Welcome to this week’s round up of the latest news from the world of children’s books. Empathy Day raised the profile of children’s books and their importance this week and it was encouraging to see how much attention this initiative is now receiving. Congratulations to everyone involved.
What I’m reading…
I adored The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay so I was delighted when I heard she was writing another novel featuring the characters I had grown so fond of. The Swallows’ Flight is described as a companion book rather than a sequel nonetheless as its publication date drew near I started to fret. How could it possibly match the story I had loved so much? Well dear reader, I should not have worried. My review could be summed up in a couple of words. It’s perfect.
The summer issue of TSL magazine arrived this week and I have enjoyed reading both the reviews and articles. In my early days as a school librarian this quarterly School Library Association magazine was my window on the world of children’s books, a lifeline at times, and I still find it interesting. It was a lovely surprise to see an excellent article by primary school librarians Caroline Finch-Stanford and Rumena Aktar giving their tips on how to get the most out of social media to support school libraries. I feel sure they will convert many.
This week saw the publication of The Cooking Club Detectives by Ewa Josefkowicz and I was delighted to take part in the blog tour featuring an article by Ewa about the charity which inspired her enjoyable book.
Over the next few days my plan is to share reviews of some of the picture books that I have read and enjoyed recently.
News, articles and resources…
Empathy Day Live – if you missed any of the many events broadcast by Empathy Lab on Thursday you can watch any or all of them via their catch up facility on the official website, link above. These include the Empathy conversation with Michael Rosen, David Baddiel, Catherine Johnson and Professor Dr Robin Banerjee,
Carnegie and Greenaway Awards Ceremony Wednesday 16th June 12pm– the highlight of the coming week. Hosted by Bobby Seagull, live from the British Library, Bobby will be joined by this year’s Chair of Judges, Ellen Krajewski with special speeches and a Q&A with the Medal winners plus we hear from the Shadowers’ Choice Awards winners voted for and announced by the young shadowers. It will be possible to stream this event in school libraries and classrooms.
Teacher Hug Book Club – this is a regular feature on Teacher Hug Radio and is hosted by school librarian Rumena Aktar. This weekend there is a special edition linked to the Kate Greenaway Award featuring interviews with David Ouimet and Sharon King Chai on Sunday 13th June at 11.00am. You can listen via the link above or afterwards on the listen again section.
The Inspirations Behind When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle – regular readers of Reading Matters will know how highly I rate this new book. Phil has written a piece for the Foyles blog where he shares some of the other books and authors that have inspired his writing and fed directly into his new novel which I found interesting and I hope you do too.
How Tove Jansson’s love of nature shaped the world of the Moomins – this article by Susannah Clapp is a fascinating read and contains details of a forthcoming exhibition at Walthamstow Wetlands linked to this admired author and her love of nature.
Musical Truth: An interview with Jeffrey Boakye – Darren Chetty interviews his friend and sometime writing partner Jeffrey Boakye about his book Musical Truth for Books for Keeps. This is an fascinating article which left me wanting to find out more. You can read a review of Musical Truth in the reviews section below and listen to the playlist here.
Free Euro 2020 Literacy Resources – the long postponed football tournament has finally started and children’s author Tom Palmer and the Literacy Trust have created some great linked activities. Children can follow Tom’s live story online and there is wall chart and activity pack too, plus a competition. Lots to enthuse and definitely worth a look.
Paper Bound Magazine Summer Issue – this free online magazine is jam packed with interviews, writing prompts and reviews. Paper Bound has been going for a year now and would be great for secondary schools.
Pack your suitcase with Paddington – this is a fabulous resource and creative idea from the British Library Learning site. Children are asked if they were going on a journey like Paddington from Peru to a new life in London what would they pack? There are suggest from several different books and children’s authors plus a template to download. From 7 June to 16 July, share photos of children’s suitcases, art and creative writing on Twitter tagging @BL_Learning, or by emailing email@example.com. Lucky winners will be picked out of Paddington’s (virtual!) hat to win book tokens. Suitable for primary. Full details via link above.
The Summer of Reading – Co-ordinated by The Reading Agency and supported by Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, the Summer of Reading initiative aims to get children and families reading for pleasure over the coming months. A full programme has been planned and new activities and events, both online and in person, will be announced every week until 17 September.
The School Library Association Information Book Award Shortlist – the shortlist for this award, now in its eleventh year, was announced this week. The IBA aims to emphasise the importance of non-fiction by highlighting and celebrating the high standard of children’s information books. The awards are divided into three age categories, judged by a panel of educators. Children will also have the opportunity to vote for their favourites in each group, as well as their favourite overall, to determine four additional Children’s Choice winners.
The Power of School Librarians – an excellent article by Elizabeth Hutchinson as schools start to return to “normal” on how to capitalise on the skills of your school librarian. As she so rightly says, “Normal for many school librarians is very frustrating. Normal for many school librarians is hidden behind the lack of understanding of what a school librarian does and normal for many school librarians is a constant battle to demonstrate the expertise hidden behind the school library door.” Elizabeth provides examples and research to support her argument and this is most definitely worth a read.
Book Trust Announce this year’s Book Buzz Titles – the 17 titles in this year’s collection were revealed this week and feature a range including shorter novels and non-fiction so something for everyone. There’s still time to register and get your Year 7/8s involved.
Books for Topics Book Compass: Football – the awesome Alison at Books for Topics has compiled a list of books for children who love football. As the Euros kicked of last night I’ve a feeling this will be useful over the coming weeks! Starting with Spot the Dog and Topsy and Tim and moving up to novels by Tom Palmer and Mitch Johnson this is suitable for a wide age group. There’s a downloadable poster too. Thank you, Alison.
Free Pop Up Festival – although I have mentioned this free on line event previously this is a reminder that it takes place next week from 14th – 18th June and is suitable for primary, secondary and special schools and it’s still possible to register. There’s a fantastic line up of writers and illustrators.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week.
We Want Our Books by Jake Alexander – this post by Melanie McGilloway as part of this week’s blog tour coinciding with publication features a Q&A with the creator alongside Melanie’s review. I have a copy of this picture book published by Two Hoots and completely agree with Melanie’s comment, “We Want Our Books is a wonderful ode to the importance of libraries, community cohesion and to the power of young generations to make a change. An empowering read for young readers!”
Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths By Maisie Chan, Illustrated Anh Cao – This book is now on my radar thanks to this review by Sarah Broadley on the My Book Corner site. She says, “Maisie Chan, along with Anh Cao’s glorious illustrations, have brought Danny’s predicament to life in this funny yet heart-warming story of a boy and his grandmother bonding over lychees and bingo.” There will be an interview with the author on the blog next week too.
The Deep Blue by Charlotte Guillain and Lou Baker Smith – this week marked World Oceans Day and this book sounds like just the ticket to follow up a child’s awakening interest in our vast seas. Reviewed on the This Book is Brilliant blog you can find out how “This book really opened our eyes to the wonders of the underwater world – a beautiful springboard to learn and discover more about the incredible wildlife that inhabits our earth.”
Musical Truth by Jeffrey Boakye and Ngadi Smart – The Listening Party for Musical Truth by Jeffrey Boakye, illustrated by Ngadi Smart took place this week and Fabia’s review on Candid Cocoa features PASS THE DUTCHIE by Musical Youth from 1982. Bringing back happy memories!
Future Girl written and illustrated by Asphyxia – the creator of this new YA book is a deaf artist, writer and public speaker and well known Australian activist for deaf people. This review by Tricia Adams for LoveReading4Kids provides an overview that has whetted my appetite to find out more. She says, “This book should be in every secondary school – it gives such a vivid picture of life for a deaf person, whilst the presentation is so beautiful it draws the reader in. Do read it!”
Well, it’s been a busy week with lots to celebrate and enjoy and the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway announcements to look forward to next week too. This weekend the annual School Library Association “Leading School Libraries” conference takes place online and although I’m unable to attend I am hoping to pick up interesting details via Twitter #SLALeaders afterwards.