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

Hello everyone and welcome to another Reading Matters and a look back at the week in children’s books.  This has been a difficult week for many and these are strange and worrying times. However I have decided to continue with these weekly updates for now as books can be a solace and an escape for us all so I hope very much that a guide to what is available may be comforting and helpful.

There has been an incredible amount of resources and information generously shared to support teachers and families following the closure of schools. This can at times feel bewildering and overwhelming. Therefore I am not including a vast number in Reading Matters this week as it would take up so much space but have written about these in a separate post Reading for Pleasure – Resources to Help Children Enjoy Books at Home I  have however selected three that I think may be useful for teachers and school librarians below.

What I’m reading…


This week I read Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Golden Seahorse by Sally Gardner and illustrated by Nick Maland. This was a very cheerful and entertaining read and is presented in a dyslexia friendly format so this charming story is suitable for a wide audience. Perfect for newly confident readers or to read aloud too.

At the moment I am reading and enjoying The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle and pretending I am in Paris. A happy escape! I hope to post a review next week.

Last Saturday I had a rewarding day at the Central and East Berkshire branch of the School Library Association’s unconference. It now feels a lifetime ago in many ways but it was a valuable, interesting and thought provoking day. School librarians sharing ideas and practical suggestions in a friendly environment and giving a warm welcome to those of us from outside the area too.  A tour of the Licensed Victuallers School Ascot’s library was included and here’s some photos for inspiration…


Just Imagine – The Reading Journey – The Reading Journey app is FREE. If your school is signed up and you have set up pupils logins, there are lots of books that they can discover at home, an online reading journal and challenges which can be submitted to you via the school dashboard.

The Book Whisperer’s Publisher and Author Resources – a huge list of links to a variety of activities linked to specific books collated by @TheBookWhisper2

Glenthorne School Library Literary Resources – school librarian Lucas Maxwell @lucasjmaxwell has put together a list of links to helpful resources for students and parents. Many of these are suitable for secondary age too.

News from the World of Children’s Books…

Shortlists for CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals Announced – eight-strong shortlists for the UK’s oldest book awards for children and young people were revealed on Thursday. The lists include books promoting environmentalism, acceptance, kindness and bravery. The shadowing website has a range of resources available and the CKG team will be updating the site in response to school closures.

Use them or Lose Them – Our Precious Indies– blogpost by children’s author, Fleur Hitchcock. This is ever more important. Many independent bookshops are taking online orders and some are delivering too. Don’t forget that if you order via Hive Books a percentage of the price goes to an independent bookshop of your choice.

Five Books That Explain Germs, Hand Washing & Viruses – Help your children to understand about germs and the importance of hand washing with this helpful list of children’s books about germs, viruses and hand hygiene  compiled by Alison Leach of Books for Topics.

Why We Need Angry Girls in Children’s Books More Than Ever– author Nicola Skinner’s article for The Independent is an interesting read.

Another Twist in the Tale by Catherine Bruton – Jo Clarke @bookloverjo revealed the cover of this forthcoming book  published by Nosy Crow on 5th May.  This author’s No Ballet Shoes in Syria was one of my favourite reads of 2019 so I am very much looking forward to this.

DustRoad The Playlist– if you followed the recent blog tour with Tom Huddleston or read my review last week you may already have a copy of Dust Road. Tom has created a brilliant playlist to go with the book that will make you feel as though you are on the road trip with Kara and Joe!

Mental Health, Well Being and the School Library – the #GreatSchoolLibraries campaign has moved on to its next phase one strand of which is the role of the school library and librarian in supporting the mental health and well being of the school community. Vice-chair of the campaign, Barbara Band, has written about this important aspect examining research and asking for case studies.

British Book Awards 2020 – Tiny Owl are joint winners with Jacaranda Press of the inaugural Small Press of the Year Award. Tiny Owl publish some very lovely books for children and their website is well worth a browse.

Booktrust interview with Jessica Sanders, author of Love Your Body – When Jessica Sanders realised that she didn’t know any women who hadn’t experienced a negative body image when they were growing up, she decided to do something about it and write a book. Love Your Body is out now,  illustrations by Carol Rossetti.

Finally here are some reviews that caught my eye this week…

Matisse’s Magical Trail by Tim Hopgood and Adam Boughton –  shortlisted for Children’s Book Award this review is part of the linked blog tour and Scott Evans @MrEPrimary says ‘ I hope this book reaches the hands & hearts of many a reader, whether that be in a classroom, a library or a home because this is one that deserves to be read and reread, shared and re-shared over and over again.’ It sounds wonderful.

How Does Your Garden Grow? – a beautiful selection of tempting books reviewed by Jo @LibraryGirl&BookBoy that will encourage green fingers and welcome Spring. Perfect timing for stay at home families who are able to get out into a garden.

Talking to the Moon by S E Durrant – Andrea Reece describes this as ‘a poignant, thoughtful examination of family relationships, memory and loss’ on the LoveReading4Kids website. Another for my lengthy list.

That’s all for this week and I hope that you have found something of interest. Over the coming days and weeks although we have to practise social distancing we can meet up online and share a love of stories, escape to an imaginary world, visit new places or make new friends in the pages of a book. Keep well everyone and happy reading.

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

  1. setinthepast says:

    Books are a big source of comfort at the moment! The highlight of my week has been finding some toilet rolls this morning – this is what life has come to! Hooray for the escapism offered by books 🙂 !

    Liked by 1 person

    • alibrarylady says:

      I know exactly what you mean! Books mean we can go anywhere we like in our heads. Well done on the toilet rolls! Shopping for my dad this week was daunting…bananas, which he loves, were like gold dust. Trying to keep a sense of humour helps 😊


  2. Thanks for another interesting and helpful blogpost. It is no surprise that the children’s book community is providing so many generous resources in this troubling time. Best wishes for continuing good health 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. alibrarylady says:

    Thank you, children authors and illustrators and many others too are being incredibly generous. It’s lovely to see a community working together. Hope you and your family keep well. I think online friendships like ours are going to be a big help. 😊


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