Following on from my stories Giftgiving edition, here is my non-fiction recommendations based on books we’ve enjoyed this year.
For Nature Loving children:
Guardians of the Planet – Clive Gifford & Jonathan Woodward (Buster Books
With ever more attention on the need for climate change this brilliant book explores the grassroots changes to make a positive impact in your home life, local community and wider ripples.
With a feel of a cross between encouragement, science and a kid-friendly self sufficiency book it doesn’t sugarcoat the emergency but does have a focus on things to make change even on a small level in the hope to create cultural change.
The Wonders of Nature– Ben Hoare, illustrated by Angela Rizza & Daniel Long (DK)
If you want the wow factor in your gifting you cannot do any better than this. In soft mulberry hardback with swirling golden botanical drawings and gorgeous endpapers, this is a beautiful book.
The inside is just as special and awesome, it feels like a magical grown up book yet is a wonderful accessible introduction to the amazing things that nature has created.
The fantastic variety of life and marvels on this earth discussed include rocks and minerals, microscopic life, plants and animals with each page dedicated to facts, illustrations and often a fascinating close up photograph of detail.
A World Of Plants James Brown and Martin Jenkins (Walker Studio)
Guaranteed to thrill any budding botanist or science fan this oversize book is immensely brilliant with its retro stylings, nature inspired patterns not out of place on 1970s dishes and scientific diagrams this is a fantastic resource on everything plant based from Photosynthesis and the Carbon Cycle to Fertilisation and Hormones, the methods of dispersal, trees, climbers, the role of Mycorrhizal fungi, the Macabre world of carnivorous and parasitic plants and adaptation to habitats and I could go on.
It’s just immensely brilliant, beautiful and intensely fascinating reading!
Nature: A walk through Nature– Clover Robin & Libby Walden (Caterpillar Books)
This book is partly a celebration of Clover Robin’s gorgeous collage style of illustration with its boldness and textural feel alongside Libby Walden’s verse employing a range of natural vocabulary to educate and inspire.
The gatefolds to each themed page show change and continuity in the natural setting from the ebb and flow of the tide to the explosion of colour as a meadow comes into flower and the poetry explores the words disappearing from children’s vocabularies as we lose our connection with the natural world.
For children who love facts and History
So you think you’ve got it bad? series Chae Strathie and Marisa Morea (Nosy Crow)
We’ve been lucky enough to try the Greek, Roman and Egyptian books over this year and speaking as an Ancient History graduate and a former History Teacher they are absolutely brilliant, packed full of facts and social history in a relatable way that is accessible and easy to grasp as well as a lot of fun to read.
These are continually picked up by my 6 year old!
100 Words: Ancient World Clive Gifford & Gosia Herba (Quarto)
This is a fantastic addition to our history selection with its visual exploration of key words across the Ancient Civilisations of Egypt, Greece and Rome.
Each word has a page with a well pitched explanation of the meaning, context and facts about the term and a picture that helps to capture the meaning too.
This is a great book to bring deeper context and embellish the study of the Ancient World. Definitely a favourite of mine!
Mythologica– Steve Kershaw & Victoria Topping (Wide Eyed Editions)
This is one of my biggest gift recommendations for children and adults interested in folk tales and especially the mythology and deities of Ancient Greece.
This is a visually stunning book with abstract interpretations of the gods, mortals and monsters of Ancient Greece, and facts and summaries of myths and stories about each personality as a way of building up a picture of their associations, history and interpretations rather than simple retelling of a story they appear in which is just wonderful.
This is a real impact gift, and I hope they’ve got other mythologies planned because yes please!
The Big Book of the UK- Imogen Russell Williams & Louise Lockhart (Ladybird)
Littlefae loves this book especially the page with silly place names her favourite silly place name is Scratchy Bottom!
Filled with facts, places, myths and cheese this oversize and high impact book cannot fail to inspire young children to discover more about the rich tapestry of culture in the UK.
To inspire Children with amazing true stories
How to be Extraordinary– Rashmi Sirdeshpande & Annabel Tempest (Puffin Books)
There’s been a lot of ‘inspirational people’ books in recent years, for rebel girls, girls in STEM, boys who dare to be different and more but Sirdeshpande and Tempest has taken this first to picture book territory and then outside the usual parameters and chosen people regardless of gender, age, heritage, and the concept of ‘fame’ creating a very diverse range of heroes with a few recognisable characters but equally many lesser known.
This is a lovely powerful but bright and light accessible collection that is inspiring for younger early readers too.
Heroes by Jonny Marx and Gerhard Van Wyk (360 Degrees)
This is a really clever and visually stunning book ideal for children aged about 8-12 that challenges the cult of celebrity by widening children’s concepts of careers alongside mini biographies of people who made great achievements in those fields showing that you don’t have to be a world leader to make change or celebrity to be remembered. The bold Art Deco inspired artwork gives this an added wow factor.
Wild Lives: 50 Extraordinary Animals that made History Ben Lerwill & Sarah Walsh (Nosy Crow)
Whilst this can also apply to nature loving children and is certainly supporting the Environmentalism trend it would make a fantastic gift and is far more than just nature loving stories.
Wild Lives is wonderful, and at times heartbreaking and other times enraging mix of conservation, history and politics with stories of actions by, on behalf of or regarding animals whether heroic or loyal creatures, those that have defied expectations or have been involved in strides in human fields with a focus on respect for these amazing creatures.
For budding feminists (of any or no gender)
The Fantastically Feminist (and totally true) story of the INSPIRATIONAL ACTIVIST AND CAMPAIGNER Michelle Obama by Anna Doherty. (Wren & Rook)
This is such a great gift to encourage a love of reading biographies with its accessibility ranging across ages from the youngest through pictures, early readers through a timeline and mind map of Michelle’s interests to older readers with a more detailed written discussion of impact and legacy.
A fascinating and highly educational (but not in that obvious way!) that will appeal to those who want to inspire another generation of feminists and indeed fiercely brilliant women.
Wonder Women: True Stories Of Iconic Women to Inspire a New Generation – Kay Woodward (Carlton Books)
This is another oversize book that has real impact as a gift. It would make a lovely coffee table book where it may inspire both adults and children, and is also an Instagram worthy nursery/bedroom ‘picture ledge’ book with its juxtaposition of calm colour and rainbow bright typography.
But it’s the inside that is impressive with its bitesize and child-accessible biographies of inspiring females and relevant attributed quotes.
What would you add to my list?
Many thanks to Nosy Crow, Little Tiger Press, Walker Books, Quarto Kids, Wren & Rook, Buster Books, Carlton Books for the gifted books throughout the year. 💜💜💜