Reading Matters – children’s book news

Welcome to this week’s round up of children’s book news. It has been a busy week with the highlight being the announcement of the winner of the Klaus Flugge Prize. It is wonderful to see picture books being celebrated and highlighted and this award does a great job in raising the profile of this important element of children’s literature.

What I’m reading…

The Griffin Gate, Vashti Hardy’s first title for Barrington Stoke published last year was a big adventure packed into a small book so I had been looking forward to reading the sequel. The Puffin Portal, again illustrated by Natalie Smillie, is just as good as its predecessor and there is a third book to look forward to. Tiny Owl publish some wonderful picture books and this week I reviewed one of their recent titles, Gloria’s Porridge, which is inspired by a traditional Ethiopian folk tale which Elizabeth Laird heard during her travels in that country several years ago. The story is brought to life for children with humour and Toby Newsome’s eye catching, distinctive illustrations but imparts some sensible advice along the way.

My reading week has been dominated by The Book of Stolen Dreams by David Farr which I have just finished as I do the final edits to this week’s round up. The author is probably best known as a theatre director and screenwriter for dramas such as The Night Manager and this is his first book for children. Each time I sat down to read this ‘for a few minutes’ it turned into an hour. An intricate plot, fantastic characters and an imagined world that was both vivid and believable made this a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. 2021 has been, I think, an incredible year for children’s books, there are many that will be my long term favourites.

News, articles and resources…

Books for Keeps September Issue – for many years this has been my first choice publication for children’s book information and reviews. This issue is full of brilliant articles so it’s difficult to highlight only one or two. A must read and an enjoyable one too.

Engaging less confident readers with reading for pleasure – The final instalment of The Reading Agency school librarian blog series comes from Éadaoin Quinn and includes her top five books for reluctant and less confident readers plus helpful advice.

Books for Topics: Primary Poetry Suggestions – National Poetry Day is coming up on 7th Oct and these lovely suggestions are suitable for children in Early Years up to Year 6.

We Have A Dream: Author and activist Dr Mya-Rose Craig on the young people changing the world – Dr Mya-Rose Craig is the author of We Have a Dream: Meet 30 Young Indigenous People and People of Colour Protecting the Planet. In this article Book Trust asked her about her environmental activism and what young people can do to get involved.

Take 10 author event, October 2021 – The Take 10 Challenge encourages people to read for just 10 minutes a day to improve their wellbeing and support their literacy. There are two free virtual author events at 9.45am on Friday 8 October for schools to sign up for, Tom Percival for Primary Schools and Louisa Reid for Secondary Schools. Full details are available via the link.

The Diverse Book Awards Shortlists – the books on the short lists in this award’s three categories, Children’s, YA and Adult, were announced this week. Congratulations to all the authors and we can find out who the winners are in a live online ceremony on 21st October.

FREE Remembrance Day project with author Tom Palmer, for years 5-8. – Leeds School Library Service have commissioned author Tom Palmer to write a story about Barnbow. An important part of the history of Leeds, Barnbow was a WW1 munitions factory, primarily staffed by women. On 5th December 1916 an explosion at the factory killed 35 women, yet due to the censorship of that time no account of the accident was made public. Aimed at Years 5-8, it will be told in 3 chapters. 1 chapter will be released daily, from 8th-10th November. On 11th November, Tom will run a virtual event, which all participating schools will be invited to.

Author and illustrator Lauren Child says children’s books should be taken seriously – an excellent article in the Guardian. The former children’s laureate launched her manifesto this week, in which she counters the assumption that work created for children is lesser.

World Book Day 2022 £1 Books – the organisers of World Book Day revealed the selection of books that children will be able to exchange for their WBD vouchers next year. They are divided into four categories and include both fiction and non-fiction. It is a great and varied line up this year.

Winner of Klaus Flugge Prize 2021 Announced – Shyness and monsters: the Klaus Flugge Prize for most exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration awarded to Flavia Z. Drago for Gustavo the Shy Ghost

Exploring Children’s Literature Podcast: Flavia Drago – Nikki Gamble interviews the winner of this year’s Klaus Flugge Prize and asks her about the influences and inspiration behind her award winning book. I enjoyed this very much and have discovered even more to enjoy in this charming book. An uplifting listen and highly recommended.

‘Comprehensive’ children’s book on Welsh history ‘a game changer’ says publisher – In History Grounded, Dr Elin Jones takes readers on a visual journey through over 5,000 years of history around the whole of Wales and is suitable for children 8-12 years old.

The Empathy Circle Launched – The Empathy Circle is a group of publishers that guides EmpathyLab’s work with the book industry, helping increase Empathy Day’s impact and supporting pilots such as the now established Author Empathy Masterclasses. You can find out more and read the pledges via the link.

Children’s Book Round Up: the best new picture books and novels – Imogen Russell Williams’ regular round ups are always helpful and highlight those special books you don’t want to miss. This new one is no exception and I was pleased to see Julia and the Shark included too.

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

SuperJoe Does Not Do Cuddles by Michael Catchpool illustrated by Emma Proctor – this new picture book from inclusive publishers, Lantana, sounds perfect. Fabia Turner describes it as “warm-hearted and humourous” in her lovely review and Fabia’s six year old son gets to ask the author and illustrator some questions too.

Storm in a Jar by Samuel Langley-Swain & Katie Cottle – Kate Heap says this picture book is one of those must-have picture books for dealing with an important but sensitive issue – grief. Suitable for all ages, it will prompt so much discussion and support. Her review explains how.

Danger at Dead Man’s Pass by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman – I think it’s interesting to get an author’s view of a book and this immensely readable review by LH Johnson, author of How To Be Brave, provides an insight. In fact she says, “It’s not easy to write books like this…And yet M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman deliver every time. It is such impressive work and I admire them immensely for it.”

The Adventures of Team POM: Squid Happens by Isabel Roxas – the popularity of graphic novels is increasingly being highlighted by librarians and teachers so this new series is one to watch out for. The review on A Word About Books provides a taste, ‘’Roxas’ wild, wacky and wonderful ideas are all beautifully presented in illustrations that deliver non-stop action and zing with personality.’’

That’s everything for this week and I hope you have found something helpful among the links I’ve shared. My weekend plans include reading Books for Keeps, plus the latest issue of CILIP’s Pen and Inc magazine and starting Sudden Death, Tom Palmer’s new book due out this week. I hope you have a happy weekend however you are spending it.

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2 Responses to Reading Matters – children’s book news

  1. As ever, so much to enjoy in your lovely newsletter. Thank you Anne & have a relaxing weekend 😊


  2. alibrarylady says:

    Thank you, Veronica, I hope you’re having a lovely weekend.


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