There have been some absolutely stunning children’s nonfiction books published this year. I love that authors and publishers are trying new and exciting things to make nonfiction exciting for kids. A World of Information by Richard Platt and James Brown is the perfect example of an innovative design for children’s nonfiction. It is brand new from Walker Books and I LOVE this book!
Do you know how many bones there are in the human body or how clouds form? Or about different types of knots or how Morse code works? Each illustration is both beautiful and enlightening, and is accompanied by an engaging fact-filled explanation by celebrated author Richard Platt. Covering more than 30 diverse and fascinating topics, there is a world of information at your fingertips in this book, which is perfect for all the family to enjoy.
A World of Information is a gorgeous book, filled with fascinating facts about all sorts of things. This is the sort of book that you want to buy for everyone, from curious 8-year-olds to grandparents. It is a book that will be read over and over again and dipped in and out of when you need an answer to a burning question.
There really is a world of information in this book and it is all essential stuff that will be useful to you throughout your life. There is information about different types of knots, how to classify clouds, diagrams of the human skeleton, how to communicate with Morse code and semaphore, the anatomy of a bicycle, the periodic table of elements and the layout of the orchestra. Textual information about each topic is accompanied by retro-style graphics and diagrams.
One of the most appealing things about this book is its size. Its large, hardback format makes it perfect for opening out on a table or on the floor and pouring over. The illustrations are large which means that James Brown has been able to fit lots of information onto each page. You almost wish the pages were detachable so that you could put them on the wall.
A World of Information is a perfect present for anyone in your family this Christmas. It is a book that everyone will love and will want to read. It is certainly one of my favourite children’s nonfiction books of the year.
Why do we celebrate Anzac Day? Why were donkeys used at Gallipoli? Why do we wear poppies on Anzac Day? Why is the last post played at the Dawn Service? Why do we have Anzac biscuits? All these questions and more are answered in Philippa Werry’s new book, Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story – What it is and why it matters
Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story – What it is and why it matters is a fascinating, beautifully designed, thoroughly researched, and very accessible book for New Zealand children about Anzac Day. It’s one of those non-fiction books that is both great for teachers to use in the classroom or for children to delve in to by themselves. Philippa has written it in such a way that it is accessible for children of different ages, from 8 years and up, with lots of images to break up the text. This book is different from other non-fiction books about Anzac Day and New Zealand’s involvement, as it looks at not only the past, but also the present and how we commemorate today.
Everything you would expect to find in a book about Anzac Day is here – what it is and why we celebrate it, a timeline of the Gallipoli campaign, profiles of key New Zealanders who played a part, and statistics of casualties and deaths. However, it’s the focus on why Anzac Day matters and how we celebrate it now that really makes this book stand out. There is a whole chapter about how we remember the war dead with poppies and war memorials, and another chapter on Anzac Day commemorations both in New Zealand and around the world. There are also lots of fact boxes with tidbits of information about the animals at Gallipoli, Anzac biscuits, the New Zealand flag, and why the New Zealanders had ‘lemon-squeezer’ hats.
There are lots of primary resources in the book (which makes it great for teachers), from photos and newspaper clippings, to soldier’s diaries and paintings. Philippa has created some incredibly helpful material at the back of the book too, including a glossary, bibliography, a list of helpful and authoritative websites, and a list of ‘More things to do’ to extend children’s understanding of the topic.
Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story – What it is and why it matters should be in every home, school and library in the country. It’s a book that will be well-used and well-read.
New Holland Publishers are one of the leading publishers of children’s non-fiction in New Zealand and their books are often nominated for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. Their latest gem is the wonderful Kiwi: the real story by Annemarie Florian and illustrated/designed by Heather Hunt.
Kiwi: the real story is a marvelous multi-layered book thattells the story of Kiwi behaviour. Weaving its way through the pages is a poem about the Kiwi, full of beautiful descriptive language, like ‘gorging grubber’ and ‘cricket-cruncher.’ I love alliteration and this poem is chock-full of it, making it a joy to read aloud. Tying in wonderfully with the poem are the blocks of more detailed information on each page, which explain why the Kiwi is a ‘spider-wrestler’ and a ‘covert nestler.’ The design of the book means that you can read the poem and the information separately, or both together. Younger children will love the poem and the illustrations, whereas older children will also enjoy finding out more about the Kiwi.
Heather Hunt’s illustrations are stunning. I find it amazing how she can make a bunch of squiggly lines look exactly like a Kiwi. I love the way that she shows the movement of the Kiwi on the page and the way that she brings out the character of this marvelous bird. The colours that Heather has used, from the bright green of the praying mantis to the blue of the egg, are vibrant against the black background, and the grey and white of the Kiwi makes it really stand out on the page. I especially like the way that she has used different colours to differentiate between the adult Kiwi and the baby Kiwi. Heather also designed the book and I think that it’s this design that really makes the book special. She has taken the three layers of the story and woven them together so that they can be enjoyed in unison. The words of the poem seem to dance around the illustrations, making the book extremely appealing to young children. The book is beautifully produced too, in a hardback format, with endpapers that look like the night sky.
The character of the Kiwi in the story was originally created by Heather to be the ambassador for Backyard Kiwi, a project carried out by the Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum. The quirky design is used to personify the bird for road signs and billboards. You can learn more about Backyard Kiwi at www.backyardkiwi.org.nz and you can find out more about Heather and her working process at heatherhunt.co.nz/KIWI-the-real-story.
Kiwi: the real story is a must for any primary school library and is sure to be a finalist in next year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. Grab a copy offrom your local library or bookshop now, or if you would like a special signed copy you can order these from Heather Hunt’s website – www.heatherhunt.co.nz/shop
4 out of 5 stars