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

Hello and welcome to another look back at the recent children’s book news. Easter feels very different this year. Normally it is one of my favourite times of the year, a time spent with family and full of anticipation for the coming spring and summer. We are all slowly learning to live with our changed circumstances and although we are separated from our family and close friends we know we are playing our part in making it possible for us to be reunited sooner rather than later. Some of us are able to come together online in our shared love of books which, I hope, will help a little.

What I’m reading…


This week I have read and reviewed Toto The Ninja Cat and The Superstar Catastrophe by Dermot O’Leary illustrated by Nick East an action packed adventure, full of humour and a real mood lifter of a book. A Bad Day for Jayden by Tony Bradman is a thoughtful look at a day in the life of a young carer and is sensitively told. This would be an excellent addition to school library and classroom shelves. Finally I also read and enjoyed TrooFriend by Kirsty Applebaum. This book left me with plenty to think about as it touches on several important themes such as ethics, what makes us human and the true meaning of friendship. My review will be on the blog when I’ve collected my thoughts.

New book related resources for children staying at home…

I am updating Reading for Pleasure – Resources to Help Children Enjoy Books at Home on a regular basis and would like to highlight some excellent new additions here:

Coronavirus: A Book for Children – Publishers Nosy Crow have produced a free information book explaining the coronavirus to children, illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, with expert input. This is excellent & can be downloaded via the link above.

Hay Festival Programme for Schools Free Events Online – Watch authors from Hay Festival Programme for Schools filmed over the last 3 years. There are 55 fun filled and inspiring events to choose from including Ade Adepitan, Gemma Cairney, Emma Carroll, Eoin Colfer, Julian Clary, Abi Elphinstone and Andy Stanton.

Art with Clara Vulliamy – Author and illustrator Clara Vulliamy has started sharing entertaining art and drawing activities on her YouTube channel based on the characters from her much loved books.

#LibrariesFromHome brought to you by Libraries Connected – amongst the range of digital resources available are the excellent online rhyme times, story times and lego clubs that keep children engaged and support early literacy and creative thinking.

News from the world of children’s books…

Coram Beanstalk Help Share a Love of Reading – Although Beanstalk volunteers can’t be in schools right now, the charity want to continue to share a love of reading with as many people as possible. They have created a downloadable picture which you and/or your children can print off, colour-in and display proudly in the window!

CILIP Launch Daily National Shelf Service – Professional librarians recommending great e-books the whole family can enjoy together. Each day a different librarian showcases a book to tempt readers of all ages. Why not catch up with those you may have missed?
South Wales Evening Post Children’s Book Reviews – Zoe James – Williams’ article includes a magical Venetian middle grade adventure, two fascinating non fiction books for budding eco warriors and and an inspiring historical coming-of-age drama.

Book Clinic: Which books help kids with Asperger’s to Understand OthersAward-winning children’s book writer Jasbinder Bilan picks tales of exploration and empowerment in this article for the Guardian.

A Dystopian Landscape Minerva Reads – Clare Zinkin looks for hope in dystopia in this selection of children’s books in her excellent blogpost.

UKLA Book Awards Shortlists Announced – 2020 saw the introduction of new judging criteria in the only national book awards which are judged by teachers. The judges have risen to the challenge and produced UKLA’s most diverse lists ever, with small imprints dominating the selections in each of the four categories.

New Books Book Trust Love This April – Whether they’re a teeny toddler or a very particular teen, this is where you can find the children in your life’s next amazing book, helpful selections for a range of ages.

Children’s Book Award Ceremony Postponed – The organisers have made the decision to postpone this year’s ceremony and winners announcement from June to 10th October. With many schools and all libraries shut, they have extended voting to 11th September. There is more time for children to read the books and vote using the link above.

CILIP announces changes to the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals timeline – The winners of the 2020 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals will still be announced on the 17th June 2020 via a media announcement, but the Shadowing period is extended until the end of October 2020 and the award ceremony will now coincide with Libraries Week.

Books to use in RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) in Year 6a post of tips & titles to deliver relationships & sex education to your child in the absence of school to help by Jo Cummins.

Young Adult Books Roundup – Fiona Noble reviews the latest titles for teen readers including a dark detective adventure, a prophetic dragon and a prison breakout.

Finally some reviews that caught my eye this week…

Planet SOS by Marie G.Rhode – this new title brings to life the global environmental crisis for young eco-warriors in a whole new way. “A fantastic book full of inspiration and practical ideas – a great addition to any boookshelf” says @thebookactivist

The Garden of Inside Outside” by Chiara Mezzalama, Regis Lejonc with translation by Sarah Ardizzone – “A truly unique picture book, wrought in graphic novel style but with a beautiful yet simple message conveyed about hope and sanctuary amidst a country in upheaval” says @readitdaddy in his wonderful review.

The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley by Amber Lee Dodd – several people have recommended this book so I was already tempted but this review by Joy Court for LoveReading4Kids has finally clinched it: “This highly readable tale really does have the perfect blend of social realism, thrilling adventure and a supernatural mystery to solve.”

I hope that you have enjoyed this look back at the week and are able to enjoy some reading over the coming days. Happy Easter book chums.

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