Sparking Conversations about Climate Change

Does your child know about climate change?

Do they know what small things they can do to help?

Take part in our climate change worksheet activity. There are tick box questions, spaces to write their thoughts, ideas of how they can do their bit and they can also make a pledge. If they hand in their pledge to the library they will receive a cress seed prize! Just ask at your local, Hampshire library from 26 September – 12 November.

You can find some great reads about Climate Change in our Earth Heroes blog: Are you ready to be an Earth Hero? – Hampshire Library Service (hampshirelibraries.blog).

Summer Reading Challenge 2022 – Gadgeteers!

The Summer Reading Challenge is a great way to share stories and encourage reading throughout the summer holidays, a time when children’s reading skills can sometimes dip.

The theme of the challenge this year is Gadgeteers. Join Eddie, Leo, Ajay, Maggie, Aisha and James and discover the amazing science and innovation behind the world around you!

You can sign up at your local, Hampshire library, or online, from Saturday 16 July and read or listen to any six books to earn a certificate and medal. You can read story books, fact books, eBooks,  audiobooks, and even comics!  Once you have read/listened to your first few books, pop into your library to receive your Gadgeteers collector card and first stickers. Every time you finish reading/listening to a book, visit the library and see a member of our team to talk about the books you have read and collect your next stickers .

When you finish the challenge come to the library to collect your final stickers, finisher’s certificate and medal! Everyone who finishes the challenge has a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet too!

Watch this video to find out more and see how you can take part!

The challenge is for children aged 4 – 11, and we look forward to you joining us in reading or sharing six books of your choice. Children aged 4 and under can join in the fun and earn reading star stickers throughout the summer.

You’ll find thousands of children’s eBooks and audiobooks free to download using our BorrowBox service with lots of titles always available without the wait. You’ll find links to some of our recommendations on this webpage and information about downloading ebooks and audiobooks.

If you’re not already a member of Hampshire Libraries, you can join to take part.

Meet the Gadgeteers!

Sign up, and join in the fun!

Author of the Month: Marian Keyes

Early Biography  
Marian Keyes is an Irish author born in 1963, who grew up in and around Dublin as part of a large family. Keyes completed degrees in law and business, moving to London in 1986 to take on an administrative role. However, Keyes began to struggle with alcoholism and depression in her twenties, eventually attempting to take her own life in 1995. Keyes underwent rehabilitation for her alcoholism in Dublin and began working on short stories, based in part on her own experiences. Keyes submitted these stories to the publisher Poolberg Press, with the promise of a novel to follow. The novel she submitted, Watermelon (1995), would become a best seller in Ireland and launch her career as an author. While Keyes has struggled with mental health difficulties for most of her adult life, she has described her writing as a ‘rope across the abyss’ which has given her the strength in times of crisis. Keyes has been sober now for over 25 years and lives with her husband Tony in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin. 

Work and Career  
Keyes’ works are darkly comic but insightful novels, often based on her own experiences. They cover sensitive topics such as mental illness, divorce, substance abuse and domestic violence while maintaining a tact and approachability which makes them instant favourites with readers. While Keyes’ books tackle heavy topics, their tone and narrative are optimistic and uplifting with a happy ending for all your favourite characters. Keyes main series is the Walsh Family novels, where we join the Walsh Sisters as they navigate the ups and downs of modern life. Watermelon (1995) is the First book in the series, while her latest work Again, Rachel (2022) is the most recent addition. Despite being associated with the genre, Keyes has been a strong critic of the term ‘chick-lit’ and its ‘belittling’ and ‘demeaning’ connotations. Equally, Keyes is a strong feminist and has drawn attention to differences in the way that male and female written works are represented and awarded.  

Accolades, Awards and Statistics 

Keyes is the British Book Awards Author of the Year 2022, recognised for her ‘expert storytelling, incredible warmth of heart, and significant contributions to the publishing industry over three decades of writing’. She has sold over 33 million books worldwide and her works have been translated into 36 different languages. Keyes has won ‘Popular Fiction Book of the Year’ at the Irish Book Awards in 2009 and 2017 for This Charming man (2008) and The Break (2017) respectively. Keyes has had multiple best-selling books in the UK and Ireland, where her works routinely top bestsellers lists. 

Marian Keyes – Biography 
Penguin – Where to start reading Marian Keyes’ books 
The Guardian – Marian Keyes: rehab was one of the happiest times of my life 
Twitter – Marian Keyes  
BBC Radio 4 – Desert Island Discs Marian Keyes 
Independent.ie – Author of the Year 
Chatelaine – Keyes on the term chick lit 

Check out our Marian Keyes collection on our catalogue

“Writing about feeling disconnected has enabled me to connect, and that has been the most lovely thing of all.” ~ Marian Keyes

Author of the Month: Len Deighton

Leonard Cyril Deighton was born in London in 1929. His publications have included cookery books, history and military history, but he is best known for his spy novels. 

In 1940, at the age of eleven, Deighton witnessed the arrest of Anna Wolkoff, who was detained as a Nazi spy and charged with stealing correspondence between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Deighton later said that observing her arrest was “a major factor in my decision to write a spy story at my first attempt at fiction”

It was on an extended holiday in 1962 that Deighton wrote his first novel – The Ipcress File (short for the “Induction of Psychoneuroses by Conditioned Reflex under Stress”), which was a critical and commercial success.  

Several of Deighton’s novels have been adapted for the screen. In March 2022, ITV broadcast a new six-part adaption of The Ipcress File, starring Joe Cole as Harry Palmer. The new series had a big budget and big name stars, and plenty of overseas locations to capture the eye of the viewer. 

During 2021, Penguin Books reprinted all of Len Deighton’s fiction backlist, creating a range of fresh and vibrant cover designs that hark back to the 1960s, when designer Ray Hawkey did the covers for their first Deighton editions. 

‘The hallmarks of a Deighton novel are an intricate plot, an easy grasp of detail and a total mastery of storytelling technique.’ – Sunday Times

Powerful poetry: 7 must read contemporary poetry books

Poetry comes in all different shapes and sizes. From flowery language mixed with rhyme and rhythm, to plain speaking pages that confess something profound (and everything in between). Discover your favourite kind of poetry with these varied recommendations to get you started.

Everyone sang: a poem for every feeling by William Sieghart

This collection of writers new and old is an amazing way to find poems that connect with you. Everyone Sang is a wonderful selection of accessible poems that are arranged to help us map out our emotions. Chosen by the creator of the bestseller ‘The Poetry Pharmacy’, William Sieghart, and brought to life by illustrator Emily Sutton. The collection includes Maya Angelou to A.A. Milne, Lemn Sissay, Jackie Kay, Carol Ann Duffy, Joseph Coelho, Kae Tempest, W.B. Yeats, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, and many others.

If you’re a fan of Joeseph Coelho, you’ll love our interview with him on the Love Your Library podcast.

The actual by Inua Ellams

A symphony of personal and political fury. Sometimes probing delicately, sometimes burning with raw energy. In 55 poems that swerve and crackle with a rare music, Inua Ellams unleashes a full-throated assault on empire and its legacies of racism, injustice and toxic masculinity. In just 80 pages Ellams shows us the many faces of contemporary poetry and how we can use it to understand the world.

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

While Bluets narrator sets out to construct a sort of ‘pillow book’ about her lifelong obsession with the colour blue, she ends up facing down both the painful end of an affair and the grievous injury of a dear friend. Winding its way through depression, divinity, alcohol, and desire, visiting along the way with famous blue figures, including Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Yves Klein, Leonard Cohen and Andy Warhol.

bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward

Raised in Chorley in the north of England, Yrsa Daley-Ward’s work draws on her early life and her Jamaican and Nigerian heritage. The first collection from a ground-breaking poet, bone looks at identity, race, mental health, and femininity. With celebrity fans from Beyoncé to Florence Welch, this isn’t a collection to be missed.

Hold your own by Kae Tempest

Hold Your Own is a rhythmic retelling of the Tiresias myths set-in modern-day Britain. Kae Tempest’s first full-length collection takes a close look at class and gender in this ambitious multi-voiced work. A vastly popular and accomplished performance poet, Tempest commands a huge and dedicated following on the performance and rap circuit.

Grief is the thing with feathers by Max Porter

Part novella, part sound-poem, Max Porter’s debut depicts a wild and unruly grief embodied by the character Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. In a Nanny McPhee-like series of events, the sentimental bird visits a grieving family after the loss of their mother and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months, and the physical pain of loss gives way to memories, the family begin to heal.

Citizen: an American lyric by Claudia Rankine

Through essays, images, and poetry, Claudia Rankine’s book recounts mounting racial aggressions in 21st century daily life and in the media. The accumulative stresses that come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform and stay alive. Taking a close look at how racism has impacted the lives of Serena Williams, Zinedine Zidane, Mark Duggan and others.

Remember, there’s no wrong way to read poetry, but reading poems in different ways can be great for finding out how they can create different feelings. Why not try reading a poem as fast or as slowly as you possibly can and see whether it changes the sense of meaning you get from it? Lots of poets like to play with how words sound too, so you could even ask a friend to read a poem aloud to you. It’s a great way to discover more about poetry and share your favourite reads with those closest to you.

9 great reads from The Amplify Project

Recently on the Love Your Library podcast we sat down with Patricia and Pauline from The Amplify Project, a podcast that puts the spotlight on Black writers for the stage, page and screen. Through a series of intimate interviews, the podcast puts Black British writers front and centre to explore their work, experiences, and inspirations. Find out why The Amplify Project started and what they see in their future in the latest episode of the Hampshire Libraries podcast.

Below, you’ll find a curated list of book recommendations provided by The Amplify Project. Discover your next favourite read in this exciting collection of novels, plays, and poetry.

The Humiliations of Welton Blake by Alex Wheatle

‘Welton Blake has done it! He’s asked out Carmella McKenzie – the best-looking girl in school – and she’s only gone and said yes!

But just as he thinks his luck is starting to change, Welton’s phone breaks, kick-starting a series of unfortunate and humiliating events. With bullies to avoid, girls ready to knock him out and all the drama with his mum and dad, life for Welton is about to go very, very wrong…’

The Frequency of Magic by Anthony Joseph

‘Raphael earns his living as a butcher in a hillside village in rural Trinidad. He is also a would-be author, but there have been so many changes to the novel he has been writing for forty-one years that many of the characters have lost patience and gone off to do their own thing. But somehow, miraculously, the novel, as Raphael has planned it in one hundred chapters of a thousand words, seems to write itself…’

Homecoming by Colin Grant

‘These are stories of hope and regret, of triumphs and challenges, brimming with humour, anger and wisdom. Together, they reveal a rich tapestry of Caribbean British lives. Homecoming is an unforgettable portrait of a generation, which brilliantly illuminates an essential and much-misunderstood chapter of our history.’

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

‘South London, 2008. Two couples find themselves at a moment of reckoning, on the brink of acceptance or revolution. Melissa has a new baby and doesn’t want to let it change her. Meanwhile out in the suburbs, Stephanie is happy with Damian and their three children, but the death of Damian’s father has thrown him into crisis – or is it something or someone else? Are they all just in the wrong place? Are any of them prepared to take the leap?’

We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan

We Are All Birds of Uganda explores the entangled relationship between communities, generations and identity across two continents. Hafsa Zayyan’s deeply affecting debut novel is a powerful insight into what it means to live between two worlds and what it means to belong.

Tales from the Caribbean by Trish Cooke

This collection of favourite tales from the many different islands of the Caribbean will inform, delight and entertain children as well as educate them about this fascinating and varied region.

Death of England: Delroy by Roy Williams

Written in response to their play Death of England, Death of England: Delroy is a new standalone work by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, which follows a Black working-class man searching for truth and confronting his relationship with White Britain.

This One Sky Day by Leone Ross

Dawn breaks across the archipelago of Popisho. The world is stirring awake again, each resident with their own list of things to do:

A wedding feast to conjure and cook.

An infidelity to investigate.

A lost soul to set free.

As the sun rises two star-crossed lovers try to find their way back to one another across this single day. When night falls, all have been given a gift, and many are no longer the same.

The sky is pink, and some wonder if it will ever be blue again.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2019, this murder mystery book explores themes of slavery, freedom and secrets and results in a beautiful and haunting tale about one woman’s fight to tell her story. Remember, you can find interesting and insightful interviews with the authors on The Amplify Project podcast, and catch the episode with Patricia and Pauline on the Love Your Library

Behind the bookshelves with a Library Team Assistant

Find out what it’s like to work behind the bookshelves, how libraries become a part of the community, and what three novels Libby would take with her to space.

What is your role and what do you like about it? 

My name is Libby Saer and I’m a Library Team Assistant with annualised hours. It’s like being a supply teacher, except for libraries. If one of the team is ill, on leave or doing some training, I step in to cover for them. Sometimes it’s just for the day, but often it’s for the week or longer. Fortunately, (if my memories of school are anything to go by) people are much nicer to library assistants than teenagers are to cover teachers…)

Not having fixed hours means that every week is different – and I love that. I’m usually at Hedge End, West End and Netley libraries, and each has its own particular atmosphere and loyal users. It’s fun to work with colleagues I may not have seen for a while, and to help customers with requests. I do everything from helping new members join, to tracking down the next book in someone’s favourite series. I love hearing about which books people have enjoyed (or not) and trying to match someone with a book they might like. Sometimes I find items that aren’t in the right place and send them to the library they are meant to be in, a job I find bizarrely satisfying. Even tidying books is more fun because I’m not doing the same set of shelves each week.

What did you do before you came to Hampshire Libraries? 

A bit of everything. I’ve taught in secondary schools, catalogued books in academic libraries, worked in marketing for universities, and provided pastoral care for students. Often at the same time as volunteering at church, at a community-run library and raising my children.

What made you want to work at Hampshire Libraries? 

I’ve lived in lots of different places, and everywhere I’ve been I have joined the library. Libraries are magical places to me. So, when I had the chance to volunteer in a community library I jumped at the opportunity, and I loved it.

I don’t think I really appreciated until then that a library can be a warm refuge for people who need it. For lots of people I talk to, their local library is a lifeline. Whether someone needs to make a Universal Credit claim, apply for a job, find a different book to read to a toddler, or even if they’re just curious about the world – the library is the place for them. I spoke to a student from a low-income family recently, who told me that without her local library – the kind encouragement of the library assistants and access to stories and information that widened her world – she would never have made it to university.

Once I was volunteering, one thing led to another and before long I was offered a job with Hampshire Libraries – getting paid to do what I already loved doing.

Is there anything that surprised you about working for Hampshire Libraries?

Quite often when people come into one of our libraries, they see me and their faces sink a little bit because I’m not the person they’re expecting to find. It’s lucky I’ve got thick skin! They’re relieved when I tell them I am just a temporary substitute, and their usual library assistant will be back soon. It’s really brought home to me how libraries build connection. Someone who works in the local library becomes a key part of the community. Ask anyone who has been in the job for a while, and they can tell you what the regulars like to read, where they are going on holiday, and how their health is. And the customers know their names and like to ask how they are doing too. It’s lovely.

Another surprise was just how many books someone can get through in a week. Sure, I expected to see younger readers leaving with piles of children’s books and then coming back the next Saturday for more. But many of our older customers get through an enormous stack of novels in a day or two. They can tell you exactly which authors to check out, so it’s always worth asking them if you’re after a good recommendation.

If you had to live out the rest of your life on a lonely space station overlooking the planet, what 3 books would you take and why? 

You may as well ask me which of my kids is my favourite. (Hint: it’s the one who unloads the dishwasher without being asked). But after much sighing and reluctant crossings-out, I’ve managed to narrow it down.

I’m going to assume that I get Desert Island Discs privileges, so this space station comes equipped with the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare. And – shhh! – I’m going to smuggle aboard my e-reader stuffed with novels by my favourite authors: Jane Austen, John le Carré, Dorothy L Sayers, Robert Galbraith, Lee Child, Georgette Heyer, John Wyndham, Rosemary Sutcliff and Hilary Mantel.

But if you are going to allow me just three actual books in my space luggage, I guess I’ll pick the following:

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

I first read this as a teenager and have read it to all my children in turn. Conservationist Durrell really wrote two different books in one: a natural history of the Greek island of Corfu with beautiful, detailed depictions of the landscape and the wildlife, and a hilarious account of living on the island in the interwar years. The escapades of his family would make me giggle, and, as I looked down from the cold expanse of space, his warm descriptions of the island would bring alive to me the amazing beauty of our planet.

Smiley’s People by John Le Carré

I could have picked any one of Le Carré’s early books, but this humane, intriguing and tense espionage novel is one of his best. Like a game of chess, he carefully moves every piece around Cold War Europe until – checkmate – George Smiley, the retired spy refighting the battles of his past, meets both victory and defeat. Every character is wonderfully drawn, from the civil service mandarins covering their backs to the émigrés from behind the Iron Curtain being used as pawns by the security services. Le Carré never wrote more exquisite prose about the human cost of the secret life.

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers

Sayers was one of the queens of the Golden Age of crime fiction. If you haven’t read her Lord Peter Wimsey detective stories – what are you waiting for? Don’t start with this one, but when you get to Gaudy Night you are in for a treat: it’s a cracking mystery set in an Oxford college, centred not around Wimsey but Harriet Vane, the woman he loves. More than mere detection – although certainly not less – it’s a sharp and funny meditation on work, love and integrity, asking a question today’s feminism still wrestles with – is it possible for a woman to have it all? My copy is falling apart and I refuse to be separated from it, even if I go into space.

Books and me: Carly Harrod

Carly Harrod from Hampshire Countryside Service tells us about the books that inspired a career with nature and why adults should read more children’s books.

Where’s your favourite place to read?

I like to find a nice sunny spot in the garden to sit and read my book, so I tend to read more in the summertime. Usually as soon as I finish work, I like to get out in the garden to read something. I have a wood fire in my living room so it can be nice to curl up in the evening and read a bit of a book there too.

How do you read?

I went through a stage of reading on my kindle until I filled my kindle up, but I actually really like the feel and smell of a real book, so I tend to read more physically.  If I’m really into a book I can’t stop reading it. I need to read it until it’s finished. So that might mean I read constantly for two days if I have time, but that can be hard when you have a seven-year-old running around. I find if I leave a book for too long, I get a bit lost and I might move onto something else and forget about it, so I like to read in one hit.

I like an easy read that I can just get completely lost in. There are some books that I just cannot get into though, and I’ll just stop and move onto another book if I’m not enjoying it. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien is one that I keep trying but I just can’t get through. I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit,but I get about 5 pages into The Silmarillion and just can’t go further. But I will never get rid of a book, I will always keep it in case I want to come back to it another time because it might not be that I will never like that book, it might just be the way I’m feeling on that day or that I’m just not into that genre at the moment.

Books are quite precious to me, I would never fold a page over or leave a book open and face down to save a page either. I have a few books that are really special and they sit in their dust jackets on my shelf to keep them safe.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just finished Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series which I re-read all the time, especially in the summer. They’re just nice books to return to because I can get through one of them in a couple of days and I love to just get lost in that magical world.

Reading patterns

Fantasy is a big love of mine and I really enjoy authors like Tolkien and Pratchett, but I also love a bit of Scandi-noir. They’re crime novels that tend to follow the police trying to solve a puzzling case and I love the twists and turns, but they can be a bit darker. I think because they’re set in cities covered with snow, the crimes feel so far removed from here and I find them easier to read about. Samuel Bjork’s novels are some of my favourites but those are as dark as I can go with reading now. I used to be really into horror writing, I loved Stephen King and James Herbert, but I can’t read them at all these days. I used to love the Point Horror book series when I was growing up and R.L. Stine was my absolute favourite Point Horror writer but I think as I get older I prefer reading books that leave me with a nice feeling at the end.

First love, best loves

I have older siblings and a lot of what I read came from them. They had this lovely bookcase filled with some really old-fashioned books, like Swallows and Amazons and Enid Blyton and other books that can be quite outdated now. But I loved these stories about children going out into the countryside and having adventures. I think that’s probably why I do what I do now. As I got older, I began getting into the Point Horror books, I did enjoy them them but it was what everyone was reading at the time. What really stands out in my memory is when my sister bought me The Hobbit. I absolutely loved it. It’s still one of my favourite books and I go back and re-read it constantly. It was one of the first more adult books that I had ever been given. The writing was so immersive, I really felt like I was going to Middle Earth.

A series of books that I really love is by Monica Dickens, the series starts with The House at World’s End. It’s about this group of siblings who get sent away to live on a farm on their own and end up looking after all the stray animals in the area. They’re just such nice books, there’s nothing horrible in them, just very sweet escapism.

I also spend a lot of time looking through ID guides as part of my job and they can be really interesting. One that I absolutely love is called The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, the pictures in it are all hand drawn. It shows plants and animals all throughout the seasons and it’s just beautiful. Another brilliant one is Janet Marsh’s Nature Diary which is all about the Itchen Valley and the nature you can find throughout it. They’re both brilliant because even though they’re really old, it’s still plants and animals that we recognise. For anyone who wants to get out and become more involved with nature I would really recommend Francis Rose’s book on wildflowers, it’s a brilliant book to get started identifying flowers and I would really recommend Joseph Cornell’s book of activities for something to do as a family too.

But my all-time favourite book is A Fly Went By from Dr Suess. It’s just a long poem. I still have the copy that was read to me as a child and I still read it to my kids. Our oldest kids have children of their own now and we bought the book for them to read to their children as well.

Overlooked delights

I think adults should read more children’s books. They’re just simple pleasures with nothing bad happening. I like the positivity in life, and I think children’s books show us that. One I really enjoyed recently was Oi Frog! There are some fantastic kids’ books out there that can teach you stuff as well as teaching your kids stuff and I think we forget that. It reminds us of when things were easier, and I think we all need that sometimes.

Carly Harrod is a Project Manager for the Countryside Service, as part of her role she looks after the Countryside Service social media account and supports the volunteers who work throughout Hampshire. She regularly speaks on the Looking After Nature podcast. Carly was speaking with Isaac Fravashi.

Make! Book collection

Do you consider yourself creative or do you think that you haven’t got a creative bone in your body?  Either way, Hampshire Libraries has put together a collection of titles for you.  The Make! collection has arrived in selected branches to empower you in your creative skills.  This selection has titles from macramé to song writing, sour dough baking to embroidery, water colours to anime illustration. 

Inspired by Get Creative and the way the population turned to arts and crafts during the lockdowns, this collection has inspiration for everyone from children and their caregivers to teens and adults.  You are never too old to learn a new skill!  Creativity has been shown to improve your mood, self esteem, cognitive function, alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety and now that the world is opening up to us again, joining a creative group can improve your social life.  Hampshire Libraries run many different creative courses – why not give one of them a try? Have a look at and search for a course near you Learning in Libraries

Michael Rosen’s Book of Play
These days, we seem to have less and less time for play. At school, children are focused on exams, while at home we’re all glued to our phones and iPads. Here, Michael Rosen shows us why we need more play in our lives. He explores the influence of play on everyone from Shakespeare to Dickens and Dali, delving into the history of play via puns, nonsense, improvisation and physical toys. He also explains why play is a core part of child development, proven to bolster creativity and resilience. Above all, play should be fun – and this book is full of silliness and laughter. Every chapter features exercises and prompts for creative indoor and outdoor play for all the family, with specially designed pages for scribbling, word play and more

The Art of Repair – Molly Martin
For Molly Martin, it all started with a pair of white woollen socks. Her favourite pair. When the heels became threadbare and a small hole appeared on the right toe, her mother got out her grandmother’s old darning mushroom and showed her how to mend them. In ‘The Art of Repair’, master repairer Molly Martin explores the humble origins of repair and how these simple sewing techniques offer not just a practical solution but a philosophy for life. Using her own charming illustrations, she teaches us the basics of the craft – Kantha, the running stitch used by Bengali women to sew together discarded cloth scraps, saris and dhotis; and Sashiko, the ancient Japanese practice of repairing workwear using a ‘boro’ or ‘little scrap’ – and shows how the art of mending can turn something old and worn into something new and meaningful.

Paint Play – Katie Rose Johnston
Forget everything you think you know about traditional watercolour painting – ‘Paint Play’ will show you how to experiment with paint, use it spontaneously, and have fun, no experience required! Through a series of 21 simple, achievable activities, artist Katie Rose Johnston demonstrates different ways of mixing colours, experiments with textures using salt and cling film, makes spatter art, animal print patterns and much more.

Knit Yourself Calm – Lynn Rowe and  Betsan Corkhill
The therapeutic benefits of knitting have long been recognised and holistic health expert Betsan Corkhill, together with knitting designer Lynne Rowe, create beautiful projects designed to calm and soothe. Suitable for beginners and more experienced knitters, discover how the repetitive process of knitting can relieve stress and improve your well-being.

Quilt Petite – Sedef Imer
Quilt Petite’ contains 18 sweet small quilts designed by Sedef Imer. Learn how to make mini quilts, cushions, table toppers, doll quilts, place mats, potholders, and lots more. It includes detailed instructions on a wide range of techniques such as patchwork, hand and machine quilting, English paper piecing, foundation paper piecing, raw edge applique, free motion applique, and hand embroidery. A range of projects are suitable for both beginners who wish to learn new techniques and for advanced quilters who wish to practice more challenging ones.

Look out for these titles at your local library, you can also find a selection in eBook and eAudio format on BorrowBox.

Written by Ali.

Climate Change Reads for Young Adults

Climate change is big news, and it’s becoming apparent that making small changes to the way we live now, could be amplified, to have an even greater effect in 10 or 20 years time.

We have created a very special collection of books and audiobooks for young adults to help them learn about the environment and nature, through fiction, information about climate heroes or simple, but effective actions they can take to make a difference right now. Find them on the eBooks app, BorrowBox.

“We deserve a safe future. And we demand a safe future. Is that really too much to ask?” ~ Greta Thunberg

Fiction titles

City of Rust by Gemma Fowler

Railey dreams of winning the drone races with her bio-robotic gecko friend, Atti. But when a bounty hunter crashes their biggest race yet, the pair are forced to flee to the feared Junker clans who mine the rubbish orbiting the Earth.

The Summer We Turned Green by William Sutcliffe

It’s the summer holidays, and thirteen-year-old Luke has just had his life turned upside down. First his older sister Rose moved ‘across the road’ – where a community of climate rebels are protesting the planned airport expansion – and now his dad’s gone too.

A fresh, funny, heartfelt look at this generation’s must-win battle: one earth, one chance.

The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe by Tricia Springstubb

Beautifully written, The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe is about expeditions big and small, about creatures who defy gravity and those of us who are bound by it.   A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

A Girl Called Joy by Jenny Valentine

Meet ten-year-old Joy Applebloom, a girl with a knack for finding the silver lining in even the darkest of rainclouds.
After years of travelling the world with her parents and older sister, Claude (Claude rhymes with bored, which is just about right), Joy and her family move to suburbia – back to school, back to her grumpy, rule-obsessed grandad and back to normality.

Joy soon finds her usual irrepressible positivity and zest for life waning, but when the powers that be threaten to pull down a mighty oak tree, Joy decides to fight back, and realizes that not all magic requires wands and spells, and perhaps the most important sort of magic is the power, resilience and courage that was there all along . . .

Plastic Girl by Jessica Maison

Eva grew up in a climate apocalypse, her parents are dead, and the boy she once loved is probably trying to kill her. Just when she’s about to give up, she discovers a new species born from plastic waste. More incredibly, she can mould these creatures into other beings – first a butterfly, then a fish, a deer, a bear – and eventually, a sister, Iris. As Eva dabbles with creating life, it becomes frightfully clear that her creations, Iris included, will either save humanity or end it.

Eva, one of Earth’s last inhabitants, is a lonely girl searching for companionship and evidence that life might return to Earth. What time she doesn’t use to survive her harsh environment, she spends searching for life, stewarding the lake around her cabin and making sculptures of extinct animals out of found materials. One day, while checking on her island, she discovers something alive that shouldn’t be, something she can transform and that can also transform her. She embarks on a grand and dangerous scientific journey that ultimately will birth a new era and provide her with the companionship she so desperately needs. Through Eva’s engagement with this new life, readers will discover that to save the world, humanity may have to become something else entirely or disappear completely.

Flood World by Tom Huddleston

Kara and Joe live outside the Wall, spending their days navigating perilous waterways and scratching out a living in the ruins of the old city. But when they get swept up in a police chase, and find themselves in possession of a mysterious map, they’re suddenly in a world of trouble!As they delve deeper and deeper into a dark world of rebellion and revenge they’ve soon got gangsters, cops and ruthless Mariner pirates in their hi-tech submarines hot on their heels. But as Joe and Kara are swept up into a revolution of justice and vengeance, they must find a way to fight back and save their city before the walls come tumbling down, and the waves come rushing in…

The Territory by Sarah Govett

Noa lives in what’s left of Britain where flooding means land is scarce. Everyone must sit an exam at 15: if you pass you can stay in the Territory, if you fail you must go to the Wetlands. Rich families can buy their children an upgrade to help, but ‘Norms’ like Noa must succeed on their own merit. Noa is a bright funny teenager, not sure which boy she likes, devoted to her friends. The book follows her as she and her friends face the exam. Who will pass and who will fail?

Watership Down by Adam Richards

Set in the once idyllic rural landscape of the south of England, ‘Watership Down’ follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the destruction of their home, as they head towards a mysterious promised land.

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die.Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from?A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

Deep Secret by Berlie Doherty

Deep in a Derbyshire valley live two girls, twins, so alike that even their family can’t tell them apart. But tragedy is waiting. When the valley is sold to be flooded for a huge dam, the villagers are forced to leave their homes. Deep secrets are uncovered. New characters enter their lives and desires, love and grief come to the surface.

Zenith by Julie Bertagna

Sixteen-year-old Mara and her ship of refugees are tracking the North Star, desperate to find a homeland in the melted ice mountains of Greenland. The vast, floating city of Pomperoy is just one of the shocks that are not in their navigation plans. Unwittingly, the refugees bring catastrophe in their wake for Tuck, a gypsea pirate-boy, and also for Ilira – a land whose inhabitants exist in a state of terror at the top of the world. Back in the drowned ruins at the feet of the towering sky city, Fox is beginning his battle with the cruel, corrupt forces that rule the New World. But separated from Mara, his resolve begins to waver . . .

The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold

When a deadly Fly Flu sweeps the globe, it leaves a shell of the world that once was. Among the survivors are 18-year-old Nico and her dog, on a voyage devised by Nico’s father to find a mythical portal; a young artist named Kit, raised in an old abandoned cinema; and the enigmatic Deliverer, who lives Life after Life in an attempt to put the world back together. As swarms of infected Flies roam the earth, these few survivors navigate the woods of post apocalyptic New England, meeting others along the way, each on their own quest to find life and love in a world gone dark.

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

Every summer Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stac to hunt birds. But this summer, no one arrives to take them home. Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they’ve been abandoned – cold, starving and clinging to life, in the grip of a murderous ocean. How will they survive?

Non-Fiction titles

Be the Change by Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens

From National Poetry Day Ambassadors Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens comes an incredible anthology of poetry identifying ways we can Be the Change.

These positive and upbeat poems will explore sustainability and the positive efforts being made to protect the planet and are perfect for starting conversations about looking after each other and our environment.

Climate Rebels by Ben Lerwill

Most people know about Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough. But there are many other climate rebels around the world. They are not as famous, but they work very hard. This book is about some of these amazing people.

99 Maps to Save the Planet

A shocking but informative, eye-catching and witty book of maps that illustrate the perilous state of our planet. The maps in this book are often shocking, sometimes amusing, and packed with essential information.

Save our Species by Dominic Couzens

Focusing on thirty of our most loved and most ‘at risk’ inhabitants, this uplifting and hopeful book will give naturalists of any age the tools to respond to the SOS calls heard from their garden, local park and beyond.

The Almost Zero Waste Guide by Melanie Mannarino

In a perfect world, we would all be able to fit a year’s worth of waste in a mason jar. But for most of us​,​ doing so can be immensely intimidating or simply not feasible. In ​The (Almost) Zero Waste Guide​,​ author Melanie Mannarino shares 100 simple tips for being less wasteful w​ith what​ you eat, ​how you live in​​ your home, when you’re curating your wardrobe, when you practice self-care, during your travels​ near and far​, and in your community.

Make it Happen: How to be an Activist by Amika George

In the spring of 2017, 17-year-old Amika George founded the Free Periods movement on behalf of every schoolgirl who couldn’t afford tampons or sanitary towels. Three years later, in January 2020, these products became freely available to every schoolgirl in England for the first time, funded by the government. Anyone can make history, including a teenager launching a global petition from their bedroom. And Amika will show you how, in this essential guide to being an activist.

Taking on the Plastics Crisis by Hannah Testa

In this personal, moving essay, youth activist Hannah Testa shares with readers how she led a grassroots political campaign to successfully pass state legislation limiting single-use plastics and how she influenced global businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. Through her personal journey, readers can learn how they, too, can follow in Hannah’s footsteps and lower their carbon footprint by simply refusing single-use plastics.

Plasticus Maritimus by Ana Pego

For young readers comes an imaginative guide to ocean plastics, filled with tips and tricks for identifying—and combating—pollution in our oceans. Inspired by biologist Ana Pêgo’s life’s work, and filled with engaging science and colourful photographs, this foundational look at plastic pollution in the ocean explains why it is such an urgent contemporary issue.

Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

In this personal, moving essay, environmental activist and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez uses his art and his activism to show that climate change is a human issue that can’t be ignored.

One Earth: People of Colour Protecting our Planet by Anuradha Rao

One Earth profiles Black, Indigenous and People of Colour who live and work as environmental defenders. Through their individual stories, the book shows that the intersection of environment and ethnicity is an asset to achieving environmental goals.

No One is too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

‘Everything needs to change. And it has to start today’ In August 2018 a fifteen-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, decided not to go to school one day. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet, forcing governments to listen, and earning her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. This book brings you Greta in her own words, for the first time.

Open your mind: Learn to deal with the big stuff in life by Gemma Cairney

Full of honest and practical advice from Gemma Cairney and a whole host of trained professionals and real people, ‘Open Your Mind’ is the best friend of a book everyone needs. From stress, trauma, and anxiety, to your place in the world and everything in between. It includes chapters on anxiety, depression, addiction, politics, our natural world, and feminism.

It’s Getting Hot in Here by Bridget Heos

Tackling the issue of global warming head-on for a teen audience, Bridget Heos examines the science behind it, the history of climate change on our planet, and the ways in which humans have affected the current crisis we face. It’s Getting Hot in Here illustrates how interconnected we are not just with everyone else on the planet, but with the people who came before us and the ones who will inherit the planet after us.

It’s Your World by Chelsea Clinton

In It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going, Chelsea Clinton tackles some of the biggest challenges facing our world today, especially for kids. Using data, charts and stories she unpacks challenges related to Poverty, Climate Change, Gender Equality, Health, Endangered Species and more. She also talks about what’s being done to make a difference in each area, particularly by kids and teenagers. With lots of suggestions and ideas for action, Chelsea Clinton shares her passion for helping others and shows readers that the world belongs to every single one of us, and every one of us counts.

Guarding Eden by Deborah Hart

Guarding Eden tells the personal stories of twelve ordinary people who were so concerned about climate change that they altered their lives to do something about it. Some did quiet backroom work in research, drafted submissions or wrote to politicians; others decided to go public, really public – one was part of the team occupying a 160-metre power-plant chimney, one went on a hunger strike publicised around the world, another started the Lock the Gate Alliance.

V is for Vegan by Kerstin Rogers

Vegan food has long suffered from a fusty, bland image so Kerstin Rodgers set out to change this. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, vegan curious, pescatarian or carnivore, if you are looking for something different, or merely to cut down on your animal and meat intake, this book will change your perception of veganism forever.

Chew on This by Eric Schlosser

Based on Eric Schlosser’s bestselling Fast Food Nation, this is the shocking truth about the fast food industry – how it all began, its success, what fast food actually is, what goes on in the slaughterhouses, meatpacking factories and flavour labs, global advertising, merchandising in UK schools, mass production and the exploitation of young workers in the thousands of fast-food outlets throughout the world. It also takes a look at the effects on the environment and the highly topical issue of obesity.

Generation Us by Andrew Weaver

In clear and accessible language, Generation Us explains the phenomenon of global warming, outlines the threat it presents to future generations and offers a path toward solutions to the problem. The reality of global warming has long been accepted within the scientific community, yet it remains a hotly debated topic at the political and social level.

Generation Green by Linda Sivertson

We all know about the Earth’s environmental crisis, but there is someone who can truly make a difference: you. If you text your friends or chat with them online, download music to your iPod, or toss bottles and papers into recycling bins, you’re already more eco-savvy than you think. It’s just as easy to do even more to help save the earth, and Generation Green shows you how. 

We are the Weather Makers by Tim Flannery

We Are the Weather Makers is a concise and revised edition that will allow listeners aged from nine to 90 to learn the facts about climate change and is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 2006.

How to Change Everything by Naomi Klein

The first book for younger readers by internationally bestselling social activist Naomi Klein: the most authoritative and inspiring book on climate change for young people yet. Warming seas. Superstorms. Fires in the Amazon. The effects of climate change are all around us. Reforestation. School-strikes for climate change. Young people are saving the world and you can join them because you deserve better. Are you ready to change everything?

We are all Greta by Valentina Giannella

We Are All Greta sets out the basic ideas required to understand climate change, explained in a scientific and accessible way and drawn from the most authoritative sources. With a chapter on key words and sites to help you understand the climate challenge and a list of websites to visit for further information, this is a book for young people, for parents, for grandparents and anyone having to answer direct and urgent questions about what must be done to protect our world.

Voices of Change

The twelve essays in Voices of Change, by fifteen inspiring youth leading the climate change movement in Canada, explore the most challenging issues around climate change, from sustainability to activism. The contributors, from all across the nation, describe their own work developing successful initiatives that have positively brought about environmental change—from creating a “Library of Things” in Waterloo, Ontario, to an ocean-education program in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Blue Planet II by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe

Discover all there is to love about our Blue Planet, the stories of its inhabitants, and realise how you can help protect this wilderness beneath the waves.

New Life Stories by David Attenborough

How did Sir David track down a giant Earthworm? Why does he respect Rats? What was the first bribe in nature? Why do well known foods often have two names? And where can you see evidence of the earliest life on Earth? His enthusiasm is as infectious as ever, and conveys a unique fascination on topics as diverse as the Kiwi, Hummingbirds, Monsters, Butterflies, Chimps, Cuckoos, Fireflies and Elsa, the famous lioness. 

“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.”  ~ David Attenborough