Books for kids in middle grades and into their tweens and early teens engage audiences by invoking curiosity. This occurs in both informational and imaginative narratives. And we’ve got some excellent suggestions to help independently reading kids celebrate this year’s 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week!
Just this week, the national association that creates and promotes the United Kingdom’s most vaunted children’s book prizes announced their nominations for the 2020 Carnegie Medal. We’re delighted to see Lindsay Littleson’s Guardians of the Wild Unicorns, published by Floris Books, on that list! Yes, there are those beautiful, fantastical creatures front and center in this modern story–and here they are endangered as a species. These unicorns are about way more than sparkle; they live in our gritty, dangerous world.
Inhabit Media, the wholly Inuit owned publisher located in the Canadian indigenous territory of Nunavut, has a new tween novel thematizing a First Nations’ story of beings who predate humankind. In Those Who Dwell Below, author Aviaq Johnston and illustrator Toma Feizo Gas introduce their characters, and us readers, to the dangerous adventure Pitu undertakes to rescue a remote village, a journey that takes him to the ocean’s floor and the vengeful spirit Nuliajuk.
Author Ailsa Ross brings us a collection of biographies of girls and women who have undertaken a wide assortment of adventures. Pajama Press has published this with full color, and full page, illustrations created by Amy Blackwell that show the variety of identities of the female stars of The Girl Who Rode a Shark. As noted in the CBC’s review, these are the “women and girls who have written, explored, or otherwise plunged headfirst into the pages of history.” Readers will follow suit as they pore over this collection.
How do we come to decide what fame is? How do we become inspired? How do we dream? these are just a few of the philosophical questions kids can explore in The School of Life’s Big Ideas for Curious Minds, edited by Alain de Botton, with illustrations by Anna Doherty. What better way to celebrate Children’s Book Week than to discover that many of our questions are ones that have engaged serious thinkers for centuries?!