Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Digital storytelling

Today I saw an advert for the READIT Project Teacher survey exploring the use of ICT and digital storytelling to engage pupils in reading and writing. I thought I would give it a plug and include a few references to digital storytelling that I'd picked up recently. As described in the CMIS blogposts below, digital storytelling can enhance literacy and promote reading while at the same time developing IT skills and engaging with today's digital natives. There are a variety of multimedia tools available including graphics, audio and video animation which can be used to create podcasts, videos or multimedia ebooks. Here's what I've found to start you off:

A how-to-guide, Digital storytelling tools for educators, by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano which is available for free download.

Educational uses of digital storytelling page from University of Houston.

Blog posts on digital storytelling parts one and two from CMIS Evaluation Primary Focus. These also reference the above two sites. CMIS Evaluation Fiction Focus has D is for digital storytelling.

Web 2.0 / 21st century tools - an excellent site which lists tools on many topics, including a large section on digital storytelling.

Shaun Tan wins Astrid Lindgren prize

The Australian author-illustrator Shaun Tan is the winner of this year's Astrid Lindgren prize – the richest children's literature prize in the world, with a purse of 5m kroner (£490,000). Tan has illustrated more than 20 books including The rabbits, The arrival, Eric and Tales from Outer Suburbia. At this year's Academy Awards, he won the Oscar for best animated short film for The Lost Thing, based on his book of the same title, so it's been an amazing year for him so far. This Guardian article tells you more about the award and has links to an interview with Tan and a picture gallery of his book Eric. We have several books by Tan in our catalogue. He describes them as "illustrated modern fables". For example, the wordless graphic novel The arrival is set in a mysterious city peopled by weird creatures but could be used to open discussion on all sorts of subjects such as loneliness or refugees.

Crossing Over - titles with crossover appeal for both adults and young people

The previous post on Philip Pullman's nomination for the international Man Booker prize mentioned the crossover appeal of some of his titles. He is one of the authors on a new booklist we've produced, Crossing Over. With popular children’s titles such as the Harry Potter series and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time being published in alternative adult covers, the lines between publishing for teens and adults have become blurred. We’ve collected together some of the best titles with crossover appeal. Adults can enjoy the brevity and focus on storytelling of fiction originally conceived as being for children or teenagers, while older children or teens may find some of the classic titles a good way to expand into adult literature. You can access the list by clicking on the link above, or there are copies in the Library to collect.

Philip Pullman on Man Booker International Prize shortlist

Thirteen writers have made it on to the judges' list of finalists under serious consideration for the fourth Man Booker International Prize, the £60,000 award which recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction. I think this is quite unusual for a children's author, though Pullman's His dark materials trilogy has crossed over to adults as well. Other names to note are Scottish author James Kelman and John le Carre. The latter apparently didn't want to be included as he prefers not to compete for prizes (to let less-well known writers have a chance).The full list is:

Wang Anyi (China)
Juan Goytisolo (Spain)
James Kelman (UK)
John le Carré (UK)
Amin Maalouf (Lebanon)
David Malouf (Australia)
Dacia Maraini (Italy)
Rohinton Mistry (India/Canada)
Philip Pullman (UK)
Marilynne Robinson (USA)
Philip Roth (USA)
Su Tong (China)
Anne Tyler (USA)

The Man Booker International Prize winner will be announced at the Sydney Writers' Festival on 18 May and the winner will be celebrated at an awards ceremony in London on 28 June 2011. Read more via the official site or the BBC.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

What did I miss?

I was on holiday last week, when quite a lot seemed to happen in the world of children's literature. This is a catch up post to try to cover some of it. Perhaps the saddest news was the death of Diana Wynne Jones who was writing fantasy series long before Harry Potter was ever thought of. Here are the books of hers we stock - my absolute favourite is Fire and hemlock, though Howl's moving castle might be the most famous because it has been made into a film. An obituary has appeared in the Guardian.

Michael Gove, Education Secretary in the UK parliament, caused a bit of a stir by suggesting that children should read 50 books per year. This is certainly controversial given that many councils, particularly in England, are contemplating closing some of their libraries and school libraries are also under threat. So where do children get the books if they can't afford to buy them? As part of the debate, the Independent has also jumped in with its list of what those 50 books should be - a surefire way to put any child off reading in my opinion. See what you think.

Updating a beloved clasic is another way to cause controversy, and there are two developments here. Frank Cottrell Boyce is producing a sequel to Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - read about it via the Guardian and the BBC - and Jacqueline Wilson is to update Five children and it by E Nesbit. Again, the Guardian has the details. The Nosy Crow blog puts the arguments for and against updates. If you want to read, or re-read, the originals we have both titles in stock.

The Eagle - the new film based on Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth is out now and was reviewed favourably in Sunday's Observer and the Guardian even has an editorial about it, In praise of Rosemary Sutcliff. Again, you can borrow the book from us.

Finally, Booktrust has announced the winners of it's Best New Illustrators award. They are:

Joe Berger
Claudia Boldt
Katie Cleminson
Chris Haughton
Alice Melvin
Sara Ogilvie
Levi Pinfold
Salvatore Rubbino
Viviane Schwarz
Kevin Waldron

You can watch an audio-slideshow of their work being discussed by Anthony Browne, one of the judges and the current Children's Laureate. We don't have work by all the above - I've added a link to the catalogue for books illustrated by the ones we do.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Meet our Authors: forthcoming programme from Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust has announced its latest Meet our Authors programme as follows:

12/05/11: James Mayhew This session will focus on visual literacy. See our books by James here and, if you are interested in visual literacy, you might also be interested in our Teaching with Visual Images page.

16/06/11: Andy Stanton This session will focus on reluctant readers. Again, we have several books by Andy, best known for the Mr Gum series, and we also have a page on reluctant readers.

29/09/11: David Almond This session will focus on creative writing. We have lots of books by this prize winning author. His latest, My name is Mina is a prequel to Skellig, perhaps his most famous.

01/12/11: Kjartan Poskitt This session will focus on maths. Make maths fun with the author of  Murderous maths and other titles. 

Not sure if these are for you? Try Meet our Authors out by watching the hilarious event with Eoin Colfer on the SBT site. Watch this blog for more information nearer the time of each session and I also advise signing up with the SBT newsletter which highlights different parts of their work each month. In March, as well as talking about this programme, the newsletter had fun book stuff, World Book Night reviews and new song and rhyme videos.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Eoin Colfer celebrates 10 years of Artemis Fowl

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Artemis Fowl series with the hysterically funny and utterly brilliant number one bestselling author Eoin Colfer in this interactive live webcast. You may even get to meet Artemis Fowl himself! Organisations or individuals can register.
The webcast will take place live at: 11.30am - 12.10pm on Wednesday 6th April 2011 and will be available as an on-demand replay shortly after.

Viewers can submit questions live for Eoin Colfer to answer during the webcast

To register go to:

Monday, 14 March 2011

"Angel" by L. A. Weatherly: guest post by Ellen (12)

Before Christmas, Usborne sent us some sample chapters of Angel which inspired Ellen, of Knightswood Secondary School, to read the whole book and send me this review:
"The only good angel is a dead angel"

Angel is a wonderful, enchanting story about a girl called Willow and a boy called Alex. Willow’s life is turned upside down when she is accused of being against the angels. Then she meets Alex, an angel killer, and they run away around the USA to stop the angels.
I didn’t want to go to school it was so exciting. I just wanted to curl up and carry on reading. Luckily though, near the end of term, I got some spare time to read.
It is officially one of my favourite books and I’d suggest it to anyone who loves adventure.
So what are you waiting for? Find and grab your own copy and join Willow and Alex on an adventure to destroy the angels...

Because I heard Ellen was enjoying it so much, I also read it myself and, I have to say, I agree with her assessment, I couldn't put it down either. There is apparently going to be a trilogy - according to Amazon, Angel fire is out in October, so I think Ellen and I will both be looking forward to that. Here's the catalogue record for Angel if you want to borrow it from us.

Many thanks to Ellen for her review.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Seven Stories' Enid Blyton collection online

Seven Stories, the fabulous centre for children's books in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, announced on Twitter this afternoon (@7stories) that the catalogue of its Enid Blyton collection is now available to view online. Go to this link and type EB into the box marked Reference - many of the entries have thumbnails of the manuscripts to look at. Follow progress on their Enid Blyton blog.

Julia Donaldson exhibition

An exhibition of contemporary children's book illustration curated by Julia Donaldson opens at the Park Gallery in Falkirk on 12th March. The Illustrators is an exhibition of work by artists who have illustrated Julia's books, such as Axel Scheffler. There is also a programme of events. Get ready for a visit by borrowing some of Julia's books from us.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library comes to Scotland

Dolly Parton might seem an unlikely subject for this blog, but she has a strong interest in literacy and, in the past, has said her desire to promote childhood reading arose out of seeing how illiteracy disadvantaged her own family. Her Imagination Library originated in her hometown, Sevier County, Tennessee, in 1995 and has since spread around the world, resulting in around 30 million books being mailed to children. It arrived in the UK in Rotherham in 2007 and spread to Wigtown the following year. Now, a new partnership between Parton’s Dollywood Foundation, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Book Trust will result in over 3000 looked after children benefiting from a free book every month until their fifth birthday, and parents and carers will be encouraged to read with them.

Read the Scottish government's press release, information from Scottish Book Trust and reports from the BBC and the Herald for more information.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Storywriting competition for 5-11s

Another World Book Day launch, this time from National Literacy Trust which has teamed up with Katherine Holabird, author of the Angelina Ballerina books, and Build-a-Bear Workshop to announce a storywriting competition. Katherine has written the beginning of a story and children aged between 5 and 11 are being challenged to write the rest of it.

Guardian's new site launched on World Book Day

On Saturday, the Guardian published an article about its new online children's book club which launched today, World Book Day. The site has been designed and curated with the help of a dedicated editorial panel of 100 children and teens from around the world, and that's how it will continue to work: by children, for children. The front page is bright and welcoming, with links to news, quizzes, audio and video. Also, running across it is a colourful row of numbers from 1-16 - clicking on one takes you into the section for that age group. Featured today are interviews with several authors, including Philip Pullman and Jacqueline Wilson, and you can also watch a video in which some of the young people who have helped to design and curate the site explain why they love reading and what the site offers young readers. Definitely worth checking out.