Engaging reads for children, from Books go Walkabout

Category: Featured children’s book Page 1 of 20

The Great British Staycation Activity Book by Claire Saunders and illustrated by Livi Gosling

Facts, puzzles and much more…

If you are about to set out on holiday with children, in the car  heading across the UK to somewhere  in the country, by the sea or any one of our amazing towns and cities, you are about to set out on an adventure.

This is  just the book to have for enquiring minds, for those questions that are hard to answer. It is packed full of puzzles, activities, from word searches to quizzes, from seaside sudokus to sandcastle counts, there are some great fun things to do.

Fossil hunters extraordinaire…

The format of the book is excellent, with appealing images and activities based on our enriching history, try the page with Wonderful Words if you are heading anywhere near Stratford on Avon for instance. Designing your very own Staycation Hotel will bring some awesome designs and far away from the standard hotel design. Maybe you could change it to an Air B & B or creative glamping design.

The Great British Staycation is written by Claire Saunders,based on the book Maps of the United Kingdom by Rachel Dixon, illustrated by Livi Goslings.

Published by Wide Eyed Editions, part of the Quarto Knows, this is a great book to have to take away with you, or even work on at home, a real treat!

Sue Martin

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…

The Corinthian Girl by Christina Balit

A slave girl with no name…

A girl with no name becomes a champion in the Herean Games in the great stadium of Olympia. This amazing story tells the tale of a girl abandoned by her father in Corinth as he had no need of a girl. Instead of taking her to the Temple for a special ceremony , he turned into the marketplace and left her on a bench.

She became a slave girl, but always wore the small Doric coin around her neck from her father to show that she was from a worthy family. By good fortune, her owner saw her playing with his son, recognised her potential as an athlete  and took her to train for the Herean Games, which were only for women. She won the games and was then given a name!

Winner of the Herean Games

A beautiful book from Otter-Barry Books with a wonderful story  bringing to life an event held so long ago, and a girl who rose to fortune by her ability. The illustrations and text are brilliant and whatever age the reader, this will bring real interest and joy.  There is an information section about the Herean Games, which were held before the Olympic Games which were started in 776BCE.

The author and illustrator is Christina Balit who has illustrated many children’s books and twice been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

I became fascinated by The Corinthian Girl and have so much enjoyed reading more about the Herean Games… it has given a real step into the past.

Sue Martin

Stories Across the World…

Finn’s Garden Friends by Rachel Lawston &Lisa Visirin

This is such a beautiful and heart-warming book. The importance  of spending time in nature shines through on every page. The story explores a move from the country for Finn, to the city where dull, grey buildings are all that he can see. But  wild spaces, can be found in cities as well as the countryside,  where creatures of all shapes and sizes can roam freely. Finn discovers a hibernating hedgehog and a hungry fox along with different plants and birds galore.  It is an inspiring story of adventure close at home and a helpful Grandpa who lends a gentle hand along the way.

Hedgehog discovery…

At a time when we are all spending time in our own neighbourhoods, whether in towns or the countryside, Finn’s Garden Friends is a great way to explore the outside, find real creatures, large and small, move away from the ‘screens’ and explore together into our wonderful world.

Rachel Lawston is the author and she is a keen amateur orchid hunter bird watcher and bat detector.  She is also a designer with publishers  such as Walker Books and Penguin Random House. Rachel lives in London and near the Wetland Centre in Barnes, where she is a very keen volunteer.

Lisa Visirin is a new illustrator and is highly talented with children’s books themes. Her illustrations match beautifully with the text in Finn’s Garden Friends.

Allotments are just the thing in 2021…

Pikku Publishers produce very thoughtful, original books with high quality illustrations. They are inventive and creative only publishing titles and books they are passionate about. Many of their books are award winning and at Books Go Walkabout we love being part of their story.

I’m now off to take this book into the garden with me, to find out if I too can find these creatures under the hedge or maybe behind the wooden shed.

Sue Martin

Stories across the world…

I Am Not a Label by Cerrie Burnell and Lauren Mark Baldo

34 disabled artists, thinkers, athletes and activists from past & present

An outstanding book about people first and how they have carved out their lives and thoughts against a number of odds and issues which could so easily have prevented them from living their lives. Society does like to label! This is a book which clearly shows that we just should not do that!!



In this stylishly illustrated biography anthology, meet 30 artists, thinkers, athletes, and activists with disabilities, from past and present. From Frida Kahlo to Stephen Hawking, find out how these iconic figures have overcome obstacles, owned their differences, and paved the way for others by making their bodies and minds work for them.

These short biographies tell the stories of people who have faced unique challenges that have not stopped them from becoming trailblazers, innovators, advocates, and makers. Each person is a leading figure in their field, be it sports, science, math, art, breakdancing, or the world of pop.

Read about Ludwig van Beethoven, Gustav Kirchoff, Henri Matisse, Eliza Suggs, Helen Keller, Frida Kahlo, John Nash, Stephen Hawking, Temple Grandin, Stevie Wonder, Nabil Shaban, Terry Fox, Jonas Jacobsson, Trischa Zorn, Ade Adepitan, and many others.

Cerrie Burnell is an actress, singer, playwright, author, and former television presenter for CBeebies (2009–2017). She was born with half a right arm and has sought to increase visibility of disabled people through her career in presenting, writing, and acting.

Shooter, swimmer and basketball player

Lauren Baldo is an illustrator based in the Philippines. He has worked as a storyboard artist, comic artist, graphic designer, and children’s book illustrator.

Publishers are Wide Eyed Editions, part of Quarto Knows. An amazing gift for excellent books which highlight research, people and subjects in a format which is modern and attractive. Just a great way to read and extend your knowledge.

Sue Martin

Stories Across the World

The Secret Life of Bees, by Moira Butterfield and Vivian Mineker

Published by Words and Pictures, Quarto Knows…
Follow Buzzwing the honeybee on a beautifully illustrated journey through the world of bees filled with amazing science and intriguing folklore. This is a brilliant book which will enable children of any age to acquire knowledge and interest in the life of the bee. Each story is a honeycomb of adventure, each page a new discovery.

Welcome to my honey hive home.
It’s where I live with my family.
I’m small and fuzzy and striped black and gold.
I’m Buzzwing the hardworking honeybee!


Did you know that bees love to dance? Or that they have an amazing sense of smell to help them find the best flowers? In The Secret Life of BeesBuzzwing shares with you all the details of her life as a bee, in and out of the hive, starting with the day she was born.

Learn the secrets of this worker bee’s tiny world, including: The bee life cycle Bee anatomy How bees collect nectar and make honey What happens inside the hive The different types of bees Why bees are so important to humans How bees can thrive in the city Bee folk tales from around the world With things to search for and find throughout, tips for making your own environment welcoming to bees, and even a poetry-writing exercise, The Secret Life of Bees is brimming with reasons to admire and respect the hardworking honeybee.

Sumptuous and detailed illustrations have pride of place in this magical guide to bees that mixes natural history with a splash of fantasy—a book to be pored over time and again.
Lovely images…
Moira Butterfield has written numerous children’s books, including award-winning work for under-5s, highly commended historical, science, and natural history nonfiction. Moira lives in Bath, England.

Vivian Mineker is a Taiwanese American from Taipei and Portland, currently working out of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her interest in art began at a young age, using drawing to express herself and her inner imaginary world. She uses watercolor, colored pencil, and digital processes to create a blend of traditional texture with a modern look and feel. She is the proud owner of a mini goldendoodle, called Darlie.

Now to spend time reading the book again and checking my garden in rural Norfolk, UK, for plants that are bee friendly, with invisible ultra violet stripes or purple and blue colour flowers.

Sue Martin

Little People, Big Dreams -Earth Heroes

I am an enormous follower of the Little People,Big Dream from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books series of books. They are remarkably inspirational. They get us in touch with people who have made a huge difference in the world. They are appealing for children of all ages, from 6 years, at home and at school. The schools I work with are keen to build libraries of these titles as starters for research projects.

Meet three inspirational Earth Heroes whose love of the natural world inspires them to make a difference: Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg, and David Attenborough! This boxed gift set of three hardback books from the internationally best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series introduces little dreamers to the lives of these incredible people who work to understand and protect this amazing planet.

A captivating book…


In these remarkable true stories, three very different people use their voice to speak up for animals and the environment. When Jane was little, her father gave her a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. This inspired her lifelong love of animals, and after living with chimpanzees in their natural habitat, she now educates the public on animal rights.

When young  Greta learned of the climate crisis, she couldn’t understand why people in power were not doing anything to save our Earth. But her “School Strike for Climate” has now inspired millions, and taught everyone her valuable message: “No one is too small to make a difference.”

Captivating illustrations…

As a child, David spent hours in the science library, collating his own specimens and creating a mini animal museum. Now, he is loved all over the world for telling the untold stories of these animals. Each of these moving books features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the Earth Hero’s life.

Settle in for a really good story…

Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, born in Barcelona, Spain, is a writer and creative director in constant search of new concepts for children’s books and the author of the multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series of picture books that explore the lives of outstanding people. Working for more than fifteen years for clients in top advertising agencies, her books combine creativity with learning, aiming to establish a new and fresh relationship between children and pop culture. ​

Anke Weckmann is originally from a small town in northern Germany, and now lives in London. She studied illustration at Camberwell College of Art and Kingston University and works as a freelance illustrator. Her work is hand-inked on paper and digitally coloured.

Mikyo Nohis an illustrator based in London, United Kingdom. Originally from South Korea, she worked as a fashion designer. Her works are used across stationery, children’s magazines, and children’s books.

Beatrice Cerocchi is an illustrator and architect based in Rome, Italy. Her awards include the 2017 AOI World Illustration award, and the 2018 Bologna Children’s Book Fair award.

As part of Earth Day 2021, my advice is to get out there and buy these books straight away. I have so much enjoyed reading about Jane, Greta and David, already an Earth Convert they have convinced me to take action.

Sue Martin

Stories Across the World

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Award winning book…

“Another impossible dream,” Ma said, looking at the plain rice in her bowl with bitterness.

Minli’s family were living in tough times and her parents Ma and Ba had different ideas about things. Ba, her father told Minli stories, which filled her imagination with tales of wonder and adventure. One night he told her about the Old Man of the Moon, who knows the answers to everything. The family live in the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, where they have to work so hard in the fields.

Minli decides to set out one day  on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon, she wants to seek good fortune for her family. Along the way, she meets many magical friends, including a talking fish, a powerful king and a dragon who can’t fly.

This is a powerful story of ambition, love and adventure with a family who desperately love their daughter but who just can’t move away from their life of hardship.

It is also a story about life in ancient China with many parallel characters and traits, alongside a modern approach shown through the writing style and books’ format.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a beautiful book to read and to lose yourself in its pages. The illustrations and chapter headings provide a wonderful aid to the developing story, enabling readers to glance ahead and see how the story is developing. It was awarded the 2010 Newbery Honour, chosen for Al Roker’s Today Show Kid’s Book Club and was a NY Times Bestseller.

Grace Lin

Grace Lin is an award-winning author, living in USA, her parents were originally from Taiwan. Grace has written many award winning books and she has a picture book series, Ling and Ting plus books for early readers and novels for older children. In 2019, Grace’s picture book “A Big Mooncake For Little Star” was awarded a Caldecott Honour. Grace, herself, was recognized as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling.

Little, Brown are the publishers with enormously successful and intriguing books for children. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a fantastic part of that book list.

I read this book now over a month ago and have found I can’t add it to the bookshelf as I just love to keep opening the book and re reading different sections.

Books Go Walkabout have added Where the Mountain Meets the Moon to its list on dragons on Bookshop.org and it has been an amazing success with our schools.

Sue Martin

Stories Across the World

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