Reading Matters – news from the world of children’s books

Hello and welcome to another Reading Matters and a look back at some of the news from the children’s books world over the last week.

What I’m reading…

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This week I read and reviewed the special 40th Anniversary edition of The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch illustrated by Michael Martchenko. This delightful picture book with its strong message still deserves its place in primary school libraries and classrooms.

I have also read and very much enjoyed When the World Turns Wild by Nicola Penfold. This is a thoughtful story that will resonate with many young readers due to its message of valuing our environment and I warmed very quickly to the two main characters, Juniper and Bear. My review should follow very soon. At the moment I am reading The Bigwoof Conspiracy which is great fun.

News from the world of children’s books…

Creating a Reading for Pleasure Culture in School – article written by Emily Guille-Marrett for Wise Words giving advice and tips on how to embed a love of reading in your primary school.

Q & A with Jasmine Richards by Cerrie Burnell– Jasmine Richards writer and founder of Storymix answers questions from Cerrie Burnell, current writer in residence with Booktrust on why it is important that children have access to diverse books.

Edspresso Episode 11 – How could the magic of picture books be used to enable the development of critical thinking skills? – a wonderful podcast on the New South Wales Government website: Education for a Changing World, in which they speak to Mary Roche, who makes the case for using children’s picture books to teach critical thinking skills to younger learners.

Picture Books for Whole School Projects – if you are looking for suggestions for one book that can be used across the whole primary school Books for Topics provides five suggestions that would make great whole school projects.

Preview of Dust Road by Tom Huddleston – the sequel to the thrilling Flood World will be published by Nosy Crow next month and you are able to read the first chapter and get a taste of what to expect on the Nosy Crow website.

Maia and What Matters Kickstarter campaign – the publishers Book Island Books are trying to raise vital funds to reprint a unique picture book, Maia and What Matters, which tackles cultural taboos surrounding ageing, illness and loss in a brave and meaningful way. You can find out more by clicking on the link.

Strong Fairy Tale Heroines – a series – Katherine Langrish, YA and children’s author, has started a new series on her blog about heroines in traditional fairytales, kicking off by asking why many so many people think fairy tale heroines are passive. This ties in well with the anniversary of The Paper Bag Princess

Create a Story with Chicken House publishers – Maz Evans, Holly Rivers, Emma Shevah and Christopher Edge appear on a new video on the Chicken House website designed to inspire children to hatch their own creative stories. There are accompanying teacher notes and resources too.

Longlists for Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals Announced – The 40-strong list of titles for the 2020 Medals (20 on each longlist) were selected from a total of 162 nominations, read by an expert volunteer team of 14 children’s and youth librarians from across the UK. The shortlists will be announced next month.

Blue Peter Celebrates 20 Years of Book Awards It’s time to choose an overall winner. From a top ten shortlist of previous Blue Peter Book Award winners viewers will have the opportunity to choose their favourite title on the Blue Peter website. The winner will be announced on World Book Day.

Audiobooks and Literacy – the National Literacy Trust has produced details of research they carried out that shows that audiobooks can be used to support children’s learning. They have also created a range of resources for teachers and parents on the subject.

The British Library Discovering Children’s Books – Discover centuries of well-loved children’s stories and lesser-known tales with this new online resource for children, teachers and lifelong book-lovers. This looks fabulous and very useful.

Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…

Troofriend by Kirsty Applebaum – I loved Kirsty’s debut, The Middler, last year and Lucas Maxwell loved this, her second book saying in his review, ‘Troofriend is a really amazing novel that touches upon several important issues like friendship, bullying and the ethics surrounding AI.’ Another for my list!

A Sprinkle of Sorcery by Michelle Harrison – the sequel to A Touch of Magic this is described as ‘another spellbinding adventure that will take your breath away and make you believe in magic’ by Beverley Somerset for the Reading Zone. It sounds lovely.

That’s all for this week I hope you have found something to inspire or help you among the articles. If you are returning to school on Monday and are organising World Book Day, good luck! Here are a couple of easy to organise activities that I have used successfully in the past. Happy reading!

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