This week’s collection of news has been gathered in a slightly haphazard fashion due to life in general getting in the way of my organisation but I hope that I have managed to include something that is of interest or helpful. The highlight of the coming week is Empathy Day, which takes place on Thursday 10th June and has grown in both importance and impact in recent years.
This week also sees the blog tour coinciding with the publication of The Cooking Club Detectives by Ewa Jozefkowicz. I am delighted to be taking part in this and on Empathy Day Ewa will be visiting the blog to tell us all about the Magic Breakfast charity which inspired her story. I hope you’ll join us and follow the rest of the tour to find out more about this lovely story of connection, cooking and community.
What I’m reading…
Nikki Gamble’s ‘Audience With’ events have all been a joy to attend and I’ve learned so much from the discussions with different authors and illustrators. This month’s took place on Thursday and was with David Almond. Well, as you would expect, it was a fascinating discussion and I have been thinking about David’s comments about memory, imagination and childhood influences since. In readiness for the event I read A Brand New Boy which was published last year but I had not got around to reading yet. The depiction of school life and the voices of the children were accurate, funny and touching and then gradually the story evolved into one with depth and thoughtful observation on friendship , creatitivity, responsibility and what makes us human. It would be a great starting point for discussions on empathy and philosophy.
This week saw the publication of The Small Things, Lisa Thompson’s latest book for Barrington Stoke. I thought this was lovely; a kind, wise and empathetic read just as we have come to expect from this author. She conveys a genuine understanding of children in her writing. You can read my review here.
News, articles and resources…
Empathy Day 10th June Live Programme – this is a link to the fabulous online programme of creative activities with authors, illustrators, poets to engage children and all who live and work with them. Schools and libraries can stream Empathy Day events from this page and get everyone involved in making Empathy Resolutions.
Toria Bono interviews Miranda McKearney TeacherHug Radio – Today, Saturday 5th June 10am. Join Toria as she finds out all about the “Origins” of Miranda McKearney OBE. Miranda is a social justice entrepreneur who has spent thirty five years turning kitchen table ideas into nationwide campaigns culminating in founding The Reading Agency and more recently the Empathy Lab.
A Musical Story for Empathy Day – children’s author Jo Cotterill and teacher Ben Harris have teamed up in a special collaboration to mark Empathy Day using music and art in conjunction with ‘The Shorts’, a series of short stories published for use in schools. This is lovely.
Children’s books roundup – the best new picture books and novels – Imogen Russell Williams yet again knows how to tempt me when I’ve resolved not to buy any more books for a while. This is a great selection ranging from picture books and poetry for the young to the latest YA from Holly Bourne.
An Interview with Emily Haworth-Booth on The Last Tree – Mat Tobin asks the creator of The Last Tree and The King Who Banned the Dark about her inspiration for the Last Tree and her activism. A fascinating discussion.
The Klaus Flugge Prize Shortlist – An overview by Eva Eland – Eva Eland, winner of the Prize in 2020 with When Sadness Comes to Call, looks at this year’s shortlisted books in this interesting post for CILIP.
Moose Kids Comics – these are free to download via the link in PDF format or you can read them online. There are now four issues available and activity worksheets too.
Authorfy Club – Authorfy have been adding to their already impressive list of authors this week and this is a reminder that the deadline to sign up for this fabulous resource for next term is 31st July. There are ‘Authors of the Term’, lesson plans, videos and all sorts of goodies.
The Reader Teacher Coming Soon Video for June – Scott Evans has selected his pick of the month in this regular video feature. He’s included some of my favourites, When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle, Small Things by Lisa Thompson and Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton and James Mayhew plus many on my reading list. A good resource to share with parents.
Mini Book Club Year 7 Transition – Mini Book Club – Year 7 Transition is an engaging set of questions and activities based around everyone reading the same book organised by Book Clubs in Schools. It is for new Year 7s to do over the summer as part of their preparation for secondary school. This year’s book is When Secrets Sail Sail by Sita Brahmachari and you can find out how to get involved via the webisite, link above.
Books for Topics Year Group Lists Updated – these helpful lists are regularly updated and the newest versions now include the latest titles plus old favourites and classics, graphic novels and picture books and nonfiction too. A useful resource for time pressed teachers with posters to download too.
Brave girls and boarding school books! – Join Pushkin Children’s Books for a fun and raucous evening with two brilliant writers for children in conversation. Pushkin Children’s Books Editor-at-Large Sarah Odedina will be interviewing debut novelist Daisy May Johnson (How to be Brave) and super talent Susie Bower (The Three Impossibles, School for Nobodies) on Wednesday 16th Junebetween 7pm and 8pm on Zoom.
The tired clichés of Africa being a dull and indistinct place made me write a children’s book about Nigeria – Efua Traoré talks about her debut novel, Children of the Quicksands, published in the UK this week.
Marvellous Middle Grade Reads – Jo Clarke, @bookloverjo takes a look some of her favourite things new books for the middle years age group. I’m delighted to see a couple of my recent favourites included and have added to my wish list. Thanks, Jo.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
My Daddies by Gareth Peter and Garry Parsons – June marks Pride Month and Rachael on Perfect Picture Books kicked the month of in style with this a chat with Gareth about his debut picture book. The interview includes a tempting peep at the lovely illustrations too.
50 Ways to Score a Goal and Other Football Poems by Brian Bilston cover by Joe Berger – as the mother of football loving sons I have a feeling this would have engaged them with poetry when they were young. However, Jo Cummins also says in her review, ‘’The humorous nature of the poems mean that children will enjoy them whether they like football or not.’’
Skyborn by Sinéad O’Hart – Veronica Price describes this book for the 9+ audience as ‘’a hugely enjoyable work of speculative fiction combining a brilliant blend of circus, steampunk and fantasy.’’ I’m extremely tempted and it does sound like a great read aloud too.
Otherland by Louie Stowell– there has been a buzz about this book online recently and I have enjoyed The Dragon in the Library series so was intrigued. This review on the Bookbag site has whetted my appetite still further. ‘’Stowell has taken your average pre-teen adventure setting and shown just how horrifying it would be to actually visit, while playing the ensuing horror for dark comedy.’’
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna – this YA debut has received a great deal of attention and this is an extremely comprehensive and helpful review by Laura Ovenden for Just Imagine. For age 14+ and “perfect for a secondary school library and to recommend to fans of Tomi Adeyemi.”
That’s all this week’s news and apologies if I have missed something vital. Happy reading and I hope the sun is shining where you are.