I buy a lot of the books for my school library online, but nothing beats browsing a bookshop and discovering a gem. While browsing the wonderful Scorpio Books in Christchurch a few weeks ago I came across two very appealing nonfiction books that I immediately knew I needed for my library. So You Want to Be a Knight? and So You Want to Be a Ninja? (both published by Thames and Hudson) have both been adapted from previously released books, into a new and exciting format.
Both books are highly visual, with heaps of comic-style illustrations. They are full of humour, both in the text and the illustrations. They are sure to hook even the most reluctant of readers because they are just so engaging. There are lists, quizzes and diagrams galore, and like the Horrible Histories books, the author and illustrator have left the gory and gross bits in. There are pictures of skulls being split open with battleaxes and faces being scratched with ring daggers. You get both the positives and the negatives of being a ninja or a knight, and the author and illustrator highlight how dedicated and disciplined you need to be to become one. They are the sort of nonfiction book that kids will read from cover to cover, but you could also look in the index to find specific information.
These books are going to be so easy to sell to kids in my library! Sharing a section or two with kids (like ‘How to Get Into Your Suit of Armour’) would be a great way to do this. Check out the covers and blurbs below for both of the books. There is also So You Want to Be a Viking? and So You Want to Be a Roman Soldier? in the same series.
So You Want to be Knight? by Hannah Pang, illustrated by Takayo Akiyama
Do you know how to wield a lance? Can you somersault into a suit of armor? Join Kate, Eddie and Angus as they travel back to the 14th century to see if they have what it takes to become a knight. Tutored by the original author of the Book of Chivalry, they discover the secrets of the chivalric code, receive vital weapons training and learn top tips on how not to die in battle.
So You Want to Be a Ninja? by Bruno Vincent, illustrated by Takayo Akiyama
With padded ninja shoes underfoot and ninja stars around their belts, our plucky newbie ninjas Kate, Eddie and Angus travel back in time to 1789 Japan to enrol in the Iga School of Ninjutsu. Under the guidance of the Grand Master, they learn the ninjutsu craft from two of Japan’s stealthiest ninjas – Hanzo, the ninja of many disguises (some convincing, some not so much…) and Chiyojo, a kunoichi (female ninja) who is so clandestine that they’re not entirely sure whether she actually exists. Finally, at their fingertips are the tightly guarded secrets of ninjutsu!