Reading Matters – children’s book news

Welcome to this week’s look back at what has been happening in the world of children’s books. It’s been a busy few days and I may have missed something but I hope this selection of links includes something helpful to you.

What I’m reading…

The Secret Sunshine Project is such a fitting title for this optimistic and hopeful book. Benjamin Dean’s follow up to Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow is a book I enjoyed very much, the characters are wonderful and I think the way it highlighted the best in people is such a positive message for young readers. Grief is lightened by hope and kindness, it’s an excellent example of using literature to help and support.

The Tir na n-Og Awards are presented every year to honour the work of authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults. There are three categories – Welsh-language Primary, Welsh-language Secondary, and the best English-language title with an authentic Welsh background. At the moment I am reading Welsh Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends by Claire Fayers which is on the shortlist announced yesterday in the Best English Language category. I’m enjoying this collection so far and think it would make a great read-aloud book.

News, articles and resources…

Fiction for older children reviews – magic and morality, beyond Marvel – Kitty Empire reviews a selection of new books for the Guardian that may tempt reluctant bookworms including Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell and Ross Welford’s new book Into the Sideway’s World.

How Shirley Hughes explored the dramas of children’s lives in a changing world – I make no apology for including another article about Shirley Hughes as this one is by Michael Rosen and is such a perfect description of her talent and skill but perhaps even more importantly her understanding of small children and families. As he so wisely says, “Her body of work is a gift, given to children and those who care for children. It enables us to care for each other.

Women Who Led the Way by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom – to mark International Women’s Day this is a guest blog post on the Federation of Children’s Book Groups website in which Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom talk about the inspiration for their new information book for children. This duo have been creating inviting non-fiction since the 1990s and this new book sounds like another winner.

Lost for words: protecting libraries and archives in Ukraine – Nick Poole – the CEO of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals writes about the importance, and the bravery of librarians in Ukraine as they ask for our help in keeping their culture spoken about and “to keep the idea of Ukraine alive with our words.”.

2022 Yoto Carnegie and Greenaway Awards Jason Reynolds Special Event – in anticipation of the Carnegie and Greenaway shortlist announcement next week this free event for Shadowing Schools with 2021 Carnegie Medal winner, Jason Reynolds chaired by 2022 judge and librarian Kelly Fuller, the event will take place live on Zoom from 12.30-1.30pm on 15th. Full details and registration via the link above.

OUTSIDE AND IN: Furthermoor’s Cover Art – last week I included teacher Richard Simpson’s review of Furthermoor and this week I enjoyed reading this feature by author Darren Simpson on the Reading Realm website about the design of the cover. There is also an extract from the story to tempt you further.

Books about war for older readers, picked by Michael Rosen – BookTrust’s recently appointed Writer in Residence Michael Rosen shares some of the books which might help slightly older readers understand conflict and process their own feelings about what they read and see.

Not all stereotypes are true! Dispelling myths about boys & girls readers – a free seminar hosted by Open University Reading for Pleasure on 22nd March 2-3pm. Dr Laura Scholes, Associate Professor in Education and Literacy at the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University will share data and findings on research linked to this subject. Full details and registration via link.

No Kids’ Nonfiction Bestsellers Lists from ‘Times,’ But Advocates Press On – article in US Publishers Weekly discussing the fact that a recent petition asking the New York Times to introduce three children’s nonfiction lists (paralleling the children’s fiction bestseller lists) has been declined. 

Shortlist Announced for the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2022 – The titles competing for this year’s KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards were revealed on Wednesday 9th March. The selection comprises a spread of books for young readers of all ages – from picturebooks to young adult novels.

School Library Association Statement in response to the Education Commission of Southwark Archdiocese decision regarding an author visit – The School Library Association, CILIP and CILIP SLG are united in their stance towards the news of an author visit being cancelled this week (Monday 7th March) due to its belief the event fell “outside the scope of what is permissible in a Catholic school”.

CLPE CLiPPA 2022 announcement of this year’s judges – The Judges for the CLiPPA (CLPE Poetry Award) 2022 have been announced alongside plans for its biggest celebration of poetry for children yet. This announcement kick-starts what promises to be an amazing programme of CLiPPA events with live events including the announcement of the shortlist at Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester Metropolitan University on Wednesday 4 May. Find out more plus details of the Schools’ Shadowing scheme via the link.

Empathy Day Live Line Up Announced – a jam-packed programme of free events and activities featuring authors and illustrators streaming live on Empathy Day 9th June from 7.30am. Put the date in your diaries to share in school or at home on the day!

Empathy Builder publisher scheme announced – EmpathyLab also announced this week Empathy Builders – a major new partnership with 40 children’s publishers, all committed to driving forward a powerful new book-based empathy movement. The joint aim is to reach over one million children a year by 2026. You can see a list of all the publishers involved and read the manifesto detailing the pledges made via the link above. This initiative is going from strength to strength.

Ukrainian children’s book to be published in UK as charity fundraiser – Larysa Denysenko, a Ukrainian writer, lawyer and public activist’s children’s book Maya and Her Friends, illustrated by Ukrainian artist Masha Foya, will be released by Bonnier Books UK in April. All of the company’s profits from the book will be donated to Unicef and their efforts to support the children of Ukraine in the ongoing invasion.

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

Don’t Ask the Dragon by Lemn Sissay illustrated by Greg Stobbs – this is the first children’s book by author Lemn Sissay and I do like the sound of it. A modern fable with themes of belonging, reviewed here by Fabia Turner who says “this memorable story explores profound truths about the essentials we all need in life and where we can find them.” The illustrations looks stunning too.

The Tide Singer by Eloise Williams & illustrated by August Ro – I have noticed a bit of a buzz about this book online this week. Award winning author Eloise Williams’ new title for Barrington Stoke is a fantasy story drawing on Welsh folklore and Kate Heap’s review is tempting, “this is a one-of-a-kind story of the wild unknown.”

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson by Laura Williamson Illustrated by Tammy Taylor – I am a fan of the First Name series published by David Fickling Books. These biographies contain an impressive amount of information yet are balanced with an appealing graphic style presentation. This well known wrestler, although lacking the historical importance of some others in the series, will no doubt tempt some who may not normally consider themselves readers. Roy James’ helpful review for Just Imagine tells you more.

The Drowning Day by Anne Cassidy – A thrilling, thought-provoking story of survival and hope, from the award-winning author of Looking For JJ. Nicki Cleveland describes this book which is due to be published next month as “A devastatingly brilliant, darkly dystopian tale of climate disaster and deadly disease.” and recommends it for secondary school age readers.

That’s everything for this week. I’m going to continue reading Welsh Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends this weekend and hope you have time for some reading too.

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2 Responses to Reading Matters – children’s book news

  1. Calmgrove says:

    Such a lot of interesting and indeed timely links, Anne, which I’m looking forward to investigating: Shirley Hughes, conflicts, author banning…

    Liked by 2 people

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