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

Hello and welcome to this week’s look at some of the highlights in the world of children’s books during the last week. These are articles I have enjoyed, resources that I think may be helpful and some news items that caught my interest. I remain impressed by the work people are putting into creating an online children’s book world and there is such a plethora of high quality items I can only mention a few of them.

What I’m reading…


Over the last few weeks my reading habits have altered a little and in addition to rediscovering old favourites I have also found poetry something that I enjoy at the moment. Poetry to Comfort and Inspire During a Pandemic explains how and mentions a couple of books that have made an impact on me. This week saw the Klaus Flugge Prize 2020 Shortlist Announced and the five picture books featured on the list are a wonderful example of the vibrancy and range of children’s illustration available.

My Ten Day Picture Book Challenge has been completed and conversation with others taking part has been enjoyable this week. Some of the titles I included were The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski illustrated by P J Lynch a gorgeous Christmas picture book with illustrations to savour, a recent publication Felix After The Rain – written and illustrated by Dunja Jogan Translated by Olivia Hellewell
a lovely book full of kindness and hope and 
It’s a No-Money Day written and illustrated by Kate Milner an important and emotional look at our society today.

News and resources…

BBC Drawn to Music with James Mayhew – a short series of films where children’s author and illustrator James Mayhew paints to performances by the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales. This is wonderful! I have been lucky enough to go to concerts where James Mayhew paints alongside a live orchestra and this programme allows families to have a taste in the comfort of their own homes. The series began with Mars by Holst (link in title) The second episode shown yesterday features Adams’s ‘Short Ride in a Fast Machine’

Natural talent: the 16 year-old writer taking the world by storm – Dara McAnulty is being hailed by the likes of Robert Macfarlane and Chris Packham as a bright new voice. He talks about life with autism and finding peace in the wilds of Northern Ireland.

Writing Tips from SF Said – last week I posted a link to the British Library’s Make a Miniature Book Activity and now top children’s author SF Said has created a video giving some writing advice that children may find helpful before they start their own books.

Empathy Day Family Pack – Empathy Day takes place on 9th June and there is now a Family Activities Pack available to download containing activities suitable for the whole family. They cover the three themes – Read, Connect, Act – but can be done in any order with just some scrap paper and a pen or pencil.

Beanstalk: Doodle with Liz Pichon Activity – Coram Beanstalk ambassador, Liz Pichon, has created a great colouring-in and doodling activity for children to do at home. Free to download from their website.

Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week with Tiny Owl books!– a lovely blogpost by Tiny Owl Publishers stressing the importance of being kind and talking to one another and giving details of how some of their wonderful books can help.

Children’s Books to Support Mental Health Awareness – there are many helpful themed book lists on the Books for Topics website. This one has been created by Alison Leach to link to Mental Health Awareness Week but these books would be helpful at any time to open up conversations about mental health in age-appropriate ways.

Meet Tom Percival, author of new middle-grade series the Dream Team – World Book Day interview with Tom Percival author of a  brand new middle-grade series exploring anxiety in children through action & adventure & are a great way to introduce young readers to ways of managing worries. I love Tom’s picture books such as Ruby’s Worry and am looking forward to reading this. 

Klaus Flugge Prize Shortlist– To celebrate the 2020 Klaus Flugge Prize CILIP have a special broadcast of the #NationalShelfService by librarian Jake Hope sharing the 5 wonderful illustrated books that have made this year’s shortlist.

DKW Literary Agency Authors Launch Online Book Events – Date for your diaries! The DKW Literary Agency  Book Bash.  Join in and celebrate a host of recent and upcoming book releases Wednesday 27th May. As book launch events have been cancelled virtual celebrations such as this are a good way of keeping up to date with the latest titles. The schedule is shown below and you can follow on Twitter using #DKWBookBash.


A Little More Feeling – Just Imagine – Nikki Gamble has written about the recent Just Imagine training webinar which focused on Better Think Alouds. This is a fascinating and informative article which provokes thought about the reading experience for all ages.

Onjali Q Rauf on writing children’s books that do ‘much more than entertain’ – interview with this award winning author in The National about the background to the themes she chooses for her books and information about the charity she has founded.

National Book Tokens and Puffin Big Dreamers Writing Competition – A joint collaboration, this new writing competition for children aged six to 18 asks them to write a 300-word short story on the subject of “Big Dreams”. The deadline for entries is 28th May and the winning entries will be published on the website.

The School Library Association Information Book Award –   the tenth shortlist for this award was announced this week. This recognises the importance of non-fiction whilst highlighting the high standard of resources available. There are three age categories ranging from under 7 to 16 and there are links to activities  for each book on the website too.

Last but definitely not least…If you want to develop your knowledge, understanding and use of children’s books then the new Open University Reading for Pleasure chats on Twitter sound perfect! Follow #OURfPBookBlether to join in each week. The chats are being led by some wonderful teachers and educators. Here’s the timetable:


Finally some reviews that caught my eye this week…

Old Enough to Sace the Planet written by Loll Kirby and illustrated by Aledina Lirius– this new information book sounds as though it would be a wonderful addition to primary school library and classroom shelves. In their review BookTrust say: ‘This is a book to treasure and so too are the young people whose stories it contains. Celebrating young activists, in style, it will inform and inspire many more.’

There’s a Rang-tan in my Bedroom- James Sellick & Frann Preston-Gammon – on a similar theme to the nonfiction book above this picture book is based on the original Greenpeace film that became a viral sensation – revealing the plight of orangutans, the dangers of deforestation, and what we can all do to help.  On her Lily and the Fae blog Lily describes this as a ‘beautiful and empowering book that whilst exploring a sad human made disaster offers the potential and encouragement for young humans to make change.’

Empire’s End – A Roman Story by Leila Rasheed – part of the Voices collection published by Scholastic this book takes the reader on a journey from Libya to Britain during the time of the Roman Empire. Laura Ovenden reviewing this title for Just Imagine says this historical novel  ‘is packed full of well-researched details and is a rich source for Key Stage Two or Key Stage Three.

That’s it for this week and I realise it is rather lengthy but hope that this means there is something of value to different audiences. Have a lovely weekend and happy reading.






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

  1. Thank you for another great round-up. Your blog has become an essential part of my Saturday mornings!

    Liked by 1 person

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