Book Monitor - books from across the world

Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Spin to Survive Frozen Mountain by Emily Hawkins and R. Fresson

Decide your destiny with a Pop out Fortune Spinner…

Find out your fate as you face peril after peril in a wild, rugged landscape. This game in a book takes you across mountains, through rivers and across snowy landscapes. A brilliant book in this new and unique Spin to Survive series.

You become lost in the mountains after an emergency landing. Among the snowy peaks, you are at risk from dangers including falling victim to hypothermia, being buried by an avalanche, or stumbling into a deep crevasse. In your backpack, you have a sleeping bag, a thermal roll-mat, a bottle of water, a bag of nuts, waterproof matches, a pair of binoculars, a camera, a first aid kit and an old survival journal belonging to your grandfather.

As you confront each life-threatening challenge in this adventure-filled game book, place the Survival Spinner found inside the cover of the book on one of the circles on your current page, and spin. The place where the spinner points when it stops tells you if you have survived, are still living but injured or that you have perished, with a corresponding page number to turn to for each fate.

Throughout, you will learn about real-life survival techniques, including how to:

  • Make a snow shelter
  • Build a fire
  • Survive a bear attack
  • Treat a wound
  • Use the sun and moon to navigate
  • Cross a frozen lake
Real Life Survivors…

Harrowing tales of real-life wilderness survivors provide glimmers of hope as you deal with the consequences of your choices. One bad decision could lead to disaster…

Frozen Mountain is the debut book in the exhilarating Spin to Survive series from Wide Eyed Publishers, part of Quarto Knows. Discover real-life survival tips and stories as you navigate your own perilous journey through the wilderness guided by your decisions and the removable Survival Spinner.

The author is Emily Hawkins and illustrator is R. Fresson. Each page is an experience and looks as if you have drawn the pages yourself in a travel journal. This will make a fantastic and inspiring book for Christmas for children around 9-11 years, whether ardent readers or adventure makers.

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

Welcome to the Future by Kathryn Hulick

Robot Friends, Fusion Energy and more…

Technology has escaped ! In this brand-new look on how we could live our lives in the future. Kathryn has evocatively set the scene for a world where we can stay in control but technology will be the main part in our lives. Drones, robots, smart systems, teleportation and synthetic biology are just the start of a whole new era in world development and moving into other planets in other galaxies.

In this book, you’ll explore 10 ways technology could alter our way of life. The challenge for you is to decide which changes you want for yourself and the world.

In the future, will we teleport from place to place, keep dinosaurs as pets or 3D-print our dinner? Will we live on Mars or upload our brains to computers? Could we solve climate change by making all our energy from mini stars we build here on earth?

This fascinating thought-provoking book from science writer Kathryn Hulick explores the possible futures humanity will face, and how we will live as the world around us changes beyond our recognition.

From genetic engineering and building floating colonies in space to developing telepathic technology and bionic body alterations, this engagingly illustrated book looks into the possible future technologies which will shape how we live and how we adapt to the challenges of the future.

How about moving your location to a different planet?

You’ll meet the scientists working to bring science fiction to life and learn how soon we might have amazing new technology. You’ll also delve deep into questions about right and wrong. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. How can we build the best possible future for everyone on Earth?

Kathryn Hulick is a freelance writer, editor and former Peace Corps volunteer. She writes regularly for Science News for Students and Muse magazine. She has also published numerous nonfiction books on topics such as video games, artificial intelligence, energy technology and dinosaurs. Hulick’s favourite part of writing about science is getting to speak with researchers in many different fields.

Marcin Wolski is a graphic designer and illustrator from Sopot, Poland, whose clients include The Economist, Nature, The Guardian and Finance Asia.

Publishers are Lincoln Children’s Books from Quarto Knows and Welcome to the Future  is a beautiful large hardback book, and has just the sense that you need to read the next part to find out just how amazing the world will or could be in the future.

Definitely recommend for children 9 years and upwards, plus adults of course and a great book for schools and libraries.

Sue Martin – Children’s Literacy Specialist

Stories across the world…

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Soldier, Summoner, Saint…

Alina Starkov is a soldier in this dystopian novel of a land full of intrigue, with a magical, military elite and an overpowering sense of unnatural darkness and doom. Across the land like a dagger, lies The Shadow Fold or the Unsea, It is into this blackness that Alina knows she must travel to. She has a very special gift and the notorious leader, the Darkling, can only destroy the Shadow Fold using Alina’s gift. As she enters into a lavish world of intrigue, royalty and wealth, she comes under his spell. Escaping once she reunites with her friend from the past, but is this enough to keep them safe from the power of the Darkling.

Shadow and Bone is the first book in the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, now a Netflix Original Series. Two of the following books are Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. Alina Starkov is the character and protagonist of the trilogy. These amazing books continue…. Find out more at Leigh Bardugo website.

A wonderful book and page turner and brilliant for young people who just want to read and read great books of different worlds and characters. They are brought to light and dark as each page turns and the plot of the story moves the reader from hope to despair in this journey with Alina.

Leigh Bardugo is the best selling award winning author, she lives in Los Angeles and is an avid writer of fantasy novels.

Thoroughly recommend Shadow and Bone for anyone interested in adventure, different worlds and good against evil. Having bought the first book I can’t wait to read the next in the series, Siege and Storm.

Sue Martin  Children’s Literacy Specialist

Stories across the world…

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller…

An excellent  book to take on holiday this year, impossible to stop reading! Adventure and intrigue from beginning to end.

It’s all about…

A girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of fantasy, Garth Nix.

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

Author is well known Australian Garth Nix and publishers are The Orion Publishing Group. Recommend for any age above 7 years and for those who love adventure and pacy books.

My advice is, buy this book now and find a space somewhere to read until the end. The Old World of London is dangerous and exciting, so just watch out the next time you are walking alone in Bayswater!

Sue Martin

Stories across the world…

Shackleton’s Endurance by Joanna Grochowicz

An Antarctic Survival Story

Ernest Shackleton’s remarkable story is a terrifying adventure with the happiest of endings – another brilliant narrative non-fiction Antarctic adventure from Joanna Grochowicz, featuring an explorer who was a true polar hero.

Shackleton’s Endurance is newly published by Allen and Unwin in UK on September 2nd, 2021, and was published in Australia and New Zealand in May 2021.

Adrift on the Antarctic pack ice with no means of escape and no hope of rescue, Ernest Shackleton and his men are surely doomed.

In August 1914, Ernest Shackleton and his men set sail for Antarctica, where they plan to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, his ship, the Endurance, becomes locked in pack ice. Later, it sinks without a trace.

To survive, Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men must undertake a trial even more extreme than their planned crossing of the frozen continent. Their aim is to make it home against tremendous odds, with only lifeboats to cross the heavy seas of the South Atlantic – and the life-saving power of Shackleton’s extraordinary leadership skills.

‘An incredible true story brought to life in a highly readable style.’- Michael Smith, author of Shackleton: By Endurance We Conquer.

Joanna Grochowicz’s  third amazing book in her series of Polar Explorers in the early 1900’s,  written for young people from 10 years and above. A daunting tale of heroism, courage, tenacity and teamwork, the book provides so much more than the bare facts of this well-known polar explorer. Joanna has an incredible gift of searching out the hidden stories behind her detailed research.

Joanna on the ice…

Shackleton’s Endurance is a perfect book for Yr5/6 in their studies on Arctic regions. It embraces many areas of the curriculum especially  history, geography. English and a huge input into the PSE curriculum. There is a comprehensive set of teacher notes provided by the publishers, Allen and Unwin, based in Australia.

Books Go Walkabout are so pleased to be working again with Joanna on her next visit to the UK in September 2021. This is mainly a research visit, but Joanna can do a few of her  highly engaging and informative talk to schools during this visit, time and other things permitting.

 More info in the next blog or send an email for immediate info. suemartin@bookagowalkabout.com

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Consultant

Stories across the world…

The Great British Staycation Activity Book by Claire Saunders and illustrated by Livi Gosling

Facts, puzzles and much more…

If you are about to set out on holiday with children, in the car  heading across the UK to somewhere  in the country, by the sea or any one of our amazing towns and cities, you are about to set out on an adventure.

This is  just the book to have for enquiring minds, for those questions that are hard to answer. It is packed full of puzzles, activities, from word searches to quizzes, from seaside sudokus to sandcastle counts, there are some great fun things to do.

Fossil hunters extraordinaire…

The format of the book is excellent, with appealing images and activities based on our enriching history, try the page with Wonderful Words if you are heading anywhere near Stratford on Avon for instance. Designing your very own Staycation Hotel will bring some awesome designs and far away from the standard hotel design. Maybe you could change it to an Air B & B or creative glamping design.

The Great British Staycation is written by Claire Saunders,based on the book Maps of the United Kingdom by Rachel Dixon, illustrated by Livi Goslings.

Published by Wide Eyed Editions, part of the Quarto Knows, this is a great book to have to take away with you, or even work on at home, a real treat!

Sue Martin

Stories across the world…

When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle

A boy, a silver back gorilla and bombs falling…

1941. War is raging. One angry boy has been sent to the city, where bombers rule the skies. There, Joseph will live with Mrs F, a gruff woman with no fondness for children. Her only loves are the rundown zoo she owns and its mighty silverback gorilla, Adonis. As the weeks pass, bonds deepen and secrets are revealed, but if the bombers set Adonis rampaging free, will either of them be able to end the life of the one thing they truly love?

An extraordinary story with historical and family truth at its heart, that tells us as much about the present as the past. Deeply felt, movingly written, a remarkable achievement’ Michael Morpurgo

‘A magnificent story … It deserves every prize going’ Philip Pullman‘

From the start of the story, Joseph shows how determined he can be. His life so far has not given many signs of working out, the war, parents nowhere near. As he was marched along the streets by the indomitable Mrs F he looked up towards the sound of the wailing air raid siren in a London street…

He did look skywards but could see nothing. No sun, no bomber and most importantly, no hope.’

Phil Earle, the award winning author has many children’s book titles to his credit. He grew up in Hull and now lives on a hill in West Yorkshire.

Andersen Press have an amazing list of publications and When the Sky Falls is a great addition.

An extraordinary story of love, loss, compassion and kindness amongst a war time setting of cruelty, bombing, destruction and survival.

This book is a story that needs to be told, the story of a Silver back gorilla and a boy called Joseph.

Sue Martin

Stories across the world…

10 Stories to Make a Difference Pop up Projects

One heart and mind… ten stories…

A very special collection of new illustrated stories and poems by children’s writers and illustrators to support Pop Up’s vital work in schools, and communities.

The British Library is presenting the 10 Stories launch event on Thursday 24th June both in venue and live streamed. Registration is open to all.

A shelf full of stories celebrating difference is a great leap forward towards diversity by UK children’s publishing. Pop Up has collaborated with 20 writers and illustrators ,plus editing and design professionals from 12 publishers to create a wonderful set of 10 books, unique in their style and presentation. They range from books for ages 5 – 11, covering diverse and creative subjects ad themes.

All the books are beautifully  presented  in hardback with information about the project and the stories, they are so much more than just the book itself.

Books we like especially  are…

Mistaken for a Bear ( age 9 and up…)by Philip Ardagh and illustrated by Jamie Beard

In the melting pot of London in 1839, two young dock workers chase a tiger on the loose- a dangerous splash of colour in a world of soot and grime!

That Thing  ( age 10 and up) by Avital Balwit & illustrated by Alexis Deacon

A close encounter with an intelligent octopus provides a lesson in curiosity and kindness to animals.

Forbidden ( age 11 and up)  by Anjala Tiwari & illustrated by Danica Da Silva Pereira

Two girls with very different lives are drawn into a passionate friendship- and bound by a desire to break the taboos that divide them.

Pop Up Projects CIC is a non-profit national children’s literature development agency with a mission to transform lives through literature. For ten years Pop Up has been bringing literature to life for over 120,000 children and young people and families.

They have provided 7,000 hours of author workshop and 58,000 books to schools, and helped 18 young writers and illustrators from under represented backgrounds into print through Pathways into Children’s Publishing.

Join the conversation on June 24th, we will be there too…

Sue Martin

Stories Across the World…

School Librarian of the Year 2020/21

The School Librarian of the Year Award is the SLA’s prestigious honour to recognise the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every day, and to highlight the current practice of those whose work is outstanding.

The School Librarian of the Year Award was proposed in 2003 by Aidan Chambers, who was the President of the School Library Association at that time. It was intended to be an award for excellent practice and to be given annually ‘in recognition of outstanding and exemplary work by a school librarian… whose work may be within the conventional bounds of library and information resource centres or be in unconventional areas.’ (Aidan Chambers’ initial proposal, October 2003)

In 2021 the awards were announced at a virtual event on Friday 11th June.

And the School Librarian of the Year for 2020/21 is Kristabelle  Williams from Addey and Stanhope School, Lewisham, London.

Congratulations Kristabelle !

Kristabelle is the librarian in Addey & Stanhope state secondary school, and has an unremitting and consistent focus on ensuring the best futures for her students, making reading, researching and library use the norm. There are weekly KS3 library classes and book clubs – focusing on RfP, book talks and information skills, activities including discussions, debates, Book Pen Pals, Kahoot quizzes, Padlet activities and Ms Williams’ popular mash up of Taboo and Heads Up called “Books Up”.

By working with teaching departments and with student groups, booklists related to the curriculum, and empathy, inclusion and social justice are promoted across the school. Kristabelle has been instrumental in celebrating how reading for pleasure and mental health/well-being are intertwined, never stopping adapting and innovating to engage and encourage students.

There was a very strong list of candidates on the Honour List and the SLA CEO Alison Tarrant praised the librarians for their dedication in this most unusual of years 2020/21. Librarians have been key in the renewed focus of importance and power of reading (for pleasure, learning and wellbeing) and information literacy skills, as this generation will rely on these to determine the truth from scare mongering, and educational website from fake news.

Delighted to support School Library Association, they make such a difference!

Sue Martin

Stories Across the World…

The Corinthian Girl by Christina Balit

A slave girl with no name…

A girl with no name becomes a champion in the Herean Games in the great stadium of Olympia. This amazing story tells the tale of a girl abandoned by her father in Corinth as he had no need of a girl. Instead of taking her to the Temple for a special ceremony , he turned into the marketplace and left her on a bench.

She became a slave girl, but always wore the small Doric coin around her neck from her father to show that she was from a worthy family. By good fortune, her owner saw her playing with his son, recognised her potential as an athlete  and took her to train for the Herean Games, which were only for women. She won the games and was then given a name!

Winner of the Herean Games

A beautiful book from Otter-Barry Books with a wonderful story  bringing to life an event held so long ago, and a girl who rose to fortune by her ability. The illustrations and text are brilliant and whatever age the reader, this will bring real interest and joy.  There is an information section about the Herean Games, which were held before the Olympic Games which were started in 776BCE.

The author and illustrator is Christina Balit who has illustrated many children’s books and twice been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

I became fascinated by The Corinthian Girl and have so much enjoyed reading more about the Herean Games… it has given a real step into the past.

Sue Martin

Stories Across the World…

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