Reading Matters – children’s book news

Welcome to this week’s look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books. It’s been a busy week with some big announcements from both Empathy Lab and the Branford Boase Award and there are more online events for you to enjoy. I hope that this collection of links is useful to you.

What I’m reading…

Unfortunately life is still rather getting in the way of reading time but I have managed a little bit more than last week. I finished reading The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo illustrated by Sophie Blackall and found it different from her other books that I have read but just as wise. It is a fable that celebrates the power of words and stories, and of love. I will be reading it again and would definitely recommend it, it is a lovely book.

This week I have been reading Circus Maximus: Rivals on the Track by Annelise Grey, the sequel to her debut for children, Race to the Death and I was delighted to see Race to the Death among the titles on the Branford Boase long list, announced this week. I’m thoroughly enjoying the sequel which is equally exciting and am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour coinciding with publication next week. Full details below.

News, articles and resources…

Read for Empathy Collections 2022 Announced – the 2022 Read for Empathy collection features 60 books for 4-16 year-olds, each chosen to empower an empathy-educated generation. The primary collection features 35 books for 4-11 year olds; the secondary collection has 25 books for 12-16 year olds. There are guides to download for each age group. The excellent website is worth exploring to find out more about this year’s Empathy Day and to discover more about the books themselves.

Q&A with Empathy Lab Founder Miranda McKearney – the Federation of Children’s Book Groups ask Miranda McKearney about the importance of the Empathy Lab collections and how they can make a difference to children today.

2022 Branford Boase Award Longlist Announced – This year a record number of books were submitted: 69 in total and from 30 publishers. Find out more about the titles that made the long list for this important award celebrating new talent and the important role of editors via the link.

Open University Reading for Pleasure: Developing Reading for Pleasure: Engaging Young Readers – a free online CPD course launched Friday 28th January. Discover the knowledge & strategies you need to support children’s reading engagement in this free badged online course. More details and registration via the link.

The Whales on the Bus picked by families as this year’s BookTrust Storytime Prize winner – BookTrust has recognised the best new book for sharing with babies and young children – as voted for by the librarians and families who took part in their ambitious new national library experience: BookTrust Storytime. Find out more about the winning book, the other shortlisted books and the new library initiative via the link.

Nikki Gamble’s Book Blast for January – if you have not already signed up for these regular updates from Nikki you can catch up on this month’s selection on YouTube via the link above. Its a great way of keeping up to date with children’s books.

ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2022 – ReadingZone, in partnership with World Book Day, is challenging children and young people aged four to 18 years to make their own picture book for World Book Day. Judging their entries will be author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre. The competition will close on Friday 22nd April 2022, and the winners will be announced in June. Full details of how to get involved via the link.

The Federation of Children’s Books Groups Asks Tom Palmer – there are regular interviews with children’s authors and illustrators on this blog and this one is lovely. Any interview that includes, “I think 2020 and 2021 have been hard. I want things to be less hard for everyone.” is worth a read.

Cosmic Schools Talk with Frank Cottrell Boyce – “Wouldn’t it be great if…” award winning children’s author Frank Cottrell Boyce invited children to ask questions about his brilliant book Cosmic and then answered them on a free to watch video on YouTube, said hello to the children and read aloud from the book too. Well, that’s exactly what he’s done and it is great and you can watch it via the link above.

Using Graphic Novels in the Classroom with Jo Cummins – Join Scholastic’s free CPD workshop with Jo Cummins on 9th February 2022 at 3.45pm to find out how you can use graphic novels in the classroom. Discover how this versatile and exciting format can break down the barriers to challenging texts and subjects, while deepening children’s comprehension and vocabulary skills.

Kate DiCamillo: “The World Is Full of Wonders” | The Newbery at 100 – I make no apology for including another interview with one of my favourite authors. This one is to mark the anniversary of the Newbery Medal, the current winner was announced this week (see below) so it felt appropriate.

“The Last Cuentista” Wins 2022 Newbery Medal; “Watercress” Earns Caldecott; “Firekeeper’s Daughter” Takes the Printz – these prestigious US awards celebrating children’s books for all ages showcase the diversity available.

January No Shelf Control Newsletter – reviews of new books, one you may have missed, books to make you laugh and a Q&A with Sam Copeland. Great for sharing in schools and with parents and free to download thanks to Dean Boddington.

Ones to Watch: New Children’s Fiction for Spring 2022 – the Books for Topics team have selected their ten top recommendations for readers aged 8-12 to watch out for from January to April 2022. Some tempting titles here.

Introduction to CLPE School Membership FREE Webinar – Free webinar for Primary School teachers and Subject Leaders – planning a successful English curriculum with CLPE’s School Membership on 24th February, 2022 – 4.00 pm to 5:30 pm This event will be hosted via Zoom and there is a maximum of 2 places per school.

Interview With Author Laura Henry-Allain – Fabia Turner interviews Laura Henry-Allain MBE, author of the new children’s picture book My Skin, Your Skin, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu and published by Ladybird last October. This in-depth interview on Fabia’s Candid Cocoa blog provides educators with an insight in to the inspiration for this book and a link to related resources to use in KS1.

Children’s and teens roundup – the best new picture books and novels – another fabulous selection of children’s books for all ages reviewed by Imogen Russell Williams. Always a reliable source of information and a reviewer I rely on. Thank you, Imogen.

An Evening With Anne Fine – there are still places available at this event, co-hosted by David Fickling Books, Old Barn Books and Nikki Gamble, to mark the publication of Shades of Scarlet and Aftershocks. It takes place on Tuesday 1st February at 7.00pm and promises to be a treat.

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

Group Hug by Jean Reidy illustrated by Joey Chou – I have a soft spot for this appealing picture book which could, almost, make me want to hug a slug and this lovely review in Books for Keeps conveys its spirit extremely well. “Brilliantly executed and full of the repetition and colour that appeals to the young.”

Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor by Lucy Brandt illustrated by Gladys Jose – a LoveReading4Kids debut of the month this STEM themed adventure is suitable for younger readers and should be useful in school and class libraries. Expert reviewer Andrea Reece says, “Lots of fun, this is one to recommend to readers who like their adventures wild, wacky and full of invention(s).”

Agent Moose by Mo O’Hara illustrated by Jess Bradley – this graphic novel chapter book sounds great fun and Jo Cummins hosts a Q&A with author, Mo O’Hara to find out more about the inspiration behind Agent Moose and the process behind writing a graphic novel.

My Brother Ben by Peter Carnavas – The Elephant was one of my reading highlights of 2021, an absolute gem of a book, so this review by Emma Kuyateh caught my eye. My Brother Ben is published in April and does sound like another emotional read. Emma says, “Carnavas harnesses the therapeutic power of animals and nature to heal his characters and help young readers navigate challenging issues.” Definitely one I will be watching out for.

That’s everything for this week. I hope that you have found something of interest or are now tempted by one of the books mentioned. Happy reading!

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3 Responses to Reading Matters – children’s book news

  1. Thanks as always Anne, I am currently reading Aftershocks by Anne Fine and it is outstanding! I shall look forward to watching the FCB video later, he has been an absolute favourite since I read Millions as a bedtime story almost 20 years ago! I hope that you are OK and keeping well & have a chance to relax over the weekend😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • alibrarylady says:

      Thanks, Veronica. Your review of Aftershocks is excellent and has whetted my appetite to read the book now. Frank Cottrell Boyce always makes me smile, a kind and funny man and that comes across in his books too. I hope you enjoy the video!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I loved the video thank you Anne! I had the pleasure of taking youngest to one of his talks at the Bath KidsLit festival, probably 9/10 years ago and he was as engaging and kind in real life as you would imagine from reading his books and watching him online. One of those people who it is an absolute privilege to meet.

        Liked by 2 people

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