Reading Matters – children’s book news

Welcome to this week’s look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books. On Wednesday I welcomed school library consultant and former President of CILIP, Barbara Band to our Surrey branch of the School Library Association Autumn meeting. Barbara spoke about the wider aspects of diversity in the library and how school librarians can better serve their whole community. On Friday CLPE published their latest Reflecting Realities report highlighting why this is so important. You can read the report in the links below. Plus the Carnegie nominations were announced. What a hectic week it’s been!

What I’m reading…

The Chestnut Roaster is an utterly mesmerising read which I very much enjoyed. It is a story of good versus evil, imaginative and original, carrying the reader along in an adventure that defies labelling. Historical fiction and fantasy combine to create something refreshingly different and memorable. Bewitching writing by Eve McDonnell paired with atmospheric illustrations by Ewa Beniak-Haremska and highly recommended.

I was delighted to participate in the Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ blog tour to mark National Non-Fiction November this week. It’s The Journey Not the Destination written by Carl Honoré, illustrated by Kevin & Kristen Howdeshell is an excellent way to travel the world, exploring at a leisurely place. A great book to share either at home or school.

News, articles and resources…

Nominations announced for the 2023 Yoto Carnegies – Nominations were announced this week for the UK’s longest running children’s book awards. A total of 125 books have been nominated for the 2023 Medals. 67 books are in contention for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing and 58 books for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration. This includes 6 titles that have received nominations in both Medal categories. There are many books I have read and enjoyed included in the lists and I don’t envy the judges who have to reduce this number down to the long lists.

Reaching for the (Night) Sky – in his latest blog for Just Imagine Roy Moss selects some super children’s books to encourage young astronomers to get out into the field and observe. I found this an interesting read and know from experience in the school library that this is a subject that enthuses and fascinates children. Some great titles suggested by Roy too.

Nikki Gamble’s Book Blast November ’22 – if you missed this live event on Sunday 6th November the recording is now available to watch via YouTube. Nikki shares a selection of the best children’s books published in November 2022. Now with chapter bookmarks for easy viewing, this is an excellent way to keep up to date with the latest books.

CLPE: Q&A with Lydia Monks all about Adoette – I enjoyed reading this blogpost on the CLPE website. Lydia Monks discusses the inspiration for her book, Adoette, gives suggestions on how the book could be used in the primary classroom, talks about her career in writing and illustration and her major influences.

The Portable Magic Dispenser from Lucas Maxwell – if you haven’t already signed up for this regular newsletter from ace school librarian Lucas Maxwell I can highly recommend it. There are always ideas for you to use in the library or classroom and this latest issue includes Quick Fire Reviews, Library Escape Room ideas, scary books and tips on weeding policy in the library.

Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2022 – This year’s winners were announced at a ceremony at Foyles Bookshop on Tuesday 8th November. The Children’s Fiction category was won by Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell (Walker Books) and the Young Adult Fiction category by All That’s Left in the World by Erik. J. Brown (Hachette Children’s Group). You can watch a video of the award ceremony on the official website above.

National Non Fiction November 2022 Competition – to coincide with NNFN’s theme of Communication, this Federation of Children’s Book Groups competition has been inspired by Andy Seed’s brilliantly funny series ‘Interview with …’ published by Welbeck Children’s Books. Open to 5-12-year-olds living in the UK, we are inviting each entrant to choose either an animal or historical character and create an illustrated interview with them in a Q & A format. Closing date 5th December and full details available via the link.

The next chapter in children’s picture books – article in The Financial Times by Beatrice Hodgkin highlighting recent author/illustrator collaborations including Don’t Ask the Dragon by Lemn Sissay and Greg Stobbs and The Boy Who Lost His Spark by Maggie O’Farrell and Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.

BookTrust’s Just One Book Campaign – The BookTrust Christmas Appeal raises money to send surprise festive book parcels to children who are vulnerable or in care. Half of the parcels will be sent to children in care, and the other half will be given out through community foodbanks to children in families facing challenging circumstances. The charity have selected six beautiful hardback books and each child will receive one that is appropriate to their age. Find out how you can help via the link.

The Beatryce Prophecy’ Film Based On Kate DiCamillo Novel In Works From Amazon, Netter Films; Brad Copeland To Pen The Script – this may I think be of interest to fans of Kate de Camillo, and there are many of us! Amazon Studios has locked down film rights to the #1 New York Times bestseller The Beatryce Prophecy from two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo, tapping two-time Emmy nominee Brad Copeland (Arrested Development) to script an adaptation.

CLPE Reflecting Realities Report 2017-2021 – the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) ReflectingRealities report is an insight into minority representation in children’s literature for the period 2017-2021. There are both significant growth & glaring gaps, which CLPE will continue to highlight in their pursuit of the authentic portrayal of children in books. The report is important reading for anyone involved in children’s books in any capacity.

LoveReading4Kids Top Children’s Christmas Book Recommendations for 2022 – the John Lewis advert is out so I’m admitting defeat and sharing this selection of books. Everything from Lift the Flap books to eco reads, super readable dyslexia friendly books to festive fiction. This will probably be helpful to many.

The Case for Non-Fiction by Dan Nunn – a guest post by Dan Nunn of Raintree Publishing on the FCBG website for National Non-Fiction November. Dan was a guest speaker at our Surrey SLA branch meeting in June and it is fascinating to get a publisher’s perspective on the role of information books for children. An interesting read.

Diverse Libraries webinar 1: Representations of neurodiversity in children’s reading – the first in the Literacy Trust’s 2022/3 Diverse Libraries free webinar series which focuses on representations of neurodiversity in children’s reading. Special guest authors include Elle McNicoll and Rose Robbins. Taking place on 29 Nov 2022 4:00pm – 5:15pm, full details and registration available via the link.

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

The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories – the blog tour to mark the publication of this new collection, written by an impressive array of current children’s authors, started with this Q and A from Sarah McIntyre whose joyful illustrations bring each tale to life. Thank you Sue, @scoobiesue at Through the Bookshelf for this lovely read which has tempted me to put this on my Christmas shopping list.

The Ministry of Unladylike Activity by Robin Stevens – a new series by the creator of the hugely popular Murder Most Unladylike books will tempt many. This enthusiastic review by Ruth Ng for The Bookbag provides you with a taste of what to expect.

The Woodcutter and The Snow Prince – Ian Eagleton, ill. by Davide Ortu – this review by Rich Simpson, part of the blog tour to mark publication of this new book includes some some poetry ideas generously created by Ian to use in the classroom. I really like the sound of this and the suggestions are lovely to share in the run up to Christmas or through the winter months.

Iceberg by Claire Saxby Illustrated by Jess Racklyeft – the eye catching cover of this new book caught my attention and then this excellent review by Ros Steward completely sold it to me. She says, “This is a book that will be read again and again, and hopefully will inspire young people to explore issues around climate change and global warming without intimidating them.”

The Haunting of Tyrese Walker by J P Rose – a LoveReading4Kids Book of the Month for November this chiller for readers aged 11+ has an excellent review by Joanne Owen. “With a rich and palpable evocation of Jamaican landscapes, communities, culture and folklore, this chilling mystery has tremendous heart.

That’s everything for this week. One more thing that book lovers may be interested in…the Hidden Books Game! Yes, you too can now share my frustration. In case you missed it here’s a link Good luck!

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3 Responses to Reading Matters – children’s book news

  1. So much of interest again! These links will keep me busy through the weekend and probably into next week Anne 😊


  2. Annette says:

    I love the book Beatryce’s Prophecy. Thank you for letting us know.

    Liked by 1 person

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