1.What Happened When in the World (DK)
This is a history book with 60 stunning, specially commissioned historical maps which chart the migration of humans, the spread of the black death, D-day landings and much more.
Follow the devastating spread of the black death through Europe, the Roman Empire’s expansion to North Africa and the Middle East, and the impact of world war II on the globe. This will surely help you (not the kids) with their ‘A-Star’ homework projects, everyone loves a map don’t they?
2. Children’s Book of Philosophy (DK)
From Socrates and Aristotle to Kant and Confucius, in this book you will learn about the clever ‘thinking’ people whom have helped shaped our world. Find answers to life’s big questions such as ‘Who am I?’ or ‘Should I ever tell a lie?’ and what philosophy actually is.
The concepts are shown in simple terms to make them accessible to children and adults alike. The graphics are easy to read, and the book is simply organised and divided into larger sections covering broad themes in philosophy, with biographies of famous philosophers and fascinating thought experiments interspersed throughout. In the tradition of philosophy, you’re never told what to think but instead offered a variety of opinions and theories, and asked questions that make you ponder what you personally believe and why. There’s a philosopher hidden in every one of us right ?
3. Earth: The Definitive Visual Guide (DK)
This stunning book shows us 400 of the tallest, longest, widest, most significant and most unusual geographical features of planet Earth. Featuring volcanoes, deserts, and rivers to weather systems, rocks and minerals.
By learning about the health of our planet you can explore the interaction between people and the environment, from living in volcanic areas to deforestation, to understand the human impact on nature and how we can keep our physical environment. Check out my instagram page sian_gwilliam, it’s full of #busstopnature photos that will inspire you.
4. The Big Book of Dinosaurs (DK)
The Big Book of Dinosaurs is wild, scare and packed full of these mysterious creatures from the past that will keep even those that can’t yet read, entertained for hours.
Children will love spotting all the different dinosaurs – from the fierce meat-eating Tyrannosaurus and the long-necked plant-eating Diplodocus to the heavily armoured Stegosaurus and the city Compsognathus. Definitely one for Santa’s bag this year I think.
5. The Animal Book (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Animals smooth and spiky, fast and slow, hop and waddle through the two hundred plus pages of the Caldecott Honor artist Steve Jenkins’s most impressive nonfiction offering yet. This Youtube film shows how Steve researches, plans and sketches the book. It’s really interesting, and a quick insight into how a book is written and illustrated. (Translation Zerox = Photocopy!)
Sections such as “Animal Senses,” “Animal Extremes,” and “The Story of Life” burst with wild facts and infographics that will have the whole family asking lots of questions that the kids will love finding out the answer to.
6. Knowledge Encyclopedia
An encyclopedia like no other, the DK Knowledge Encyclopedia uses the latest CGI technology to help us explore everything we’ve ever wanted to know more about, covering space, Earth, nature, the human body, history and culture, and science and technology in incredible detail.
From 3D images of the sun and the inside of a shark to a 3D DNA strand and a model of Shakespeare’s globe, this is an amazing visual introduction to every aspect of human knowledge.
These books do really deserve a place on your bookshelf, if only to use as a reference if and when you need to fact check.
You can order or buy all of the books above at your local bookshop, or try the wonderful independant Daunt Books in London, they are a very helpful bunch.