Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

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Poems Aloud by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett

Vibrant, colourful and a wonderful book of poems for reading aloud!

Tackle tongue twisters, confound your classmates with riddles, make your friends laugh and transform into a bowl of slime as you perform these poems. Build your confidence from the award-winning poet Joseph Coelho. This is the perfect book for confident children and shy readers alike. This brings the real fun of poetry to life for everybody.

The illustrations are brilliant, warm stylish and just make the words come alive.

One of my favourite poems in Poems Aloud is This Bear which is set over a double page and the bear is shown gazing into the pink sunset. He is an older bear and wandering quietly along.

This poem sounds best when read slowly take your time pause and breathe to add emphasis

‘This lumbering bear is old.

 This lumbering, bumbling bear has shuffled over rugged imagined mountains.

Urged his bulk slow and strong.

 Slow as geography.

Strong as tree growth

Through the forests of his mind.’

Joseph Coelho is an award-winning poet and performer from London. He has been long listed for the Carnegie children’s award. He won the 2015 CLPE CLiPPA poetry award with his debut poetry collection Werewolf Club Rules.

Watch this link from Edinburgh International Book Festival

Daniel Grey Barnett is an Australian illustrator and author living in Tasmania. He has illustrated for the New York Times, Sydney Opera House, The New Yorker. He brings a huge dimension of fun and engagement for this collection of poems for children.

The publishers are Wide Eyed, and they have a stunning portfolio of books for children.

Whether this book is for you at home or to use at school or nursery it is definitely one to buy. It will support reading and writing, and you will hear the words being remembered again and again.

Sue Martin Children’s Literacy Specialist

Stories Across the World

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

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…

Storm Dragon by Dianne Hofmeyr & illustrated by Carol Thompson

Storm! Storm!

Rain raps the windows, wind rattles the door.

‘Let’s look for storm dragons,” says Grandpa.

Watch  out dragons. We’re coming.”

Off they go, Grandpa and grandchild, down to the beach for a wild and wonderful adventure…And what do they find? Dragon footprints, dragon jewels and even a dragon baby, but who is the REAL storm dragon.

A great story and amazingly engaging illustrations as Grandpa and grandchild find their way along the beach as the storm blows, and waves crash on the shore. There are chants and repetitions to shout out as the adventure progresses.

The loving friendship and imaginative play between the generations is wonderfully expressed, both with the words and in the illustrations.

Dianne Hofmeyr, an award-winning author, livening in London, was born in South Africa and grew up between the mountains and the sea. Author of many books for young children including Zeraffa Giraffa, Tiger Walk and The Glassmaker’s Daughter.

Carol Thompson is an internationally acclaimed illustrator of books for young children with a huge skill in seeing the world through their eyes. She has received honours for many of her books  and is a member of IBBY UK.

Otter-Barry are the publishers who have an enormous skill in publishing beautiful children’s books which children love and enjoy for years. Storm Dragon was published in March 2021. Time to reserve a first copy edition!

We love this book and will take home this weekend to share online with a very young person, who just loves books at the age of nearly 2!

Sue Martin

Stories around the world…

World Book Day 4th March – Antarctic Stories to Shanghai

Books Go Walkabout is working with Harrow International School in Shanghai to deliver online author visits direct to classrooms. Working globally is no problem online!

Harrow International School, Shanghai

Our second event at Harrow International School, this time with author and polar explorer Joanna Grochowicz from New Zealand. The audience of Years 4-6 came ready dressed up as book characters and armed with questions at the end of Joanna’s presentation .

Joanna and model Amundsen

Joanna enthralled the children from the start with slides and tales of life in the Antarctic in the early 19Century. This is real history and gives amazing insights into how tough life could be. Imagine having your fingers so badly frost bitten they are the size of sausages for instance, I could hear some sounds of ‘Yukk!” from the children.

Then there were the orcas, who surrounded Scott’s photographer, Ponting, on an ice floe. He thought he was going to take a photo. The orcas thought he looked like lunch! They tipped the ice floe and Ponting was only saved by landing on another ice floe.

Orcas looking for lunch!

Or the story of the dog on the Terra Nova who went overboard in a terrible storm in the Southern Sea and the Roaring Forties, fortunately  a wave brought him crashing back.

Joanna is expert at great detail of research around the expeditions of Scott, from Britain, Amundsen from Norway and Shackleton from Britain(her next book).

Amundsen’s Crew in the Antarctic

Children from Harrow International School were exceptionally well led by Tess St Clair Ford, who organised Book Week in 2021, not an easy task  with many places still in lockdown. The pupils’ questions to Joanna showed that good listening skills were in place and they had done their homework too.

World Book Day 2021 and a great way for Books Go Walkabout to engage with Harrow International Shanghai, far away but really very close!

Joanna’s new book Shackleton’s Endurance is out soon to join her Polar Explorer’s Trilogy Into the White and Amundsen’s Way.

Sue Martin

THE CHILDREN’S BOOKSHOW AND THE JOY OF POETRY

The Children’s Bookshow is a charity that inspires school children with a love of reading through an annual programme of theatre performances and in-school workshops with the very best authors and illustrators from around the world.

In 2020, everything is different and the good news is that you can access the poets reading and sharing great videos much longer than one month! There are some amazing poems by outstanding poets. Just click through and visit the poet for each week. You are sure to find a poem that will be just right for you.

THE CHILDREN’S BOOKSHOW team had been thinking a lot about the joy of poetry. One of the Directors, Siân Williams, was pulling poetry collections down from her shelves and revisiting all of the marvellous poets we have worked with over the years, and some we hope to work in the near future.


In November 2020 they are focusing on a different poet every week, giving you an overview of their life and work as well as some videos of them reading and performing their poetry. Follow each poet as below. It’s a great way to get the fun and meaning too back into poetry.
   
   Poets for each week are


Books Go Walkabout
A landscape of poetry…

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

A tale full of adventure, exploration and excitement as four children find their way home from the deepest part of the Amazon jungle.

A pacy and exciting book, nearly impossible to put down and with an ending that does more than just conclude the story; as life is at risk and new skills have to be learnt so fast. 

A tale full of adventure, exploration and excitement

Four children, who had never met before, are flying  across the Amazon jungle, when the pilot loses consciousness and the plane crashes into the trees. Fred, Lila, her little brother Max and a girl called Con have to help each other to; find food, survive the creepy crawlies and to escape. On their way they find a map, make a raft and discover a ruined city, where they meet The Explorer, who is not exactly friendly but helpful in an eccentric way. But in a terrifying situation they are forced to leave as quickly as they could. 

 Katherine Rundell, author of The Rooftoppers is an award winning author who  lives in Oxford, UK and The Explorer was; Winner of the Children’s Book Prize 2017, winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award 2017 and winner of the London Book Fair Children’s Travel Book of the Year for 2017. She has an amazing talent for creating adventure and in this book she brings her love of places and adventure to children’s minds. 

Publishers are Bloomsbury who have created The Explorer in paperback filled with black and white chapter headed illustrations and beautiful sketches throughout the book. 

Wonderful storytelling, delightfully delivered…

It’s a truly great book and children of all ages will love the adventure, the sense of place, the maps, the ruined city and see themselves as one of the characters, in an adventure of a lifetime. 

In the video clip Katherine introduces  The Explorer and you can just feel her own love of adventure which creeps in every corner of the book. 

A must read for lockdown 2020 and for anytime at all, home, school and library. 

Sue Martin 


 

Creating Poetry during Lockdown

In this global pandemic we have been thinking of just how to reach out to others across the world.  Poetry is a way of finding and releasing feelings.  

And do you know what, children are so good at it! 

Cheryl is a profoundly interesting, engaging and empathetic poet – with children or adults…we think so!

Cheryl Moskowitz is a poet, narrator and writer who works with us at Books Go Walkabout . Since March 2020, when school closures were announced in the UK, Cheryl has been talking to children, their parents and staff at schools. What is life like in this Covid19 world?

Shrewsbury School, Hong Kong is an International School and have experienced huge amount of lock-down time at school. Beth McNeilly, the school librarian talked about a plan with Books Go Walkabout to get children writing. A poem from Wilfred is shown on the page in the link above, what a star!

A great school, committed to poetry and creativity…

At Books Go Walkabout we put the two together and Cheryl and Beth worked on a poetry plan for children in Years 1 and 2. We Zoomed across the world and heard the most amazing poems, and it all started with a poem of Cheryl’s that begins…

Just supposing…

you woke up tomorrow

and there weren’t all these rules

like: YOU HAVE TO STAY HOME!

and: YOU CAN’T GO TO SCHOOL!

The children wrote and they wrote, and they came up with the most amazing collections of thoughts, poems and words( vocabulary was awesome!)

Parents and teachers and librarians were part of the video, the writing and the Zoom session. It was a BRILLIANT session. Releasing fears and worries, turning them into creative and imaginative pieces of written work.

Great job Shrewsbury and Cheryl!! At Books Go Walkabout we loved it! You can read more on Books Go Walkabout.

Sue Martin


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…

Girl From the Sea by Margaret Wild and Jane Tanner

A haunting quality…

A shipwreck, a house by the sea and a family. This is a beautiful story, a book with incredibly spiritual illustrations and just a few words, and yet it says so much. I read it and looked at it many times picking  up a subtle undertext through the illustrations. It is a book to have when times are hard and maybe we are all lost for words.

Margaret Wild is an Australian author and her thoughtful, award-winning children’s books have been published with great success in many countries. They include Old Pig (shortlisted, CBCA Picture Book of the Year), Fox (winner, CBCA Picture Book of the Year), The Dream of the Thylacine (honour book, CBCA Picture Book of the Year), and On the Day You Were Born, all illustrated by Ron Brooks. Margaret has been the recipient of the Nan Chauncy Award and the Lady Cutler Award for her contributions to Australian Literature.

Jane Tanner began illustrating picture books in 1984 with Margaret Wild’s There’s a Sea in my Bedroom (shortlisted, Kate Greenaway Medal. Her many awards and shortlisted books include Drac and the Gremlin by Allan Baillie (joint winner, CBCA Picture Book of the Year. In 2017 Jane illustrated Storm Whale by Sarah Brennan (nominated, Kate Greenaway Medal; shortlisted, Prime Minister’s Literary Award; shortlisted, Queensland Literary Awards).

Allen and Unwin are the Australian publishers Girl from the Sea joins an incredibly powerful list of beautifully published books with meaning and power to touch people and bring changes to our world.

There is a haunting quality to Girl From the Sea and it fits a perfect place for thoughtful and evocative life experiences.

Sue Martin

Wonderful words and pictures, everywhere

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