NNFN: A guest post by Lonely Planet Kids’ author Malcolm Croft

lpklogoNational Non-Fiction November is a month long celebration of all the readers, authors, illustrators and publishers who are passionate about providing children and young people with information and fact-based books.

lonely-planet-kids-travel-book-cover-200pxWe’re particularly delighted to have worked closely with Lonely Planet Kids for this November. They have sponsored a variety of events for local FCBG groups, and have created a fabulous free resource for anyone wanting to explore maps as part of National Non-Fiction November.

Today we have a guest post for you from one of Lonely Planet Kids’ authors, exploring this month’s theme: MAPS!

Malcolm Croft is a freelance author, editor and former popular culture commissioning editor. Over the past decade, Malcolm has published, and written 20+ music, film, travel, quirky reference, gift, humour and popular culture titles, including two of the bestselling CoolSeries, aimed for pre-teens. He is the author of The Travel Book. He lives in London.

Maps. Where would we be without them?

“As our window to the world, maps can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes these days. But no matter how we view them, each and every one is designed to help us get to grips with the amazing world we live in. To look at a map is to go on a journey, to unlock a deep passion for adventure that lurks inside the very heart of our humanness. This was an important part of my brief as author of The Travel Book: to help encourage children of all ages to unlock that desire for exploration, to help them visualize Planet Earth as a Russian Doll, where the more you uncover, the more there is to discover.

With scores of reference titles heaped up in my office alongside a long list of statistical apps and websites, I was able to pull together the two essential ingredients of what the team at Lonely Planet Kids and I believe the reader would want to learn about each country of the world – a bright and fun combo of the things you’d learn in lessons at school, plus a whole load of quirky and amazing tidbits that you wouldn’t hear about in the classroom (and that would hopefully allow you to wow your teacher with your mind-blowing knowledge!). I collected thousands of stories and facts that were a mixture of entries children could easily remember and those that were too incredible to forget, and pieced these together into a roller-coaster journey through every country in the world, and a non-fiction title that I’m really proud of.

Regardless of subject area, reading non-fiction is often the first step children make into learning about the larger world around them. It’s the non-fiction titles that are the next progressive step beyond the school playground, that take their minds to the next level of inquisitive thinking. I grew up reading Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels, and the adventures of Peter Pan – classic fantasy stories that reveled in distant lands designed to awake the curiosity for exploration that I believe resides in us all, but often requires coaxing out in the real world. And that’s where children’s non-fiction steps up. It fires up our imaginations beyond the fantasy realms and looks towards our own world for inspiration. Once you learn, for example, about the murderous Blood Countess of Hungary, or the festival in Hong Kong that sees climbers tackling a mountain of sticky buns, or the bodysurfing hippos of Gabon, it’s difficult to not look at the world with a sense of awe.

Writing the book certainly affected me. When it was complete I was so compelled to explore the world I had seen unfold on my computer that I embarked on a three-month trip around South East Asia. I hope that the travel bug is similarly kick-started in many of its readers. Children’s non-fiction helps us explore the world from the comfort of our own homes. All children need is to be encouraged to pick up a book that will start them on a journey. You never know, it might just be a life changing one.”

This guest post was provided by Malcolm Croft. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.

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