Reading Matters – children’s book news

Welcome to this week’s look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books.

What I’m reading…

I mentioned The Ultimate Guide to Growing Dragons by Andy Shepherd illustrated by Sara Ogilvie last week and now having finished reading it I can confirm this new companion guide is just as much fun as the rest of the series. The narrative voice provided by Tomas is instantly engaging, encouraging readers to view the character as a friend and the clever blend of magical story and ‘non-fiction’ in the form of ‘how to look after your dragon’ gives this lovely book an original feel. What I particularly like is how the magic is centred on both a loving family, (I’m fond of the wise Grandad) and strong bonds of friendship; this is a kind book. The illustrations by Sara Ogilvie are integral to the enjoyment and the different formats and typefaces used to differentiate between the varying forms of narrative give the book an appealing look too. A great package for young readers of about 7 upwards. It is well worth exploring Andy Shepherd’s website as she has provided many thoughtful teaching ideas, activities and videos linked to the world of The Boy Who Grew Dragons.

News, articles and resources…

Tom Palmer RESIST Virtual Book Launch – with Mr Dilly – this online event which took place earlier this month is now free for schools to watch. Mr Dilly speaks with multi-award-winning author Tom Palmer in an exciting event perfectly pitched for ages 9+. Find out more about Tom’s new book, Resist, as well as fascinating facts about the Second World War, the Dutch Resistance, Audrey Hepburn and more.

National Poetry Day Thursday 6th October – National Poetry Day is the annual mass celebration on the first Thursday of October that encourages everyone to make, experience and share poetry with family and friends. Each year we come together because voices, words and stories help to bridge understanding in our community. This year’s theme is The Environment. You can find resources, suitable for both primary and secondary age groups plus a curated selection of poems for you to share based on the theme, which will be added to in the lead up to National Poetry Day.

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds: Mission Impossible, Diversify Your Bookshelves – a helpful guest post by Tiny Owl Publishers one the Everybody Read section of the Little Wandle website, all about their excellent picture books and free accompanying resources.

Books for Topics: Q&A: Uju Asika – A World for Me and You – Have you ever heard it said that ‘life would be extremely boring if everyone were the same’? A World for Me and You is an uplifting new picturebook about the diversity of our world. Author Uju Asika visits the Books for Topics blog to discuss her hopes for the book.

Meanwhile Back on Earth: In Conversation with Oliver Jeffers Monday, 24 October 19:30 – Teachers and educators are invited to take part in this virtual conversation, hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in partnership with HarperCollins Children’s Books and CLPE. Artist Oliver Jeffers talks to Planetary Scientist Sheila Kanani about his new picture book “Meanwhile Back on Earth” and how it was inspired by Our Place in Space. Our Place in Space is an epic scale model of our Solar System which launched earlier this year in Northern Ireland, and is currently touring the UK.

Nick Sharratt to celebrate the extraordinary power of pictures in children’s books as BookTrust’s latest Writer-Illustrator in Residence – so many young children and their parents will recognise Nick Sharatt’s vibrant illustrations and this appointment is lovely news. Nick says that his six months as BookTrust’s Writer-Illustrator in Residence “is going to be one long picture party!” News to put smiles on faces.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt The Film: Live In Concert – On the afternoon of SATURDAY NOVEMBER 5th 1-2pm at Regent Hall on London’s Oxford Street a 40-piece orchestra performs the music for WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT live alongside the animated film. Book tickets and find out more via the link above.

The Yoto Carnegies – this week CILIP, the libraries and information association, unveiled new branding for the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards, the UK’s longest running and best-loved children’s book awards. Renamed The Yoto Carnegies, the rebrand, with its striking new logo, and strapline – ‘It starts with a spark’ – reflects the awards aim to inspire or ‘spark’ a lifelong passion for reading by connecting more children with the books that will change lives.

The Yoto Carnegies Nominations Now Open – Nominate your favourite books for children and young people to win the 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medals! All CILIP members are welcome to nominate one title per Medal. Review the criteria and submit your nominations for these prestigious awards by Friday 30th Sept.

The Little Match Girl Strikes Back by Emma Carroll and Lauren Child Teaching Resources – Chapter-by-chapter comprehensive questions, cross-curricular activities and writing opportunites. Written by Scott Evans (@MrEPrimary) for primary school years 3-5 linked to this new book by bestselling and much-loved authors Emma Carroll and Lauren Child.

The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2022 – this week the shortlist for this award was announced. The prize celebrates the very best science books for under-14s and aims to encourage young readers to satisfy their curiosity by immersing themselves in the wonderful world of science. It’s a fascinating selection and includes Beetles for Breakfast…by Madeleine Finlay, illustrated by Jisu Choi, a book reviewed on its publication.

Children’s Reading Choices Report – This report from Teresa Cremin and Becky Coles of The Open University looks at data from 1194 children aged 8-11 years who took part in the Attitude to Reading survey provided by Bounce Together and written by the School Library Association. The responses came from 14 state schools across England in 2021 and were spread across the country.

Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho launches Poetry Prompts campaign – The award-winning performance poet, playwright and children’s author Joseph Coelho will launch ‘Poetry Prompts’ in partnership with BookTrust, on National Poetry Day – Thursday 6 October. From National Poetry Day onwards, Coelho will share a weekly ‘Poetry Prompt’ video to inspire the nation, young and old, to write poems and to become poets. Each video will see Coelho exploring a different subject or technique.

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education Turns 50 – In 2022, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) is celebrating its 50th Birthday. CLPE is a charity that has been leading thinking and practice in the teaching of literacy in primary schools for 50 years. You can find out more about the various resources/training offered by this charity and read about forthcoming events via the link above.

School Librarian of The Year Honour List 2022 – this year for the first time the honour list is split into two categories, primary and secondary. Please read about the fantastic librarians doing excellent work in their schools via the link above. Huge congratulations to those listed.

Children’s and teens roundup: the best new picture books and novels – A tender portrait of adoption; a zebra on the run; an uplifting poetry anthology; an exceptional YA debut are among the books selected by Imogen Russell Williams in her latest round up for the Guardian. Imogen’s reviews are always an excellent guide to what is worth seeking out among the vast array of titles available at the moment.

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

You Need to Chill by Juno Dawson (author), Laura Hughes (illustrator) – I had no idea that Juno Dawson had written a picture book so this review by Tricia Adams for LoveReading4Kids was a welcome surprise. “What a joyful, funny book about identity, acceptance, love and loyalty.”

Marvellous Middle Grade from Summer 2022 – this is an excellent and extremely helpful round up by Kate Heap of recently published books featuring titles with themes of mystery, historical adventure, neurodiverse characters, science fiction, humour and fantasy so there is something here for all tastes. Prepare to add to your shopping lists!

Wren by Lucy Christopher – several people have recommended this new book over the last couple of weeks and this review by Tom Griffiths conveys its appeal. “Wren is an instantly likeable protagonist – a young girl grieving the sudden loss of her mum, desperate to be independent. She shows what we are all capable of – capable of being free from our surroundings and soaring.”

The Raven’s Song by Zana Fraillon and Bren MacDibble – I had not heard of this book, published in October, until I read Veronica Price’s review but it does sound like one to watch out for. A combination of ecological science and mythology the plot may appeal to readers looking for a thoughtful and relevant read. Veronica says, “I highly recommend this book to mature readers of 11+ and would encourage all secondary school librarians to place a copy in their collections where I am certain it will appeal to teenagers who are environmentally aware.”

That’s everything for this week and I hope that there is something included here that will be of use to you. Happy reading!

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