Welcome to this week’s catch up with what has been happening in the world of children’s books. The build up to Christmas has definitely now begun with recommended festive reads and literature related advent calendars to share. I hope that something in this week’s collection of articles and resources will be helpful.
What I’m reading…
My latest batch of reviews for Just Imagine are now complete. The October Witches by Jennifer Claessen is a refreshing debut with links to Arthurian legend, it merges family relationships with magic and the misuse of power with the hope and optimism of youth in an exciting adventure. Clemmie is a relatable and positive protagonist and the plot builds to a dramatic climax in this exciting adventure. There are two more books to follow this one too and I can see this being popular with readers aged 9 plus.
National Non-fiction November finished this week and before the month ended I wanted to highlight a really lovely book for our very youngest book lovers. Britannica’s Baby Encyclopedia has been created with an understanding of this very young audience’s needs and would make a brilliant present this Christmas. The appearance and feel of this encyclopedia is just right for little ones and the topics covered are: Earth, Animal, Plants, Food, Machines, Art, Music, Numbers and Shapes. The clear text is wonderful to read aloud with its lively and rhythmic vocabulary. I would highly recommend this great title from What On Earth Books.
At the moment I’m reading Operation Nativity by Jenny Pearson, Illustrated by Katie Kear. It is an absolute delight! Full of humour and kindness it really is a Christmas gift.
News, articles and resources…
Why author visits to schools matter: Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho’s speech, read on the 24th November 2022 at The Arboretum for the BookTrust Represents Report Launch – a moving and important article by our Children’s Laureate about representation in children’s books.
The Impact of an Author Visit – an excellent article by Lucas Maxwell giving a school librarian’s perspective on why author visits matter. This, and the article above, highlights the enormous impact a visit by an author can have on both children and staff. Lucas references research to support what he has witnessed first hand.
7 Gorgeous Gift Books To Enjoy All Year Round – a lovely selection by Bruno De Luca on the My Book Corner blog including bedtime stories, fairy tales, nonfiction, a graphic novel, music and ballet. Some great suggestions for Christmas presents.
Teach Primary Book Awards: 2022 finalists announced – a collection of 32 titles in different categories. Each title has been chosen, not only for its outstanding aesthetic appeal and sheer enjoyability, but also because of its potential to support learning both inside the classroom and beyond. These are books that teachers will be able to recommend confidently to children and their parents, as well as use for inspirational classroom activities.
The Poetry by Heart Festive Poe-Tree Advent Calendar – Every winter Poetry By Heart, the national poetry speaking competition for schools, creates a special poetry advent calendar. The Poetry By Heart Festive Poe-tree advent calendar is a digital anthology of poems – classic, contemporary and diverse – arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree with 24 little doors. From 1-24 December a door is unlocked each day and children and young people (adults too) can open it to find a festive poem. It’s completely free for everyone to share and enjoy live from 1st December.
The Reading Agency Mini Winter Reading Challenge – The annual Winter Mini Challenge, is a fun reading adventure which encourages children to continue reading over the Christmas holidays with a free, digital platform offering rewards and prizes for continuing to read. The Winter Mini Challenge launched on 1st December and will run through until 20th February.
Christmas TV 2022 Highlights from Helen Smith – every year Helen Smith, a wonderful secondary school librarian, creates a guide to all the films or programmes on TV at Christmas linked to books, for both children and adults. As the TV schedule has been affected by World Cup, and some schools break up early, she has created a mini-TV guide for the first week of December with some Christmas highlights. It can be downloaded from the link on the School Library Association website above. Helen hopes to have her full guide available on 14th December so watch this space!
The Reader Teacher Monthly Must Reads November 2022 – Scott Evans choices for the last month are A is for Bee, Bramble Fox, Dream Train, Girl of Ink & Stars and You Are History. Find out more and download the free poster from The Reader Teacher link above.
Marvellous Christmas Stories Advent Calendar – thank you to Alicia Paine for creating this lovely calendar. Open each door to reveal a Christmas children’s book and a linked video. This would be great to share at home or in the classroom.
Waterstones Book of the Year 2022 – On the tenth anniversary of the award the winners in each category are: The Story of Art Without Men by Katy Hessel as Winner of the Waterstones Book of the Year 2022. Bonnie Garmus scoops Author of the Year for her debut novel Lessons in Chemistry, whilst Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman is named Children’s Book of the Year.
Festive Favourites: The Reader Teacher Books I’m Most Excited About December 2022 – In this video Scott Evans shares the children’s book releases he is most excited about coming out this Christmas 2022.
Rugby League legend Rob Burrow is to read a CBeebies Bedtime Story – Former Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow is to read a CBeebies Bedtime Story using ground-breaking technology, the first time a bedtime story has been read this way. Rob reads Tilda Tries Again by Tom Percival at 6.50pm on Saturday 3rd December (CBeebies and BBC iPlayer)
TOPPSTA 100 Must Read Children’s Books of 2022 – a round up of the books that have received the most favourable reviews by children in this popular website. It makes for interesting reading.
Meet the Foyles Books of the Year 2022 – From a year of reading, recommending and selling books, and after months of suggestions, votes and debate, Foyles have selected their three most essential books for 2022. Their Children’s Book of the Year 2022 is Tyger by SF Said illustrated by Dave McKean, “A new classic of children’s literature.”
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
Merry & Bright: Warm, Festive Books to Share – Kate Heap, Primary English Consultant and author, reviews a lovely selection of children’s books for the Global School Alliance.
Children of the Stone City by Beverley Naidoo – I mentioned this book last week and think this review by Ann Alston for Just Imagine excellently conveys its impact. It is a novel that speaks of issues that are important now and have been through many years but it also offers hope, so important in children’s literature.
Happy Stories for Nature Lovers By Dawn Casey (author), Domenique Serfontein (illustrator) – a December book of the month on the LoveReading4Kids website this sounds really lovely. It’s difficult to resist a book described as “joyous”!
That’s everything for this week. Other commitments are mounting up at the moment but I’ll try to get Reading Matters out again next week although it may have to be a mini version. Happy reading!