Review: Question Everything! An Investigator’s Toolkit by Susan Martineau and Vicky Barker

Cover image by Vicky Barker, published by b small publishing

This slim, colourful volume is the perfect complement to information and digital literacy aspects of the primary school curriculum and I would highly recommend it to any teacher who is delivering digital literacy lessons as part of the computing curriculum as well as to every school librarian. 

With clear explanations in short blocks of text, written by Susan Martineau, accompanied by colourful images and diagrams, by Vicky Barker, it takes the reader through different aspects of negotiating the overwhelming quantity of information available through digital and printed sources. The digital-art-style images are perfectly in keeping with the content of this helpful guide to critical literacy.

There is advice on, amongst other things, how to extract the facts from text; how to look carefully at the use of language for signs of sensationalism or advertising; how to identify primary and secondary sources of information; how to spot whether something is fake news and how to avoid being misled by statistics. On each double page spread there is an incredibly useful Words to Know panel, defining key vocabulary for each subject at the point of reference. The activity included in each section could very readily be incorporated into information literacy sessions and I will certainly be aiming to use many of them to supplement existing lesson plans. At the end of the book there is some simple but effective online safety advice about avoiding online bullying, being brave enough to take breaks from the online world and keeping yourself and your online presence safe.

There are a multitude of uses for this brilliant book in schools. For those who have the budget I would suggest a set to be used in non-fiction, guided reading in Year 4 or 5 would be ideal. As previously mentioned, incorporating the ideas and engaging practical activities into digital and information literacy lessons, whether in classroom or library sessions, would be highly beneficial in helping young people to indeed Question Everything! 

The author Susan Martineau has written an interesting article on critical literacy and the background to writing this book for the CILIP Youth Libraries Group blog which you can read by clicking here.

I am most grateful to Toppsta and b small publishing for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3 thoughts on “Review: Question Everything! An Investigator’s Toolkit by Susan Martineau and Vicky Barker

  1. This sounds an excellent guide and a book that would be invaluable in school libraries. I can imagine sessions planned around this. Thank you for the link to the CILIP blog, I’d missed this and have saved it to read later.

    Liked by 1 person

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