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

Hello and welcome to another look back at the children’s book news from the last few days. This week there is information regarding the possible re-commencement of physical and digital library services in primary and secondary schools which will be useful to both school librarians and senior leadership teams. Generous people continue to create fabulous resources, to encourage reading for pleasure, for sharing in schools and homes and I have included several of these this week. There are also articles, reviews and news of book awards. I hope you find something of interest.

What I’m reading…


This week I was nominated by Ben Harris, teacher, book lover and creator of many fabulous book chats on Twitter, to choose a different favourite picture book each day for ten days and provide a three word descriptive summary. This has prompted me to reread some much loved titles, which have so far included the thoughtful exploration of emotions in Felix After the Rain, Mrs Noah’s Pockets featuring a wise woman I have a soft spot for,  The Snow Liona kind story about learning how to be brave and Alfie Gets in First, a personal family favourite.

News and resources…

Books for Keeps May Issue – jam packed full of reviews and interesting articles including Ten Essential Books for Young Readers chosen by Frank Cottrell Boyce and the latest in the Beyond the Secret Garden series looking at BAME characters featured in stories about health workers. This is always an interesting read.

Covid19 Guidance for School Libraries– This Guidance has been developed by a Working Party convened jointly by CILIP, the CILIP School Libraries Group and the School Library Association. It is clear that a great deal of work has gone into creating a document intended to inform discussions between school library staff and school leadership about the safe re-commencement of physical and digital library services in primary and secondary schools. It will be updated as necessary.

The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months – this article tells a very different and infinitely more uplifting story than the William Golding classic. 

Not now, Bernard … I’m on my iPhone: classic children’s text reissued for digital era – author David McKee reveals why, 40 years on, his cautionary tale of the perils of ignoring children is still relevant. 

Research Rich Pedagogies Reading for Pleasure Newsletter – this month’s issue is simply chock full of resources, ideas, recommendations and tips. I particularly like the reading invitations, with different versions for a range of age groups. These are a fabulous way of encouraging book talk and related creative activities. If you sign up to the newsletter you won’t miss out in future. It is suitable for teachers, librarians and parents.

The Reader Teacher Year 2 Top 100 Recommended Reads – Scott Evans has updated his helpful list for this age group and I love that it has such a wonderful mixture of old favourites, new titles, picture books and nonfiction. It’s ideal for encouraging a wide range of reading at this stage of a child’s reading journey.

Reading For Pleasure Tube Maps for Children – Dean Boddington has updated his brilliant Tube Maps designed to encourage children to explore different authors and titles. There are three versions, one for approximately two 7+ (Lower KS2) and another for 9+ (UpperKS2)  plus another for the infant (KS1) age group. All are free to download and would make a great and useful display for classrooms and libraries. Dean has asked for a donation to charity in lieu of payment if at all possible and there are details in the link.

Carnegie and Greenaway Award Free Shadowing Webinar – Registration is now open this free Shadowing Webinar on the 3rd of June.  Featuring judges, authors and illustrators this promises to be a lively and entertaining session. There are details of how children and teens can watch and submit questions beforehand.

Toppsta Free Reading Pack – Georgina Atwell at Toppsta has created a great free resource for schools and families. It includes a 15 Minutes a Day Reading Challenge,  a Fun Bingo Game with prizes, brilliant book recommendations, review templates and a list of online resources. All available to print for class or individual use.

BookTrust Story Time Prize – This prize, which is now in its second year, celebrates and promotes the best books for sharing with young children and is run in association with the CILIP Youth Libraries Group. This shortlist includes some delightful books sure to be enjoyed at home or in school.

British Library asks children to create miniature books at home – this is a lovely idea and is supported by children’s authors and illustrators such as Axel Scheffler, Philip Ardagh and Jacqueline Wilson.

Children’s Books Make Good Companions in a Crisis – I love this article by Amanda Craig about the need for and value of children’s literature during the current crisis.

Books for Topics Storytime Online – Alison Leach has been busy finding some of the best online storytimes for children to access freely at home. The QR codes and links in the downloadable document link to story readings on Youtube and all of the books are read aloud by their authors and illustrators.

Indie Book Awards 2020 – the shortlists for these awards were announced this week and include Children’s Fiction and Picture Book categories. There are some wonderful titles for a wide range featured this year.

Inspire ELS New Online Primary Book Award – the aim of this brand new award,  InspiREAD2020, is to get everyone reading children’s books; pupils, teachers, parents, grandparents, carers, schools, families and friends. The award will run during the Summer Term and there are some fabulous books in the three categories, picture books, shorter books and longer novels. You can find out more via the link and by following @InspireELS on Twitter 

Ten Word Tales from Learn to Love to Read – there are lots of reading resources on this website including the Ten Word Tales in which children choose ten interesting words to inspire The Story Spinner to create brand new five-part stories. The creators hope this will encourage conversations about language.

Finally some book reviews that have caught my eye this week…

Trailblazers Simone Biles Golden Girl of Gymnastics by Sally J Morgan – Veronica Price says “this is a fantastic addition to the Trailblazers series and a fascinating book for anyone of 10+” Biographies that provide young people with role models are always welcome and this new title sounds as though it does just that.

Wilde by Eloise Williams – this has “everything you could possibly want in a contemporary story about growing up and fitting in.” says Jo Cummins in her review.     It’s definitely going on my to read list!

Rise of the Shadow Dragons by Liz Flanagan –  Joanne Owen describes this as having  “the sweeping atmosphere of a classic hero story, Joe’s story is shot-through with themes of acceptance, making amends, courage and concord, against a backdrop of political – and volcanic – eruptions.”

That’s all for this week. Happy reading!

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

  1. Thank you Anne for another wonderfully comprehensive collection of useful resources. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Veronica x

    Liked by 1 person

    • alibrarylady says:

      Thank you Veronica, I hope you’re well and managing to combine online school lessons with your coursework. Perhaps you can have a break from it over the weekend? I do hope so x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Anne. I submitted my assignment for this semester during the week, so I can read for pleasure this weekend instead of ploughing through papers on DDC, metadata schemas and bibliographic control! Needless to say I have built up a ridiculously tall TBR stack!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachael says:

    Another great round up! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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