Book Monitor - books from across the world

Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

A House Without Walls by Elizabeth Laird

Could losing her home mean finding herself…

An incredibly moving story of Safiya, and her family who were forced to leave their home in Damascus, Syria. Taken from a life where her father was a lawyer, where they had a house and Safiya went to school, as well as her brother. But the Syrian war destroyed all of that and Safiya and her family were no longer welcome in the place they called home.

The story in which Safiya, aged thirteen is the protagonist, and her family are being driven out of Syria by civil war. Safiya knows how lucky she is to be at a relative’s house, lucky to be living near her family and not in a refugee camp, lucky to be alive.

But it’s hard to feel grateful when her house is a tent. As they struggle to survive, Safiya realizes that her family has always been incomplete. With her own future in the balance, it’s time to uncover the secrets that war has kept buried.

An intriguing story of a family in a time of crisis but uncovering issues hidden in the past. This book gives a glance at life in the midst of a war torn country, the consequences on individuals and the immense changes to life and life opportunities.

Elizabeth Laird is a remarkable traveller and award winning author of books which bring issues and concerns from all over the world into a narrative where we can have a smattering of understanding with situations of war and crisis which otherwise we would leave behind us. Her website has brilliant pdf’s for teachers , as free downloads. Here latest book, The Misunderstandings of Charity Brown was published in July and is the next book on my reading list, it looks excellent.

Panmacmillan are the publishers who have a great portfolio of books about a modern day understanding of war torn places in our world.

Definitely a great book! It’s for teachers, class projects and reading at home.

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

The Secret Life of Birds by Moira Butterfield and Vivian Mineker

A beautiful book full of facts and information about birds in chunk size pieces. The introduction of each page are led by Speedy the Swift, who flies faster than the fastest race car between different places in the world.

Did you know birds find their way by following invisible pathways in the sky?

The Secret Life of Birds is a collection of stories and facts, providing a love of birds and nature to the next generation, inspiring them to look after the world around them.
Did you know birds navigate by invisible pathways in the sky, that they can call to each other in thousands of different ways and they can be as big as a car or as small as a little finger?

Read some beautiful bird folklore stories from around the planet, too. Speedy has learnt much on her travels and she will be a great guide and inspiration for young readers.

Fly with Swifts… Swift chicks do press-ups on their wingtips to make themselves stronger

But before we get carried away with thinking this book is just for young readers, delve into the pages yourself, you will be amazed. The many intriguing facts, such as the wings of swifts are so well designed that drones are built in a similar way.

Moira Butterfield, the author has created this book from the amazing success of The Secret Life of Bees and other books. She writes non-fiction/stories to spark a child’s imagination about our amazing world.

Vivian Mineker, the illustrator, lives in Amsterdam via Taipei, Portland and Ljubljana has designed and created visual images which are captivating and make the facts jump off the page.

Happy Yak is an imprint of Quarto Kids and has a wonderful portfolio of beautiful and inspirational books for young people.

But this book like others, reaches more than just the young people, it is a way of accessing information in chunky sizes which support learning and inspire imaginations.

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

PS Just spotted another fact… did you know there is only one bird in the world that hibernates? Read p 35 to find out which bird!




 

The World’s Most Ridiculous (Marvellous) Animals by Philip Bunting

A quirky book with wonderful images and a title that I wished I had created! It is true that some animals may seem to us ridiculous, but adaptations and environment have made them what they are. How about the chameleon, who maybe just ‘can’t decide what to wear’! The illustrations have a true sense of ‘amazing and incredible’ and the text around them has two versions; one which is a comprehensive factual base and another which is expressive and intriguing.

‘Chameleons have prehensile tails (which means they can wrap around branches, giving them excellent balance in their tree top homes.’

To…‘Chameleons are big fans of Boy George’ (a reference to the colourful hair do!)

The second title in the series from the hilarious Philip Bunting is filled with facts about some of the weirdest creatures in the natural world.

The antagonist voice (speaking though cheeky annotations) points out the apparent ridiculousness of each creature’s features, while the narrator’s voice describe the evolutionary reasons or advantages for each animal’s extraordinary characteristics.

Ever heard of a Sea Sheep?


With hilarious text throughout and bright, contemporary illustrations, this guide to ridiculous animals contains funny labelled diagrams and will help teach kids about evolution by studying some of its most wild products!

Philip Bunting, the author and illustrator has some great titles to his name. He encourages a playful interaction between the child and reader( either themselves or someone else), and aims to inspire young children into reading and finding out as a source of fun and learning.

Philip Bunting

Since his first book was published in 2017 he is published in over 30 countries and has received multiple honours from Children’s Book Council of Australia( which is an organisation we at Books Go Walkabout are pleased to promote as we work with a number of Australian authors).

Happy Yak are a part of the Quarto Publishing Group for books for young children which are contemporary, engaging and entertaining as a way of supporting children’s learning and development.

I love this book, the style, content and superb quality of the actual book itself. It is going home with me for a while and I can find out more about ‘ridiculous animals’ and then Books Go Walkabout will donate to a local school.

Sue Martin

The Sea Below My Toes by Charlotte Guillain and illustrated by Jo Empson

What’s going on in the sea below your toes?

What a stunning book! A kaleidoscope of blue,  and a  book which extends to over 3 metres! From the Look Closer series, this richly illustrated concertina book takes you on a journey through the deep dark waters, all the way down to the seabed, before floating back up to the surface.

A follow-up to The Street Beneath My FeetThe Skies Above My Eyes and The World Around Me, this visually stunning book ventures to the very bottom of the sea on a journey of discovery.

Through the waves and into the deep, you’ll spot all kinds of weird and wonderful marine creatures, explore the seabed and discover the impact humans have had on the underwater world. 

As you dive below the surface, past sea otters playing in fields of giant kelp, you will see sea lions and shoals of mackerel playing in the shallows, before passing orcas hunting in pods in the deeper water.

As well as animals, discover the technology which is used under the sea, from scuba breathing apparatus to oil pipelines and deep sea submarines.

As you reach the very bottom of the sea, the ‘twilight zone’ where very little light can filter through, you will meet the mysterious creatures of the deep such as Lanternfish and the luminous swell shark.

This book is part of the Look Closer series, from QED Books, part of Quarto Knows a set of concertina books which help teach us about the mysteries which can be found in the world around us.

The Twilight Zone starts here…

Charlotte Guillan, the author creates books of non fiction which are really exciting to dive into or to just take a glance, either way you will find out facts you never knew.

Jo Empson, the illustrator has a real gift for using the natural world and creating wonderful illustrations which are part of the text on each page.

  I really love this book and once I have read a few times I will donate to my local school so it can be used time and again.

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

What Are You Doing Today, Mother Nature? by Lucy Brownridge & illustrated by Margaux Samson Abadie

Mother Nature all around the world in 48 stories

This is a book to fall in love with. An exquisitely illustrated treasury showcases the most dramatic and beautiful Natural History stories that play out right under our noses year after year.

Every moment of the year, Mother Nature is hard at work, making clouds for the rain to fall from, preparing a squirrel to hide nuts for the winter cold, or guiding a little chick on its first flight halfway around the world. Find out what she is doing right now, in 48 stories of nature’s ever turning cycles across the world.

There are forty-eight double spreads which tell in wonderfully illustrated pages, stories of animals and nature across the world. This is  a great way to learn about our planet, the seasons and the huge diversity that exists in a wide variety of climates  and ecosystems.

Lucy Brownridge, has written and compiled this powerful and intriguing collection of stories from ‘A Hot Bath in Winter’ to ‘ The Sky Ablaze’. There is something for everyone with chunks of text, intriguing and evocative.

England in April…

Margaux Samson Abadie has created incredibly beautiful illustrations which are full of artistic images with diagrammatic forms, wonderful tools to enable understanding.

Wide Eyed Editions have produced a masterpiece, I highly recommend What Are You Doing Today, Mother Nature? for any age in schools, libraries and at home.

My favourite page is The Wood Wide Web, which tells how trees in a wood have a system of communication through the root systems and fungus spores…. Amazing!! Read the book to find our more…

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

Bigfoot Mountain by Roderick O’ Grady

Modern family and wilderness adventures…

Four giant footprints on a mountain trail change the world for Minnie and her friend Billy.

Bigfoot Mountain is a powerful and exciting book which skilfully weaves a relationships in a modern family with wilderness adventures.

On the edge of the lake and just above the log cabins, Bigfoot Mountain has a hidden presence, a large presence. Huge imprints on the forest floor would surely reveal this large creature. But they are skilful at hiding, appearing as part of the landscape to avoid human eyes.

Minnie is warned nor to explore high into the mountains, but intrigue builds as the sightings of footprints show her there must be something alive in the forest.

Way up in the mountain lives a family of very large creatures who have spotted Minnie and Billy two youngsters approaching and warnings are signalled into the air.

Bigfoot Mountain is a great book! Full of intrigue and adventure. Perfect book for ages 8-10 years, who are keen to become adventurers and explorers in their own lives.

Roderick O’Grady is the author, he lives in London and New York, having written plays and other materials for prodctions.

Firefly Press are an award-winning independent children’s and YA publisher based in Wales publishing quality fiction in all genres for 5-19 years olds.

Highly recommend Barefoot Mountain as a holiday read over this Jubilee weekend.

Sue Martin

Stories Across the World…

Wanda by Sihle Nontshokweni & Mathabo Tiali

Intombi mayizithembe — Be Confident, trust in yourself .South African proverb

A heart warming story about identity and being proud of who you are. Wanda has beautiful hair but she’s very unhappy about it. The boys tease her on the bus. But grandmother has the answer.

She decides to fix her hair to make it look beautiful.

You are a queen and your hair is your crown’, grandmother says gently.

But I don’t want this hair says Wanda. I want my hair to be smooth and silky. So Grandmother and Wanda create different hairstyles and soon she looks as beautiful as a queen.

Sihle Nantshokweni is the joint author, she teaches at the University of Pretoria plus writing for children. She has a deep interest in how racial issues affect personal identity and aspiration, particularly with children.  Mathabo Tiali and Sihle went to school together and Mathabo’s own story is one of aspiration, determination and empowerment.

You are a queen…

Chantelle and Bergen Thorne are experienced South Africa based illustrators, who are published internationally .They are now focusing on picture books for children with several titles being released this year. Avid bookworms themselves, they take great delight in the visual storytelling of picture books, art and text working together, every word and every image adding to the reader’s experience.

Otter Barry Books have a wealth of excellent picture books and Wanda is part of a hugely creative and diverse booklist from Otter- Barry Books who have been shortlisted for the 2022 British Book Awards Small Press of the Year.

A beautiful book which will help anyone who feels pressurised about themselves and their identity.

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

Books Go Walkabout
Stories Across the World…

JRR Tolkein

By Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Aaron Cushley

Author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

An outstanding book for younger readers about the life and work of one of the most famous writers of our time, JRR Tolkein. A valuable addition to the extremely popular Little People, Big Dreams series, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

JRR Tolkein was born in 1892 in South Africa, his father died when he was three and Ronald moved to a busy city in England, He missed the countryside he had grown up around.

His imagination took him back to the countryside of South Africa

He threw himself into creating fantastical world and was fascinated by languages. When he grew up he studied English at Oxford University. In World War One he joined the army and fought in the Battle of the Somme.

Later he went on to create a whole new world full of mystical characters of good and evil, which he embodied in his novels of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. His fantasy world enabled him and others to escape into a world where elves and dwarves combatted evil of Sauron.

Small video clip of the film Hobbit; An Unexpected Journey

A wonderful book and a great way into discovery of Tolkein, his life and his far off world.

Little People, Big Dreams is an invaluable series for children and sharing adults to explore the life and works of this famous and intellectual person.

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

A Demon’s  Touch By Rehan Khan

Third Book in the series  of The Chronicles of Will Ryde and Awa Al-Jameel

An adventure that bridges mythical and historical worlds…

In this thrilling conclusion to the trilogy, all roads lead to Istanbul – and all who traverse those roads will be plagued by a demon’s touch… Set In the 16th Century, an English boy and Songhai girl work together on adventures that bridge the mythical and historical.

This is a brilliant book bringing adventure and history together in this intriguing part of the world

Istanbul 1593. Will Ryde and Awa Al- Jameel are members of the Ruzgär Unit, an elite team of solders and specialists around the world. They act on behalf of the supposedly mighty Ottoman Emperor, Sultan Murad III.

The Ruzgär unit inadvertently released an ancient demon during the events of the previous book, A King’s Armour. The demon now lurks within the bowels of the city coinciding with Sultan Murad III bringing friend and foe to Istanbul, to convene the world’s grandest trade fair.

How do Will and Awa even start to find their way through a city where streets have eyes and walls have ears? Can a demon so powerful emerge and make life impossible?

A stunning end to the Chronicles adventures and encompasses all aspects of adventure and character building in a moral vacuum.

Rehan Khan was born in London. An avid observer of history , he has always been intrigued by how ideas and information move from one civilisation to the next. A visiting professor at an international business school, Rehan Khan is the author of a Tudor Turk and A King’s Armour, and lives with his family in Dubai.

Hope Road Publishing promote new literary voices from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, bringing neglected voices from the margins to centre stage, with books for adults and young adults.

A great read for children aged 9-14 years or so…

Sue Martin – Children’s Literacy Specialist

WATER

Protect Freshwater to Save Our Earth

By Catherine Barr & illustrated by Christiane Engel

Protect freshwater to save life on earth…

A ground-breaking global introduction to water that includes sharing and protecting freshwater worldwide, Water is life! Freshwater bubbles, flows and floods with the most wonderful life on Earth – and all of us rely on it to stay alive. BUT today, because of pollution and climate change, it is becoming more and more difficult for people and animals to find the clean freshwater they need to survive. It’s time to act! 

Water tells the story of freshwater around the world. Discover the history of water, how the water cycle works, learn about the different kinds of water and about the amazing variety of wildlife that freshwater is home to. Then find out what happens to water because of climate change and global heating; the importance of clean water for health; the worldwide problem of water pollution and the devastating impact of water shortage on children’s lives and education. 

A glass of pure water is colourless but called blue water…

Catherine Barr challenges us to take action, to use water wisely and protect freshwater to save our planet. Catherine’s many books are witness to her skill in presenting information to children in a visual and bite sized text within the illustrations . From my experience in working within schools, this book is highly engaging and can be used as part of many areas of the curriculum to bring new knowledge to children. Each page has a  Face the Facts section to enable quick and speedy access to information.

Chrsitiane Engel, the illustrator has a wonderful style which will enable talking points on every page.

How to draw a caiman!

Otter-Barry Books have published this remarkable hardback edition into their new books for March 2022, and the quality of production and care to every detail will make it a great success.

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

Page 1 of 34

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén