Reading Matters – children’s book news

Welcome to the latest round up children’s book news. This week there is news of awards, some interesting events and useful resources to encourage reading for pleasure.

What I’m reading…

It has been another week when reading has had to take a back seat I’m afraid. However, I did finish reading Welsh Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends by Claire Fayers one of the four books on the Tir Na n-Og English Language Award shortlist (see below). I enjoyed this, it’s written in a modern accessible style appropriate for young readers and Claire Fayers has given them her own twist. Stories of dragons, love, rivalry, monsters and fairy folk that would be good to read aloud and an excellent introduction to Welsh folklore. Ben Harris @onetoteach is running a book club discussing the shortlisted titles on Twitter once a week throughout April so if you are on Twitter you may like to get involved. Dates are to be confirmed.

I am now halfway through The Secret of the Treasure Keepers by A M Howell and am transported back to the nine year old reader still hidden somewhere within me. Probably not that well hidden! Anyway, this is a treat of a mystery and I’m willing Ruth on in her adventure. I will update you next week!

Despite the busy week I did squeeze in a little listening and if you haven’t already heard this I can recommend this episode of Last Word on BBC Sounds. You can listen to Tom Vulliamy talk about life with his mum, Shirley Hughes, Julia Eccleshare on her illustrations and Shirley Hughes herself reading her own stories. It’s lovely. I subscribe to Nikki Gamble’s In The Reading Corner and last night I listened to the sublime conversation between Nikki and Kate Di Camillo. When I read Kate’s books I always feel comforted and this thoughtful and wise discussion about The Beatryce Prophecy and writing for children in general affected me the same way. I would highly recommend listening.

News, articles and resources…

Tir Na n-Og Awards Shortlist 2022 – The books shortlisted for the Tir Na n-Og Awards 2022 in each of the three categories have now been announced: Welsh Language Primary, Welsh Language Secondary, and English Language. The winning titles in each category will be announced on 20 May on the Radio Wales Arts Show (English-language) and on 2 June at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Denbighshire (Welsh-language). The four in the English Language category are a lovely selection.

Get Everyone Reading by Alec Williams – This publication is free for all schools to download from the School Library Association website and is a ‘primer’ for how to go about encouraging reading for pleasure in your school. The two appendices include an ‘Ideas Bank’ and a list of reading celebrations throughout the year, so you can discover more ways and more days to continue encouraging reading for pleasure.

Special Event: Children’s Fiction and Climate Change with Sita Brahmachari, Hannah Gold & Piers Torday – To coincide with Earth Day 2022, CLPE is hosting a special online panel discussion featuring three acclaimed children’s authors on climate change in children’s books. This free event takes place on 20th April 17:00 pm to 18:00 pm and more information and how to register can be found via the link.

Michael Rosen and Book Trust reading for pleasure competition – BookTrust’s new Writer in Residence, Michael Rosen wants to celebrate the amazing work teachers and librarians have been doing to encourage reading for pleasure. Share the brilliant things you’ve been doing to encourage reading for pleasure and it might just win your school a prize. The deadline is 1st July.

Open University Reading for Pleasure March Newsletter – this month’s round up includes two great examples of making the most of your school library, graphic novel suggestions from Erin Hamilton and an updated list of Book Award winners.

War and Peace in Picture Books by Chitra Soundar – a thoughtful article on the Picture Book Den website discussing the role of picture books for children in prompting discussion about people affected by war and for encouraging tolerant and kind behaviour towards others. The article includes some helpful links to book lists on these topics too.

Jhalak Prize 2022 Children and Young Adults Long List Announced – congratulations to the authors, illustrators and publishers of the 12 books included in this long list announced on Tuesday. A varied selection from picture books to information titles to YA fiction. The shortlist will be announced on 19th April. The Jhalak Children’s and YA Prize accepts books for children, teens and young adults including picture books, chapter books, graphic novels, poetry, non-fiction, and all other genres by writers of colour and aimed at young readers

Children’s Book Award Blog Tour ~ The Griffin Gate by Vashti Hardy & Natalie Smillie – I’m enjoying following the blog tour organised by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups celebrating the Children’s Book Award and this is an interesting piece by Natalie Smillie on Kate Heap’s blog. We learn more about the role of the illustrator, the importance of book covers and the creative team work involved.

Yoto Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards Short Lists Announced – these awards celebrate outstanding achievement in children’s writing and illustration respectively and are judged by children’s and youth librarians, with the Shadowers’ Choice Award voted for by children and young people. Personally I am delighted to see that When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle is included as this story was a stand out one for me over the last year. However, I am looking forward to reading more of the books in both categories over the coming weeks. 16 books have been selected in total – eight for the Yoto Carnegie Medal and eight for the Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal – from a longlist of 33 titles.

Discover teaching ideas for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Award Shortlist 2022 titles – the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) has produced teaching notes to provide schools and settings with ideas to develop comprehension and extended provision around Greenaway-shortlisted picturebooks and illustrated texts for children of all ages.   

An Evening with Jennifer Killick – Join popular children’s author Jennifer Killick in conversation with Nikki Gamble to celebrate the launch of her new series, Dread WoodTime on 29th March at 7pm.

ReadingZone Bookclub – free author events – a reminder of these free sessions featuring a range of authors and illustrators including Emma Carroll, Phil Earle and Sam Sedgman. The bookclub is aimed at classrooms and libraries that are keen to develop a love of reading. Events are for ages 5-11 years. Full details and how to register via the link.

Literacy Library Presents: Engaging Early Readers through Quality Texts with Chris Haughton, Petr Horáček, Anjali Patel and Alex Lundie – a wonderful line-up for this event hosted by CLPE on 31st March, 5pm to 6.30pm.

School Libraries in Lockdown Report – the School Library Association has published the findings of research carried out in to the impact COVID19 had on the role of school libraries and librarians. Although this makes sobering reading in many ways it does also provide an opportunity to reflect and learn and to build for the future. This is an important read for school librarians and for senior leaders in education.

An Evening with Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom – if, like me, you missed this event on Tuesday evening hosted by Nikki Gamble it is now available to watch via YouTube. I’ve long been a fan of their books so am looking forward to watching this over the weekend. Their new book about women adventurers and explorers sounds exciting.

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

We Sang Across the Sea by Benjamin Zephaniah illustrated by Onyinye Iwu – another comprehensive and enlightening picture book review by Fabia Turner. She includes the discussion that grew from a shared family reading of this book and notes for teachers. Black British History is made accessible for young readers and this is a book of value in schools.

Yesterday Crumb And The Storm In A Teacup by Andy Sagar – what an irresistible title! A girl called Yesterday Crumb could never be ordinary and this story sounds great fun. Nicki Cleveland in her lovely review says that this book is, “An utter delight from beginning to end, this is a spell-binding adventure that will leave you with a smile on your face, hope in your heart, and craving tea and cake!”

The Biggest Footprint: Eight Billion Humans. One Clumsy GIANT by Rob & Tom Sears – this is a great review by Paul Watson that has persuaded me that I need to see a copy of The Biggest Footprint. This new information book about protecting our planet also explains the subject of scale and the illustrations shared by Paul show how well this is done.

The Thief Who Sang Storms by Sophie Anderson illustrated by Joanna Lisowiec – best selling author Sophie Anderson has a highly anticipated new book coming out at the end of the month. Julia Eccleshare says it is, “Vividly imagined and rich in detail, this is also a thoughtful and beautiful way of encouraging tolerance.”

That’s all for this week and I do hope that something among the links I’ve shared here is of interest to you. The sun is shining here and I hope it is for you too. Happy reading.

Finally, this week I’ve been on #MagnoliaWatch prompted by Tim Lihoreau of Classic FM and spotted this beautiful one peeping out in the sunshine the other day. I’ll be checking up on its progress this weekend.

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2 Responses to Reading Matters – children’s book news

  1. Thank you Anne for consistently signposting to such a fascinating collection of resources and discussions. Always a joy to read your weekly round up. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

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