Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Category: Children’s books Page 1 of 3

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!




 

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

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…

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…

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…

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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