2017 has brought with it a wealth of glorious new non-fiction books for children and today I will be sharing my favourite choices for younger and older readers. Each of these books are wonderfully interactive and feature the most vibrant illustrations and photographs to capture the imaginations of the reader.
Do you despair of getting your children away from their devices and are you looking for a way to encourage them to spend more time outside? Well Nosy Crow have the very thing for you. They have created two fabulous explorer guides, which with half-term looming offers plenty of scope and ideas for things to keep your children occupied. We took the ‘Complete Night Explorer’s Kit’ camping and we were blessed with very clear nights to explore the sky using the handy fold-out constellation guide and the torch came In handy when the girls went searching in the hope of discovering nocturnal creatures nearby. Full of practical tips on ideas on: how to look for clues in the hunt for animals; make your own creepy-crawly house; attract moths and much more this is a brilliant interactive guide that is bound to captivate the attention of the most inquisitive minds. ‘Go Wild in the Woods’ is the ultimate adventure guide that that will teach you all you need to know, from building a shelter and identifying animal poo to making a campfire and even getting drinking water from your own wee! If this doesn’t entice you to open the pages then I don’t know what will. It’s perfectly sized to pop in your child’s rucksack on a day out and is brilliantly practical and informative.
There are two new titles in the Cool sciences series, if you haven’t seen these before they are bite-size guides packed with fascinating facts and experiments to try at home. Perfectly pitched for curious older readers they are stuffed full of brilliant facts that inform rather than overwhelm. Despite having a G.C.S.E in Computer Studies, I could write what I know about coding on the back of a postage stamp so ‘Cool Coding’ is perfect for me to get a grasp on this subject that is firmly cemented in the National Curriculum. This book contains everything you need to know, from the very basics of binary code and how it works, to the myriad things that coding can actually do to the brave new world of artificial intelligence, robots and cloud computing. A perfect introduction for both parents and children with a special mention for the first computer programmer Ada Lovelace, this is a interesting and informative read. Having studied Biology at school my knowledge of Physics is extremely limited and the thought of it leaves me completely flummoxed. In ‘Cool Physics’ you have a playful, enjoyable guide filled with fun-filled fantastic facts where you can discover the deepest secrets of the universe, including mysterious waves, black holes, tiny particle and a tennis playing demon. Containing easy to do at home practical experiments these books are really stemsational (did you see what I did there – sorry not sorry!) and I’m a big fan!
Professor Astrocat’s Solar System – Dr. Dominic Wallman & Ben Newman
Having loved, ‘Professor Astrocat’s Frontiers of Space’ and ‘Professor Astrocat’s Atomic Adventure’ for older readers I was thrilled that Flying Eye Books have brought out a new version for younger readers. Professor Astrocat and friends embark on a tour of the solar system on a fact-finding mission about the sun and its planets. What really makes this book appealing is that Professor Astrocat talks directly to the children, telling them they’re about to set off on a tour, encouraging them not to look at the sun and telling them to be careful on the hottest planet in the solar system. The bold and vibrant illustrations are brilliantly engaging and help engage younger children, this book clearly demonstrates how the solar system works in a clear and simple format with easy to navigate speech bubbles. It feel more like a Picture Book than an Information book and is stunningly presented in such a way that you are drawn to opening up this book and delving in to find out more. Perfect for aspiring younger space explorers!
Picture This: A Guide to the National Gallery – Paul Thurlby
‘Picture This: A Kids Guide to the National Gallery,’ works well as a stand alone to develop a love of art or alongside a visit to The National Gallery, to look more closely at the great artists and paintings that it houses inside. This fascinating and engaging books allows children to learn more about some of the richest collections of paintings in the world. It examines how artists used colours to change how we feel about the moods of their paintings, how portraits give us a real snapshot into the fashions of the time and how the lives of children have changed what they wore and the games they liked to play. Filled with crosswords, word searches and quizzes it is an interactive and fun way to discover more about our most treasured masterpieces and the stories behind them. A hands on way to inspire children to learn more about art and be creative themselves.
In Focus: Cities – Created by Libby Walden
This treasure trove of a book takes us around the world to visit ten very different cities each captured by a different illustrator. Featuring the work of Grace Easton, Sol Linero, Clair Rossiter, Gary Venn, Jenny Wren, Ryan Wheatcroft, Sophie Beer, Jen Taylor, Jocelyn Kao and Becca Stadtlander, each of these incredible artists offers their own unique perspective of these amazing places. It allows the reader to delve into the cultural, social and historical identities of London, Sydney, New York, Toyko just to mention a few. Giant flaps invite you to explore more of each city capturing the very sense and nuance of their personalities. Allowing you to examine iconic landmarks and artefacts finding out just enough details to let you feel like you’ve stood in front of them yourself. Each spread is exquisitely illustrated with the most intricate details this book really is a joy to behold and and deserves to be read time and time again. Wonderfully produced, it is one of my favourite non-fiction books of the year.
A huge thank you to Flying Eye books, Hodder, Nosy Crow, Pavillion and 360 degrees for copies of these glorious books. These books are all available to buy from any good bookshop to buy a copy online just click on the title.