Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The lure of picture books

Jenny Uglow's Guardian article, The lure of illustrated children's books argues that few things evoke childhood memories as powerfully as picture books and looks at favourites old and new. She also refers to two new books on the subject which you can find in the library: Duncan McCorquodale, Sophie Hallam & Libby Waite's Illustrated children's books (Black Dog, 2009) and Julia Eccleshare's 1001 children's books you must read before you grow up (Universe, 2009).

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Eric Carle's blog

Thanks to Tidy Books whose tweet alerted me to Eric Carle's blog and his lovely post about Christmas memories from his childhood in Germany. See also the official Eric Carle website and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. And of course we've got lots of his books in Jordanhill Library - see a few below.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Make reading fun by creating plays from books

Bringing books to life through drama by Fiona Ingram. Ideas for teachers on the following theme:
"Children who don’t enjoy reading may need a different kind of stimulus to get them interested in books. Since most children love dressing up and acting out a part, using stories to create a play or dramatizing a poem is an excellent way of allowing children to explore their creativity and bring their imaginations into use."

Teen Titles

Read interviews with Annemarie Allan, Theresa Breslin and Gill Arbuthnott in Issue 46, in the Libray now, plus reviews of books for teenagers, all done by teenagers themselves. Links are to the books by these authors in our catalogue, some of which are shown below.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Children's writing competitions

One set of winners, one competition announced:

Children's Poetry Bookshelf Competition: The judges of the Old Possum's Children's Poetry Competition, led by Chair Carol Ann Duffy, have selected twelve children as winners, with a further six receiving high commendations. The CPB held a gala celebration and prize-giving on Monday 14 December at the Unicorn Theatre in London, hosted by poets John Agard and Roger Stevens, both of whom were also judges of the competition. See more here, including a picture of the winners, and here, including the winning poems.

Young Muslim's Writers Awards: Muslim Writers Awards are now inviting submissions from Muslim writers from the ages of 8 through to 16. Winners of both Best Short Story and Best Poetry will be annonced at a televised awards ceremony scheduled for April 2010. Deadline for entries is Friday 5 February 2010. To download entry forms and view submission criteria here.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Storybook soldiers

Soliders in Afghanistan are recording bedtime stories on CD to send home, in a scheme similar to Storybook Dads, which was set up to help male prisoners keep in touch with their children. Thousands of families have discovered that there is nothing more evocative than the sound of a parent’s voice, reading - the top bedtime stories are:

The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson)
The Snail and the Whale (Julia Donaldson)
Room on the Broom (Julia Donaldson)
The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Judith Kerr)
The Night Before Christmas (Clement Moore)
The Gigantic Turnip (Alexei Tolstoy)

Comic belief

When a Yorkshire secondary produced its own graphic novel, it provided a riposte to those who dismiss the genre as ‘dumbing down’ for low-achievers. Dearne High in Rotherham has ignored the critics to produce its own 132-page, high-end graphic novel. Fool’s Gold, written and produced by about 100 pupils with the input of 10 multi-award-winning writers, two famous photographers and a professional illustrator, went on sale last week. Read the full story by Meabh Ritchie in last week's TES.


"He's got a black tongue, orange eyes and a poisonous wart on the end of his nose, not to mention those purple nightmare-inducing prickles on his back. And this Christmas Day he's going to be on the telly."
Read more in Ailin Quinlan's article in the Irish Independent.

See also Julia Donaldson books in Jordanhill Library.

And PS - interview from Guardian 19/12/09

National Literacy Trust News

NLT's December newsletter features:

A vision for Scotland - examines the report and final recommendations of the Scottish Literacy Commission which assesses levels of literacy in  Scotland and proposes pre-school literacy support.

New research on writing - NLT research finds social network sites and blogs may have educational benefits such as greater confidence and a more positive attitude towards writing. Chrisitina Clark, Head of Research, adds commentary in To blog or not to blog, that isn't the question.

Scottish Premier League Reading Stars - this programme to raise motivation for reading has been funded for a second year.

Reading programmes for boys - research shows they have led to more boys at primary level reading for pleasure. See also DCSF news  and MLA news on this.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Scottish teen book of the month

Scottish Book Trust's Teen Book of the Month is The Comet's Child by John Ward. It's the first in a series about Fin in the forest, raised in secret by a woman without a name, who has no idea who he is. Out in the world, all are seeking the promised herald of the New Age, the Comet’s Child. The harsh Authority, the cunning Service, the desperate outlaws of the Order - each faction is determined to hang the title on Fin. But does he really want to be the chosen one?

You can win a copy of the book through the link above, and it's on order for the library so should be here very soon.

Beverley Naidoo at Yarls Wood Immigration Centre

Author Beverley Naidoo, who herself first came to the UK seeking refuge, is moved and saddened by the plight of children she meets detained in a UK immigration centre. In this Guardian article, she describes her visit to the centre to do a storytelling session with Karin Littlewood, the illustrator with whom she wrote a picture book, Baba's Gift.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka has just finished his term as the US's first national ambassador of young people's literature, and he is "pleased to report that the world of children's books is rocking." Read what he says in the LA Times and the Huffington Post and check our holdings of Jon's books.

Trailer trash - do web trailers help promote books?

An interesting Awfully Big Blog Adventure post from Elen Caldecott, with examples including a trailer for Ian Beck's Pastworld. And if you like clips of cats doing daft things, there's one of those thrown in for good measure!

Elen's book is in stock in Jordanhill Library and her next one, How Ali Ferguson saved Houdini, is due next year.

Children's books that tell the story of Christmas

A post from Trevor Cairney with extensive reviews of Christmas books for children under the headings:
  1. Books based closely on the biblical story of Jesus's birth
  2. Books that use the Christmas theme to offer moral lessons
  3. Stories based on Christmas traditions
I'll refer you back to my previous post about Christmas too.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Neil Gaiman ALA National Library Week Chair

Neil Gaiman is a fan of libraries and librarians and the American Library Association’s (ALA) Campaign for America’s Libraries has announced the 2009 Newbery Medal winning author of “The Graveyard Book” as the Honorary Chair of their National Library Week in April 2010.

Click here for Gaiman titles in Jordanhill Library.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Anthony Horowitz

Why young readers (especially boys) turn to Alex Rider is explained in this article from the Washington Post. However, Horowitz himself isn't too worried about the gender divide in reading as he thinks it "disguises questions that are much, much more serious that we should be asking, such as, for example, are wealthy children reading more than less privileged ones? Are white children reading more than children from ethnic minorities?"

We have a good stock of Anthony Horowitz books in Jordanhill Library.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

How NOT to run an author vist in school

Joan Lennon has had a bad experience, detailed on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure. My favourite (in a bad way) memory of having a class visit to meet an author (a very famous one) when I worked in public libraries ended with the author complaining that the teacher sat there looking as if she "had a pickle up her bum". Couldn't disagree.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Best books of 2009

See Chicken Spaghettis's big list of lists - an international round up of "best of" lists of children's books and prizewinners for 2009. Have a look at the rest of the blog while you're there: the name comes from her favourite recipe - that's provided too!
Enough blogging for today.

Getting boys to read

Here's a blog about boys and reading. Getting boys to read is a (US) community based blog for parents, librarians, and teachers which provides information and support through articles, videos, interviews, and their forum. Recent posts include: Teen Boys and Young Adult Lit: An Important Relationship; Digital Storytelling: Engaging Boys with Technology; Should we Separate Genders in the Classroom?; 6 Reasons Why Boys Like Magazines, and Dr. Seuss Stories: Reading that Entertains.

Barrington Stoke's Secret Santa

Books from Scotland's Children's Choice this month is Secret Santa. A ghost story by Alan Combes, it is the latest in Barrington Stoke's Dead Man Files series of novels for teenagers with a reading age of six. Luke Smith is dead - killed in a drink driving accident. But this doesn't stop him looking out for his brother, who is at risk from an imposter in Santa's grotto. But is this secret Santa match even for ghostly Luke?

For more information about Barrington Stoke's range of novels for struggling and dyslexic readers, see their own website and Books for Scotland's earlier feature on them. Secret Santa is not yet in Jordanhill Library, but you can find a list of Barrington Stoke books we have in our catalogue here. The publisher also features on our Reluctant Readers page.

Happy Birthday - Dolly Parton's UK Imagination Library is 2

Dolly Parton’s UK Imagination Library is celebrating its second anniversary by announcing a new addition to the communities in its UK programme - children attending the Westbourne Children’s Centre in London are the latest under-5s to receive books through the scheme.

The music star launched the UK Imagination Library in London on December 4th 2007. The Library now delivers to thousands of children across the UK, earlier this year celebrating the delivery of its 100,000 book. More information.

Online writing and literacy

From: Blogging, literacy and an "innovative" school librarian:

An article in yesterday’s Independent, coinciding with the launch of the National Literacy Trust’s new report Young people’s writing: attitudes, behaviour, and the role of technology highlights the work done by Bev Humphrey, librarian at Woolwich Polytechnic School in London, is harnessing cutting-edge technology to get boys writing. For the past two years she has run The Write Path, an online writing project that links pupils around the world and enables them to write stories together. Read more about her work, and the new report, in "Don't knock blogging – it's the answer to our literacy problems" in the Independent's Education and Careers supplement, p3, 3 December 2009, or on the Independent's website.

The National Literacy Trust’s recent research has found that pupils who are active online tend to have a more positive attitude to writing, and also write more in traditional forms, such as short stories, letters, diaries or song lyrics. Download the report from the National Literacy Trust’s website.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Bookworms do better in life?

Studies by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that children who read for pleasure are more likely to get ahead than those who don’t. This is why Miranda McKearney, the director of the Reading Agency charity, prefers to focus on the importance of enjoying reading, while avoiding talk of targets or government standards, or going into depth about functional literacy or phonics. See Let children turn the page to a better life from Times Online for more details.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Children's books on film

Snippets: there's Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox out now, I did a couple of recent posts on the film of Maurice Sendak's Where the wild things are, which I think is yet to come out in the UK, and KidsLit blog has more movie news. Sally Nicholls' first book, Ways to live forever is being made into a film right now, and look out for The Gruffalo on TV soon.