Hello everyone and welcome to another Reading Matters. As we approach the third week of the restrictions we are living under at present books can be an escape for both adults and children but they can also bring us together as a community online. This week I have included articles that I hope will encourage and soothe in addition to being interesting. There are also links to some more useful book related resources for children and some reviews.
What I’m reading…
This week I have read and reviewed a range of different types of book so I hope there is something here for all tastes. I loved The Pear Affair by Judith Eagle, a great adventure story with wonderful characters and a setting brought vividly to life. It would be perfect for confident readers of about 9 plus but would also work well as a read aloud for younger children. The Cockatoo from Timbuktu is a cheerful picture book helping young children to travel around the world from their own living rooms. I am a huge fan of the books published by Barrington Stoke and have reviewed two new titles in their brilliant little Gem series.
More book related resources for children staying at home…
Reading for Pleasure – Resources to Help Children Enjoy Books at Home has been updated this week with new links, you will need to scroll down the page to see the additions. I have highlighted some excellent ones below:
Gaspard and the Quiet Day – If you are a parent, carer or teacher trying to find a comforting way of explaining the current situation to young children this is wonderful. A video of a special story written by Zeb Soanes and illustrated by James Mayhew, it is both thoughtful and reassuring. Perfectly done.
14 Stories in 14 days from Egmont Publishers – a new website, inspired by the recommended 14 days of self-isolation, offering 14 days of free content to provide entertainment and educational support for parents, carers and children across the UK.
Our Corona Diary – founded by Kathryn Evans this initiative hopes to document the experience through the eyes of young diarists and inspire a creative response to the crisis. Suitable for all ages from early years to young adult there are stacks of creative ideas plus information for parents, teachers and carers.
The Bookwanderers Club – a live book club hosted by children’s author Anna James every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2pm while schools are closed due to COVID-19.
News from the world of children’s books…
Children’s Books Roundup: the best new picture books and novels – I always love these regular collections of new titles by Imogen Russell Williams and this latest one includes some fabulous books.
Author Interview with Joan Haig – Tiger Skin Rug – Mr. Ripley’s Enchanted Books – this interview considers the origins and the inspirations behind this exciting debut. You’ll also get an opportunity to find out more about the author’s life.
A letter from lockdown, by Michael Morpurgo – “Who needs swords when we have books?” BookTrust President Sir Michael Morpurgo writes a beautiful and encouraging letter to book lovers young and old in lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus.
Bookings Chat – Episode 33 Jennifer Killick – Author Jennifer Killick sits down to talk to school librarian Lucas Maxwell about the Alex Sparrow series, Crater Lake and much more! Episode 36 Anthony McGowan – Award-winning writer Anthony McGowan talks to Lucas about going to school in Leeds, philosophy and his novels including Lark, which has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2020. Booklings Chat is a regular podcast and worth catching up with if you are not already following.
Kids at home? The books you should read to keep everyone entertained – Timeless classics, hilarious capers and new adventures: a tots to teens reading list that even parents can enjoy chosen by Lucy Mangan for the Guardian.
The Children’s Spring Special from The Bookseller – this special edition has been made freely available online due to the current situation. Lots and lots of wonderful content. This is a bit of a treat for us all!
StoryTime4HomeTime – author and illustrator James Mayhew writes about his recent initiative sharing storytelling and art online. There are some examples of the gorgeous artwork produced by children in response to his videos.
Interview with Kirsty Applebaum, author of TrooFriend – read Kirsty’s thoughts on whether she’d like to own a Troofriend herself on Jo Cummins’ Library Girl and Book Boy blog. Troofriend was published this week by Nosy Crow.
Abi Elphinstone signs new three book deal with Simon and Schuster – this is exciting news! There is to be a “magical adventure” Fizzlehatch, and a second standalone middle-grade novel, plus a picture book, The Frost Goblin.
The Best New Children’s Books for Now – chosen by Amanda Craig for The New Statesman these include Where The World Turns Wild by Nicola Penfold and Evernight by Ross MacKenkzie, two of my favourites so far this year.
Finally some reviews of children’s books that caught my eye this week…
One World, Many Colours by Ben Lerwill, illustrated by Alette Strathof – “a colour-themed journey around the natural beauties of the world – and we can do it without leaving our sofas.” A lovely and very tempting review by Terry Potter on The Letterpress Project.
Jungledrop by Abi Elphinstone – I nearly didn’t read this review by Veronica Price as my copy was almost at the top of my teetering book pile. She describes the ‘countless things to love about this story.’ I’ve now moved the book to the top!
That’s all for this week I do hope that this has been useful. If you are on Twitter do look out for #UnitedByBooks as many wonderful ideas, tips and resources are being shared to bring us all together.