Top texts for December

This month’s selections are drawn from the School Library Association’s Information Book Awards, and chosen by Alison Tarrant.

Usborne Politics for Beginners, Alex Frith, Rosie Hore and Louie Stowell, and Illustrated by Kellan Stover

Politics affects all our lives but how much do we really understand about what goes on at Westminster, in the town hall and around the world? This wide-ranging book explains the history, different political systems, voting and much more in clear, concise language helping to make a complex subject accessible. Having won the overall awards for both the Judges’ and the Children’s Choice the power of this book cannot be understated. It would make for fantastic curriculum support as well as reading for pleasure.

When the Whales Walked, Dougal Dixon and Hannah Bailey

From the succinct explanation of evolution at the start to the end, where we read that evolution continues to this day and beyond, When The Whales Walked is packed with detail about the development of animals, including the whales of the title, reptiles, birds and human beings. The information is easily comprehensible, with captions and tables and is complemented by Hannah Bailey’s vivid illustrations. This book provides plenty of detail for anyone fascinated by prehistoric life and the origins of the world. This book won the Children’s Choice Award in the 7-12 category.

Hello, Horse by Vivian French and Catherine Rayner

Hello Horse is a perceptive introduction to horses. Catherine Rayner’s illustrations perfectly complement the text, from the relative size of the child and the horse to portraying changing facial expressions of both. The book has both factual and fictional streams – the factual information is included in small print on the same pages as the larger fictional story. The combination of these two streams means that the reader is gripped, and absorbs the information almost incidentally. This book won the Judge’s Choice in the Under 7 category.


About this month's reviewer

Alison Tarrant is the Chief Executive of the School Library Association, and was a Bookseller Rising Star 2018. She worked as a school librarian before-hand; setting up a library in a brand new school, and during that time was on the middle management team and held roles as Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator and a form tutor. The Information Book Award is a highlight of the SLA year, and includes the all-important Children’s Choice vote. For more information please go to