Category Archives: AuthorBlog

With thanks to …

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Nibweb (the network for children’s non-fiction writers) would like to thank the following organisations for making this website possible:
The National Union of Journalists
The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society

Nibweb members would also like to thank illustrator Penny Ives for her work for this site. See more of Penny’s work at: and

Life in Lockdown – and Exploring Science

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Nibweb member Mark Levesley says: ‘I’ve recently been producing a range of UK curriculum worksheets that link to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are free to download and use by teachers, parents, tutors, students etc. and attempt to take standard parts of the UK curriculum and set them within the context of the pandemic.’

Mark is also co-author with Penny Johnson, Sue Kearsey, and Iain Brand of a series of workbooks for Exploring Science International. These cater for the three years of lower secondary science education in international markets, chiefly the Middle East. Below  is the cover of his biology book:



Mer-people, Some Tricky Questions, and Amazing Evolution

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Nibweb member Anna Claybourne has just published an atlas unlike any other – all about mermaids and other mystery sea-creatures. The Mermaid Atlas: Merfolk of the World  is published by Laurence King, which describes it like this: ‘Magical and mysterious, the merfolk of the world are notoriously elusive, but this enchanting compendium will reveal their secrets. Learn all about the beautiful Selkies of the Scottish seas, the wily Iara of Brazil who love to outwit travellers and the fearful Ningyo of Japan who can give you eternal life. This captivating book features a mix of mermaid “facts” and short retellings of some of the most magical and enticing traditional menfolk tales’.

ISBN: 9781786275844

Laurence King, June 2020



Anna has also recently published two exciting new and more conventionally scientific titles.

 A Question Of Science: Why Doesn’t The Moon Fall Down? And Other Questions About Forces was published by Wayland in February, and is part of a series that ‘draws kids into science in a fun way … (it) features one question per spread with a clear explanation to follow, diagrams and fun and humorous illustrations. The quirky questions are designed to range from those that children will often ask to things they may never have thought of, but will still be keen to know the answer to.’

Wayland, February 2020

ISBN-13: 9781526311542




Amazing Evolution: The Journey of Life, is a beautifully illustrated book about evolution, which ‘shines a light on this incredible process, from the beginnings of life around 3.8 billion years ago, to the millions of different species alive today, including the moon-walking, talking apes with super-powerful brains –human beings!’

Ivy Kids 2019

Illustrated by Wesley Robins

ISBN: 9781782406365



Up for The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

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Nibweb writer Anna Claybourne – with 150 titles to her name – is on the shortlist for this prestigious award. It’s called Science Makers: Making with States of Matter.

The publisher explains that the book invites young people to ‘learn all about states of matter by following in the footsteps of famous scientists, artists and inventors.

• Turn salt water into drinking water with Mária Telkes’ brilliant invention
• Be inspired by sculptor Néle Azevedo to create melting ice people
• Make ice cream using ice and salt like inventor Nancy Johnson, and much more!’

The winner will be announced in November – meanwhile, we’re all wishing Anna the best of luck.

Making with States of Matter is part of a series Anna’s written that ‘introduces a fascinating variety of historical and modern scientists, artists and makers and their discoveries and creations, along with instructions for a creative project inspired by each maker’s work.’

Making with States of Matter
Wayland 2018
Price: £12.99 hardback
ISBN-13: 9781526305480

The First of Everything

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Nibweb member Stewart Ross has a wonderful book just out – in good time for Christmas. Publisher Michael O’Mara describes it as: ‘A lively and highly readable account of the origins, invention and discovery of just about everything on the planet, the truly global coverage of The First of Everything ranges from the Big Bang to driverless cars …This fascinating book takes in the full sweep of human development and ingenuity over twelve millennia’

This is the book for anyone who wants to know about how the world we live in today came about – it covers everything from  the Big Bang Theory and the start of the universe to the development of  homo sapiens; health and medicine, transport, science and engineering, peace and war, and culture.


The First of Everything by Stewart Ross
Published by Michael O’Mara
ISBN 9781789290622
£12.99 (hardback)

Your mind matters

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Nibweb member Honor Head has just published four very timely books on mental health.

Honor says: ‘Mental health, especially in the young, is big news these days. This new series for preteens helps them recognise signs of stress and anxiety, gives advice on how to overcome negative feelings and develop a positive attitude, and aims to support young people feeling afraid, isolated and overwhelmed by life.’


Honor has written many books for young people on health and social issues.

Publishers who want to get in touch with Honor can go to our ‘Contact us’ page.

For grown-ups, too

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Just published by Nibweb member Susie Hodge: I know an artist: the inspiring connections between the creators who have shaped our world.

This – unlike many Nibweb publications – is a book aimed at adults rather than children. It’s about the ways in which pioneering artists and their work are connected over time and place in fascinating and unexpected ways. Some have shared inspiration (s in the case of Paul Klee and Anni Albers) , others have been romantically connected (Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock), or through teaching (Paul Klee and Anni Albers).


I know an artist,  White Lion Publishing, 2019, ISBN 9781781318430

London Book Fair 2019

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Several Nibwebbers went, but on different days, so there was no chance for meeting up, However, all noticed that the growth in children’s non-fiction seemed to be continuing, though enthusiasm was  sometimes  rather qualified. Here’s what they had to say:

‘… my impression was that there is a great deal more CNF, especially from smaller publishers. Good.
Less good was (1) most of it focussed on the same handful of subjects – dinosaurs, environment, Kings and Queens, etc; and (2) a tendency to provide gimmicky gloss rather than solid content – do children really need to be entertained by snigger and giggle 24/7? Surely they’re not that dumb? (Actually, I know they’re not. Most do not like being talked down to.)
…  (on the French exhibits) [they] have always been more serious minded with their CNF – see all those carousels of the stuff in motorway service stations.’ Stewart Ross

‘… there seems to be a much greater array of CNF than in the past, and a move away from series … I think that’s encouraging … not sure about cover prices, though – how much cnf is produced for parents of modest means to buy as anything other than presents? Will schools be able to afford such books? Thought there was some interesting stuff from France …’ Jenny Vaughan

‘I thought the mood was more upbeat than it had been for years. Money is going into new projects (but not passed on to us, as they conceded), interest in new ideas … I still have concerns about trends in design and artwork though and, as Stewart says, above, there is too much prioritising of gimmickry over the basics. I like artwork which  augments the information provided in the text. Picture book styles for cnf may be attractive or retro or in vogue, but they must show how things work and other fundamentals. (Very pleased to see a roving NUJ presence there, I must say.)
‘Not the place for a bad back though! On every LBF feedback I’ve ever done, I have called for more chairs and tables for the likes of us, as most stands are filled up with rights people.You can spend half the appointment time searching for somewhere to talk, and end up sitting on the floor.’ Philip Steele

‘Books must work very hard to differentiate themselves from online content. That’s probably why cnf has become much more “arty”. Some of that art is very expensive and has swallowed up the budget, and has led to the text being written in-house by people inexperienced in providing information. Some of it looks muddy and dark, in my eyes, especially in the nature genre. But some of it looks glorious and will inspire children.
‘I applaud the way that art-based publishers have woken up to the need for non-fiction at last. The trick is to do is as well as we possibly can to appeal to today’s taste. …
‘Agents say there’s no demand from publishers for novel-sized paperback non-fiction, but I believe there will be when the gift book market is saturated. It’s already saturated with some subjects … but there are also some very good books out there and a great hunger for good non-fiction. We should be very happy about that.’ Moira Butterfield