There are plenty of days of note in November from Chaos Never Dies Day to World Philosophy Day, but far more interesting to Rua is the history related days and fun days like Origami Day. Therefore he’s picked out a few titles from BorrowBox for children aged 8 and older that celebrate and remember important dates such as Marie Curie’s birthday and Remembrance Day.
Did you know the 7th of November is Marie Curie’s Birthday
Marie Curie was a famous scientist from Poland who is best known for her discoveries on radioactivity . Born in 1867 to two parents who valued her education, she had to move to France to get a University degree as in Poland women could not attend University. Within 3 years of entering college in Paris, she had degrees in Maths and Science and later went on to work with her husband Pierre Curie with whom she later received her first Nobel Prize (1903) for discovering the chemical element radium. She also received a nobel prize in Chemistry in 1911. If you’d like to find out more information in the form of a summary about Marie, library members have access to Britannica . For those looking for a more detailed history of Marie Curie, this book is perfect as it goes into detail about the childhood of Marie (or Maria as she was born) in Russian oppressed Poland and her scientific dedication as an adult to the point where she “became so involved with her research that she forgot to eat or sleep, and … refused to patent her discoveries (which would have made her very wealthy)” chiefly because she cared more about helping people. The book also includes great activities you can do with your grown up to learn more about science. Rua in particular enjoyed looking at all the old photos of Marie Curie that are in the book too.
For something a bit more like a conversation with the noted scientist, and something you can listen to, Rua recommends this audiobook. We all wish we could go back in time and chat to historic figures and this audio makes it feel like you’re doing just that. While Rua enjoyed reading about Marie in the previous book, he enjoyed this one more because it helped him understand atomic physics or how radioactive atoms are different from regular atoms. Listening to the story of Marie’s life from Marie’s point of view gives it a personal feel and while other biographies mention how difficult it was for a woman to both have a family and become a famous scientist, this goes into more detail and shows you how extraordinary Curie was both in terms of scientific discovery (and her discoveries are often used now to treat cancer) but also social advancement (as she was one of the only women in the science field).
Origami Day – 11th November
If you were following Rua’s at home craft series during the first lockdown you may already know that Rua loves paper craft and you can watch back his how to video here:
This book contains 35 fun projects you can do with just paper. While the special paper works better, regular paper can make just as nice pieces. There are six sections in the book ranging in different themes from classic designs such as animals like Rua’s swan above to a very cool pac-man. As you go on you’ll find your folds are getting better and it’s so interesting how much you can do without ever taking out your pritt-stick. The step by step nature of this book is very helpful with photographs included. The book is written by a married couple who are originally from Japan and now live in the UK, and they are both experts in paper crafts with an emphasis on Japanese Arts and Crafts. If you become more interested in Origami there are a couple more books on BorrowBox here
Remembrance Day – 11th November
Also the 11th of November is Remembrance Day, a day where people around the world remember World War 1 and World War 2 and the people who helped bring about peace. Rua, much like many kids, enjoys a more simplified version of events and loves the Horrible Histories Series. He also enjoys fictionalised accounts of events through animals that took part in war, so he loves the classic War Horse. Another of his favourite historical figures is Anne Frank and while he waits to read her diary on BorrowBox, he’s reading a book about the chestnut tree that was outside her window when she was hiding from the Nazi’s.
As anybody who is familiar with the Horrible History books will know, these are not for the child that might be a bit sensitive or if you are offended by mentions of pee or gore and Rua had to wait until he was 8 and a half to read these ones. But every child is different and the first one received an age rating on BorrowBox of 6+ and the second one got a 7+. The first book Frightful First World War discusses everything from how people thought of World War 1 as the Great War and that it would end all wars and the horrible trenches of the Somme.
The second book Woeful Second World War covers the second world war from The Blitz to rationing and of course the Nazis. While these books contain a lot of what it was like to live through the world wars, they are also written in comic form and in a more entertaining fashion that’s easier to digest. If you’re looking for a less whimsical approach to the wars, Britannica has articles ranging in difficulty level on World War 1 and World War 2 .
For anyone who’s seen the stage play or the film you will be well aware of the loveable horse Joey and his story. For those of you new to Warhorse you’re in for a treat and an emotional rollercoaster! Rua knows that children love Michael Morpurgo, especially for how he introduces complex historical situations through animals and people your own age. War Horse is about a horse named Joey who is loved dearly by his owner Albert but because money is short and the army is buying horses, he is sold. The rest of the book recounts his experience as a military horse in World War 1 , in particular in the trenches and how Albert tries to get him back. It’s from Joey’s point of view and shows compassion for all those who lived and died in the First World War. This audio includes a fully acted performance by some of Britain’s best known actors including Timothy Spall who Harry Potter fans might know as Wormtail. You can borrow War Horse here.
If you’re waiting on Anne Frank’s Diary or are a bit younger, this is a great way to learn about Anne Frank. This book is suitable for as young as 5 or 6 and is intended for readers on level 3. It is about the chestnut tree that was beside Anne’s house in Amsterdam. Through the window of the attic in which Anne and her family hid from the Nazis, she could see the leaves and branches and they inspired hope and courage in the family. Anne often mentioned it in her diary and spoke about the healing power of nature. As a squirrel Rua understands how much trees offer and he knows that we all enjoy nature on the walks we take with our families. Whether you want to focus on Anne’s love of nature or the historic period she lived in, this 48 page book introduces Anne Frank in simple terms suitable for everyone.
Rua really hopes you will enjoy his November recommendations and can’t wait to tell you all about what he is reading about next month.