BOOK BLOG: David Long

Egypt Magnified: the perfect book for any Egypt loving bookworm! 

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“Grab your magnifying glass and explore the sights and sounds of ancient Egypt in this fascinating search-and-find adventure, packed with over 200 things to spot.”

When I was approached by the publishers as to whether I would like a copy of this book for review, I knew instantly that I would ABSOLUTELY LIKE A COPY FOR REVIEW. I am constantly on the lookout for engaging and brilliant non-fiction books. We all know that non-fiction books of the past could be dull and just collect dust… but recently non-fiction books are becoming more and more desirable. And this book does not disappoint! This would make the perfect Christmas gift for any non-fiction loving wannabe historian in your life! 

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Egypt Magnified comes with a brilliant magnifying glass so you can play a “Where’s Wally?” type game in the book. With sections covering everything from The Nile and The Desert to Tutankhamun’s Tomb, this book is just brilliant. (Why yes, I did in fact take about half an hour of my time when this arrived to play with the magnifying glass… unfortunately, I never was any good at Where’s Wally!)

With gorgeous illustrations by Harry Bloom and JAM PACKED with facts, this book is educational and fun – a perfect mix! I learned a fair few things when I gave this book a read… and I’ve taught the Egyptians before! Each page is about a different topic, and along the top is the “10 things to spot” section. The pages are filled with information, illustration and intrigue! 

I can’t recommend this book enough – to parents, teachers, librarians and ANYONE ELSE. It has such a brilliant place in homes, schools and libraries. I can’t wait to pass it on to Year 4 for when they study the Egypians – I just know it’s going to go down SO well. (So well in fact, I’m jealous that they get to have it! If there could be a Greek edition, that’d be awesome!)

What period in history would you most like to delve deeper into?
What’s your favourite type of non-fiction book?
Can you recommend me any new non-fiction books?

A massive massive thank you to the publishers over at Quarto for sending me this absolute delight! 

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Christopher Lloyd

Absolutely Everything: the perfect book for non-fiction lovers with an insatiable need for facts!

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“Embark on an amazing journey across millennia and continents, and learn about absolutely everything including the creation of planet Earth, the age of dinosaurs, the rise of humans, the miserable medieval times, globalisation, wars, revolutions, technology – and much more! Find out the answers to many big questions about our planet, animals, and the people inhabiting Earth. Engaging design, illustrations and photographs throughout bring to life the most remarkable true stories of all time.”

Absolutely Everything is an incredible collection of all of the facts you could POSSIBLY think of, illustrated so beautifully and told in chronological order. This book would make the perfect gift for a budding historian for Christmas. Told through interesting chapters, with a timeline to match each chapter, including a glossary and an index for those who have specific questions, this is definitely the one to want! 

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Now, I’m not a great historian, so I’ve been reading bits of this and it is genuinely brilliant. It’s told in a fun and engaging way. There’s illustrations and diagrams aplenty. It’s nothing like those history textbooks we learned from – it’s so much more than that! This is perfect for adults and kids alike! 

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The book opens to a gorgeously written contents page showing you all of the chapters and what they entail… the each chapter has a gorgeously vibrant and illustrated front page (the chapter pages might be one of my favourite things about this book!) The illustrations, by Andy Forshaw, are just lush and I think they add so much intrigue and interest to this book.

There’s history from many centuries ago, to the final chapter titled “To be continued…” which looks at what the future might hold. I love the little robot – he’s well cute! Each chapter is a different colour and the edges of the pages are coloured that way to match (this might seem like a simple thing, but I think it’s great for kids!)

There’s illustrations like these (above) all through the book – diagrams, maps, illustrations, photographs – and these add so much to the words that make up the story. As someone who loves a good picture, they make this book so much more enjoyable and therefore so much more is learned. With every question it answers, it probes you to ask more… isn’t that what we all want? To keep learning forever!

Whether you’re a budding historian, or just a bit obsessed with facts, this is the perfect present, especially with Christmas coming up!

If you could go back in time, where would you go to?
Are you a little bit of a secret historian?
What’s part of history that fascinates you most?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet: like reading a book from your clever and caring friend

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“The world is messing with our minds.
Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.
– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? 
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?
After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him.”

I’m a massive fan of Matt Haig’s work (both fiction and non-fiction) so when I found out there was going to be a “follow up” to Reasons to Stay Alive, I knew I had to get my hands on it. (I use that term loosely as it’s not really Reasons to Stay Alive 2, it’s more a companion, a friend). Notes (as I will refer to this book as because it’s shorter to type and shorter to read for you all!) explores the world – our technologically savvy, somewhat dependent world – and what the crutches of social media, technology and abundance are doing to us as a world. 

You’ve probably just read that and thought ‘OH MY WORD, what a depressing sounding book’ and you’d be wrong. Notes is enlightening, it’s uplifting, it’s brilliant. As someone who has a presence online, I am aware of the fact that my phone is never far from me, that I tweet a lot, that my instagram is updated regularly… so reading this was something that I think was the beginning of something for me: awareness. An awareness of the fact that this morning I scrolled and refreshed twitter 4 times before I realised that really nothing was going to happen if I didn’t refresh twitter. That’s what this book is all about: awareness. 

There’s a chapter in this book from the perspective of the beach. Yep, you read that right… the beach. It might be one of my favourite chapters from the book. The beach doesn’t care what you look like, it doesn’t care if you have a “beach-ready body”. It’s a beach. It’s sand and water. The beach doesn’t need you to be ready, it just needs you to be there (and even then it doesn’t NEED us to be there!) 

I’d recommend this book to everyone. Whether you’re a social media fan, a Matt Haig fan or not. It’s not a book that I can sing and dance about because it’s not a book that sings and dances itself – it’s a book that’s a bit like a friend. It’s there, imparting wisdom, some silliness and some comfort – all of the things that I love about Matt Haig’s books.  

To coincide with the release of this book, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a ticket to go listen to Matt talk about this book at Newcastle Central Library. It was a great night and Matt even read the chapter from the beach, which definitely made me chuckle. This is the second time this year I’ve met Matt and he was just as wise and charming as the first time! 

Massive thank you to Waterstones Newcastle for bringing Matt back to Newcastle! 

If you’re interested in any of my other reviews of Matt Haig books, check them out:

Have you read any Matt Haig books?
Have you read Notes on a Nervous Planet?
Do you, like me, get super nervous when meeting authors?!

Let me knw your thoughts in the comments! 

S x

BOOK BLOG: Politics for Beginners

Don’t have a clue where to start when it comes to politics? Want a fun and accessible way to teach your kids? Politics for Beginners is a great starting point!

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Politics for Beginners is a brilliant book filled with facts to teach kids all about politics – not just our politics in the UK, but the history of politics, politics around the world and so much more! It’s filled with wonderful illustrations and facts galore. 

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The contents page lays it out so clearly that it makes this book super accessible. There’s chapters on all kinds of things that kids might want to know about. Think you have a revolutionary on your hands? They might want to check out ‘Political Change’. Have a budding historian in the making? They’ll love ‘All Kinds of Governments’. My favourite chapter however has to be ‘Big Questions’ which deals so brilliantly with all kinds of things from Am I a feminist? to What is terrorism? Big, big questions that kids will ask and want to be able to answer, dealt with in ways which are relatable for kids.

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I absolutely love this page – explaining all kinds of governments in one handy chart. (I could easily have chosen so many pages to take pictures of!)

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Now, I wouldn’t say I’m ignorant when it comes to politics (I keep up with what’s going on around the world and in the UK) but I learned an awful lot reading through this. It’s as useful for adults as it is kids! It’s gone down really well at school, with a few classes using it for one off lessons or for finding out about politics.

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There’s a brilliant glossary at the back of the book too to define some of the words set out in the book.

This is a great tool for educating kids about politics. It’s full of facts, quizzes, charts and some thought provoking questions. Ideal for KS2+ (as an adult, it’s BRILLIANT because it’s accessible without being condescending). It’s the kind of book I wish I had had when I was a kid. Politics needs to be accessible for everyone, it’s our future at stake at the end of the day! 

S x

 

 

BOOKBLOG: Women in…

Women in Sport/Women in Science: brilliantly biographical celebrations of incredible women, from the past and the present

The amazing people at Hachette sent me these copies of these books and I was absolutely gobsmacked. 

I have been ogling Women in Science on the shelves for a while in Waterstones, so when I heard Women in Sport was coming out, I knew I’d love a copy. 

“Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!”

“A fascinating collection full of striking, singular art, Women in Sports features 50 profiles and illustrated portraits of women athletes from the 1800s to today including trailblazers, Olympians, and record-breakers in more than 40 different sports.”

What I love most about these books is their shameless celebration of women and the things they have achieved in the past and the present. There are some incredible women in history celebrated in these books, but there’s also women celebrated today. From mathematicians, to physicists to doctors, Women in Science speaks of brilliantly inspiring women to get girls into STEM. In the same way, Women in Sport speaks of rowers, archers, tennis players, all kinds of sports women, past and present to inspire girls to get involved in sport. 

I adore these books. They are SO perfect. Each page is a mini biography and illustration. There’s just the right amount of information. The illustrations are incredible. 

 I must also mention the end pages of both books. They make me make such heart eyes

I can’t wait to use these books in school now to teach the kids all about incredible women through history

What book would you like them to publish next in this series?
What would YOUR page say about you in one of these books?
Which woman from history, or from the present, do you think deserves to be immortalised in the pages of one of these books?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter! 

S x

Perfect Presents: Miscellaneous edition

Hello there!

I hope you’re enjoying my “Perfect Presents” series – it has been so much fun recommending books for everyone this year! I AM that person that buys EVERYONE a book. I have strong feelings about books and let’s just say that I think a book is the perfect present, so yeah… that! 

Today’s edition of Perfect Presents features a whole array of things, most of which could be classed as non-fiction. As a prolific fiction reader, it has been great for me to think about some non-fiction recommendations for everyone! From the kids in your life, to the teens, and the adults! Let’s get on with it!

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I can’t recommend some non-fiction without recommending this. I love Sarah Millican. I am a proud Geordie. I love an autobiography. This book is definitely on my Top Books of 2017 list – it’s just wonderful. Your mam will probably love it. Your sister probably will too. You’ll probably catch your dad reading it and laughing, despite protests that he wouldn’t read it. It’ll make you laugh, maybe cry (it made me cry): it’s just lush. 

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The next recommendations come from a set of books from the brilliant people of Quarto Books. Their ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ series is an exploration of some of the most incredible women the world has seen. These books give a biography of the women in a beautifully illustrated and accessible way for kids. I was lucky enough to be send 2 of these from Quarto and I adore them. If you can get your hands on them, get your hands on them. I can’t recommend these enough.

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Another incredible book, filled with exceptional stories about brilliant women that I can not recommend enough. Now that there is a second one too, I must get my hands on that! I did have a copy of Rebel Girls 1, but I can’t find it… so I must get back to Waterstones and purchase 1 and 2. 

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I love Dinosaurium – I see it everywhere on twitter and I reckon it would be a brilliant present for any of the dinosaur obsessed children in your life. There’s been a whole host of exceptional non-fiction books released this year that I don’t think you could go wrong with any of it! 

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This book is brilliant. At 28, it was incredible to read and learn things from this book. Hannah Witton so brilliantly deals with everything from consent, to sexuality, to sex in this book. It would be a great present to buy a teenager in your life, but also… adults. No shame in reading books which explore sexuality and aim to educate. I read this for a book group and I really enjoyed it. 

There are SO SO SO many others I can recommend that I will happily talk to you and give you recommendations! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Perfect Presents series! Let me know if you have any recommendations which aren’t on my lists. Also, let me know if you buy anything for anyone in your life based on my recommendations – that’s always fun!

Merry Christmas! Happy book buying!

S x

Little People, Big Dreams

In the Little People, Big Dreams series, you can discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. There are some incredible lives pictured in this series and I was very lucky that the people at Quarto sent me over the Audrey Hepburn, Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst editions to have a look at. I had initially saw these beautiful books on BookBairn’s instagram and was VERY curious about them!

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Each book tells the story of the life of this amazing person. They are beautifully illustrated and are PERFECT to use with children. At the back of each edition there is a timeline of the person’s life, with real pictures!

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Books like this are so important as they make incredible life stories accessible to children. 

The Rosa Parks edition and the Emmeline Pankhurst book are going to be so brilliant for use in school to teach the children about amazing women who paved the way for some of the most important changes in the world. 

I am so happy this series exists and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series! I know this is definitely a series that I will have in my collection! They’re perfect for the classroom and any little people you may have running around! I will be sharing these with the kids at school and my goddaughters, to teach them about important women who have come before them! 

If you’d like to see who else is included in this series so far, the whole collection is on the Quarto website – click here to find out more. I definitely want the ones I don’t have yet! 

Have you read any of the ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ books?
Are there any incredible women you would like to see included?
What is your “big dream”?

Thank you so much to Quarto for sending me these books. I absolutely love them! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Matt Haig

Reasons To Stay Alive: honest, important, emotive.

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“WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FEEL TRULY ALIVE?

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

‘I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven’t been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.'”

Reasons to Stay Alive has been sat on my TBR shelf for a while. I’m not a massive reader of NF but there were lots of people talking about this book a while back, so I bought it but it just stayed on my shelf. Until just recently. I needed something a little bit different. I needed something that would hopefully inspire something in me. 

I loved Matt’s sheer frank honesty. There’s no skirting over issues. There’s frank honesty. There’s stories and anecdotes from his toughest times. There’s uplifting stories. There’s conversations he has with himself. There’s flashbacks to his darkest times. There’s the story of the start of it all. Throughout all of it, there’s honesty.

Mental health is something that is becoming more talked about but still not talked about ENOUGH. This book was brave and brilliant. Written in such a way that I devoured it in less than a day. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. I cried. I was angry. Frustrated. Sad. Jubilant. I felt everything. 

There are so many important quotes in this book that I feel I could spend a blog post quoting but I’ll choose a few:

“Hang on in if you can. Life is always worth it”
““Wherever you are, at any moment, try and find something beautiful. A face, a line out of a poem, the clouds out of a window, some graffiti, a wind farm. Beauty cleans the mind.”
“Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it. Let it go, like the Snow Queen in Frozen.”

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I implore everyone to read this. Even if you don’t suffer from any MH troubles, it’ll open your eyes to those who do. You will know someone who is suffering, possibly in silence. 

My goodreads review simply said:
“It’s important that people talk about mental health and it’s important for people to know that not everyone suffers the same way. I loved this book. I cried a lot.”

Have you read this?
Do you have other NF recommendations like this?

Let me know on twitter (@eenalol) or in the comments, I need more NF in my life!

S x

BOOKBLOG: V&A FASHION MASH UP!

Growing up I was a massive fan of all things fashion – I’m not exactly a fashionable person but I was obsessed with Project Runway and watching Lauren Conrad (who is my forever woman crush) become a fashion designer on The Hills (I can go into detail about my love for LC and The Hills, but now and here are not the correct outlet)made me want to follow in those very fashionable footsteps! I wanted to go on and design clothes like that, alas I have absolutely NO artistic bone in my body. I am much better at teaching! When I heard that Penguin Random House were teaming up with Victoria and Albert to create a hands-on fashion pop-out book, I knew I had to get my hands on it! I could finally live my incredible dreams of being a fashion designer!!

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The press release tells you what it’s about way better than I could…

“A deluxe fashion press-out dress up book that combines the very best of fashion from the V&A and style trends throughout history. Featuring six press-out models illustrated by Daisy de Villeneuve, press-out clothes, shoes and sticker accessories (all from the V&A’s eclectic collection), this is the ultimate fashion workbook for children and adults alike.”

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Inside there are pages dedicated to different styles with pop outs to build an outfit and stickers! STICKERS! How exciting! I love a sticker! Not only is it a beautiful book to read but it’s informative too! It’s such a great book to read to learn more about fashion throughout the years. I tell you I learned a fair few things from this book. There were sections dedicated to dresses, trousers, fashion over the years and so many more!

If like me you think you’re a bit of a fashion designer wannabe, then get your hands on this book if you can! It’s such fun to play with and create my own designs… because let’s be real I’m never going to be a fashion designer, so living vicariously through this book is as good as I’m going to get!

 

 

Thanks to my wonderful friend Sarah from Penguin Random House for my copy!! And credit to Penguin for the bottom two pictures in this post!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Cinderella Colouring?!

I would label myself as a self confession COLOURING IN LOVER. There is no part in me that doesn’t love colouring in. I will colour in with pens, pencils or any implement that is put in front of me… I do love colouring in… pens however, those would be my medium of choice! I have any number of colouring books in my drawer and often get a new one at Christmas. I don’t remember not having a book to colour in. Part of me loves that it is now  a socially accepted thing that adults colour in, but part of me is also like NOOOOOOO THIS IS THE THING I LOVED NOW EVERYONE IS STEALING MY LOVE. I am an adult though and realise that it is an incredible way to calm my mind and does so much good for me, so it must do so much good for others. It’s very good for my soul colouring in because at the end of the day it is only me I need to please with my picture, no one else!

So in pops a press release saying there was to be an old school Ladybird story book to colour in? WHAT? Was this designed for me? YES SIR. How exciting. I will take one in all of the stories! img_2996

These 2 gorgeous books were sent to me and I just can not bring myself to colour them in. I don’t want to spoil them! However I know that if I need them then I will take great pleasure colouring them in!

The Cinderella book is the story of Cinderella but none of the pictures are coloured in. So I can make all of the colours in the story the other way round, or whatever colours I want. How awesome. Why didn’t these exist when I was younger?

The other book is A Ladybird Book of Colouring: each page has a different Ladybird cover on in black and white, with the original should you wish to copy it! I look forward to switching up the colours of some of the old school covers!

If you’re a fan of the colouring and a fan of Cinderella then I absolutely implore you get your hands on this book! It’s sweet. I might have to get a copy for Poppy for Christmas, she loves colouring and she loves princesses…

Thanks to my lovely publicist friend Sarah at Penguin Random House for my copies!

S x

p.s. typing the word “colour” incorrectly throughout this post really hurt my head seeing so many red lines… silly American WordPress!