Reading Matters – children’s book news

Welcome to this week’s round up of what has been happening in the world of children’s books.

What I’m reading…

The Secret of the Treasure Keepers by A M Howell is the type of fiction I loved as a child and still do. It is a mystery with a real sense of time and place that is a pleasure to read and I was impressed at the subtle way in which the author incorporates both the historical detail and the important emotional themes. There are many links to social history that mean that The Secret of the Treasure Keepers would be of value in the classroom too. It ticks lots of boxes!

Two rather special picturebooks The Comet by Joe Todd-Stanton and When Creature Met Creature a collaboration between John Agard and Satoshi Kitamura, have impressed me this month and I have finally reviewed them this week. What struck me about these two books is that they encourage readers to pause and reflect, also the many possible interpretations prompt thoughtful discussion and the themes covered make them both excellent to share in the classroom.

At the moment I am reading The Infinite by Patience Agbabi in readiness for next week’s ‘Audience With’ this author, hosted by Nikki Gamble. It’s different to my usual reading choices and I’m enjoying the original idea and the unpredictability of the plot.

Lastly, this week in my capacity as a committee member of the Surrey Branch of the School Library Association we held our Spring Term meeting at which author Jo Cotterill was our guest speaker. Jo is such an engaging speaker, interesting and entertaining and I think we all left inspired by the discussion about the work of Empathy Lab, their Empathy Collections and the Empathy Day itself. I would highly recommend signing up for the newsletter on their website to find out more and to keep updated. You can find out more about Jo Cotterill, her books, school visits and work with Empathy Lab on her website.

News, articles and resources…

Just Imagine Discover Undiscovered VoicesUndiscovered Voices is an initiative from SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Illustrators and Writers) which gives a platform to up and coming voices in children’s writing. In this podcast Nikki Gamble caught up with two of this year’s authors, K L Kaine and Andrew James, along with Sara Grant from the organising committee to find out more about the project, how it supports new writing and the success it has had to date.

Making the most of your primary school library webinar – The School Library Association believes that every pupil is entitled to effective school library provision. To create an instant buzz about books in your school, join teacher and library consultant, Kate Spurrier, for this webinar on Wednesday 30th March 4-5pm.

Mr Dilly Meets – Sophy Henn and Steven Lenton – a free event taking place on Wednesday 27 April 11am – 12:15pm Discover the music with Sophy Henn & Draw a Long with Steven Lenton in this Mr Dilly Meets Author Illustrator Creativity Special. Plus the Mr Dilly Meets poet in residence Jonathan Humble from children’s poetry site The Dirigible Balloon is back with another wonderful poem to inspire and delight. Suitable for all primary aged children and everyone who loves story-telling and drawing.

Books for Keeps March edition – another wonderful selection of articles and reviews from the BFK team. I always enjoy this online magazine and the latest issue includes Joanna Nadin, Kate Read, Winnie and Wilbur, Lissa Evans, the latest Beyond the Secret Garden article which is always illuminating, a look at Joan Aiken’s books and lots of new children’s book reviews. A must read!

The Children’s Book Award Blog Tour: Liz Kessler on When the World Was Ours – a moving post by the author of a book short listed for the Older Readers category of this award about the inspiration for her profoundly affecting story of the Holocaust.

Shorter Chapter Books – as a primary school librarian I was constantly on the look out for this type of book. Erin Hamilton’s selection of new illustrated shorter fiction is perfect for newly independent readers and the wide range here should appeal to many different tastes.

Exploring Human Rights Through Children’s Books – a guest post on the CILIP website by Rowena Seabrook, Human Rights Education Manager at Amnesty International UK about ways of using children’s books as a means for discussing and exploring Human Rights. The suggestions would be excellent to use with pupils involved in shadowing the Carnegie and Greenway Awards and the article includes links to resources on Amnesty’s website.

Bologna 2022: Marie-Aude Murail and Suzy Lee Win 2022 Hans Christian Andersen Awards – the International Board on Books for Young People has announced the 2022 winners of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books, France’s Marie-Aude Murail, for writing; and Suzy Lee, from the Republic of Korea, for illustration.

Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Award Videos – This year’s Yoto Carnegie and Kate Greenaway shortlisted authors and illustrators have each set a challenge for Shadowers to get involved with. The videos available via the link above share creative ideas inspired by the shortlisted books for the Shadowers to try. There are tons of great ideas to get your Shadowers engaged with the 2022 shortlists and to inspire creativity.

“I want my books to be read by blind children too.” : Dapo Adeolo – interview on BBC Sounds with award winning author and illustrator Dapo Adeolo about his project with Living Paintings to adapt his books.

Love My Books March/ April Newsletter – the latest newsletter from this excellent website includes a feature on picturebooks which provide insight into children living in conflict, the current Book in Focus: Dragon Mountain by Katie and Kevin Tsang, Jon Biddle on the importance of independent bookshops and links to new activity pages. Both the website and the regular newsletter are fabulous to share with parents and carers being full of helpful suggestions and advice.

Exploring Manga: In Partnership with Peters Booksellers – Manga is becoming one of the most popular formats in school libraries. Are you seeking some guidance on things like stock, suitability, and budget? This School Library Association webinar, (free for members, £24 for non members) will guide you.

Max Counts to a Million – Jeremy Williams Q&A with the author – as part of this week’s blog tour teacher Rich Simpson reviews this book set during the pandemic lockdowns and interviews the author. It is an interesting and thoughtful read. Another book now on my wish list!

The Reading Agency partners with Science Museum Group for innovation themed Summer Reading Challenge – the theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is Gadgeteers and the focus will be on science and innovation. You can also visit the official Summer Reading Challenge website to find out more about the resources available etc.

The Book of the Year Shortlists for the 2022 Nibbies – With 72 titles across 12 categories including Children’s Non-Fiction, Children’s Illustrated and Children’s Fiction these are well worth exploring.

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

Saving The Butterfly by Helen Cooper illustrated by Gill Smith – a picture book that deals with a cruel reality of our world with a kind and gentle touch is well worth seeking out. This lovely review on the Fallen Star Stories blog has ensured that I will be making sure I read this as soon as possible.

Kitty and the Woodland Wildcat by Paula Harrison, illustrated by Jenny Løvlie – this series sounds great fun and illustrated fiction is so important in encouraging young readers who are just becoming independent in both their choices and ability. Veronica Price’s positive review suggests it is perfect for that transition from KS1 to KS2 and includes links to her reviews of other titles in the series.

The Rewilders by Lindsay Littleson – I have heard and read only positive things about this new book and this review by Nicki Cleveland tells us a little more about its appeal. “This is a celebration of our natural world, a reminder of the delicate balance of ecosystems, and that we must take responsibility for looking after the world we live in before we damage it beyond repair.”

Perfectly Weird, Perfectly You by Camilla Pang – it can sometimes be hard to make self-help guides for children and teens attractive to their intended audience but Erin Hamilton’s review suggests that this one has got it right. “For some children, those guides to growing up can be daunting, overly body focused and cringe-worthy…but this book is about finding out who you are, what you love and what you want to focus on in your life.”

I hope that these links are helpful to you and that one of the books mentioned has caught your eye. Happy reading!

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6 Responses to Reading Matters – children’s book news

  1. Thank you for linking to my Kitty review Anne. I love being able to catch up with the week’s children’s book news before getting on with my chores on a Saturday 😊 I’m delighted by the Gadgeteers theme for the Summer Reading Challenge this year. Have a lovely weekend 🌞


  2. Calmgrove says:

    I’ll have a look at that manga link presently — I’ve wanted to dip my toes in at some stage but haven’t a notion where to start, so this looks ideal. The big problem for me is not starting, I suppose, but anxiety about series which seem to continue forever and fantasy universes whose boundaries expand to become infinite…

    Liked by 2 people

    • alibrarylady says:

      The popularity of graphic novels generally and manga in particular is something I have been unable to keep up with. I started stocking graphic novels in the school library several years ago and was fascinated by their popularity. They definitely attract a large number of young readers. Like you I feel a little overwhelmed by the scale of Manga. My extremely trendy niece loves them perhaps I should look to her for guidance!

      Liked by 2 people

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