#Booky100Keepers Day 73: The wonderful world of Usborne Non-Fiction Books

There's a lot to be said for the excitement that seeing a simple multicoloured balloon on the cover of a book can invoke.

Both my wife and I have "Keepers" from our own childhoods from Usborne's amazing selection of non-fiction books and we were delighted that they were still going strong when C first began to show a huge interest in non-fiction titles.

For me as a kid, it was always Usborne books that showed how things worked, the internal workings of machinery, or even how our weather systems worked.

My wife always liked the science stuff, in particular Usborne's amazing books about our bodies, from our brains to our bums.

As we began to gather newer books for C, we realised that Usborne had branched out quite a lot into fiction (including publishing some of the best middle grade stuff on the planet) but we were always drawn back to their non-fiction books, with high production values, stunning artwork and photography, and a ton of facts and interesting information crammed into each one.

So let's take a look at a few, starting with the one in the header of this article.

"The World of the Unknown: Ghosts" was republished last year after a hugely successful kickstarter campaign (which we enthusiastically took part in). These books were like catnip as a kid, nestling in the school library and always the books I made a complete bee-line for (as well as ghosts there were books about strange creatures and UFOs - things I was (and still am) obsessed with as a kid). After the campaign finished and the book reached eager hands, we were delighted to find we were actually in it!

Nestling in the back of the book, a quote about how affecting this book was on me as a kid. Being in a book you've held in such reverence for so long? Heck of an achievement and one of our proudest moments on the blog for sure. 

The book itself still sends chills down my spine. Little Miss was fairly dismissive but I still caught her reading it on the sly plenty of times so she obviously found more of interest in there than she was letting on. With a mixture of gloriously grisly illustrations and 'real photos' of Ghosts, it has lost none of its charm at all. 

"How Your Body Works" with awesome illustrations by Colin King is another family fave and one we've kept since we first nabbed a copy. This is the sort of thing that Usborne excel at, producing a book that shows the inner workings of our own bodies, the fascinating way that all the component parts fit together to make us who we are, and allow us to do the amazing things we are capable of doing.

It's a mark of the books that they speak in a language that's easily digestible by kids, yet doesn't talk down to them at all, making these absolutely perfect for use in school as well as at home (and I've lost count of the number of times our Usborne books have been hauled off the shelves for reference use with homework).

The family's passion for all things spacey is also well catered for.

Usborne's amazing range of books about space exploration, our solar system and beyond are always a draw - ranging from brilliant books for early years to get kids enthusiastic about rockets and spacecraft, astronauts and space stations, through to their titles for older kids that work for such a wide range of ages that they'll last you years.

"The Official Astronauts Handbook" by blog fave Louie Stowell, with a foreword by Tim Peake was a huge fave of ours too (mostly due to the girls being totally obsessed with Tim. We first got to know Louie from her work on various Usborne titles but she talks about and writes about Space with such a huge amount of expertise and knowledge that this book has been a real highlight of our blogging decade.

And of course Usborne cater for our other family obsession - art!

Usborne's art books do more than just inspire kids to learn all about famous artists throughout history, and their amazing work.

They encourage kids to dig out their best art materials and have a go themselves, with a series of titles ranging from reference books like "The Usborne Introduction to Modern Art" through to their more activity based titles, including their truly brilliant sticker books.

There are two publishers out there who set the highest standards in non-fiction (you'll learn about the other one tomorrow) and Usborne are one of the two, with an enviable range that stretches to just about any subject you can think of.

We've been delighted to cover so many of Usborne's amazing non-fiction books on the blog so have included a selection of our original reviews below.

Original Review Links: 

Celebrating National Non-Fiction Day today with our favourite "go-to" for Non-Fiction Children's Books - The mighty Usborne Publishing!

It's National Non-Fiction November! Celebrate with a trio of awesome Usborne books!

Back to School with a selection of brilliant new books from Usborne Publishing

Marking Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th 2015 with Usborne's Young Readers range

"The Usborne Book of Planet Earth" by Megan Cullis, Matthew Oldham and Stephanie Fizer-Coleman (Usborne Publishing)

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 17th October 2014 - "The Usborne Official Detective Handbook" by Various Authors, illustrated by Colin King (Usborne Books)

ReadItDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 6th November 2015 - "The Usborne Big Book of Rockets and Spacecraft" by Louie Stowell and Gabriele Antonini (Usborne Books)

British Science Week beings today - what better way to join in than with a crop of fantastic books!

The Usborne Art Book about Colour by Rosie Dickins, Ashok Roy and Desideria Guicciardini (Usborne Books)

The Usborne Outdoor Book by Alice James, Emily Bone and Briony May Smith (Usborne Publishing)

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 1st April 2016 - "100 Things to Know about Space" by Alex Frith, Alice James and Jerome Martin (Usborne Publishing)

Marking the 70th Anniversary of V.E Day with a look at Usborne's fantastic range of World War 2 history books

The Usborne Introduction to Modern Art by Rosie Dickins (Usborne Books)

100 things to know about Science (Usborne Publishing)

Write your Own Adventure Stories by Paul Dowswell and Paul Hoppe (Usborne Publishing)

Usborne Puzzle Series - Puzzle Jungle (Usborne Books)

Sticker Dressing - Shakespeare by Rachel Firth and Diego Diaz (Usborne Publishing)

Booky Advent Calendar Day 5 - Dec 5th 2013 - 100 Christmas Things to Make and Do by Fiona Watt (Usborne Publishing)

Fingerprint Activities: Animals by Fiona Watt and Erica Harrison (Usborne Publishing)

ReaditDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 28th August 2015 - "The Official Astronauts Handbook" by Louie Stowell and Roger Simo with foreword by Tim Peake (Usborne Books)

Usborne "See Inside" Series - See Inside Ancient Egypt by Rob Lloyd Jones and David Hancock (Usborne Books)

The KnowHow Book of Spycraft by Falcon Travis, Judy Hindley and Colin King (Usborne Publishing)

"All About Families" by Felicity Brooks and Mar Ferrero (Usborne Books)

Usborne "Look Inside: Your Body" by Louie Stowell and Kate Leake (Usborne Publishing)

ReadItDaddy's Ultra-Special Mega-fantastic 3rd Book of the Week - Week Ending 4th October 2019: "The World of the Unknown: All About Ghosts" (Usborne Publishing)

Cataclysmic Comic Making! We pit "Write and Draw your Own Comics" (Usborne) against "How to make Awesome Comics" (David Fickling Books) 

Out today - the fabulous "All About Feelings" by Felicity Brooks, Frankie Allen and Mar Ferrero (Usborne Publishing)

Two excellent titles to raise awareness of children's mental health issues in Mental Health Week 2019 (Usborne Books)

The Usborne Book of Drawing, Doodling and Colouring by Fiona Watt, Katie Lovell and Erica Harrison (Usborne Books)