Journeys and Expeditions: Two new illustrated non-fiction books

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

1. Amazing Expeditions – Journeys that Changed the World

Anita Ganeri & Michael Mullan

Available here

Amazing Expeditions: Journeys that Changed the World takes you on a tour through time across the world, celebrating the challenges and achievements of explorers and adventurers. From Xuanzang to Ellen MacArthur and from the North Pole to the Moon, this book covers a wide variety of explorers and their destinations.

Each double-page spread introduces the reader to a new explorer and their incredible journey. It covers the most famous explorers as well as some older ones children are perhaps less familiar with. Although the design varies with each new expedition, the layout remains the same: a brief introduction to the explorer; a map showing their journey and a numbered, step-by-step guide to their voyage. All the information is in short paragraphs, making it easy to digest so suitable for reluctant readers and fun to just dip-into.

Written by Anita Ganeri (author of the ‘Horrible Geography’ series), its tone instantly engages the reader and would certainly stretch their vocabulary. It touches upon the historical significance of these journeys and the legacy of some of the explorers, tackling the bad as well as the good points.

This book is a great model of non-fiction writing and could easily be used in geography and history topics. The undercurrent theme of perseverance would make it suitable for PSHE as well. The engaging stories and appealing illustrations capture the reader’s interest straight away and leave them wanting to find out more. I have been bombarded by both questions and ‘Did you know?’ facts since sharing this with my class and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to focus some learning using this text!

Reviewed by: Gabrielle McConalogue (@sequinelephant), Class Teacher Publisher: Ivy Kids

Publication date: March 2019

You can order Amazing Expeditions – Journeys that Changed the World online or from your local bookshop or library.

2. The Everyday Journeys of Ordinary things

Libby Deutsch & Valpuri Kerttula

Available here

With shows on television giving us insight into the manufacture and process of everyday commodities, it is only fitting that a book has now been written, aimed at children, but which is also very interesting for the adults to read.

Children may be initially attracted by the title’s subheading ‘From phones to food and from post to poo,’ but the inviting illustrations and short informative paragraphs instantly draw them in. Each ‘journey’ is introduced to the children in a way that will relate to their everyday lives, referring to their mum buying food online, or their friend sending them a birthday card, or even their gran taking them to a pop concert.

Readers take a journey over a double spread of information, guided by arrows and diagrams, and accompanied by concise description. The author perfectly pitches the level of language for children in Key Stage 2 - a year 5 child said it was easy for him to understand – but not to the detriment of its main purpose; to inform. The author does not shy away from using the correct vocabulary for technical aspects of the processes described and each page is scattered with fact boxes that will appeal to the young scientist or mathematician (there is further scope for addressing the environmental impact should you wish)

Illustrator Kerttula fittingly presents each ‘journey’ within its own theme of colour and design with attractive hand drawn images that form the focus for each page. Referring to the paragraphs helps makes sense of the diagrams and the most reluctant of readers was fully ensconced in the reading corner with this book.

Children can instantly share this book with a friend or an adult and it is inevitable that discussions take place as you read. Just as the introduction asks us to think of how fifteen of our everyday actions cause a reaction of extraordinary events, the ending asks us to take notice of all of the things around us that we take for granted, and to imagine what is involved.

Reviewed by: Anna Sterling (@ASterling98), Class Teacher Publisher: Ivy Kids

Publication date: February 2019

You can order The Everyday Journeys of Ordinary Things online or from your local bookshop or library.


Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copies of these books and to our panel members for reviewing them.


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