Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

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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


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 


 

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

Wild in the Streets- 20 Poems of City Animals

This is a captivating book full of poems about different animals living in cities across the world. A book of adaptation; bats, boars, coyotes, huntsman spiders, honeybees and reticulated pythons. Poems which reflect the nature of the animal and its new habitat and at the back is a glossary with  different types of poems like cinquains to sonnets, and acrostics to reversos.

‘It may be hard to believe that wildlife can survive among the densely packed houses, huge skyscrapers, tarmac, pavements and sewers. Some animals were there before humans encroached on their territory and others have been introduced on purpose, like the Honeybees in Vancouver.’ Marilyn Singer

Reticulated pythons were in Singapore before the city existed and survive in the sewers and waterway, living on rats, cats and birds. Monarch butterflies have long migrations but at the end of the summer gather in Pacific Grove,California before travelling north again in the Spring.

Marilyn Singer is the author and Gordy Wright is the illustrator and they have combined their talents to produce this beautiful book published by Words and Pictures.

An exciting and inspiring way to think about animals in our cities.

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

 

 

I Was Only Nineteen, words by John Schumann and pictures by Craig Smith

 

A truly remarkable book about the Vietnam War and Australian soldiers. The book uses the lyrics of the song with poignant pictures illustrating the hardships and efforts the soldiers endured in the jungles of South Vietnam between 1962 – 1975.

A deeply moving story about young men conscripted into the war.

It was made even more real for me as, I on my most recent visit to Vietnam, I met a Vietnamese veteran who had flown helicopters for the Americans for 14 years. A reminder of this deadly war that was never winnable.

On each page in the book the illustrations are vivid and meaningful, from the passing out parade in Puckapunyal to the crawling through the tangled undergrowth trying to avoid being shot.

The illustrations from Craig Smith make the lyrics from John Schumann so real and follow the young recruit as he is called up with the sixth Battalion.

Published by Allen and Unwin of Australia, this amazing book is part of a wide portfolio of powerfully evocative books in Picture Book format for any age.

This is truly an excellent and remarkable book to have at home or a school library. It is full of moments of companionship and personal challenges. It is not only a reminder of the Vietnamese war but of any war that becomes futile resulting in a huge loss of life.

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

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

Winner of the School Librarian of the Year 2019

The SLA School Librarian of the Year Award is the School Library Association’s highly valued award to recognize the excellent work carried out in school libraries across the country. 

In 2019, Alec Williams, who introduced the afternoon said, ” A room full of books is just that! But given the proper space and a librarian, the discovery, delight and magic happens.”

This year Ros Harding at The King’s School Chester has been awarded the honour of the School Librarian of the Year 2019. Sara Barnard, the 2019 YA Book Prize winner presented Ros Harding with her award at a special ceremony at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, Kensington, London Kensington on 27 June .

Ros is Head Librarian and Archivist at The King’s School Chester, which is an independent selective school for 3-18 year olds, Ros contributes in many ways to the life of the school and the wellbeing of its students and staff. She was described by others as“caring, for people but also for the library itself”, “inspiring curiosity” and a “tour de force”.

As well as establishing a School Book Award, Ros is an excellent ambassador of research skills and ensures all aspects of the school to have a place within the library. She empowers pupils and gives outstanding support and pastoral care.

A quote and under-statement from a pupil, ” She knows her library”!

Announcing the School Librarian of the Year 2019, Sara Barnard, whose novel Goodbye Perfect won the YA Book Prize 2019  said:
Libraries are essential to any school and community, and I’m delighted to pay tribute to them and the librarians who make them what they are.

The two other school librarians on the Honour List, were recognised for their outstanding work .Chantal Kelleher is the Learning Resource Centre Manager at Herne Bay High School, and  Helen Cleaves, Librarian/Learning Resources Manager at Kingston Grammar School.

The panel of judges was led by Sue Baston, who is also Vice Chair of SLA.

From bringing books to life in highly imaginative and engaging ways, to generous and bold outreach work each librarian on the Honour
List has made a huge difference to the lives of all they work with, igniting a passion for reading.

An interesting and inspirational event  recognising all the good work that continues in our school libraries.

Sue Martin

 

 

 

Angel: Through My Eyes Series – Natural Disaster Zones

Angel, Through My Eyes Natural disaster ZOnes cover image and web link

Buy this great book here…

Angel’s family have seen many typhoons. For generations the violent storms have passed across the central Philippines around November. But Typhoon Haiyan is a super-typhoon and came across the Philippines in 2013, destroying everything in its path.

Angel lives in Tacloban with her family and when the news of the typhoon is announced the family take extra measures to keep safe.

But Typhoon Haiyan is stronger than anyone has ever seen before. Angel stays near the coast with her father whilst her mother, brothers and sisters go into the hills to their grandparents, but only just in time.

‘There’s an ear splitting crash as the first wave hurls itself at the little house, forcing open the door and gushing through the window. Angel screams. The ladder is torn away just as she jumps onto the roof beam. Water is up to her chin and she is fighting to keep her head above its churning mass. ‘ Papa! Papa!’ She searches desperately for any sign of her father as the water sweeps her away, but he’s vanished.’

An amazing book, written by Zoe Daniels, it is harrowing and full of anguish as Angel searches through the debris and disaster areas. Several days elapse before any help arrives by plane.

Buy this book icon and web link Buy this book here

Through My Eyes  is a stunning series, and highly recommended. They are published by Allen and Unwin, Australia and the series editor is Lyn White. As the reader you are immersed into a disaster zone of epic proportions.

We really love these books and Angel is a brilliantly depicted story of life when the super typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful ever to be recorded, hit the Central Philippines.

Recommended for ages 8- 15 and adults too!

Sue Martin

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