Non-Fiction Book Reviews

1001 Ants

Joanna Rzezak, pub. Thames & Hudson

Anyone who has watched ants in the garden will know they form what seems an endless line marching to and fro from their nest to their destination and this wonderful, large-format book has an endless stream of them trekking across each page from the front to back cover. 

 

The ants start in their home, a maze of underground tunnels before travelling through the undergrowth, across a field of mushrooms, around the pond - taking care to avoid the frogs, past a spider’s web, and over a sleeping bear until they reach a tree.  What happens there?  You’ll have to read the book to find out!

 

Children will love tracking the ants on their journey and reading about the dangers they face as well as the myriad of fascinating nature facts on each page.  There are lots of details to spot including plants and animals, and the illustrations and text work well together to fill the space.  The drawings are simplistic in style but imbue the creatures with character and personality.  This is the sort of book that can be pored over with something new to spot on each subsequent reading.  Surprisingly educational - it is not every day that you think of ants as a subject of interest this is a book to learn from and marvel over, an endless source of fascination as well as ants!

Barbara Band

ABC of Opera. The Academy of Barmy Composers: Baroque.

Mark Llewelyn Evans, illus. Karl Davies, pub. Graffeg

When best friends Jack and Megan explore the Pontigorffennol’s old boarded-up music hall, a tumble into a time-travelling trunk takes them far away in time and space to the very beginnings of opera.  Jack and Megan go with a huff and a puff and land with a bump and bash at the Academy of Barmy Composers in Italy in 1597!

 

The story leaves you breathless as Jack and Megan experience a whistle-stop tour of opera in the Baroque period.  They meet the inventor of opera Jacopo Peri and Claduio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi, who made opera popular as well as the first female opera composer, Francesca Caccini, nicknamed the Songbird.  Not surprisingly, Jack and Megan meet Georg Friedrich Handel and the English greats of Doctor John Blow and Henry Purcell. In addition Jack and Megan have to stand up to the bully Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, hoping that opera might survive his puritanic rule.  With numerous asides and humourous interruptions there is plenty to entertain younger readers.

 

The language of the book is however delightful.  With emphasis made through the use of different fonts, font sizes and colours, individual words are literally lifted off the page.  This includes onomatopoeia words, technical language and foreign languages, for example French, German and Italian. Mark Llewlyn Evans really brings the European languages of opera to life, using the words to add drama and interest to the text.  It is therefore a great read aloud book with verve, vim and vigour.

 

Moreover Karl Davis’ illustrations are bright and lively, often conveying a sense of movement.  His illustrations include whole double-spreads with the text printed on top to smaller illustrations, often depicting the characters in the text.  I particularly liked the illustration of Francesca Cacinni brilliantly capturing her ability to sing, dance and play the lute and guitar in one image.

 

The amount of information in the book is astounding.  It is only when I read through the addendum of short chapters at the end did I appreciate the amount of information I had absorbed.  Without spoiling it for the reader, I had no idea how ‘Luckless’ Jean-Baptise Lully had died! In the addendum there is information about the Baroque period, the instruments, voice types, composers (the 7 featured in the story and a further 15 short biographies of other composers), Q&A about operas, and the plot line of Orpheus, the subject of many operas, including operas composed by Peri and Monteverdi.  Told in an irreverent and humourous way this information is accessible and entertaining to read.

 

Mark Llewlyn Evans and Karl Davies do not simply introduce you to baroque opera in the ABC of Opera, they create an immersive experience shared with energy and enthusiasm.  There is even a QR code in the front cover allowing readers to hear the songs included in the book.

 

As suggested by the title, this book is the first in a series with further titles expected on Classical, Romantic and Modern opera, principally supporting the KS2 curriculum.  Jack and Megan’s mission to save opera from the Forgotten Land will continue.

 

Simon Barrett

A Planet Full of Plastic

Neal Layton, pub. Wren and Rook

A Planet Full of Plastic provides a fascinating look at how our world is affected by plastic and is the perfect tool for teaching children how they can make changes.  Animals, and their plight, tend to ensure our children are listening, and the young boy, our guide through this book sums it up when he says “But I don’t want animals to get hurt! And I don’t want our planet to fill up with plastic”.  As animals eat, swim into or get stuck in plastic, it is having disastrous effects on the ecosystems and life cycles of ocean animals.

 

A Planet Full of Plastic is also a beautifully illustrated book teaching about the dangers our world faces through the throwing away of plastic.  The quality of the illustration is high, ensuring small details are included. Layton’s use of collage is colourful and engaging.  Children will be enthralled by the book and I know I learned some new things by reading it.  I can’t wait to share it with classes to encourage their environmentalism.  Many children are aware of what plastic is but not the environmental impacts it has.  

 

This book deals with plastic pollution as part of an open, thought provoking discussion.  I particularly liked the pages describing the garbage patches currently floating in our oceans.  Full of facts, this might really illustrate how serious a problem we have and it will hopefully encourage children to make changes now.  There are plenty of opportunities suggested and presented for schools to get involved with recycling and awareness.  

 

How can we make changes?  Simple, three words! Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  It is these small changes that can have a big impact on our planet so go forth young readers and change the world! 

Erin Hamilton

All of Us: A Young People’s History of the UK

Yvan Pommaux and Christopher Ylla-Somers, illus. Yvan Pommaux, pub. New York Review Children’s Collection

This is a book about human history but not in the traditional sense, for it is not about kings, queens, emperors or other great people but about you and me, men and women, children too.  Our story is a long one, it began more than one hundred and fifty thousand years ago and it is continuing.  That is just human history.  The history of the Earth is more than 2 billion years old and as we travel through time, chronologically we see how the world and its history came about.  With some incredible illustrations to guide us it is very easy to read and learn.  The fun facts help too!

 

Read it in school in your library or at home - on a lazy afternoon, at bedtime perhaps, try it when your brain is tired - admire and soak up the illustration - or when your brain is awake - marvel at the facts.  Learn about war and conflict alongside peace and prosperity, invention and technological development.  Discover the history of music, dance and song and see how much we, the men, women and children of the world have done to create the place we now live in.

 

A perfectly balanced book showing how humans have made the world in which they live and ensuring that there is a balance of facts representing all countries and not favouring one over the other.  Unique, clever and highly readable.

Melissa Blackburn

The Big Book of the UK

Imogen Russell Williams, illus. Louise Lockhart, pub. Ladybird

This book is brilliant for young children to learn and have fun doing it.  It’s got interesting facts and the pages are laid out in such a style that it makes them incredibly helpful for children to learn from easily and quickly whilst enjoyably too.  Add to this the fact that the book doesn’t overload the facts with information but makes it easier to remember the facts and you are on to a winner.  It is clear that this is a book which has been written by an author who understands not only children and the way they learn but the way they want to read and learn.

 

Louise Lockhart has illustrated every page and her pictures are brilliant, designed from the paper cut outs that she uses for her work.

 

This is a book that hides its true nature, there is more to it than meets the eye.  It is packed with information about the UK and its population, its customs and culture but there is more.  It is also about the wildlife, places to go, food and music.  Learn about the local sports such as ‘dwile flonking’ or discover the origin of black diamonds.  The UK is a cultural hubbub and this book has dug around to find as much as it possibly can to entertain, amuse and inform its readers.

 

I would read this book to reception classes and up as it is really easy to learn from and the pictures are great.  I would definitely recommend this book for all school libraries as an information resource.

 

Melissa Blackburn

Body Brilliant: A Teenage Guide to a Positive Body Image

Nicola Morgan, pub. Franklin Watts

Nicola Morgan has been labelled a 'teenage expert' and rightly so.  She not only writes fiction and nonfiction for teenagers (11+), but also runs courses on adolescence and wellbeing.  This is the theory behind Body Brilliant, it explores the world today and the pressures many teenagers face.  

 

From body image to sexuality, Nicola explores the difficulties and how to overcome them.  Even as an adult, I found some interesting tips and new ways of thinking about how we perceive ourselves.  The layout of the book is very appealing.  Some parts are in bite-sized information boxes and there are quirky illustrations, which would be ideal for reluctant readers.  Practical ideas are also highlighted, such as: 'write down the heading: 'My body is brilliant because...’ – now fill that space with all the amazing things your body can DO'. 

 

Body Brilliant is aimed at both sexes and would be a good addition to a school library.  Some of the tasks would work in classrooms (KS3), but I think the book as a whole is best read solo (to ensure no embarrassment).  The resource pages are especially helpful for signposting any readers to further help, e.g. if they think they might suffer from anxiety, the charity Mind is listed as well as several other resources. 

 

I like the fact that Body Brilliant is written sensitively and isn’t patronising.  There is even an Index if any readers want to get straight to the answer to a question or read up on a particular subject.  It feels like this is a much needed book at the moment when outside pressures are so high on teenagers and young adults.  It covers topics such as sexuality and gender fluidity, which can be difficult to discuss or explore, for both teenagers and adults. 

 

So overall I would recommend this book as it tackles difficult subjects and gives practical advice and resources for following up.

Sophie Castle

Brain Fizzing Facts-Awesome Science Questions Answered

Emily Grossman, pub. Bloomsbury Children's Books

This awesome book has been written by science expert Dr. Emily Grossman, also a television star and STEM ambassador.  It follows a simple and basic black and white format, using an easy to read font and equally effective black and white illustrations by Alice Bowsher.

 

The book is crammed with questions and detailed answers.  All are interesting, some are crazy, some are revolting and many are downright ridiculous.  Why is the sea blue?  What’s the best way to escape the grip of a crocodile’s jaw?  Which revolting animal regularly eats its own poo?  How much methane gas does one cow burp and fat in a day?  How long would you need to fart for to produce gas with the equivalent energy of an atomic bomb?  How much does the internet weigh?  

 

What is interesting and amazing is that the book really does try to work out the answer to each question in a scientific way, which includes several very credible calculations and many facts.  Many questions come with multiple choice answers, giving readers the opportunity to work out or guess their own answers.

 

Children will love this book.  It is very entertaining and funny and at the same time is crammed with educational facts and information.  This is probably not a book to be read cover to cover, but one to browse and return to again and again.  It could be read by a child alone or would be great fun to read in a small group or for an adult to browse with a child.  How ever you choose to read it, it is a great book.  In some ways this is a book not to be taken too seriously. It does contain many facts and answers to questions we always wanted to ask and were probably afraid to.

 

This book is highly recommended.  It is an easy read.  It is very entertaining.  It is great fun.  It is full of curiosities and surprises.

 

Gary  Kenworthy

Celebrations Around the World

illus. Katy Halford, pub. DK

Celebrations Around the World explores a range of  twenty four festivals, celebrations and holidays from around the world.  It includes: New Year, Chinese New Year, Kite Festivals, Rio Carnival, the Valencian festival of Los Fallas, Holi, Easter, May Day, Eid al – Fitr, Bastile Day, Venice Ragatta, Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, Mid Autumn Festival, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Diwali, Thanksgiving, International Festival of the Sahara, Groundhog Day, Chanukah, Dongji, Anzac Day and the Christmas Season. 

 

Twenty of the festivals are each featured on a double page spread containing four paragraphs each outlining what the festival is, who celebrates it and how it is celebrated.  The remaining four (Groundhog Day, Chanukah, Dongji and Anzac Day) each have a half page spread dedicated to their celebration.

 

Illustrations are bright, colourful and vibrant aiming to give a feel and flavour of the celebration described in the text.  The language is clear and although each festival only has a small amount of text to support it, this does a good job of summarising it, giving the child reader a starting point that can be followed up with further exploration.  No glossary but I’m not sure it needed one and it does have a detailed Contents Page.  A useful and enjoyable introduction to some of the cultural and religious festivals of the world.

 

Annie Everall

Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes

Jef Aerts, illus. Sanne te Loo, pub. Floris Books

Dina lives on a farm at the top of a hill; Adin lives at the bottom with his mother who works at the farm.  Dina and Adin have spent every day together since they were young and are best friends; they explore the countryside, walk along the river and eat fruit from the orchard, planting cherry pits in the village in the hope that one day they will grow into trees.  However, Adin’s mother decides she wants to work elsewhere and they leave the farm to go and live in the town.  Although the two friends visit, they still miss each other and the long summer days feel very empty.  But then, one day, a trail of cherry blossom trees appear spreading from the farm to the town …

 

This book has an almost timeless feel about it.  The soft gentle illustrations fill each page and beautifully illuminate the changing of the seasons as Dina and Adin explore their world together.  You can feel the children’s loneliness and isolation, and how empty their worlds are without each other yet “some friends are more than friends.  They grow like twin cherries from the same stem”.  A wonderful story of friendship enduring despite distances.  Fitting the non fiction category for its observations on the natural world and the gentle message about nature that comes across the pages.

Barbara Band

Discovering Architecture

Berta Bardi i Milá, illus. Eduard Altarriba, pub. Button Books

Discovering Architecture is a lovely book detailing how buildings are made - for children of course.  It doesn’t shy away from technical terminology though for of course, if you are a budding architect and want to know more about houses you need to know who built the first house, what is the difference between an arch and architrave; how does a dome really stay up and even can you build a house from paper?

 

Looking at different building materials such as mud, straw and concrete to name a few, and explaining to the reader who invented them or found they had a use in the building of houses and other buildings the book also looks at the people who are behind the constitution of buildings and of course it looks at how buildings stay up!

 

From mud huts of thousands of years ago to the towering edifices that took the world by surprise just a few hundred years ago and, the now, even bigger and bolder structures that fill us with awe this is an entertaining and informative guide for children about architecture around the world.

 

The pictures and diagrams are colourful and informative and I, as an adult learnt a lot, my 8 year old son?  After hearing him talk about several of the pages at quite some length I believe he thoroughly enjoyed it too. 

Helen Byles

Every Child A Song

Nicola Davies, illus. Marc Martin, pub. Wren & Rook

Written for the thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (in 2020), this picture book is a celebration of those rights. 

 

There is a brief introduction explaining what the Rights of the Child means and pointing out that millions of children all over the world still do not have these rights.  The book then compares the birth of a child to a song, a unique and tiny voice that has never been heard before.  And it continues by saying that each song is needs a safe warm home of its own and must be heard, even about chaos and darkness.  The author concludes by detailing the rights that she thought about most when writing the book; there are 54 articles so too many to include.

 

The illustrations in this book vary from those expressing light, joy and hope to ones which demonstrate darkness, despair and aloneness.  Although this would appear to be a simple picture book, it covers some quite mature themes and would make a good starting point for further discussion around human rights so it has a wide age appeal.  It is also a celebration of diversity and a reminder that all children need their rights protected.

 

Barbara Band

Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor

Laurie Wallmark, illus. Katy Wu, pub. Sterling Books

Hedy Lamarr was a beautiful and glamorous movie star yet this biography shows another side to her.  She was also a brilliant inventor, a fact known only to a few of her closest friends.  She actually had no interest in the Hollywood lifestyle as her passion was science and engineering, something that was encouraged by her father.  Her greatest invention was the technology known as frequency-hopping spread spectrum which helps to keep mobile calls and texts private, although at the time she invented it to reduce the chances of torpedoes being intercepted by the enemy.  This was patented in 1942 yet Hedy’s involvement was not acknowledged until 1997.

 

The text includes not only the main thread of the story but lots of additional facts, and the bold vibrant illustrations add extra details such as her design for a glow-in-the-dark dog collar and an accordion-fold box of tissues.  They are also excellent for explaining her various theories and inventions.  There is a selected bibliography and a list of other women in STEM for further reading as well as a list of her films.  In addition, the book is littered with some great quotes from her such as: “the brains of people are more interesting than the looks, I think”.  A fantastic addition to the biography shelves of any school library highlighting yet another woman who has had a major involvement in STEM, this book would also be excellent for any girl who is interested in the sciences.

Barbara Band

How to be Extraordinary

Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illus. Annabel Tempest, pub. Puffin Books

How to be Extraordinary is a non-fiction picture book containing the real-life stories of 15 extraordinary people from all over the globe, who have achieved incredible things.  There is a good mix of well-known and lesser-known males and females from a wide range of nationalities and backgrounds.  Each person is presented in a double-page spread, which outlines where they are from, their childhood, beliefs, jobs and their greatest accomplishments despite all obstacles, with inspirational quotes to encourage others to follow their dreams.  My favourite quote is: “What would you like to be remembered for?” (Abdul Kalam)

It is aimed at ages 5-7 years (KS1) and meets the requirements of the history programmes of study for KS1 as it documents the lives of significant individuals who have contributed to national and international achievements.  The illustrations are bold and colourful.  They catch the eye and will keep young readers turning the pages.  But the vocabulary and size of the text is very advanced for this age range so they would mostly need adult support to get the most out of this book unless they are particularly talented and able.  

I personally feel that How to be Extraordinary being prove to be more popular with children ages 7-11 years (KS2).  I feel that more picture books of this high-standard containing narrative non-fiction are needed for the older primary age range, especially as the snippets of information do not have to be read in any particular order, which is great for children with low attention spans who prefer to dip in and out of the book.

This book would provide an excellent springboard for encouraging pupils to research their own extraordinary person, which could be stuck into a class book or encyclopaedia with their own illustrations or photos printed from the Internet.  Throughout the book the emphasis is on how with determination and hard work anything is possible.

Anita Loughrey

Anita’s recent publications include: Children’s Encyclopedia of Technology by Anita Loughrey and Alex Woolf, published by Arcturus

Kids Fight Plastic

Martin Dorey, illus. Tim Wesson, pub. Walker Books

Setting out to show that 2 minutes is all the time it takes to become a superhero, Martin Dorey aims to encourage children to fight the tide of plastic which is threatening to engulf our oceans and coastlines.  He set up The Beach Clean Network in 2009, after finding his local beach knee-deep in plastic.  This was followed by #2minutebeachclean on social media in 2013, inviting others to spend that amount of time clearing up an area and posting a photo of the results, inspiring others to do the same.  This initiative has spread, with many thousands of followers.

 

In a bright and breezy style, with colourful pages, the book details a series of missions, showing ways in which children can fight plastic, in a myriad of settings including the bathroom, the supermarket and the park.  Packed full of facts, the book gives the information and statistics behind the problem as well as solutions and alternatives.  Admittedly, some of these will necessitate parents and other adults changing shopping habits and perhaps attitudes, but with this topic so much in the news, I’m sure young superheroes will be able to persuade them!

As a very readable guide to an issue which needs tackling now and one that children are passionate about.

Jayne Gould        

The Language of the Universe

Colin Stuart, illus. Ximo Abadia, pub. Big Picture Press

I knew as soon as I looked at this book that it might well be one for us.  Neither I nor my nearly 8 year old are brilliant at maths.  We are, however, creative and visual.  This book is a colourfully unique exploration of maths and demonstrates clearly how it is in every element of our world.  

 

In giant-sized picture book format and divided into four clear sections, The Language of the Universe is a follow-up to the brilliant Speed of Starlight.  We explore maths in all our different worlds: the natural world, physics, chemistry and engineering, space and technology.  Most things that children are fascinated by are covered here - insects, animals, space, atoms, beehives, plants and distance all play a part and this book shows how maths plays a large part in it all.  We were fascinated by cicadas who use prime numbers to protect themselves from predators, chickens who can count and how to lift with levers.  It seems we can escape maths no longer and with stunning images as colourful and wonderful as these by Abadía, combined with such easy to read and informative text, we actually didn’t mind embracing it at all! 

 

Finally, a book that has made maths accessible, fun and visually stimulating. 

Jo Hardacre

My First Book of Relativity

Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferrón, illus. Eduard Altarriba, pub. Button Books

Before we can understand Einstein’s special theory of relativity we need to fully understand what time and space is.  My First Book of Relativity achieves this as it starts by explaining exactly what time is and how it is measured, from sundials to the exceptionally accurate atomic clock.  Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferrón then goes on to define in a beautiful concise way what space is and how it is measured, explaining how using standard units of measurement, such as the metre stick, came into being.

 

The next important concept to understand is speed.  Again, Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferrón, walks the reader through the concept of speed in a clear and easy to understand fashion, so that when he goes on to explain how movement is relative it just all makes sense and the reader can make the connection instantly to how frames of reference are used to measure positions, distances and speed, just as Galileo Galilei had said 400 years ago.  Her then goes on to explain exactly why light always travel at the same speed of 299,792 kilometres per second.  The illustrations support and extend the readers understanding with each double-page spread having its own distinctive limited palette.  

 

Each of Einstein’s thought experiments are broken down into small segments by organizing the text into short, distinctive sections using the engaging illustrations, bullet points, bold and capitalized words to emphasize important information.  My First Book of Relativity talks us through the incredibly difficult to understand concepts of time dilation, length contraction and mass increasing outlined by Einstein in his special theory of relativity in a fun, appealing and easy-to-read way so it is accessible to young readers of about 8+.

This is an ideal book for introducing the concepts of speed, light and movement to the class, or your own child.  I believe it will inspire young scientists to think about time and space and even come up with their own thought experiments.  

Anita Loughrey

Anita’s recent publications include: Children’s Encyclopedia of Technology by Anita Loughrey and Alex Woolf, published by Arcturus

Photo Adventures

photos Jan Von Holleben, text Monte Packham, pub. Thames & Hudson

Ingenious!  Such as brilliant idea.  This book is full of fun ideas for children to enjoy experimenting with.  It is not just a book about photography, it is a book about stretching your imagination to transform everyday objects and settings into incredible, zany and magical at.  The children are encouraged to create scenes such as, flying through the air as a superhero, floating in space amongst the stars, deep-sea diving after treasure, swinging through a tropical jungle to growing extra arms and legs and dissecting your brain.  

 

Jan Von Holleben is a professional photographer and his photographs throughout the book will inspire any child to step away from their games console or tablet.  The only thing the child needs is digital camera or smartphone.  A great way to keep the children amused and happy on rainy days whilst encouraging them to be creative.  All the suggested ideas can be achieved in three to five easy steps.

The text of the book has been written by Monte Packman to support the photographs.  It is often written in rhyming couplets, which helps to set the tone and adds to the entertaining nature of the book.

Photo Adventures is recommended for children aged 7 upwards (KS2) and some of the activities will need adult supervision.  I believe it would be possible to adapt some of the activities for KS1, or nursery with more helpers.  There is a photo school chapter at the end of the book, which is ideal for older children who have been inspired to take their interest in photography a step further.

Anita Loughrey

Anita’s recent publications include: Children’s Encyclopedia of Technology by Anita Loughrey and Alex Woolf, published by Arcturus

Pop Inside Animal Homes

Mariana Ruiz Johnson, pub. Templar Books

This is a book with a full 100% quota of “wow” factor.  It looks inside the homes of several animals via huge pop-ups; on opening each page the reader is given a small summary about the animal in question with cut-outs to entice you to look further. 

 

On lifting up the page, or exploring the cut out sections you are treated to an inside view of the particular home of the animal under investigation with further flaps to lift, windows to peek into and an additional array of fascinating facts to explore.  

 

The animals featured include honey bees, beavers, bats, clownfish, weaverbirds and rabbits – an interesting and eclectic collection.  The illustrations are bright and bold, and the creatures are shown doing various tasks - see the beehive nurses nurturing the eggs; mother beavers grooming the kits and female rabbits fighting over the best room in the warren (complete with boxing gloves). 

 

The animals have been given fun and individual personalities, and the facts are sure to enthral; did you know that the largest fish in the Clown fish family is the only female and when she dies the biggest male will change into a female to replace her?  Pop inside one of these many and amazing animal homes and see what you can learn.  A book for browsing, a book for learning, a fascinating and clever book.

 

Barbara Band

Powers of a Girl

Lorraine Cink, illus. Alice X. Zhang, pub. Studio Press Books

There is no denying that the world of Marvel characters has had a huge resurgence in recent years.  But what about the women of the Marvel universe?  There are more than most people realize and this book sets out each with a full biography, their skills, super-powers, and quotes.

 

As the title of the book suggests, this book is using the Marvel universe to portray women as being equal to the men.  It compares them against the male Marvel characters but shows that they are just as strong, powerful, and fierce.  It talks about their careers, mentoring, and being role models for other young women.  The language is empowering and shows how women can be both physically and mentally strong.

 

The illustrations are probably the highlight of this book.  Zhang has done a phenomenal job of using bold colours and the effect of painted portraits to bring the characters to life.  Additionally, there is diversity across the characters so every girl (and boy!) can feel represented and relate to the characters.

 

The language used in the book is fairly accessible although younger readers may need a little help here and there.

 

This is a wonderful book which I think would be particularly popular with girls aged 9+, or anyone of any age who loves the world of Marvel. 

Laura Roach

This is my World

pub. Lonely Planet Kids

A wonderful book containing snippets from the lives of over eighty real children from around the globe.  The children featured are aged 8 – 12 years of age, so this book has a wide age appeal. 

 

An incredibly diverse range of children and families are presented including Cooper who uses a wheelchair and lives in Melbourne; Yousef from Syria and currently living in a refugee camp in Jordan; Leo, an Iñupiaq child living in Alaska.  Each double page spread introduces the child with some information about what it is like where they live, what their lives are like, and further details such as their favourite animal or hobbies, and whether they have any pets or siblings – all facts which other children find fascinating about each other.  

 

The book focuses on what is unique about each child giving the reader a real insight into different lives.  There is a world map showing all the places where the children live, each page has a flag of the country in question and fast fact boxes present fun information, explain words or unfamiliar concepts.

 

The layout is bright and appealing with lots of photographs and small amounts of texts making the book very accessible.  A lovely idea is that each child describes themselves in three words.  With plenty to take from this book there are lots of learning opportunities presented here too and it would work very well in a classroom setting. 

Highly recommended.

 

Barbara Band

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