Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Tag: The Book Monitor

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…

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller…

An excellent  book to take on holiday this year, impossible to stop reading! Adventure and intrigue from beginning to end.

It’s all about…

A girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England when it intrudes on the modern world. From the bestselling master of fantasy, Garth Nix.

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

Author is well known Australian Garth Nix and publishers are The Orion Publishing Group. Recommend for any age above 7 years and for those who love adventure and pacy books.

My advice is, buy this book now and find a space somewhere to read until the end. The Old World of London is dangerous and exciting, so just watch out the next time you are walking alone in Bayswater!

Sue Martin

Stories across the world…

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

A tale full of adventure, exploration and excitement as four children find their way home from the deepest part of the Amazon jungle.

A pacy and exciting book, nearly impossible to put down and with an ending that does more than just conclude the story; as life is at risk and new skills have to be learnt so fast. 

A tale full of adventure, exploration and excitement

Four children, who had never met before, are flying  across the Amazon jungle, when the pilot loses consciousness and the plane crashes into the trees. Fred, Lila, her little brother Max and a girl called Con have to help each other to; find food, survive the creepy crawlies and to escape. On their way they find a map, make a raft and discover a ruined city, where they meet The Explorer, who is not exactly friendly but helpful in an eccentric way. But in a terrifying situation they are forced to leave as quickly as they could. 

 Katherine Rundell, author of The Rooftoppers is an award winning author who  lives in Oxford, UK and The Explorer was; Winner of the Children’s Book Prize 2017, winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award 2017 and winner of the London Book Fair Children’s Travel Book of the Year for 2017. She has an amazing talent for creating adventure and in this book she brings her love of places and adventure to children’s minds. 

Publishers are Bloomsbury who have created The Explorer in paperback filled with black and white chapter headed illustrations and beautiful sketches throughout the book. 

Wonderful storytelling, delightfully delivered…

It’s a truly great book and children of all ages will love the adventure, the sense of place, the maps, the ruined city and see themselves as one of the characters, in an adventure of a lifetime. 

In the video clip Katherine introduces  The Explorer and you can just feel her own love of adventure which creeps in every corner of the book. 

A must read for lockdown 2020 and for anytime at all, home, school and library. 

Sue Martin 


 

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

A story of friendship, love, care and challenge.

I  discovered this book whilst browsing in my favourite bookshop in London. I was on a training course at the time and was delighted to have found this inspirational, beautiful and emotive book I showed it to my colleagues. 

To my surprise, most of the people in the room had already bought the book and were overwhelmed with it. And so, as I journeyed home that evening I slowly went through all the pages, the drawings, the meaning in the text said so much, and the inspiration on life was wonderful. 

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is a story of friendship, love, care and challenge. The characters are brought together gradually, with the boy first, who is lonely until he meets the mole, who loves cake. They meet the fox, not easy if you are a mole, but fox has been hurt by life and is mainly silent. The horse is the largest and the gentlest of characters and carries them through a lot. 

The format of the book is water-colour illustrations with hand written text on creamy tactile paper  and feels such a precious book. The author, Charlie Mackesy, hopes that the book will be well used and I’m sure he is right, although I am not sure I could also make notes on it as he suggests. It is still sitting by my chair looking new, although well read. It is a book for quiet moments and for sharing with others too. 

Charlie Mackesy is an artist, a thinker and a creator of inspirational ‘stuff’ about life.  

Penguin Publishers are a huge publishers, and full of creative and new authors, and The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is in a beautiful format which highlights the inspirational text and illustration.

What a joy!

Sue Martin

Books from around the world

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