For several months now, five treasures have been dormant on my shelf, which are a cool alternative to the usual employment books. Because now the hour of workbooks, learning puzzles, vocabulary blocks and craft books has beaten, with which children should/can/must learn. And some of them are really great. Especially if they don’t give the impression of wanting to teach.
Like all good books, the selected five stand out through strong illustrations that are funny, imaginative and informative. The special thing about them is that you should write, paint and glue them into them or they offer instructions for small physical experiments. One could say that they cover the subjects of history, physics, art, culture, sociology, geo and German, but not like typical textbooks.
Again and again I am impressed by the new perspectives illustrators find in order to arouse interest among children. For example, the Polish artist Jan Bajtlik has created a new narrative form for the well-heeled theme of “Greek legends”. A Norwegian book takes us on a journey to the North Pole, where I could really feel how cold and dangerous something like this used to be. And then there are two very different creative books, in which children can sink into colours and ideas and forget everything around them.
Journey into the eternal ice. How do I become a polar explorer.
In this book, the legendary Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen takes you on a gruelling expedition to the North Pole. For me, this book was a very special discovery. The authors manage to skillfully incorporate the participatory aspect into the exciting history of this expedition.
What’s going on? It is the year 1893 when Nansen sets off to the North Pole. The readers accompany him during the preparations and are allowed to consider which professions are useful on board. You will learn to make a compass and what you feed on in the Eternal Ice. Small experiments explain the design of the ship and the navigation of the time. But you can just keep reading, it’s so exciting.
Best reading time: On hot days.
Recommended age: From 8 years.
My big book of color painting
Another research trip, this time into the world of colours. I remember how surprised I was as a kid when I first mixed blue and yellow and it actually turned green. It’s as simple as that? Here, however, it does not stop at mixing the primary colours and painting flowers and animals. Playfully, the author lets the children (or adults) take their first steps in the theory of color.
What’s going on? A large, wipeable book for which you only need ink box, brush and a glass of water. In large coloring-ups, you can mix your own colors. Here, the sense of hues is trained and the effects that colors can have on each other are explained. And then, only by diligent mixing, even a color fan is created. Magical!
Best reading time: For grey hours.
Recommended age: From 6 years.
Our great family. An entry book
“Here, in this book you can write a lot of things about our family. Fill everything out nicely, you have to do well and get to know the kinship. Aunt Kathrin wanted to call you anyway and thank you for the book. You can ask her straight away if she has ever been homesick and what she finds disgusting. And the grandma knows for sure what baby words the mom said and what professions one had in her family. Then you ask Aunt Silja what her favorite color is and Uncle Felix should send you a strand of hair and tell you his favorite word. And here you can paint Uncle Sunny’s beard.” Dolle’s book!
What’s going on? Hard-hitting research across the kinship. With funny and profound questions about family. In addition to the usual “so-bin-i-page” for each family member (you can send around by post), the children should also explore the idiosyncrasies and stories of the mixed-poke. Who is left-handed, who is right-handed? What types of beards occur here? And who can actually roll with their tongues?
Best reading time: Where we are here together …
Recommended age: From 5 years.
Ariadne’s thread. Gods – Saying – Labyrinths
Experience has shown that only minorities are lured behind the oven with the ancient Greeks. These are hammer-hard stories that twilight & Co. can easily take on. Magic powers, violence, love – everything with it. This book offers a playful introduction, also for reading muffles. It’s so big that a child can lie down in it, and that’s a good thing. Because that’s how you have a lot of space to look at the pictures. And for the pure.
The special letters, as we know them from the menu of our favorite Greek, are not so easy to decipher for beginners, so it is recommended for patient, good readers from the age of eight.
What’s going on? The world of the ancient Greeks and their legends is told through labyrinths. There is only one way through each of them. Whoever finds him will read the stories of Oedipus, Sisyphos or the hunt for the Golden Fleece. At the end there is a family tree of the gods to see (very practical) and you can read all the texts in one piece.
Best reading time: In awake morning hours.
Recommended age: From 8 years.
A laboratory community from Frankfurt am Main, consisting of seven researchers, uh, illustrators, offers creative employment through surprising questions and tasks. A end-of-the-year painting book where you can – but don’t have to – think about yourself and the world.
What’s going on? A double page = a playground: On the left the artists/children immortalize themselves with name and date, on the right one of the authors has started a picture that you can now paint, write or glue to the end. There are students who inspire their teacherrt anlachen (Why is that?), book titles eagerly waiting for a cover or nails that can be painted wildly. For every mood there is a creative playground and I believe that it could also be a very casual guestbook.
Best reading time: For spinning and relaxing.
Recommended age: From 7 years.