Welcome to this week’s look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books.
What I’m reading…
This coming Friday I will be kicking off the blog tour arranged to coincide with the publication of The Dragon in the Bookshop by Ewa Jozefkowicz. Ewa always writes with sensitivity, creating thoughtful yet exciting adventures and often encompassing big themes in her books. The Dragon in the Bookshop whilst being an exciting story is also an exploration of grief and coping with loss wrapped up in Polish folklore and the importance of sharing stories. I think it’s a wise book for children and you can find out more about the inspiration for the story in Ewa’s guest piece on the blog next Friday.
My latest batch of books to review for the School Library Association’s quarterly journal, TSL, arrived this week and I was delighted to find Writes of Passage: Words to Read Before You Turn 13 Selected by Nicolette Jones among the selection. Oh I wish this had been available when I was coming up to 13! However it is just as enjoyable, thoughtful and wise for an adult reader. As I started reading I was going to make a note of those pieces of writing that resonated particularly with me. I soon gave up as they all did. This is a beautiful book, valuable for school libraries and perfect as a gift. Over the last few days I have kept returning to this compilation and Nicolette’s insightful and thoughtful commentary accompanying each piece and know I’m not going to be able to part with this book.
News, articles and resources…
Reading for Pleasure Padlet – Jon Biddle has generously added an article about his Reading Champions initiative plus a sample application form to his Padlet. This is a resource worth investigating if you have not already seen it.
Around the World in Eighty* Ways – I’m enjoying Roy James’ guest blogs on the Just Imagine website immensely and this one has introduced me to some titles of which I was unaware. Roy discusses the place of atlases and maps in education but also the pleasure that many derive from these sources of information too. I’ve bookmarked this to refer back to as I want to read so many of the books mentioned.
The Portable Magic Dispenser Episode 9 Collaboration and Co-Creation – former School Librarian of the Year, Lucas Maxwell, spoke at the recent School Library Association Conference on the subject of school librarians and collaboration. Lucas has generously shared the key points from his presentation on his podcast and this is definitely worth a listen as Lucas, as ever makes, some valuable and helpful points. Suitable for both school librarians and teachers.
PaperBound Magazine Summer Discovery Issue 2022 – PaperBound Magazine is an online magazine for the young, and the young at heart. They are dedicated to showcasing authors and illustrators for children’s and young adult fiction and strive to deliver inspiring content, uplifting stories, and top tips for young and aspiring writers yet to burst on to the literary scene. The special summer issue includes interviews with Anne Cassidy, Katie Clapham and Natasha Devon, reviews of new books, plus new writing and illustration.
Books For Topics Summer Reading Bingo – A reading bingo challenge to keep children motivated to read over the summer holidays. The focus is on reading for pleasure experiences rather than specific texts, with activities like make a den and read inside, read in the dark using a torch and read to a pet or a soft toy. Children can choose what they read for the challenges, although Alison Leach at Books for Topics has included some Summer 2022 recommended reads for those looking for new ideas.
Malorie Blackman’s ‘dynamic imaginary worlds’ win her the PEN Pinter prize – Noughts & Crosses author Malorie Blackman has become the first children’s and YA writer to be awarded the PEN Pinter prize. The prize is given by English PEN annually to a writer of “outstanding literary merit” who is based in the UK, Ireland or the Commonwealth.
Reading is Magic Festival – the Reading is Magic Festival is back from 26th – 30th September with a five-day online programme packed full of magical events from bestselling authors & illustrators from around the globe. The full programme is available via the link above and includes Gareth P. Jones, Cressida Cowell, Joseph Coelho, Sophie Anderson plus a special Read for Empathy event. Well worth a browse!
Bath Children’s Literature Festival – Europe’s largest dedicated children’s literature festival with a vibrant array of talks and activities for children will return Friday 23rd September – Sunday 2nd October 2022. You can browse the packed programme of events via the link above and booking for the general public opens in 1st July.
BookTrust unveils exciting new interactive books being included in Bookstart Baby bags – Bookstart Baby is designed to encourage families to start reading with their children as early as possible, and every baby born in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is entitled to a pack. Each bag includes two books, finger puppets and an information sheet that explains the benefits of sharing stories and rhymes with babies. Find out which books are included in the article linked above.
James Cropper Wainwright Prize Longlists Announced – 23rd June saw the announcement of the longlists for each of the three categories in the 2022 JAMES CROPPER WAINWRIGHT PRIZE, including the all-new children’s prize. This is welcome news and the long list includes some gems, in both fiction and non-fiction. Award-winning teenage naturalist, Dara McAnulty, the winner of the 2020 Nature Writing Prize, is longlisted for the Children’s Prize for his multi-sensory guide to exploring the nature on your doorstep while Katya Balen is nominated for her 2022 Yoto Carnegie Award winner, October, October. The full long list plus more information about the awards can be found on the official website linked above.
Tony Mitton: Books For Keeps Authorgraph – I was sad to learn of the death of poet Tony Mitton last weekend. He was one of the first creators of children’s literature I booked to visit when I became a school librarian. A kind and gentle man whose work was enjoyed by a wide age range and I have fond memories of the happy day he spent with the children. Nikki Gamble’s interview with Tony from 2014 linked above sheds light on his approach to poetry. If you would like to discover more of his work you many like to visit the Children’s Poetry Archive.
Shortlist for 2022 SLA Information Book Award (IBA) Announced – Now in its twelfth year, the IBA aims to emphasise the importance of non-fiction by highlighting and celebrating the high standard of children’s information books. The awards are divided into three age categories, judged by a panel of educators. Children will then also have the opportunity to vote for their favourites in each group, as well as their favourite overall, to determine four additional Children’s Choice winners. This year’s shortlist is made up of 10 titles, drawing on themes of science, art and diversity.
2022 YA Book Prize Shortlist Announced – there are 10 titles on the shortlist for the YA Book Prize 2022, run by The Bookseller in a strong year for debut talent, with the winner to be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised: Extraordinarily Ordinary – teacher Dean Boddington has written a blog for Everybody Read sharing his own experience and recommending five superb books for all primary ages to enable children with disabilities to see themselves. As Dean says, “We need to be seeing more disabled characters that are having adventures, living normal lives, defeating monsters, and saving the world alongside their disability, not because of it.”
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
Martha Maps It Out by Leigh Hodgkinson – the Books for Keeps Book of the Week is a picture book to pair perfectly with the Around The World blogpost by Roy James linked above. “Every page is a treat with so much for young readers to explore and it’s delightfully positive, celebrating all the opportunities Martha has for adventure and discovery.”
Hetty and the Battle of the Books by Anna James illustrated by Jez Tuya – although I’m not the target audience for this Barrington Stoke title due out next month this sounds like the perfect book for me. Veronica Price in her enthusiastic review describes the story as, “a funny, thoughtful, powerful manifesto for the necessity of having a library and a trained librarian in every school, published in fully accessible format so that it can be read and enjoyed by the very individuals to whom a library often matters the most.” Irresistible!
Alex Neptune: Dragon Thief by David Owen – when teacher Tom Griffiths shared this review it was his comment ‘an ending to rival Free Willy!’ that prompted me to read further. I really like the sound of this adventure and have a feeling it may be a popular summer holiday read.
The Battle of Cable Street by Tanya Landman Illustrated by Sara Mulvanny – a book of the month selection on LoveReading4Kids this Barrington Stoke title is a “Vivid telling of a slice of our history many would prefer to forget” With content suitable for teens and a reading age of 8+ this book should be popular in secondary school libraries.
That’s everything for this week and I hope that among all the links included there is something that appeals to you. Happy reading.