Welcome to this week’s look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books.
What I’m reading…
Last week I mentioned The Haunted Hills by Berlie Doherty, an emotional story told with an understanding of human nature and of our native landscape and folklore. I have attempted to convey its impact in my review. A wonderful book and highly recommended for readers of about 11+.
The Flower Boy by Keith Campion features a character, eleven year old James, with whom many young readers will probably identify. A quiet child who feels a little different to his classmates James finds it difficult to make friends and as the end of his time at primary school approaches his worries mount. This is a story incorporating many themes including dementia, local history and transition to secondary school but it highlights the importance of acceptance and kindness to others. I particularly liked the depiction of friendship across the generations and the caring attitude of James’s teachers. This would be a reassuring read for children of a similar age to James.
News, articles and resources…
Remembrance Day Free Resources for Schools from Author Tom Palmer – A wealth of free Remembrance Day resources for schools are now available for schools on Tom Palmer’s brilliant and extremely helpful website. These include: video assembly for 2022 (Commonwealth topic). Posters.Stories. Certificates. Black out poetry. Videos on location from the battlefields. And lots more. Plenty to explore before Remembrance Day on 11th November.
National Non-Fiction November – a reminder that this annual celebration of information books for children organised by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups starts next week. The whole month celebrates all those readers that have a passion for information and facts and attempts to bring non fiction celebration in line with those of fiction. The theme this year is communication and there are events, a blog tour, suggested book lists, a competition and much more to look forward to. Please check out the website linked above for details.
Children’s and teens roundup: the best new picture books and novels – this month’s selection from Imogen Russell Williams for the Guardian includes a pet rhinoceros; a young guide to emotions; an intrepid aviator; and a YA debut to please Buffy fans. I’ve also added Nicola Penfold’s new novel to my wish list.
Jamie Oliver and Geri Halliwell-Horner become the latest celebrities to announce children’s books – this article in the Guardian about the arrival of more ‘celebrity children’s books’ in shops around the country includes contributions from Piers Torday and literary agent Alice Sutherland-Hawes.
The Diverse Book Awards Winners 2022 – this article in Books for Keeps provides full details of both the winners and the runners up in both the Children’s and YA categories.
Recreational reading. Reading for learning. Reading for life. – an interesting article by School Library Consultant, Elizabeth Hutchinson that includes a link to a podcast of the recent discussion on this subject.
Astrid Lingdren Memorial Award 2023 Nominations – Have a look through the complete list of nominees for the 2023 award—a full 251 names from 64 countries including some of the world’s foremost creators of literature for children and young people, as well as reading promoters.
Olga da Polga: Paddington Bear author’s much-loved guinea pig comes to the small screen – Michael Bond’s 1971 creation – inspired by his daughter’s pet – is starring in a new CBeebies series this autumn.
Supporting reading for children with ADHD – Rachel Varney from the ADHD Foundation shares some useful tactics for helping children with ADHD enjoy reading.
Journeying Back: A Conversation with Catherine Johnson – In an online event hosted by Listen to This Story! on Thursday 3rd November 6pm – 7pm, author Catherine Johnson (Freedom 2018; A Nest of Vipers 1999) will read from her latest book, Journey Back to Freedom: The Olaudah Equiano Story (2022) and discuss aspects of British history with Professor Karen Sands-O’Connor.
Evaristo and Cadwalladr among 2022 CILIP Honorary Fellowships – although not featured in the headline for this article I was delighted to read that Caroline Roche, Chair of the CILIP School Libraries Group since 2017 and co-Chair of the Great School Libraries campaign since 2020 has been rewarded for the tireless work she has done for so long advocating for school librarians. Congratulations and thank you, Caroline.
Waterstones Book of the Year 2022 – now in its tenth year the 2022 award shortlist features a middle grade title, Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman and Heartstopper vol 1 by Alice Oseman (the first graphic novel to make it onto a Waterstones Book of the Year shortlist).
The Three Rs by Roy James for Just Imagine – not the traditional three Rs but reduce, re-use and recycle. In this interesting and informative article Roy suggests titles both fiction and non-fiction on this subject for children with an emphasis on reducing our impact on the environment.
Open University Reading For Pleasure Case Study: Staff Book Club – Have you ever thought about setting up a staff book club? Year 6 teacher and reading lead Helen Morgan from the South West London TRG at St Mary’s University outlines how she set up a ‘Staff Book Club’ in this example of RfP practice.
Finally, some book reviews that caught my eye this week…
Non-fiction to Make You Think – if you are looking for information books to share during Non Fiction November this selection reviewed by Kate Heap would be an excellent place to start. They cover subjects including space, habitats, climate change.
How To Be More Hedgehog by Anne Marie Conway Illustrated by Danielle Dey – I like the sound of this book very much and think it would be a valuable addition to primary school libraries. The story features a protagonist with a stammer and as Jayne Truran in her positive review says, “We could all learn a lot from this little gem of a story.”
Pizazz Vs Everyone by Sophy Henn – I like the sound of this latest instalment in this highly illustrated, comic strip style series featuring a super hero with wide appeal. In her review Nicki Cleveland says, “This would make for a fantastic class read…with massive scope for discussion around personal strengths, making good choices and being kind to yourself.”
The Boy Lost in the Maze by Joseph Coelho illustrated by Kate Milner – this new verse novel by our Children’s Laureate blends Greek myth with contemporary quest and follows his successful novel, The Girl Who Became a Tree. Nick Swarbrick’s review for Just Imagine says “this new work is even better.”
That’s everything for this week. Happy reading!