Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fantastic non fiction for kids

Really Really Big Questions (by Stephen Law) and My First Classical Music Book ( by Genevieve Helsby and Jason Chapman) are two non fiction books for children that have really struck a chord with me.  They both provide information on relatively complex subjects, and they both do it in such a fun accessible way.

Really Really Big Questions is a fun introduction to some of those big philosophical questions - did someone design the universe? Is my mind my brain? Is it OK to eat animals? Do fairies exist?  These are the sort of questions that aren't normally covered in children's non fiction - maybe because they are so hard to answer.  But as any parent will know, they are the sort of questions that get asked quite regularly, and we are often left floundering for an answer.  "Just because" doesn't really cut it!

Really Really Big Questions is a delightfully accessible, full of quirky illustrations, and is perfect for dipping into.  It is written in a conversational manner, encouraging the reader to think on the question themselves, and formulate their own opinion.

My First Classical Music Book is aimed at a younger age group (I'd suggest 5 years and upwards).  It is accompanied by a CD with snippets of great classical pieces, such as Mozart's The Magic Flute, Saint-Saens The Carnival of the Animals and Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.

The book encourages readers to think of what the composer was saying with a piece of music and how it makes them feel.  It goes on to introduce the different instruments that make up the orchestra, and how these instruments are used by a composer to tell their story.  All of this is achieved in an easy going, fun, storytelling manner.  The illustrations are bright and playful with lots of action for young readers.  A real joy to share.

Both books are available through your local independent bookshop, as well as through Fishpond and Book Depository.

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