Reading Matters – children’s book news

Welcome to this week’s look at was has been happening in the world of children’s books. The highlight of this week has been the announcement of the winners of the Yoto Carnegie and Greenaway Medals and you can read more about that in the links below. On Tuesday we held our Surrey Branch of the School Library Association Summer Term Meeting at Heaths Educational Books. It’s great to be meeting up in person once more and Heaths are welcoming hosts. Our focus was the role and future of non-fiction in the school library and prompted loads of discussion. This is a subject of importance to both librarians and publishers and one that requires collaboration in the future.

What I’m reading…

Last weekend I finished reading Noah’s Gold by Frank Cottrell Boyce. What a delight this story is and it did lift my spirits. One aspect of the story I particularly like is the resilience shown by the children as this is both encouraging and inspiring for young readers. This emphasis on what children are capable of is particularly important, I think, after their experiences during the COVID pandemic. Definitely recommended! You may like to read Veronica Price’s excellent review which I think captures the spirit of the book perfectly .

Phil Earle is receiving a great deal of attention at the moment, deservedly so, for his award winning When the Sky Falls and his latest book While the Storm Rages. However don’t let his new ‘Little Gem’ for Barrington Stoke slip through the net! SuperNan’s Day Out is entertaining, great fun and perfect for younger children just starting to read fiction independently. The humorous illustrations by Steve May and the dyslexia friendly format make this an appealing package to many.

Autumn Moonbeam: Dance Magic is the first in a new series by Emma Finlayson Palmer and is fully illustrated by Heidi Cannon. A story full of magic, family, friendship and dreams and containing positive representation of disability too. This will be published on 7th July by UClan Publishing and is lovely for age 7+.

News, articles and resources…

YOTO Carnegie and Greenaway Winners Announced – The winners of the UK’s longest running book awards for children and young people, the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards were announced on Thursday in a ceremony at The British Library. The Yoto Carnegie Medal was awarded to Katya Balen for her second novel October, October (Bloomsbury), illustrated by Angela Harding and Danica Novgorodoff’s illustrated edition of Jason Reynold’s 2019 Carnegie-shortlisted book, Long Way Down (Faber) won the Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal – the first graphic novel to win since Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas in 1973. Many congratulations to the winners.

Saved By Stories: Joy Court Interviews 2022 Carnegie Medal Winner Katya Balen for Books for Keeps – this insight into the background to this year’s winner of both the Carnegie Medal and the Shadowers’ Choice is an interesting read.

Nikki Gamble’s Book Blast for June 2022 – Book Blast is a monthly round-up of some of the best children’s books published this month. For teachers, student teachers, librarians and anyone interested in children’s books and reading. It is excellent and extremely helpful so if you missed Nikki’s latest round up it is available to watch on YouTube via the link above.

The Teachers’ Collection: Stories to Support the Curriculum – Mary Myatt shared this new initiative last weekend. Selected high quality texts with ideas as to how they link to a programme of study with draft outline plans included. The collection will be gradually added to and this will no doubt be worth following.

The Reading Agency and Open University Teachers’ Reading Challenge – The Teachers’ Reading Challenge is an opportunity for school and library staff to expand their knowledge of contemporary children’s books and develop their understanding of reading for pleasure pedagogy. The 2022 Teachers’ Reading Challenge runs from 27 June to 29 October and full details of how to get involved can be found via the link above.

Badger Learning Free Reading Resources for Ukrainian Pupils – Badger Learning have translated and published a range of six dual language English–Ukrainian eBook PDFs for schools and families. They have consulted with authors and commissioned professional translators to work on these books and are able to offer them to schools and families to download free of charge. These are suitable for children in KS2 and KS3 (ages 8–14) and are ideal learning resources to support children in building fluency in reading in English. Full details of how to register for these are available on the link above.

Teachers Make Readers (and writers) by Danielle Davis – this guest post on The Nerdy Book Club by Danielle Davis highlights the huge long term impact. a teacher may have on a child. The article focuses on the importance of reading aloud in the classroom and the opening up of the world of language. It’s a beautiful read and worth setting five minutes aside to savour.

Picked With Pride – educator Matthew Courtney shares a rainbow of book recommendations for all ages suitable for Pride Month on the Letters and Sounds Everybody Read campaign on the Letters and Sounds website.

How Bookbuzz encouraged independent reading in my school – Charlie Hield, English teacher at Sidestrand Hall School, talks about how Bookbuzz has encouraged independent reading for his Year 7 and 8 students. You can find out more about Bookbuzz and sign up via the link too.

The Reading Agency’s June Booklist for Children & Young People – Around the World/Refugee Week – helpful lists compiled by The Reading Agency, one celebrating books set in different countries and those by authors and illustrators from around the world. Be transported to Mumbai, Paris, Nigeria and many other locations across the globe and discover Samurai and the Northern Lights. The second booklist focuses specifically on books written by and about refugees or former refugees to mark Refugee Week, which takes place from 20-26 June 2022. Here you will find picture books, middle grade books and YA titles that explore the struggles, achievements, bravery, resilience and strength of refugees around the world.

Refugee Week 2022 event: in conversation with Tom Palmer – a reminder of this National Literacy Trust event for teachers and pupils on Monday 20 June from 10.30 to 11.00. They will discuss with Tom how to approach writing sensitively and appropriately about the experiences of refugees, and how we can offer support to them. Tom’s historical fiction has powerfully addressed the impact of war and experiences of displacement, notably in his acclaimed title After the War, and his new book, Resist.

Summer Reading Challenge x StoryTrails – StoryTrails is a unique, immersive storytelling experience. It aims to allow local people to experience their town in a completely new way through immersive technology, including augmented and virtual reality. People will be able to use this new technology to travel back in time, experiencing untold histories from their local community. This pack brings together StoryTrails and the Summer Reading Challenge, providing activities to help children and young people explore the themes of innovation, technology and immersive storytelling. Full details free to download via the link.

Lupus Films Adapts ‘Storm Whale’ Books to Animated Trilogy – Benji Davies’ “Storm Whale” children’s books are getting an animated adaptation from Lupus Films, the studio behind the adaptation of Judith Kerr’s “The Tiger Who Came to Tea.” The lovely teaser trailer video is worth a watch.

Children’s and teens roundup – the best new picture books and novels – Imogen Russell Williams’ June selection includes While The Storm Rages by Phil Earle and Fight Back by A M Dassu plus non-fiction and picture books ideal for the summer holidays.

Read for Refugees Sunflower Challenge – Read for Refugees Sunflower Challenge is the School Library Association’s sponsored read initiative in support of Ukrainian refugees and has now been extended until 1st September. This makes it perfect for a summer reading idea for schools and there is an introductory video, FAQ, registration details etc. available via the link above.

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

Slug Love by Cath Jones, illustrated by Craig Shuttlewood – at the moment slugs don’t feature high on my love list thanks to what they’ve done to my baby courgette plants however this new picture book may yet convert me. Author Cath Jones shares her love of gardening and the inspiration for Slug Love on Emma Kuyateh’s blog.

Rex: Dinosaur in Disguise by Elys Dolan – a brand new highly-illustrated chapter book from the creator of Weasels, a picture book I love, definitely tempted me this week. As part of this week’s blog tour Jo Cummins has reviewed this and provided a glimpse of one of the pages too. This looks absolutely perfect for newly confident readers.

When I See Blue By Lily Bailey – this debut middle grade novel reviewed on My Book Corner tackles the subject of OCD and is “the perfect example of how reading has the power to promote empathy and understanding.” A book I will now be on the look out for and one worth bearing in mind for school libraries.

Three Girls by Katie Clapham – published earlier this month this sounds great for lovers of Holly Smale and Louise Rennison and this enthusiastic review by Kate Hitchings for Just Imagine has tempted me too. Kate says, “This is a book that could help teenagers confront some serious issues. In school, it could help with the pastoral support of pupils facing friendship issues, struggling with decisions or feeling trapped in circumstances.”

That’s everything for this week and I hope you have found it helpful. This weekend I am hoping to finish reading The Dragon in the Bookshop by Ewa Jozefkowicz in readiness for the blog tour taking place to mark its publication on 7th July. I hope you find time for some reading too. If any of the books mentioned this week have tempted you don’t forget Independent Bookshop Week starts today!

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