Welcome to this week’s look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books. But first, don’t forget that Libraries Week takes place between the 3rd and 9th October, celebrating the nation’s much-loved libraries and the central role that libraries play in supporting life-long learning. There will probably be special events taking place at your local library so it’s definitely worth having a look so you don’t miss out. You can keep up to date on Twitter by following @librariesweek and #LibrariesWeek.
What I’m reading…
There are some fabulous picture books being published at the moment covering a wide range of themes. This week I selected three which I think are worthy of close attention and that I would like to recommend. My Favourite New Picture Books for Children include titles that I think may appeal to adult readers too. Together these books cover things that are important to us all; the value of noticing the small things, our love of home, family and heritage and the beauty of our natural world.
This week I have also been reading my latest batch of books to review for TSL, the School Library Association quarterly journal. Among them was Mouse and Mole Clink, Clank, Clunk! by Joyce Dunbar and James Mayhew, the latest in this charming series features three short stories about the special moments in the everyday life of these two friends. Mole’s tendency to worry is highlighted and the stories contain a reassuring message for younger readers. There is warmth and gentle humour in the stories and this is highlighted in the beautiful illustrations which capture and convey the personalities of the characters superbly. A lovely book to read aloud or few newly confident readers to enjoy as a solo read.
News, articles and resources…
The Importance of Reading Choices by Alison Tarrant CEO of the School Library Association – in my own experience one of the most important factors in promoting reading for pleasure is providing a wide range of books and encouraging and enabling choice by the child. This blogpost by Alison Tarrant on the Reading Is Magic Festival website discusses research supporting this and provides ideas, links and suggestions to help facilitate it. A must read!
CLPE announce collaboration with Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho – CLPE are collaborating with Waterstones Children’s Laureate and CLPE Patron Joseph Coelho, to create a host of teaching resources to accompany his ‘Poetry Prompts’ campaign being launched on National Poetry Day. The resources will be available to download on the BookTrust website and free for use in schools, libraries and at home to encourage further learning and exploration of poetic form and literacy.
CLPE: Journey Back to Freedom: A blog from Catherine Johnson – October is Black History Month and in this blogpost for CLPE by one of their new patrons, Catherine Johnson describes the importance of books such as her new one for Barrington Stoke, Journey Back to Freedom all year round and not only for one month.
National Literacy Trust Take 10 Challenge – The Take 10 Challenge encourages everyone to read for 10 minutes every day to improve their wellbeing and support their literacy skills. On Monday 10 October the Trust will be be hosting a series of activities for schools and communities to mark World Mental Health Day. Find out more via the link above.
The Dog Blog: by Roy James for Just Imagine – the latest in this series of blogposts by Roy James explores the place of man’s best friend in children’s literature and is a lovely read. Roy also discusses the role of dogs in therapy and within school settings. Thank you, Roy, I enjoyed reading this.
National Poetry Day The Lost Words Competition – Inspired by 5 years of The Lost Words book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris we are inviting children to write an acrostic poem about their favourite plant or animal. The Competition is open to children in two age categories:
7 – 9 (years 2 – 4); and 10 – 12 (years 5 – 7). Deadline Friday 4th November.
The Bookbug Picture Book Prize Shortlist – Every year, The Bookbug Picture Book Prize celebrates the best new Scottish picture books, and the winner of the prize is chosen by children across Scotland. You can find out more about the books on this year’s shortlist via the link above.
Longlists for UKLA 2023 Awards Announced – there were a staggering 494 submissions for these awards, the only one judged entirely by teachers. This year there are just over 100 judges covering the four categories and they have until mid-March to read the longlisted books, discuss them with their group leaders, and share them with pupils. The lists are well worth exploring as they provide a taste of the quality of books available for young readers at the moment, both fiction and information.
Picture This: New reading guide is a celebration of illustration – this week Children’s Books Ireland celebrates the launch of its new reading guide celebrating picturebooks and illustration. Picture This features over 230 recommended reads for children and young people aged 0–18, which have been reviewed by experts in children’s literature. Each review is accompanied by a ‘Read also’ recommendation, bringing the total of books included to over 450. The article and the guide, which is free to download, is well worth a look.
The Diverse Book Awards 2022 Shortlists Announced – Created by award-winning author Abiola Bello and award-winning publicist Helen Lewis to highlight the best of the diverse voices published in the UK & Ireland and now in its third year. The shortlists in the three categories, Children’s, YA and Adult, were announced this week and can be viewed via the link.
The power of short reads: quality reading experiences when time is short by Martin Galway – an extra special guest blog by Martin Galway for HFL Education. When time is short, short stories offer up opportunities for rich and diverse reading experiences. Martin shares the power of novellas and also includes a list of stunning recommended reads to enjoy. A valuable read for any lover of children’s books.
In the Reading Corner Podcast with SF Said – SF Said is one of Nikki Gamble’s distinguished guests for this year’s An Audience With… Much anticipated, it is a deserved highlight of 2022. In the meantime, you can hear SF discussing Tyger in the latest episode of In The Reading Corner with Nikki.
The Reader Teacher Monthly Must Reads for September 2022 – Scott Evans’ selection for September includes That’s Nice, Dear by Owen Gent, one of my favourite picture books of the month featured above. Scott has created a poster to download and there are links to reviews of the books too.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
The Little Match Girl Strikes Back by Emma Carroll & Lauren Child – this wonderful pairing of author and illustrator was always going to attract attention and Kate Heap’s great review has tempted me further. “The sense of hope and determination that runs through the story paints a whole new picture of the “Little Match Girl”, taking her from a character of pity to one of strength.”
Agent Asha: Operation Cyber Chop by Sophie Deen Illustrated by Priyanka Sachdev – the second in this series for readers aged 7+ has an interactive element that should appeal to many. In her review as part of this week’s blog tour Jo Cummins says, “There are so many clever elements to this story which encourage readers to dig deeper and really get involved with the themes in hand.”
Britannica’s Word of the Day by Patrick Kelly, Renee Kelly and Sue Macy Illustrated by Josy Bloggs, Emily Cox, James Gibbs and Liz Cox– reviews by Martin Galway are always worth reading and this one for Just Imagine has sold the concept of this book to me. “The endpapers, typography, illustrations, colours and composition combine to make this a feast for the eye as much as the mind.” It sounds like a wonderful addition to primary school libraries.
That’s everything for this week and I hope you have found it helpful. Time permitting I plan to read Tyger by SF Said over the coming days and listen to his discussion with Nikki Gamble too. Happy reading!