Welcome to another round up of news from the world of children’s books. A rather frantic week personally may mean some news is missing but I have my fingers crossed I’ve included enough for this week’s Reading Matters to be of use.
What I’m reading…
Quite honestly, not very much this week which is a shame. I did however find time to review a couple of stunning art books for children from Prestel Publishing both of which I would recommend. Chris Lovegrove’s Narniathon has prompted me to re-read the Chronicles of Narnia and last weekend I thoroughly enjoyed The Magician’s Nephew. So much of the detail, long forgotten or so I thought, came flooding back as I read so it was both nostalgic and fascinating.
This week I’m looking forward to taking part in the blog tour for The Boy Who Grew a Tree by Polly Ho-Yen illustrated by Sojung Kim-McCarthy. This is a delightful book, a modern fable, full of kindness and a story I would highly recommend so please do look out for the daily posts shown below.
News, articles and resources…
300 Great Books (and counting!) Recommended by School Librarian Lucas Maxwell – this is a fabulous resource generously created by Lucas and continually being updated. All the books are suitable for YR7 (Age 11+) unless otherwise mentioned and include a wide range of genres.
The Winner of the 2022 Tir na n-Og Award Announced – although I mentioned this last week this article gives more details about the award itself and the winning book, The Valley of Lost Secrets by Lesley Parr. You may also like to listen to the BBC Radio Wales Arts Show during which the announcement was made.
Black representation: Parents urged to read diverse books to kids – an important article in the Guardian featuring the authors Catherine Johnson and Em Norry.
Making the most of the Summer Reading Challenge – the School Library Association in conjunction with the Reading Agency are holding a webinar, free to members, £24 for non-members, to find out how you can help prevent the summer reading ‘dip’ by getting your school involved and making the most of this year’s ‘Gadgeteers’ theme. Tuesday 7th June 3.30 – 4.30pm and the event will also be recorded to watch later.
There is More Than One Way to Hug a Cat – apparently June 4th is Hug a Cat Day. In his latest blog for Just Imagine, Roy Moss considers our relationship to our feline friends and how children’s books have portrayed this connection. This is a lovely read and includes links to numerous cat themed books for all ages.
The Book of the Year Winners for the 2022 Nibbies – a fabulous night for children’s publishing on Monday when the celebrations included Phil Earle winning Best Children’s Book: Fiction, Dapo Adeola winning Illustrator of the Year and Children’s Illustrated Book of the Year for Hey You! and Knights Of winning Children’s Publisher of the Year plus Marcus Rashford’s You Can Be A Champion awarded Overall Book of the Year. All category winners can be seen via the link above.
Promoting Non-Fiction in a High School Library – this feature on the Celebrate Nonfiction blogspot by Kerry O’Malley Cerra caught my eye as our SLA branch prepare for our training session on non-fiction next month. Full of practical advice it is well worth a read and interesting for both school librarians and teachers.
The British Library Exploring Children’s Literature: You Write, I’ll Draw – the British Library’s new campaign celebrates author-illustrator partnerships and invites children to team up and create their own picture books. To find out more click on the link above and watch Michael Rosen with illustrations by Allen Fatimaharan. The competition will run from 9am on 23rd May to 5pm on 5th July 2022 and full terms and conditions are also available via the link.
The British Library Exploring Children’s Literature: Go deeper: Author illustrator partnerships – Imogen Russell Williams said on Twitter this week that this guest feature for BL was ‘a treat to write.’ Well I think its a treat to read and hope that you do too.
2022 Little Rebels shortlist: Reading and Discussion Guides – The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award celebrates radical fiction for children aged 0-12 and these guides to the shortlisted books focusing on the theme of social justice would be invaluable in schools. They include ideas to talk about linked to each book plus activities and suggestions for further in depth study.
Refugee Week 2022 event – in conversation with Tom Palmer – Refugee Week takes place from 20-26 June 2022 and the theme this year is Healing. The Literacy Trust have organised this free online event for schools. Join award winning author Tom Palmer as he discusses how to approach writing sensitively and appropriately about the experiences of refugees, and how we can offer support to them. The webinar is ideal to share with pupils aged 10 to 14 (Years 6, 7, 8 and 9). Full details of the session and how to book are available via the link above.
The winners of the Jhalak Prize and Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize have been announced – The Jhalak Prize and the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize seek to support and celebrate books by British and British resident writers of colour. Congratulations to Maisie Chan whose book Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths is the winner of the Children’s and Young Adult Prize.
The English Association: English 4-11 Picture Book Awards – Established in 1995, the awards are presented by the English Association to the best children’s picture books of the year. Awards are given to Fiction and Non-Fiction in age ranges 4-7 years and 7-11 years. The winning books are chosen by the editorial board of English 4-11, the journal for primary teachers published by the English Association and the United Kingdom Literacy Association, from a shortlist selected by a panel of teachers and Primary specialists. Congratulations to all the winners.
Children’s and teens roundup – the best new picture books and novels – the fabulous selections chosen by Imogen Russell Williams for the Guardian are always worth a read and this latest one is no exception. Imogen has included The Boy Who Grew a Tree (see above) and Stitch by Patrice Lawrence, another of my recent favourites.
The 2022 Empathy Conversation – if you missed this webinar first broadcast on Wednesday 25th May it has now available to catch up via the EmpathyLabUK website, link above.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush Written by Patrice Lawrence Illustrated by Camilla Sucre – a Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month for LoveReading4Kids this new picture book would be valuable in schools for younger children. “heart-warming and heartfelt picture book that will help ensure that the struggles and achievements of the Windrush generation are never forgotten.”
Smile Out Loud: 25 Happy Poems by Joseph Coelho illustrated Daniel Gray-Barnett – I love the sound of this collection. It is the follow-up anthology of poems from the pair who brought us Poems Aloud and in her review for Just Imagine Kelly Ashley says, “This book would fit perfectly as a classroom read aloud to inject moments of happiness into the daily routine – a quick poem when lining up for assembly, a cheeky read aloud before home time.”
Fake by Ele Fountain – I was impressed at the way the important environmental theme was integrated skilfully into an exciting adventure in Melt, a previous novel by this author, and this new book deals with different global issues in a similar manner. Kate Heap’s excellent review has really tempted me. “Fake is perfect for Upper Key Stage Two and Key Stage Three – children who are old enough to understand the significance of the time they are living through and make connections with the story. There is so much to explore: disease, medication, healthcare, finances, technology, isolation, friendships, and secrets.”
That’s everything for this week and apologies if I have missed something vital. I have my fingers crossed that I will finally be able to read While the Storm Rages by Phil Earle this weekend. This coming week is half term for many and the long Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend to look forward to as well so I hope everyone has a relaxing break and maybe some time to read too. Reading Matters will be back soon.