When I was approached to join the blog tour for the latest Histronoauts book, I honestly didn’t hesitate. I’ve been recommending this series in our children’s library for years since the first release to great success, and the most recent release takes this well known format and brings History to life in the most brilliant way once more! This is The Histronauts – A Greek Adventure, written by Frances Durkin, illustrated by Grace Cooke, designed by Vicky Barker and published by B Small Publishing.
B Small’s unique selling point and something they and their team do exceptionally well, is engaging, exciting, fun and interactive non-fiction books. Some kids love facts and non-fic are their books of choice, others find it too much like school work. And the truth is, you can engage both these camps with bright, colourful, interactive non-fiction like this. It’s a win for whoever choses this book.
The Histronauts are a group of fictional children who love to travel and explore, but once in a while they get sucked back in time, where they really experience what it was like to live another life. In this latest book, they head to Ancient Greece. Through a series of graphic storytelling strips, short stories, crafts, quick facts and puzzles, we learn all about Ancient Greece, including theatres, the Olympic Games, home lives, Myths and Legends, the Gods and so much.
The absolute genius of these books is the presentation. Laid out and designed almost like graphic novels, they have a contemporary and appealing style. We have a group of engaging and inclusive fictional characters leading on the exploration, adding that bit of characterisation and fun children need. The book is highly illustrated alongside bitesized snippets of text, making it absolutely ideal for a wide age range, and brilliant for children with Dyslexia.
To reinforce the facts learnt within the book are brilliant and easy to do craft activities and puzzles. It keeps the learning fresh, and memorable and best of all helps to make learning fun and engaging. They’re simple enough to do at home, but incredibly effective and the answers are all provided at the back of course.
Grace’s illustrations are lovely here, they’re bright and fresh and full of personality. The characters are quirky and individual, with a mix of non-stereotypical genders reinforcing that comic art feel that is just so unexpected with non-fiction books. It’s everything that would attract a child to want to pick up this book in the first place, and that is key.
Author Frances has covered such an incredible amount of historical ground in this relatively compact book. It’s really so impressive how much information is contained in here and exactly the kinds of information that’s not only relevant for classroom learning, but is also interesting and what kids will want to know. The facts are presented concisely and clearly in easy to understand language which also doesn’t over simplify. It’s a perfect balance by someone who clearly knows their subject matter but also their audience. This book is so accessible for children who can easily feel overwhelmed by heavily worded or dry non-fiction books. It doesn’t feel at all like an educational read, these books are a joyous experience, fun and fascinating.
I think it’s clear to see purely from the images above alone how truly fab this book is! If you want to see how non-fiction should be done, then look no further than the Histronauts. History brought to life with collaborative creativeness. Expert illustration, writing and design, working to teach history in the most inventive and engaging way. These are books children will choose to read and enjoy regardless of whether they’re reading for pleasure or reading to learn. The Histronauts provide both! Top marks from me, and books I will eagerly continue to recommend to little library visitors and their carers.
A Greek Adventure is out now and available from all good book shops and libraries. I encourage you to support your local indie bookshops and order from there. You can also support my blog and your local bookshop at the same time by ordering a copy through my Bookshop.org affiliate link. (thank you).
Thank you to B Small Publishing for sending this copy through for my honest opinions, and Thank you for reading this Book Monster blog.