Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Lauren Child

There was an article about Lauren Child in the Observer Review on Sunday 22nd June: Have rat, will travel . The odd title refers to her picture book, That pesky rat (Orchard 2002) - part of the profit from a new edition of this book will contribute to a UNESCO campaign she is launching tomorrow (25/6/08), "My life is a story", to help educate deprived children all over the world. The article tells you a bit about Lauren's life and how she came to write the Clarice Bean series - she is also famous for the Charlie & Lola books and TV programmes.

As well as being accessible from the link above, we have a copy of the article in Jordanhill Library (cuttings file no 1165) and you can also check our holdings of Lauren Child's books on the catalogue.

PS 7/7/08 - there is now a further article about Lauren Child, from Saturday's Herald Magazine, in the cuttings file - no 1170.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Primary boys into books

Dads and sons ‘Bond’ over spy novels - New £5 million Government scheme to get primary boys reading more

This is a press release from the Department for Children, School's and Families - for England, of course, but still interesting. The £5 million scheme, Primary Boys into Books, expands the programme launched by Ministers last year for boys aged 11-14. Public libraries select free books from the list drawn up by the School Library Association, and deliver book boxes to schools in their local area. Dads are encouraged to take a look too, with authors like Anthony Horowitz, Stephen Hawking and film maker Luc Besson all making an appearance. The books provide a great opportunity for fathers and sons to read together, and while dads are getting stuck into the new Bond novel their sons are reading Charlie Higson’s best selling young James Bond books.

Age-ranging - part 2.

I blogged on 22nd April about the proposal to put suggested age-ranges on children's fiction books, which has turned out to be quite a controversial issue with many authors being against it. I added a PS to the original post with some reactions but feel there is enough now to add a second entry. In the Guardian (12/6/08, p. 37), Simon Juden writes that adults unfamiliar with children's books would welcome the guidance on content and age-ranging could both help them and boost sales. The Society of Authors has also entered the debate (Bookseller, 13/6/08, p.7), calling for age guidance plans to be temporarily suspended pending a review following on the authors revolt against them. Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, also has a perspective to offer. There'll be more to follow I'm sure.

And, PS, there is more. The Bookseller, 10th July, describes a recent meeting between the Publishers Association, the Society of Authors and Philip Pullman (on behalf of almost 3,000 signatories of the online statement "No to age banding" which now include J K Rowling). The two sides presented conflicting research into the issue - the SoA said that 77% of authors were against age guidance, while publishers insisted that 75% of authors have agreed to it.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

From the cuttings file

Here's a roundup of things I've recently added to the library's cuttings file, which haven't been covered elsewhere in the blog:


Jones, N. (2008, May 31). “The fun thing is still making the book”. Telegraph, p. 12.
Cuttings file no 1161.
Allan Ahlberg has a string of children's classics to his name, but he's still as modest as ever.


Horn, C. (2008, 21 March). Books for the boys. Children’s Bookseller, pp. 4-5.
Cuttings file no 1157.
As publishers' confidence in "boys' fiction" rises, the focus turns to exciting marketing campaigns and non-fiction as a growth area.


Buchanan, T. (2008). Are you sitting comfortably? Sesame, 237, p. 29.
Cuttings file no 1163.
Pullman discusses fairy tales, the dangers of ignoring the arts and being labelled "the most dangerous author in Britain".


Cremin,T. (2008). Teachers’ reading and links with libraries. Update, 7(6), pp. 40-43.
Cuttings file no 1162.
Primary teachers' knowledge of books is arguably insufficient for their work and their relative lack of involvement with libraries is of considerable concern.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Texting boosts children's literacy?

Research has found that children should be encouraged to send more text messages because texting can improve literacy. Professor David Crystal believes that sending frequent texts helps children’s reading and writing because of the imaginative abbreviations needed.

For ful details, see:
Times, 25 May 2008

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Horn Book

The Horn Book Magazine is an American publication about books for children and young adults. The current edition (May / June 2008) has a theme about family reading, which starts with an article by Megan Lambert in which she writes about looking for books that reflect her family’s reality:

Lambert, M. (2008), Reading about families in my family. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 261-263.

This is followed by a number of short contributions from parents (who are also writers) on how they encouraged their children to read.

Major articles include an interview with Rudine Sims Bishop who has contributed significantly to the scholarship dealing with African American children’s literature:

Horning, K. (2008). An interview with Rudine Sims Bishop. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 247-259

Susan Cooper, author of the Dark is Rising sequence argues fantasy writers provide parables to explain life’s mysteries:

Cooper, S. (2008). Unriddling the world. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 271-281.

Patty Campbell writes about a trend for young adult literature to feature dead characters:

Campbell, P. (2008). YA lit and the deathly fellows. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 357-361.

Finally, Anne Quirk contributes to the ongoing controversy over whether Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is anti-religion:

Quirk, A. (2008). God knows, Philip Pullman. Horn Book, 84(3), pp. 362-3.

The Horn Book also has a website where you can access some of the magazine's content, read the editor's blog, sign up for a monthly newsletter or subscribe to their podcast.

Monday, 2 June 2008

National Year of Reading - June's theme.

NYR's June theme is Reading Escapes, and there are lots of ways to interpret this. You could focus on holiday reading, or how reading helps you escape into different worlds, through fantasy or imaginary lands. If children are going on holiday, you could look at books about the places they will visit, and if they aren’t going away, they could read about their home town and write their own travel guides. Another idea is to ask them to choose their desert island books, a bit like the radio programme, Desert Island Discs, or you could be more literal and look at escape stories and adventures.

I've created a list from Jordanhill Library stock using the holiday idea, including picture books, stories, poems and information books.