Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

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This beautiful book explains Charles Darwin’s famous work, ‘On the Origin of Species’ in a clear, child-friendly manner. Setting the scene with ‘a few clever and curious scientists…who challenged’ the idea that everything in the world had always been the same, the book then focuses on Darwin and his work.

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Each of Darwin’s ideas is illustrated and explained, with quotes from Darwin throughout. Each point is broken down into clear, easily managed sections, enabling the reader to comprehend some quite challenging ideas. Darwin’s voice can be heard as quotes from his work are included, injecting the book with a sense of his enthusiasm, wonder and excitement. The main points of his thinking are summarised in a conclusion at the end with a final note reminding us that the process of evolution continues.

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An excellent appendix offers yet more information on this fascinating subject, up-dating some ideas in light of current research. The section on misconceptions is particularly valuable and a clear glossary explains some of the main terms. There are even some suggestions for further reading.

Y6 Science Programme of Study Evolution and inheritance stares that children should be taught to:

  • recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago

  • recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents

  • identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution

This lovely book supports a class teacher in fulfilling these aims and makes an excellent addition to the library, allowing children to further explore and investigate Darwin’s ideas, challenging them to observe and notice the world around them. Combining scientific ideas with beautiful artwork, ‘Darwin's On the Origin of Species’ is a real must have!

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species Retold and illustrated by Sabina Radeva

Penguin ISBN: 978-0141388502

Kind- A Book About Kindness

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Imagine a world where everyone is kind. How can we make that come true?

This is a book which from start to finish celebrates kindness. Full of positive and inspiring ideas, it reminds us all that we can all make a difference by being kind. It is not only beautiful, but much needed reminder in the current climate.

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An amazing group of illustrators have come together and generously donated their artwork for the book. Thirty-eight different illustrative styles accompany the wonderfully positive messages. Bright and colourful, each is a real joy to share and explore and the range of artistic styles is fascinating.

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Any of the spreads could be used as a ‘thought for the day’ or as the theme for an assembly or class discussion. There are simple suggestions for small acts of kindness which could make a huge difference and plenty to discuss and enjoy. Children could add their own ideas and illustrate them too, creating their own book of kindness alongside this one. It would also be fun for children to illustrate some of the ideas from the book before seeing how an illustrator had imagined it and then comparing the two.

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The book finishes with information about Three Peas, a charity which helps people who have had to flee their homes. A donation from the sale of each book goes to the charity and the book explains some of the work they do. There is a foreword by Axel Scheffler who has been a patron of the charity for over two years.

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We all need a little kindness in our lives -and to pass that kindness on to others. This is such a beautiful book with so much to offer- everyone needs a copy in their life!

Kind A Book About Kindness with a foreword by Axel Scheffler

illustrated by 38 kind illustrators

Alison Green Books ISBN: 978-1407194561

We Won an Island

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Things have not been easy for Luna and her family recently. Since Granny died, Dad has stopped going to work and the landlord is throwing them out of their flat so when her brother, Fabien, spots a newspaper article about a millionaire giving away an island off the coast of Scotland, Luna knows this is the answer to their problems. However, when they win the island, things don’t go quite according to plan…

This is a wonderful, feel good story about family, friendship and community. Luna and her siblings are a delightful bunch, willing to work together, but each quirky and individual. Luna is wonderfully optimistic, determined to make things work and end up with her donkey sanctuary. Fascinated by planes and flying, Margot, her older sister, is more practical whilst Fabien is obsessed with sheep, goats and knitting. Together, they make quite a team!

The children tackle every issue the island throws at them with good grace and enthusiasm, adding plenty of humour throughout the book. There is a real ‘feel good’ factor to the story as the community pulls together and everything turns out well in the end.

Reminiscent of ‘My Family and Other Animals’, ‘We Won an Island’ is a joyful, uplifting story, perfect for a class read or to enjoy independently!

We Won an Island Charlotte Lo

Nosy Crow ISBN: 978-1788000443

Published 2nd May 2019