Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Category: All Ages Page 1 of 7

The Secret Unicorn Club

Do you believe in unicorns? Would you like to join a secret club of unicorn experts, who search for and look after unicorns in the wild? Now is the time to earn your place in the Secret Unicorn Club.

Earn ten badges on your journey towards becoming an official Secret Unicorn Club member then discover a hidden handbook for only the truest friend of the unicorns.

Guard the precious knowledge within these pages for the good of all horsekind…

An absolutely beautiful book full of incredible images of unicorns. If you ever wanted to be in Secret Club for Unicorns this is the book to have.Hidden in the book is a wonderful surprise of another book which is about Magical Horses and I was so thrilled to find out more about a Hippograph and Ice Ponies.

EMMA ROBERTS is the author and her life-long passion for all things Shakespeare in the student-theatre scene. When Emma isn’t queuing for tickets at The Globe, she is either performing in local theatre or training for her next marathon. Her latest book, The Dragon Ark, was published by Magic Cat in 2020.

A book within a book! Such a delightful surprise!


RAE RITCHIE, illustrator, lives with her daughter, her husband and her cat Nomi in Minneapolis, MN. Her watercolour and gouache paintings are created in a sunny little room in her home, and she is greatly inspired by the lushness of nature, classic children’s books and old photographs. Rae’s clients include Los Angeles Times, Dear Stella Design and Fjallraven.

TOMISLAV TOMIĆ, illustrator known for his pen and ink drawings that are based on a Re-naissance engraving style. He’s a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and lives with his family is Croatia.

Did you know that a Hippogriff is a winged magical horse of a different kind, part horse and griffin, which is also part lion and eagle. Built for speed and travelling large distances it will tolerate passenger but only in exceptional circumstances.

Magic Cat Publishing Magic Cat creates beautiful children’s books that do more. We gently weave ideas that matter into stories that engage, entertain and bring joy. Ideas about kindness, togetherness, friendship, inclusivity. Ideas about the future of our planet, about culture, activism, and mindfulness. Our books inspire care for our world…
and each other.

Ideal as a present, this book will thrill and be treasured by children of all ages. a star of a book! Watch out for more beautiful books from this talented new Magic Cat Publishing team,

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

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!




 

Inheritance by Carole Wilkinson

What can happen when you slip through time? What events would you most like to change?

A wonderful book…

How would you feel if you were at the centre of something so outrageous that you would do anything to change history?

Inheritance is a powerful and moving book, with a message for us all. The story is focused through Nic who has been left in the care of her grandfather at the remote family property in the depths of Australia. She is feeling misplaced and unusually for her unable to make friends at the local school, because of her name.

It’s because you’re a Mitchell,’ says Thor.

Between them they uncover a most dreadful event at Yaratgil ( the family home), linked to her ancestors and to Thor’s.

Nic’s mother had died when she was born, but Nic discovers that travelling back through time is something they have in common.

Carole uses her expertise in research and historical facts (some well-hidden) to uncover a dark and shocking secret that haunts the land, and the people who live there.

It’s an intriguing story and holds the reader from beginning to end.

Carole Wilkinson, the author is an award-winning author of many books, including the famous Dragonkeeper series about a slave girl in the Han Dynasty. Carol lives in Melbourne, Australia.

First Book in the Award Winning DragonKeeper series

Books Go Walkabout works with Carol on author visits across the globe, most recent in Hong Kong. Book Monitor blog is the review part of our books projects across the world.

Black Dog books, part of Walker Books, Australia are the publishers with have an excellent range of books for all ages.

We recommend Inheritance for many readers, probably aged 10 to beyond!

Enjoy the book, I found it impossible to put down!

Sue Martin

Stories Across the World

Landing with Wings by Trace Balla

Beautiful illustrations…

A story of hope- a way forward, beyond boundaries and fences towards belonging, community and country, welcome and home.’ Trace Balla

A spectacular book! Children will just love this way of recording stories, with pictures, annotations, and conversations. It has so much meaning and misses all those extra words which can detract from the events.

Finding roots where you can call a place home is important. Landing with Wings does just that as it follows the story of Miri Miri and her Mum, as they set up home in a place in the country in Dja Dja Wurrung Country in Australia. Finding friends in the world outside is the first thing, like the frog in the creek, the spotted pardalote and the silver eyes birds.  Miri Miri goes to school and starts meeting other children and people, being part of the community and the place.

But her Mum, who has stayed at home making the house feel like home, is sad and thinking about moving away. Until that is, Miri Miri introduces her to Swee and Laylah, and it just all starts to work out.

There is so much in this book, which records life in Australia, providing the wings to fly, finding somewhere new, and the roots to make the place your own. The annotations and descriptions of wildlife, nature and the earth are amazing. The First Nations people of  Dja Dja Wurrung, the Elders and especially Uncle Rick (in the illustrations!) are key to this book as well as the young Aboriginal leaders of the future.

Trace Balla talks about her book…

Trace Balla is author and illustrator is an award winning Australian children’s author and illustrator. Her book Rivertime won the 2015 Readings Children’s Book Prize and the Wilderness Society Picture Book Award in the same year. Trace is often found sketching in nature, riding her bike with her son, dancing, and growing vegies in her garden in central Victoria. She works as an illustrator, community artist, art therapist, animator, and writer of songs and stories.

Don’t we all need more ‘rivertime’?

As you can tell, Landing with Wings has touched my soul and I hope one day sometime soon I can be back in Australia and out there in the countryside (bush!).

Sue Martin

Stories across the world…

The Story of Inventions by Catherine Barr & Steve Williams, illustrated by Amy Husband

The Story of Inventions is just the book for anyone interested in  discoveries and uses today. From wheels and lodestones to vaccines and engines, this book is packed with information and illustrations which bring life to the words.

The page on flight, for instance, explains that for many years planes were only used for cargo. But now planes fill our skies carrying people all over the world, making the world a smaller place.

Surprisingly, the idea of computers was first invented in 1830’s with machines to do the maths. By the 1940’s computers were used to crack codes which helped to finish the second world war. Today we would be totally lost without them.

Catherine Barr is well know for her books for Frances Lincoln Publishers; especially The Story of Life and The Story of Space. She has worked for the Natural History Museum, among other places and is a keen author of non fiction titles with enormous appeal.  Steve Williams is a biologist, a teacher and beekeeper ,as well as an ardent writer of interesting books for children.

Amy Husband is a talented, award winning illustrator and her illustrations in this book are brilliantly supportive of the text.

A book for me to read this evening and I am sure I will find out and remember much about inventions that I never knew before.

Sue Martin

Poetry – Books of poems February 2020

Poetry is one of the best ways to have fun with words, explore feelings and use rhyme and patterns together.

This month, February 2020, we have three new books of poems which we love and are great to open the book anywhere and delve straight in!

‘There’s a Crocodile in the House’, from Paul Cookson, has an enormously wide collection of poems with fun, danger, surprise and wonder. Some poems you need to SHOUT!! And some you need to whisper…

Watch out for the lurking crocodile on the armchair, whatever you don’t sit down!! Great illustrations from Liz Million.

‘The Magic of Mums’ is written by Justin Coe and illustrated by Steve Wells. Different Mums in all guises are celebrated here, sometimes comic, sometimes witty or tender and all will find a child with a Mum ‘just like that’!

Otter-Barry Books are the publishers for both There’s a Crocodile in the House’ and The Magic of Mums’. As publishers, making a difference in the landscape of good children’s’ books,  these books are a wonderful addition to their growing poetry genre.

Poems Aloud is our third poetry book this month. This is an anthology of poems from Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett. This book shouts out to you from the engaging cover to all the poems inside. There are poems for reading aloud or for being quiet, poems which are good for performance playing and poems which are good for sharing at home time.

Joseph Coelho is an award-winning poet and performer from London with a huge collection of books to his name, along with being BBC’s Teach Poetry presenter (Oct 2018).

 

Daniel Gray-Barnett lives in Tasmania and is an award-winning illustrator, including Grandma Z. His illustrations have been commissioned  by Sydney Opera House, The Boston Globe and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Australia.

Wide Eyed Editions published  and presented this book in their inimitable style making it a work of art itself and a wonderful book to have.

PS My favourite poem is below , because I love bears, shush, it’s a secret!

Sue Martin

 

 

Everybody Counts  by Kristin Roskifte

An amazingly illustrated book, packed with illustrations to find your way into and beyond, through the story and the numbers. There are hosts of visual stories and things to spot on every page. Counting games from 0-7.5 billion! It celebrates difference throughout the book and it says it all in the title, Everybody Counts! It is the winner of the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize 2019.

In the book, there are an amazing 2768 people! It has been sold already to 26 countries, a great success and crosses the barriers of language. It is also perfect for prompting stories and curiosity, with lots of questions to encourage interaction and thoughtfulness . Celebrating  differences is a keen theme in the book, where the illustrations show everyone is different and every one counts.

It is the winner of the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize 2019 and Martin Salisbury, Professor of Illustration at Cambridge School of Art says, “ Everybody Counts is an extraordinary book for our times, which I’m sure will go on to win many more awards.”

Wide Eyed Editions are delighted to be publishing Everybody Counts in 2020 and release date is 4th February.

Kristin Roskifte is a Norwegian illustrator and author who studied illustration at Cambridge School of Art and Kingston University and she is inspired by differences and similarities between people.

Everybody Counts is a fantastic book to have in your home, at school and in libraries, it will be read, looked through, explored and much more.

Sue Martin

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, illustrated by Christian Birmingham

This enchanting story of the bravery of a horse in Victorian Britain has captivated and enthralled children for generations. This new edition from Palazzo brings beautiful illustrations from Christian Birmingham and has created an outstanding book, not just for the story but for the images too, as they lead us into the streets and paths of Victorian Britain.

Step back in time and see the world through Black Beauty’s gentle and patient eyes, as he enjoys the hardships that fell to horses living in the nineteenth century. meet the compassionate heroes and hard hearted rascals who Beauty encounters on his way and above all to experience the joys of being a horse, galloping on soft grass!

This is a story never to be forgotten!

Anna Sewell was a British writer, who wrote Black Beauty at the end of her life and never knew how successful the book became and how it helped to reform laws and attitudes to animal welfare. Black Beauty has sold an estimated 50 million copies.

Christian Birmingham is an acclaimed illustrator of Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year, The Wreck of the Zanzibar and many other awards too. He has been drawing horses for many years and inspired by paintings by Degas, Stubbs and Munnings. This is his first book for Palazzo.

Palazzo Editions is a young and flourishing independent publishing company based in Barnes, London. They create beautifully designed and illustrated books for the UK and international markets in the areas of popular culture, music, film, art, design and architecture, history and biography, and children’s books.

This book is one for keeps, a book for all to read or just dip into. A great story and now beautifully illustrated in this edition.

 

Sue Martin

The House on the Mountain by Ella Holcombe & David Cox

The House on the MOuntain - cover image

A wonderful read!

Atmospheric and immensely moving, this is the story of a family experiencing a bush fire in Australia. The aftermath is a harsh reality for a family whose home is in the middle of the woods. 

It is though, a story of healing and reconciliation. Lives are changed but not broken, there is a future through the devastation.

‘ We drive in silence, with the windows down. The hills are bald, with black spikes where the trees used to be. I don’t recognise any of the old familiar turns or corners. I don’t recognise anything’.

Before the fire this family in Australia have fun and do all the normal things that families do. After the  fire they eventually return and start all over again.

In real life it didn’t always work out so well.

A great picture book style story of a real life event with some changes. What an accolade to the author, Ella Holcombe and also to the illustrator David Cox, for setting the atmosphere so well.

Allen and Unwin, publishers have terrific books which are meaningful, good to read and so well produced. The House on the Mountain is well up there and especially as a reminder of Black Saturday.

Highly recommended for all ages.

Sue Martin

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