Welcome to the latest round up of what has been happening in the world of children’s books. I hope you find this week’s collection of links and reviews helpful.
What I’m reading…
A new book published by Barrington Stoke always attracts my attention and when it’s written by award wining author Marcus Sedgwick especially so. Wrath, the author’s debut for this publisher is a subtle yet powerful, unsettling and intelligent novel for teens. Sedgwick addresses themes and ideas important to this audience in this compelling mystery.
Two new picture books sharing the theme of time are published this month and I reviewed both Stop the Clock by Pippa Goodhart and Maria Christania and Ready! Said Rabbit by Marjoke Henrichs. Both titles are wonderful for sharing with young children at home or in educational settings. I enjoyed both of them.
Turning to non-fiction, I think that the publishers Flying Eye Books produce excellent information books that are perfect for primary school libraries and classrooms. The new revised edition of Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space is an excellent example being both appealing and informative. It is alway good to see publishers who ensure that their books are kept up to date and this new edition helps children to discover more about the universe through the latest research.
Thanks to Nikki Gamble’s latest Audience With I am reading Wolf Light by Yaba Badoe at the moment and enjoying a book that I think I would normally not have selected. Described as “magical realism” I particularly like its mythical quality and the depiction of the inter generational relationships.
News, articles and resources…
BBC Sounds Archive on 4: Wonderlands hosted by Frank Cottrell Boyce – if you missed listening to this live last weekend you have a year to catch up with it via the link above. It’s a fascinating discussion about developments in children’s literature which I enjoyed very much and can highly recommend.
The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition – this competition, run in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, aims to find and encourage writers of the future. Anyone under the age of 19 can enter the competition. Entrants are invited to finish a story begun by last year’s Branford Boase Award winner, author of thrilling fantasy adventure Orphans of the Tide, Struan Murray. Full details and the first paragraph of the story are available via the link.
Fairtrade Fortnight: Fiction, resources and a competition from Tom Palmer – Fairtrade Fortnight takes place from 21st February – 6th March and is an opportunity to encourage children to think about choices made when spending money. Tom Palmer has created some excellent resources linked to his book, Off Side, including a video introduction and the first chapter to download plus teaching ideas. There is also a competition to win six months supply of Delicious Fairtrade chocolate!
Picture books for children – reviews – Imogen Carter reviews the latest picture books for the Guardian. I particularly like the sound of I Am the Subway a new Korean picture book by Kim Hyo-eun (and translator Deborah Smith)
Anna McQuinn – Q&A – Stephen Baird aka ‘The Bearded Bookseller’ interviews Anna McQuinn founder of Alanna Max Publishers and author of the wonderful Lulu and Zeki picture books. I’m delighted to read that there are more books in both these series in the pipeline.
Anxiety & Wellbeing – 60 Books to Support Children’s Mental Health – this week marks Children’s Mental Health Week and the LoveReading4Schools team has put compiled a list of helpful books for different age groups on their website. The article also contains links to several organisations that offer support to children and their families.
Library Lifeline part 3: Developing reading for pleasure in your school – this regular feature on the National Literacy Trust website by Dawn Woods of the School Library Association is well worth following. The latest one features numerous helpful links, ideas and suggestions.
CILIP Partners with Yoto to Unlock New Future for Carnegie Greenaway Awards – CILIP, the charity that manages the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards, this week announced it has agreed a three-year partnership with Yoto, the screen-free audio platform for children. This year’s Awards will be re-named the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards 2022 with immediate effect, ahead of the longlist announcement on 16 February. There is more information about this partnership on the official website.
LitFest 2022 Mini Children’s Festival – for the first time this year this is a hybrid festival and tickets to watch online are £5. The mini children’s Festival, 11th/12th March, includes Joseph Coehlo, Dom Conlon and Katherine Woodfine.
Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Shortlist 2022 – This year’s selection, chosen by Waterstones booksellers, in three separate categories contains some extremely popular titles. I wonder who will follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Elle McNicoll for A Kind of Spark.
The Laugh Out Loud Book Awards Ceremony 2022 – have you read the books on the LOLLIES shortlist? Even if you haven’t the live award ceremony sounds like fun with special guests Head Judge Michael Rosen, Katie Thistleton and more. On Thursday 17th February at 2pm and suitable for aged 3+. Details and registration via the link.
Children’s Mental Health Week: why reading for pleasure is vital for young minds – an article on the National Literacy Trust website referencing research supporting the importance of books and reading on the wellbeing of children.
Virtual Event for Children with Louie Stowell – Join author and Norse myth super fan Louie Stowell to hear all about her brand-new book Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good. Although half term break differs across the country this sounds like it would be enjoyed either in school or at home. Taking place on Wednesday 23rd February at 10:30am.
“In painful times, books can be the greatest comfort”: Anne Fine on how reading can help children cope with feelings of grief – this is an excellent and wise article for BookTrust by our former Children’s Laureate about the power of books to support young people. I also like very much her suggested books all of which I have found helpful in the past.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
My Mum Is a Lioness by Swapna Haddow illustrated by Dapo Adeola – another excellent review by Fabia Turner, this time turning her attention to the follow-up to My Dad Is a Grizzly Bear. The detailed look at both the text and illustrations provides teachers, parents and careers with an insightful overview of this “cheerful, warmhearted inclusive story”. It sounds perfect for Reception and KS1.
Big Sky Mountain: The Forest Wolves – Alex Milway – if you are looking for books for newly independent readers to tackle solo this series does sound to be the answer. Rich Simpson’s review provides a taste of this second in the series which he describes as, “sure to engage young readers with its lively action, fun and jokes, and the underlying messages of compassion and caring for each other as well.”
Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll – There has been a real positive buzz about this book online over the last few days. I always find Ben Harris’s reviews helpful and this one is no exception as I know simply from the review that this is a book that should be in school libraries. Ben sums it up with the phrase “With this third novel, McNicoll’s writing continues to astonish.”
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds illustrated by Akhran Girmay – The Carnegie medal winning author’s debut novel, published in the UK for the first time tells a story of family and friendships in an urban poor neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Joy Court’s insightful review for LoveReading4Kids suggests this is must read for young adults.
Books I Should Have Read: Varjak Paw by S.F. Said – in our rush to embrace and promote excellent new books there may be a temptation to neglect ‘old favourites.’ Teacher Tom Slattery has started a new feature on his blog that I will be following with interest. First up is this popular book by S.F. Said and Tom’s review highlights why this is a book shared in classrooms up and down the country.
That’s all for this week. My weekend reading will be finishing Wolf Light and then next up is Jo Clarke’s debut Libby and the Parisian Puzzle which is being published on World Book Day. Next week sees the announcement of the Carnegie and Greenaway long lists and I know that my reading list will be even longer after that! If you are on half term break this week I hope you enjoy a relaxing few days. Happy reading.