Reading Matters – children’s book news

Hello and welcome to another look back at what has been happening in the world of children’s books this week.

What I’m reading…

Last weekend I read The Hideaway by Pam Smy and am stilling thinking about the story a week later. It is a book with a profound emotional impact. My review includes a link to Nikki Gamble’s excellent interview with Pam Smy on the In the Reading Corner podcast.

Scallywag Press are doing a wonderful job of reissuing classic picture books and bringing gems to another generation of young readers. The Three Happy Lions is a lovely example being both retro in style and relevant in content and theme. I am fond of this book. This week I have been reading the books that I have to review for the next issue of the School Library Association magazine, TSL, and among them is His Royal Hopeless a debut by Chloe Perrin. I have included Lily’s review below to give you a taste and find out why this story made me smile.

This week the CILIP Youth Libraries Group Virtual Conference takes place with the theme Representations of Place – New Lands and New Ways of Looking. I have only been able to watch a few sessions live but am looking forward to catching up with the others in the coming days. I found the session on The Place of Picture Books in Translation with school librarian Melanie McGilloway and Greet Pauwelijn of Book Island Books extremely interesting and have included a link they shared in the resources below.

News, articles and resources…

Outside In World – this helpful website was shared in the Picture Books in Translation session mentioned above. It promotes and explores world literature and children’s books in translation. There are booklists, activities, articles and resources for educators and an interactive section for children too. It’s well worth exploring.

Using graphic novels in the classroom to engage students – an interesting and helpful article by teacher Richard Ruddick for Education Platform UK providing tips and suggestions.

Down the Rabbit Hole – the episode on 28th September at 5pm is a celebration of Black writing, with four fantastic contributors to Knights Of’s middle grade anthology Happy Here taking part in the programme. You can listen on Resonance FM and details are included in the link.

Malorie Blackman: ‘Hope is the spark’ – wonderful interview for the Guardian by Sian Cain. Our former Children’s Laureate about her award winning Noughts and Crosses series and how she persevered through rejection.

Nominations for the School Librarian of the Year Award – this year for the first time there are separate categories for Primary and Secondary. Do you know a school librarian who is making a positive impact on reading and learning? Now is the chance to highlight their work and raise the profile of school librarians. Nominations close on 31st October.

Kids need two things – love and education’ – how former footballer and now TV pundit Ian Wright and author Musa Okwonga are inspiring young people through fiction. An eye opening and hopeful article.

Poetry books for children – with National Poetry Day approaching on 7th October, children’s book expert, Joy Court, recommends her top titles to bring poetry alive in the primary classroom on the Primary English Education Consultancy website.

Hay Festival Winter Weekend Programme for Schools – this special Hay Festival event has live sessions for pupils in Key Stages 2&3 with exciting writers and thought provoking performances for young people and a brilliant line up. All events are free to view live online or to watch again free on Hay Player Aspiring writers in Wales aged 16-18 can apply now for the free #BeaconsProject residency at this event. Find out more here.

Laugh Out Loud Book Awards Event Week – The Laugh Out Loud Book Awards (the Lollies) celebrates the best and funniest children’s books in the UK and Ireland, voted for by children. Lollies Event Week begins on the 20th September and features writing activities, drawalongs and readings from the shortlisted authors and illustrators, as well as previous winners Liz Pichon and Michelle Robinson, and Head Judge Michael Rosen. You can see the full programme and register via the link above.

Picture Book Den: Fury at the Farm (with Mini Grey) – an excellent and thought provoking post by Mini Grey on the depiction of farms in picture books in contrast to the reality. And the story of Doris at the end of the article is wonderful.

Authorfy Masterclass with SF Said – a set of 10 videos for children all about writing & Varjak Paw, complete with creative writing challenges.

The Klaus Flugge Prize Shortlist 2021 Illustrator Blogposts – on Wednesday 22 September the winner of this award will be announced. Until then, you can discover more about the five fabulous shortlisted illustrators on the official website above.

The Festival of Reading 2021 – a free online celebration of reading running from Monday 27th – Thursday 30th September daily from 3.15pm – 5.30pm. A team of top authors, leading literacy experts and experienced teachers will provided practical and inspiring ideas on how you can raise reading attainment and enjoyment in your schools.

Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards 2021 – these awards, now in their eighth year, aim to encourage parents and carers to spend more time reading with their children. The winners were announced on Thursday and congratulations to all the winners but most especially to Lu Fraser and Kate Hindley whose The Littlest Yak won Book of the Year and Best Picture Book. My assistant reviewer will be delighted!

How to encourage reading for pleasure on a budget – an excellent article by the current School Librarian of the Year, Kristabelle Williams, providing inspiration, advice and top tips.

Kate DiCamillo and Abi Elphinstone in conversation with Katherine Woodfine – this should be an absolute treat and not to be missed, plus it’s free! Celebrate these fantastic authors as they discuss their latest books, The Beatryce Prophecy and The Crackledawn Dragon with this one off virtual event. If you can’t make the live event time it will be recorded so you can watch afterwards at a convenient time. This event is in association with the National Literacy Trust.

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

Polly Pecorino by Emma Chichester Clark – illustrated fiction is wonderful for encouraging readers in the 7-9 age group and this sounds just the job. This sounds like the Sophie books by Dick King Smith for a new generation. A lovely review by Louise Nettleton.

Mason Mooney: Doppelganger Detective by Seaerra Miller – if the Richard Ruddick article linked above has inspired you then this great review by Paul Watson will appeal. Paul describes this graphic novel published this month as a ‘witty, smart outing for that annoying paranormal detective, Mason Mooney.’ He also mentions the benefits of using this in the classroom.

Locked Out Lily by Nick Lake and Emily Gravett – John Lloyd has been reviewing children’s books for The Bookbag for many years and he lets you know when he does not like a book. He liked this one. ‘It’s a quite splendid mix, all told – a very readable book covering serious topics’ Any story that can be described as ‘Coraline in the Willows’ intrigues me.

His Royal Hopeless by Chloe Perrin – this comprehensive review by Lily on the Lily and the Fae blog explains how this amusing debut made her daughters giggle but has a reassuring message too. I love Lily’s description ‘’a Disney- Pixar movie but in book form’’ as I know exactly what she means.

That’s everything for this week. My weekend plans include today’s YLG conference session with Hilary McKay and Phil Earle, the authors of two of my favourite books of the year, and reading more of The Book of Stolen Dreams. I’ve just started this but already intrigued. I hope you have a lovely weekend. Happy reading!

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4 Responses to Reading Matters – children’s book news

  1. E Morse says:

    Can I sign up to a mailing list at all?


    • alibrarylady says:

      Hello, if you subscribe via the email link at the bottom right hand side, below the previous posts section, you should receive an email every time I post. My Reading Matters news round up is posted every Saturday morning during term time. I hope it’s helpful.


  2. I’m late to the blog today, but as always it’s a joyful read Anne. Thank you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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