I love spending time reading non-fiction texts, especially ones that can be recommended to schools for particular topics or year groups. These books will be winging their way into schools next term for children to browse.
Somebody Woke Wilson by Sarah Roberts and Hannah Jayne Lewin, Published by Scholastic
In the success of Somebody Swallowed Stanley and Somebody Crunched Colin, comes the story of Wilson. This series highlights the impact of litter in our oceans, forests and across the world for young readers. Each book also inspire readers to make changes and to learn that even small changes can have a big impact. Wilson is a carbon atom and gets disturbed by drilling on the ocean floor which then sends him flying all over the place. Introducing readers to the carbon cycle and the impact that can have on our weather and animals, there is much to learn. Brilliant illustrations fill every double page spread and will help to illustrate the cycle that happens all around us. This carbon cycle will likely be new to some readers but there are explanations at the beginning of the book and a wide use of related vocabulary throughout. I have recommended Stanley and Colin plenty of times and Wilson will be added to the list of brilliantly written and illustrated environmental books. Maya’s Walk by Moira Butterfield and Kim Geyer, Published by Oxford Children’s
A true delight for your senses, this adventure with Maya will get readers looking differently and perhaps more intently at the world around them as they wander around with family. Using the five senses, each page will focus on one and allow readers time to explore focusing on each sense. From listening to the sounds around them- birds chirping, bike bells ringing, wind blowing to noticing the colours and textures of natural and man made items- smooth stones, rough bricks, feathery grass. Well placed questions throughout the book allow readers to pause and share ideas. Perhaps you are walking in a noisy city or touching items in a forest, what can you see, hear, touch or smell? Ideal for younger readers and their families but also suited for a Forest school or class learning about their senses. Scientists are Saving the World by Saskia Gwinn and Ana Alberto, Published by Magic Cat
This hard-backed book has the feel of a graphic novel as you flip through the pages and read more about important work of scientists. For our younger readers, this style of text is perfect as it offers plenty of information in short bursts and the illustrations really take centre stage to show what scientists are working on. With the perfect blend of scientific vocabulary and easy explanations, future scientists will find it easy to choose a field of discovery. What I really liked was the variety of fields celebrated, from palaeontologists to acoustic biologists and anthropodologists! That is not a spelling error, it is a scientist who studies centipedes. I loved the short biographies at the back of famous scientists paving the way forward for future generations. Inspired by her own son’s curiosity and questions, author Saskia Gwinn has created an inspiring book, one that will be incredibly popular in school. Lifesize Baby Animals by Sophy Henn, Published by Red Shed (HarperCollins)
These large picture books are full to the brim of extraordinary illustrations, in this case, of baby animals from around the world. This series of LifeSize books are amazing in that it offers readers the opportunity to compare their own size and features to those of their favourite animals. We cannot often just find a whale to compare eyes or a bear to compare head size, but this book does just that. The research that Sophy Henn must complete to be accurate is inspiring in itself, but her illustrations are divine. With true facts dotted on each page and the back pages full of measurements, readers can learn so much form this book and series. There is the awesome pull out pages to help measure children against a well known animal- just how will you measure up? A brilliant book for home and school and one that offers so much discussion and fun with measuring! Lands of Belonging by Donna and Vikesh Amey Byatt and Salini Perera, Published by Nosy Crow
Schools are becoming more and more aware of needing books that represent their community and ones that accurately reflect events and histories of all cultures. This colourful and factual book will help readers to learn about the history of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Britain. Looking back through to Ancient times, both World Wars as well as discovering customs and traditions, this is a comprehensive look at a fascinating part the world. A very useful timeline of events occupies the back pages and will help when reading through important events. Asking the important question of, “What does it mean to belong?”, this book sets out to explore the many answers from different points of view. The bold use of colour and amazing illustrations will help readers get a clear picture of events, celebrations and food. The World’s Most Ridiculous Animals by Philip Bunting, Published by Happy Yak (Quarto)
The first in this series was The World’s Most Pointless Animals and it was full of creatures that were deemed “pointless”, though they all clearly belong somewhere! This book continues in much the same humour, relabelling animals with clever “official” names in place of their scientific ones, and superb illustrations to help readers understand more about them. This type of book is perfect for dipping in and out of, finding favourites first and then flipping through to find new or strange animals. I particularly love the Wattle-Cup Caterpillar, pictured, and the labels of “ouch” all around it. Children can really respond to that dry type of humour and honesty. Interspersed with the funny labels, bold illustrations and awesome names are true facts about each creature. I challenge readers not to learn something new and wondrous from this book.