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

Hello and welcome to another look at some of the latest news from the world of children’s books. It has been another busy week with awards, comment, resources and ideas linked to children’s literature circulating online.

What I’m reading…


On my list of books to read as part of the 20 Books of Summer 2020 challenge was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which had, to my shame, languished on my shelves for over ten years. Following the author’s untimely death earlier this month and the many articles about his life and work I moved it to the top of my list.  Now a little over half way through I am savouring the city of Barcelona, the streets, the antiquarian bookshops and the interconnecting lives of the fascinating characters who live there. The secrets and the intrigue is engrossing. Also, the opening contains the most beautiful description of the power of books that I have read for ages.

“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”

Turning back to children’s books I have relished the fabulous picture books that I have read so far this year and hope to post about my favourites in the coming days.

News and resources…

Novelist Philip Pullman and dramatist Madeleine Perham, In Conversation with Nicolette Jones   Live with audience Q&Atoday, this afternoon at 4pm Anyone can go, virtually, to St Hilda’s College Garden Party on Saturday, the event is free but registration is required. This sounds like an unmissable treat for Pullman fans.

Teresa Cremin: Sharing the Love of Poetry – this article by Teresa Cremin highlights the pleasure children and young people can find in the verbal play and sounds of poetry. There are also some fabulous invitations to share a love of poetry that can be used in school or at home.

Free Poetry Ideas from the Reading Realm – still on the poetry theme, this free resource is being constantly updated and includes poetry starters and creative ideas to get children enjoying and writing poetry provided by children’s poets.

The Illustrators: Dick Bruna – I love this article by school librarian Melanie McGilloway celebrating the 65th birthday of Miffy, and providing a fascinating insight into the life and work of the creator of this much loved picturebook character.


Nosy Crow announces upcoming picture book from Patrice Lawrence – Nosy Crow this week announced the acquisition of a timely and important picture book from author Patrice Lawrence called Granny Came to England on the Empire Windrush. The book will be published in hardback and paperback in May 2022, to tie in with events for National Windrush Day in June 2022.

The Little Angel Theatre: Don’t Worry Little Crab– if you enjoyed the wonderful versions of Jon Klassen’s ‘hat books’ then this puppet-filled version of Chris Haughton’s ‘Don’t Worry, Little Crab’ will be sure to appeal. Produced by Folded Feather, in association with Little Angel Theatre. There is a link to donate to the theatre via the description beneath the video.

INTRODUCING: Take Flight Hub – Launching on Tuesday 30 June and working with some of the country’s leading novelists, poets, playwrights, literary agents and publishers of colour, the programme aims to inspire the next generation of new voices in UK publishing. Those involved include Patrice Lawrence, Darren Chetty and Chitra Soundar.

500 Words: Black Lives Matter – the popular writing competition for children is back. The organisers want to bring children’s voices onto the themes and issues emerging from the Black Lives Matter movement. The competition will run from  29th June until 3rd July.

Bookstart founder and children’s books pioneer Wendy Cooling dies – this is very sad news. Wendy Cooling was a remarkable person who did so much to help children – her legacy is huge. There is a touching tribute to her on the Nosy Crow website.

School Librarians empower thriving schools – this is an important read which needs to be shared widely. Nick Poole, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), and the CILIP School Libraries Group have created this briefing note for Head Teachers, Senior Leaders and Governors about the amazing difference a school librarian can make to teaching, learning and the whole school community!

WRD About Books Magazine – I have found that this magazine has been a huge success in both the school library and classroom enjoyed by pupils and teachers alike. This week I noticed that individual subscriptions are available and although I try to concentrate on free resources I would highly recommend this. It is a fantastic source of information on new books with extracts, reviews and competitions. Definitely worth a look!


Just Imagine Updated Website – this is a treasure trove of  helpful and knowledgeable advice including quick book guides to titles such as The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan, Mirror by Jeanne Baker and Tuesday by David Wiesner, articles, writing starters and book related thoughts and ideas.

Winner  of The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2020 AnnouncedKing Coo: The Curse of the Mummy’s Gold by Adam Stower has won The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2020. Run by the Bright Agency and The Alligator’s Mouth bookshop, this children’s book prize celebrates the best books for 6-8-year-olds. This is the second year of the award which champions highly illustrated fiction.

Interview with Art Director Nghiem Ta of Walker Books – Nghiem worked with Shaun Tan, on Tales from the Inner City the 2020 winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal and discusses her expertise and experience with Jake Hope for the CILIP Youth Libraries Group.

Indie Book Awards 2020 – Chosen by a judging panel of independent booksellers, authors and industry influencers, the awards celebrate the best books in paperbacks to read this summer. The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson and Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton won the children’s fiction and the picturebook categories.

How to write stories with children, and why it matters – Matt Blake talks to authors Darren Chetty, Nathan Bryon and Robin Stevens about how parents can help children write their stories. Teachers will also find this article of interest.

Representation for all – diverse books for children – at the time of writing there are still tickets available for this SLA webinar. Smriti Halls will guide attendees through some of the books she’s authored and some of her favourites. Then, Barbara Band will lead a training session exploring why now, more than ever, it is important for every child to be offered a diverse and inclusive collection. This webinar is aimed at primary and secondary library staff and teachers. 

Finally some book reviews that caught my eye this week…

 National Shelf Service – if you haven’t yet caught up with this initiative from CILIP it is a wonderful source of book recommendations. Videos of librarians reviewing their favourite books for a wide age range ensure there is something here for everyone. You can also explore the books recommended on Nielsen Book’s  Book2Look wall here

The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott – I love reviews that both give an idea of a book’s possible audience and a taste of the book itself and  Laura Ovenden’s review for Just Imagine of this new historical novel does this beautifully. In summary, “a perfect Y7 class novel, providing rich historical knowledge of the period while opening up the potential for fascinating discussions around identity, gender roles and language.”

While We Can’t Hug – Eoin Mc Laughlin & Polly Dunbar – you may have seen the release of the online version of this lovely picture book already but now the paperback version is being published. Jo Clarke sums up its appeal in her review which was part of the blog tour launch this week.

That’s all for this week and yes, another lengthy list! It should, I hope, ensure that there is something here for you to enjoy. Have a lovely weekend and happy reading.



This entry was posted in Reading Matters Children’s Book News and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Thank you Anne, yet again you have found several resources that I will find very helpful. I hope that you have a lovely weekend; are the Premiership-title celebrations ongoing? My headteacher was extremely happy yesterday😃

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alison Leach says:

    Love these interesting round-ups – I always look forward to a Saturday morning coffee and catch up with your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachael says:

    I’ve had Labyrinth of the Spirits waiting to be read for AGES but I think I’m going to try and go bavk to Shadow of the Wind first as I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.