Welcome to this week’s round up of what has been happening in the world of children’s books. It’s been another busy week so I hope you find something among this selection of links and reviews that is helpful to you.
What I’m reading…
Last week I mentioned an excellent debut that I had just finish reading and I have now reviewed The Map of Leaves by Yarrow Townsend for Just Imagine. This original and thoughtful story will, I think, attract a lot of attention as it taps in to our concerns about our natural world. An exciting adventure filled with danger and drama yet with a thoughtful sensitivity running through it. I really liked this book and love how reviewing for Just Imagine introduces me to authors new to me.
Needle, Patrice Lawrence’s latest YA novel for Barrington Stoke is a compelling and unforgettable read and is a book that I read in one sitting. The distinctive and at times heart breaking narration of the story by the main character, Charlene, is unforgettable and I would highly recommend this book for teens to secondary school librarians and teachers. The book deals with the subjects of children in care and our justice system and would be excellent for prompting conversation and further reading on the themes.
There has been a wide range of picture books published over the last couple of months and this week I managed to finally do a round up of some of my favourites. My Pick of the New Picture Books includes kindness across the generations, challenging gender stereotypes, the journey our food makes and a welcome re-issue.
News, articles and resources…
15 Excellent Summer Reading Ideas for Young Readers – former school librarian of the year, Lucas Maxwell has written an excellent article for Book Riot giving suggestions on how to encourage reading over the summer holiday. The majority focus on making reading fun and include competitions and ‘Surprise Reads’.
Mat Tobin’s Klaus Flugge Prize Presentation – Oxford Brookes University Senior Lecturer Mat Tobin has generously created a fascinating presentation of all 24 picture books long listed for this year’s Klaus Flugge Prize. This contains insights into a page from each book, links to illustrator and author websites and additional information. This is a labour of love that would be great to share in schools and libraries.
Ten terrific comics and graphic novels for children – Neill Cameron believes that there’s a comic out there for everyone – from reluctant readers to bookworms. Here he chooses his 10 favourites for Book Trust.
A Tale Never Loses in the Telling – this is a thoughtful article by librarian Roy Moss for Just Imagine containing some interesting perspectives on storytelling for National Share a Story Month organised by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.
Reading for Pleasure Conference: the thread that connects – this conference, postponed from 2020, will help you enrich your repertoire of children’s texts and create reading communities that connect and support young readers. Author Frank Cottrell Boyce and Norfolk Children’s Book Centre bookshop will both be there on Saturday 18th June in Cambridge. Tickets cost £30 and can be booked via the link above.
Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards Live Event Series – the organisers of these book awards together with the Reading Agency are hosting two virtual shortlist events for young readers. There’s one event to celebrate each medal featuring a selection of the shortlisted illustrators and authors talking about their books, as well as answering questions from children and young people, ahead of the winner announcement on 16 June. The events take place this month and are one hour long. Full details plus links to register are available above.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to give books to refugee children – Dolly Parton’s global organisation is partnering with publisher Penguin Random Houseand charity Give a Book to offer books to 200 refugee children in London. Among the books chosen are old and new favourites such as Where is the Very Hungry Caterpillar? by Eric Carle, King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently and Billy and the Dragon by Nadia Shireen.
Barnes Children’s Literature Festival Line-up Announced – this year’s festival takes place over the weekend 25th-26th June and the brilliant line-up has recently been announced. It includes Frank Cottrell Boyce, Piers Torday, Lauren Child, Emma Carroll, Sharna Jackson and many more. You can find out more and sign up for the newsletter via the link.
Empathy Day 2022 – activity and curriculum ideas – teachers and Empathy Book Collection Judges, Jon Biddle and Richard Charlesworth have written this excellent article for Teachwire on how to embed empathy across the curriculum. It includes book suggestions and links to Empathy Day resources.
Love My Books Newsletter May 2022 – this is an excellent resource for the families and schools. This month’s newsletter includes the current Book in Focus: Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola, a family review of How War Changed Rondo, by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, Oksana Lushchevska and new activity ideas for books such as Rigatoni the Pasta Cat Michael Rosen, illustrated by Tony Ross. The website is well worth a browse and if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter that’s a good idea too!
Shortlist Announced for the Alligator’s Mouth Award 2022 – Five books have been shortlisted for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2022, which champions both authors and illustrators of highly illustrated children’s fiction. This year the award is also working with Fun Kids, the UK’s only National radio station for 6-12 years old, and Coram Beanstalk, the national reading charity, to run a special competition giving school libraries a chance to win the longlisted titles. Find out more about the competition and see the shortlisted books via the link.
While the Storm Rages by Phil Earle Free Virtual Event for Schools – to celebrate the launch of Phil Earle’s new book on 8th June this event taking place at 1.30 includes Phil talking about his new book and the award winning, When the Sky Falls and answering questions too. Not to be missed!
Puffin Virtual Visits – Real-life authors and illustrators will be beaming straight into classrooms around the country this term, to inspire a lifelong love of reading for pupils. Over the coming weeks these include Sam Copeland, Jenny Pearson and Sharna Jackson. Thank you to Jon Biddle for making me aware of these.
Indie Book Awards Shortlists Announced – The Indie Book Awards, chosen by independent booksellers have four categories to choose from – Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s Fiction and Picture Book – so there’s something for everyone.
Choosing Books for your Year Group – a series of free Webinars hosted by Nikki Gamble with guest teachers and librarians, live streaming on Facebook starting with Year 1 Monday 16th May at 4.15. Sure to be helpful with lots of excellent books shared and recommended
Censorship and Intellectual Freedom in School Libraries – Joint statement from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the CILIP School Libraries Group (CILIP SLG) and the School Library Association (SLA). This statement issued on 13th May is intended to provide clear guidance for school librarians, school leadership and Governors when considering issues relating to intellectual freedom and censorship.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
You Can’t Let an Elephant Drive a Racing Car by Patricia Cleveland -Peck illustrated by David Tazzyman – the latest offering in this funny, entertaining and popular series sounds an absolute joy. Jo Cummins hosted the author on her blog this week and I loved seeing her favourite illustrations from this new book.
Maddy Yip’s Guide to Holidays by Sue Cheung – the latest in this humorous series for readers aged 7+ written and illustrated by Sue Cheung is a book of the month on LoveReading4Kids and sounds as though it would be a great summer holiday read.
The Lost Girl King by Catherine Doyle – “If you like your stories steeped in mythology, infused with a unique sense of place and written in the language which transports you to another realm, then add The Lost Girl King to your summer shopping list!” says Veronica Price in her excellent review of this new stand alone title from award winning author Catherine Doyle due out in July. I’ve shuffled my proof copy up my TBR pile thanks to Veronica’s comments.
The Secret Garden on 81st Street by Ivy Noelle Weir and Amber Padilla – fabulous review of this new graphic novel by the team who brought us Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. The review could be summed up by saying Daisy May Johnson, author of How to Be Brave, loved it very much! But if you want a little more Daisy says, “I loved how unafraid Weir and Padilla were of the original text and how lovingly they made it speak to a whole new audience. That’s what you do with a classic. That’s it, right there.” This sounds great.
That’s everything for this week and I hope you have a happy weekend. I have just started reading Read Between the Lines the new one by Malcolm Duffy and hope to find time to read more. The latest issue of Pen & inc, the interesting magazine from CILIP, arrived yesterday so I may squeeze that in too. Happy reading!