Book Review, Non-fiction Books

Non-fiction for a New Year

British Museum: A History of the World in 25 Cities by Tracey Turner & Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Libby Vander Ploeg ~ Nosy Crow

Travel through time with 25 fascinating cities. Cleverly combining history and geography, this beautiful hardback book describes life in each city at a specific point in the past. This is sure to be a huge hit in primary classrooms. It’s the kind of book children can dip in and out of, learning something new every time they pick it up.

8500 BCE Jericho – 500 BCE Athens – 100 CE Rome – 940 CE Jorvik – 1670 CE Amsterdam – 1880 CE London and so many more in between. Readers discover the landmarks, technology, significant people and important events that shaped each city.

Everything You Know About Dinosaurs is Wrong by Dr Nick Crumpton & Gavin Scott – Nosy Crow

This is not just another book about dinosaurs. New discoveries and developing scientific understanding have changed what we know to be true about these amazing creatures and proven that what we thought in the past isn’t actually correct. There is still so much more to find out and one day, this book might be wrong too. I love how readers are challenged to be open-minded, value science and discovery, and pursue careers in palaeontology.

Each double-page spread debunks a statement about dinosaurs. Recently, my son has been a bit obsessed with the television show MythBusters. This book reminds me of that – proving something to be false even though so many people believe it.

I was a little bit worried about the statement about the Brontosaurus – it was always one of my favourite dinosaurs when I was a child so I was very relieved to read that it did actually exist!

Above and Below: Dusk till Dawn by Harriet Evans & Nic Jones ~ Little Tiger

Above and Below: Dusk till Dawn is a unique split-page lift the flap book that reveals what animals are doing in different habitats once darkness falls. Sneak a peek into burrows underground and find out who swims beneath the waves on each colourful page.

A wide variety of animals are described while interesting details push readers beyond the usual animal facts with information that will surprise and intrigue.

British Museum: Mummies Unwrapped: Discover the World of Ancient Egyptian Mummies by Tom Froese – Nosy Crow

Children are always fascinated by the Ancient Egyptians and the process of mummification. This book is just the thing for children who want to find out even more.

Each double-page spread answers questions such as “How were mummies wrapped?” and “What about animal mummies?” Sections of longer texts and appealing fact boxes lead readers around the page while the illustrations are mystical and so engaging.

I can’t wait to share Mummies Unwrapped with a Year 4 class I know who will be learning about the Ancient Egyptians soon!

The Big Book of Festivals by Joan-Maree Hargreaves, Marita Bullock & Liz Rowland – Faber Children’s

Traditions are always evolving as people make them their own. This colourfully intriguing book explores festivals enjoyed by groups of people around the world – old and new, well known and more obscure. Perfect for RE lessons and as a resource for teachers, this book is also wonderful for browsing through. There is so much to see on every page.

It includes many festivals from the major religions as well as cultural festivals based on folklore and the passing of the seasons. My favourite is Carnevale Di Venezia with amazing masks and elaborate costumes.

National Trust: Sunday Fun Day: A Nature Activity for Every Weekend of the Year by Katherine Halligan & Jesus Verona – Nosy Crow

So often, families are looking for things to do that take them away from the tv and out of the house. Sunday Fun Day provides a unique, nature-based activity for every week of the year. Linked to seasons and materials available in the local area, following the ideas in this book will give families a wide variety of experiences to share.

These activities are also great for primary classrooms. Hands-on and creative, there is so much scope for learning and self-expression. I’m looking forward to trying some of the activities with my Brownie unit (Girl Guiding).

Britannica’s 150 First Words by Claire Laties Davis & Kasia Dudziuk

Nine real toddlers welcome pre-schoolers into this colourful book depicting everyday routines. Young children will love spotting the photographs and chatting about the familiar things they are doing. From waking up in the morning to eating, playing and going outside, little readers will be able to relate to every page. Realistic pictures of everyday objects alongside illustrated scenes including the same objects provides a fun search-and-find game.

This large, sturdy board-book will be read again and again building language and awareness of words and short phrases.

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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