New Titles

The Pond

The Pond by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Cathy Fisher

Publication by Graffeg books on 15th May

Read more

A father promises to build a pond for his youngest child, with tadpoles, ducks and waterlillies. He doesn't live to see his pond completed and leaves his family with a muddy messy hole in their garden and their hearts. But through the transformation from muddy hole to vibrant garden pond, the grief stricken family begin to heal and return to life.

"A magical story about love and loss, and how opening our eyes to the wonders of the natural world can help to bring us together and heal the most broken of hearts" - Gill Lewis, children’s author

"he words as ever just roll through the mind, with a wonderful rhythm. Nicola is one of the best picturebook authors of our age. Images and text work hand in hand, heart and soul. It's about life. It's about death. And time. And beauty and healing.This isn't a book to give a child as a present, it's more than that. It should be in every school, home, library. It's a work of art." - Jackie Morris, Author and Illustrator

Buy it here

Teachers’ notes


King of the Sky

King of the Sky by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Laura Carlin

Published by Walker Books on May 4th

Read more

A young boy comes with his family from Rome to a south Wales mining village in the 1920s. While his family set up a cafe, the boy is left to wander the streets and hills. The rain, the landscape and the language tell him ‘this is not where you belong’. But when he makes friends with a retired miner and his flock of racing pigeons,and they pin their hopes on a race from Rome to South Wales, life begins to change.

A powerful story about the meaning of home and finding friends in unexpected places, chosen by Amnesty UK for its positive representation of human migration.

King of the Sky has already been a successful theatre production, directed by Derek Cobley with music by John Quirke.

Reviews

“This lovely story will resonate with any child who has felt out of place, whether a transfer student in a new school or an immigrant in a new country. This will work for group readings, but will be much more special for one-on-one sharing, where readers can absorb the language and pore over the detailed, nuanced pictures. This is a unique and very special book.” - Booklist (starred review)

“Striking mixed media artwork combined with a timely message for anyone struggling to fit in in a strange and seemingly hostile place make this a strong purchase for large collections and/or curriculums with a global focus.” - School Library Journal

“The mixed-media art is soft and smoky and impressionistic, with watercolor blurs evoking pigeons in flight and grainy pencil sometimes adding texture and sometimes outlining figures; they silently expand on the narrator’s account, allowing for views into his family and the bustling life of his terraced row of houses. This is likely to be as much of a different world for viewers as it is for our protagonist, so they’ll appreciate the novice company and find this an unusual and compelling animal story.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Carlin’s smudgy, near-transparent mixed-media illustrations, depicting soot and sun and shadow, capture the essences of the old and new homelands, and a number of wordless spreads emphasize the differences, and distances, between them. Quiet, tender, and profound, this window into immigration offers an intimate understanding of just what it means to come home.” - The Horn Book

“Davies brings the story full-circle in elegant ways, and Laura Carlin’s mixed-media illustrations exhibit the same type of smudgy, scratchy-yet-soft look that won her accolades for The Promise, also written by Davies and published in 2014.” - Kirkus Reviews

“There’s much here to resonate with current world events and it’s one of the most visually stunning books of the year. Carlin’s artwork is mesmerising, with beautiful use of colour to represent hope and warmth.” - The Bookseller

“Most of the world doesn’t have to think twice when asked where they’re from or where home is; some children have to think harder about the answer. Davies recognises this – her sensitive, uplifting tale about find your place in a new strange new land could just as well be about a refugee as it could any child moving to a new town.” - The Times (of London), *Children’s Book of the Week

“A melancholy but uplifting meditation on migration […] Laura Carlin’s blurry, Lowry-esque illustrations capture the sensitive power of Davies’s text.” - Financial Times


Elias Martin

Elias Martin by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Fran Shun

Read more

A young man comes to the snowy woodlands of Northern Canada, where a small mistake can cost you your life. He battles with unforgiving nature to make his living as a trapper, but a magical child shows him there is more to his life in the woods than struggle and hardship.

"There's something about the way Nicola Davies writes that slides the words into your soul." - Jackie Morris

Buy it here

Teachers’ notes


The Selkie’s Mate

The Selkie’s Mate by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Claire Jenkins

Read more

On a Hebridean island a crofter finds an end to loneliness when a Selkie sing with him and leaves the sea to be his love. She gives him with her selkie skin for safekeeping, but will he keep his promise to give it back when she asks. This is story about love found and lost, and the nature of trust.

Buy it here

Teachers’ notes


Lots

LOTS - the Diversity of Life on Earth by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Emily Sutton

Read more

How many different kinds of living thing are there? One, two…LOTS!

An exquisitely illustrated introduction to the concept of biodiversity and why it matters.

"We could not live on an Earth where we had counted all the way back from lots, to one."

Teachers’ notes


The White Hare

The White Hare by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Anastasia Izlesou

Publication 15th September

Read more

Back then, humans and animals were fellow beings under the sky. Perhaps that’s why it seemed possible for humans to change into animals.

One in a series of tales that explore the deeper, darker side of our connection with the natural world. Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.

Buy it here

Teachers’ notes


Mother Cary's Butter Knife

Mother Cary's Butter Knife by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Anja Uhren

Publication 15th September

Read more

The smallest of three brothers, Keenan Mowat had a priceless talent: he loved the sea and the sea loved him right back.

One in a series of tales that explore the deeper, darker side of our connection with the natural world. Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.

Buy it here

Teachers’ notes


Perfect

The Word Bird by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Abbie Cameron

Published July 2016

Read more

Discover the delights of nature in colour and rhyme. Follow the young adventurer as she climbs high up into the trees. Featuring birds of all shapes and sizes, from tiny hummingbirds to enormous ostriches.

Buy it here


Perfect

Animal Surprises by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Abbie Cameron

Published July 2016

Read more

Discover the delights of nature in colour and rhyme. Follow the young adventurer as she treks through the jungle. Featuring animals of all shapes and sizes - some you'll know and some surprises!

Buy it here


Perfect

Into the Blue by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Abbie Cameron

Published July 2016

Read more

Discover the delights of nature in colour and rhyme. Follow the young adventurer as she dives deep down into the sea. Featuring wonderful characters of the deep blue sea, from colourful jellyfish to silvery sand eels.

Buy it here


Perfect

Perfect by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Cathy Fisher

See a gallery of the illustrations on the Guardian Website.

Read an article about Perfect by Nicola on the Scottish Booktrust website.

Read more

Perfect is a story about the birth of a disabled child, told from the perspective of an older brother waiting excitedly for the birth of his little sister. But the baby is not what he was expecting, and he struggles to bond with her. Only when he finds a crashed fledgling bird - a swift- does he come to see his new sibling as perfect, like the bird, and simply herself.

This story uses the deep symbolism that the natural world holds for us all; it also opens the door for discussion around the issue of disability. But it is, at its heart, a story about families, about siblings, and how love binds us together in spite of our difficulties.

The inspiration for the story came from my own life: from the house where I was a small child, which was tall and pointy, with swifts in its roof and from my own great longing for a younger sibling. Those early memories blended with conversations with friends and family who have experienced the birth of a disabled child. And the final catalyst was the great delight that children in my adopted Hackney Schools took in the swifts that fly over their heads in Summer.

Reviews

“Every bookshop, every school, every library, should have this book.” - Jackie Morris, artist and writer

“stories as deeply felt, and as exquisitely crafted as ‘Perfect’ are the food that nourish the soul” - Nikki Gamble, education consultant

“It made me breathe a sigh of relief to remember that words and pictures can help widen and explain the world for children. It intrigues, involves and soothes it’s reader - all at the same time.” - Laura Carlin, artist and illustrator

“Felt like the child inside of me was reading liquid poetry” - Jonathon Ellison, Filmmaker

Buy it here

Teachers’ notes


Tiny - The Invisible World of Microbes

Tiny by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Emily Sutton

Published June 2014

Read more

There are living things so tiny millions could fit on a dot. Although they are invisible, they are everywhere and they multiply very quickly. They are vital for life on earth, and do all sorts of things – from giving us a cold and making yoghurt to wearing down mountains and helping to make the air we breathe. With charming illustrations by Emily Sutton, this friendly, clever book succeeds in conveying the complex science of micro-organisms simply and clearly, and opens up an exciting new avenue for young non-fiction.

Reviews

"Reveals the miraculous-ness of science with sheer sharp edge precision and decorative charm.” - Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times

“A linear story that describes in beautifully simple language the science of microbiology . . . Sutton’s drawings are both elegant and informative, getting science across to the youngest readers. . . stands out for doing something different in this field.” - Lorna Bradbury, The Telegraph

“An absolute visual delight. This charming and beautiful book eloquently describes the forms, functions and rapid reproduction of the ‘invisible transformers of our world.' - The Publishers Association’s Best New Children’s Books Summer 2014, The Guardian

“A star book for young children . . . arresting and interesting illustrations work perfectly with the text, bringing things to a practical level.” - Books for Keeps

“It’s rare to find a science book for tiddlers, never mind one with such a fine aesthetic sensibility.” - Alex O’Connell, The Times

Buy it here


The Promise

The Promise by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Laura Carlin

Winner of the 2014 Engish Association Picture Book award for best fiction.

Have a look at The Promise website. Hear Nicola talk about the Promise and some children from Hayes Park School read from The Promise.

Read more

On a mean street, in a mean town a young thief snatches an old woman’s bag. But inside she finds something more precious than money, something that changes her life, and sets her on a new path.

The beautiful words and pictures of The Promise carry a message of hope for humanity and for Earth: that we can change ourselves, and through that change transform our world for the better.

Inspired by the story of the lone tree planter Elsiar Bouffier, in Jean Giono's 'The Man Who Planted Trees' , The Promise is a very, very special picture book with an important message for children and adults of all ages.

Reviews

"The language, each page is just perfect. Should be in every bookshop" -Jackie Morris

"I was so moved I burst into tears" -Zoe Toft

Buy it here


Whale Boy

Whale Boy by Nicola Davies

Published by Random House as a Corgi Yearling April 2013

Shortlisted for the "Best Story" category of the 2014 Blue Peter Book Awards!

Read more

There’s a place where the water runs deep enough to lose the highest mountain.

That’s where the whales come. So many you can walk on their backs.

And here’s how to find it...

Michael wants a boat very badly, so he can go fishing and recapture the times he spent on the tropical sea around his island home with his dad. Perhaps he can find the secret place where the whales used to come, that the riddle on his grandfather’s silver medallion talks about.

When the smiling Englishman, Spargo, offers Michael his own boat and a job looking for whales it seems to good to be true Michael suspects its the kind of bait that must have a hook inside. But with his Gran’s hospital bills to pay he can’t turn it down.

Spargo is not what he seems, he wants the secret that the silver medallions holds and will do anything to get it. By the time Michael discovers the real reason Spargo wants to find whales, its too late to keep himself and his new friend, a sperm whale he calls Freedom, out of terrible danger. Michael must make brave difficult choices to save Freedom and his family from captivity and death.

An exciting story with a beautiful tropical island setting, about friendship with a wild whale ‘Whale Boy’ is also about love, and how, when you love someone or something, you’ll do whatever it takes to protect it.

Buy it here


Walking the Bear

Walking the Bear by Nicola Davies

Publication August 2013

Read more

Zak's Dad is determined that Zaki will follow the family tradition of training dancing bears. But Zaki has other ideas. So when he is given two sloth bear cubs to care for and train, he runs away from home. He decides to return the bears to the wild but to do that he must first help the young bears learn to be wild. Will Zaki becomes a little bear like himself or can he still become the sort of musician he's dreamed of being?

Like all the books in this series, Manatee Baby is based on a real life story about people and animals in the wild.

Buy it here


Manatee Baby

Manatee Baby by Nicola Davies

Publication August 2013

Read more

Manuela lives in a village on the banks of the Amazon and she wants to be a great fisherman and hunter like her father. She has always dreamed of hunting manatees but when her father kills one, she find the reality is very different. She adopts the manatee's orphaned calf and promises to return it to the its life in the river. But its a difficult promise to keep: manatees are not easy babies! Not only must Manuela learn to be a manatee mum, but she must protect the calf from those who still want to kill it.

Like all the Heroes of the Wild series this book is based on the true story of the Kalendar bear trainers in India, and was researched in a Kalendar village in Bhopal, India.

Buy it here


Elephant Road

The Elephant Road by Nicola Davies

Read more

Elephants have always passed through the forest around Wilen’s village but the forest is being cut down, and now the elephants are too close for comfort. People start to wonder if a life without elephants and forest would be easier. Wilen has to overcome his shyness and his breaking voice to help his village make the right decision.

This story of elephant encounters, tropical storms and family conflicts is set in the forested hills of Northern India. Although it is a made up story it is based on what has really been happening in Meghalaya province in India, where shrinking forests are bringing elephants and humans into conflict. But the Garo people who have lived in the hills for centuries have decided that their forests are too important to lose. They are setting up reserves to safeguard remaining forest and planting trees to restore forest that has been cut down, creating safe corridors of woodland, through which elephants can travel in peace. With the help of the World Land Trust and their partners Wildlife Trusts of India, Garo people are finding new ways to make a living that safeguard the future of their forests.

The Elephant Road is the second book in a series about conserving real animals in the wild and how people around the world have found ways to take action to save their own precious wildlife.

Every time The Elephant Road is borrow from a public library The World Land Trust receives a small amount of money from the Public Lending Right - PLR - which has been donated by the author. If you’d like donate money to to help save forests all over the world visit the World Land Trust Donation page.

The elephant’s legs swung towards him in the torchlight and Wilen screamed. It was the loudest sound he had managed to make for more than a year. The elephant turned and ran. A moment later, the crashing of the herd’s retreat faded down the river valley.

Buy it here


First Book of Nature

A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Mark Heard

Published as Outside Your Window in the US

Winner of the Independent Booksellers Best Picture Book.

Read more

This is a very special book - not just because it has two different titles and covers, A First Book Of Nature in the UK, and Outside Your Window in the US - but because it is a book about children’s very first encounters with nature.

This collection of poems and beautiful artwork leads readers through the sweet delights of first experiences of the natural world; the wind in your hair, the shells on the beach, the stars coming out one by one. It is a book about the the magic of the ordinary - the frogs in the pond, the blossoms on trees in the park the pigeons in the square and an introduction to the beauty and wonder all around around us.

Reviews

“Reading poetry may seem an activity for the winter-bound and introverted, but this lovely collection, organized by season, urges children to dash outside, slamming the screen door behind them. Unlike so much poetry geared toward children, not all the verse here rhymes, introducing readers to poetic language outside the predictable cadences of Dr. Seuss. Mixed-media illustrations, with an emphasis on woodblock and silhouette, offer plenty of beauty to contemplate.” - Pamela Paul, The New York Times

Buy it here


The Lion Who Stole My Arm

The Lion Who Stole My Arm by Nicola Davies

Published December 2012

Winner of The Portsmouth Book Award 2014

Read more

Pedru loses an arm to a lion and is filled with a desire for retribution. But will he take his revenge or find a way to live in peace with Africa's most famous animal?

This is the first in a series of books for 8-12 year olds, which combine real animals and real conservation stories in a fictional story.

The Lion Who Stole My Arm, and the other titles in the series, ‘The Elephant Road’ , ‘Manatee Baby’ and ‘Walking the Bear’ give readers the excitement and drama whilst also offering them real information about animals and how we can conserve them in the wild

Reviews

"It's an irresistible title and doesn't disappoint...This is seat-edge stuff, though, full of bush lore. I'm getting more of her." —Kitty Empire, The Observer

Buy it here


Just Ducks

Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino

Published by Walker Books

Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2013

Read more

From Spring through to Winter the ducks are down on the river that flows through the town, preening, and dabbling, roosting and flapping but most of all quack, quack, quacking!

Join the little girl to get close to ducks and drakes, and tiny fluffy ducklings as they swim about on the river at the bottom of her garden.

Reviews

“... pitch-perfect throughout, enthusiastic and confident, knowing without becoming precocious ... Rubbino’s watercolors, which range from closeup portraits to gorgeous waterscapes, combine a sketchbook immediacy and economy with an appreciation for the ducks’ streamlined shape... Positively ducky all around.” - Publishers weekly

“...seamlessly combines elements of fiction and nonfiction... The easy-going, colloquial tone of the text makes the information surprisingly easy to absorb. Rubbino’s watercolor paintings have a wonderful freshness and spontaneity. Beautiful, informative, and fine for reading aloud.” —Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

Buy it here