Welcome to this week’s catch up with what has been happening in the world of children’s books. Yet another busy week and I know I haven’t included everything but I hope this selection gives you a taste of the wonderful things being organised, produced and shared by the children’s literature creators and supporters.
What I’m reading…
I have recently finished reading, or in a couple of cases, re-reading the books shortlisted for this year’s Tir na n-Og English Language Award. Huge congratulations to Lesley Parr whose debut novel, The Valley of Lost Secrets was announced as the winner last night.
What on Earth Magazines, in collaboration with Encyclopaedia Britannica, have recently released a new monthly non-fiction magazine, Britannica Magazine. I was impressed with my review copy and think this magazine would be great for primary school libraries, issued monthly, crammed with facts, stunning photos, puzzles and interesting articles to inspire. It reminded me of magazines I used to enjoy as a child and that’s intended as a compliment! Great for browsing and learning.
Following last week’s brilliant Needle by Patrice Lawrence over the last few days I have read another book for teens that I would highly recommend. Reading Between the Lies by Malcom Duffy is is a story of family drama, secrets, lies and finding the courage to deal with life’s more difficult experiences. It shines a light on the impact dyslexia can have on young people’s lives and the barrier it creates. I found it a gripping and enjoyable read and grew fond of both the boys in the story.
Last but not least I am re-reading The Magician’s Nephew by C S Lewis at the moment in readiness for Chris Lovegrove’s Narniathon next week. The last time I read it I think I was eleven years old and the memories have come flooding back.
News, articles and resources…
Choosing Books for the Classroom – a reminder of these free webinars hosted by Nikki Gamble and streaming live via Facebook. All session start at 4.15pm. Books for Year 3 Monday 6th June with Caroline Bradley, Year 4 Friday 10th June with Jo Bowers, Year 5 Wednesday 8th June with Roy Moss and Erin Hamilton, Year 6 Tuesday 14th June with Stephen Connor. You can also catch up with the Year 1 and 2 sessions if, like me, you missed them this week.
Bookmark: disability and books – are you looking for information on disability and children’s books? Book Trust’s Bookmark is full of advice and book recommendations for families, teachers, librarians, authors and publishers. The Book of the Month is Reading Between the Lies by Malcolm Duffy (mentioned above) and there is also an article by Malcolm about the stigma still surrounding dyslexia plus a blogpost by Rebecca Patterson on the need for children’s books to show disability and diversity.
Young Wild Writer Competition – entries are now being accepted for this writing competition that will be judged by author Gill Lewis. The organisers are looking for a piece of written work, up to 500 words, relating to animal journeys. You can write a poem, a piece of prose, an article or a diary entry…it’s up to you. There are three age groups:Young (5-8 years) Junior (9-12 years) Senior (13-16 years) and the closing date is 10th July. Full details available via the link above.
Book Clubs in School Summer Book Club – the Summer Book Club is a set of questions and activities based around everyone reading the same book. It is for new Year 7s to do over the summer as part of their preparation for secondary school. This year’s book is Twitch by M G Leonard. The activities and linked resources are free and Walker have arranged a discount on group sets of books for participating schools. Full details of the scheme and how to get involved are on the website above.
Perdu read by Richard Jones – this would be lovely to share with young children during National Share a Story Month. Perdu, the moving, beautifully illustrated story of a little lost dog and his search for a place to call home is one of my favourite picture books and here is your chance to listen to it being read aloud by its creator. Perdu is shortlisted for the Picture Book Category of this year’s Children’s Book Award.
Black Books Every School Should Have – educator and publisher Fabia Turner shares her recommendations. Ideal for sharing or reading aloud, these high-quality inclusive texts, featuring Black characters, are must-haves for school and home — includes seven books by Black authors/illustrators.
2022 ‘Gadgeteers’ Summer Reading Challenge Book Collection – This year’s Summer Reading Challenge book collection features 67 inspiring titles for different reading levels encompassing picture books, early readers and middle grade titles, with fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and graphic novels included. The books all engage with the key Gadgeteers themes of everyday science, invention and creation and fun with friends. You can explore the lists via the link above.
The Empathy Superpower Challenge – The Empathy Superpower Challenge is made up of nine different tasks, each one helping to boost your empathy skills. Complete three tasks and a badge to share with the world. Complete all nine and children will be able to download a certificate signed by Michael Rosen. Find out more about the challenge on the website above or sign up as a school to receive resources and information here.
Children’s Fiction: Ten You Might Have Missed selected by Books for Topics – With so many new children’s books published each month, often just a handful of key titles claim the spotlight. Alison Leach and her Review Panel have highlighted some of the brilliant books published in recent months that may have passed you by but deserve not to be missed.
The 2022 Branford Boase Award Shortlist – a guest post by literature critic and children’s author Imogen Russell Williams on the Library Girl and Book Boy blog looking at the great selection of books on this year’s shortlist for the most outstanding debut for children.
Oscar’s Book Prize 2002 Winner Revealed – the winner of this year’s Oscar’s Book Prize at an awards ceremony in London this week. The award, supported by Amazon, the National Literacy Trust and the Evening Standard, crowned Maybe…, by author and illustrator Chris Haughton, as the winner, topping the shortlist of magical stories to take home the £10,000 literary prize.
The Klaus Flugge Prize Shortlist Announced – set up to honour Klaus Flugge, this prize is awarded to the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration. From a longlist of twenty-four picture books by debut illustrators, the panel of judges have chosen six to shortlist. I was delighted to see The Tale of the Whale, illustrated by Padmacandra and written by Karen Swann included. Find out more about the award and see all the books on the shortlist via the link above.
Platinum Jubilee live draw-along with Steve Antony – Join Steve Antony, author and illustrator of The Queen’s Hat, The Queen’s Handbag, The Queen’s Present and The Queen’s Lift-Off for a special Platinum Jubilee draw-along. Although places on the Zoom webinar are now full it is possible to watch live via YouTube and the event will be recorded to watch later too.
Celebrating Five Years of Reading for Pleasure! – the Open University Reading for Pleasure coalition has now been making a difference for 5 years. If you are involved in children’s books in any capacity no doubt you will have been aware of the wonderful work being done by this team. If not then please do explore the website and sign up for the newsletter, both of which are hugely valuable resources.
Barnes Children’s Literature Festival – tickets go on sale today and the full line up looks brilliant, including Frank Cottrell Boyce, Emma Carroll, Michelle Paver, Chris Haughton, Piers Torday. It takes places 25th and 26th June and the full programme can be seen via the link above.
Books for Keeps May Issue – this was published yesterday and should keep me occupied over the weekend. This online magazine is my go to source of information about children’s books and the latest issue contains a plethora of must read articles, interviews and reviews. There is so much of value here I’m reluctant to highlight only a couple of things. Highly recommended.
Andersen Press and Nikki Gamble Present an Evening With Phil Earle – what a treat this will be. I’ve already signed up! Join Nikki Gamble in conversation with Phil Earle to celebrate the publication of his new book WHILE THE STORM RAGES. Monday 30th May at 7pm. You can book tickets via the link above. Be quick!
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
Flooded By Mariajo Ilustrajo – I like the look and sound of this new debut picture book and its themes. The glimpse of the illustrations in this review by Tita Berredo on the My Book Corner blog are tempting too. “With wit and humour, Flooded touches the subject of community, compassion, and equality versus equity. A beautiful, fun, and moving picture book for all ages, times, and cultures.”
Stitched Up by Steve Cole – an excellent 5 Star review by Sue Magee on the Bookbag review website of this new title for Barrington Stoke. “A dyslexia-friendly look at what’s behind the cheap fashion garments you find on the high street. It’s a social problem which is being highlighted but that takes nothing away from the fact that it’s a good, engaging story. Highly recommended.”
Hedgewitch by Skye McKenna – a lovely review by Mary Esther Judy of a book that has been receiving a great deal of attention recently. Mary says the story is, “Full of conflict which is realistically solved, it speaks eloquently of family life and history. Beautifully paced with adventure, imaginative, filled with friendship…and it all feels so real. Magical in every way. This is everything I look for in a “witchy”book.”
Social Media Survival Guide Written by Holly Bathie Illustrated by Kate Sutton, Richard Merritt Illustration, Hammond – this new book published by Usborne is a comprehensive guide filled with information on everything from privacy settings, direct messaging and bullying, to appearance-enhancing filters, influencers and fake news. In her helpful and comprehensive review for LoveReading4Kids Joy Court describes it as, “A must for school libraries and one that parents will want to have available in the home for their own information too.”
That’s everything for this week and I hope it’s been helpful to you. I’m off to read Books for Keeps and with luck start Phil Earle’s new book which I have been looking forward to for ages. Happy reading!