Neon Squid are a brand new non-fiction publisher for children. As a primary school librarian I have experienced the growth in the range of information books available in recent years and was keen to see what Neon Squid would offer. Their books are on carefully selected topics chosen to introduce children to areas they may not be overly familiar with and to spark an interest that will encourage them to find out more. I have selected a couple to share with you.
The Book of Sisters: Biographies of Incredible Siblings Through History by Olivia Meikle and Kate Nelson
“A World History Through Sisters” is a novel approach to exploring our history but it works well in this attractive and engaging book written, appropriately, by two sisters.
The authors travel through time using the stories of sisters to tell young readers about life, world events and people from sisters in Ancient Greek myths and Queen Cleopatra in Ancient Egypt to modern day sporting superstars and mountaineers. There are those such as Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Tudor with whom children may be familiar and others such as the warrior sisters Trung Trac and Trung Nhi beloved symbols of Vietnam from two thousand years ago who will probably be new to them.
Events including the Salem Witch Trials and the Suffragette movement, subjects like the slave trade and refugees, the Cold War and the Russian Revolution are all covered in this comprehensive book and presented in an accessible and engaging style. Sisters from the Mughal Empire, the Tang Dynasty, Native Americans and the Islamic Word of the Middle ensure the information is global in nature. Different illustrators for each period and story provide an added dimension and the overall look is attractive and would encourage browsing for pleasure alongside more formal research and learning.
The structure is well thought out beginning with a double page contents section followed by a welcoming introduction. The typeface is clear, the layout uncluttered and clear with a balance between narrative, key facts, quotes and maps. The final word from the authors highlights the role of women and in particular sisters in our world and there is also a helpful glossary and index.
The Hospital: The Inside Story by Dr. Christle Nwora and Ginnie Hsu
Set over the course of a day at a busy hospital this book offers the curious child an opportunity to meet all the people who work within the hospital to help keep everyone healthy. From medical staff such as nurses and surgeons to those who keep the building running and support the medics such as workers in the cafe and cleaners.
Written by a doctor this comprehensive book would reassure an anxious child preparing for a visit or stay in hospital or maybe having a close relative admitted but would also answer questions about what the many different roles involve. Starting with admission via reception readers the narrative follows a variety of patients in hospital for a range of reasons including the birth of a baby to a young man visiting the physiotherapist following an operation. The explanations of medical procedures and symptoms removes the fear of the unknown and the tone is a good balance of informative and comforting. Dr Nwora also explains the science behind how things work from X-Rays to operating theatres.
The illustrations by Ginnie Hsu are clear and labels and definitions are included were necessary. The emphasis in both text and pictures is on the human kindness evident in hospital, the teamwork and helpfulness needed to make things work. The overall tone is well considered by the creators of the book. There is a glossary of medical terms such as psychiatrist, stethoscope and fracture plus an index.
Both of these titles were published by Neon Squid in April 2022 and more information can be found on the publishers’ website.