Librarian’s Choice – Absolutely judge these books by their cover

We all judge books by their covers but within this selection what appealed on the exterior is just a glimpse of the visual feast inside. It’s really refreshing to see children’s information books being presented in this illustrative way. This selection is beautiful yet filled with fun and fascinating information. They are all available in Leeds Libraries and you can reserve them into your nearest branch for free.

Rachel Wild animalsWild Animals of the North – Dieter Braun

The imagery in this book is just gorgeous; it has a simple geometric feel but is so rich in colour. This book takes you on a journey to the farthest corners of the northern hemisphere and explores the fantastic creatures that live there. Braun’s illustrations make the animals pop out of every page, its perfect for the young naturalist out there.

 

Rachel Shackletons JourneyShackleton’s Journey – William Grill

This book is filled with tiny clever sketches which make the facts and figures so easy to visualise. I love the maps as you voyage along your Journey to the Antarctica. Grill has a really fun and uncomplicated style which is very appealing and brings this fascinating and brave story alive.

Rachel Something about a bearSomething about a Bear – Jackie Morris

The detail Morris gets using water colour is incredible, the bears just come to life on every page. This book is a bit of a hybrid between a story and an information book, which makes it really accessible for younger children especially when they are being read to. The information is delivered through beautiful wording and even has a little twist at the end. I wonder which your favourite bear will be?

 

Rachel Smart about sharksSmart about sharks – Owen Davey

Davey’s style is so unique; it has a lovely vintage feel and the colours really stand out. This book is filled with fun facts that are backed up by his minimalist yet lavish illustrations. If you love this there is another book call ‘Mad About Monkeys’ which is just as good!

Rachel Frida KhaloFreida Khalo – Eng Gee Fan

This book is part of a new series of children’s biographies ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ telling the stories of remarkable women in history. Each book is illustrated by a different artist and everyone is wonderful. They are the perfect introduction and the pictures on each page are delightful. If you love this one check out ‘Coco Chanel’, it’s fabulous!

 

Rachel AnimaliumAnimalium – Katie Scott

For any family that loves natural history this book is just fantastic; it’s a trip around a 24/7 museum with immaculate exhibits of the world’s finest and most extraordinary creatures. The illustrations are stunning and it’s packed with absorbing facts. I love the larger than average format of this book and can just imagine a family huddled together on the floor flicking through the pages.

 

Blog by Rachel, Children’s Librarian based at Central Library.

Librarian’s Choice – Books and Places

This blog is from Joanne, an Assistant Communities Librarian based in the South of the city.

I look forward to my holiday reading every year and I can remember places I have been by the books I read there. Here is a selection of my most memorable books and places and then a look at the books I have put aside for my holiday this year.

Jo Me before youMe Before You by Jojo Moyes

Outside a caravan in France I sobbed uncontrollably at the end of this book. This is a powerful love story which tackles the issues of disability head on. There is a film out this summer, but once I have read a book I rarely feel I want to see it on the screen. But if it is anything like the book it will be compelling.

Jo And the mountains echoedAnd the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

By the side of Windermere Lake, I followed the twists and turns of a novel that begins in an Afganistan Village and deals with family seperation and the bonds which unite families. I had been a massive fan of this authors previous books. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns and I wasn’t disappointed with this book or the wonderful lake views, even if it was pouring with rain.

Jo We need to talk about kevinWe need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

I don’t think I would ever have picked this book up, but my daughter was starting A level English in the September and it was on her reading list. She was determined to go off and enjoy the sights and sounds of  Puerto Pollensa in Majorca. I was quite happy to stay on the sun bed and tackle her Reading List. This is a powerful book and you can see why it was on the AS reading list. It has many layers.  The tale of Kevin who is a teenager killer is told through the eyes of his mother. It forces you to think about your parenting and how much you can decide the destiny of your children. I certainly didn’t have much control over my daughter’s nocturnal life style on that holiday. However, it turned out to be a book we both loved and still discuss.

This year I am staying close to home for holidays, but have already planned some reading. It’s a mix this year. Having worked in the Public Library for 6 months I have loved having such a wide selection at my finger tips.

Jo go set a watchmanGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

One of my favourite books of all time is To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee and I still haven’t read the much talked about Go set a Watchman.The reviews are mixed but it will be interesting to revisit the characters of Atticus and Scout  and see how the father/daughter relationship developed. One of my favourite quotes of all times comes from To Kill a Mocking Bird;

“ You never really understand a person until you climb into their shoes and walk around in them”. How true……

jo after youAfter You by Jojo Moyes

Having so enjoyed Me before you, I am going to give this a go. I must remember to pack the tissues.

jo collected poems larkinCollected Poems by Philip Larkin

And finally, after being inspired at a recent poetry workshop run by a colleague, I need to revisit some poetry. I always loved Philip Larkin, so I am going to give him another go. Happy holidays and Happy reading………..

Keep them occupied!

The summer holidays are here! Time for kicking back and relaxing. Or, if you are a parent of children of a certain age, a six week quest to keep them occupied. Here in Leeds Libraries we have just bought a whole load of new children’s non fiction books that should be arriving in your local library any time now and we have a range that should be of interest, whatever your child is in to. If the right book doesn’t make it to your library, then you can reserve it for free to bring it to you.

Crafters and Artists

My daughter could, from an early age, create anything she wanted provided that we had sellotape and paper. Sometimes you need to harness those creatives and this selection of books should do just that.

CNF lets sewLet’s Sew, pub Dorling Kindersley

Your child will learn how to sew in no time with this book. From threading needles and sewing a running stitch to following patterns, ‘Let’s Sew’ teaches your child how to create their very own collection of eye-catching toys and accessories, including a decorated book bag, felt elephants, and jungle-themed pen toppers.

CNF Paper craftsPaper Crafts by Annalees Lim

This series is aimed at kids who love to be creative. By following the clear and simple step-by-step instructions, they will be able to create fashionable, original, cute, and humerous creations.

CNF How to drawHow to draw by Nick Sharratt

Jacqueline Wilson’s world of characters has been brought to life brilliantly with Nick Sharratt’s illustrations. Now your budding artist can learn how to draw them themselves.

CNF 23 ways23 ways to be a great artist: a step by step guide to creating artwork inspired by famous masterpieces by Jennifer McCully

This text is for aspiring artists. The book is packed full of step-by-step projects for crafty kids eager to discover the secrets to creating a masterpiece.

Scientists

Is your child the kind that likes to take things to bits as well as putting them together because they want to see how it works? These books are for them.

CNF SpaceSpace pub Franklin

Planets, asteroids, space travel and exploration are just some of the incredible topics you will learn about in this book. Discover what they are, what we know about them and how scientists intend to find out more about them.

CNF ExperimentsSuper Science: experiments!: 80 cool experiments to try at home by Tom Adams

This exciting lift-the-flap novelty book is packed with simple science experiments for kids to try at home. Each page will see keen young scientists try their hands at anything from building bridges to making food explode and mixing up meringues – all in the name of science! Every experiment is accompanied by a simple explanation of the science involved, making it hands-on educational fun.

CNF wacky scienceTotally wacky facts about exploring space by Emma Carlson Berne

Do you know which astronaut played golf on the moon? Ever wondered how much a space suit weighs? Have you thought about what astronauts do with their dirty underwear? Out-of-this-world facts and a bright, bold design will keep struggling and reluctant readers wanting more!

CNF your bonesYour Bones by Sally Hewitt

How many bones are in your body? Which bone protects your brain? What are bones made of? Find the answers to these questions and much, much more in this picture-packed introduction to the human body.

CNF OceanOcean: a children’s encyclopedia by John Woodward

A stunning visual encyclopedia for kids, packed with stunning photography and amazing facts on every aspect of ocean life. From the Arctic to the Caribbean, tiny plankton to giant whales, sandy beaches to the deepest depths, our oceans are brought to life with astonishing images.
The Next Bill Gates
Makes those hours in front of a screen mean something. Let them make the game, not just play it!
CNF Learn to programLearn to program by Heather Lyons
This looks at the basics of programming – what is an algorithm, basic languages and building a simple program. We then look at how simple programs can be developed to include decision making and repeat activities, and then how they can be fixed using debugging techniques. Throughout the book there are practical activities to assist learning, and links to online activities where they can practice newly learned skills.
By breaking this daunting subject down into the 10 ‘super skills’ needed, young readers can to get to grips with computer coding, and build on their skills as they progress through the book.
CNF Maths journey
Go on a real-life maths journey to practice the core topics of numbers, geometry, statistics, ratio and proportion, algebra and measurement. Through data visualisation methods, including colourful diagrams, pictograms, illustrations, photographs and infographics, ‘Go Figure!’ brings maths into the real world in an innovative, exciting and engaging visual way. It makes even the trickiest problem easier to understand and builds valuable confidence in maths!

 

 

 

 

Librarian’s Choice – Ferret Books

Generally when I ask a librarian to recommend a selection of books for the blog, I know what sort of books that I might get. However this list has come from total leftfield. These books are compiled by Montse, an Assistant Community Librarian based in the East of the city. I hope it is useful for anyone who is, or wants to be a ferret lover!

Dogs, cats, rabbits and hamsters are 4 of the most usual pets people have at home. Fish, reptiles and birds come next; you’ll find ferrets towards the end of the list. You may have seen ferrets racing through pipes at country and game fairs, or biting Richard Whiteley on telly back on 1977 (if you are not just a nipper).

Maybe you know someone who keeps ferrets or perhaps you may be thinking of getting one or two yourself? Whichever the case you’ll find many a book in the library to furnish you with knowledge and tell you all about how to look after, care, train and enjoy playing or even hunt with ferrets. Here are a few I’ve borrowed myself. I keep my friend’s 3 jill at home on a “part-time” basis and I’ve learned lots by reading these books.

Montse Ferrets McKimmeyFerrets by Vickie McKimmey

Ferrets are lively, domestic pets that can provide great entertainment and companionship. In this book you can find out how to prepare your house for adopting a ferret, as well as essential care information to ensure he is healthy and happy. It has about 100 pages of information from pet care and animal experts—with a family-friendly design, over 60 full-colour photographs, and helpful tip boxes. It comes also with advice on feeding, housing, grooming, training, health care, and fun activities.

Montse Ferrets RickardFerrets: Care and Breeding by Ian C. Rickard

The author is an experienced ferret owner and breeder and he provides the reader with lots of info about all aspects of the ferret’s care and management. It looks at the history, origins, and scientific classification of ferrets; their anatomy and physiology; handling and housing; breeding and rearing; feeding and nutritional requirements; colour-breeding genetics and colour standards for showing; and health and welfare. This is a very useful book if you’re thinking of not just keeping but breeding ferrets.

Montse Ferret SchillingFerrets for Dummies by Kim Schilling

Like any other “for dummies” book here you’ve got THE ultimate reference to all aspects of keeping a ferret. Almost 400 pages – I still haven’t finished reading my own copy – of information organised by chapters so you can go directly to the topic you need. So there’s extra info on things like diets, teeth, diseases, housing, games, vets, etc. etc. The only downside is that it’s not as colourful and hasn’t got as many illustrations as other books.

Monste Ferret BuckleHalf my Facebook friends are ferrets by J.A. Buckle

Ok, so this is not a reference book but Teenage Fiction, but you learn one or two things about ferrets when you read about Josh’s life in his diary and his struggle to achieve some goals before he’s 16. When I picked this book I thought he was going to have lots of ferrets (by looking at the title) but he only has one, Ozzy, who bites and escapes of its cage all the time. Easy read, very funny and realistic; many subjects other than ferrets are included in this book like being popular, becoming a rock star, girlfriends, life at home when you are a teen, etc. totally recommended if you want a good laugh.

Montse Ferret WhiteheadFerreting: An Essential Guide by Simon Whitehead

Here’s a really good book by a professional ferreter with lots of information about how to catch rabbits using ferrets and nets. He gives good advice on looking after the ferrets, transport, collars and finder units, working together with dogs, nets and digging, and the like; but also you’ll learn about rabbits, their habits, feeding, and behaviour. You may not need this book if you just want to keep ferrets as pets, but it will be appreciated by those with and interest in country pursuits.

Monste Ferret WellsteadThe Ferret and Ferreting guide by Graham Wellstead

I liked this book very much because it gives clear and useful information about ferrets in all main aspects and it’s a good guide to read when you are a beginner. Advice is given on selecting ferrets, their care, feeding and housing, and how to breed from them. It has some funny anecdotes by the author and  his experiences on training ferrets to hunt; the techniques and use of equipment is fully described and there is a guide to the legal aspects of hunting. Distinguishing coat colours in B&W photos was a bit tricky, though.

Montse Ferret BuckleStudies in the art of rat-catching by H.C. Barkley

This is a very special and old book, published in 1896, and you will only find it in the Information and Research department of the Central Library. It’s reference only, so no taking home allowed. Despite the book’s title, as much of the content is devoted to ferrets and rabbit control as it is to rat catching. It details such varied subjects as Ratting Tools, Learning Dog Language, Rabbit Catching, Long Netting, Ratting Dogs etc. This excellent title is recommended for all true countrymen. Many of the earliest sporting books, particularly those dating back to the 1800s, are now extremely scarce and very expensive, so having a read of this book for free makes you feel part of a lucky elite.

Montse Ferret ColsonFerret (the pet to get) by Rob Colson

This is a good reference book for children; aimed at 9+ year olds, it gives easy to understand information and advice about what entitles to have a ferret as a pet. This book is a good read is you need to decide whether a ferret (or ferrets) would be a suitable pet for you and your children. It tells about character and behaviour, good and bad habits, how to look after them, etc. It also has a section about polecats and hunting with ferrets. With 32 pages this book is not too long to bore and has lovely photos.

Montse Ferret McNicholasFerrets (keeping ‘unusual’ pets) by June McNicholas

This is another really good book for children as introduction to ferrets. It explains the good points and not-so-good points about keeping ferrets and how to become the carer of healthy animals. Find out about the basic requirements, such as housing, food, water and exercise, and how to provide companionship for your ferrets. It contains information on the natural behaviour of ferrets, expert advice and tips on how to be a good ferret carer and a glossary of difficult and unusual terms.

Montse Ferret FrainThe Pet Ferret Handbook by Seán Frain

I haven’t read this book myself but the synopsis given online sounds quite good: “specifically designed for keepers of domestic ferrets in homes and apartments, this book covers the history of the ferret, how to choose the right pet, housing, feeding, house training, hygiene, exercise, breeding and even exhibiting.” The author is a well-known Patterdale terrier breeder from Cumbria, who has written lots of books on related subjects. It will definitely go onto my “To Read” list.

Librarian’s Choice -Past Favourites

This weeks blog is from Lynn, one of our Senior Communities Librarians. There are some real classic blasts from the past here, as well as a more recent recommendation.

Although I’m an avid reader of crime I thought I would give you a taste of some of my favourites from the past, starting with

Lynn Lady of HayLady of Hay – Barbara Erskine

I can’t believe this book is 30 years old!

This story is about Jo Clifford a successful 20th Century journalist, who is set to debunk the idea of past life regression but when she is regressed under hypnosis she finds herself reliving the experiences of Matilda, the Lady of Hay, the wife of a baron at the time of King John.

Jo learns of Matilda’s unhappy marriage and of her love for another man and of the brutal threats of death at the hands of King John.

The plot is full of twists and turns as Matilda’s life and pain threaten to take Jo’s life as she spontaneously regresses…………………

Lynn Lorna DooneLorna Doone – RD Blackmore

A teenage favourite!

Lorna Doone is a romance set in 17th Century in Somerset and Devon and is the story of John Ridd a farmer who finds love amid religious and social turmoil. John is just a boy when his father a respectable farmer is murdered by the outlawed Doones, a lawless clan who live in Exmoor. Battling his desire for revenge John also grows into a respectable farmer looking after his mother and siblings. He falls in love with Lorna a girl he meets by accident who turns out to be the granddaughter of the Lord of Doones and is destined to marry (against her will) Carver Doone. A tale of secrets, lies and deceit. A fantastic story of star crossed lovers.

Lynn RebeccaRebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”

The novel begins in Monte Carlo where our orphaned lady’s maid is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter- carried along on her giddy adventure it’s not until they arrive at his impressive country estate that she realises the threat his late wife is to their new relationship. Young, shy and socially awkward the new Mrs De Winter finds herself lonely and alone as she battles to establish herself as the lady of the house in a tense, sinister household headed by the mean and spiteful Mrs Danvers who is loyal to the ghostly presence of Rebecca. Surprisingly scary with a psychological edge.

Lynn Black BeautyBlack Beauty – Anna Sewell

One of my favourite childhood stories.

Black Beauty is a horse with a fine black coat, a white foot and a silver star on his forehead, a real beauty indeed.

Seen through his eyes, the story tells of his idyllic upbringing living on Farmer Grey’s farm with his Mum frolicking in the fields. When he turns four he’s trained to carry riders and pull carriages and then sold and goes to live at Birtwick Hall where he meets Merrylegs, Ginger and Sir Oliver.

Hardship and cruelty follow as he is sold to a number of different homes and worked hard until he collapses from overwork before he finds security and happiness in a new home.

Lynn Little WomenLittle Women – Louisa May Alcott

The novel follows the lives of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood. The four girls live with their Marmee in genteel poverty, whilst their father is away fighting in the American Civil War. Their mother encourages them to be the best version of themselves at all times and to celebrate their uniqueness, which for some of the sisters is hard, they pull together as a family in times of need, the loss of loved ones, feelings of failure, talent unappreciated, fear of the future and ever changing family dynamics just a few of the situations the family have to deal with.

Any finally something a little more up to date;

Lynn Elizabeth is missingElizabeth is missing – Emma Healey

Maud an ageing gran is slowly losing her memory – yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth who she believes is missing and in terrible danger, no one will listen.

Vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more than fifty years ago come flooding back, could Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth – a hauntingly beautiful book.

Librarian’s Choice – Sweet Treats

This week’s blog comes from Kat, an assistant community librarian based in the North East of the city.

When I wrote about my top ten books of 2015 there were quite a few mentions of food, and I will admit that I am a bit obsessed – I particularly love sweet stuff, but I try and restrain myself most of the time. I love baking – not just because I get to enjoy the sweet treats but also the opportunity to share them with the people I care about. These are my all fave baking books and the treats that I have made and shared, although sometimes I make the cookies just for me!

Kat Domestic goddessHow to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

This has got to be my longest serving and most frequently used baking book – I stole my mums copy when I first moved out for uni – and the one I always always go back to, because I know that pretty much anything is going to work. This book has everything I could ever want to bake and I love Nigella’s writing and how there is a little story before every single recipe. Some of my favourite bakes have been jam doughnut muffins, Coca-Cola cake, honey and banana muffins….. oh my gosh pretty much everything! I think the best recipe though has to be the butter cut out cookies; “It’s not hard to make biscuits that hold their shape well while cooking; it’s not hard to make biscuits that taste good and have a melting, buttery texture: what’s hard is to find a biscuit that does all of these things together. This one does it all, and with ease.” These have worked every time I’ve made them and always get compliments (which I reckon is the best way to judge a baking success!).

Kat Delia's CakesDelia’s Cakes by Delia Smith

This book is absolutely beautiful, and like Nigella I just know that I can trust Delia to help me make something yummy. One day my best library friend Beth randomly told me about a coconut and lime cake her Nanna used to make from ‘Delia’s Summer Collection’ which was the best cake she had ever had; a few weeks later just before her birthday I found the recipe for that cake in this book. A bit of a hunt later and I managed to find an obscure ingredient in a little shop in Chapeltown (thank you so much to the random lady in the shop who helped me find it!) and managed to bring her a special birthday cake to work (we may or may not have eaten most of it between the two of us with lots of coffee). Apparently it was just like her Nanna used to make, and she was very happy with it; I made the cake a few times that summer (it is the perfect summer cake!) including for Beth’s wedding and it was always perfect.

Kat Jamie's ComfortJamie’s Comfort Food by Jamie Oliver

All I made from this book was the hummingbird cake, which is probably the most impressive looking cake I ever made, and all I can remember about the process was looking in so many shops for edible flowers. Don’t bother, you can’t find them anywhere….. just use pansies from your mum’s garden. She will forgive you for stealing them because this cake is so good!

Kat GuGü chocolate cookbook

This was a book that I had seen lots of times at work and just randomly took it home just before my sisters birthday and made the only good chocolate cake I’ve ever managed (apart from a Betty Crocker mix, they are always good!). It was too big, it was too sickly, and it was perfect!

Kat the boy who bakesThe Boy Who Bakes by Edd Kimber

My best friend went travelling for two years and she used to send me postcards from where ever she was – they always mentioned the food she was missing; one thing she mentioned was a brownie from Crust & Crumb in Chapel Allerton (which are perfect and you should probably go buy one right now) and the other was the chocolate chip cookies from this book. I have made these sooooo many times now (including when Vick came back from travelling -yay!), I did once have a failure, which was devastating and confusing, but I think that was a weighing scales malfunction.

Librarian’s Choice – Not for the faint hearted!

This weeks blog is from Julie, a senior community librarian based in the north east of the city.

As a fan of psychological thrillers I have probably read hundreds over the years. – Below is a small selection of some of my favourites…

Julie Crucifix KillerThe Crucifix Killer by Chris Carter

This was his debut novel, and had me hooked. The book introduces Detective Robert Hunter, who the killer taunts; as he believes the Crucifix Killer was caught two years ago….or was he?

His other books are: An Evil Mind, One by One and The Night Stalker. – All equally as gripping.

Julie HeartsickHeartsick by Chelsea Cain

She was imprisoned, but Archie still continues to visit her, to try and persuade her to confess the whereabouts of her other victims. And now there is another killer at large, and Archie needs Gretchen’s help….

At last, a series of novels about a woman seriel killer, – Gretchen Lowell. Detective Archie Sheridan spent ten years tracking her down, but in the end it was him who became the captive, after she kidnapped and tortured him.

If you enjoy ‘Heartsick’, and want to continue to follow the relationship of Archie and Gretchen, the other books are: Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, The Night Season, Kill You Twice, and Let Me Go.

Julie Into the darkest cornerInto the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

 

Having escaped a violent relationship with Lee, Cathy is rebuilding her life. The book takes you back to her past, and you find out just how destructive the relationship was, and how Lee broke her down, little by little. She meets an attractive new man, but is he all he seems…..?   This book kept me enthralled, as I was desperate for Cathy to find happiness.

Julie behind closed doorsBehind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

 

Jack and Grace are the perfect couple….or are they? Grace has a sister, Millie, who has Down’s syndrome, who also becomes involved in the deception. There are lots of twists and turns, as Grace looks desperately for a way out.

        ‘Sometimes the perfect marriage is a perfect lie’

In the woodsIn the Woods by Tana French

In 1984 three children go and play in the woods, but don’t return home. The police arrive and find one of the children gripping a tree in terror, but with no recollection of what has happened. Twenty years later the boy who was found is working as a detective, and a twelve year old girl is found murdered in the same woods. He and his detective partner investigate the murder, which has chilling similarities to the unsolved mystery of 1984.

julie the cutting room

 

The Cutting Room by Jilliane Hoffman

 

Two of Florida’s veteran law-enforcers are aiming to lock up Gerard Lunders, a reckless playboy who allegedly murdered a beautiful university student. A routine case soon takes a bizarre turn after the defendant’s mother is anonymously sent a minute-long video clip in which a woman is tortured and murdered

This is part of a trilogy, so if you enjoy The Cutting Room, try Last Witness and  Retribution.

 

Julie SleepyheadSleepyhead by Mark Billingham

 

This is the first novel in the series which introduces DI Tom Thorne. It introduces a serial killer with a difference, – he doesn’t want to kill his victims, just put them in a coma. – The victims can still hear and think, but are ‘locked in’ and unable to communicate.

If you enjoy any of these titles I would also recommend Richard Montanari, Mo Hayder, and Stuart Macbride who are also excellent writers of this genre.