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

Hello and welcome to another weekly look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books. I hope that everyone is coping with the never ending barrage of concerning news and that some of the articles and links here will be a welcome distraction from stress and worry.

What I’m reading…

This has been such a busy week for me that not as much reading as I would like has taken place. However thanks to the announcement of the Klaus Flugge Prize I did reread When Sadness Came to Call by Eva Eland. I do love this picturebook, it is gentle, wise, reassuring and an excellent way to encourage children to think about and discuss their emotions. I have almost finished reading Moon over Manifest and taking it slowly as I don’t want to say goodbye to Abilene of whom I have grown rather fond.

The highlight of my reading week has been my interview with Wafa’ Tarnowska, the author of Amazing Women of the Middle East, to be published on Sunday 20th September. Please do read what Wafa’ has to say if possible, in my opinion she should be included in her own book. If you are interested in finding out more about Wafa’ and her book the online launch takes place on Sunday at 7pm and you may email  to receive an invitation and a link to the event.

News and resources...

Ones to Watch: New Children’s Fiction for Autumn 2020 – over on the Books for Topics website Alison Leach and her team have been busy checking a fantastic pile of upcoming middle-grade (ages 8-12) titles and have picked out eight top recommendations to watch out for from September to November 2020.

Carnegie and Greenaway Nominations 2021 – Calling all CILIP members! Nominations are now open for the 2021 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals. Find out more and submit your favourite books to win these prestigious awards by Friday 25th September.

Give me 5 Books: featuring children with limb difference – Are characters with limb difference (the partial or complete absence of individual limbs) represented in your classroom book collection or school library? Author Susan Brownrigg picks her top five suggestions for Books for Topics.

Diversity in Children’s Literature – this helpful Padlet created by the Liverpool Learning Partnership featuring a collection to support educators in exploring issues of diversity and inclusion in children’s and YA books has recently been modified and updated.

BookTrust New Writer in Residence: Smriti Halls – Every six months, BookTrust appoints a new Writer or Illustrator in Residence to write blogs, run competitions and give us their own unique perspective on the world of children’s books. In the role, Smriti will concentrate on using books to help children navigate tricky times and new experiences. You can watch a lovely video of Smriti’s first message full of hope and positivity in the linked article.

Nicola Davies Introduces her New Picture Book: Last – Renowned author, Nicola Davies, introduces her deeply moving illustration debut Last, ahead of a live reading on World Rhino Day 2020 at 14:00 GMT over on Helping Rhinos’s YouTube channel.

Picture books featuring characters with SLCN (Speech, Language and Communication Needs) by Lucy Rowland – author Lucy Rowland brings together a collection of picture books featuring characters that may help children struggling to find their voice. This post on Picture Book Den is helpful and these books would be valuable in schools.

Jhalak introduces children’s & YA prize – The organisers of the Jhalak Prize, given for a book by a British writer of colour, have launched a new prize, for a children’s or YA book. Both prizes are worth £1,000 to the winner, and are open for entries. The judges for the children’s prize will be Verna Allette Wilkins, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Candy Gourlay.

The Klaus Flugge Prize – Julia Eccleshare, critic and chair of the Klaus Flugge Prize is a guest on the CILIP Youth Libraries blog to explain why this new award for picture book illustrators is so important.

Books For Keeps Magazine September Issue – this wonderful online magazine is crammed full of reviews, regular features such as Beyond the Secret Garden by Darren Chetty and Karen Sands-O’Connor, interviews with Tom Palmer and Kevin Crossley-Holland. I always enjoy reading this and would highly recommend it for anyone with an interest in children’s books.

Building Bridges: Language and Cultural Exchange in Children’s Publishing from Wales – article by Megan Farr as part of World Kid Lit Month. Wales has one of the longest literary traditions in Europe, and its landscape, history, myths, people and language have long inspired children’s writers and illustrators.

Online launch of The Lost Spells by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris – This sounds an absolute treat! Join The Lost Words creators Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris as they celebrate the publication of their beautiful new book, The Lost Spells. Conjuring the wonder of everyday nature through both words and imagery, The Lost Spells evokes the importance of naming and knowing the living world, and reminds us of what we would lose if nature were to slip from our lives. It takes place on Thursday 1st October at 7pm.

School libraries: Top tips for making them fun, safe places to be during COVID-19 – in case you missed this at the beginning of the month, BookTrust have compiled a list of helpful suggestions from school,librarians including Lucas Maxwell, former School Librarian of the Year.

How Can School Librarians Support Bereaved Students – this is a kind, thoughtful post by Barbara Band that will, I think be equally helpful to teachers. It includes a list of useful books for a wide range, from picture books to YA titles and links to helpful organisations.

50 Manga for your School Library – Lucas Maxwell has compiled this helpful list grouped by age from 10 to 16+.

Finally, some reviews that caught my eye this week…

The Smile Shop by Satoshi Kitamura – this picture book creator’s style is distinctive and appealing and I do love the sound of this new book. Rich Simpson says in his review, “A beautiful book to share and use to remind us that money isn’t necessary to be happy, and that kindness costs nothing but makes the world a nicer place to be a part of.” It sounds perfect.

The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston – I read this utterly lovely classic over the summer and never got round to writing a review. Now I don’t need to as this lovely one by Ann on the Cafe Society blog sums up its appeal to me so well.

Sona Sharma Very Best Sister by Chitra Soundar. Illustrated by Jen Khatun – as a school librarian I was sometimes asked to recommend a book that would help a child adapt to the arrival of a new baby in the family. Louise Nettleton’s review suggests that this should be on that list. “This is the perfect tale for younger children who are struggling to adjust to the idea of a new baby in the family. It is also a wonderful story of everyday life and celebration.”

The Tigers in the Tower by Julia Golding – I find historical fiction tempting and this review by Kate Heap has worked its magic and I’m keen to read this new title. Kate says “It teaches readers to be confident and strong even in the most difficult situations and to trust their instincts about what is right and who they are.”

The Invisible Boy by Alyssa Hollingsworth – this is Book of the Week in the current issue of Books for Keeps and I was struck by this review by Val Randall. Dealing with the challenging subject of modern slavery this would be an important addition to secondary school libraries.

That’s all for this week and I do hope that something has proved to be of interest or will be helpful to you. Happy reading!

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

  1. Thank you Anne! I hope you have a lovely weekend 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alibrarylady says:

    Thank you m Veronica, you too!

    Liked by 1 person

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