Category: Library

Books to celebrate Neurodiversity Week

The 21st – 27th March 2022 is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. Neurodiversity describes learning differences such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia and Tourette’s syndrome. it gives us all the opportunity to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual. This week’s books have all been written by neurodiverse authors, and have neurodiverse main characters.

You Are Enough is an inclusive and empowering picture book from Sofia Sanchez, a twelve-year-old model and actress with Down syndrome, reminds readers how important it is to embrace what makes you unique, be confident, and be proud of who you are. Imagine all of the wonderful things you can do if you don’t let anyone stop you! You are enough just how you are. Sofia is unique, but her message is universal: We all belong. Each spread features beautiful, full-colour illustrations, and includes a full cast of  characters with all kinds of backgrounds, experiences, and abilities. This book also includes a brief bio of Sofia and her journey so far, as well as additional information about Down syndrome and how we can all be more accepting, more inclusive, and more kind.

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Alice Tonks by Emily Kenny isn’t in the shops until May, but I do have a copy already. Alice Tonks is eager to make friends at boarding school, but she’s always found it hard to fit in. Then she discovers she is a switcher and can talk to animals. As she starts to explore her newfound abilities, to her horror she learns that creatures are going missing. Only Alice holds the key to solving the mystery, but she’ll need to harness her full powers first. And to do that she’ll need a bit of help from her new friends – animal and human alike. With plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing, this is a fantastically fun mystery that grips from beginning to end. And, as with any literary boarding school worth it’s salt, this one too has food that will have you craving sweet treats as you read. Stock up on cake and hot chocolate before you dive in.

Like A Charm by Elle McNicoll is one of my favourite reads so far this year. Edinburgh is a city filled with magical creatures. No one can see them… except Ramya Knox. As she is pulled into her family’s world of secrets and spells, Ramya sets out to discover the truth about the Hidden Folk with only three words of warning from her grandfather: Beware the Sirens. Plunged into an adventure that will change everything, Ramya is about to learn that there is more to her powers than she ever imagined. Utterly spellbinding, transportative writing that carries you along on a tide of emotions from beginning to the jaw dropping ending that makes it feel like a very long wait to see what comes next in this fantastically magical series!

Just Like Me by Louise Gooding is an anthology of 40 inspirational figures who are neurologically or physically diverse. The world is full of people who are a little different. Our uniqueness makes us who we are. We are all ‘different; not less’. This is a collection of the true stories of 40 inspirational figures from around the world, all of whom are physically or neurologically diverse. Each story includes struggles and triumphs, a motivational quote and information on each condition. Reflective of our diverse society, this book features Simone Biles, Selena Gomez, Temple Grandin, Warwick Davies, Daniel Radcliffe, Stephen Hawking, Greta Thunberg and many more.



And, with it being Mothering Sunday this weekend, I can’t not share My Mum Is A Lioness by Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Dapo Adeola, a huge hug of a book filled with humour and heart. The bright, bold illustrations are packed with wry observational details and add laugh out loud moments to the engaging and imaginative story of a mother-son relationship, which also teaches about lion behaviour with it’s vivid vocabulary. In this family, this particular young boy is utterly convinced his mum is a lioness. She has sharp claws, is faster than anything he’s ever seen, and can catch him in a single pounce. When she not with the rest of her pride, mum is constantly showing him off and making sure you can hear her incredibly loud roar. What else could Mum be? But sometimes, especially when this boy is upset or worried a lovely warm protective lioness embrace is just what is needed.

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The Second Eviction

This week, we lose another fabulous book from each category.

What’s The Story? say goodbye to What Happened To You? by James Catchpole, illustrated by Karen George, an inspiring and thought provoking book about disability, addressing how a disabled child might want to be spoken to. What happened to you? Was it a shark? A burglar? A lion? Did it fall off?  Every time Joe goes out the questions are the same . . . what happened to his leg? But is this even a question Joe has to answer? A ground-breaking, funny story that helps children understand what it might feel like to be seen as different.

If you loved this book, try Amazing by Steve Antony, a celebration of friendship and being yourself with a positive message about celebrating diversity. The perfect platform to start conversations about the importance of understanding and acceptance.. A little boy and his pet dragon are the very best of friends. They laugh, they sing, they dance, they snooze. They are both amazing – just like everyone else!

Telling Tales lose Genie and Teeny by Steve Lenton this week which is the first in a series of magical adventures. When Grant the Genie is cast out of Genie World, he lands on Earth with a big, fat bump! Without a lamp to call home, he has to settle for an old cracked teapot instead. Grant is very lonely until he meets the puppy, Teeny. Then Genie and Teeny are kidnapped by the evil purple-loving Lavinia Lavender, and find themselves on-course for a rollercoaster of an adventure – when all they really want is a place to call home…

If you loved this book, there are two more fabulous books staring Genie and Teeny to continue the adventures. Or you could try Buck N Bronco Hit The Road by Guy Bass, illustrated by Steve May, which is laugh out loud funny, and packed with jokes and puns. Buck ’n’ Bronco are mascots at the Happy Ranch theme park. It’s their mission to Bring the Happy™ to your day! But when Happy Ranch is demolished to make way for a futuristic new park, Buck ’n’ Bronco find themselves without a home and without a job. They head out on the road, determined to prove they’ve still got what it takes. Can Buck ’n’ Bronco Bring the Happy™ out in the real world, or are they doomed to be yesterday’s mascots?

Hooked On Books say goodbye to The Small Things by Lisa Thompson, Inspired by a true story, a ground-breaking robot helps friendship blossom in this poignant and uplifting short story with a powerful punch. Anna’s anxious when she’s picked to befriend the new girl in her class. For a start, Ellie is ill and can’t come to school herself. So Anna has to communicate with her through a new kind of robot. But Anna is also worried that her life’s too small and boring to be of interest to her new friend. Compared to the other girls, she doesn’t have anything exciting to talk about and so when Ellie asks her a question, a little white lie pops out. Then another and another. When Ellie finds out the truth, can their friendship survive?

If you loved The Small Things, try TrooFriend by Kirsty Applebaum. Imagine having the perfect friend, one who never steals, lies or bullies. Now you can, with the TrooFriend 560, the latest in artificial intelligence! What can go wrong with a robot buddy? Especially one that’s developing human characteristics and feelings, and who has just run away with her human? Intelligent and insightful, TrooFriend is an enthralling tale of family, friendship and what it means to be human, with a sinister undercurrent that sweeps you along.  In a world where humanity is dependent on technology, to the extent of providing a safe replacement to human friends for children, we see the desperate need for human connection, be it from family or friends. With themes of friendship, loneliness, morality, ethics around A.I., and what it means to be human, there are so many different discussions and debates that can arise.

Make sure you keep voting here to keep your favourite in!

Coventry Inspiration Book Awards: The First Evictions

It’s time to say goodbye to the first books in this year’s competition. Make sure you keep voting so that your favourite book doesn’t get voted out!

What’s The Story? said goodbye to I Don’t Like Books. Never Ever. The End by Emma Perry and Sharon Davey. Mabel hates books. She gets given loads of them but has no interest in reading them whatsoever. Instead of reading them, she uses them for all sorts of things, from juggling to sledging, but she never looks at the stories inside. One night, the books have had enough and piled up in her bedroom they come alive. The stories jump out of their covers and off the pages so that they can show Mabel their story worlds. She is intrigued by a detective adventure, excited by the chance to board a spaceship and take a trip to the moon, delighted by the thought of accompanying a knight on his quest to seek castles and to duel with dragons. However, there is no way she can find out what happens next in these stories unless she begins to read the books!

If you enjoyed Mabel’s story, try You Choose: Fairy Tales by Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Nick Sharratt. Make up your very own fairy tale adventure where YOU CHOOSE what happens next!
Which fairy tale hero would you like to be today? Where will you go on your fairy tale quest? And what fairy tale baddy would you least like to meet? The possibilities are infinite in this captivating creative toolkit which will inspire children from three up to make their own stories again and again.

Telling Tales lose Sohal Finds A Friend by Jion Sheibani. Sohal worries about a lot of things: the dark, mutant sheep, being alone – you name it, he worries about it! So one night he tries drawing his worries to make himself feel better – and somehow they look a lot less worrying once they’re scribbled down. But then imagine Sohal’s surprise when he wakes up the next morning to find a set of funny, furry friends at the end of his bed! His worries have come to life, and it’s not long before Hurt, Fail, Anger, Big and Alone have turned his world upside down. Now it’s up to Sohal to work out how to keep his worries under control – and have some serious fun while he’s at it!

If you enjoyed Sohal Finda A Friend, try Sam Wu Is Not Afraid Of Ghosts by Katie and Kevin Tsang. The first in a brilliantly funny series about the bravest scaredy-cat in the world. Sam Wu is NOT a scaredy-cat (except he is). When a trip to the Space Museum goes terrifyingly wrong, Sam begins a mission to prove to the school bully, and all of his friends, that he is a fearless space adventurer. A truly laugh-out-loud, voice-led and madcap story of ghost hunting, snakes and mischievous pet cats called Butterbutt

The first book out of Hooked On Books is The Last Gate Of The Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen. Often in trouble for his thrill-seeking antics and smart mouth, those same qualities make Yared a star player of the underground augmented reality game, The Hunt for Kaleb’s Obelisk. But when a change in the game rules prompts Yared to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos, Uncle Moti disappears. Suddenly, all the stories Yared’s uncle told him as a young boy are coming to life, of kingdoms in the sky and city-razing monsters. And somehow Yared is at the centre of them. Together with Besa and the Ibis – a game rival turned reluctant ally – Yared must search for his uncle… and answers to his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war.

If you enjoyed The Last Gate Of The Emperor, try Skywake: Invasion by Jamie Russell, an exciting and original debut sci-fi adventure trilogy for the gaming generation, from a screenwriter, film critic and gamer. Fifteen-year-old girl gamer Casey Henderson is obsessed with smash-hit game SkyWake – and she’s good at it, too. Little does she realize it’s actually an alien training tool created by an evil extra-terrestrial race. When the aliens swoop down on a national gaming tournament, Casey and her teammates discover they’re abducting the best gamers to fight in a distant alien war across the galaxy. And they’ve got her brother. Casey’s gaming skills are her best hope of stopping the aliens – but first she and her online teammates must learn to work together in real life…

If you don’t want your favourite book to be evicted next week, make sure you keep voting here!

It’s the Year of the Tiger!

With Chinese New Year on Tuesday, we have entered the Year of the Tiger. The children have produced some fabulous writing and artwork based on these fearsome creatures, some of which is on display at Cannon Park Shops – do make sure you go and have a look!

My books this week feature tigers, and other animals.

First, I have The Tyger Voyage by Richard Adams (Watership Down) and Nicola Bayley.  A gentleman tyger and his son set sail from Victorian England into the timeless unknown. Together they roam across the seas, through jungles, past ice-covered mountains and erupting volcanoes and many more unexpected hazards along the way.

Told in verse using language to capture the era the story is set in, which is also evoked in Nicola Bayley’s stunning illustrations, this is as captivating today as it was when it was first read to me as a child.

Next, I have Interview With A Tiger by Andy Seed, illustrated by Nick East. Get familiar with 10 fierce and furry beasts as they step up to the mic and share their habits, behaviour, likes and dislikes, favourite foods, and more. Each animal has its own story to tell… and its own attitude…

Having made a tranimalator, Andy Seed has scoured the planet to conduct some amazing interviews with ten spectacular, clawed creatures, including a tiger, wolf, and my personal favourite, a snow leopard.

Each interview is packed with fascinating facts about the animals and their habitats, with each creature’s personality shining through. It has to be said, their views on humans don’t show us in a particularly good light.

Nick East’s fabulous illustrations pair perfectly with Andy Seed’s trademark wit and warmth to create a perfect pleasure browser that can be dipped in and out of, but once I started, I found I wanted to meet all of the animals at once.

Finally, I have chosen Carnival Of The Animals by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman. Morpurgo’s poems are inspired by The Carnival of the Animals – a humorous musical by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Building on this classic framework, Michael has added many more animals – they speak in their own voices, full of humour and vivacity, to tell of their lives and the impact of humanity on their habitats.

With full colour illustrations throughout, this celebrated partnership has created a gift book with a strong ecological message that will also ignite a love of poetry in young readers and will appeal to fans of The Lost Words. Above all it is a celebration of the natural world in verse, a book to treasure and to inspire.




Library: A celebration of squirrels!

We are really lucky to have such beautiful school grounds that are home to lots of wildlife, including squirrels. As today is Squirrel Appreciation Day, I thought I’d share a couple of books starring these crepuscular creatures.

The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright and Jim Field is a brilliant reminder about the importance of teamwork, sharing and kindness that will have you giggling along as the greedy squirrels fight over the last nut of the season.

As the nut bounces crazily though the forest, the squirrels race after it, between the trees, over boulders, down the river and – ARGH! – right to the edge of a waterfall! Working together might be the only way to save themselves now…

Flora And Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell blends traditional storytelling, full page illustrations and graphic novel format seamlessly to produce a gripping story that is endearing, heartfelt and laugh out loud funny with a whole host of eccentric characters!

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw it coming – the vacuum cleaner, that is. As for self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, she has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You! so she is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight and misspelled poetry. And Flora will be changed too as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.


Library: Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2022

Over the last two weeks, children have been introduced to the shortlisted books for their age group, and we have loved hearing their thoughts about each title. Once again, each category has a wide range of genres for children to explore, enjoy and be inspired to read by. In Key Stage 2, each class will be choosing their favourites as class read alouds for story-time this term, while Reception and Key Stage 1 will have read all of the shortlisted picture books.

Now, it’s time to get voting for your favourites to keep them in the competition!

The first eviction will be on Monday 7 February and subsequently, one book will be knocked out each week in each category until we reach the final three books on Monday 7th March. You then have 10 days to vote for your winning books which will be announced on the website and on social media on Wednesday 16 March.


Library: Welcome Back!

I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday and have come back refreshed and ready to read. There has been lots on the news again over the last few weeks about Covid-19, and lots of conflicting information that can be confusing, so this week’s books link to facts about viruses and how we can keep ourselves and our friends and families as safe as possible.

Now Wash Your Hands by Matt Carr is the perfect picture book for explaining what germs are to younger children and how handwashing can banish them before they can bug you.

There’s a very special guest at the school for little animals, and her name is Doris – Doris the Doctorpus. She’s here to help the animals learn to wash their hands because of something very very small called GERMS!

Doris explains that washing your hands can send germs packing and she’s got her very own hand-washing song too.

The Bacteria Book by Steve Mould is a fun and informative introduction to a STEAM subject that brings kids up-close to the big world of tiny science.

Meet the bacteria, viruses, and other germs and microbes that are all around, but too small for us to see, in this children’s science book by bestselling author and science comedian Steve Mould.

What do a squid that glows, fungus that grows, and tiny creatures in the soil under your toes all have in common? Find out in this dynamic and engaging book all about bacteria, viruses, and other germs and microbes. The Bacteria Book perfectly walks the line between “ew, gross!” and “oh, cool!”, exploring why we need bacteria and introducing readers to its microbial mates: viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.

With remarkable photography, kooky character illustrations, and lots of fun facts, this book uses real-life examples of microbiology in action to show how microbes keep our bodies and our world running.

The Virus by Ben Martynoga is great for older children who want to know more about Covid, where it came from, and how we can beat it. Explore the science behind viruses and the COVID-19 pandemic in a fascinating story of hijacked human cells and our own internal emergency services.

It’s 15,000 times smaller than a flea and we can kill it with a bar of soap – so how did a tiny, fragile virus change the world? Join science expert Dr Ben Martynoga and illustrator extraordinaire Moose Allain on a fascinating, sometimes funny, and occasionally scary journey through the world of viruses.

Along the way, you’ll learn what viruses are, how they work, and how we can overcome – or at least learn to live alongside – those that do us harm.

Michael Rosen’s Sticky McStickstick is a joyous book packed with hope, endurance and resilience, and a heartfelt message of thanks to our wonderful NHS, and is a powerful and personal story from one of Britain’s best-loved authors about his recovery from coronavirus.

After being admitted to hospital in 2020 with coronavirus, Michael Rosen had to learn to walk again. With the support of doctors and nurses and a walking stick he names “Sticky McStickstick”, he manages to embark on the slow steps to recovery.

This moving picture book from the former Children’s Laureate, with illustrations from Tony Ross, is a testament to the importance of overcoming fear and learning to accept help.


Library: Books to help with grief

It’s National Grief Awareness Week and this is something that we will all face and have to come to terms with in life.  There are some beautiful books that can help us with strategies to work through our grief together as families. Who Will Love Me When You’re Gone? by Anna Friend, illustrated by Jake Biggin  is a moving yet reassuring journey through a child’s feelings of grief. With his mum very poorly, Jack is worried about what will happen when she’s gone… Will Mummy take her love as well?

“My love for you can never leave, 

It’s like the sun, the air you breathe…”

With mindfulness activities for families to do together to combat feelings of sadness, Who Will Love Me When You’re Gone is beautifully illustrated and simply written, and allows the reader to understand how a child might be feeling and gives a voice to those thoughts that are pinging around a child’s head making them feel wobbly and upset. It can be shared with younger children or read independently. It’s honesty and simple language is designed to start conversations and provide comfort. Written by clinical psychologist, executive coach and founder of childhood bereavement charity Winston’s Wish, Julie Stokes OBE, You Will Be Okay is a toolbox for children navigating grief. It is a kind and compassionate, straight talking look at the whole host of emotions we can go through when someone important in our life dies, whether it’s a family member, friend or someone else in our lives. With real-life examples, Julie takes us through different ways we might react, and what we can do to help get ourselves back on track, so that we can move on without that person, while holding them close. Each chapter guides us through different strategies we can employ to help us be kinder to ourselves while we come to terms with the loss we feel. I particularly liked the use of “grief muscles” that can help give us the strength to carry on without storing up grief, and the use of a simple sentence that allows us to explain what has happened in a way that feels right for us. The death of a parent, sibling or friend is one of the most traumatic experiences for a child and it can be hard to know how to talk to them about it. In this honest, comforting and strength-building guide, children will be able to look toward the future with hope. Miss Cleveland also has a number of picture books that can also be used to help discuss the death of a loved one including:
  • Badger’s Parting Gift by Susan Varley
  • Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan Brothers
  • The Sad Book by Michael Rosen. illustrated by Tony Ross
  • Maia And What Matters by Tine Mortier & Kaatje Vermeire
For older children, The Dream House by Laura Dockrill, illustrated by Gwen Millward is a short story that packs an emotional punch. Heart breaking and hopeful, The Dream House is a gentle exploration of bereavement, grief, growing up and the healing power of tea. We are drawn swiftly into the new world that Rex finds himself in, lost in grief and in need of time and space to come to terms with the death of his father. His godfather, Sparky, is a gentle soul who allows Rex to feel and do what comes naturally as he navigates the fear he faces as memories surface. Switching between prose, poetry, playscript style speech and a letter, Laura’s description immerses you in The Dream House. You can hear the branches rustle, smell the leaves rotting and feel the softness of the sofa and warmth of the mug of tea. Gwen’s sketches and illustrations adorn the pages of this special little book perfect for Year 6 and up.   If you would like to borrow any of these books to help support your whole family, please contact us through the Wellbeing email.

Library: From page to screen: books brought to life!

This week saw the opening of A Boy Called Christmas at the cinema, based on the utterly brilliant book of the same name by Matt Haig. Many children’s books have been adapted over the years, from Roald Dahl to Julia Donaldson, and of course, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, so get yourself some popcorn and plenty of hot chocolate ready for festive reads that all have TV or cinema adaptations you may know.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg is a fabulously festive tale of trust, faith and belief. The stunning illustrations bring the children’s adventure to life, and is one of my favourite Christmas films that started life as a picture book.

Late on Christmas Eve, after the town has gone to sleep, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.

Bah! Humbug by Michael Rosen, and illustrated by Tony Ross is a raucous retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens which has had numerous outings on screen.  Keeping true to the language and spirit of the original, this modern take shows just how relevant this story still is today in busy modern families.

In a school theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol”, the boy who plays Scrooge is extra nervous because his very busy father is in the audience. However, it’s likely his father won’t stay for the duration, due to business. As always. Will the classic story’s message of Christmas cheer and family love reach his father’s distracted heart?

The Lost Magician by Piers Torday hasn’t been adapted itself, but is an ode to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia which has, and it’s an absolute delight! To take a classic and reimagine it for modern readers is a fearsome task that Piers Torday has excelled in, creating a magical fantasy all of his own. Celebrating the power of reading, this is a story that sang to my soul, whisking me back under a blanket and reading by the light of the calor gas heater in my childhood home.

I was captivated from beginning to end, and revelled in the world of Folio. From the characters, who show the different ways war affects people, to the glorious settings within Folio and the abundance of characters from well loved books, there is much to capture the reader’s imagination and, with subtle messages about the power of imagination as a way to heal, much to think about too.

Having survived the Blitz, Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry are sent to Barfield Hall while their parents find them a new home in London. The mysterious Professor Kelly is working on a top secret project to end human conflict once and for all, which leaves the children plenty of time and freedom to explore. They soon discover another world on the brink of war. It’s up to the children to draw on their experiences and choose which side they are on before the battle begins. But is there a way to prevent the two sides from destroying each other?

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig is the first in a magical series about the real life of Father Christmas, and is for those of you who truly believe that the impossible can happen. With enchanting illustrations by Chris Mould throughout the book, bringing the inhabitants of Elfhelm to life as Nikolas’ adventure unfolds, this will have tears of sadness, joy and laughter flowing freely.

Matt Haig sprinkles wisdom about kindness and goodness throughout Nikolas’s journey to the Far North as he faces adversity after adversity, from the cruelty of his own Aunt, the suspiciousness of the elves and the greed of the person he trusts the most. Imagination and a heavy sprinkling of Christmas magic make this the perfect family read that will thaw the hardest of humbug hearts.

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas. It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible. If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you. Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading? Good. Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

Happy reading!

Library: National Non-Fiction November

November celebrates the huge variety of non-fiction books available for children. These books are full of awe and wonder from the world we live in, and inspire curiosity and a thirst for knowledge whilst encouraging reading for pleasure. This week, I’ve picked a few of my favourite interactive non-fiction reads…

Marvellous Machines by Jane Wilsher and Andres Lozano  is the perfect book for you if you have ever wondered what’s going on inside some of the world’s most incredible machines and inventions. Using the see-through magic lens, you can learn about mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering by exploring the inner workings of machines.

In your kitchen or bedroom, beneath city streets or far up in space, machines are at work day and night making, moving, building and even thinking for us. In this eye-catching book, you can explore the hidden inner workings of machines and inventions: from everyday objects like toasters and bicycles, to cutting-edge technologies such as pill-sized medical robots and super-fast maglev trains. The see-through magic lens will reveal how all these machines work, showing all the elements hidden within them from wires and pipes, to magnetic and gravitational forces.

Optical Illusions by Gianni A. Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber, shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Science Book Prize, is an eye opening look at how we don’t always see things they way they are.

The brain is an amazing thing, but it doesn’t always get things right when it comes to sight. This book is here to explain why, with astounding images, baffling puzzles, and simple reveals which show the reader how each trick works. Templates included at the back of the book reveal answers and aid the creation of astounding illusions. The science behind each element is simply explained in an engaging way, to encourage the reader to find out more each time. Throughout the book there are chances for the reader to get hands-on with the illusions, with step-by-step experiments, or tips on how to draw your own “moving” optic art on paper or on the computer.

This Book Is A Planetarium by Kelli Anderson is a book, a planetarium and much more besides! It can turn your phone into a speaker, become a musical instrument, help you decode secret messages, and create geometric designs. Defying every expectation of what a book can be, this pop-up extravaganza transforms into six fully functional tools. Kelli Anderson contributes enlightening text alongside each pop-up, explaining the scientific principles at play in her constructions and creating an interactive experience that’s as educational as it is extraordinary. Inspiring awe that lasts long after the initial pop, This Book Is a Planetarium leaves readers of all ages with a renewed appreciation for the way things work―and for the enduring magic of books.