Welcome to this week’s look back at what has been happening in the world of children’s books. It’s been another busy week and I hope I’ve managed to include most of the news.
What I’m reading…
This week I took part in the blog tour marking the publication of StormTide, the last book in the FloodWorld trilogy by Tom Huddleston. It was a pleasure to host Tom on the blog and you can read more about the difficulties and joys of writing endings, and find out which endings are his favourites, here. The Floodworld trilogy is an exciting series of books for about 11+, full of fast paced action, with themes that are relevant to young readers and highly recommended.
If you are looking for a ‘spooky’ collection of short stories I can recommend The Red Gloves and Other Stories by Catherine Fisher. Some are inspired by myths and legends and several of them are unsettling in their ambiguity; are events due to an overactive imagination or fear or the supernatural? These are creepy tales for dark evenings when the ordinary can become something sinister.
A beautiful picture book caught my eye this week. The Queen of the Birds by Karine Polwart and Kate Leiper was published this week by Birlinn Books, stunning illustrations, lyrical writing and a wise story highlighting the importance of teamwork. There is an opportunity to learn bird names too. It’s a really lovely book.
News, articles and resources…
Spooky storytime with Walker Books – This could be useful for half term. Each day at 3pm from Monday 25th October to Saturday 30th October, Peters Books will be uploading a new spooky story reading from a top author or illustrator, along with free downloadable activities. Stories include Frankelstiltskin and Gustavo, the Shy Ghost.
The Song That Sings Us Virtual Launch with Nicola Davies and Jackie Morris – If you missed this event live I can thoroughly recommend catching up via this video kindly shared by Nikki Gamble. This is a treat.
Musings from a Head of English…Why We Need School Librarians – Guest blog written by Gaurav Dubay for the Great School Libraries Campaign. It is heartening to read this support by a teacher who understands the benefits of working with your school librarian.
All Sorts of Heroes: A book list from Book Trust – last week I mentioned that the theme of this year’s National Non-Fiction November is Heroes and this list for older children provides details of books that could be used to link with this initiative. There is a list for younger children available here.
Go deeper: Heroes in children’s books by Imogen Russell Williams – this excellent article on the British Library Learning website explores all the many different faces heroism can wear in children’s literature. From comic book superheroes to picture book characters, from classics to contemporary a large variety of ‘heroes’ feature and there is material from the British Library catalogues to explore.
New research shows that supporting children’s reading outside of school could lead to £4.6 billion boost to UK’s GDP – The research was commissioned to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of British Land’s partnership with the National Literacy Trust. “If all school-age children in the UK read for pleasure every day, WPI modelling* shows the number getting five good GCSEs by the age of 16 could increase by 1.1 million within 30 years.” You can download the full report here.
The Reading Agency Virtual Reading Partners Roadshows – These Roadshows are an opportunity for librarians and teachers to hear from the Reading Agency’s publishing partners about their latest titles, meet authors, and have the chance to ask questions about promotional opportunities. The Children’s Reading Partners Roadshow will take place on Wednesday 10 November and details of how to register are available via the link.
Picture books for children – reviews – selected by Imogen Carter this month’s best illustrated stories include a fiendish feline, a haunted house and a boy who finds a polar bear. We are spoilt for choice by these beauties but the new ones from Richard Jones & Oliver Jeffers are top of my list.
Little Bear – Bearginnings by Richard Jones – this is a lovely blogpost by the creator of Little Bear, mentioned in the reviews above. I find it fascinating to hear about the process behind the development of picture books and this insight has made me look forward to the book even more now.
Ken Wilson-Max has joined HarperCollins Children’s Books – Ken Wilson-Max has joined HarperCollins Children’s Books as a publisher, where he will create his own list across picture books, fiction and non-fiction. He was named among the 100 Breaking New Ground British writers and illustrators of colour and is a mentor for the Pathways into Children’s Publishing programme. Ken Wilson- Max is listed as one of the 150 important children’s books creators by the African American Literature Book Club in the US.
The Queen on our Corner by Lucy Christopher – a guest post on the Federation of Children’s Books Groups website by the author of this picture book that deals sensitively with the subject of homelessness. This thoughtful piece describes how Lucy Christopher wrote the story after finding out the background to some homeless people in her own area.
The Diverse Book Awards 2021 – Created by The Author School to highlight the best of the diverse voices published in the UK, both traditionally and self-published. Many congratulations to the winners: Best Children’s Book Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah and Best Young Adult Book Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann. There is a link to a video of the announcement in the article linked above.
This Book Is Anti-Racist Resources – this book, written by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurelia Durand is a useful guide on all aspects of racism for secondary age children and teens, and adults too. These resources on the Quarto Publishing website include teachers’ notes, a family guide plus posters.
Obituary: Jerry Pinkney – Renowned children’s book illustrator Jerry Pinkney, winner of the Caldecott Medal and five Caldecott Honor citations, widely acclaimed for his picture books honouring his Black heritage as well as for his richly detailed works reimagining well-loved fairy and folktales, died on October 20 . I loved his illustrations for The Patchwork Quilt written by Valerie Flournoy and his beautiful The Lion and the Mouse.
Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award – Have a look through the complete list of nominees for the 2022 award—a full 282 names from 71 countries including some of the world’s foremost creators of literature for children and young people, as well as reading promoters. Far too many wonderful nominees to single out a few really but it’s good to see CLPE included for all their wonderful work and I’m happy to see some of personal favourites on the list including Kate Di Camillo, Shirley Hughes, Jon Klassen, P J Lynch and many more.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
Picture Books About Books – although I included The Bear and Her Book last week I may no apologies for including it again as these reviews by Erin on the My Shelves Are Full blog are impossible for any book lover to resist. I particularly want to read The Librarian’s Stories.
The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Peculiar Pairs in Nature by Sami Bayly – the final book in a non-fiction trilogy and suitable for animal-lovers and curious children. In his review Matt at Word About Books said, “ this non-fiction read is a cracking celebration of animals interacting with other animals and animals interacting with plants in order to survive.”
Homeward Bound: By Rowan and Yew by Melissa Harrison – this thoughtful and comprehensive review by Mary Esther Judy provides a glimpse into the world created by Melissa Harrison. “By Rowan and Yew is a sublime book, like its’ predecessor. A story that harkens back to some of the classics, but also, it couldn’t be more relevant, more poignant today. Tailor-made to inspire curiosity, rich in wildness, beautiful, imaginative; a captivating glimpse into a world just outside our doors.”
Pirates by Celia Rees – a welcome reissue of this book for teens that I remember being extremely popular first time round. A swashbuckling drama set in the 18th century West Indies is now available to a new audience. This enthusiastic review by Louise Owen on LoveReading4Kids will certainly encourage many to read it!
That’s everything for this week. I hope everyone on half term break at the moment enjoys a relaxing and restoring holiday.