By Michael Rosen
We live in a world surrounded by all the stuff that education is supposed to be about: machines, bodies, languages, cities, votes, mountains, energy, movement, plays, food, liquids, collisions, protests, stones, windows. But the way we've been taught often excludes all sorts of practical ways of finding out about ideas, knowledge and culture - anything from cooking to fixing loo cisterns, from dance to model making, from collecting leaves to playing 'Who am I?'. The great thing is that you really can use everything around you to learn more.Learning should be much more fun and former children's laureate, million-selling author, broadcaster, father of five and all-round national treasure, Michael Rosen wants to show you how. Forget lists, passing tests and ticking boxes, the world outside the classroom can't be contained within the limits of any kind of curriculum - and it's all the better for it. Long car journeys, poems about farting, cake baking, even shouting at the TV can teach lessons that will last a lifetime. Packed with enough practical tips, stories and games to inspire a legion of anxious parents and bored children, Good Ideas shows that the best kind of education really does start at home.
Ghost Train Through the Andes
By Michael Jacobs
It was not until long after his grandmother, Sophie, had died that Michael Jacobs was eventually permitted to read the lengthy and passionate letters that his grandfather Bethel had written her from nine thousand miles away. In these letters, Jacobs discovered a remarkable story of hardship, deprivation and enduring love. His grandfather's work on the railway through the Andes was exhausting and desperately lonely. He had little in common with his fellow workers and became consumed by a mounting despondency, from which only his love for Sophie could save him. But, as the months and years of separation passed, the world in which Sophie was blossoming appeared more and more remote from his own.Michael Jacobs' journey back through time takes him from a rain-swept Hull churchyard to desolate Antofagasta in Chile and to the former silver capital of Potosí. Climbing through ghostly, lunar-like scenery towards the snow-capped summits of the Andes, he follows the route of his grandfather's railway - across giant rocky plateaux, through terrifyingly steep gorges and valleys of tropical lushness, and past grim mining townships buffeted by winds, rain and snow - to reveal an extraordinary love story.