Continuing our coverage of educational books that we’ll be using for home learning this year, here are some recent releases from Quarto Books that both educate and engage. Discover a book of playful children’s poems, an exploration of nature’s most beautiful light displays, a cleverly illustrated world atlas, a biography of one of the most significant figures in science, a science comic book, and a fascinating encyclopedia of insect life. Then scroll all the way down to enter to win this same collection of books for your own family!
Click on the titles or cover pictures to see these books on Amazon.
Colette Hiller & Tor Freeman
A collection of 60 short poems designed to teach beginning readers and spellers some of the quirky rules of English. From learning building block sounds and silent letters, to spelling tricky words and distinguishing between homophones (two/too/to, which/witch, etc.), these poems are both catchy and helpful. Clever and amusing wordplay encourages kids to play with and enjoy language as well as remember spelling rules.
The B on Your Thumb
Look, there’s a B
right there on your thumb,
but of course you shouldn’t mind…
For the B that you see
right there on your thumb
is not the stinging kind!
The last few pages include a parent-teacher’s guide with fun and practical learning activities to build on the lesson learned from each poem. For example, coming up with other words that contain the same sounds, turning a poem into a handclapping chant, or coming up with physical actions to go with the poem.
Because of the visual nature of many of the puns, it’s best to read this with your child one-on-one so they can see the poems as well as listen. This is one of the most engaging resources I’ve seen ever seen for teaching spelling and a wonderful addition to any shelf. (Ages 4-8)
Katy Flint & Cornelia Li
In this beautifully illustrated hardcover, two young friends explore the most wondrous light displays on Earth. Learn about meteor showers, solar eclipses, double rainbows, volcanic lightning, polar lights (Aurora Borealis), super blood moons, the “firefall” at Yosemite National Park, light pillars, sundogs, glowworm caves, and the phenomenon known as a Brocken spectre.
Each two-page spread illustrates one of these natural phenomena along with an explanation of the science behind the beauty. Additional info boxes provide more quick facts and a 3-page tear-out poster in the back shows the stages of a solar eclipse with glow-in-the-dark accents perfect for displaying on the wall.
Unfortunately, that tear-out poster is the only place you’ll find glow-in-the-dark effects. I wish they had used the glow-in-the-dark paint more liberally. For example, the glowworm cave page above is just begging for glow-in-the dark accents, but doesn’t have any, and that’s such a missed opportunity. (Ages 6-9)
Kalya Ryan & Sol Linero
This large-format book contains 50 beautifully illustrated maps of 50 countries around the world. Each two-page spread features a different country and covers fascinating facts, landmarks and locations, natural wonders, key moments in history, and famous historical figures. A quick Key Facts box for each lists the capital city, largest cities, population, money, official language, nation code, origins of the country name, and official flower and bird.
50 Maps of the World covers so much more than your average atlas, exploring the unique culture, history, and points of interest in each country. Which precious metal gives Argentina its name? Which country uses baht as currency? When did Madagascar separate from India to become its own island? Where is the world’s first cat museum?
Packed full of fascinating information and facts, this atlas is sure to spark curiosity in your child about the wide world around them. (Ages 8-12)
David Long & Sam Kalda
Charles Darwin forever changed how we look at life on this planet. Commemorating the 200th anniversary of his five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle, this kid-friendly biography takes a look at Darwin’s life from childhood throughout his life.
From the death of his mother and his early studies at Cambridge, to the lifechanging voyage on the HMS Beagle that would lead him to develop his theory of natural selection and the publication of On the Origin of Species 20 years later, this illustrated biography presents the fascinating life and story of a simple man and a theory that would upend the face of science forever.
Back matter includes a selection of species and fossils discovered by Darwin, key influences, friends, and critics in his career, and a quick reference visual timeline of his life. (Ages 8-12)
Discover key scientific figures and principles in an exciting comic strip format! Each section starts by introducing a famous scientist and their field of inquiry, then the following page guides young scientists-in-training in an activity or experiment that brings that person’s achievements to life.
This fun little book features over 40 male and female scientists – mostly from Europe and North America – including world-renowned figures like Galileo, Darwin, and Einstein, and lesser-knowns like Ibn Al-Haytham and his work in light and optics, Caroline “Comet-Hunter” Herschel, and Rosalind Franklin who helped us understand the chemical structure of DNA.
The pages are packed full of fun activities to bring science to life using simple household and easily accessible supplies. Take your fingerprints, extract DNA from a strawberry, make your own compass, and learn about acids and alkalis with homemade colour-changing “chameleon water”. This is a fantastic resource to get the kids excited about science this year! (Ages 8-12)
Jules Howard & Miranda Zimmerman
This illustrated encyclopedia covers a huge variety of insects including mayflies, locusts, earwigs, cockroaches, crickets, stoneflies, booklice, moss bugs, bees and wasps, fireflies, all sorts of beetles, butterflies and moths, a wide assortment of flies, and more. 300 listings include each insect’s common name, scientific name, quick description, habitat, length/wingspan in inches, and diet.
Discover what makes an insect, explore sample life cycles, and learn about metamorphosis. Learn why many insects are in trouble and what we can do to help. The final chapter covers creepy crawlies that are are sometimes mistaken for insects but are definitely not – centipedes and millipedes, spiders, scorpions, woodlice, snails and slugs.
Unlike your typical visual guide, don’t look for macro photography and cross-sections. Miranda Zimmerman’s lovely acrylic gouache illustrations lose some anatomical detail but bring a unique touch of whimsy to these often misunderstood marvels of the invertebrate world. (Ages 8-11)
Win This Collection from Quarto Books
Quarto Books has generously offered to send a set of all the books reviewed here to one lucky family! Enter in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the US, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified.
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Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you.