Perfect by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Cathy Fisher
See a gallery of the illustrations on the Guardian Website.
Read an article about Perfect by Nicola on the Scottish Booktrust website.
Perfect is a story about the birth of a disabled child, told from the perspective of an older brother waiting excitedly for the birth of his little sister. But the baby is not what he was expecting, and he struggles to bond with her. Only when he finds a crashed fledgling bird - a swift- does he come to see his new sibling as perfect, like the bird, and simply herself.
This story uses the deep symbolism that the natural world holds for us all; it also opens the door for discussion around the issue of disability. But it is, at its heart, a story about families, about siblings, and how love binds us together in spite of our difficulties.
The inspiration for the story came from my own life: from the house where I was a small child, which was tall and pointy, with swifts in its roof and from my own great longing for a younger sibling. Those early memories blended with conversations with friends and family who have experienced the birth of a disabled child. And the final catalyst was the great delight that children in my adopted Hackney Schools took in the swifts that fly over their heads in Summer.
“Every bookshop, every school, every library, should have this book.” - Jackie Morris, artist and writer
“stories as deeply felt, and as exquisitely crafted as ‘Perfect’ are the food that nourish the soul” - Nikki Gamble, education consultant
“It made me breathe a sigh of relief to remember that words and pictures can help widen and explain the world for children. It intrigues, involves and soothes it’s reader - all at the same time.” - Laura Carlin, artist and illustrator
“Felt like the child inside of me was reading liquid poetry” - Jonathon Ellison, Filmmaker
Tiny by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Emily Sutton
Published June 2014
There are living things so tiny millions could fit on a dot. Although they are invisible, they are everywhere and they multiply very quickly. They are vital for life on earth, and do all sorts of things – from giving us a cold and making yoghurt to wearing down mountains and helping to make the air we breathe. With charming illustrations by Emily Sutton, this friendly, clever book succeeds in conveying the complex science of micro-organisms simply and clearly, and opens up an exciting new avenue for young non-fiction.
"Reveals the miraculous-ness of science with sheer sharp edge precision and decorative charm.” - Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times
“A linear story that describes in beautifully simple language the science of microbiology . . . Sutton’s drawings are both elegant and informative, getting science across to the youngest readers. . . stands out for doing something different in this field.” - Lorna Bradbury, The Telegraph
“An absolute visual delight. This charming and beautiful book eloquently describes the forms, functions and rapid reproduction of the ‘invisible transformers of our world.' - The Publishers Association’s Best New Children’s Books Summer 2014, The Guardian
“A star book for young children . . . arresting and interesting illustrations work perfectly with the text, bringing things to a practical level.” - Books for Keeps
“It’s rare to find a science book for tiddlers, never mind one with such a fine aesthetic sensibility.” - Alex O’Connell, The Times
The Promise by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Laura Carlin
Winner of the 2014 Engish Association Picture Book award for best fiction.
On a mean street, in a mean town a young thief snatches an old woman’s bag. But inside she finds something more precious than money, something that changes her life, and sets her on a new path.
The beautiful words and pictures of The Promise carry a message of hope for humanity and for Earth: that we can change ourselves, and through that change transform our world for the better.
Inspired by the story of the lone tree planter Elsiar Bouffier, in Jean Giono's 'The Man Who Planted Trees' , The Promise is a very, very special picture book with an important message for children and adults of all ages.
"The language, each page is just perfect. Should be in every bookshop" -Jackie Morris
"I was so moved I burst into tears" -Zoe Toft
Whale Boy by Nicola Davies
Published by Random House as a Corgi Yearling April 2013
Shortlisted for the "Best Story" category of the 2014 Blue Peter Book Awards!
There’s a place where the water runs deep enough to lose the highest mountain.
That’s where the whales come. So many you can walk on their backs.
And here’s how to find it...
Michael wants a boat very badly, so he can go fishing and recapture the times he spent on the tropical sea around his island home with his dad. Perhaps he can find the secret place where the whales used to come, that the riddle on his grandfather’s silver medallion talks about.
When the smiling Englishman, Spargo, offers Michael his own boat and a job looking for whales it seems to good to be true Michael suspects its the kind of bait that must have a hook inside. But with his Gran’s hospital bills to pay he can’t turn it down.
Spargo is not what he seems, he wants the secret that the silver medallions holds and will do anything to get it. By the time Michael discovers the real reason Spargo wants to find whales, its too late to keep himself and his new friend, a sperm whale he calls Freedom, out of terrible danger. Michael must make brave difficult choices to save Freedom and his family from captivity and death.
An exciting story with a beautiful tropical island setting, about friendship with a wild whale ‘Whale Boy’ is also about love, and how, when you love someone or something, you’ll do whatever it takes to protect it.
Walking the Bear by Nicola Davies
Publication August 2013
Zak's Dad is determined that Zaki will follow the family tradition of training dancing bears. But Zaki has other ideas. So when he is given two sloth bear cubs to care for and train, he runs away from home. He decides to return the bears to the wild but to do that he must first help the young bears learn to be wild. Will Zaki becomes a little bear like himself or can he still become the sort of musician he's dreamed of being?
Like all the books in this series, Manatee Baby is based on a real life story about people and animals in the wild.
Manatee Baby by Nicola Davies
Publication August 2013
Manuela lives in a village on the banks of the Amazon and she wants to be a great fisherman and hunter like her father. She has always dreamed of hunting manatees but when her father kills one, she find the reality is very different. She adopts the manatee's orphaned calf and promises to return it to the its life in the river. But its a difficult promise to keep: manatees are not easy babies! Not only must Manuela learn to be a manatee mum, but she must protect the calf from those who still want to kill it.
Like all the Heroes of the Wild series this book is based on the true story of the Kalendar bear trainers in India, and was researched in a Kalendar village in Bhopal, India.
The Elephant Road by Nicola Davies
Elephants have always passed through the forest around Wilen’s village but the forest is being cut down, and now the elephants are too close for comfort. People start to wonder if a life without elephants and forest would be easier. Wilen has to overcome his shyness and his breaking voice to help his village make the right decision.
This story of elephant encounters, tropical storms and family conflicts is set in the forested hills of Northern India. Although it is a made up story it is based on what has really been happening in Meghalaya province in India, where shrinking forests are bringing elephants and humans into conflict. But the Garo people who have lived in the hills for centuries have decided that their forests are too important to lose. They are setting up reserves to safeguard remaining forest and planting trees to restore forest that has been cut down, creating safe corridors of woodland, through which elephants can travel in peace. With the help of the World Land Trust and their partners Wildlife Trusts of India, Garo people are finding new ways to make a living that safeguard the future of their forests.
The Elephant Road is the second book in a series about conserving real animals in the wild and how people around the world have found ways to take action to save their own precious wildlife.
Every time The Elephant Road is borrow from a public library The World Land Trust receives a small amount of money from the Public Lending Right - PLR - which has been donated by the author. If you’d like donate money to to help save forests all over the world visit the World Land Trust Donation page.
The elephant’s legs swung towards him in the torchlight and Wilen screamed. It was the loudest sound he had managed to make for more than a year. The elephant turned and ran. A moment later, the crashing of the herd’s retreat faded down the river valley.
A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Mark Heard
Published as Outside Your Window in the US
Winner of the Independent Booksellers Best Picture Book.
This is a very special book - not just because it has two different titles and covers, A First Book Of Nature in the UK, and Outside Your Window in the US - but because it is a book about children’s very first encounters with nature.
This collection of poems and beautiful artwork leads readers through the sweet delights of first experiences of the natural world; the wind in your hair, the shells on the beach, the stars coming out one by one. It is a book about the the magic of the ordinary - the frogs in the pond, the blossoms on trees in the park the pigeons in the square and an introduction to the beauty and wonder all around around us.
“Reading poetry may seem an activity for the winter-bound and introverted, but this lovely collection, organized by season, urges children to dash outside, slamming the screen door behind them. Unlike so much poetry geared toward children, not all the verse here rhymes, introducing readers to poetic language outside the predictable cadences of Dr. Seuss. Mixed-media illustrations, with an emphasis on woodblock and silhouette, offer plenty of beauty to contemplate.” - Pamela Paul, The New York Times
The Lion Who Stole My Arm by Nicola Davies
Published December 2012
Winner of The Portsmouth Book Award 2014
Pedru loses an arm to a lion and is filled with a desire for retribution. But will he take his revenge or find a way to live in peace with Africa's most famous animal?
This is the first in a series of books for 8-12 year olds, which combine real animals and real conservation stories in a fictional story.
The Lion Who Stole My Arm, and the other titles in the series, ‘The Elephant Road’ , ‘Manatee Baby’ and ‘Walking the Bear’ give readers the excitement and drama whilst also offering them real information about animals and how we can conserve them in the wild
"It's an irresistible title and doesn't disappoint...This is seat-edge stuff, though, full of bush lore. I'm getting more of her." —Kitty Empire, The Observer
Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino
Published by Walker Books
Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2013
From Spring through to Winter the ducks are down on the river that flows through the town, preening, and dabbling, roosting and flapping but most of all quack, quack, quacking!
Join the little girl to get close to ducks and drakes, and tiny fluffy ducklings as they swim about on the river at the bottom of her garden.
“... pitch-perfect throughout, enthusiastic and confident, knowing without becoming precocious ... Rubbino’s watercolors, which range from closeup portraits to gorgeous waterscapes, combine a sketchbook immediacy and economy with an appreciation for the ducks’ streamlined shape... Positively ducky all around.” - Publishers weekly
“...seamlessly combines elements of fiction and nonfiction... The easy-going, colloquial tone of the text makes the information surprisingly easy to absorb. Rubbino’s watercolor paintings have a wonderful freshness and spontaneity. Beautiful, informative, and fine for reading aloud.” —Carolyn Phelan, Booklist