Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Can You Identify Something Commendable in Every Student?

I wrote a version of this post for another blog I write
('Pedagogy and Education for Life'). That blog is specifically for teachers in Christian or faith-based schools, but the topic is just as relevant in all schools.

Let me first ask a question. Do we believe there is something commendable in every child we teach? In the first week of first term in any school year you won't have much of an idea, but if you're well into the year and you still haven't recognised something it's a problem.  It might just be that we don't know them at all. But I'd hope that after 2-4 weeks we would know something about every child. Their name (more difficult for secondary teachers), and a little about their personality. Maybe the things some are good at, and even some friendship obvious friendship groups. But at the 2 month mark we should know much more about all students.

Some children hide in the background of classroom life. It's easy to quietly withdraw, keep a low profile, look out the window, and count the minutes till recess, lunch and home time. This presents a problem for every teacher, for we must get to know our students, including their strengths, weaknesses, hopes, fears and life challenges.

Across my teaching career, I observed children who could be disinterested, under-performing and at times difficult in one class, who suddenly blossomed in a different class. "Why is this so"? I'd hope that we never see children in our classrooms who we assume haven't anything to offer.


Above: My students in 1978

I taught in three different elementary schools across all age ranges. In many ways, it was my third school where the challenge to know all students became even clearer and more important to me. I was the sole teacher and head of a small school. While it had two buildings, two classrooms, a small library, a staff room and office, I was the only teacher as well as 'Head' of the school. I was the person who ran the 'Tuck Shop' each week etc. I had 26 children across seven grades (and at one stage 31). That is, Kindergarten (5 year olds) to Grade 6 in the same room. The school was situated in a small town with just 300 people.

So why am I stressing the imperative to know our students? Because, all students need to understand they are known, valued and seen as capable of doing new things. This makes a difference! Perhaps this is obvious to some, but how is it achieved in the busy life of the classroom? Let me tackle this from three angles.

a) Every child needs to feel valued, and seen as able to do things

An important ingredient for any child's success is the realization they can be successful at something. It took me until 4th grade to realize that I was good at a few things. I enjoyed Kindergarten and learnt to read and write. But by grade 3, I spent most of the day looking out the window and thinking about the fun I'd have when I got home. I managed to learn to read, write and so on, but I was pretty naughty and easily distracted. But, in grade 4 a new teacher invested some time in me. He could see my problems, including a tough home background and my previous disruptive behaviour, but he was prepared to invest in me, even in a class of 41 students across two grades (see below). I'm 4th from the left in the back row.

Mr Campbell had the sense to channel what he saw as potential in me, in a way that would motivate. I became the garbage monitor, milk monitor, duster cleaner etc to no doubt to try to keep me out of trouble (to little effect at first). This was against a backdrop of the Principal who saw me as a 'drop kick'. He simply caned me every time I messed up, which was often the case in his eyes in grades 3 to 5 Grade. But even as my behaviour improved, he found excuses to cane me. Once when he saw me looking out the window during a lesson (bored stiff), as he walked along the verandah past my classroom. He came in, took me out and caned me twice!

But a big change occurred when an aquarium with tropical fish was purchased by the school and placed in my classroom. My teacher put me in charge of it. He handed me a book on tropical fish and asked me to study it. He later asked me to give a presentation to the class on raising tropical fish. It was a success, and the fish and I both flourished.

The challenge for all teachers is that some students will present as disinterested, difficult and annoying (as I was), while others will take the front seats, smile, look engaged and answer all the questions. Being able to identify the gifts and abilities of all students is our greatest challenge, and much more important than seeing their weaknesses and problems.

Years later, after I'd become a teacher, I recall a day while on playground duty at a small Primary school in my home city that had an impact on me. I was standing next to the Principal who would come out from time to time to watch our students. The boys were playing cricket and a new boy broke a cricket bat. The Principal called him over and said "how did that happen?" The boy replied "I don't know Sir", I just missed the ball and hit the pitch. To which the principal replied, "I'm watching you son, I can remember your older brother breaking a cricket bat when he attended this school too." A colleague nearby whispered in my ear, "and I bet he's never forgotten it." How easily children are labelled. At that moment I thought to myself, I was that kid once, and this principal was like my old principal in primary school who had caned me over 40 times before Grade 5.

A fundamental mark of a good teacher is the intent to look for the good in students, and seek to identify their abilities and potential, not just their weaknesses and failures.

b) Teachers need to gain the trust of their students and in the process, seek to identify gifts in unusual places.

In 'Pedagogy and Education for Life' I share a vignette about a student name Chanda who I taught while living in the US as a visiting scholar at Indiana University some 40 years ago. As part of my research, I team taught with a relatively new teacher who was keen to have me working with her. I met a student named Chanda almost immediately. She was a larger than life boisterous student who made her presence known; but often not in the right way. 

Chanda rarely did her work. In fact, after being in her class for 6 months, I couldn't recall her completing any task. Often, she didn't even start them. One morning as usual, the children raced down the corridors having left the buses that brought them from the Trailer Courts that most lived in. Chanda burst through the door, and threw her bag onto her desk. It bounced off, fell open at my feet, and a bundle of scrappy looking paper dropped out. I was helping to pick them up and she quickly grabbed them off me. I said, "Hey, that looks like writing!" She quickly replied, "It's nothin Sir, just some music I did at home." As I held one piece, I saw it was in the form of a song. I asked could I read some. As I took one, she said, "Sir, you won't like it." I pleaded, "let me read some, PLEASE?" After saying no three times, she reluctantly agreed, and said "just a couple". There must have been 30 works in the bag. I quickly realized she was writing music, which was in effect poetry.

None of her writing had been revealed previously to her teacher or me. It's difficult at times to gain the trust of our students so that we are in a position to identify special gifts. Chanda was a difficult student from a troubled background. She didn't enjoy school subjects, but had hidden potential. You can read a bit more about Chanda and see one of her songs/poems in my book "Pedagogy and Education for Life" (Ch 2, pp 25-27).

c) Students need to know their teachers know them, and in some way 'get them'.

This statement might sound like waffle, but in reality all relationships only succeed when both parties understand the other. Mr Campbell was the first teacher who 'knew' me. He could see beyond the grubby and sometimes difficult poor kid, to a child with potential. Even the extreme introvert in a classroom can be understood. But it requires patience and close observation of the child in class, as well as their behaviour and interests outside the classroom. The latter is difficult, but nonetheless there are ways to read the signs that disclose what makes each child tick. In particular, what they like, dislike and feel passionate about. As a young teacher, I coached many of the school sporting teams and spent much of lunchtime in the playground talking to students, playing paddle tennis with other teachers (and some students). In essence, I was observing and getting to know them in different contexts. This was easy at my One Teacher School, but a little harder with classes of 35+ as I had in my early years of teaching in large city schools.

Teacher expectations matter. The school principal who caned me so many times in my early primary school years had no idea who I really was. I say that even though my sister had been at the school before me and was well-loved. Her sporting skill and a beautiful singing voice made her a stand out. Mr Whitaker saw little good in me, and had no idea who I really was. But Mr Campbell took the time to get to know what made me tick. My interests, my hidden abilities and what switched me on as a learner, weren't that obvious. As a result, I often withdrew and gazed out the window. Dreaming up ideas for what I'd do after school. Projects to start, cubby houses to build, boats to build and bushland to explore near my home. 

Working hard to engage every student is a challenge for all of us. It might well be that it's only across many years of schooling that each of us experience teachers who see something special in us. One such teacher will make a difference. Mr Campbell was mine. Who might you inspire and help to shape? Perhaps a kid like me, or Chanda?

Thursday, March 7, 2024

2024 Newbery and Caldecott Awards Announced!

The American Library Association has announced its 2024 annual award winners for books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Committees of librarians and other literature and media experts, chose the award winners on behalf of the Association for Library Service to Children

The Newbery Medal was named after the eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is presented to the author of the book judged to have made the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. It can be a work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honour of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott.  It is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. 

There are also a number of other specialist awards for fiction and non-fiction that were announced on the same day.

Newberry Awards

1. Newberry Medal 2024 (Most Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature)

'The Eyes and the Impossible' by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris.



This is a story about a dog named Johannes. He is free and fast! A real dog about town he lives in a park by the sea. Every day, he does his rounds of the park, checking everything out. But the Equilibrium has been disrupted.

Humans are building something new, and a new kind of animal arrives in the park; hundreds of them! Johannes sets out to liberate those he loves.

The highly engaging story is beautifully illustrated by Shawn Harris the illustrator of 'Her Right Foot' by Dave Eggers and many others. 'The Eyes and the Impossible' is a wonderful book filled with wit and passion. The story will engage readers of all ages.

 2. Newberry Honour Award Winners (Notable Books)

'Eagle Drums' – Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson (Author, Illustrator)

The Iñupiaq is an origin story of the 'Messenger Feast' and a boy who was kidnapped by eagles. It is a haunting story about the dangers of strangers, and an unknown presence in the mountains near his family’s sod house.

His two older brothers Atau and Maliġu are his missing. His parents show their grief by projecting the successes of the brothers’ onto Savik. But he is often just silent thinking, “how can you compete with someone’s memories, anyway?” One day, Savik, who shape-shifts between man and golden eagle, offers Piŋa a choice: death or captivity. Piŋa reflects on the pain his death would cause his parents. He decides to go with Savik and try to return someday. The eagles teach Piŋa singing, drumming, and dancing. He also learns how to build a giant sod house and host a huge feast. 

The lessons aren’t easy, and his ego is challenged. He shares, “I learned not to lead with demands. I learned to lead with connections.” Piŋa struggles with fear and distrust instilled by his family, overcomes self-doubt, and becomes both “creator and learner.” While the story is rich in cultural teachings, Hopson enhances the story with full-page color illustrations that visually connect readers with Piŋa’s journey and emphasize the importance of connections to nature, spiritual beings, and human relatives.

This wonderful book offers life lessons that should help our younger readers to cope with their challenges in the years ahead; in particular, the fear of others.

'Elf Dog and Owl Head' – M.T. Anderson (Author), Junyi Wu (Illustrator)

A magical adventure about a boy and his dog—or a dog and her boy—and a forest of wonders hidden in plain sight.

From the moment the elegant little dog with the ornate collar appears like an apparition among the trees, Clay sees something uncanny in her. With this mysterious 'Elphinore' as guide, he glimpses ancient secrets folded almost invisibly into the forest. Each day the dog leads Clay down paths he never knew existed, deeper into the unknown. But they aren’t alone in their surreal adventures. There are traps and terrors in the woods, too, and if Clay isn’t careful, he might stray off the path and lose his way forever.

Anderson’s introduction to this strange world, is complemented by Wu’s bold crosshatched pencil illustrations. They have a simplicity that is as mysterious as the story. Young readers will want to continue to revisit this book many times. Each time they will see something that might just be a little different or new, as they reflect on the story, and the mystery of the images. This book is a triumph!

'The Many Assassinations of Samir, The Seller of Dreams' – Daniel Nayeri (Author), Daniel Miyares (Illustrator) 

The Silk Road comes to life in this picaresque epic adventure with twists and turns and a wonderful surprise ending. Surprisingly, this book by Printz Medalist Daniel Nayer, has had very mixed reviews for a Newbery Honour Book.

It is the tale of an exciting journey along the Silk Road with a young Monk and his newfound guardian, Samir, a larger than life character and the so-called “Seller of Dreams”. But the man is a scammer; his biggest skill being the ability to talk his way into getting what he wants. While talking does save Monkey’s life, it leaves a lot of people furious — furious enough to hire assassins. Monkey decides to try and save Samir from the attempts on his life, to pay off a debt! If he can save Samir six times, he’ll be a free man...but will they all survive that long?

Fans of Salman Rushdie's
Haroun and 'The Sea of Stories' and 'The Little Prince' will fall in love with the bond between Monkey and Samir—in this swashbuckling all-ages page-turner.

But some have asked, is this book suited to the category it is in? The ages in the category have never been clearly defined but it was intended to be for Middle school and this is defined as Grades 6-8 (i.e. aged between 11-13). One reviewer recently suggested:

"We come to the question of audience: very very few middle schoolers are reading novels purely for the pleasure of beautiful language, and even if there are, there are books with beautiful writing that are more exciting and/or relatable. There's something to be said for stories in settings and time periods that are not commonly seen... but they have to be engaging." 

'MexiKid: A Graphic Memoir' – Pedro Martin (Author, Illustrator)

This wonderful book is a graphic novel (memoir) about a Mexican American boy’s family and their adventure-filled road trip to bring their 'Abuelito' (Grandfather) back from Mexico.

It is “one of those books that kids will pass to their friends as soon as they have finished it.”—says Victoria Jamieson, creator of the National Book Award finalist 'When Stars Are Scattered'.

"Pedro Martín has grown up hearing stories about his abuelito—his legendary crime-fighting, grandfather who was once a part of the Mexican Revolution! But that doesn't mean Pedro is excited at the news that Abuelito is coming to live with their family. After all, Pedro has 8 brothers and sisters and the house is crowded enough! Still, Pedro piles into the Winnebago with his family for a road trip to Mexico to bring Abuelito home, and what follows is the trip of a lifetime, one filled with laughs and heartache. Along the way, Pedro finally connects with his abuelito and learns what it means to grow up and find his grito.
This is an exciting book that moves at a good pace and will warm the hearts of children (& adults)!
'Simon Sort of Says' – Erin Bow (Author)

Simon O’Keeffe’s biggest claim to fame should be the time his dad accidentally gave a squirrel a holy sacrament. Or maybe the alpaca disaster that went viral on YouTube. But the story the whole world wants to tell about Simon is the one he’d do anything to forget: the story in which he’s the only kid in his class who survived a school shooting.

Just two years after this horrific event, Simon (age 12) and his family move to the only place in America where the internet is banned! It is a zone where astronomers come to listen for signs of life in space. Simon and a new friend decide to to give the scientists what they’re looking for. But will their story have 'legs'? Will it find its way to the rest of the world? 

We shouldn't be surprised that Erin Bow could produce such a wonderful story that speaks to the long term effects of trauma, and how humour can provide a way forward for sufferers. Wonderful!

Randolph Caldecott Awards

1. Randolph Caldecott Medal

'Big', written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison.

2. Caldecott Honour Books

'In Every Life', Marla Frazee (Author, Illustrator)

A simple and profound meditation on the many wonders of life from two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee.


This books looks at the way life can challenge us, but it can have many seasons. There is love and loss, but also "hope, joy, wonder and mystery". With beautiful illustrations and a powerful text, the creator Marla Frazee unpacks the joy and diversity of life with many parts, including rare moments and feelings, special experiences that together are the substance of life.

'Jovita Wore Pants: The Story of a Mexican Freedom Fighter', Aida Salazar (Author), Molly Mendoza (Illustrator)

This wonderful book tells the true story of Jovita Valdovinos, a Mexican revolutionary who disguised herself as a man to fight for her rights! Some comments from other reviewers:

* "Graceful . . deft . . . mesmerizing. . . . Bravery and determination prevail in this inspiring tale." Kirkus Reviews.

* "Gorgeous...hits the perfect balance of lively and lyrical...outstanding." -- School Library Journal.

* "Exquisite prose. . . . stunning spreads." -- BookPage.

Jovita refused to fit into a mould. She would not simply conform to the stereotype that the world would seek to apply to this young woman. She wanted to discard dresses and wear pants! She had many 'different' ambitions like climbing the tallest mesquite tree, riding horses and more.

As her Father and brothers joined the Cristero War to fight for religious freedom, she wanted to go, too! The answer was No! But she defied her father's rules. She would be revolutionary and "wear pants". What a remarkable story.

'There Was a Party for Langston', Jason Reynolds (Author), Jerome & Jarrett Pumphrey (Illustrator)

This wonderful book was chosen as a Caldecott Honor Book and also a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds’s, has given us the joy of his first children's book. 

Back in the day, there was a heckuva party, a jam, for a word-making man. The King of Letters, Langston Hughes. His ABCs became drums, bumping jumping thumping like a heart the size of the whole country. They sent some people yelling and others, his word-children, to write their own glory. 

In those days, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, and more came be-bopping to recite poems at their hero’s feet at the Schomberg Library. And there would be dancing and stomping, in praise and love for Langston, world-mending word man. Oh, yeah, there was hoopla in Harlem, for its Renaissance man. A party for Langston.

This wonderful story is so well supported by the Pumphrey brothers who provide illustrations that support the text and apply stylized typography throughout. They manage to draw together the text and graphic art, and make a wonderful contribution through images to underscore the power of the subject’s poetry. 

 'The Truth About Dragons', Leung (Author), Hanna Cha (Illustrator)

 'Caldecott Honour Book' and also Winner of the 'Asian Pacific American Award for Literature'.

This is an unforgettable lyrical picture book that celebrates biracial identity. It is from Julie Leung, the award-winning author of 'Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist'.
Lean in close,
my darling bao bei,
and I will whisper
a most precious secret
about a powerful magic
that lives inside you.

'The Truth About Dragons' is a story that follows a child on a journey shaped by his mother's bedtime storytelling. With the help of his two grandmothers he is able to discover two different, but equally enchanting, truths about dragons as he sets out on two quests."
Hanna Cha's wonderful illustrations help to bring this wonderful story to life. And what a great story. His mother's reading of the story to him opens up the world of dragons and a wonderful journey takes place fueled by his two two grandmothers who help him discover two different, but equally enchanting, truths about dragons.



Monday, February 12, 2024

The Power of Story to Teach, Enrich and Transform

I want to draw attention to the power of story in this post by discussing my work shared in two separate articles over 10 years ago. In 2013 I wrote an article for the 'International Journal of the Book'. In it I discussed the power of literature not just to offer engaging stories, but to actually "Teach, Enrich and Transform" us. The article was inspired by the work of D.W. Harding (1937, p. 257) who suggested “reading, like daydreaming and gossiping is a means to offer or be offered symbolic representations of life”. I quoted Harding NOT to relegate reading, and specifically literature, to the status of any representation of lived experience (quite the contrary). I'll come back to this.

In the second article that I wrote in 2010, I pointed to the "...folly of Deconstructive Post-modernism, whose most extreme advocates argue that all texts are equal, that the TV advertisement, graffiti, the bumper sticker, the poem, a Twitter ‘tweet’, blog posts, a play and the newspaper editorial are all texts that can have equal value."  

Of course, all 'texts' have meaning and we can learn from them, but they are not "equivalent" or "equal" (but let's not get side-tracked)! Story has a special place. I'm going to share my thoughts in two posts on this topic I will argue that:


• The storybook still has an undiminished role to play in early literacy development even in the age of digital literacy.

• Literature has a value well beyond its important utilitarian function as an excellent vehicle for the learning of literacy.

• Reading is acquired in the context of relationships with other significant people.

• Literature has the power to teach, enrich and transform.

I believe that any "civilized society which relegates literature to just one possible means to know and communicate is making a significant mistake" (T.H. Cairney, ’The International Journal of the Book Volume 8, 2010). Why is this a mistake?

Let me share my first two reasons in this post (and two more in the next).

Reason 1 - Literature offers opportunities to reflect on life and see it in new ways

Just as I am affected by human tragedy in my world, I can also be affected by the tragedy of characters in books. In a sense, as we read stories we can 'live through' the events, and experience emotions like joy, success, loneliness, pain,  disappointment and sadness. As a reader we can ‘enter into’ the lives of others through literature and deepen our understanding of life. It can help us to reflect on and understand our lives. And of course, we must never lose sight of the special place literature or story has as a vehicle for learning about written language and the shaping of human character.

I have been motivated to write this paper by a growing concern that in our excitement to consider the possibilities of digital literacy of all kinds, we might just forget about the importance of narrative as a vehicle for learning about written language and the shaping of human character. 


Stories "...allow us to reflect on these and other experiences and come to a greater understanding of our world and ourselves. As well, literature can act both as mortar to build rich personal and textual histories, and as a bridge between our lives and the lives of others" (Cairney, 2010).


Reason 2 - The undiminished role of Story


Children today experience stories in varied forms. They have opportunities to engage in stories by reading, but also through television, radio, online games and a myriad of pictures, images, signs, advertising etc. More than ever, today's readers, are confronted by stories in new forms and through multimedia of varied types. They also write in diverse forms and genres. Perhaps just a few words via emails, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and so on with images and signs to support text. But equally they share stories through music, jokes, symbolic language, movement and so on.

We still enjoy stories, but we use many varied forms, as well as different platforms and devices to receive them like Air pods, headsets etc. Some still read a paper or digital book, while others only ever listen or watch using devices. But there is still a common element; all centre on story!

As parents and teachers we need to engage children in the sharing of stories, delivered via whatever platform. As well, we must encourage them to share stories with others.

In our contemporary literacy world, there is greater interaction between multiple sign systems, particularly print, sound, image, and physical context etc. As I listen to one of my grandsons playing games online like Minecraft, or watch another preparing to lead a game of Dungeons and Dragons with her friends, I'm always struck by how much interaction there is between players as they create live stories on computers while sitting in separate locations. This still is story making and reflects a primary need as humans.

 Having shared the above, I will expand the discussion in the next post by considering two other ways Story has the power to teach, enrich and transform:

  • Reading is rarely a lone activity we read within communities.
  • Literature teaches, enriches & transforms us.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Six New Picture Books that are 'Must Reads'!

1. 'Mama's Love Language: Sometimes Love Tastes Like Hainan Chicken Rice'  by Written by Elisa Stad and Illustrated by Ry Menson (Illustrator)

Jade is a girl who lives in two worlds. When one's parents have different cultural heritages, sometimes children can wonder where they fit. In this very sensitive and tenderly written book, Elisa Stad explores something which increasing numbers of families and teachers see each day. Jade is on a quest to understand her identity and where she truly belongs. She feels different from the other kids at school. 
Back home, her Dad has an English speaking heritage, whereas her Mother has a Vietnamese heritage. Her parents also have quite different ways to express their love and care for her. Sometimes Jade is embarrassed by her Mama’s accent. She can’t understand why she is not just like the mothers of other children at school.

When Jade begins to rebel against her mother's traditional ways of showing love, great wisdom is required from her father, to help her understand that both love her deeply but show it in different ways. Mama doesn’t hug or say I love you, but the "healing aroma of ginger, green onions, and chicken broth does".

This is a is a special book that addresses a universal theme of belonging and the beauty of cultural diversity. Through it our children and students will learn "...that being different is not only okay but something to be celebrated, and that love can come in many shapes and forms."

A very special book that should be in every school library. It is ideal for children aged of 4-9 years.

2. 'The Secret Lives of Dragons: Expert Guides to Mythical Creatures' by Prof Zoya Agnis and Alexander Utkin

This wonderful fantasy picture book was first published in 2021. This is a stunning new illustrated edition(2023) is wonderful. It is a beautiful children's guide to the 'facts' and philosophy of dragons; from treasure hoards to breathing fire.

Hidden deep in the mountains, a kingdom of dragons once thrived. Dragon song echoed across the peaks, and priceless treasures were guarded in lairs. But what happened to this kingdom? 
Dragon sightings are incredibly rare now, so how can we spot one of these elusive creatures? And if we were to meet one, how would we talk to them and approach them safely? Luckily for you, the answers are recorded in this book by the famous 'Drackenosopher', Professor Zoya Agnis. It is beautifully illustrated by Alexander Utkin.
The book will help you to learn everything you need to know about dragons; from breathing fire and taking flight, to the brutal slayers that preyed upon them. This beautifully illustrated manual will guide you on your path to becoming an expert in the prestigious world of dragon studies.

3. 'An Amazing Australian Camping Trip' by Jackie Hosking & illustrated by Lesley Vamos

This picture book has three parallel and related texts going on for the reader to choose. You can read simply the narrative, or also find out about about Aussie language. What's a 'Mozzie', what is 'venom'? How do you "Boil a Billy"? What is a Wombat like? Is their poo really shaped like a cube? Ouch!

4. 'Friendly Bee and Friends' written and illustrated by Sean A. Avery

5. 'Friendly Bee and Friends - Woe is For Worm!' written and illustrated by Sean E. Avery

This follow on edition is available online, and also in paperback from Walker Books. It is worth chasing up!

Stunningly illustrated and well told!

6. 'Factopia! Follow the Trail of 400 Facts', by Paige Towler & illustrated by Andy Smith

This must be the funniest 'encyclopaedia' of all time. What's more, all the facts are verified by Encyclopaedia Britannica. True! The reader will be drawn into the book as every fact is connected to the next, and these are the type of quirky facts that all children love.

Did you know that a squid has a brain shaped like a doughnut? Or that some butterflies drink turtle tears? Hop from topic to topic in unexpected and delightful ways, and discover what connects a giraffe with the Eiffel tower, or a slice of pizza with Cleopatra. On your awe-inspiring journey, you will find out extraordinary facts about space, bones, dinosaurs, spiders, sharks, robots, ancient Rome, and more.

This is a book that children will love to read, and will want to share with others! It will be hard to read this book alone.