QA Education Books – Top Picks. We take a look at some of the latest children’s titles as well as CPD books.
See the “competitions” section to be in with a chance of winning books throughout the year…
The Mermaid Who Couldn’t, written by Ali Redford, illustrated by Kara Simpson (JKP, £9.99)
Abandoned on the ocean floor, Mariana the Mermaid feels useless as she can’t swim or join in with the other mermaids. Muriel the Turtle helps her find self-confidence through singing her own mighty song. This therapeutic picture book is for children aged 4-9 who lack self-confidence, including children who have had difficult life experiences. This picture book uses a simple metaphor to show how children who have experienced neglect or who lack confidence can learn to find a sense of self-worth. It will help children explore their feelings and encourage communication.
Review: by Ellie’s mum, Lisa Ryder
Ellie enjoyed the story. She had a strong emotional reaction to the theme of the book and was quite sad at the beginning of the story but she then became happy at the end. She was attentive throughout the story and asked to hear it again.
Ellie liked the pictures but did say that she found the colours dark and a little scary at the beginning.
Ellie was very emotional throughout the story and asked questions about her family. We talked about how nice it is to have a family and friends and how the mermaid thought she couldn’t do things at the beginning but once she started to try, she found she could do them.
Ellie said that she struggled with climbing in the park on the climbing frames but after she practiced, she can now climb. She said it was scary at first but now it isn’t as scary.
The story is a good start for discussions about self-confidence and we could role play it afterwards with her toys.
The Noisy Foxes, by Amy Husband, (Willow Tree Books, £6.99)
Written and illustrated by Amy Husband, The Noisy Foxes follows a family of foxes who decide to move out of the big, noisy city to look for somewhere quieter to live … but nowhere seems quite right! Distinctive collage-style illustrations add to the charm of this humorous ‘grass isn’t always greener’ tale.
We asked some of our friends to read The Noisy Foxes and this is what they said:
Ellie’s mum, Lisa Ryder: Ellie liked the story, the language was simple and we looked at the different words and how they sounded. Ellie loved the illustrations and liked how bright the colors are. She liked to see what was happening in other parts of the pictures. Ellie understood the meaning behind the story and we discussed it however she seemed to be more interested in the pictures. We discussed how sometimes we think we want something else but actually what we want is what we already have.
Editor Victoria Galligan: My daughters loved the Noisy Foxes! My two-year-old, Amy, has insisted on reading it every night and it even went to Nanny’s for a sleepover! Kate said she liked the patterns and textures in the illustrations, and Amy liked all the different animals. We talked about the ending and how sometimes it’s nice to go away for a break but good to come home again where you belong.
It’s Your Story: From 1 to 10 and From A to Z (from £17.50)
Planning a prizegiving, graduation or welcoming a new student? If so mark these all-important milestones with beautifully illustrated personalised Alphabet books from Itsyourstory. Not only a fantastic teaching aid which brings numbers and the alphabet to life by making them the star – but also a perfect keepsake which includes a personal message from you to the child at the front.
Called ‘From A to Z” and ‘From 1 to 10’ are this ideal gifts for young children. Every letter is accompanied by a picture and a simple, fun sentence which emphasises the sound – for example, ‘Freddy’s Dinosaur is Daring and Dangerous’, ‘Oliver Octopus has Orange Socks’. The child features in the illustrations and text on every page making it a fun, engaging and relevant read.
Readers will get to go on an adventure – meeting lots of different animals, building a sandcastle at the beach and even riding a rocket to the moon! The books are available from Itsyourstory at itsyourstory.co.uk. The 32-page full-colour book includes a message at the front from the sender and retails at £17.50 for the softback version and £20 for the hardback book. Customers upload a photograph of the child as part of the order process.
Review: By editor Victoria Galligan
The books are amazingly engaging: my daughters (aged two and six) were both completely fascinated by the fact that their faces were actually on the cover and the pages. My eldest daughter could read the book alone and love the ‘L’ page, which sees her licking a lemon lolly. And my younger daughter couldn’t flick through the pages fast enough – we read the book several times in one go as she kept missing the pages! She was so eager to see what Amy did next! Fully recommended by us.
Also out now:
Educating Outside, by Helen Porter (Bloomsbury, £19.99)
Educating Outside is a toolkit of outdoor learning ideas to inspire primary school teachers to head outside with their pupils and enrich their learning experiences across the curriculum.
Although the benefits of learning outside are well documented, outdoor activities often decline as children progress through their education. There are many reasons for this: lack of time in the curriculum, lack of training, lack of teacher confidence, or simply lack of inspiration. Educating Outside contains a bank of outdoor learning ideas that can be used to enhance and enrich your classes’ learning experiences across the curriculum; including in science, history, geography, art and design, English and maths.
Each lesson idea is linked to a specific programme of study and outlines required resources, links to soft skills, cross‐curricular opportunities, and a broad lesson plan with suggested outcomes and photos. All the ideas take place within the school grounds themselves, which means plenty of opportunities to try out new activities without lengthy risk assessments, extra time and additional expense.
Helen Porter is Outdoor Learning Teacher at Anstey Junior School and an Outdoor Learning Consultant. She runs training courses based on the work she does. These have been endorsed by Hampshire County Council and she is working with the authority to develop more courses for them, in addition to her independent work. She is a visiting lecturer at Winchester University, speaking to their B.Ed. students about the benefits of and approaches to outside learning. She also visits schools to advise them on how to develop their outside learning.