NetGalley Non Fiction

I have been trying to branch out to read more than just MG fiction or picture books. There are quite a few non fiction books publishing soon that I think should be shared. I hope the physical copies still arrive but for now digital is what I have.

All of these books deserve a front facing space in a library or classroom. Filled with incredible illustrations and fabulous facts, these are spectacular books for all ages.

I am Not a Label by Cerrie Burnell, Illustrations by Lauren Baldo, Published by Quarto, Wide Eyed Editions

“Challenge your preconceptions of disability and mental health” – this book promises to do just that. People from all ages, races and historical times with fascinating stories to be shared and to inspire children.

This book is a celebration of differences, overcoming pre-conceived limitations and being true to who you are. Highlighted in the book are 34 people who have proven that they are strong, worthy and rise to challenges. Inspirational and a brilliant addition to the previously published volumes of stories featuring people we should look up to.

The illustrations are stylish and quirky, each individual given a unique design to help represent who they are and their celebrated differences. There were familiar faces as well as some I didn’t know, which makes the book all the more readable.

Fantastically Great Women Scientists and their Stories, Written by Kate Pankhurst, Published by Bloomsbury

This series goes from strength to strength, highlighting fantastically great woman from history. History has always focused on and favoured the achievements of men, this series pushes those boundaries so we can learn about the women who made huge contributions in their fields. This book looks particularly at scientists, including Marie Curie and Caroline Hershel.

The stories are accompanied by super illustrations mapping out the lives and contributions of each woman. “They never gave up on their dreams”, even when they were fighting to be treated fairly, given proper education and equipment to use.

It is stories like these that help girls to see the world through their dreams. They can aspire to be anything they want, they just need to dream, work hard and be determined.
These books are always incredibly popular within schools.

Ocean Atlas, Written by Tom Jackson, Illustrations by Ana Djordjevic, Published by Quarto Knows

A vibrant, colourful celebration of oceans and seas around the globe. Filled with fascinating facts, scientific terminology and fun creatures of the deep, this book will expand your horizons to see what is under all the water on our planet.

Maps, distances and depths are all recorded as well as facts about explorers discovering lands, shipwrecks and important geological features. Learn about the Mariana Trench, Magellan and submarines that explore the depths.

My children and I pored over every detail in this book and there is plenty to look at on each page. A remarkable book and one I suspect will be very popular.

Atlas of Adventures Travel Edition,

The study of the world around us has taken on bold new ways to understand geography. We used to use a plain old giant atlas that showed boundaries, mountainous regions as well as bodies of water. Now we have the privilege of learning about the world through adventures.

This travel edition will ensure you find something fascinating to do, visit or experience from all over the world. Many of these places will be familiar while others may be new. Come and explore and plan your next adventure. All continents have at least one adventure for you to plan and as you browse each page, you will see plenty of other sights to intrigue you.

Incredible, vibrant and detailed illustrations fill the pages and increase your wanderlust for travelling.

50 Reasons to Love Endangered Animals, written by Catherine Barr, Illustrations by Hanako Clulow, Published by Frances Lincoln

A brilliant book, best suited for younger readers, takes you around the world meeting familiar animals and perhaps some new ones. With fun facts and “show you love” buttons throughout giving ways to learn more about each animal and ways to make small changes to protect the world. This is a lovely book to share.

Colourful illustrations bring the animals to life and will prompt many questions from little learners. Perfect for animal lovers and mini eco-warriors, this book will get your family thinking about what you can do to save the wildlife and planet- from conscious choices about product purchases and sharing the love of new animals with friends.

I would front face this one in a KS1 classroom to be read and enjoyed regularly.


Planet SOS by Marie G. Rohde

22 Modern Monsters Threatening our Environment (and what you can do to defeat them)

A beautiful book by Marie G Rohde, Published by What on Earth Books
April 2020

I always love the titles published by What on Earth Books. They are incredibly informative and full of wonderful illustrations and provide new ways to look at our world, and inspire students. Planet SOS is a blend of mythical monsters, environmental issues and ideas of how we can help.

Planet destroying beasts fill the pages of this brilliant book. From The Ozone Serpent to Smogosaurus and Trash Kong. Each monster is compared to a mythical beast and given new powers that destroy our world. It is a fascinating way to look at our environmental issues and for younger children to become familiar with ways to make changes.

Each monster is also given a “Monster Card”. These cards provide important details about where the monster can be found, ways in which these monsters are being fed by humans, but also ways in which they can be defeated. I think the monster cards and the map at the back might be the highlight of the book for me. Many children can relate to a top trumps style card game and these cards could provide endless learning opportunities.

Excellent map and timeline of environmental issues being recorded

The illustrations are incredible! Combining elements of a monster and their environmental impact is ingenious and makes each page an ultimate study of monsters and issues!

I admit to spending ages trawling through the pages, reading about the mythical monsters as well as the ones we need to defeat! The monster cards give some excellent ideas on how children and adults can make changes at home and school to combat these beasts. Ideas like recycling, using less energy and avoid single use plastics.

Add this to your book lists, It is amazing!


New Non Fiction Picture Books

I love the beautifully illustrated non fiction picture books which encourage thinking in new ways, offer brilliant discussion points and are colourful and informative.

By Bruno Gilbert
Published by What on Earth Books

Infographics are a brilliant way to show numbers and statistics in an easy to understand format. Every Second is a fascinating and fun look at what is happening around the world every second. From a wedding to 100 lightning bolts to 3,000,000 emails. There is a fun fact for everyone to remember in this book!

Ideal for further discussion, there is much to discover, especially for those environmentally aware people. It shows we still have much to accomplish. Beautifully illustrated, this is a wonderful book to own and browse!

Written by Patrick Skipworth, Illustrated by Nicholas Stevenson
Published by What on Earth Books

“A stunning non fiction picture book about the global diversity hidden in the English language”. Focusing on 12 words widely used in the English language, the author explains the origins of the word, the original language and the adaptation of how it is used today. The illustrator cleverly weaves the old meaning with the new in intricately designed page spreads.

There is much to look at! This is a celebration of the diversity of our own language and a wonderful way to introduce children to the interconnectedness of the world and its people.

Written by Claire Grace and Dr Jessamy Hibberd, Illustrated by Hannah Tolson, Published by Wide Eyed Editions

A magical mix of astronomy and mindfulness. Learning the names of, the shapes of and the myths behind the constellations leads expertly to easy, calming bedtime rituals and routines. Exercises intended to calm the mind, increase deep breathing and to stretch and relax the muscles.

Illustrated in calming tones of blue and soft muted colours, these suit the style and tone of the book. “Close your eyes, burrow beneath your blankets and let your dreams whisk you away on a magical starry adventure”. Summed up perfectly, we will be testing the calming mindfulness exercises while social distancing and dealing with new situations.

Written by Anna McNuff, Illustrated by Clair Rossiter
Published by Walker Books

This book may just be our saving grace. As schools close and social distancing enforced, nature is set to be our school and playground. Using this book, you can find easy to accomplish adventures as well as harder adventures like abseiling to freediving. Now the weather is becoming more spring like and the days are longer, it is time to jump in.

Our first plans are to star gaze, make a scavenger hunt and go bird spotting. With inspiring messages, wonderful illustrations and motivational tips from author Anna McNuff, this is a perfect book! Let’s get our children back to nature so they can “see the world without limits”.


BookLife Publishing!

Bodies, Organs and Systems form the last part of this blog series courtesy of BookLife Publishing.

The children loved the look of these books but it was the teachers who were really keen to get their hands on them! They could foresee plenty of opportunities to use these in lessons and were begging to keep them.

Again, the strength of BookLife is that these are all part of a series.

Authors of this series are Robin Twiddy, John Wood, Charlie Ogden, Kirsty Holmes, Grace Jones and William Anthony.

Brilliant body books with exciting new covers, new ways of sharing the science in our bodies and the use of cartoons are sure to entice readers to choose these books. The teachers loved the bold colours and knew these would appeal more than some books which have been around for a long time.

All suitable for KS2, these take children through organs such as your ears, lungs and skin or help us to take a closer look at viruses and parasites.

Great use of technical terms, scientific explanations and diagrams prove just how amazing our bodies are.

A huge thank you to BookLife Publishing for their kindness in sending such high quality books. The children were so excited to be a part of the reviewing process.


BookLife Publishing!

Hobbies and Sports are my focus with the next set of books from BookLife Publishing. Two books about coding and programming and one about swimming. The computer focused books were quickly snapped up by the students, proving how relevant those titles are for children. I admit to being surprised at just how popular the swimming title was as well.

Wonderful books to capture the interests of children

The Perfect Program by Kirsty Holmes, What is Coding by Steffi Cavell-Clarke and Thomas Welch

The comments from children who read these titles were, “it looks really interesting”, “loved learning the history of code and Alan Turing”, “the illustrations were excellent”.

Coding and Programming are so popular and relevant for students, some of whom now aspire to be gamers or youtubers when they are older. Code Academy and The Perfect Program is part of 6 book series about the basics of coding and computers. What is Coding is also part of a 6 book series looking at the basics such as databases, computer languages and staying safe online.

Both titles are perfect for KS2 students who are keen to know more about how things work and understanding the basics of computers and technology. These are vital skills for the children today, many of whom are more advanced than I am in terms of computers.

The Science of Swimming by Emilie Dufresne

Children are fascinated by water and swimming, most of my classes today having experienced lessons and time in pools.

Comments about this title included, “I love the cover design using the shapes”, “it gives good tips for jumping in and floating”, “they are using science to help explain how we swim-that’s so cool”.

With high level vocabulary, scientific terms and diagrams, this would suit Upper KS2 perfectly. Other sports included in the “Science of” series are Athletics, Cricket, Football, Ice Hockey and Tennis.

This series would fly off the shelves as it takes a different approach to sports and provides great tips to become better through using scientific techniques.


BookLife Publishing!

Yesterday the series “Why Do I…?” was the feature set of books from BookLife Publishing. Today, I have chosen the selection of books featuring animals. Animals are always very popular books in a school library, and these were snapped up quickly in our review session.

Reptiles to Food Webs to Eating Habits- A Great Selection

All of these titles are part of a series. This is a strength of BookLife. They have well planned and researched titles that go well together in a series. It gives schools a perfect opportunity to ensure a range of learning comes from their titles.

Children’s comments included, “good detail”, “love the pictures of real reptiles”, “reptiles are more interesting than I thought”, “animals eat gross things”, “lots of people will like this book”.

Forest Food Webs by William Anthony

This is one titles in the Food Webs series. Other titles include Desert, Ocean, Grassland, Mountain and River.

Many of the animals are from North America and although recognisable to the children, many commented they would like to see a real moose or beaver. I think this added to the appeal of the book, and the photos are beautiful.

Great information about the animals featured on each page

Written in the first person, you read each page as though you are each animal. Great use of vocabulary and diagrams to show the food web. Simple enough to be used in younger year groups. Many of our children thought a Year 1 or 2 would love these books too!

Animals Eat What? Bones and Bodies by Holly Duhig

Part of a 4 book series, other titles include Blood and Guts, Rubbish and Waste and Sick and Poo. The children were right…animals eat gross things. A fascinating look at the diets of animals around the world.

The animals have a Top Trumps style rating chart that the children loved and used to compare the animals. Again, as many of the animals were familiar, they loved looking at the pictures and learning new facts.

The covers, design and features of these books are all high quality. Great use of colours and pictures, ensuring the children were keen to pick these up first!

Reptiles: Reproduction by Joanna Brundle

Other titles in the 4 title Reproduction series are Birds, Fish and Mammals. All of these would be brilliant in a school library.

This title appealed to the Upper KS2 children as there was plenty of text, higher level vocabulary and scientific terms. Many of them felt this would be a challenging read but an enjoyable one.

They were captivated by the gharials and sea turtles, constantly flipping between these reptiles for more information. I really liked the layout of each page, using captions and headers. It makes the book easy to navigate and read.

A brilliant set of books for those animal loving children in your school!


BookLife Publishing!

BookLife Publishing have very kindly sent a box of books to be read and reviewed. I opened the box excitedly and it struck me that I shouldn’t be the only one to enjoy the process of reading and writing about them!

I work with a small school of 45 children. As the classes are mixed, it is sometimes hard to find appropriate and fun activities that appeal to all. This activity was met with excitement, curiosity and a sense of responsibility! The children in Years 3,4,5 and 6 all felt incredibly privileged to have new books to browse.

I set the task of choosing a book, reading it and studying it. I then asked them to think about whether they would recommend it, share it and want to use it in lessons. The resounding answer was YES! Even before they read all the books.

My reviews will be broken into four days of reviews and will include my thoughts as well as those of the students. Today I am promoting a series entitled, “Why Do I…?”

Written by Kirsty Holmes, Harriet Brundle and Madeline Tyler

As soon as the children saw the titles of these, there were squeals of delight. Bodily functions seem to be unique in uniting boys and girls in wanting to read about poo, dribble, snot and blood. These are a colourful, fun and engaging way to learn about the systems of the body.

Comments from children included the following; “it looks interesting and a bit gross- just what I like” and “itching totally feels like bugs crawling on you”.

We all agreed that children aged 6 and older would love this set of books. The pictures inside are very engaging and sometimes funny, perfect for the younger learner.

The entire series answers their title questions perfectly and in a simple and effective way. Using some higher level vocabulary balanced with an easy description makes them perfect for the library or classroom.


Non Fiction- New and Nifty

Bloomsbury Books and Cicada Books have some brilliant new non fiction titles, and I am very happy to have spent time reading them and sharing them with my kids.

Epic Tales of Triumph and Adventure
Discover the Stories of 66 Extraordinary Men and Women
Written by Simon Cheshire, Illustrated by Fatti Burke
Published by Bloomsbury
The colourful end papers featuring portraits of the extraordinary men and women in the book
An example of an epic tale, and the page layout to expect

With so many volumes being published about heroes, heroines, fantastic kids and amazing animals, a book needs to stand out from the crowd. This bright orange book does just that. The bold colours and illustrative style capture the imaginations of the reader as we delve into histories finest, heroes and villains! The common thread is their impact on history.

Covering history, both men and women who faced incredible situations, are introduced to the reader. From navigators and explorers to astronauts and pirates, there is a vast amount covered.

Many names will be familiar to children and adults but there were s few new epic adventurers to meet, such as Anne Bonny and Mary Read, both of whom were pirates. (See next photo). I enjoyed flipping between the pages, reading both familiar and unfamiliar tales. Both my children were asking questions about who, what, when, etc and so we spent more time searching for answers and placing people in a historic time line of events.

Subway Systems Around the World
Conceived and Illustrated by Uijung Kim
Published by Cicada Books
It features a map! Love a map in a book.
Example of a double page spread, featuring facts and items to find.

This book takes on subways around the world and shows us their uniqueness, fascinating facts and hoards of people travelling. The style of illustration is amazing and very bright and child friendly. This book spans the age ranges as there is truly something for all ages. From the facts and images of trains to the seek and find on the side, all ages will be entertained.

I spent so much time delving into the pages of this book, looking for small details and comparing facts between cities. The brickwork signs are awesome and really keep you in mind of the subways.

Subways are a quick and easy form of travel in most large cities and this will entice you to visit a few extras!

Into the Forest
Wander Through our Woodland World
Written by Christiane Dorion, Illustrated by Jane McGuinness
Published by Bloomsbury
The all important message of conservation and helping the environment
Sample page highlighting the beautiful illustrations

A large hardback edition, this would make a wonderful resource in schools and for those with an interest in nature and forests in particular. Looking at forests around the world, the reader can learn about deciduous, coniferous and tropical rainforests. Each has unique trees, animals and seeds to offer the world.

The illustrations are truly spectacular, with an incredible amount of detail added to the leaves, animals and forest floors. They are a joy to look at. Added to these are chunks of text explaining the images, and providing some fascinating facts about forests, Seasons and the life cycle of trees. I had no idea just how much I could learn about forests!

A lovely book to share with a younger reader!


Non Fiction…New and Nifty!

I feel there is a boost in noteworthy non fiction titles in the last few years. They are certainly being given more press and publicity and there is a move from photographs towards illustrations in many titles.

Featuring titles from 360 (an imprint from Little Tiger), Nosy Crow and What on Earth Books. All are very unique and beg to be read. I can see these being very popular when they arrive at school.

By Emmanuelle Figueras, Illustrated by Claire De Gastold, Published by What on Earth Books

The sense of smell in animals in incredibly heightened compared to ours. This book will introduce readers to a variety of animals, their noses and the importance of smell. With wonderful illustrations and lift the flaps to find more information, this book is fun and interesting.

One of my favourite pages!

From farm animals to sea creatures and insects to birds, there is truly a vast amount to learn about. Animals sniff out food, danger and off spring, although I can honestly say I prefer my own nose and its capabilities!

Written by Ben Lerwill, Illustrated by Sarah Walsh, Published by Nosy Crow

There has been a surge in books published featuring incredible women, men, sporting heroes, children and now we have one about animals who have made history! This stunning book will appeal to animal lovers out there.

These are true stories of rescuers, adventurers and courageous pets. Filled with facts, quotes and photos alongside the wonderful illustrations. There were a few familiar animals from history and I loved perusing the book to learn about others I hadn’t known.

The index is helpfully divided into animal type and then name so if you wanted to specifically learn about hippos then you could turn to page 34.

I find Hippos fascinating!

From heroic animals to real life Heroes!

Written by Jonny Marx, Illustrated by Gerhard van Wyk, Published by Nosy Crow

The cover immediately draws your attention and once you open the book, it is settled! You must read it!

Jump in and see who you can aspire to be like!
“What’s your superpower?”

Divided into careers, you can choose to learn more about firefighters, activists and mathematicians! There are several people listed under each career, some spanning back through history and others still current. The illustrations are unique, attention grabbing and truly pop off the page!

An inspiring book for children showing us that the world is full of incredible people!

The next two titles will appeal to little hands itching to pull the ribbon to see the picture change. Teachers and parents will enjoy the facts and snippets of information to share!

Our World and Weather Illustrated by Hannah Tolson

Each page covers an important habitat, from Desert to Arctic to the Sea. With a magic slider on each page you can watch the picture change. Even though my children are a bit older, they still loved the magic slider.

Opposite the magic slider is information about people, animals and weather from each habitat. Beautiful illustrations are found throughout.

Weather is also separated into categories, looking at the sun, wind, thunder and lightening. The book looks at extreme weather, survival in harsh weather and facts about huge storms.

These books will find their way into a Reception class as I think they will love watching the picture change and the text is completely accessible for young readers.


Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Published by Buster Books on 5 September.

What a mesmerising and engaging book about space and the solar system. Space has some astonishing facts, science and history surrounding it, and although there are many books about space….this one is going to the top!!

I am a big fan of Dr Maggie and have watched Mini Stargazing on CBeebies. I love her calm voice, easy way of explaining things and obvious delight in the cosmos!

This book is colourful, engaging and feels as though Dr Maggie is speaking directly to me. It creates a very personal interaction between the reader and the book. I found myself flipping between pages, going from the planets to the ISS, and through the Asteroid Belt. There was so much to read and learn.

I love a map in a book!

With the celebrations of the Moon Landings this year, we are seeing the next generation become interested in space. Tim Peake and Chris Hadfield also did wonders for increasing interest in space travel, the ISS and where we might explore next. Dr Maggie allows the reader to discover facts, learn about Moon phases and about space junk (which I found completely amazing.

Space Junk

I am a huge fan of infographics and this book has a section at the end full of them. I find they give a reader new ways of understanding facts, perfect for younger readers who might shy away from large chunks of text.

Illustrating fun facts

The perfect space book to suit the entire family! An inspiring woman full of knowledge ready to ensure there is a new generation of astronauts, scientists and astrophysicists!