Reading Matters – children’s book news

Hello and welcome to this week’s look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books. It’s been another busy week with award shortlists and winners announced, new books published and events to attend. There were many highlights but it’s always wonderful to celebrate new talent and the Klaus Flugge Prize short list is a perfect opportunity to discover new illustrators.

What I’m reading…

On Monday I took part in the blog tour organised by David Fickling Books to coincide with the publication of their latest title in the excellent First Names series of biographies. I learned some interesting detail from my reading of ALBERT Einstein and think it would be a great addition to school libraries.

The winner of the Tir na n-Og English Language Award was announced last night and from an impressive shortlist the judges selected The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott her historical YA novel. Earlier this week I wrote about the award and the fabulous books on the short list. and all three books have been a highlight of my recent reading.

The two other books I have read this week were both thought provoking. The Cooking Club Detectives by Ewa Jozefkowicz is published by Zephyr next month and I was moved by this compassionate story of family and community. In this and her previous novel for children, The Key to Finding Jack, I was particularly struck by how Ewa highlights the importance of everyday connections between people. My review will be up on the blog nearer publication date. Another author who is able to shine a light on the things that are important to children is Lisa Thompson and her new book for Barrington Stoke, Small Things, also due out next month illustrates with tenderness why it’s actually the small things that matter most. I’m still thinking about both these books.

Over the next few days I am going back to the Second World War guided by Phil Earle in When the Sky Falls and Hilary McKay in The Swallows’ Flight and will let you know how I get on next week.

News, articles and resources…

Hay Festival Programme for Schools – a quick reminder of this event running from Monday 24th May – Friday 28th May. The line-up is brilliant and there are linked teaching materials to download too. It will be available to watch afterward via Hay Player.

Peters Books Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards Bookshelf Magazine – the Shadower’s Choice voting for these prestigious awards opens on 24th May and this special edition of Peters Books magazine provides details of the shortlisted books, tips for shadowing and a Q & A with one of the judges.

Black Children’s Books Directory – I have shared this excellent resource created by Fabia from Candid Cocoa blog before but as it is being continually updated it is worth sharing again. Over 100 books are listed and many are reviewed on Fabia’s excellent blog.

John Burningham’s Final Picture Book Air Miles has been illustrated by John Burningham’s wife Helen Oxenbury and finished by Bill Salaman, friend of the author who died in 2019. Described by the publisher as “a deeply poignant book about new horizons and saying goodbye”. I welled up just reading the article!

Celebrating the Tir na n-Og Awards 2021 – Helgard Krause, CEO of the Books Council of Wales introduces a special session celebrating the Tir na n-Og 2021 Children’s Book Award shortlists which showcases specially created films and a panel discussion with the shortlisted authors. This event was part of the 2021 CILIP Cymru Wales Conference.

Family Bookworms Recommended Book List for Year 4 – If the Tir na n-Og Award has left you enthused by children’s fiction by Welsh authors and illustrators and books with Welsh themes, Simon at Family Bookworms has created an excellent selection of lists and has just added one for Year 4.

Books for Keeps May Issue – the latest issue of this brilliant magazine includes Rod Campbell, Hilary McKay, Peter Brown, Geraldine McCaughrean, the latest #BeyondtheSecretGarden, reading for pleasure, and a new look inside the wardrobe. Plus reviews – lots of them. I pore over this for days and find it so interesting and useful.

Klaus Flugge Prize Shortlist Announced – five beautiful picture books were shortlisted for this award for illustration this week. You can find out more about the award itself and past winners on the official website.

Pop – Up Festival Presents – A FREE live-streamed literature festival 14-18 June for primary, secondary and special schools, celebrating some of the best writers and illustrators. The programme is being added to and this sounds like real a treat.

Sound and Vision: “The Rez” – this looks interesting. The Rez, the UK’s first major children’s podcast series, uses comics, psychology, and a bit of silliness to spread its messages of kindness and resilience, and the whole series is available now.

“No Shelf Control” Reading Newsletter – another helpful resource from teacher Dean Boddington. His new monthly book review newsletter is a round-up of some of the best new releases of the month and is free to download from Dean’s blog.

Talking to Kids About Climate Change and Hope With Oisín McGann – A Short Hopeful Guide to Climate was published this week in collaboration with Friends of the Earth with vegan inks, all recycled materials and fully recyclable. This interview with the author by Mary Esther Judy provides an insight into the inspiration behind the book.

2021 English 4-11 Picture Book Awards – the English Association announced the winners of this picture book award this week. There are four categories both fiction and non-fiction for two different age groups.

National Literacy Trust Summer of Football – there is a full fixture list of football-themed resources to help children re-discover their joy of the beautiful game, and open up a world of reading through football. There is a reading challenge, an event with Marcus Rashford, an online workshop with author Tom Palmer and a reading festival.

Vote in the InspiREAD book awards 2021 – Inspire Education Library Service have announced the shortlist for their second InspireREAD awards in three different categories: Picture Books, Shorter Books and Longer Novels. The aim is to get everyone reading children’s books; pupils, teachers, parents, grandparents, carers, schools, families and friends – it’s for anyone who enjoys a good read! Find out more and details of how to vote via the link.

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

A Turtle’s View Of The Ocean Blue by Catherine Barr. Illustrations by Brendan Kearney – this information book takes children on a tour of the world’s oceans with a turtle as their guide. Louise Nettleton’s helpful review includes a tempting peep at the beautiful illustrations too.

Outside, Inside by Leuyen Pham – this new picture book may help children talk about and understand what has happened to us over the past year. According to this lovely review on My Book Corner it “finds a hopeful way to tell the story of lockdown and Covid without ever mentioning those words, focusing on a strong feeling of community”

The Lightning Catcher by Clare Weze – chosen as debut of the month by Julia Eccleshare on LoveReading4Kids this sounds refreshingly diffferent and her review has moved this up my long reading list as I am now intrigued to find out more . “Debut author Clare Weze writes with a freshness and energy that sweeps her readers along  leaving them exhilarated if a bit confused!

That’s everything for this week. It looks as though it’s going to be “wet play” here this weekend so an ideal opportunity for some reading! I hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you’re doing. See you next week.

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