Welcome to this week’s catch up with what has been happening in the world of children’s books. There has been rather a lot going on so why not grab yourself a cuppa and settle down to see what you may have missed.
What I’m reading…
This week I have done rather more children’s book related watching and listening than reading but I did review three rather special picturebooks. All of them, I think, are books that can make a difference to their readers.
My listening included one of Nikki Gamble’s In the Reading Corner podcasts, this time with Susie Bower, author of The Three Impossibles. There is a link given below, also a review. I’m halfway through this adventure story at the moment and enjoying both the character of Mim and the way the author plays with familiar tropes from traditional fairy tales.
There was a lovely event on Wednesday when Mat Tobin chatted with Sav Akyuz about his new picture book, ‘Big’. Mat asked all the questions that you want to know the answers to and it was a treat to watch Sav draw live too. If you missed it I would highly recommend watching and the link is included below.
Two more wonderful books for review arrived in the post this week from Just Imagine, Julia and the Shark and Lightening Falls, so I will update you on my reading progress next week. I am also working my way through the selection I am reviewing for TLS, the School Library Association magazine. As if that wasn’t enough to be going on with I have done my bit for Independent Book Shop Week and bought The Place For Me: Stories About the Windrush Generation. Lots of reading to look forward to!
News, articles and resources…
Miss P’s Literacy Calendar 2021-2021 – created by teacher Sadie Phillips, this fabulous resource is perfect for planning ahead and for keeping up to date with all the book awards, events and key dates. A comprehensive guide to everything related to children’s books this includes links and full details. It must take an enormous amount of time and effort to prepare. Thank you Sadie!
In the Reading Corner Podcast with Susie Bowers – Nikki Gamble interviews Susie Bowers to talk about the influences on The Three Impossibles and her approach to writing. I enjoyed this and hope you do too.
Mat Tobin and Sav Akyuz in Conversation… a little chat about a BIG book – Mat Tobin, Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, chats to Sav Akyuz in this enlightening and interesting conversation hosted by Margaret Allen of Renaissance Learning. It’s fascinating to see some of the process of picturebook creation and I learned a lot from this lovely event.
Recent (2019-2021) Peer Reviewed Articles Relevant for School Library Professionals and where to get them for free – this is a treasure trove of research for school librarians and anyone interested in reading for pleasure in schools. Collated by Dr. Margaret K. Merka and generously shared this is worth saving.
2022 Laugh Out Loud (LOLLIES) Awards Shortlist Announced – the shortlists for these popular awards were announced this week. Awarded in three different age categories they were great if you want to help children discover some brilliant new funny authors and encourage reading for pleasure.
No Shelf Control June Issue – Dean Boddington’s monthly reading newsletter for parents and families is now available. Free to download from Dean’s blog June’s letter includes a Q&A with author Ian Eagleton and a feature on books about robots. A great resource generously shared by Dean.
Summer Explorer Guide to The Lost Spells – these gorgeous guides created by Eva John are designed to follow the seasons and the new Summer edition has been made available this week. They are for anyone who want to explore The Lost Spells by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane and celebrate the magic of nature and language. For use in classrooms, at home or in an outdoor space of your choosing.
Author Interview with Kandace Chimbiri– Q&A with author Kandace Chimbiri on the Candid Cocoa blog. Fabia discusses with the author why she writes Black history books for children plus her new collaborative book, The Place For Me: Stories About the Windrush Generation which is reviewed below.
Whose Stories? – this new initiative is a podcast about children’s books, diversity, and the role of archives, brought to you by Newcastle University and Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books. In the first season it explores the story of children’s books and Black Britain. You’ll hear from authors, illustrators, and changemakers in the world of children’s literature, including the multi-award-winning writers John Agard, Valerie Bloom, and Beverley Naidoo. There’s a trailer available via the link and the series starts on 1st July.
Unfinished Dick King-Smith book completed by great-granddaughter – Ambrose Follows His Nose, found half-finished last year among the late children’s author’s papers, will be published to mark his centenary in 2022
Reading is Magic Festival is Back – this was extremely successful last year and will return from 27 September – 1 October. A digital book festival for schools and families with writers, illustrators and poets taking part in a five-day festival which can be beamed straight into schools and homes. The line-up includes Michael Rosen, Cressida Cowell, Rob Biddulph, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Holly Bourne and Will Sutcliffe
Scouts Book Club – the first Scouts Book Club has been launched in partnership with Walker Books. Over the next year they will be showcasing new title releases alongside exciting activities including: author video readings, free sample chapter downloads of each title, and activities related to each story.
Promoting Diversity Through Literacy – the Literacy Trust has curated a list of resources and book lists compiled as a quick reference. There are two downloadable files available, one for EYFS to KS2 and another for KS3+
SLA Information Book Award Lesson Plans & Posters – The School Library Association IBA shortlist includes a selection of insightful information books in three age groups and there are now free lesson plans available that could be adapted for use in the library or the classroom.
Introducing Ten Stories to Make a Difference – this week saw the launch of this special selection of books and this guest post for CILIP by Dylan Calder, founder of Pop Up introduces the series created to mark their tenth anniversary.
What is Happy Here? – Happy Here is a new anthology for primary school aged children featuring inspiring stories from emerging and established black British authors and illustrators. BookTrust and CLPE are sending every primary school in England a free copy of Happy Here in September, as well as a poster designed by Anjan Sarkar. There is also an opportunity to register to join a free online author event for years 5, 6 and 7.
Indie Book Awards 2021 Winners – Honouring the paperback books of the summer as voted for by independent booksellers, the Indie Book Awards celebrate the best reads for the summer. The Children’s Fiction Winner is Tamarind & the Star of Ishta by Jasbinder Bilan and the Picture Book Winner is The Hospital Dog by Julia Donaldson & Sara Ogilvie.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
The Place for Me: Stories About the Windrush Generation – this week marked Windrush Day and this book contains twelve tales of sacrifice and bravery inspired by first-hand accounts of the Windrush generation with a foreward by Dame Floella Benjamin. This review by Jo Cummins provides thoughtful comment on this new book which sounds like an excellent addition to school libraries and classrooms.
See What I Can Do! by Jon Roberts illustrated by Hannah Rounding – this informative new picture book tells the stories of a number of children with a variety of differences. This helpful review by Mary Esther Judy provides a taste of the book and its contents. She says, “Page after page of stories to encourage exploration and understanding of differences and ignite the determination and imagination of children, parents and teachers.’’
The Three Impossibles by Susie Bower – this is a lovely review of a book I am very much enjoying reading this week. Rich Simpson says, “I loved the voice of ‘Mim’, the feisty, determined princess battling the rules imposed on her and with undeterred curiosity about all she’s not allowed to know about.” I agree with Rich and think this mystery will have a wide appeal.
We Made a Movie by Charlotte Lo – I thought We Won an Island was a lovely happy read and this follow up sounds equally enjoyable. Chris Soul describes it as “just as funny, charming and uplifting” as its predecessor. This would probably be a good title to put on a Summer reading list.
Cloud Soup by Kate Wakeling illustrated by Elīna Braslina – this is an excellent review by Sam Keeley of Just Imagine and this poetry collection sounds perfect for schools. This guest blog by Kate Wakeling is a lovely read too. I like the description of poems as “a form of word music”
Well, I did say there had been a lot going on! I hope you’ve found something of interest or a book review that’s whetted your appetite. Happy reading.
Thank you as always Anne for a comprehensive round-up. I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog post whilst recovering from a morning’s worth of intensive weeding (in the garden, not the bookshelves 😂) I hope you enjoy what’s left of the weekend 😊
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I’m touched that you are still making time to read this, Veronica when you are no longer working in schools. It’s been a good weekend thank you and I hope yours has been too.
I enjoyed reading this week’s roundup of news and events and look forward to receiving your blog each week. I recently launched a literacy resource signposting website called Literacy Hive. It’s designed to be a one-stop site to help teachers find resources to support the literacy curriculum quickly and easily. I have included your blog in the Book Recommendations section – do let me know if there is anything that you would like me to add or correct. Sian Hardy
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Hi Sian, thank you for your kind feedback, I’m so glad that you find it helpful. I’ve just been browsing your site which is a fabulous resource and I’m delighted to be included in it. I’ll include it in next week’s Reading Matters as I’m sure teachers will find it useful.