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

Welcome to the Future by Kathryn Hulick

Robot Friends, Fusion Energy and more…

Technology has escaped ! In this brand-new look on how we could live our lives in the future. Kathryn has evocatively set the scene for a world where we can stay in control but technology will be the main part in our lives. Drones, robots, smart systems, teleportation and synthetic biology are just the start of a whole new era in world development and moving into other planets in other galaxies.

In this book, you’ll explore 10 ways technology could alter our way of life. The challenge for you is to decide which changes you want for yourself and the world.

In the future, will we teleport from place to place, keep dinosaurs as pets or 3D-print our dinner? Will we live on Mars or upload our brains to computers? Could we solve climate change by making all our energy from mini stars we build here on earth?

This fascinating thought-provoking book from science writer Kathryn Hulick explores the possible futures humanity will face, and how we will live as the world around us changes beyond our recognition.

From genetic engineering and building floating colonies in space to developing telepathic technology and bionic body alterations, this engagingly illustrated book looks into the possible future technologies which will shape how we live and how we adapt to the challenges of the future.

How about moving your location to a different planet?

You’ll meet the scientists working to bring science fiction to life and learn how soon we might have amazing new technology. You’ll also delve deep into questions about right and wrong. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. How can we build the best possible future for everyone on Earth?

Kathryn Hulick is a freelance writer, editor and former Peace Corps volunteer. She writes regularly for Science News for Students and Muse magazine. She has also published numerous nonfiction books on topics such as video games, artificial intelligence, energy technology and dinosaurs. Hulick’s favourite part of writing about science is getting to speak with researchers in many different fields.

Marcin Wolski is a graphic designer and illustrator from Sopot, Poland, whose clients include The Economist, Nature, The Guardian and Finance Asia.

Publishers are Lincoln Children’s Books from Quarto Knows and Welcome to the Future  is a beautiful large hardback book, and has just the sense that you need to read the next part to find out just how amazing the world will or could be in the future.

Definitely recommend for children 9 years and upwards, plus adults of course and a great book for schools and libraries.

Sue Martin – Children’s Literacy Specialist

Stories across the world…

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…

Tree Beings by Raymond Huber and Sandra Severgnini

Incredible trees, incredible graphics

Tree Beings takes you inside the incredible world of trees. How do they talk to each other and how do they enrich the whole planet. There is a foreword from Dr Jane Goodall, who brings real soul and understanding to just why we should all know and understand about trees. They are a big clue in how we can save the planet.

This is a book where you will become engrossed in stories, facts and a future. The stories include…

  • A young woman who lived up a giant tree for two years
  • A scientist who discovered trees have their own internet
  • A woman who faced a dangerous dictator to protect trees
  • Young people who fought to save their last native trees
  • A nine year old boy who found a way to plant a trillion trees

Raymond Huber is an author, freelance editor and creative writing teacher. He has a passion for writing about nature and making worlds come alive for children. Tree Beings is  a book that will bring a new world dimension to all children.

Sandra Severgnini is an amazing illustrator with some wonderful children’s books and botanical illustrations too. The intricate and evocative illustrations are intriguing and keep the facts alive.

The book is a resource and teacher workshop all in one, the covers have hidden creatures , there are mazes, hidden insects and a wealth of images and facts to keep you reading this book for ages.

EKBooks is part of Exisle publishing based in Australia and New Zealand. Established five years ago they have a great publication list on issues that matter, books to make a better world.

I really love this book and as a girl who spent much of her youth reading books in the boughs of a leaning oak tree, I know exactly what it means when it says that trees can communicate!

Sue Martin

diamonds by Armin Greder

A powerful book in graphic black and white images, showing the true relationships between diamonds, the mine diggers and gift receivers. Through the images we follow a journey from a home, where the mother is explaining about diamonds to her daughter before she goes out. The young girl is put to bed by her African Nanny Amina, and later has a nightmare.

It is a book for us all, as we learn more about the differences between wealth and poverty, and the corruption the diamond industry brings to financing wars and conflicts. It is a hard hitting book. The Afterword by Riccardo Noury, a spokesperson for Amnesty International, Italy,explains how the diamond industry works, and how there is now a certification process called the ‘Kimberley Process’ which aims to reduce the sales of diamonds to finance conflict.

Armin Greder lives in Australia and is an artist who illustrates highly impactful graphic novels in startling black and white style, packed with meaning. Other books include The Island and The Mediterranean. There is an excellent review on Playing by the Book about Armin.

Allen and Unwin are Australian publishers who have an excellent commitment to books which enable us to think outside the box and not accept our world as it is.

Definitely a book to engage with students and with your own mind on issues today and stop our complacency in our Western world.

Sue Martin

Authors around the world…

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