To celebrate National Non-Fiction November I have chosen some fantastic fact books to inform and engage even the most curious of children. Each of these books have been specially chosen for their intricate details and exquisite illustrations which are bound to delight the most inquisitive child. Amongst a wealth of brilliant non-fiction titles published this year for me these really stand out for their quality of information and striking illustrations.
Politics For Beginners – Louie Stowell, Alex Frith, Rosie Hore illustrated by Kellan Stover
For me never has it felt like a more necessary time for children to understand the world of politics. In a world of ‘fake news’, 24 hour media and complex political situations, how can we expect our children to grasp the fundamentals of what is actually happening in our world when we are drowning in opposing opinions. Step forward the brilliantly informative, ‘Politics For Beginners,’ which strips back all of the confusion in this no-nonsense, clear guide to what politics is all about. Using bright, bold illustrations and easy to understand diagrams it covers diverse topics from elections and voting, political change and looks at different political ideologies like capitalism and socialism. It also carefully explores the really big questions we face in society in relation to terrorism, human rights and freedom of speech to name a few. This is definitely one of those book that needs to be in every primary and secondary school library, it’s an essential read for all children (and adults) to help make sense of the confusing world we live in.
The Skies Above My Eyes – Charlotte Guillain, illustrated by Yuval Zommer
Following on from the marvellous, ‘The Street Beneath My Feet,‘ Charlotte and Yuval are back with another collaboration uncovering what is going on in the skies above our eyes. Cleverly constructed, this concertina double-sided format allows you to unravel the story of the ground beneath our feet or unfold the whole book on the floor for a hands on exploration. As we go about our daily life do we ever take the time to look up and think about all the things that we can see and beyond that the things we cannot see with the naked eye and need the help of a powerful telescope to discover. Here we travel through the sky, up through the layers of atmosphere all the way to outer space, before zooming back down to solid ground. On the way we will spy skyscrapers, planes, space stations, tour the solar system and think about what lies beyond those places we have discovered. Not only is it packed with fascinating facts from Charlotte Guillain which will excite the most inquisitive child it is also visually stunning, with the most sublime illustrations form Yuval Zommer. With so many intricate details to spot you can spend hours pouring over this book and it is bound to be enjoyed over and over again. Managing to make complex information interesting and engaging, it’s perfect for newly confident readers it’s captivating whilst still being accessible. Younger readers can enjoy exploring the illustrations, it’s ideal for sharing and discovering together.
The Beetle Collector’s Handbook – M.G. Leonard, illustrated by Carim Nahaboo
Longlisted for the 2019 Blue Peter Book Awards, ‘The Beetle Collector’s Handbook,’ is inspired by the pages of M.G. Leonard’s wonderful, ‘Beetle Boy,’ trilogy. In the story Darkus Cuttle use this very book to discover everything they will ever need to know about beetles and now it has been brought to life in this glorious celebration of entomology. Beautifully produced and packed with the most exquisite and interesting facts which will blow the mind of even the most knowledgeable beetle lover, this is an absolute gem of a book. Complemented with detailed full colour illustrations this is bound to inspire a love and fascination of the beetle population. It cleverly links to the trilogy with scribbled notes and funny observations from Darkus and his father in the margins, opening with Darkus declaring that ‘this is my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE BOOK in the world,’ which is a very high recommendation indeed. Featuring more than 50 beetles it is designed to inspire and amaze beetle lovers with its array of the most weird and wonderful of these creatures.
A First Book of the Sea – Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton
Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton are back with another stunning collaboration in the final book in the First Book series. ‘A First Book of the Sea,’ is a stunning poetry collection celebrating the sea and all its changing moods. I have always found the sea to be the most special of places, every time we have a day out or a holiday away, I still get a thrill of excitement at that first glimpse of the sea. It’s a place that restores my soul when it’s in the darkest of places and brings back so many memories of the fun filled days we’ve had as a family on the beach. Nicola and Emily have captured perfectly the joy of a place that offers a world to explore filled with rockpools, shells, pebbles, puffins and crabs. Then goes on to uncover the secrets that lie deep in our oceans from forgotten shipwrecks, to brooding sharks and our most deadly secret the plastic that suffocates and poisons the creatures of the oceans. Emily’s sumptuous watercolour spreads bring Nicola’s beautiful, evocative poems which together take us on this magnificent journey of discovery. This is a treasure trove of a book that blends perfectly poetry and information to delight and inform the reader.
Amazing People: Young Heroes – by Lula Bridgeport, illustrated by Federica Frenna, Isabel Muñoz & Julia Swaney
I have spent a lot of the last year being asked by parents where are all the books about inspirational boys with the plethora of female focused fact collections, so I was delighted to receive a copy of ‘Amazing People: Young Heroes,’ which features extraordinary young women and men from across the world. Like ‘Amazing Women,’ this collection feels very current and accessible for younger and older readers. It includes many contemporary young and instantly recognisable young people like Daniel Radcliffe, Taylor Swift and Mark Zuckerburg who provide a gateway to encourage readers to pick up this book and explore. Yet it still features those incredible children whose achievement and passion have had a significant impact in history from Bill Gates to Pelé, who have made great strides in their respective fields. Stunningly produced with bold, contemporary illustrations and filled with engaging information this deserves a place on every child’s bookshelf. Featuring practical and inspiring advice on how children today can make a difference in the world from small to great acts, this books empowers children to believe that they can bring positive changes to our world.
Mountains of the World – Dieter Braun
‘Mountains of the World,’ is a stunningly, spectacular non-fiction book which examines the mountains that shape our world, from the peaks of the Himalayas to worlds of ice and snow in the Transantarctic Mountain range. It examines the formation of these magnificent geographical features and humanities exploration of them as well as their relationship with them. These great peaks have always been fascinating to explorers offering the most thrilling and deadly experiences to those who wish to conquer the most fearsome of challenges. It also highlights the wildlife who live amongst them from snow leopards to condors, this is a visual journey through the vast mountains that dominate the landscapes of the world in which we live. This book is just perfect for spending hours poring over enjoying the beautiful illustrations whilst finding out lots of amazing facts.
Thank you to Flying Eye Books, Stripes, Scholastic, Usborne, Walker Books and Wren and Rook for sending me copies of these fabulous fact books. All of these books are available to buy now online (click the link in the titles) or from any good bookshop.