Question Everything: an investigators toolkit

Authored by Susan Martineau
Illustrated by Vicky Barker
Published by b small

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News has always been presented with a bias, and sometimes a shocking disregard for the truth, but now more than ever, concerns are rising about the increase in fake news and disinformation. The micropublisher b small published the award-winning Real-life Mysteries (Blue Peter Book Award Best Book with Facts 2018) which presented in a fun and easily digestible way possible explanations for some of the world’s mysteries like the Loch Ness Monster and Shackleton’s mysterious ghostly companion. This book was picked up by teachers who could see the potential in using it to teach children to be critical about what they read. A further book in this series Real-life Disasters will be published in the autumn.

Publisher, Sam Hutchinson realised that there was more that could be done to explicitly address in a children’s book the skills of reading critically. Question Everything is a toolkit for readers. It’s a small format handbook which starts by acknowledging how confusing the information jungle can be. We are all bombarded every day with messages from social media, traditional media, at home and school. The book then goes on to provide some practical strategies to help young readers navigate the world, with a simple toolkit to help them take stock and to question.

The format is colourful, with bold logographics and covers topics as wide-ranging as spotting fake fact, how numbers can be used to provide an angle on a subject and how old news can resurface as though it’s new.

A useful book for the classroom and handy for teachers to support critical literacy lessons across the curriculum.