Friday, 30 October 2009

Kate Cleminson - Booktrust award winner

Kate Cleminson won the Booktrust's Award for Best Emerging Illustrator 2009 with her book, Box of tricks. In this interview, she describes how she came to write the book.

Other Booktrust Award winners were Ed Vere (Baby Book Award for Chick) and Mara Bergman (Pre-school Award for Oliver who travelled far and wide).

Children's literature internet sites

I've made a couple of additons to our page of children's literature internet sites.

I read kid’s books and its associated blog, which I posted about the other day, is one of them. Kid's Compass is the other - this site has news about upcoming releases, reviews of children's books based on age range and top picks to expand children's reading horizons. At the moment, it has a topical section on Halloween.

I've also added Shannon Dipple's Primary Education Oasis to our Schools and the Internet page. Shannon responded to one of my previous posts - her (US based) site has lots of ideas for teaching reading and writing.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Diverse Voices award

The Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children's Book Award is for a manuscript that celebrates cultural diversity in the widest possible sense, either in terms of its story or in terms of the ethnic and cultural origins of its author. The prize of £1,500, plus the option for Frances Lincoln Children's Books to publish the novel, will be awarded to the best work of unpublished fiction for 8-to-12-year-olds by a writer, aged 16 years or over, who has not previously published a novel for children. The work must be written in English and it must be a minimum of 15,000 words and a maximum of 35,000 words. The closing date for all entries is 26th February 2010. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony at Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, at the beginning of June 2010. For full details of how to enter visit the award website.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

I read kids books

I read kids books is from a Master of Education in Children's Literature, who is particularly interested in myth and folklore, and has established this blog as a way to archive fairy tales from around the world. There are many fairy tales that most of us are familiar with, but there are so many that go unnoticed. You can vote for your favourite fairy tale too. There is also a more general review site.

Heidi revisited

I haven't read Heidi since I was a child but this blog post* by Leslie Wilson has inspired me to go back and look. I just remember it being a good story and I'm sure the subtext about poverty, and the way the poor are exploited by the wealthy, totally passed me by at the time. Leslie has an interesting perspective on the book, being half-German and having read it in German for the first time. This family background also informs her own books, Last train from Kummersdorf and Saving Rafael, both of which we have in the library.

* From An Awfully Big Blog Adventure - the ramblings of a few scattered authors.

Where the wild things are 2

Read a review of the new movie from Claire E. Gross of the Horn Book.

Reading and language

What gives kids good reading and language skills? A couple of articles have been languishing in my in-box for a few days. Jean Gross, the Government’s first speech chief, told the Times last week that the next generation lack basic speaking skills because parents now spend less time talking to their children over family meals or reading them bedtime stories. She also blamed an over-emphasis on literacy and numeracy teaching in schools at the expense of language training and wants GP surgeries to play DVDs of adults reading to children and interacting with babies to teach parents how to talk to their offspring.

In similar vein, Book Trust  reports on a survey of over 3,000 parents, carers and children in the UK which showed that 3% of parents and carers never or rarely read with their children. For those who do, just one in three read with their children on a daily basis and half of the children spent more time in front of a TV or computer screen than they did reading. More encouragingly 96% of all children surveyed said that they enjoyed reading and the top 3 favourite characters were Harry Potter, Horrid Henry and Tracy Beaker. The Book Trust page above has a link to the full results and the BBC also covered the story.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne is interviewed in START 33 - the magazine for primary and pre-school teachers of art, craft and design. He discusses art, reading and picture books and worries about visual illiteracy. Find START at S700 on the Serials Gallery.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Reader development: looked after children.

See the article by Stella Therbridge in Public Library Journal which reports on the "Switched on to Reading" project with looked after children in Warwickshire, plus details of where to download the full report.

Primary school libraries

The Cambridge Primary Review, published last week, applies to England but is still of interest to Scottish teachers and librarians. As well as addressing issues such as school starting age, the curriculum and supporting pupils with special needs, the study says that "libraries must not be replaced by banks of computers… To see screens as the 21st-century replacement for books is a grave mistake" and the authors also call for libraries that are "currently disappearing from schools" to be preserved.

See Independent and Guardian, both 16 October 2009

Where the wild things are.

From the Brothers Grimm to Roald Dahl, a good scare has been a part of children's books. Now the film of Maurice Sendak's classic morality tale has started a debate on whether it is still acceptable to frighten young readers. Vanessa Thorpe and Anushka Asthana consider the arguments in yesterday's Observer.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Mal Peet wins Guardian prize

Mal Peet has won the 2009 Guardian children's fiction prize with a version of Othello casting the Moor of Venice as a South American football star (with a pop-star wife - remind you of anyone?) beating off hot competition, including Terry Pratchett. There's a role in the book too for journalist Paul Faustino who has appeared in Peet's other football-themed books, e.g. Keeper. I must confess I haven't read the football titles, but I have read the wartime adventure, Tamar, which I found absolutely gripping so I know he's an excellent story-teller.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Heroes and heroines or just like us?

See Susan Elsley's article in Children in Scotland, cited below, in which she summarises surveys she has done with children in the P6 and S2 age groups about their reading interests and their views on how childhood is portrayed in children's books. The work formed the basis of a thesis at Edinburgh University, Heroes and heroines or just like us?

Elsley, S. (2009). Not just The Little House on the Prairie. Children in Scotland, 100, pp.20-21.

Cuttings update.

A couple of newspaper articles from the last 10 days or so:

In the Guardian, Maev Kennedy writes about the sequel to AA Milne's Pooh books, Return to Hundred Acre Wood, which has just been written by David Benedictus. Not in the Library yet, but will be soon.

In the Times, Tim Rushby-Smith argues that more children's books should feature disabled kids. He hopes that this will help change attitudes and tackle bullying.

You can read these articles by following the links, or we have copies in our cuttings file.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Books from Scotland Children's Choice

Children's Choice in the latest newsletter from Books for Scotland is Magnus Fin and the Ocean Quest by Janis MacKay. There has always been something unusual about Magnus Fin, a school misfit. On his 11th birthday Magnus throws a message in a bottle out to sea, wishing for a best friend and to be more brave - and he gets a lot more than he bargained for - you can read the first chapter on the BfS site. Janis won the Kelpies prize for debut novels for this title and a copy will be added to stock just as soon as it's available.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Going Graphic: IBBY Conference

The 16th annual conference co-organised by British IBBY (International Board of Books for Young People) and Roehampton University will take place on Saturday 14th November 2009. The theme this year is Going Graphic: Comics and Graphic Novels for Young People. For more information see:

Friday, 2 October 2009

National Literacy Trust

Children's football fiction author, Tom Palmer, is working with the National Literacy Trust to create a toolkit of ideas and activities for using football to promote reading for pleasure. The toolkit will be available from early 2010 and Tom is looking for effective ideas that have worked in schools such as events, games, book groups, visits, displays and resources.

The Trust is also launching an online survey which will look at attitudes towards reading, attitudes towards writing and the extent to which pupils (9-16) engage in literacy activities at home with their family. Schools who wish to take part will need to register their interest before 23 October 2009.

Read about both initiatives in the latest edition of the National Literacy Trust newsletter

David Almond and Michael Foreman

IBBY UK (International Board on Books for Young People) has announced that author David Almond and illustrator Michael Foreman have been nominated for the prestigious Hans Andersen Awards which are awarded biennially by an international jury. More than thirty authors and illustrators have been nominated by other IBBY member sections and the winners will be announced at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair next spring. We have many books by each in stock - check out library catalogue, SUPrimo.