful in the classroom and would work well on the white board. There were lots of examples here that would make great worksheets. There were also lots of fun pages that were easily accessible to parents and children and the clear answer guide and index, make it very user friendly. It is a great resource to dip into, as explained in the introduction, but I feel it would be more useful to a teacher than a parent. As despite answers and examples, some of the information would need a little extra padding out or explaining. Due to the nature of the jokes, which are a little similar and somewhat cheesy, I don’t think it is a recourse you should over use. I think a few groans from your students might be the result. That aside, humour is a great way of getting a point across and could well help children remember the rules. Perhaps a little like penicillin, it needs to be rationed. The layout is particularly appealing. I liked the use of the boxes for notes and introductions. The illustrations were particularly clear and helpful. I also loved the little snippets of history, such as lo in Latin meaning hurrah, the origin of the exclamation mark. I shall dine out on that one. It is definitely a resource I would be happy to dip into and would be very happy to have on a shelf in my classroom. It is certainly the liveliest punctuation book I have come across – a really unusual approach and definitely one that works.
June 2020 Book of the Month | Joint winner of UKLA Award 7-11 Category 2018 | Know all there is to know about those big-name animals? Elephants, zebras, pandas? Time to discover some lesser-spotted creatures, animals who don’t get the same attention but are just as fascinating. Take the Feathertail Glider for example, possibly the cutest thing in the known universe; or the handsome, rarely seen Ribbon Seal; or the giant kangaroo rat, which can leap two metres and change direction in a second, but is still endangered. Martin ‘Horrible Histories illustrator’ Brown introduces us to twenty-one little known but amazing animals, and readers’ lives will be all the better for it. His descriptions are full of information, but also often very funny, and his illustrations so good you can practically smell his subjects. A great book for anyone who loves wild animals, and for anyone looking for incredible facts to dumbfound friends and family.
The celebrated French author and illustrator has put together a brilliant collection of infographics that are designed to make children think about the world in a new way. Each colourful and distinctive page shows something that happens in our world every second. Every fact quoted is backed up by an impressive list of up to date sources at the end of the book. This introduces in an accessible way for young children the concept of statistics and what can be gained by collecting and analysing data. For example, the presentation on opposing pages of the £700 invested in humanitarian aid and the £46,760 spent on arms and weapons makes us all stop and think. However ,in the current circumstances that the world finds itself I,n there is another way in which the book can be of value, as the whole discussion of “ do you think this is still happening every second?” will inevitably occur. The stark 2 deaths every second may very sadly be a larger number and the 600,000 kilometres travelled by car every second may well be considerably smaller. Other things will not be changed. The fascinating 4,500 Olympic sized swimming pools of water evaporating from the oceans every second (and we are also told that an Olympic sized pool holds 3,000,000 litres of water) and the 5,235 kilograms of sand, carried by the wind that leave the Sahara desert. Every page could be the basis of a very useful lesson in a different curricular area. Beautifully produced, this unusual book will really earn its keep in the classroom.
A complete and comprehensive children's book about sport that combines facts and figures with the inspiring stories of sporting legends and icons. This exciting book for children is packed with fun facts about a range of popular sports such as football, karate, badminton, and skiing, as well as ones you might never have heard of like biathlon or cheese rolling.
With expert input from Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine | With consultant Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as the adviser on this book you can use it in confidence that the information is relevant and correct. The idea behind the book was the brainchild of the publisher Nosy Crow - to make something freely available to help children understand the current situation and to try to ease some of their concerns. No-one has received any fees for this book. Plus, using such a well-known illustrator as Axel Scheffler (recognised worldwide for the Gruffalo illustrations) makes the whole thing feel recognisable and familiar. The book takes us through explaining what a virus is and how you might catch it – and what happens if you do catch it. A fascinating fact gleaned on the way is that there are more different antibodies inside us now than the number of people in the world! Everything is explained in simple terms so that young children can understand the way antibodies react to virus incursions. The book goes on to explain why we need to take care, why a vaccine may take some considerable time to develop and why so many things are closed at the moment. It also tackles the issues of being at home all the time, lack of fun and activities – and how to share and how to talk to your grown up about worries. Talking about ways to help is a very useful way forward – and also being kind to those you live with. The book finishes on the very positive statement that ‘one day this strange time will be over – we did it together’ a vital message of hope. There are also sections of information for children as well as for the parents, guardians and carers. It was a brilliant idea to create this – and a very generous act to make it available free of charge – excellent call Nosy Crow!
Dynamic and visually appealing, this book inspires young people to think, not only about the planet and the impact that humanity is having upon it, but also about the ways in which we treat each other. Covering a wide range of the sort of issues that young people are likely to be most concerned about, such as climate change, pollution, animal welfare, gender equality, social justice, homelessness and hunger. Each graphically striking double spread introduces a topic and the issues of concern in a lively and accessible way. Then it introduces the young activists that are making a difference around the world. Greta Thunberg is obviously there in several sections, but over 80 young change-makers from all around the globe are featured. Then there are the pages which suggest ways in which the reader can get involved right now. How they can change their own behaviour and how they can impact upon their home and school. It even has ideas for potential eco-businesses. At the end of the book there is a really comprehensive listing of where to find these featured activists as well as organisations, books, media and websites. There is also very welcome advice on maintaining your own safety and wellbeing – the “Don’t feed the trolls” page of advice for example. A comprehensive index and glossary of terms completes this no-nonsense, non-patronising call to arms. Full of useful information and fascinating life stories this will undoubtedly be regularly picked up by the young readers it is aimed at.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | This is a superb example of an information text, ostensibly for younger children, but with multi-age and multi-curriculum uses. It is also a thing of beauty, printed on high quality paper doing full justice to the stunning illustrations, with the author’s expressive brush work, clever layout and a palette filled with watery blues and greens and the white and grey of rain, fog and snow. A little girl notices the role of water all around her—a sprinkler, a tap, a stream, a lake. She also notices that water sometimes tries to hide, or change state, and that water is part of every living thing including her. The book concludes with four pages of beautifully clear explanations of water forms (liquid, solid and gas), the water cycle and the all-important conservation of water. There are some excellent suggestions of how to play and learn about water and true or false questions to check understanding. These are very well suited to older children too, as indeed the book is, as a model of writing and the effective use of figurative language. Poetic descriptions make this an enjoyable read-aloud and the larger font labels that identify the source of the water on each page (including Zoe the narrator) are perfect for vocabulary building for the youngest child. A really well thought out and brilliantly executed early science picture book that deserves a place in every school.
Wherever we live, there are birds all around us and this beautifully illustrated book will enable readers to identify them and is also full of facts and information about the way our native birds live. It features 140 different birds, each one is illustrated in colour and alongside a paragraph of text are fact boxes with bullet point information on size, habitat, food and the bird’s song. It’s a good size to pop into a bag on a trip to the country or local park, or even to take out into the garden, but will make for many happy hours of browsing indoors too. Just the sort of book to inspire a life-long interest in birds. Congratulations too to Kate McLelland whose screen print illustrations of the birds are stunning.
Mental Health campaigner Natasha Devon is a brilliant speaker. Funny, self-deprecating but passionate and informed too. The key aspect you take away in person or from this excellent book is that she really cares. She is completely frank and open about her own problems growing up but shares her successes too. This honesty shines through and gives the reader confidence in the advice she offers. Everything is grounded in research and at the back you can see the experts she has consulted for every chapter as well as useful lists of where to go for further help. The book is most certainly entertaining enough to read from cover to cover, but it is also straightforward to pick and choose the relevant section you need, and it covers all of secondary school through to university and beyond. As with most self help guides there are quizzes and assessments for self-analysis which again are thoroughly grounded in research. The layout and illustrations are bright and lively, and the jokes flow freely but the important thing is that the overall tone is neither puerile nor patronising. The author has spent a considerable amount of time in schools with young people and it shows, the tone is absolutely pitch perfect. About the only circumstance which is not comprehensively covered in this excellent book is the cancellation of the entire exam system. But given that this will undoubtedly be causing considerable stress in young people then this book will certainly earn its keep. Highly recommended and an essential purchase for home and school.