27th November 2017: My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things
This is a beautiful book. Each double page spread is about a different topic and is very accessible to younger students and those learning to read in English. It is organised into colour coded sections and is full of fun facts and colourful illustrations.
I learned that the oceans are separated into four zones – the Sunlit zone, the Twilight zone, the Midnight zone and the Hadal zone which is the deepest part of the ocean that even scientists don’t know much about. I loved the section on places and continents which show maps, photos and facts about each place. There is a lovely page called Speedy Species which shows lots of different animals on a running track to show how fast each can move. You’ll have to read the book to find out which fish and bird are the fastest!
The section 'All About Me' tells you which part of your body uses the most energy, and how many hours a day you sleep at different ages. It also shows a comparison with some animals, for example, did you know that koalas sleep for 18 hours a day and giraffes sleep standing up? This is a wonderfully wide-ranging encyclopedia for younger children and was one of the shortlisted titles for the 2017 SLA Information Book Award for under 7’s.
20th November 2017: RSPB Wildlife in your Garden
This is one of the shortlisted titles for the School Library Association Information Book Award 2017 (7- 12 category). It is packed with beautiful photos and illustrations of wildlife and is visually very
appealing to both children and adults. It looks at different types of garden or areas of gardens - lawns, flowerbeds, fruit and vegetable plots, trees, ponds, compost heaps, etc. and all the different
types of wildlife that can be found there.
Aswell as teaching you how to recognise the wildlife that lives in your garden, the book has lots of great tips to encouragemore wildlife into the space. Some top tips includemaking a log pile and
creating a compost bin or compost area in a small corner of your garden. Did you know that some of the best ways to attract wildlife include weeds called fat hen, honesty and garlic mustard?Or that
one of the best plants to put in a flowerbed is called lungwort?Hornwort and bogbean sound like ingredients from Harry Potters Potions lessons but are actually pond plants!
A great tip to encouragemore birds into your garden is to spread out your bird feeders, as some birds are quite timid around other birds and this gives them a better chance of feeding. I would love to
hear about some of the wildlife that you have found in your garden!
13th November 2017: Home Lab- Exciting Experiments for Budding Scientists
Do you want to learn how to write a hidden message with invisible ink? What about making sugar crystal lollipops? How on earth do you make a battery out of a lemon?
This book tells you how to do these things and many more. Creating your own stalactites in a pretend cave, making an erupting volcano, a jungle in a bottle or a soap powered boat are actually very straight forward and use materials that you will probably find in your own home. The really nice thing about this book is the level of instruction and step-by-step guide with loads of pictures and a 'what you need' list to make sure you have everything you need to conduct your experiment.
This makes it much easier to replicate the experiments at home. Each instruction page also includes a 'how it works' section which explains the science behind it. At the back of the book is a useful glossary to find out what some of the scientific wordsmean. I'd love to hear if you've tried any of the experiments at home and what happened!
6th November 2017: Computer Coding for Kids
This book introduces all the concepts that are involved in coding in a really accessible way. Every smart phone, tablet, laptop and desktop follow instructions known as code to complete any task. It is predicted that in future, the number of jobs that will require coding will keep growing at an increasing rate and so it is a really important skill for all children to learn.
The early chapters look at how to think like a computer and what computer programs are and quickly progresses to starting to write your own code. All you need is a computer with an internet connection. There are two main coding languages covered – Scratch and Python. Scratch is a visual language good for beginners and Python is a text-based language. Both are explained really clearly on colourful pages with lots of screenshots and explanations and made me want to start trying it out for myself!
The final sections of the book look at the insides of computers and explain how they work, and programming in the real world.
I would recommend this to any children or adults who want to try out coding for themselves and there are 2 accompanying books – Computer Coding Games for Kids and Computer Coding Projects for Kids. All three titles are available in the library.