Tag Archives: children’s nonfiction

My Top October Kids & YA Releases

1469487534649

Timmy Failure: The Book You’re Not Supposed to Have by Stephan Pastis

The only thing you need to know about Timmy’s latest memoir is that it was never meant for publication. Timmy’s detective log was stolen, and if this book gets out, Timmy will be grounded for life. Or maybe even longer. Because while Timmy was meant to be focusing on schoolwork, he was continuing his detective work in a garden shed. You don’t need the details. Just know this: there’s a Merry, a Larry, a missing tooth and a disappearing friend. But don’t tell Timmy’s mother!

1469487547496

I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. Gerald tells Piggie the long, crazy story about breaking his trunk. Will Piggie end up with a long, crazy story of her own?

1469487547318

Let’s Go for a Drive! by Mo Willems

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. Gerald and Piggie want to hit the road. But the best-laid plans of pigs and elephants often go awry.

1469487528527

Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff

Born from a street liason between a poor young woman and an African soldier in the 1900s, Beck is soon orphaned and sent to the Catholic Brothers in Canada. Shipped to work on a farm, his escape takes him across the continent in a search for belonging.
Enduring abuse and many hardships, Beck has times of comfort and encouragement, eventually finding Grace, the woman with whom he can finally forge his life and shape his destiny as a young man.
1469487537933
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd, illustrated by Levi Pinfold
December 1941. Britain is at war. Emmaline has been evacuated away from the bombs to Briar Hill Hospital in Shropshire. When she gets there she discovers a secret. It’s not to be shared, not to be told to anyone, even her friend Anna. But she’ll tell you. This is Emmaline’s secret. There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill.
1469487534087
The Giant’s Necklace by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Briony May Smith
It all began with a necklace, made of glistening pink cowrie shells. A long, long necklace that had taken Cherry days – weeks – of careful, painstaking work. It was nearly complete, and Cherry was determined it would be the longest necklace she had ever made; that it would be fit for a giant! But the end of the holidays had arrived. “You’ve only got today, Cherry,” said her mother. “Just today, that’s all.” Cherry didn’t mind, a day would be enough – she only needed a few more shells. So, amidst the taunts of her older brothers, she set out to search for them. Then the clouds grew dark and the waves grew large, and as the storm blew in, Cherry realized, to her horror, that she was cut off from the shore. From then on, events began to take a decidedly dark turn. One from which there was no turning back.
1469487564861
We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat…
1469487556430
When We Go Camping by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Cat Chapman
When we go camping, we bang in the pegs, bang in the pegs, bang in the pegs. Guy ropes are tricky; they trip up our legs!Smacketty tappetty bopp-io.
From two of New Zealand’s favourites – Sally Sutton and Cat Chapman – a rollicking romp through a day on a family camping trip!
1469487532584
Willy and the Cloud by Anthony Browne
One day Willy goes to the park. It’s a sunny day, but a cloud hovers over him and he can’t join in the fun. What can Willy do to make this mysterious cloud go away?
1469487565266
Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
Carson Ellis invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in the natural world … even the humblest back garden! With gorgeous, exquisitely-detailed illustration that will appear to children and art-lovers alike, and a wonderfully playful invented language, we soon find ourselves speaking “Bug” … Du iz tak? What is that?
1469487534459
Such Stuff: A Story-maker’s Inspiration by Michael Morpurgo
This insightful collection is the perfect gift for Michael Morpurgo fans who want to understand how writing works and where stories begin. Revealing essays from Michael about more than twenty of his most popular novels are combined with key extracts from his books along with historical context and illuminating background information from Michael’s brother Mark. Stunning illustrations from Michael Foreman, photographs and facsimiles complete the immersive experience.
1469487555465
The Nutcracker, illustrated by Robert Ingpen
This beautiful volume, published to celebrate the bicentenary of the tale’s first publication in 1816, brings together the complete, unabridged German classic, in a new translation by the eminent translator Anthea Bell, with over seventy wonderful illustrations by the award-winning artist Robert Ingpen.
1469487538756
A First Book of Animals by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Petr Horacek
Nicola Davies, the award-winning author of A First Book of Nature, presents a spellbinding treasury of poems about the animal world, illustrated in breathtaking detail by Petr Horacek. Polar bears playing on the ice, tigers hunting in the jungle, fireflies twinkling in the evening sky and nightingales singing in the heart of the woods – there are animals everywhere. From blue whales to bumblebee bats and everything in between, A First Book of Animals takes you all over the planet to visit all kinds of different creatures.
9781760292140
Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh
Artie and his best friend Bumshoe have stumbled upon a Cave-of-Possibly-Stolen-Stuff, and along with it a gang of shady characters including scary Mary, fang-toothed Funnel-web and the devious Mayor Grime.

Artie and Bumshoe’s attempt to solve the mystery sparks a chaotic chain of events that involves kidnapping, puppy-dog cutlets, modern art and pioneering the sport of the bungee- wedgie.

It’s a sticky situation and if Artie’s going to escape, he might need help from family, friends, a little old lady, a small dog and the Fartex 120Y.

9781408845653
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, illustrated by Jim Kay
With paint, pencil and pixels, award-winning illustrator Jim Kay conjures the wizarding world as we have never seen it before. Fizzing with magic and brimming with humour, this inspired reimagining will captivate fans and new readers alike, as Harry and his friends, now in their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, seek out a legendary chamber and the deadly secret that lies at its heart .
9781408872932
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave .
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate .
9781408870600
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell
A thrilling, wintry Nordic epic from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell, weaving a tale of legend, magic and adventure which will grip and enchant readers from beginning to end.
Odd, a young Viking boy, is left fatherless following a raid and in his icy, ancient world there is no mercy for an unlucky soul with a crushed foot and no one to protect him. Fleeing to the woods, Odd stumbles upon and releases a trapped bear . and then Odd’s destiny begins to change. The eagle, bear and fox Odd encounters are Norse gods, trapped in animal form by the evil frost giants who have conquered Asgard, the city of the gods. Now our hero must reclaim Thor’s hammer, outwit the frost giants and release the gods .
9781408876978.jpg
Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst
Discover fascinating facts about some of the most amazing women who changed the world we live in. Fly through the sky with the incredible explorer Amelia Earhart, and read all about the Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole with this fantastic full colour book.

Bursting full of beautiful illustrations and astounding facts, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World is the perfect introduction to just a few of the most incredible women who helped shaped the world we live in.

ff-hotair
Flying Furballs 2: Hot Air by Donovan Bixley
In Book 2: Hot Air, Claude D’Bonair and his friend Syd are following a lead that takes them into the heart of the Swiss Alps. Can they stop Europe from going to the DOGZ? Continuing the explosive action of Dogfight, you’ll be barking mad if you don’t get your paws on Hot Air.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children's fiction, children's nonfiction, new releases, picture books

Little People, Big Dreams

A fantastic new nonfiction series that I’ve discovered recently is called Little People, Big Dreams.  It’s a series of picture book biographies, published by Frances Lincoln, that are ideal for introducing young children to women who have had an impact on the world.  There are currently four books in the series, with more coming next year.  The first four books focus on Maya Angelou, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo and Coco Chanel.

The aim of the series is to introduce children to the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists.  The series shows children that, even though these women achieved great things, they all started life as ‘a little child with a dream.’

Each book is beautifully presented, with illustrations that are appealing to children.  The text reads like a narrative and perfectly sums up each of the extraordinary lives.  There is more information about each of the women at the end of the book, with suggestions of other great books and websites where children can find more information.

Little People, Big Dreams is the perfect series for empowering girls and showing them that they can do anything that they dream of.

These books are a must for a school library and I’ll certainly be bringing them to the attention of teachers.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children's nonfiction

Winners of the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

logo_NZCYA

The winners of the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults were announced last night in Wellington.  Congratulations to all the winners and those who were chosen as finalists in the awards.  Congratulations also to the judges of this year’s awards who had the tough job of choosing the winners from all the fantastic books that were submitted.  It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.  I personally think they made some great choices for the winners.  Kids also made some fantastic choices too in the Children’s Choice Awards.

Here are the winners of the 2016 New Book Awards for Children and Young Adults:

Anzac 2

  • Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and winner of the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction

ANZAC Heroes by Maria Gill, illustrated by Marco Ivancic; Scholastic New Zealand

  • Best First Book Award

Allis the little tractor by Sophie Siers, illustrated by Helen Kerridge; Millwood-Heritage Productions

  • Te Kura Pounamu Award for the best book in te reo Māori

Whiti te rā! by Patricia Grace, translated by Kawata Teepa, illustrated by Andrew Burdan; Huia Publishers

  • Picture Book Award

The Little Kiwi’s Matariki written and illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson; David Ling Publishing (Duck Creek Press)

  • Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction

From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle by Kate De Goldi; Penguin Random House (Longacre)

  • Young Adult Fiction Award

Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo by Brian Falkner; Pan Macmillan Australia (Farrar Straus Giroux)

  • Russell Clark Award for Illustration

Much Ado About Shakespeare illustrated by Donovan Bixley; Upstart Press

New Zealand children enthusiastically voted for their own specially selected finalists’ list for this year’s HELL Children’s Choice Awards. Each book wins $1,000. The winners are:

  • Te reo Māori

Te Hua Tuatahi a Kuwi written and illustrated by Kat Merewether, and translated by Pānia Papa; Illustrated Publishing

  • Picture Book

The House on the Hill by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Sarah Davis; Scholastic New Zealand

  • Junior Fiction

The Girl Who Rode the Wind by Stacy Gregg; Harper Collins

  • Non-Fiction

First to the Top by David Hill, illustrated by Phoebe Morris; Penguin Random House (Puffin)

  • Young Adult Fiction

Stray by Rachael Craw; Walker Books

You can read the full media release here, including the thoughts of the judges on each of the winning books.  You can download the Winners Poster here.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children's fiction, children's nonfiction, New Zealand, New Zealand author, young adult, young adult fiction

Win a copy of Get Coding!

Coding is one of those things that many kids, especially boys, are getting right into.  Although I run this blog I know very little about the technical stuff behind it.  I just don’t think my brain is wired that way.  There are some great new books being written about the ins and outs of coding, including Get Coding, written Young Rewired State, a world-wide community of digital-makers aged 18 years and under.

1464934005107

Learn how to write code and then build your own website, app and game using HTML, CSS and JavaScript in this essential guide to coding for kids from expert organization Young Rewired State. Over 6 fun missions learn the basic concepts of coding or computer programming and help Professor Bairstone and Dr Day keep the Monk Diamond safe from dangerous jewel thieves. In bite-size chunks learn important real-life coding skills and become a technology star of the future. Young Rewired State is a global community that aims to get kids coding and turn them into the technology stars of the future.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is Margaret.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children's nonfiction, competition

What Dog Knows by Sylvia Vanden Heede, illustrated by Marije Tolman

How many times have you been reading a novel and desperately want to know more about the subject of the story?  I’ve read stories set in Venice and needed to know more about this magical place and read Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and needed to know more about the early days of movie making.  Usually you have to go to a completely different book or website to find the information you crave.  However, in a brilliant new book by Sylvia Vanden Heede and Marije Tolman, What Dog Knows, fiction and nonfiction are mashed together for the perfect book for inquisitive young readers.

What Dog Knows cover

When Wolf finds a fact-filled book in the library, he thinks he will outsmart his clever cousin Dog.

Who knows more about robots, dragons, knights, and pirates?  And what about setting traps, playing tricks, and chewing bones?

What Dog Knows is a one-of-a-kind book that kids are going to gobble up. It’s a book that will make kids laugh and go ‘wow!’ It weaves the story of Dog and Wolf’s antics with information about all sorts of topics, from mummies to pirates and robots to dinosaurs.  Each section of the book focuses on different topics, with Dog and Wolf trying to one-up each other to prove they know more.  They are always picking up books to find out what they need to know. Fiction and nonfiction are presented in two different sized fonts but both weave together seamlessly.

There is a lot to love about What Dog Knows.  The conversations between Dog and Wolf are very funny and full of wit, so any adults who share this book with children will love it just as much as the children.  Boys especially will enjoy the humour and the jokes. Marije Tolman’s illustrations are quirky and perfectly compliment the text. Her diagram of Wolf mummifying a cat is brilliant. The thing I love the most about this book are the simple quizzes to test what readers have learnt and the activities for kids to try that tie in with each topic.

Thanks to Gecko Press for publishing this special book in English.  Without Gecko Press we wouldn’t know about all the wonderful books that are published in other languages. Gecko Press also published Wolf and Dog by the same team and hopefully there are other books to come starring these two characters.

Put What Dog Knows in the hands of all the young readers you know.  Not only will they be entertained, they’ll learn a thing or two along the way.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children's fiction, children's nonfiction

Anzac Heroes by Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic

Maria Gill has introduced us to famous Kiwis from all walks of life, from climbers to politicians, sportspeople to movie stars.  Her two previous books, New Zealand Hall of Fame: 50 Remarkable Kiwis and New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame: 25 Kiwi Champions, are fantastic books and were finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.  In Maria’s latest book, Anzac Heroes, she tells the stories of the triumphs and tragedies of 30 heroic Australasians during World Wars One and Two.

Anzac 2

Anzac Heroes is an absolutely stunning book that highlights the courageous Anzacs who served in World War One and Two.  There are 30 Anzac heroes featured in the book, both Australian and New Zealand, men and women, soldiers in the army, navy and airforce as well as medics and spies.  There are people in the book who I’ve heard of before, like Charles Upham and Nancy Wake, but many more whose bravery I wasn’t aware of.

I love everything about Anzac Heroes, especially the design, layout and production. It’s hardcover, so you know it’s going to last for ages, especially as it is going to get read over and over again.  The cover, featuring Marco’s stunning, realistic illustrations really stands out.  The heroes standing on the cover dare you to open the book and discover their story.  Once inside, the contents page clearly shows you how to navigate the book and who you’ll discover.  The book is split up into World War One and World War Two, with background on each war which includes a detailed map (that boys especially will love) and a timeline of events.  Each of the heroes has a double-page profile that details their war-time exploits, along with a handy timeline with key dates and events.

My favourite aspect of this book is the key at the top of each page.  It tells you which country the person is from, which service they were in (i.e. army, navy, medic), and has photos of each of the medals they were awarded.  Each hero also has a detailed explanation about why they received a particular medal.  Lt. Col. Sir Peter Buck, for example, received a DSO (Companion of the Distinguished Service Order) for his role in commanding his troops.  In the back of the book you’ll also find the Medal Room, which has photos of the medals tells you their names.

ANZAC 1

Maria knows her audience extremely well and makes history come alive.  This is the sort of book that kids will pick off the shelf and read from cover to cover because it is so appealing.  Boys in particular will sit with this book for hours, pouring over the maps and the medals.  Marco’s illustrations are superb and are the perfect match for this book.  I certainly felt that some of these heroes were looking right at me. You can even see the sweat beads and the stubble on their faces.  When you look at the photos of some of them, you see how spot-on Marco’s illustrations are.

Anzac Heroes is a perfect nonfiction book for children.  It shows you how exciting nonfiction can be.  Nothing online could beat this book!  Rush out and get a copy for your home and your school now.

 

1 Comment

Filed under books, children's nonfiction, New Zealand, New Zealand author, war

Interview with Maria Gill

Maria Gill is one of our queens of children’s nonfiction in NZ.  She has written some fantastic books for all ages and on many different topics, from dogs to Kiwi and volcanoes to politics.  Some of Maria’s most recent books have profiled remarkable Kiwis from all walks of life.  In Maria’s latest book, Anzac Heroes, she tells the stories of the triumphs and tragedies of 30 heroic Australasians during World Wars One and Two.

I had a few questions about Anzac Heroes and Maria Gill kindly offered to answer them for me.  Maria talks about some of the extraordinary men and women she discovered while writing her book and the collaboration process with Marco Ivancic.  Thanks for joining me Maria!

  • Who is the ANZAC that fascinated you the most?

Hard to pin down to one. Charlie Upham, perhaps. Not just for his bravery on the field – he sacrificed his life many times for his men and the Anzac army – but also, for his tenaciousness at trying to escape prisoner of war camps eight times! When he came back to New Zealand, locals had fundraised and bought him a farm to thank for his service to his country. He refused it. As far as he was concerned, unless they were going to give a farm to all the soldiers, he wasn’t going to be singled out for a gift. Australian Joice Loch was another.

anzac-heroes

  • Did you have a personal connection with any of the heroes in your book?

None of the heroes are relatives or friends’ relatives. However, Albert Knight’s story touched me personally. It was very difficult finding any information about Aboriginal soldier Albert Knight. I only found two sentences online about his life. There were no archived newspaper stories about him. Sadly Aboriginal soldier stories have gone unreported. I had to find his family and speak to them. I only had his surname and the town he was born in over 120 years ago. I rang many phone numbers until I found a family member. That person put me on another family member, and they told me to ring another. Between Albert’s relatives, I pieced together his life story. There was a lovely outcome that came out of talking to his family – read his story to find out.

  • How did you choose the heroes to be featured in your book?

First I had to define ‘what is a hero’. Then I had criteria. I wanted Army, Navy, and Air Force servicemen. They had to have a range of jobs within those military forces and fight in different places so that I was covering as many of the wartime arenas as possible. Next I wanted four indigenous soldiers: two Aboriginal and two Maori. Lastly, I wanted to include women. Women couldn’t fight in the two wars, but the five women I chose were incredibly brave while operating in the war zones as ambulance drivers, doctors, nurses, rescuing refugees or as a spy. It means there aren’t just Anzac soldiers in the book, but in the Introduction, I say why I included all the others.

  • We hear so much about the male heroes but your book also features some incredible female heroes.  Can you tell us a little about one of these amazing women?

Dr. Jessie Scott was a young doctor from Canterbury. When she received a personal invitation from the Scottish Women’s Hospital to work in Europe – she caught the first boat out. She had been working in a hospital close to the frontline when the Austrians then Germans invaded Serbia. She and the other doctors decided not to desert their patients. Instead, they stayed. The Germans crammed Jessie and the other nurses and doctors into a train carriage with little food or water. For several weeks, they were taken from one country to the next while the American Red Cross negotiated with the Germans for their release. When they arrived back in London and Jessie was interviewed about her ordeal, she perkily said the Germans had treated them well, and they had enjoyed the scenery. They had only eaten once a day, slept on straw, and the Germans had taken most of their possessions off them. Jessie’s story didn’t end there, though…

  • What was your collaboration process like for this book? Did you work closely with Marco Ivancic?

I worked closely with the illustrator and designer of the book. For Marco, I took photographs at museums in Australia and New Zealand so he could use them for photo reference when drawing the pictures.  I also spent a day with an Army re-enactment group and took photographs of them doing a drill, acting out a war scene, and holding different guns. They kindly stood still in poses while I took photographs of them at all angles. Marco had asked for close-ups of details on their clothing, how they held a gun and expressions on their faces. The re-enactment group even stood in formation so Marco could see the stance and angles for the front cover illustration. For designer Luke Kelly I gathered different maps of Europe during WWI and WWII and marked in battle zones. I also found all the medals for the heroes, and for the medal page. Sometimes I could not get the real medals that belonged to that hero so had to line single medal images up in order and send to Luke. Luke, Jack Hayes (New Zealand military expert) and I put a lot of work into those medals! I also collaborated with different experts, museums, and Creative NZ enabled it to happen with their grant.

  • What does ANZAC Day mean to you? How do you celebrate it?

I believe Anzac Day recognises not only the sacrifice men and women made during the different wars but also the kinship between Australia and New Zealand while fighting. Common themes that resonated throughout the different Australian and New Zealand stories were their comradeship, incredible bravery, modesty, and down-to-earthness. Leaders fought with their men instead of sitting in their offices. It shows how alike Australians and New Zealanders are, compared to other nationalities.

I’m going to attend my first Anzac Day dawn parade this year. I have to confess my only interest, before writing this book, was in reading war stories. I love adventure stories where the hero survives at incredible odds. Most of the heroes in ‘Anzac Heroes’ fit that category.

anzac-heroes

Anzac Heroes by Maria Gill, illustrated by Marco Ivancic is available now from Scholastic New Zealand.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under author interview, authors, books, children's nonfiction, Interview, New Zealand, New Zealand author, war

My Most Anticipated October Kids & YA Releases from Walker Books

The River and the Book by Alison Croggon

In our village we had two treasures: the River, which was our road and our god; and the Book, which was our history, our oracle and our soul. Simbala is a Keeper of the Book, the latest in a long line of women who can read the Book to find answers to the villagers’ questions. As developers begin to poison the river on which the villagers rely, the Book predicts change. But this does not come in the form that they expect; it is the sympathetic Westerner who comes to the village who inflicts the greatest damage of all.

Timmy Failure: Sanitized for your Protection by Stephan Pastis

Everyone’s favourite kid detective is back in award-winning author Stephan Pastis’s fourth book in the Timmy Failure series, perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser. Shenanigans abound as Timmy Failure finds himself on a road trip with none other than notorious criminal Molly Moskins. Travelling halfway across the country to help your mother’s boyfriend settle into his new job would be inconvenient for any detective, let alone the founder, president and CEO of Total Failure Inc, the world’s greatest detective agency. Timmy has a case to solve, and nothing can stand in his way. If he is to arrest Corrina Corrina and solve the YIP YAP case, Timmy, his sidekick polar bear Total, and Molly Moskins must go on the run!

The Iliad by Gillian Cross and Neil Packer

The team behind The Odyssey now tell the story of the Trojan War. Cross’s vivid adaptation begins with a beauty contest: the prize, a golden apple. In return for securing her victory, the goddess Aphrodite helps Prince Paris abduct Helen, wife to the king of Sparta. Enraged, the king and his Greek allies wage war on the Trojans. Nine years later, the fighting still rages on, but the Greeks are beginning to quarrel among themselves – Achilles and Agamemnon’s petty argument has dire consequences for everyone caught in the crossfire. Neil Packer’s pictures capture the beauty and remoteness of the setting, and bring a profound humanity to one of the finest literary achievements of Greek civilisation.

Counting Lions by Katie Cotton and Stephen Walton

Larger-than-life black and white drawings are paired with poetic texts that reveal the ways in which endangered creatures – including lions, elephants, giraffes, tigers, gorillas, penguins, Ethiopian wolves, macaws, turtles and zebras – live on Earth. Artworks by wildlife artist Stephen Walton are rendered in charcoal and give little ones the chance to get up close and personal with nature’s wildest creatures. Virginia McKenna – actress and wildlife campaigner – has written a foreword which urges us to look at the beauty of these animals and do all we can to save them.

My Dead Bunny by Sigi Cohen and James Foley

“My dead bunny’s name is Brad; his odour is extremely bad. He visits me when I’m in bed, but Bradley wasn’t always dead …” A hilarious rhyming tale about a zombie bunny who comes back to visit his owner.

National Theatre: All About Theatre

The book is packed with interviews with famous directors and actors, like Lenny Henry, Meera Syal, Julie Walters and Ben Whishaw, and productions like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and One Man, Two Guvnors. Hear from experts at the world-famous National Theatre about every aspect of stagecraft, including prop-making, set building and lighting design, and discover, from first idea to final curtain, how plays are made.

Santa’s Reindeer by Tom Duxbury, Matilda Tristram and Nick Sharratt

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa and Reindeer are about to deliver the presents. But then Reindeer loses his nose! Polar Bear, Seal and Penguin haven’t seen it. Can Reindeer find his missing nose before it’s too late?

Leave a comment

Filed under children's fiction, children's nonfiction, new releases, picture books

Historium by Jo Nelson and Richard Wilkinson

We love museums in my family.  For me they’ve always been a multi-sensory experience, taking in everything with your eyes but also breathing in that special museum smell of ancient clothing, animals, vehicles and artifacts.  Museums are places that you can spend hours in, soaking up the information and discovering what it would have been like to live 50, 100 or even thousands of years ago.  An incredible new book by Jo Nelson and Richard Wilkinson packs this museum experience in to a book that will keep kids and adults alike occupied for hours.

Discover more than 140 exhibits in this virtual museum, open all hours

Welcome to the museum! Here you will find a collection of objects from ancient civilisations. Objects of beauty, objects of functionality, objects of war, objects of life, and objects of death and burial.

As you wander from room to room, explore the magnificence of what civilisations have left behind over thousands of years of human history.

Historium is an incredible book, filled with artifacts from ancient civilisations from around the world.  There is so much information in this book and it’s set out in a unique way.  The whole book is set out like a museum that you hold in your hands.  You start at the entrance, which welcomes you to the Historium, explains what Archaeology is and gives you a fantastic timeline of the objects in the Historium (my son would love this on his bedroom wall).  Jo and Richard then take us through the varies galleries, from Africa to America, the Middle East to Oceania.  We finish up in the Library, with the indexes, image credits and a little information about the curators of the Historium.

Jo Nelson’s text is detailed but simple enough for children aged 9 and up.  Jo gives a basic introduction to each of the galleries and civilisations and then provides descriptions of each of the artifacts from that civilisation.  There is a good selection of different types of artifacts, from statues and coins to armour.  There is something in this book to interest everyone, but children (and adults) who love history and archaeology will be absolutely rapt.  Richard’s illustrations are extremely detailed and are absolutely stunning.  The illustrations look so realistic that it almost looks like you could reach out and touch them.  Richard has created his illustrations using a photograph of the artifacts as a reference and there is a list of all the museums in the back of the book.

One of the things that I really love about this book is that it covers Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.  So many of these big historical nonfiction books miss out our side of the world and I think it’s important for our kids to know about their history.

The best thing about Historium is the production of the book. It is a beautiful hardback and the pages are thick, which will help it to last all the repeated reading and viewing.  It is also a huge book!  It’s a book that you really need to rest on a table or on the floor to read.  This means that the illustrations are really large too and you can see all the details of the artifacts.  You really feel like you are holding something special and valuable in your hands.

Grab a copy of the incredible Historium from you library or bookshop now.

Leave a comment

Filed under children's nonfiction, history

I Can’t Wait For…The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

I’m a huge Shaun Tan fan.  I love his stories and his artwork is always stunning.  The Arrival is one of my absolute favourite books because of the way that Shaun tells his incredible story using just illustrations.  I was excited to hear that Allen and Unwin were going to be publishing a very special Shaun Tan book in October, The Singing Bones.  It is a collection of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and it’s unlike any of Shaun’s previous books as he has created sculptures to illustrate each fairy tale.  I’ll be reviewing it soon and I hope to be able to show you some of the spreads from inside the book.

In this beautifully presented volume, the essence of seventy-five fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm is wonderfully evoked by Shaun Tan’s extraordinary sculptures.

Nameless princes, wicked stepsisters, greedy kings, honourable peasants and ruthless witches, tales of love, betrayal, adventure and magical transformation: all inspiration for this stunning gallery of sculptural works. Introduced by Grimm Tales author Philip Pullman and leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones breathes new life into some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.

The Singing Bones is published by Allen and Unwin in October.  You won’t want to miss this incredible book!

2 Comments

Filed under children's nonfiction, fairy tales