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

Hello and welcome to another look back at the latest children’s book news. There is still a lot happening, new books, online activities and events and people supporting each other with ideas and resources. I hope you find something here to help or inspire.

What I’m reading…


There are some fabulous nonfiction titles available for children at the moment and this week I read and reviewed an excellent example. Survival in Space: The Apollo 13 Mission by David Long illustrated by Stefano Tambellini. This will engage, inform and inspire young readers keeping them gripped to the final page.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kirsty Applebaum’s debut The Middler last year so was looking forward to reading her latest book. I was not disappointed, TrooFriend is another powerful and perceptive story that encourages the reader to question the true meaning of friendship and what makes us human. 

My lockdown comfort read this week was Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer. If you like Tom’s Midnight Garden you may enjoy this. It explores how people’s lives are interlinked over time and questions feelings of identity. A lovely, thoughtful read. 

More resources for schools and families…

Webinar: Shadowing The Carnegie Greenaway Awards – Find out how to how to engage in online shadowing activity, as well as exploring tried and tested techniques to get the most from participating in the CILIP Shadowing Scheme in this free webinar on 21st April. Registration required.

Picture Book Author Events Online – Caryl Hart’s brilliant calendar of events is regularly updated and is definitely worth a regular visit. Lots of great links that are wonderful to share with children at home.

Puffin Publishers Offer ‘at home’ Activities –  The UK children’s book publisher brings authors, illustrators and stories directly into children’s homes. This article provides links to the range available, suitable for teachers, librarians and families.

Children’s story book released to help children and young people cope with COVID-19 – A new story book that aims to help children understand and come to terms with COVID-19 has been produced by a collaboration of more than 50 organizations working in the humanitarian sector. The book, My Hero is You, How kids can fight COVID-19!”, is available in six language versions and free to download. 

News from the world of children’s books…

Cressida Cowell’s Tenure as Children’s Laureate Extended to June 2022 – the announcement was made that the wonderful Cressida will be in the role for an extra year to make sure she has time to carry out all of her amazing plans. Great news!

What the Moomins Creator Can Teach Us About Small Worlds – this article by Melissa Harrison gives an insight into Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book.  A book about people on a tiny island off Finland, living together with tact, grace and delightful attention to their surroundings.

Just Imagine Latest Reviews – an excellent way to keep up to date with the latest children’s books, there are lots of new reviews from the expert teacher review panel.

Little Angel Theatre – I Want My Hat Back – this is wonderful. Watch Ian Nicholson and Samuel Wilde’s puppet-filled adaptation of Jon Klassen’s beautiful picture book ‘I Want My Hat Back’. It was shown live over the Easter weekend and is still available for a few more days. Don’t miss it!

Reading Joy in the Time of Coronavirus – an interesting article by Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, for The School Library Journal about reading under quarantine, giving tips for those who have lost reading enthusiasm.

The greatest children’s books that hit the spot for young and old, as chosen by Alan Titchmarsh, Jilly Cooper, Ian Rankin and more – article for Country Life magazine. Suggestions range from Peter Rabbit to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.

First Chapter Books Recommendations – Books for Topics selection of fun, short, colour-illustrated chapter books that bridge the gap between reading scheme books and longer chapter books.

Great Lives – Frank Cottrell Boyce on Tove Jansson – Fantastical in their adventures but rooted in reality and humanity, Frank Cottrell-Boyce champions the creator of Mooninvalley who poured her fascinating life into her books in this BBC Radio4 programme available as a podcast.

Tomie dePaola obituary – Julia Eccleshare looks back at the life of children’s author and illustrator whose Strega Nona books delighted generations of readers.

Book Trust Pyjamarama Moves to Friday May 1st – To celebrate the bedtime story and reading together, this year’s Pyjamarama will be a day when families across the country can join in a festival of story-filled fun at home. There’ll be lots of new activities for children and fantastic ideas for things to do on the day. 

Finally some reviews that caught my eye this week …

Bunnies on the Bus by Philip Armagh and Ben Mantle – ‘Youngsters will love joining in with the repeated phrases and rhymes in the text. It is so much fun to read aloud and lends itself to a bit of a sing song!’ This lovely review on My Book Corner made me smile so no doubt the book will too.

Where the Wilderness Lives by Jess Butterworth, artwork by Rob Biddulph – described as a “brilliant adventure full of family bonds, tentative friendships, excitement, emotion, natural wonder and most of all heart.” by Rachael at Bellis Does Books this sounds great.

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson – Olivia Mitchell’s review for The Bookbag has made me want to read this: “An addictive, clever YA crime thriller with a loveable female protagonist. Full of shocking twists and turns and set against the backdrop of modern teenage life.”

That’s all for this week. Happy reading!

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

  1. setinthepast says:

    I love Charlotte Sometimes … although the Spanish flu bit at the end seems horribly relevant at the moment.


  2. alibrarylady says:

    My heart sank when I got to that point again although overall I do find it a comforting read. Charlotte is a believable character to me.


  3. Rachael says:

    I am SO EXCITED to see that I Want My Hat Back adaptation. We will be watching that tomorrow. I can see why they’ve brought pyjamarama forward but I wish they’d delayed it instead – I was hoping to do something in work! Next year!
    And thank you again for including my review of Where the Wilderness Lives!

    Liked by 1 person

    • alibrarylady says:

      The I Want My Hat Back play is fabulous, I loved it. The theatre company are doing the series, next one Sunday 3rd May, definitely worth putting in your diary I think! It’s a lovely review, made me want to read the book.


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