Book Review, Guest Post, Picture Books

Herman Needs a Home by Lucy Noguera & Emma Latham ~ Guest Post

Herman Needs a Home from Lucy Noguera and Brilliant Monster Books is a delightful picture book packed full of facts about hermit crabs. Herman and his sister, Hiro, are growing. That means their shells no longer fit. Hiro is lucky enough to find a new shell to move into, but not Herman. He looks everywhere but can’t find a new home. With dangers around every corner, he needs to find one before it’s too late.

Young readers will be completely charmed by Herman as he tries on all sorts of shell substitutes. Discarded toys, rubbish, plastic pollution in all shapes and sizes litters his beach. He hopes something might do the job when really, these objects are harmful for poor Herman. Readers will find a strong environmental message as they consider where Herman could live. Children will be able to discuss why Herman has such a difficult time finding a home and what humans can do to make things better for hermit crabs.

There is so much scope for cross-curricular links in this engaging story. The language choices are fun with alliteration, a huge variety of adjectives and exciting verbs. There is also a focus on mathematical concepts looking at size order and comparisons. Herman doesn’t want a shell that is too big or too small – he needs one that is just right.

Emma Latham’s illustrations are gorgeous! The relationship between Herman and Hiro is heart-warming and their little faces show every emotion. The depiction of the sea is beautiful, causing readers to feel so sorry that pollution is spoiling the environment.

This is the perfect book for EYFS & KS1 classrooms as a shared read or as inspiration for a science topic about oceans, the environment or animals.

I’m thrilled to welcome author Lucy Noguera with a special guest post about her inspirations and reasons for writing Herman Needs a Home.

Working on ‘Herman Needs A Home’ has been a fairly long process. I was first inspired to write about hermit crabs after my brother, a teacher, showed me a video of several hermit crabs lining up in size order before simultaneously swapping shells as they had outgrown their current one! It was fascinating, then a few months later I was scrolling through The Natural History Museum’s website and read about a study they were doing with marine scientists on the effects of plastic pollution on hermit crabs across two remote islands.

They found that even on remote islands, large plastic containers were washing up and hermit crabs were falling in the containers and then as they died they released a smell to tell other crabs that their shall was available  – which of course attracted more crabs which also fell in the container and so on. Result being that over half a million hermit crabs were lost because of this pollution.

I then researched more into hermit crabs and found lots of reports of hermit crabs being found making their home in cans or bottles because large shells were becoming difficult to find but rubbish was becoming easier! So I mixed this part with the exchanging shells part and came up with a rough storyline. I then enrolled on a City Lit picture book writing course and worked on the story until I ended up with a plan for Herman. Getting feedback from other writers was so helpful and made the story so much better than it was.

After the book was finished, I contacted the marine scientist on the expedition that had inspired me and asked them if I could show them Herman. Jennifer Lavers replied and gave me the quote that is now on the back of the book. I am so proud of this endorsement.

“Herman Needs A Home showcases the challenges our marine wildlife face, and is sure to ignite the passion of young children for marine discovery and conservation.” Jennifer Lavers, Marine Scientist , University of Tasmania.

I am also really proud of how Herman looks. Emma Latham has illustrated it just beautifully, the colour pallet and light in the book really reflects the arc of the story. The illustrations were so lovely that the decision was made to make the book 40 pages rather than 32 to give them more room!

Overall I wanted it to be an adventure story but under pinned with themes of conservation and the effects of plastic pollution; both of which can be explored to suit the age of the reader. I really hope that is how it comes across.

I can’t wait to share Herman with children. I am sure they will be full of enthusiastic ideas of how we can all do more to spread the important message of the three R’s –  how to reduce, reuse and recycle more!

To celebrate the launch, you can get a signed copy of this delightful book with a matching bag for £15.00. Click on the book cover above to go to the offer.

Herman Needs a Home is also available from Amazon & Waterstones.

Books by Kate Heap:

Available to pre-order:

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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