Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

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Shoestring The boy Who Walks on Air by Julie Hunt and Dale Newman

But trouble is brewing…

A gripping illustrated adventure about a travelling circus troupe, a future-telling macaw and a cursed pair of gloves that Shoestring must conquer once and for all. A companion to the award-winning KidGlovz.


Twelve-year-old Shoestring is leaving behind his life of crime and starting a new career with the Troupe of Marvels. Their lead performer, he has an invisible tightrope and an act to die for. But trouble is brewing – the magical gloves that caused so much turmoil for KidGlovz are back.

When he’s wearing the gloves, the world is at Shoestring’s fingertips. It’s so easy to help himself to whatever he likes – even other people’s hopes and dreams. But when he steals his best friend’s mind, he’s at risk of losing all he values most.

Julie Hunt is the author to this amazingly intriguing and, like nothing else you will ever read book! It is a compelling sequel to KidGlovz, winner of the 2016 Queensland Literary Award and named as one of Booktrust UK’s 100 best books for middle readers.

Dale Newman has captured the imagery of Shoestring perfectly and she
has been engaged in creative life for many years.and now works as a freelance illustrator. KidGlovz was her very first-ever epic graphic novel. Dale lives on the New South Wales coast of Australia with her partner and son, who kindly agreed to model for the book. Her artwork also appears on the cover of Julie’s award-winning novel Song for a Scarlet.

Obsession, revenge and the threads that bind us…

Allen and Unwin are the publishers,they have created wonderful materials to go with this book. You can download a free set of Teacher’s Resources to go with Shoestring which will create some excellent writing skills.

Every so often a book lands on my desk in Cambridge, UK which grabs me! After ten minutes on the sofa, Shoestring is coming home with me to read tonight. Definitely one to read.

Sue Martin

Books and authors from around 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

Agatha Oddly

A perfect read…

 

A great series for readers who love adventure. You will have a real empathy with the heroine. I have loved the first two books and passed to school libraries where it is a great success.

Agatha Oddlow has been a detective for as long as she can remember – she’s just been waiting for her first big case. And nothing gets bigger than saving the City of London from some strange goings-on.

“I feel sure I have seen the symbol before- I felt it the moment I put it on the professor’s wrist. I search my memory, usually so reliable. But it’s like grasping in the dark, one minute I’m groping around, and think I have something, and the next it’s gone in a whisper.” Chapter 7

With a scholarship to the prestigious St Regis School, a cottage in the middle of Hyde Park, a room full of beloved sleuthing novels, and a secret key that gives her access to a whole hidden side of London, Agatha is perfectly poised to solve the mystery of what’s going on. But just who can she trust when no one is quite who they seem…

The second mystery is Murder at the Museum.

Agatha is s set to become the youngest member of the Gatekeepers’ Guild, but before that, she’s got a mystery to solve!

There’s been a murder at The British Museum and, although the police are investigating, Agatha suspects that they’re missing a wider plot going on below London – a plot involving a disused Tube station, a huge fireworks display, and five thousand tonnes of gold bullion.

Lena Jones is the new author and the books are published by Tibor Jones Studio and HarperCollins, bringing a great dimension to children’s books.

So, start reading this brilliant new adventure series, it is fun to read, will engage with all levels of readers, creates a sense of awareness of contemporary childhood with a sense of classic adventure and mystery.

Recommend as a great read for ages 8-11 years

Sue Martin

 

 

 

When We Became Humans by Michael Bright

A story of evolution, how we as humans developed into the upright, intelligent form that we are today, from  our recent cousins the Neanderthals to ourselves, Homo Sapiens. A large format highly illustrated book which follows in the success of When the Whales Walked.

 

 

  • One stop guide to discovering your origins
  • Exquisite illustration which brings the subject to life
  • Engagingly explores this key topic for Key Stage 2 pupils

The sections of the book are easy to follow from ‘How do we know who our ancestors were? to ‘Just Like Us’, which explores how the Neanderthals also liked to use jewellery and clothes.

At the back of the book there is a section on the human family tree and a world map showing how humans have always travelled on and and sea.

Michael Bright is an executive producer with the BBC Natural History Unit and has written over 60 books on aspects of natural history and conservation and the environment.

Hannah Bailey is an illustrator and designer inspired by the natural world and specialises in natural history and non-fiction for children.

Words and Pictures are part of the Quarto Group and aim to produce books that inspire and enable children to think and use their imaginations.

Recommended for ages 6-10, a great book to have for schools and at home.

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

The Phoenix of Persia

The Phoenix of Persia - cover image and web link

Buy this wonderful book here…

The Phoenix of Persia

By Sally Pomme Clayton,  illustrated by Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif, published by Tiny Owl.

An incredible and innovative book!   It is produced as a collaboration between many organisations, including Arts Council England and City of London University.

The Phoenix of Persia is an ancient story from Iran and often stories would be set to music as part of the story telling, bringing the story to life.  It is about a mythical bird, the Simorgh, who takes care of a tiny baby, who grows up to become Prince Zal, the hero of many stories in an epic story from Iran called the Shahnameh.

For thousands of years, in many cultures around the world, stories have been accompanied by music and poems, with illustrations bringing the story to life.

This new book, brings all of those aspects together, a story from times long gone, illustrations which are exceptionally colourful and imaginative. Music is brought to you via a QR code onto any smart device. The story comes alive and is read to you with accompanying music, such a good idea!

The Teachers Resource Pack is full of brilliant information and ideas of how to use the book in the classroom. A terrific resource, for literacy, arts, music and PSE.

The Phoenix of Persia is about a baby who is much longed for by the King and Queen, but he is rejected by the King as he has white hair. He is taken away to the mountains and left. The Simorgh bird, who is flying overhead, hears the cries and takes the baby to bring up as her own.

This is a story with a happy ending, but I will leave that for you to read and find out.

Book image and web linkBuy this book here, with free delivery!

The author, Sally Pomme Clayton, is  a story teller and a dream weaver, captivating all with her words on folk tales and forgotten myths, among many other things too.

The illustrator, Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif is from Tehran and in the Teachers Resources you can find out just how some of the techniques can be created.

Tiny Owl Publishers have created a beautiful book and an amazing resource which will bring diversity directly into children’s lives both at home and at school.

We thoroughly  recommend for ages from 3 – 11 years and for parents too.

Sue Martin

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Books and authors, around the world…

 

 

White Horse by Yan Ge

White Horse by Yan Ge - cover image and weblink

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Yun Yun lives in a small West China town, and is closely involved with her older cousin, aunt and uncle. But tensions arise as Shan Qing, her cousin, heads into adolescence at a pace and her parents are far from happy. Tensions and clashes arise as her repressive parents are forced to look at their own family situation.

This is a powerful coming of age tale, with piercing insights into contemporary Chinese culture. It shows some of the conflicts in a fast-moving society  for families and different generations in a very modern Chinese world.

Yan Ge is the author and has already been proclaimed as a writer to watch. She is passionate about spreading Chinese literature to English readers. Yan was born in Sichuan in the People’s Republic of China and is the chair of China Young Writers Association. She was picked as Best New Writer by the Chinese Literature Media Prize.

…with free delivery!

James Nunn, the illustrator, is a brilliant artist working with books and has an amazing collections of illustrations and books. Watch the video to see James at work.

Nicky Harman has also translated many renowned Chinese authors into English, an immensely specialist skill and she is also the Chair of the Translators Association.

Hope Road is an independent publisher vigorously supporting neglected voices and their YA titles focus on issues challenging young people in our world of 2019.

We recommend White Horse as a good read for young people from 9 – 13 years and as an opportunity to see how tensions of growing up and family values can be a challenge.

Sue Martin

 

A Tudor Turk

Chronicles of Will Ryde...cover image and web link

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Book 1 in The Chronicles of Will Ryde and Awa Maryam Al-Jameel, A Tudor Turk, written by Rehan Khan, is set in Istanbul in 1591 and is a daring mission by Will and Awa. 

Along with a band of warriors, they follow their quest to retrieve the staff of Moses which has been stolen from the mighty Sultan Murad the Third. The very same staff that was used by Moses to part the Red Sea.

An elite band of warriors is assembled, including Awa, the daughter of a noble family from West Africa and Will who was kidnapped from a London slum at the age of five. For Will being released as a slave meant that he was willing to travel anywhere.

The journey means that Awa and Will travel from Istanbul to Venice and then to London and the court of Elizabeth  the First herself.

This is a stunning tale in Tudor times and being set in Istanbul is really exciting  with a very different perspective than many books set around this time.

Buy this great book here

Author Rehan Khan is an avid historian, based in Dubai, he is intrigued by just how ideas travel through place and time and how legends and chronicles can unite cultures rather than shattering them.

Publishers are HopeRoad Publishing, who promote inclusive literature with a focus on Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and have a really interesting portfolio of books for young adults. A Tudor Turk is published on 21st February 2019.

A story that will keep you gripped into the book and take you on a journey across continents in the Tudor times, much to learn and much to enjoy. We have really enjoyed this book and recommend A Tudor Turk for young people from ages 11- 15 years.

Sue Martin

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