Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Category: Featured authors Page 1 of 20

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!




 

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 Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

Anna Chiu has her hands full looking after her siblings and helping out at her Dad’s restaurant, all while her Mum stays in bed. The new delivery boy Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though things aren’t right at home, Anna starts to feel like she could be a normal teen,

But her Mum’s condition gets worse, life becomes increasingly hard for Anna as between them they have lots to work out.

An incredibly good story about life as a young person, moving from childhood to adulthood in a world which seems to be increasingly difficult and foreign. A time when you really do need your Mum. But for Anna, her Mum really needs her.

A powerful and moving story from Wai Chim, the highly acclaimed author, whose previous novel ,Freedom Swimmer, was a huge success. Following the stories of young people in the changing world of China then and now, Wai has a great eye for understanding of young people as they face their own dilemmas as well as difficult situations.

Published by Allen and Unwin from Australia, this book crosses geographical boundaries and unites all children as they move into adulthood.

A wonderful book to sit and read. the story and text are real page turners. Highly recommended for any persiond when you just need a good book to read.

Sue Martin

Joanna Grochowicz, Antarctic Explorer author, Zooms to Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong

Joanna and statue of Amundsen

Shrewsbury International School, Hong Kong have been working with Books Go Walkabout for some years. We had planned a wonderful author visit to the school in October 2019, by Joanna Grochowicz, New Zealand author of Polar Explorers. But then the Hong Kong protests meant it was no longer safe.

With children still working from home, due to Covid 19, in the spring of 2020, Beth McNeilly, school librarian and a passionate believer in the benefit of direct contact with authors, helped us to find a way. So, along with three quarters of the world in June 2020 we used Zoom. And hey it was fantastic!

A great school…

We had over 300 children, staff and parents joining the Zoom presentation with Joanna. We found our way to the Antarctic; where Joanna had visited in February this year, we reached the South Pole, and saw the photographer Ponting taking a photo of killer whales, we heard that the ice block he was standing on was upended by the whales, but he managed to escape, which was good as they would have eaten him.

Joanna in disguise as Herbert Ponting

There was so much fascinating detail of the journeys of both R.F Scott from the UK, and R. Amundsen from Norway in the early 1900’s, that the stories of adventure, courage, determination, skill and expertise were incredible. All the stories which brought the presentation and the books to life had been meticulously researched by Joanna with visits to many places to gather the story behind the journey. Joanna visited Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, UK, where she also came to Books Go Walkabout office.

Joanna in disguise as Amundsen

Her books are just made for reading, the first in the series is, Into the White, Scott’s Antarctic Odyssey and her second book is, Amundsen’s Way, with her third book about Shackleton being published later this year. They are some incredible stories and immensely well written, good for ages above 9 years and including all adults.

Into the White

We are indebted to Shrewsbury International School, Hong Kong for their perseverance in enabling the visit for Joanna to take place and especially to Beth McNeilly and staff for their commitment to the project and of course, to all the children who joined into the presentation. It must have been as hard for them to sit still for an hour without asking direct questions as it was for Joanna to present her stories to many, many black screens.

Amundsen's Way - The Race to the South Pole

We hope that one day all will be well and international travel will enable Joanna to make a direct visit to Hong Kong. But there is also so much scope now for children to have virtual visits with authors who have so much to bring to learning and adventure.

At Books Go Walkabout, we are committed to an international dimension to with books, and authors; stories across the world and knowledge transfer through reading and sharing.

Sue Martin

Amazing Women of the Middle East – 25 Stories to inspire girls everywhere by Wafa’ Tarnowska

Truly amazing women

This is a book you will enjoy from cover to cover!

From Nefertititi, a beautiful and powerful Queen,to Zahra Lari, incredible ice skater, this book brings a huge dimension to the creative and powerful influence of women in the Middle East.

Discover Sheherazade, the famous storyteller, dive into the musical world of singer Fairuz, and meet Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Here in one unique volume are twenty-five outstanding women from the Middle East, who have created a legacy through strength of vision, leadership, courage and sheer determination.

Written by award-winning children’s author and trailblazer, Wafa’ Tarnowska, this unique collection of short biographies is illustrated with stunning, contemporary art by five internationally recognised artists.

There is so much amazing information in this book which will provide a further valuable insight into the world of the Middle East. Whichever era may interest you, there will be a remarkable story about a woman with insight and vision.

Amal looney – Human Rights lawyer

Maybe my favourites are Sheherazade in 9th Century BCE, the daughter of the vizier, and a storyteller, writing about tales on the Silk Road from China to Arabia; and Amal Clooney, a modern-day Human Rights lawyer, whose quote is, “ Giving up is not an option!

Wafa’ Tarnowska is the award-winning author of Arabian Nights, published by Barefoot Books. Wafa’ has a large repertoire of work including several children’s books, many translated into numerous languages. She also translates plays and books including Victoria and Abdul, which was then made into a film. In 2018, Wafa’ performed Palestinian stories with Jumana Emile Abboud at the Tate Modern in London.

The illustrations in the book are beautiful with an amazing use of colour and different styles throughout.

Pikku Publishers produce the most beautiful books and Amazing Women from the Middle East is a special book in their collection. The hardback book is a joy to have and each page has its own individual colour and shade. Pikku Publishers produce quality books for children in schools and at home and they reach far across the globe in sales and achievements.

If I could step outside my door today and buy one book, this is the one that I would choose. such a good book.

Sue Martin

How to Design a Novel – Rehan Khan

Rehan Khan, author of Carnegie nominated ‘ Tudor Turk’ will be running a live 2 day course on; How to write and design a novel, on 12-13th December 2020. (...this is an entrance fee event, see link below…Ed.)

You can register for this event herehttps://courses.rehankhan.com/Pjr25

We know there are many of our blog readers who would love to write a book themselves. Maybe you are one of those? Do you have a story inside you to tell? Do you love reading and would like to to write a book? This course may be just right for you.

Rehan is the author of A Tudor Turk and A King’s Armour, an historic fiction series with Hope Road Publishers. They are great books and bring a totally new dimension to that period in history.

This is a unique opportunity and the focus on designing the novel will enable a way into writing. Finding the backdrop of the story, providing the setting, thinking about the characters, planning and enabling some hooks for the story to unfold.

In the UK as we head into lockdown 2, maybe this will give you some inspiration and motivation to find a way to write that book.

But in any case, try reading A Tudor Turk and A King’s Armour over lock-down. You will find yourself in another world, full of daring adventure.

Sue Martin

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…

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