It is the time of year when many people make resolutions or set themselves new goals. Across social media there have been suggestions for reading challenges such as a greater number of books to read this year, reading a wider range of genres, classics or books from different time periods. Some of these appeal to me but after consideration I have chosen to concentrate on my own reading for pleasure and to try to follow the latest news in the world of children’s books more closely. There is frequent criticism amongst children’s book lovers that literature aimed at children and young people is neglected in the main stream media. I think that this is a valid criticism. It requires time to research and investigate using a variety of sources to keep up to date.
As a school librarian I used to produce a weekly news update for parents and teachers and have decided to do something similar on this blog. It will probably not be weekly but I hope it will be frequent. At least that’s my plan, you might even call it my resolution!
So this first Reading Matters will be a recap of some of the news, reviews and articles that I have enjoyed or found useful over the last week or so.
What I’m reading…
My own recent reading has been made up of the books I had been asked to review for the School Librarian Magazine (the quarterly journal for School Library Association). Evernight by Ross Mackenzie was one of these and is a darkly magical adventure with a brave and inspiring heroine at its heart. Definitely one to watch out for in 2020, it is published next month by Andersen Press. I also read a retelling of Jane Eyre by Tanya Landman and loved it. Published on 15th January by Barrington Stoke it is the perfect introduction to this classic for young readers.
This month on Twitter I am following, intermittently unfortunately, a Jan Mark reading discussion #JanMARKuary organised by Ben Harris @one_to_read This has introduced me to The One That Got Away, a new collection of short stories by this award winning author. The stories are wonderful, full of humour and with cracking dialogue and unexpected twists and surprise endings. You can find out more about Jan Mark on this website and also order a copy of The One That Got Away if you are now tempted to join in.
News and Views in Children’s Books
BookTrust Calendar of Children’s Book Events and Awards – the helpful team at Booktrust have collated this comprehensive resource which is helpful for planning or general interest.
Year 6 Book list – Scott Evans, The Reader Teacher has updated his suggested book list for Year 6 and it available to download on his website.
Closure of Carousel – this is sad news. I subscribed for many years and found this magazine very useful.
Frank Cotrrell Boyce Promoting Children’s Books – this popular and award winning author took to Twitter this week to criticise the lack of attention paid by the main stream media to the wide range of children’s books available. He is now highlighting quality literature via his Instagram account. The first titles up were The Highland Falcon Thief by M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman due out next month and Icarus Was Ridiculous by Pamela Butchart illustrated by Thomas Flintham.
Little Women review by Lonesome Reader– I found this review of both the book and the film interesting and am very much looking forward to seeing the film next week.
The Ghost Garden by Emma Carroll – this week Jo Clarke @bookloverjo showcased the cover for Emma Carroll’s first novella for Barrington Stoke. I am a huge fan of both Emma’s books and this particular publisher so am looking forward to this hitting the bookshelves in July.
10 Great Books to Read in 2020 – a list for Book Riot produced by former School Librarian of the Year, Lucas Maxwell
Great School Libraries Blog – super school librarian Jo Clarke writes about how she uses Chatterbooks Clubs in school.
Children’s Books to Brighten Up January – reviews of new titles for all ages in this Irish Times article.
Five Things To Know When Quitting to Follow Your Dream – an interesting interview with author Lisa Thompson to coincide with the publication of her latest book, The Boy Who Fooled the World.
Summer Reading Challenge – The Silly Squad will be in your local library this summer and the list of titles was announced this week. The Summer Reading Challenge 2020 will be a celebration of funny books, happiness and laughter.
Finally, some children’s books published over the last few days that have caught my eye:
Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm – published by Nosy Crow this is reveiwed on the Reading Zone website where you can also read an extract. “Perfect for fans of Mortal Engines and Star Wars”
The Moonlight Zoo by Maudie Powell-Tuck and Karl James Mountford – published by Little Tiger Press. Described by Jill Bennett on Red Reading Hub as an “enchanting story wherein determination is key.”
Tiger Heart by Penny Chrimes – published by Orion Books. This fabulous review by Joy Court for Love Reading 4 Kids has prompted me to add this to my wish list. “magnificent story of courage, love and loyalty which leaves the reader satisfied and enriched.” Wow!
There is sure to be much that I have missed out on as it has been a particularly busy start to the year in the world of children’s books but I hope this selection is of interest. Watch this space for the next Reading Matters coming soon. Happy reading!