Following on from our very popular Ones To Watch round-up of top fiction titles this term (available here), we bring you some of the most exciting non-fiction titles publishing in September and October.
1. Hello World: Animals
Nicola Edwards (author) & L'Atelier Cartographik (illustrator)
Books with maps and atlases are always popular and this compendium of animals is bound to go down a storm with teachers and young readers alike. Featuring over 180 animals from around the globe, this lift- the-flap animal atlas showcases the wonderful variety of wildlife on our planet.
Little fingers will keep busy interacting with the flaps that reveal the natural habitats of animals living in different countries. In addition to the small flaps belonging to each individual animal, there are also larger ones to occupy curious minds with nuggets of information including life cycles, migratory journeys and weird and wonderful facts relating to animals from different countries.
Each double-page spread covers a different continent and is bursting with information about fascinating creatures living in various habitats. Sometimes the book needs to be turned 180 degrees to view a new continent, adding further interaction and building to the sense of variation and contrast between different places. Nonetheless the book remains sturdy enough to withstand its pages and flaps being used time and time again.
This is a colourful and appealing introduction to the wonderful world of animals and the kind of book to which children will enjoy returning over and over.
Publisher: 360 Degrees
Publication date: 1st September 2018
2. The Beetle Collector's Handbook
M.G. Leonard (author) & Carim Nahaboo (illustrator)
Beetle mania returns as M.G. Leonard (author of the popular Beetle Boy trilogy, available here) brings a new colour compendium of all sorts of beetles.
This is no ordinary entomology guide, though. As well as being packed with facts about over 50 types of beetles, information about life as a bug researcher, a guide to beetle-hunting and a useful glossary, this guide also contains the handwritten annotations and hilarious asides by Beetle Boy hero Darkus Cuttle.
What is most striking in this handbook is the enormous variety that exists between different types of beetles. Many beetles have their own unique and impressive features; from those who feed on decaying flesh (like the burying beetle), to those who can lift 850 times their own weight (like the Rhinoceros beetle), to those with a head shaped like Salvador Dali's moustache (like the giraffe-necked weevil).
The best types of non-fiction book make the reader feel excited about exploring the topic and when you read this one you can't help but to catch some of M.G. Leonard's wonderfully infectious enthusiasm for the world of beetles.
Publication date: 6th September 2018
3. Once Upon a Raindrop: The Story of Water
James Carter (author) & Nomoco (illustrator)
Publishers are spoiling us at the moment with a wealth of non-fiction titles for children that are presented with creativity and a high visual appeal. Once Upon a Raindrop: The Story of Water by James Carter and Nomoco immerses the readers into the wonderful world of water; from the tiny raindrops that drip and drop onto hills to the waves roaring mightily in the oceans and then to the wispy evaporations of steam and clouds.
More than a simple explanation of the water cycle, this book uses gentle and poetic verse to evoke the transient flow of water through its different forms, accompanied by swirling, meandering watercolour illustrations. Sometimes the shape and sizes of the words on the page seamlessly blend with the images to further bring life to the poetry.
The book is certainly informative when it comes to learning about water, but also offers something more. The gentle poetry of the words, the elegant illustrations and the high quality production of the book itself work together to pass on a key message about the beauty and importance of water as a life-giving element.
Publisher: Caterpillar Books
Publication date: 6th September 2018
4. Peace and Me
Ali Winter (Author) & Mickaël El Fathi (Illustrator)
Peace and Me is an illustrated hardback book celebrating 12 different recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. Endorsed by Amnesty International, the book uses the lives of each featured prize winner to explore the topic of what peace means to different people.
Each double page spread is dedicated to a different inspirational figure, including Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela and Wangari Maathai. Aside the accessible and informative blocks of text, each page also includes Mickaël El Fathi’s stunning illustrations filled with deep colours and rich textures. For each figure, the repeated line “Peace is…” is completed to explore how they individually understood and advocated for peace.
This inspiring collection is perfect for use in the classroom or in school assemblies and has the potential to spark some excellent discussions about the value of peace and human potential to make the world a better place.
Publication date: 21st September 2018
5. A Cat's Guide to the Night Sky
Stuart Atkinson (author) and Brendan Kearney (Illustrator)
Looking up at night time can seem like the dark sky is overwhelming and unfathomable – from its clusters of stars to the shifting phases of the moon to its varying shades of colour apparent across the different seasons.
A Cat’s Guide to the Night Sky is an illustrated guide to explain the different elements of the night sky to children, as described by a friendly and knowledgable cat called Felicity.
The book is hugely informative but also accessible to young children – in fact it would make a perfect accompaniment to a space topic in primary classrooms (and we also feature it on our space topic booklist). Through colour illustrations, well-pitched blocks of explanatory text and a friendly feline narrator, this book is likely to hold a high appeal to children and teachers alike.
Discover how to discern which of the lights in the night sky are planets, why winter is the best time for stargazing and what the fuzzy patches that astronomers call ‘deep sky objects’ are actually made of. There is also lots of practical advice for would-be astronomers, such as which kinds of locations are best for stargazing and which constellations to look for at different times of year. Entertaining, informative and visually appealing, this is a wonderful choice of non-fiction text for classroom libraries.
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Publication date: 8th October 2018
Sangma Francis (Author) & Lisk Feng (Illustrator)
This book provides an in-depth look at Everest, including its culture, history and wildlife. For many of us, this beautiful non-fiction volume will be the closest we come to Mount Everest, the tallest of the peaks in the Himalayan mountains. Richly informative and beautifully illustrated, this is an information text that will appeal to explorers-in-the-making in KS2 classrooms.
The book systematically covers different aspects of the history and geography that make Everest so fascinating, including various mountain climbers' attempts to scale Everest, wildlife living at different altitudes and how scientists accurately measure such an immense mountain. The writers also recognise how Everest has captured imaginations for centuries and the book gives plenty of space to exploring the array of myths and legends surrounding Everest as well as the way it has inspired people to invent, create or achieve in different ways.
With an appealing stylised design, including vibrant illustrations and accessible chunks of text, this book will be a popular choice in primary classrooms for both topic work and reading for pleasure.
Publisher: Flying Eye Books
Publication date: 1st October 2018
7. One Day, So Many Ways
Laura Hall (Author) & Loris Lora (Illustrator)
Every moment of every day there are children all around the world sharing common experiences in a diversity of ways. From waking up and travelling to school to enjoying snack time and play time, there are hundreds of different ways to go about the same routines. One Day, So Many Ways is a celebration of both similarities and differences shared by children around the world.
The book features the lives of over 40 children from different countries and cultures from all over the globe. Each page showcases a new activity, showing the various ways that children in different places might approach morning routines, eating meals, learning at school, playing and travelling around.
With clear and colourful illustrations and easy-to-read text, this is a wonderful non-fiction text to make available for KS1. Readers will be surprised by the amazing diversity displayed by children around the world completing familiar tasks that are part of their own daily routines. The book feels like a whistle-stop tour of children's lives around the world and is packed with new vocabulary and interesting information. There is also a helpful 'learn more' section that includes facts about different countries, including how to say 'hello' in each language featured.
Publisher: Lincoln Children's Books
Publication date: 6th September 2018
Thank you to the publishers at Little Tiger Press, Quarto Kids, Laurence King, Lantana and Scholastic for kindly sending me review copies.
Check out our top 7 fiction texts for the Autumn term, too!