5 Books for the National #TimeToRead Challenge!

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This week (18-22 September) the wonderful Booktrust are launching their #TimeToRead campaign, which encourages parents to find ten minutes a day to read with their child. The campaign particularly urges parents or carers not to abandon story time once the child has learned to read. Just ten minutes of shared reading time can have amazing benefits for both parent or carer and child. You can find out all about the campaign and research here and can follow along with the hashtag on social media.

We’re supporting this fantastic campaign and have put together five(-ish) recommendations of current books to read with your child for ten minutes (or more!) each day:

  1. Say Zoop! by Hervé Tullet

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Tullet’s books encourage participation from their readers as they explore and interact with the physical book in all its dimensions. Liberate your imaginations as a family, make sounds together and experience the book’s magical response. Say Zoop! is perfect for sharing some reading time in those early years and for early learning. If you enjoy this interactive board book, check out Tullet’s Press Here.

  1. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts

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Pack your ten minutes with the empowering, inspiring STEM picture book series from best-selling Andrea Beaty & David Roberts. Join Ada Twist, Scientist with her love of science, her curiosity and propensity for always asking ‘Why?’. Follow Rosie Revere, Engineer as she pursues her engineering dreams, inventing gizmos and gadgets and read about the creativity of Iggy Peck, Architect as he tries to inspire his new teacher and classmates with his inventive architecture and designs. Feeling inspired? Pair them with the companion Big Project Books for Iggy and Rosie, with Ada’s to follow next year!

3. Wordless Picture Books: Professional Crocodile & Lines

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Wordless picture books are great for shared and repeat readings, with new details to be found in each re-visit. Both adult and child can work together to interpret and interact with the art. Try the clever and witty Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli (illus. Mariachiara Di Giorgio) or the poignant Lines by Suzy Lee. The latter starts from a simple pencil line, morphing into different scenes, following the trail and story of a young skater. You’ll find yourself coming back to this format again and again over the years.

4. The Frank Einstein series by Jon Scieszka (illus. Brian Biggs)

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With the final book due next year, now is the perfect time to catch up on the Frank Einstein series! Frank loves to tinker, build and take things apart. He loves to observe, hypothesise, experiment and invent. He’s a kid genius, who also occasionally has to thwart evil doomsday plans when things go wrong. These adventures are packed full of humour and a good dose of zany science-fuelled shenanigans. (Ages 8-12)

  1. Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki and BOOM! (illus. Brooke Allen)

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This technically isn’t out yet… but have it on your radar because this hilarious, rollicking adventure brings the already beloved Lumberjanes characters into novel format. You won’t want to leave Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, with its ensemble of diverse lovable characters and quick-witted problem-solving. It’s full of heart, epic friendships and the occasional unicorn. Look out for it from 10th October – it’s unlike anything else out there and bursting with fun for all ages. (Ages 9+)

 

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The story behind Ada’s Ideas by Fiona Robinson.

Ada's Ideas Cover

My latest picture book is called Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer.

I first came across Ada Lovelace in a somewhat circuitous manner. I had seen the play Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, and was enthralled by the lead character Thomasina. Thomasina is a Regency era child genius – a girl brilliant at maths, physics and engineering. I fell in love with her and the idea of a girl like her existing in that era.

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About a year later I read that Stoppard may have based his character on one Ada Lovelace, little known in the mainstream world, but deeply respected in the world of computer science. Thomasina existed!

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The more I read about Ada the more I became obsessed with her. Ada, the daughter of the ‘mad, bad, and dangerous to know’ poet Lord Byron and Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke. A girl separated from her father soon after birth by her mother who feared the influence of Byron’s reckless lifestyle. A girl who suffered a long term childhood illness and an over bearing mother who tried to steer her on a safe course (poetry free!) towards becoming a respectable aristocratic lady!

(Ada’s mum and dad pages 8_9)

As a young woman Ada entered the world of the elite. She became friends with the likes of Charles Dickens, Michael Faraday and Charles Babbage. Her friendship with Charles Babbage and her mathematical brilliance led her to write what would become know as the worlds first computer program. And her vision of what a computer might be capable of astounded the pioneers of computing in the 20th century!

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I learned that Ada found her own sort of poetic experience, through mathematics. And I found this intriguing, uplifting, and a story I had to tell. Like many girls of my time I struggled with maths. I was the kid who got brought back into the classroom at lunchtime to wrangle long division. Maths made me cry.

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I wondered how many other little girls have a negative experience with maths. And as I read more about Ada and her achievement in becoming the world’s first computer programmer, I realised that Ada struggled too. She struggled to write the algorithm for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, but kept on going. She struggled to be taken seriously in a male dominated society, but never gave up.

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I hope Ada might become a heroine for primary school girls, not just in terms of her accomplishments, but because she used her imagination to fuel her work. And imagination is something all kids have in abundance!

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When I was first thinking about the art for Ada’s Ideas I wanted to try something new – 3 dimensional images, which I hoped would capture the drama and theatricality of Ada’s life. This involved sketching out the images, then colouring them with my favourite paints – Japanese watercolours.

Watercolours

I then cut out the images very carefully with an X-Acto blade which is pretty similar to a scalpel. I used over 500 blades to produce all the cut images for the book!

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Once cut, I layered all the images for each spread to different heights using Lego bricks and glued them in place. Then each spread was photographed.

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I really enjoyed creating the art, and hope too that it will be enjoyed by many young readers!

Ada’s Ideas by Fiona Robinson is available now.

#SummerReads | Author Suggestions Part 2

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We are back with more suggestions for your TBR pile.
Josephine

Patricia Hruby Powell, author of the inspiring picture book Josephine is here to share her #SummerReads selection:

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
  • And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

“whew, that wasn’t easy. (I only got as far as books beginning with A – kidding, actually, but, hmmm).”

Have you read any of these? Share your thoughts & #SummerReads with us @ACBYA using #ACBbooks. 

Merry Christmas from Abrams and Chronicle Books

We hope your day is filled with festive fun and charm.

We wanted to share our own festive cheer with a glance at the 1914 Christmas Truce, that started on Christmas Eve 100 years ago, through John Hendrix’s book Shooting At The Stars.

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Shooting at the Stars is the moving story of a young British soldier on the front lines during World War I in 1914, writing a letter home to his mother describing his unforgettable Christmas Eve.

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Despite fierce fighting from both sides, both German and Allied soldiers ceased firing and came together on the battle field to celebrate the holiday. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged gifts and played football. But as the sun began to rise, they returned to their separate trenches and waited for the battle to begin again.

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Interweaving beautiful illustrations with hand-lettered text, author and illustrator John Hendrix tells a story that celebrates the humanity and kindness that can persist even during the darkest periods of our history.

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Very Merry Christmas one and all.

Merry Christmas from Abrams and Chronicle Books

We hope your day is filled with festive fun and charm.

We wanted to share our own festive cheer with a glance at the 1914 Christmas Truce, that started on Christmas Eve 100 years ago, through John Hendrix’s book Shooting At The Stars.

9781419711756

Shooting at the Stars is the moving story of a young British soldier on the front lines during World War I in 1914, writing a letter home to his mother describing his unforgettable Christmas Eve.

Pages-from-ShootingattheStars_INT

Despite fierce fighting from both sides, both German and Allied soldiers ceased firing and came together on the battle field to celebrate the holiday. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged gifts and played football. But as the sun began to rise, they returned to their separate trenches and waited for the battle to begin again.

Pages-from-ShootingattheStars_INT-2

Interweaving beautiful illustrations with hand-lettered text, author and illustrator John Hendrix tells a story that celebrates the humanity and kindness that can persist even during the darkest periods of our history.

Pages-from-ShootingattheStars_INT-3

Very Merry Christmas one and all.