Five non-fiction books that should be every KS2 library.

How does Chocolate Taste on Everest? by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe 

Great for 6 to 12 years 

 

What an amazing book!  If you want to introduce children and young people to some of the most extreme places on our planet, in an almost playful way, where they can feel like they are adventurers exploring these unique landscapes, this is the book you need.

 

As a children’s bookseller I support a number of schools and individuals to grow their high quality non-fiction book collections. This book really stands out in a number of ways. It’s  spot on in the way that it engages the reader and provides great information at the same time. By taking a chatty style and examine 12 extreme environments through the senes: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste this book offers something really special. 

 

There is a fantastic selection of environments to explore (see below). Examining each environment through the senses helps the reader to imagine what it’s actually like. As well as a  great read aloud or book to share, the use of focus on senses creates lots of writing possibilities. 

 

The introduction gears you up for an adventure, including laying out the contents of your expedition rucksack so you can make sure you have packed everything.  For each extreme environment there are 4 pages to help the readers explore them.  

 

Environments include:

Hottest place: Danakil Depression in Ethiopia,  Coldest place: Antartica, 

 

Places often studied in KS2 curriculum: Nile (longest river), Amazon rainforest 

 

More unusual selections such as the most electric place (Catumbo, Venezuela) and stinkiest place (Zavodovski Island) and even Mars!

 

The Amazon River  by Sangham Francis and Romolou D’Hipolito 

Great for 7 to 12 year olds 

 

The publisher Flying Eye books are well known for producing exceptional non-fiction books. This gem is perhaps not being talked about as much as it should be. With stunning illustrations and presentation, with great endnotes this is a beautiful book, packed full of fascinating information about the Amazon Basin that you are going to keep on returning to. 

 

The Amazon river is 6,400 km long and stretches across 7 countries. There is a fantastic visual map of the Amazon Basin. The book goes on to explore the Amazon River from many angles. 

 

It give some fascinating insights such as that the surface river is not the only river, there are two others the aerial river (through the sky) and the Hamza river beneath the surface. You get to explore the flooded forests and river mouth. 

Animal lovers will find plenty to discover in the section on river wildlife. This includes: amphibians, reptiles, fish, aquatic mammals, and even a short story about the Legend of the Pirarucu. 

 

The section on people of the rainforest explores Ancient civilisations including the Inca Empire, and the way of life of indigenous people. Whilst life on the river takes a look at the livelihoods supported by this mighty river, from a fantastic double page spread on boats, to the climate dangers of the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. 

 

Black and British by David Olusoga 

Illustrated by Jake Alexander and Melleny Taylor

Great for 7 to 80 year olds 

 

Based on David Olusoga’s best selling book for grown-ups on Black British history. This book makes this forgotten history accessible to all. A timely and important book that everyone needs to read. And the book I’d wished my daughter had when she studied the Caribbean in year 4. 

 

In the introduction David Olusoga says:

“ When I was at school there’s was no Black history. None of the Black people from the past who we know about today were every mentioned by my teachers and my text books contained nothing about the role Black people have played in the story of Britain. So what I presumed was that there must not have been any Black people in British history”

 

It was only when I became a teenager, and was able to read grown-up history books, that I learnt that there had been Black people throughout much of British history, al the way to the Roman conquest.”

 

Take a fresh look at British history, from the first recorded group of Africans living in Britain as Roman soldiers. To the Caribbean and the Slave Trade, and it’s eventual abolition. To Africans and West Indians who served in World War Two and the Windrush children. There is much to learn. Clear informative text, combined with illustrations, diagrams, maps and news paper style articles there is much to engage the reader. 

 

Interview with a Shark and Other Ocean Giants Too by Andy Seed and Nick East

Great for 5 to 10 year olds 

 

Andy Seed has a great reputation for writing humorous non-fiction books. Here he teams up with the fabulous illustrator Nick East to create an engaging book to interview a number of sea creatures. Andy See interviews each creature, which adds a fun narrator voice, where he says things like “I hope they don’t eat me.”.  You learn a lot of facts about the real-life sea creatures, but each creature also has it’ own character. Making this an engaging book for everyone, including more reluctant readers. 

 

Why are bull sharks moody?
How do Orcas hunt?
What is a a conger eel’s dream?

 

“Dare to dive down deep and meet 10 slippery and surprising creatures as they swim up to the mic to share true facts, about their habits, behaviour, likes and dislikes, favourite food and more!”

In this book the author interviews a number of large sea creatures. The questions and answer style will suit curious children of all ages, and be also great for hooking in less enthusiastic or confident readers. When sharing this book with less confident readers they could start by asking the questions and a grown-up could read the answers. 

 

Just Like Me: 40 neurologically and physically diverse people who broke sterotypes by Louise Godding

With illustrations by Angel Chang, Caterina delli Carri, Dante Gabriel Hookey and Melissa Iwai.

 

Great for 9 to 16 year olds

 

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. 

 

This book gives good insights into the lives of a number of well-known individuals and the personal struggles and challenges they have faced and overcome to succeed. It will help children and young people believe in themselves and to build understanding and awareness of different conditions. 

 

There is a wonderful varied collection of people that includes American Footballer, Jerome Bettis who has asthma. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter star) who has dyspraxia, Brad Cohen who has Tourettes but still became an award wining teacher. Frida Kahlo who as a result of an accident when she was young had to deal with chronic pain throughout her life. Ellie Simmonds who has dwarfism and won swimming gold medals in the Para-Olympics. 

 

 

“The world is full of people who are a little different in one way of another. Our uniqueness is what makes us stand out and makes us who we are. Diversity should be celebrated and we should not be judged on things that can not be seen.”

 

 

Available to buy from me at Readers that Care 

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