Welcome to this week’s look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books. I would like to highlight the latest issue of Books for Keeps which is a reliable and broad ranging source of information on children’s books and always an interesting read. Next week sees the announcement of the new Read for Empathy collection and you can learn a little more about the importance of these books in the video I’ve shared in the links below.
What I’m reading…
Last week I mentioned The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros and I have now published my review of this insightful and deeply affecting novel. This is a YA crossover title that I would highly recommend for adult readers and one that would work well for book club discussion. I can well understand why the original Welsh edition of this book has won awards. Definitely a book that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it.
Unfortunately my to read mountain remains exactly as high as it was last week as personal circumstances have prevented any reading this week. I’m hoping things will improve in the coming days and I have some wonderful books to look forward to reading. The Beatrice Prophecy is sitting by my bed so that’s first and Rivals on The Track by Annelise Gray is a book I’ve been looking forward to reading for ages so I have fingers crossed that I will have time to savour that too. Wrath by Marcus Sedgwick is waiting in the wings for when time allows.
Although I haven’t been able to read this week listening has proved to be a comfort instead and I can recommend this lovely episode of Word of Mouth with Michael Rosen and Dr Kathryn Mannix. It is full of thoughtful, kind, wise advice on how to listen well and how telling our stories helps us. It gave me a lot to think about.
Articles, news and resources…
Books for Keeps Latest Issue – I always look forward to this online publication packed full of interest for children’s book lovers. Beyond the Secret Garden investigates abridgements made when books are revised for younger readers and The Must Reads of 2022 include Phil Earle’s follow up to When the Sky Falls and the long awaited Tyger by SF Said.
Empowering & Inclusive Books for your Kids: Online event – in addition to the Life Changing Libraries event that I shared in last week’s Reading Matters Herne Hill Kids Lit Festival are also hosting this online discussion with an expert panel: Jeffrey Boakye, A.M.Dassu, Steve Antony, Alexandra Strick and Zoey Dixon. It takes place on Friday 4th February 7.00pm – 9.00pm. More details and registration via the link.
A good book ushers in the winter of wellbeing in public libraries – public libraries are joining Wales’ Winter of Wellbeing initiative by launching a campaign to promote the proven difference reading can make to young people’s lives and the power of public libraries to support them. You can find out more about this in this article on the Welsh Libraries website link above.
Sign up for the National Reading Champions Quiz 2022 – The NRCQ, provides an opportunity for students aged 10 – 14 to enjoy a book quiz with their peers and compete with other schools in their region. The heats will run online throughout March with the winning teams from 20 regions going forward to a star-studded, national final on 25 May in London where one team will be crowned National Reading Champions 2022. Full details and how to register via the link.
Exploring Language, Leadership, Love, and More: Teaching Ideas for The Beatryce Prophecy – if you attended Nikki Gamble’s recent Audience With Kate DiCamillo I think you may find this of interest as it contains many different suggestions for using this book in the classroom. If you didn’t the article may tempt you to read the book!
CLPE Book Launch with Scholastic for Lisa Thompson and Helen Rutter – a free online event to celebrate the release of Lisa Thompson and Helen Rutter’s new novels ‘The Rollercoaster Boy’ and ‘The Boy Whose Wishes Came True’ on 26th January, 2022 – 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Carnegie and Greenaway Shadowing 2022 – a reminder that if you would like to join this year’s Shadowing Scheme the long lists are announced in March and it would be a shame to miss out. Registration for the publicity packs closes on 4th February.
Portable Magic Dispenser, Vol. 4 Issue 5 – if you are a school librarian and haven’t already signed up to Lucas Maxwell’s regular newsletter I would definitely recommend it. This issue includes reading for pleasure ideas, online learning and podcasts for sixth formers.
Focus on phonics to teach reading is ‘failing children’, says landmark study – Guardian article commenting on the recently published research into the teaching of reading. You may be interested in the full report which can be accessed here.
CLPE named London Book Fair Charity of the Year 2022 – Each year, The London Book Fair launch their Charity of the Year initiative, inviting book, reading and literary-related non-profit organisations to apply. The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education has been recognised for the excellent work this charity does for all aspects of children’s literacy.
Reading for Pleasure: Supporting Secondary School Students – article by children’s author and former teacher Lucy Strange for the Open University Reading for Pleasure website providing tips and advice. She also highlights the work done by publishers Barrington Stoke in this area. Hurrah for Barrington Stoke!
CILIP School Libraries Group: Why Should I Develop My Skills – article by Barbara Band for SLG Connect containing helpful advice for school librarians. Barbara highlights the CPD opportunities available for school librarians and the reasons why maintaining and improving knowledge and understanding of developments is important both for the librarians and the schools they serve.
Coming soon! The Read for Empathy Collection – the new book collection for this year’s Empathy Day launches on 26 January 2022. Watch the expert judges reflect on the selection process and why this collection feels so important right now in the video available via the link above.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
The Boy Whose Wishes Came True by Helen Rutter – the title suggests magic and fairy tale to me but as I read Andrew Rough’s thoughtful review I realised that this book is about important things such as trust, empathy, hope and confidence. Thank you Andrew, I want to read this now and I think others will do too.
The Famous Five Graphic Novels: Five on a Treasure Island and Five Go Adventuring Again by Béja and Nataēl – this sounds like a wonderful way to bring these classic adventures to a whole new audience. The first two in the series are published next month and you can find out more in Matt Wilson’s enthusiastic review.
Viking Boy: The Real Story by Tony Bradman – A non-fiction guide to the Viking world, told by the hero of Tony Bradman’s bestselling novel Viking Boy. Nicki Cleveland says “This would make a fantastic read for pleasure for anyone who loves finding out about different cultures in history, with the gruesome bits left in, and would be a perfect addition to any Key Stage 2 Vikings topic box.”
Monstrous Devices by Damien Love – I had missed this book published last year but it is now one I would like to read thanks to Paul Watson’s cracking review. Paul describes it as “a belter of a book” so you may want to find out more and read his review too.
That’s everything for this week and I do hope that something here will be helpful to you. Happy reading!