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

Hello everyone and I hope you are managing to cope and to keep well during these strange times for us all. This week I have tried to balance news and articles with more links to book related resources available for children as we adapt to these very different circumstances.

What I’m reading…


Although I am finding it difficult to concentrate on any reading at the moment I have finished reading The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle. What a lovely book! Escaping to 1960’s Paris was just what I needed and this happy adventure is a joy to read. My review should be on the blog at the beginning of next week. I’m also catching up on Books For Keeps which is always entertaining and informative and I would highly recommend it.

Book related resources available for children…

If you missed my Reading for Pleasure – Resources to Help Children Enjoy Books at Home last week I have added some new links to brilliant creative and engaging resources that have been shared and will continue to update it regularly. Here are some more useful resources below.

Support for Out of School Learning – the School Library Association have a dedicated page on their website for the current crisis with a list of great resources & info about their upcoming webinar plan for librarians and teachers (you need to scroll to the bottom for the webinar info) It is being constantly updated.

BBC Bitesize Fact or Fake – Fact or Fake? – this new area on the educational website is designed to help children to identify fake news and misinformation through a range of engaging articles, videos and quizzes.

Free Resources from Barrington Stoke – From reading guides to colouring in sheets, their Young Editors Scheme to author videos, there’s something for every age of reader linked to some of this publisher’s wonderful books.

StoryTime4HomeTime with James Mayhew – From Monday 23 March, author and illustrator James Mayhew has been posting videos on Youtube at 3pm. Whether you’re in school or at home you can listen to a story and watch James draw upside down! A lovely, soothing end to the day.

Draw with Jim Field – learn to draw alongside illustrator Jim Field with these great videos of him drawing Oi Frog and more on his website.

News from the world of children’s books…

Censoring Anne Frank: How her famous diary has been edited through history – “Anne Frank’s diary was first published in 1947, two years after her death, and her words are now immortalised as a symbol of the victims of the Holocaust. But was it the story that Anne intended for us to read?” Thank you to @gaiabird for this link in her Winding Up the Week post last weekend.

FCBG Children’s Book Award Blog Tour: Owen and the Soldier Q&A with author Lisa Thompson – two lucky children get the opportunity to put questions to the author of this book shortlisted in the younger readers category on the Toppsta website.

A Point of View: Cause for Hope – Michael Morpurgo’s thoughts on hunkering down in his cottage in Devon waiting for coronavirus to pass on this BBC Radio4 broadcast, available to listen to now if you missed it.

Armistice Runner by Tom Palmer Wins The Brilliant Book Award – Congratulations to Tom Palmer winner of the Brilliant Book Award 2020 with Armistice Runner. Voted for by students in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Book Recommendations for Home Learning – more helpful lists compiled by Alison on @Booksfortopics for different age groups and free to download in PDF format.

Down The Rabbit Hole Episode 7 Spring Special with Levi Pinfold and Kes Gray and Jim FieldIn this special bumper episode of the Resonance FM programme, Imogen Russell Williams interviews award-winning artist Levi Pinfold about his extraordinary books and exquisite work on Harry Potter; and Jack Noel talks to picture book creators Kes Gray and Jim Field about their wildly brilliant Oi! partnership.

How Bookshops are Helping with Isolation – As more countries go into lockdown, bookshops around the world are having to think of creative ways to serve their customers and communities, writes Clare Thorp on the BBC website.

How to Draw…a Panda with Jackie Morris – Children’s author and illustrator Jackie Morris made a special trip to see the pandas at Edinburgh zoo to create this gorgeous guide to drawing a panda bear for the Guardian. You can meet pandas and seven other types of other bears in Jackie Morris’s new book Something About A Bear.

Varied Voices 2020 4: Asha and the Spirit Bird, blog by Jasbinder Bilan – award winning author Jasbinder Bilan talks about her writing process for the School Library Association’s Varied Voices blog.

Book Sales Surge as ‘self-isolating’ Readers Stock up on ‘Bucket List’ Novels – plus according to Nielsen, “a 212% growth in volume sales for “home learning” titles, a 77% boost for school textbooks and study guides”

Learning at Home: Organising the Day – a blogpost on the Oxford Owl website by James Clements offering helpful and reassuring advice to parents coping with ‘home learning’ for the first time.

The Shortlist for the 2020 YA Book Prize Announced – Début author Holly Jackson is up against heavyweight names, including Malorie Blackman and Frances Hardinge. The judges for this award were also announced this week and include school librarian Lucas Maxwell.

‘One big virtual love-in’: how children’s book authors are creating online sanctuaries – ‘Authors are going live in real time to engage children and create a safe place where imaginations are fired’ article in Guardian Books by Justine O’Donnell about the response to the Coronavirus epidemic by illustrators and authors.

Tiny Owl Publishers Order Now Pay Later Offer! – the lovely team at Tiny Owl are providing the opportunity to order books by email with the option to pay now or choose to pay by 30th June.

Tir na n-Og Children’s Book Awards 2020 shortlists announced – Tales of dragons, families, myths and magic set amongst the mountains and coastlines of Wales feature in the English-language books shortlisted. 

Finally some reviews that caught my eye…

Dot Magazine from Studio Anorak – now may be just the time to take out a subscription to a regular magazine and this one reviewed by Jo @LibraryGirl&BookBoy sounds great for younger children. 

Lost by Adele Fountain – reviewed by Ruth Ng for The Bookbag @TheBookbag she describes this book as ‘full of adventure, and heartwarming family loyalty, this is an exciting and moving story.’

Max and the Midknights  by Lincoln Pierce – ‘the perfect story for escapism and reassurance – the world isn’t always perfect but a good band of friends can make it easier to cope’ says Louise Nettleton @Lou_Nettleton in her cracking review.

That’s all for this week. I hope that something here has made you smile or has been interesting or helpful.

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5 Responses to Reading Matters – News from the world of children’s books

  1. Thank you for another excellent collection of articles & reviews. Hope you are keeping well 😊


  2. Yes, thanks 😊 I’m fortunate that I can manage my school’s online platform from home. Very thankful for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Many thanks indeed for the mention, Ann. You’re doing a grand job with your weekly Reading Matters. 😃


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