Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

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Iceberg by Claire Saxby and Jess Racklyeft

Born in Spring and living a whole year…

“This world is not empty, nor ever still. Far from places we know, it feels everything we do.” Claire Saxby

Iceberg both inspires and creates deep thinking for children of all ages including older primary years.

This picture book is quite simply a visual and literary masterpiece. Its opening spread features spectacular spikes of colour, dramatic expanses and subtle details, including the shadow of an orca, the peek of a seal, and the track of penguins.

Turn the pages and the colours lighten slowly to reveal more of the iceberg until the sun fully reveals itself and the wildlife on and around the iceberg. The tone of the language playfully reflects this change. And soon we are below the water’s surface with a magnificent gatefold opening out to reveal the extraordinary panorama of activity under the sea.

 Antarctica is remote, forbidding, hostile and uninhabited by humans, yet this frozen continent is key to understanding how our world works, and our corresponding impact on Earth’s climate and ocean systems.

The author, Claire Saxby’s lyrical narrative combined with Jess Racklyeft’s detailed illustrations are sure to spark curiosity for Antarctica and its flora and fauna. As well as being an important natural laboratory, Antarctica provides the opportunity to educate children on the importance of protecting this fragile continent and its ecosystems.

Source: Tye Cattanach Education Consultant, Blogger and former children’s bookseller

Allen and Unwin are Australian publishers with global impact, Iceberg is available across the world.

There are a comprehensive set of Teacher Notes from Tye Cattanach, both enabling and inspirational. They have been formulated with Year 3 Australian Curriculum in mind, but the activities and resources shared here could easily be adapted to suit younger and older students alike in the National Curriculum in the UK or other global education systems.

Sue Martin – Children’s Literacy Specialist

Stories across the world…

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Soldier, Summoner, Saint…

Alina Starkov is a soldier in this dystopian novel of a land full of intrigue, with a magical, military elite and an overpowering sense of unnatural darkness and doom. Across the land like a dagger, lies The Shadow Fold or the Unsea, It is into this blackness that Alina knows she must travel to. She has a very special gift and the notorious leader, the Darkling, can only destroy the Shadow Fold using Alina’s gift. As she enters into a lavish world of intrigue, royalty and wealth, she comes under his spell. Escaping once she reunites with her friend from the past, but is this enough to keep them safe from the power of the Darkling.

Shadow and Bone is the first book in the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, now a Netflix Original Series. Two of the following books are Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. Alina Starkov is the character and protagonist of the trilogy. These amazing books continue…. Find out more at Leigh Bardugo website.

A wonderful book and page turner and brilliant for young people who just want to read and read great books of different worlds and characters. They are brought to light and dark as each page turns and the plot of the story moves the reader from hope to despair in this journey with Alina.

Leigh Bardugo is the best selling award winning author, she lives in Los Angeles and is an avid writer of fantasy novels.

Thoroughly recommend Shadow and Bone for anyone interested in adventure, different worlds and good against evil. Having bought the first book I can’t wait to read the next in the series, Siege and Storm.

Sue Martin  Children’s Literacy Specialist

Stories across the world…

A King’s Armour- Book Two in The Chronicles of Will Ryde and Awa Maryam Al-Jameel

The story is set in Istanbul, 1592. In the court of Sultan Murad the Third, where a mysterious manuscript arrives claiming to know the location of the fabled armour of King David.

The Sultan goes into melt down to discover the site of the armour, so frantic is he to be the bearer of the armour and gain the protection of the legendary breast plate.

He has never led armies into battle but with this armour he would be sure of success, or so he believes.

This is the second in the series of The Chronicles of Will Ryde and Awa Maryam Al-Jameel and is an action-packed adventure in Istanbul. A story about unity and how a diverse set of individuals work together to seek a common goal.

Will and Awa, our protagonists, navigate, trying to keep true to their values yet weary of their obligations to their imperial overlords.” Rehan Khan.

Rehan was born in London and now lives in Dubai with his family, where he also works as a visiting professor in an international business school. His first book in the series; A Tudor Turk was a great success and is nominated for The Cilip Carnegie Medal 2020.

Hope Road Publishing is an independent publisher promoting literature with a focus on Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, along with neglected and often unheard voices. They have some enormously good books with  wonderful diversity.

A King’s Armour is an amazing book, packed with adventure, intrigue and history. The characters are brought to life by the expertise of the author and the story carries on at a pace that makes turning every page a joy.

Exceptionally worth reading and buying for children ages 9-14 or thereabouts. Great for home, school or library and would ably support other curriculum areas in school.

Sue Martin

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

 

 

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 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

 

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