Navigating Non-Fiction #6

A huge selection of information books feature in this edition of #NavigatingNonFiction which include humans as well as animals that go above and beyond, all truly deserving to be called a hero. There is also a beautifully illustrated book of Greek mazes and you can learn what it is like to be a child in Roman times. These books all have stunning illustrative content that compliment the topic, tone and intention perfectly. All of these books are titles that will feature in my school library, proving good value for money with the multitude of purposes they each have.


An amazing collection of stories featuring real life heroes that have gone above and beyond, doing so in ways that readers will be able to relate to and connect with through every day factors relevant to themselves or their stories, and with a specific focus on the jobs these people did.

With a massive twenty five career categories separating the people chosen to feature there is everything from explorers such as James Cook to conservationists like Boyan Slat and so much more inbetween. Categories include vets, athletes, firefighters and teachers which is what makes this book so relatable to children given that they will have experience with, and knowledge of the professions that can be found within.

Each category has a section defining the career at a level appropriate to the intended audience, and every page features an interesting ‘did you know’ fact that will undoubtedly captivate the reader. The heroes feature from across many decades and centuries as well as various countries and continents, and it is this variation in historical and geographical detail that makes this a book to return to and reference time and time again.

There are a multitude of uses for this book but at its core there is definitely an overwhelming sense of inspiration whilst being incredibly informative. If there is one book to feature in a children’s library that would help educate a child to knowing the career path for them I would strongly advocate this book. There is a sense of equality throughout the book with as strong a female presence as male, and I love that females feature in careers such as engineering which encourages children to see that there are heroes all across the world, throughout history who chose to go above and beyond doing something they loved and that you can too.

Written by Jonny Marx, Illustrated by Gerhard Van Wyk, and published by 360 degrees – an imprint of The Little Tiger Group.

When We Became Humans

This hugely informative book takes the reader on a journey of discovery from the days of our earliest ancestors through to humans as we know ourselves to be today.

The illustrations bring the characters featuring through the different eras to live on the pages and ensure the reader can imagine the scenes that are written about throughout the book. After defining what a human is the book tells the reader the significance of humans within different periods of history and you get a real sense of progress and change being made the further into the book you go.

The progress of tools that are used, alongside the intended uses, is one of the recurring topics in this book and it is fascinating. From early on when rocks would be struck against each other to create sharp implements from the shards of flint or obsidian that broke away to spears and the relevance they have to us now, there is such an amazing attention to detail within.

Whilst this is a book on a hugely relatable subject – we are all humans – this book teaches the reader that there is so much more then you realised to being who we ultimately are today, and learning how we came to be from the information provided in this book is both compelling and engrossing.

Written by Michael Bright, Illustrated by Hannah Bailey and published by Words and Pictures – an imprint of The Quarto Group.

Wild Girl – How to have Incredible Outdoor Adventures

An inspirational and fun book that combines interests with ambition and enocurages you to get out and enjoy the outdoors whilst pushing yourself to your limits.

Seperated into six chapters determined by the terrain the featured adventures take part in and with a case study from Helen Skelton herself having completed at least one adventure in each chapter, there is something so very focused about this book and the contents. With a warning at the front of the book and throughout to ensure that the reader gains adult supervision while undertaking any attempt at what they read, there is a real sense that this is seriously challenging material.

Helen Skelton features in case studies such as adventures on Dartmoor where she accompanies the royal marines on commando training. With each of the adventures Helen details within the book there are specific sections that ensure the reader gets maximum detail and feels totally immersed in the book. The sections include any training undertaken – broken down into stages, a kit list, a diary entry of her time amidst it all, and an adventure report. I love that this isn’t a book of A* efforts and that Helen has included situations where upon reflection she has come to realise she didn’t give her all as it humanizes this heroine, idol, unstoppable woman and makes her relatable to the reader and helps them see that whilst trying to achieve goals in life it doesn’t always go according to plan or the way you intended.

The book screams with inspiration the minute you open the book and realise just how much the author has set out to achieve and consequently accomplished including tight rope walking between power stations, kayaking down the amazon and so many other dream come true adventures, I particularly like the write ups that follow – including highs and lows of what she has experienced, and her choice of other adventurers deservent of a special mention in the book.

Written by Helen Skelton, Illustrated by Liz Kay, and Published by Walker Books.


Featuring fifty stories of animals that have done more then that which is expected of them.

A giraffe that has walked the equivalent of the length of france, dogs that undertake search and rescue both during war time and also post terrorist attack on 9/11. Each story is both astonishing and heart warming in that these animals have instinctively decided by themselves to intervene for humans like the ape that saved a child who fell into the enclosure at the zoo. These are truly inspirational animals that we should truly appreciate and celebrate as much as possible, which is something this book does amazingly by bringing attention to their stories and tell them to the next generation.

Each animal featuring within the book has a glossy two page spread which tells of each animals bravery, discovery and friendship. There are emotional stories like that of Sudan – last male northern white rhino and Emily – the cow who escaped the slaughterhouse, and the story of the original bear called Winnie that the hugely famous Winnie The Pooh is named after, and so many more stories to share with children that will definitely capture their attention and leave them wanting to help protect animals, and have a new found appreciation for pets and wildlife too.

Written by Ben Lerwill, Illustrated by Sarah Walsh and Published by Nosy Crow.

Greek Myths and Mazes

Featuring twenty four mazes to explore through the book, this book is like the maze version of a where’s wally book with lots of visual detail on each page and the need to concentrate in order to appreciate the phenomenal mazes.

You pick up lots of information from the pages the mazes feature on which educate you on greek myths, gods and legends too, and with illustrations that draw you in, and encourage you to want to enjoy the maze that you are viewing.

At the end of the book there are explanatory notes that further detail the facts you discover throughout your journey of the book and link to each of the mazes so that you have a better understanding of the significance of the maze in Greek history.

This is an amazing title to add to an Ancient Greek topic box, and you can be sure that once children view this book they will be requesting to see it over and over again as they trace the path to take through their chosen maze and learn along the way. A brilliant combination of stunningly detailed illustrations, incredible facts and information, and the niche designs featured within the book ensuring this is a hugely popular book.

Written and Illustrated by Jan Bajtlik, and Published by Walker Books.

Atlas of Amazing Birds

Separated by continents, this absolutely gorgeous book on birds is a go to guide for learning everything there is to know on the species across the globe.

The illustrations of each bird featured within this book compliment the text beautifully, showing off the eye catching colours and phenomenal details of each individual bird, and the latin name tops each page which really gives this book a professional appearance. Finer details like the size of bird and where in the continent they are a part of they can be found are listed on the pages and readers can discover what foods the birds eat, how they hunt, and significant historical, geographical and biological factors that have had an impact on the different species’ of bird such as fires that kill off a large number of the breed, and being able to fly at up to 44kph out at sea and yet unable to walk or stand, or being able to hold their breath for up to six minutes in order to dive for food.

This really is a hugely informative book that readers will adore and enjoy, grabbing when they see a new breed of bird or here of a relevant detail. Useful for research purposes, referencing or for a treasured gift at home to bird loving children this book has so many uses and is definitely a worthy candidate for both school and home libraries.

Written and Illustrated by Matt Sewell and Published by Pavilion Books.

Children Who Changed The World

A hugely empowering book focused entirely on children who have gone out of their way to save our planet.

With a case study of an amazing child who’s efforts link to one of the rights of a child, for example Malala Yousafzai who links to a child’s right to an education. The illustrations within the book are comic strip style which will be hugely appealing to young readers as will reading all 54 articles of the rights of a child according to the UN convention.

Children that feature within the book come from different decades, different locations and have a different focus behind their actions but the underline message of empowerment and inspiration is hugely evident throughout the book and a quote from each of the children features at the bottom of the page which gives a strong message of hope and unity from all.

This book belongs in school libraries for research and reference purposes and to give children access to like minded children of similar ages and backgrounds hope and encouragement to stand up for what they believe in whilst informing them of what really matters. The book has a completely positive vibe whilst drawing attention to a vital part of being a happy and safe child and teaches children that without the rights of the child being created children today would not be able to enjoy as much as they do.

Written and Illustrated by Marcia Williams and Published by Walker Books.

So You Think You’ve Got it Bad? A kid’s life in Ancient Rome

Written in colloboration with The British Museum this book has all the information you could need to get an informed understanding on a child’s life in Ancient Rome and how it was so much more different to today.

From clothing to food, chores and expectations at home as well as out in society, and getting an education, this book has it all. With fantastic illustrations that reinforce the text and help break it up into bitesize pieces of interesting and informative sections. Children will love learning the roman numerals, and once they see how children used to live – using bear fat to make hair grow, wear a toga or tunic as they were the only clothing choices, and having to go to bed at the same time as your family and then be up at the crack of dawn, they will undoubtedly have a new appreciation for the things they take for granted today like food choices, clothing choices and transport we have access to today too.

This really is an equally exciting and interesting book for children to use during topic work at school, find in the school library for research as well as for reading for pleasure, and keep at home for general interest purposes. There is such an incredible level of detail featured within this book and children will discover all they could need to know to decide what life for a child in ancient rome felt like, feeling fully immersed in the day to day routine that happened so many centuries ago.

Written by Chae Strathie, Illustrated by Marisa Morea and Published by Nosy Crow.

This has definitely been an incredible month for non-fiction that leaves the reader feeling as inspired as they do informed, as engrossed as they will be educated. There has been so many heart warming moments while researching these titles for this blog post, and I hope I have shown the truly value behind stocking each and every one of these titles in a school library as well as having access to them at home.

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