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The Power of Women's Voices | International in scope and sweeping in history, Yvette Cooper’s She Speaks compendium gives voice to a dazzlingly diversity of powerful speeches selected on the basis of them being delivered by “women who believe in using words to build a better world, and persuading others to join them as they do so.” The introduction is both inspirational and edifying, with Cooper surveying the hostile landscape women have traversed - and still traverse - while making their voices heard, integrated with personal insights from her career as a Labour MP, Cabinet Minister and Secretary of State.Throughout it’s a joy to the savour the words and wisdom of dozens of seminal female figures, from Boudica’s stirring two thousand year-old polemic against violations of women, to Diane Abbott’s powerful 2019 House of Commons speech on the brutally unjust Windrush scandal. Other British women with political pedigree include the fabulously fierce Barbara Castle (her speech here is an exquisite example of sharp, scathing, socialist-minded oratory), Jo Cox, with her poignant maiden speech as an MP, Yvette Cooper herself, and former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. While it might seem out of place for Cooper to re-amplify the Iron Lady’s inflammatory “ideological assault on the public sector” by including her “the lady’s not for turning” speech, she frames the decision by referring to Thatcher’s mould-breaking persona and indestructible self-belief. Thatcher’s inclusion is also testament to the gracious spirit that runs through the anthology. Indeed, Theresa May’s speech on modernising the Conservative party is also included.Beyond Britain we hear from Audre Lorde, Benazir Bhutto and Michelle Obama; from razor-witted US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nigerian novelist and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and young education campaigner Malala Yousafzai. I was especially stirred by the 1851 speech of Sojourner Truth, a former slave turned activist whose work saw her campaign against slavery and champion women’s rights, and whose words sang for the oppressed. The last words are given to Greta Thunberg because “no one speaks about the future with more clarity or urgency than Greta Thunberg”.“She Speaks, I must listen”, Cooper writes in her introduction and this finely-curated anthology will certainly inspire readers of all ages to pay close attention to the women’s words it shares.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Shortlist Book Awards 2019 | Nominated for the 2019 Kate Greenaway Medal | Take a tour of the oceans in Yuval Zommer’s engaging reference book. It guides us through the seas in the company of the living creatures you’d see there, from the sea turtles and rainbow schools of fish in tropical waters, to whales and tuna, shoreline dwellers and the inhabitants of the deepest, darkest waters. Each page is wonderful to look at, and answers the questions children really want to ask: how fast does a flying fish need to swim to launch itself out of the water? Who does an octopus need eight arms? How long can a seal hold its breath underwater? There’s information too on the danger to the oceans from pollution and global warming, while a page of ‘fishy-phrases’ gives children the technical language to use when describing the animals that live in the sea. A book to inspire and entertain as well as inform.
A fact-filled introduction to science - its basic concepts, principles and practices that kids of 7 or 8 upwards will find interesting and absorbing without feeling it is educational. Covering plants, animals, space, climate, materials and much more, young readers will enjoy applying new scientific knowledge to their everyday lives.
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.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Maps are endlessly fascinating to children but this book will really open up the world to them. In Prisoners of Geography Tim Marshall reveals how geography has affected civilisations and how countries’ histories – and the lives of their people – have been shaped by the position of mountain ranges, valleys, rivers and coastlines. Take Russia for example: even as it grew bigger and more powerful over the centuries, it’s always been exposed to attack from the west because of the North European Plain, and still is. In another chapter he explains why it’s so important to China that it controls Tibet, and the islands in the South China Seas. By showing the ways geography, history and politics converge he makes complicated stuff – the situation in the Middle East for example – accessible and fascinating. It’s a book to get readers of any age thinking and seeing things differently.
A new approach to behaviour management | A book packed with sound advice and made more relevant because the writers are teachers and have put their advice into action. Evidence based practice is always the best. There are so many useful phrases and practical tips and quotes. Phrases like ‘never leave a child with no where to go, behaviourally or educationally’, or ‘a burnt-out teacher cannot foster positive relationships’ and the ‘importance of personal space’ are particularly memorable examples. The style is informal and chatty and clearly laid out. I like the key ‘learning point’ boxes at the end of each chapter and the interesting examples of successes had with previous pupils. On occasions however, the examples are a little too lengthy and a little too personal. Whilst not prudish in any way, I did not think the swear words added much to the narrative or the over personalisation of ‘Steve’ or ‘Mick’ in the chapter overviews. Whilst I respected the scientific research that had gone into the reasons behind why children behave as they do, I think it would be fair to say that most educators want solutions and answers. Not because they do not care or are not interested in the science, but because they just do not have the time. For me, the interesting chapters were those that provided solutions to situations and offered practical help to real life scenarios. There were certainly many useful, thought provoking messages and theories throughout the book that we can all learn from.
We humans take our domination of the planet for granted, but sometimes nature reminds us that this is an illusion. Tectonics rip open the earth, vast waves sweep away coastal towns, magma spews from volcanoes and hurricanes lay waste to entire countries. This book explores nature at its most destructive. Clear, coherent explanations break down the science behind phenomena including hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, alongside fascinating facts about the biggest and the worst. Informative, accessible illustrations by Sophie Williams make this so much more than your standard geography book.
December 2019 Book of the Month | Handsomely illustrated this information book is full of stories of adventure and exploration and takes readers to some of the wildest, most distant places on the planet, from the polar regions to the deepest underground caves. Each location is brought to life through maps and the geographical vital statistics but most vividly through the stories of the men and women who were among the first to explore them. Expect to get up close to the Matterhorn, the Arabian Desert and both poles while learning too about the threats to these beautiful places from climate change. Tyler’s striking graphic illustrations make the information even more memorable and there’s a useful glossary too.
6+ (Year 2, KS 1). An excellent alphabetical dictionary with colour pictures for 6+ that will help children build language skills at home and in the classroom. Learning new words and phrases will be a breeze through the combination of clear and simple definitions coupled with colour pictures and example sentences to show how words are used in practice. Each page is colourful, clear and accessible: simple, easy-to-read numbered meanings, and word classes.
7+(Year 3, KS 2). The Oxford Junior Dictionary contains over 6,000 entries in alphabetical order, in a clear and accessible design. Each entry shows example sentences (from well known authors), easy to read numbered meanings and word classes. Tinted panels throughout the text focus the mind on overused words, words belonging to the same family as well as key language topics including connectives and apostrophes.
A brilliant gift package that is both beautiful and useful. Open out this concertina and some of the best sites in London - Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament – pop up for you. Gorgeous illustrations bring out the very best of the city while the accompanying text provides all the detail needed to explore them. Folded up, the concertina fits neatly into a robust and pretty slip case.
This excellent first atlas is a great way to give children a sense of the lands and countries that make up our world. Bright, child-friendly maps show the different countries within their continents and indicate too their position on the globe. Alongside the major cities and sights are quirky details and facts, such as illustrations of local wildlife, people or interesting buildings. The text is simple and effective, e.g. ‘The Equator is a line added to maps to show where the middles of the world is’, and there’s a vast amount of information conveyed in just 32 pages. ~ Andrea Reece