Places & Spaces My Library

My Library – The Brainwaves

July 15, 2013

Happy monday everyone. Well, the weather here in london has been glorious and rumour has it we’re actually having a summer!

Today i’d like to introduce a new monthly category here on the colourliving blog, entitled my library. My regular readers would know of my love for books and my dreams of a dedicated library. You know the ones with a ladder and a chaise longue! Wouldn’t that be fab? Of course, my favourite has to be karl lagerfeld’s home library in paris.

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss

With technology developing at such a fast pace, some people believe that the printed book is dead. Far from it. The more optimistic would argue that there’s room for both printed and online books and magazines. I would have to agree here. They can compliment each other in wonderful ways.

Books feature heavily in my home so i thought it might be of interest for me to share some of them with you here. Since this is a visual blog, i will stick to mainly visual books. So, don’t expect no 50 shades of grey anytime soon!

Books are enriching, fascinating and inspiring and i’m always really taken with visual learning. The web definition is: “visual learning is a teaching and learning style in which ideas, concepts, data and other information are associated with images and techniques.” Research suggests we retain far more information through visual associations.

Often, there is magic to be found in children’s books. When in need for inspiration one can often find me in the tate modern bookshop children’s section. Today, let me introduce you to the brainwaves, a creation by illustrators lisa swerling and ralph lazar, a husband and wife team who established lastlemon productions in 1999, which originates, produces and licenses cartoon properties, including harold’s planet and vimrod.

I first stumbled upon them in 2006 and immediately bought a few copies in a bookshop in notting hill. I don’t know about you, but i can always use help with my insatiable appetite for knowledge. What better way to educate small and big with wonderful graphics and illustrations. See for yourselves!

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

Meet the brainwaves – ‘little people with big ideas’! This dorling kindersley children’s book series has been translated into more than 20 languages.

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

How nearly everything was invented and how the incredible human body works were the first ones i bought. They are hardback with sleeves and have these amazing fold-out pages. The illustrations are magnificent and i can spend hours looking at them and still find something new, every single time.

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

Here you’ll find everything from the steam engine, famous inventors to fascinating firsts and fabulous flops!

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

In how the incredible human body works, the fold-out pages focus on a key part and process of the body. You’ll learn everything from breathing, looking inside to everything about the blood and the digestive system.

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

There is one more hard back sleeved book missing in my collection. I’ve ordered it and am waiting for it to arrive. The Most Stupendous Atlas of the Whole Wide World. Doesn’t it look wonderful? I can’t wait to receive it and see all the fold-out pages.

The most explosive science book in the universe was first published in 2009, but this paperback version in 2012. It does not have any fold-outs but the illustrations are intense and explosive (excuse the pun). It makes learning about science a real pleasure. Just look at the cover!

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

In 2010 the brainwaves underwent a make-over. Both, the little brainwaves investigate…. animals and the little brainwaves investigate…. human body are hardback but in a smaller format. There are no sleeves, no fold-out pages, far less illustrations that get mixed with a whole heap of photoshop’d photography. It’s much simplified and i am left wondering whether this is to attract far younger readers or whether the first books were too expensive to produce. I’d love to know the answer.

Nevertheless, they are still charming and will supply hours of interesting reading with children. As for adults, they are far less intriguing but then i’m assuming that the brainwaves were invented for children, not to satisfy me!!

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

The Brainwaves Books - Colourliving

Do you get inspired by books? Do you own children’s books? What are your favourites, i’d love to know!

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  • Reply Igor July 15, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Oh yes, I actually chased one of my favorite childhood books in antique bookstores (online) cause somewhere along the way of adolescence I’d lost it. It is a small format book with the story of Peter Pan. Now I own it again and merely looking at it transports me back to happy childhood days! The magic power of books! Happy Monday, my friend!

    • Reply tina July 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      That’s what I call dedication:-)) A man after my own hearts! Ha, no surprise it’s Peter Pan though… I do think you have a lot of him in you:-)

      “The magic powers of books” – yes, indeed! Thanks Igor.

  • Reply Catherine July 16, 2013 at 7:03 am

    This was my favourite part of having children, getting to read all these cool and beautifully illustrated books. My..sorry the kids favourite being one called “Children Round The World” with beautiful pics of how children live, eat, go to school etc. in different countries. The Brainwave books are so good, I love the illustrations, it makes learning fun for children and the parents who have to read the books to them. Thank you for this lovely post Tina. xx

    • Reply tina July 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Aww, I know that reading to kids is hugely important and satisfying.
      Why is it that we adults love kids books so much?? Are we lacking something?

      “Children Round The World” sounds divine and really important. It’s so easy to forget that we live amongst many nations. xx

  • Reply geraldine July 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    These are great Tina, haven’t seen them before. Would be brilliant for little M. Well, like you I collect children books too. I have so many that I need more shelves. I have a few of the vintage Ladybird and Golden books which have the most beautiful illustrations. Happy week lovely and hope to meet soon 😉 x

    • Reply tina July 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      I think little M would love them. He’s in that age group…. yes, wouldn’t it be great to own whole libraries full of children’s books? I certainly would love it!

      Hope you are having a great summer xx

  • Reply Will @ Bright.Bazaar July 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    YES! I love children’s books and still sometimes buy them now because I think they are so often beautifully illustrated. For example, I bought Alice Melvin’s High Street book not so long ago from the Tate bookshop – just wonderful! As for childhood books, well it would have to be the Beatrix Potter series which my gran used to read to me sat at the end of my bed when I was a little boy – a very fond memory of mine.

    Hugs to you, Tina! xx

    • Reply tina July 18, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Isn’t the Tate Bookshop the Best? So, have now ordered Alice Melvin’s Book… can’t wait to see it. Looks totally charming!

      How I love Beatrix Potter.. I have to admit to also watching the film with Renée Zellweger over and over again. For me, except the most charming stories and illustrations, I applaud her individuality and strength in following her own path and not buckling to the social fabric of the time.

      Aww, you know now I have visions of your nan sitting by your bed and little Will being all attentive and curious:-))

      Hugs back lovely xx

  • Reply Nicola July 16, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I was a voracious reader as a child and still have my beaten up set of Beatrix Potter. The Secret Garden and Ballet Shoes stand out in my memory.

    I have also been through so many books with my children, illustrations being a new found thing. Anita and Allen Ahlberg were an amazing team too, they were illustrated, well written and encouraged interaction. What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry still sticks in the mind. Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy used to make me laugh out loud and unable to carry on reading as the story was so relevant.The Rainbow Fish…. And as for Michael Morpurgo, my youngest daughter was so obsessed with his books – we have met him three times and she once took SEVENTEEN of his books in a basket to a book signing! This was all before War Horse made him well known.

    These Brainwaves books look fantastic though, thanks for the introduction Tina xx

    • Reply tina July 18, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Oh, I love it that you all have such emotional responses to children’s books and your own memories:-)
      Sadly, I don’t have such memories at all. I don’t come from a family that read to their children, or at least I have no recollection of it. I didn’t really start loving books and reading until I was 15 and came to this country. I often think, my insatiable thirst for knowledge is trying to make up for the first 15 ‘baren’ years.

      Beatrix Potter and the Secret Garden are favourites. Ballet shoes I’m not sure I know! looks adorable!

      Haha. That story of M taking 17 books to sign for Michael Morpurgo is priceless!!

      Thanks for all the introductions. New fodder for me! xx

  • Reply noreen July 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    hello tina!
    this is a perfect book series suggestion for teachers in the usa, because the new national standards (called common core standards) want students to read more nonfiction texts.

    children’s books are my hobby, and teaching young children to read is what i do. it’s a joy to get children excited about books.

    thanks for the recommendation, i’ll check them out for the classroom!

    • Reply tina July 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm

      Hello Noreen, you must be on your summer break!

      How interesting re: common core standards … is that because they finally understand that visual learning is very powerful??

      I can only imagine how many great children’s books you must know. I think that children’s books, well illustrated, can awaken a child’s curiosity, dream ability and generally educate. They are truly magical! I do believe that adults benefit from them too.

      I hope you’ll like them Noreen, they are really wonderful and very special, especially the earlier ones. Let me know if you have problems obtaining some. Happy to send them out for you from London. Thanks!

  • Reply leah of sang the bird July 17, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Tina! I love kids books, I have a little stash of my favourites put away. I will have to keep a look out for these. Miss S is always thirsty for knowledge. And this looks like a FUN way to learn xx

    • Reply tina July 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Ha. How did I know you would love kids books??? 🙂

      Darling Miss S, I think she will like! xxx

  • Reply Judith July 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Love love love children’s books. I can get lost in the children’s section of the Fnac for hours and have a small collection here at home too. I love Quentin Blake’s illustrations a lot, as well as the work of Fiep Westendorp (like 99% of all Dutch children) and Annemarie van Haeringen. I had one informative book with all these little facts about our European neighbors when I grew up, it was one of my favorites, although it was all in black & white. Illustrated by Joep Bertrams. Cool new series Tina!

  • Reply Deepa July 17, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Aside from the clothes, books are my favorite things to buy for my baby, although she can’t read yet. I really like the books of Eric Carle and Oliver Jeffers, and of course, Dr. Seuss… classic. Pop-up books are so much fun too… I just bought a pop-up alphabet book by Marion Bataille that has huge design/type appeal!

    • Reply tina July 18, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Haha! I bet you are going ‘clothes’ crazy for your little star:-)

      Know of Eric Carle and Oliver jeffers… both lovely!
      Dr. Seuss is a classic.

      I LOVE pop-up books and will feature some:-)

      The MB alphabet pop-up is great!!! Thanks Deepa:-)

  • Reply Louise - 30s Magazine July 20, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Oh wow these are great! I’m going to find out if they have them translated in Dutch so I can buy them for my nephew. Unfortunately my family members threw away all of my childhood books. I have too many books already to go out and buy childrens books as well, but I love to browse them in the bookstore.

    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      I think you will love these….I also have no books from my childhood. Maybe that’s why they’re so important to me as an adult:-)

      I believe children’s books are very important as part of my library. They can often teach you lots of stuff:-))

  • Reply Holly July 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    These are so great! Never heard of The Brainwaves. I also much prefer the pre 2010 versions, but I can definitely see how the newer ones would be more appealing for children. The human body one would probably be my top choice since I like the topic most, but I’m loving the look of the explosive science book best.

    My favourite children’s books are Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss, all The Berenstain Bears books, all Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter books, Amelia Bedelia Helps Out and Merry Christmas Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish, some Ronald Dahl books, Le Petit Prince, and The Wonderful Pigs of Gillian Jigs by Phoebe Gilman. Those are just the ones I can think of right now …. there are more I’m sure. Children’s books are the best books, I find them so so so inspiring and from my adult point of view, they often serve to put things in perspective.

    Fun post Tina!!! Thanks for sharing some of your library with us 🙂


    • Reply tina July 23, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      I so love the pre-2010 versions too, but the newer ones might have a more wider appeal (as you said)
      They are all special.. anyway, you can have a browse when you visit:-)

      Wow, your list is long… I don’t know all but Le Petit Prince was also a favourite of mine (still remains so)

      I couldn’t agree more “Children’s books are the best books, I find them so so so inspiring and from my adult point of view, they often serve to put things in perspective”. Perfectly put!!

      Glad you like it.. xx

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