Award Information Books

And the 2019 short list is...

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We are delighted to announce this year’s short list! A million thanks to Mungo and Lady for modelling for us and to Torie for encouraging them! We hope to see everyone at the awards ceremony on Saturday 9th November!

So here, in all their glory, are our fabulous short list photos!

Picture Book Category:

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Poetry Category:

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Information Category:

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Read Aloud Category:

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Quality Fiction Category:

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Moving On Category:

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A wonderful selection! It’s time to start reading…

NSTBA INFORMATION CATEGORY LONG LIST 2019 part 2

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Perfect for supporting work from the Year 5 programme of study on ‘Earth and Space’, ‘Voyage through Space’ takes the reader on an adventure with a little girl and her dog as they explore the solar system. Starting at the sun, they visit each planet in turn. With additional fact boxes across each spread, the text is full of interesting details, presented in achievable sections and written in a chatty style. The journey ends at the Kuiper Belt (including Pluto) which is past the edges of our solar system.

The illustrations are stunning, full of colour and interest, forming an appealing backdrop to the information. The style and presentation of this book will appeal to many children, particularly those who find navigating large sections of text difficult. The ‘glow in the dark’ poster is an attractive addition.

Voyage Through Space Katy Flint, illustrated by Cornelia Li

Wide Eyed ISBN: 978-1786030825

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Explaining Darwin’s theory in an accessible way, this re-telling by Sabina Radeva is perfect for using to support the work in the Year 6 programme of study on evolution and inheritance. Beautifully illustrated, it explains the basic concepts of Darwin’s work in easily digestible sections, putting it into the context of the time in which he lived. The book starts with scientists before Darwin and looks at his family life before moving on to his ideas. The text includes quotes from Darwin himself, reminding the reader that Darwin actually wrote the ideas the book is based on and there is a fascinating ‘misconceptions’ section at the end. An appendix offers additional information and a glossary explains some of the terms used.

Beautiful and informative, Sabina Radeva’s re-telling makes Darwin’s work accessible to children, encouraging them to wonder at the world around them.

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

Puffin ISBN: 978-0141388502

You can read another review of this book here.

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‘Natural Wonders of the World’ is a beautiful book, exploring 30 of the wonders of our planet, some well known, others less so. A map of the world shows the location of each wonder, linked to the contents so the information can be easily located and there is a comprehensive index at the end. Stunning photographs and illustrations are on every page, celebrating places, animals and birds, plants and natural phenomena with detailed, interesting text exploring the history, legends, people and science behind them.

Each is fascinating, but in the introduction, the reader is also reminded that there are wonders all around us which we should enjoy and comments on how ‘fragile and precious out planet really is.’ The book could be used as a starting point for further researched linked to various areas of science or geography, but could also be the inspiration for a class book about local ‘wonders’, encouraging children to investigate, write about and photograph their locality.

Natural Wonders of the World Molly Oldfield, illustrated by Frederica Bordoni

(photograph credits given at the end of the book)

Wren and Rook ISBN: 978-1526360663

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This striking book looks at the development of transport through the ages. Divided into categories such as trains, ships, cars, etc,. each section starts with a double page spread which gives a timeline of the evolution of that mode of transport, showing key dates. Additional information is then given on the following pages about how they developed and the people behind them.

The wide range of transport included means that there is something for everyone here. The illustrations of the timelines are full of detail and humour, presented in black and white with coloured borders which correspond with the colour of the pages of information. As well as being full of facts, this could inspire children to present their own research in this way.

Amazing Transport: Journey through the History of Transport

Tom Jackson, illustrated by Chris Mould

Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1408889770

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A wonderful collection of amazing stories, ‘Great Adventurers’ focus on the expeditions of twenty explorers from throughout history. Each was an inspiration to the author who has ‘chased a life of adventure’ himself and in turn hopes to inspire his readers to do the same.

The book is a fascinating read, including a wide range of people from across the world. Alastair Humphreys explains why each figure has inspired him whilst giving an account of their adventures. Each is told over four pages, including maps. kit, diary entries and recipes and is brilliantly illustrated throughout, including comic strip sections. A brilliant addition to any library!

Alastair Humphreys’ Great Adventurers, illustrated by Kevin Ward

Big Picture Press ISBN: 978-1783708413

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Very topical at the moment, 'A Planet Full of Plastic’ is an extremely readable, engaging book which both explains the development of plastic and why it has become such a problem. Terms such as ‘biodegrade’ and ‘microplastic’ are clearly explained and the book does not shy away from the severity of the issue. However, it is not all doom and gloom. The book also looks at ways of helping the situation, starting with reduce, reuse, recycle and then looking at the ideas scientists and engineers are coming up with to tackle the problem before offering ideas and information about how the reader can help.

The cartoon/ collage style of illustration, using photographs as backgrounds, is extremely effective and the chatty style of the text makes a direct appeal to the reader, personified by the cartoon child, from the narrator whose identity is discovered at the end of the book. Giving examples of young people who have made such a difference is very inspirational and offers the challenge of thinking of a ‘big idea to help save the planet’. An important book for both home and school, ‘A Planet Full of Plastic’ offers an excellent starting point for making changes to our behaviour, making us all take responsibility for this man made problem. Excellent!

A Planet Full of Plastic and How You Can Help Neal Layton

Wren and Rook ISBN: 978-1526361738

NSTBA INFORMATION CATEGORY LONGLIST 2019 part 1

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This fabulous book is all about the goddess, Athena and the role she played in some of the Greek myths. Opening with a ‘who’s who’ , the book then starts with the story of Athena’s ‘birth’ and ends with Odysseus’s return to his homeland, linking the myths surrounding her into one narrative. Stories like Perseus and Medusa are re-told from Athena’s perspective, focusing on her role and her relationship with the other gods and goddesses of Olympus.

Told in graphic novel style, the book is instantly appealing and easily manageable. The illustrations are full of the emotions and action of the myths, really bringing them to life and this book would be perfect to use when teaching the Greeks at KS2. It offers so many opportunities for writing, art work and using historical sources as well as introducing children to this amazing goddess and would sit well alongside texts such as ‘Odysseus’. Although not strictly speaking an ‘information’ text, we felt it sat best in this category in terms of how it might be used.

Athena: The Story of a Goddess Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1408892497

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This lovely book tells the story of Anna Atkins and her work in botany and photography. Although the story starts with Anna’s childhood, the author makes it clear in her note that little is actually known about this period, but emphasises the fact that he greatly encouraged her education in spite of views to the contrary at the time.

Beautifully illustrated almost entirely in shades of blue, the book brings to life the work Anna did in creating ‘cyanotypes’ of plants, offering a valuable biography of this remarkable woman which would be perfect for using as part of the Y6 science work on classification. The book offers many opportunities for encouraging working scientifically and for inspiring children to make their own cyanotypes, either using pre-treated paper or (for the brave!) following Fiona Robinson’s instructions at the end of the book. Class collections could be made recording the plants in the school grounds or locality. The story also allows for reflection on the significant contributions of women, often neglected or discounted.

The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs

Fiona Robinson

Abrams ISBN: 978-1419725517

You can read another review of ‘The Bluest of Blues’ here.

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Perfect for the curious, this book offers exactly what it says on the cover! Completely fascinating, it takes a theme and packs the timeline on that subject full of fascinating facts and tantalising details. Starting with Prehistory (before 3000 BCE) and making its way through time to the modern world (after 1914), there are timelines on a staggering range of subjects.

Each section is beautifully presented, using a mixture of illustrations and photographs and each timeline is presented in an original way, reflecting the subject matter. ‘The Scientific Revolution’, for example, journeys along a telescope whilst that of the Roman Empire is on a mosaic. Each has a brief introduction and there are many additional snippets of information or quotes throughout the book. As well as being fascinating for dipping in and out of, many of the timelines offer a fantastic introduction to periods of history studied; the ‘early Islamic Empires’, depicted as part of an Islamic pattern or ‘British rulers’ to help set periods into context (I’ll even forgive them for saying Richard III ‘may have had a role in the death of his two nephews’.). There are too many timelines to comment on, but ‘The Story of Spying’ is well worth a look as are ‘China’s Golden Age’, ‘Medicine’ , ‘Technology of writing’… So many to choose from!

Timelines of Everything

DK ISBN: 978- 0241302323

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‘The Clue is in the Poo and Other Stuff Too’ is an amazing treasure trove of facts about nature! It is a fabulous blend of information, things to do and delightful illustrations, all perfect for engaging even the most reluctant reader.

The book starts with information about being a ‘nature detective’, with rules of tracking and the tools needed explained. There is a lot about poo as might be expected from the title- how to use it to identify which creatures have been around, for example- as well as plenty of ‘toilet trivia’.

However, the book is about ‘other stuff too’ and the reader is shown different animal and bird tracks and given advice for what to look for when spotting possible animal homes. Throughout the book, there are quizzes to keep the reader on their toes and test their new found knowledge. Presented with the light, humorous touch which Andy is so well-loved for, ‘The Clue is in the Poo and Other Stuff Too’ is both fascinating and informative- the perfect accompaniment for getting a class outside and seeking out the creatures which inhabit their local environment.

The Clue is in the Poo and Other Stuff Too Andy Seed, Illustrated by Claire Almon

QED ISBN: 978-1784935733

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Earth- Planet Awesome- introduces the reader to the first 4.54 billion years of her story. Full of incredible illustrations, the book is also packed full of facts, all presented in a very original and appealing style. Earth is full of personality as she chats to the reader about everything from her beginnings to her family to the creation of life. She finishes by making the point that humans do not always behave themselves and treat her well, but the final note is one of optimism for the future.

The book successfully combines plenty of information and humour and could be used with children of any age. Older children might be inspired to create their own book in this style focusing on another member of Earth’s ‘big’ family, including Pluto, the ‘family pet’! With such inspiring illustrations to model their work on, they could have great fun developing their own style. The book ends with a section of ‘more fun facts’. It is a real joy, making science fun and friendly!

Planet Awesome! Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by David Litchfield

Faber and Faber ISBN: 978- 0571345441

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Starting with general information about flag design types and the development of flags through history, ‘Raise the Flag’ then looks at flags from around the world. It also looks at how flags are used, notable people and the historical events behind many of them. Pirates also get a mention with the ‘Jolly Roger’ and other flags flown by famous pirates.

The book makes links between the flags of different nations and how some have been redesigned to reflect political changes. Containing over 200 flags, it also offers many additional facts about the countries they come from. The book concludes with a ‘flag quiz’ to test your new found flag knowledge. It is an amazing book for dipping in and out of, but is also offers a cornucopia of flaggish facts, historical detail and geographical knowledge that really has something for everyone from those interested in vexillology to someone whose interest lies in one flag in particular.

Raise the Flag Clive Gifford, illustrated by Tim Bradford

QED ISBN: 978- 1784932152

Fantastic choices so far- there are more to come tomorrow in the final six books long listed for this category!