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Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

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

Refugees by Brian Bilston

Refugees is a powerful word, one that conjures opposing emotions in people. For some it provokes feelings of fear and hate. For others the need for compassion, understanding and sympathy.

In his celebrated poem, Refugees, Brian Bilston tells both sides of the story by cleverly crafting a verse that can be read backwards and forwards to convey the two opposing views.

The immediate first pages are stark and the words and images show how hard life can be for those who have had to leave their homes and countries and face little support.

Brian Bilston is the author and famous on Twitter for his poems, Jose Sanabria is the illustrator and has captured feelings of darkness and light.

Palazzo Editions are the publishers and Refugees joins their wealth of outstanding books.

As the poem turns the words and images show how we can help in deeds, actions and how we view people who are needing help.

A book that will help everyone to reflect on attitudes, and how we view  people as people and not just as people from a different place with a different language.

Sue Martin

 

 

 

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, illustrated by Christian Birmingham

This enchanting story of the bravery of a horse in Victorian Britain has captivated and enthralled children for generations. This new edition from Palazzo brings beautiful illustrations from Christian Birmingham and has created an outstanding book, not just for the story but for the images too, as they lead us into the streets and paths of Victorian Britain.

Step back in time and see the world through Black Beauty’s gentle and patient eyes, as he enjoys the hardships that fell to horses living in the nineteenth century. meet the compassionate heroes and hard hearted rascals who Beauty encounters on his way and above all to experience the joys of being a horse, galloping on soft grass!

This is a story never to be forgotten!

Anna Sewell was a British writer, who wrote Black Beauty at the end of her life and never knew how successful the book became and how it helped to reform laws and attitudes to animal welfare. Black Beauty has sold an estimated 50 million copies.

Christian Birmingham is an acclaimed illustrator of Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year, The Wreck of the Zanzibar and many other awards too. He has been drawing horses for many years and inspired by paintings by Degas, Stubbs and Munnings. This is his first book for Palazzo.

Palazzo Editions is a young and flourishing independent publishing company based in Barnes, London. They create beautifully designed and illustrated books for the UK and international markets in the areas of popular culture, music, film, art, design and architecture, history and biography, and children’s books.

This book is one for keeps, a book for all to read or just dip into. A great story and now beautifully illustrated in this edition.

 

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

The Wild Book by Juan Villaro

Beautiful illustrations and thoughtful content…

In search of a Wild Book, thirteen year old Juan has to stay with his eccentric Uncle Tito, who has a library like no other. The books move at will and Juan discovers that he has a connection with the books that means they choose him.

A beautiful adventure story about a young teenage boy, whose life is falling apart but can find himself in this strange and magical library, where he is supreme. A story that could probably turn its own pages, it is very persuasive in reading to find out more, a great mix of adventure, magic, reading and story, what more could you want?

I must tell you that it is very rare for the books to move in synchrony and even rarer for them to form steps. That means that they place themselves at your feet and are ready to take you wherever you need to go. You’ll always find a book that helps you. Books are loyal.” says Uncle Tito.

Juan Villoro is one of Mexico’s best loved authors and The Wild Book has sold over 1 million copies in Spanish.

Hope Road Publishing has a great portfolio of books and specialises in excellent writing from all over the world with a window on countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

Thoroughly recommend The Wild Book for ages from 9-13 years, definitely a book for any library, so long as you are not afraid that this book will mean that all the books in the library start moving around to find their readers and causing chaos!

Published on 19th September 2019, this is a great book. I think I might just read  it all over again!

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

The Butterfly House by Katy Flint, illustrated by Alice Pattullo

Step inside the butterfly house, where wonderful, winged insects await. Spot the Banded King Shoemaker and the Monarchs, part of the Brush-Footed Butterflies. The number of species and their differences would fill a huge museum of drawers and glass show cases. 

The Butterfly House shows a number of different species in a glorious collection of illustrations and bite size info boxes. Did you know that there are over 11,000 species in the Tiger Moths family?  Their caterpillars have fuzzy bodies and are often known as ‘woolly bears’. Sounds like my kind of caterpillar.

It is a beautiful hardback book and a good size for the best display of the illustrations, which are captivating and entwined with the text to create a book  just waiting to be picked up.

Katy Flint, writes children’s books and lives in East London, her best selling book is The Story Orchestra and she has worked on non-fiction titles from human bodies to dinosaurs.

Alice Pattullo is an illustrator also based in East London. Alice works on commissioned illustrations and has a huge number of clients including; National Trust, Sainsburys and the V&A Museum.

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books are famous for their excellence in children’s books across the world and have titles in over 45 countries and 35 languages.

The Butterfly House is just the sort of book I am looking for, to sit and read after a walk towards the beach this summer. We recommend for children from 5- 9 and for adults too.

Sue Martin

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