Reading Matters – children’s book news

Welcome to this week’s look at what has been happening in the world of children’s books. Award longlists announced, helpful articles, free events for children and adults; there’s a lot to choose from again.

What I’m reading…

I enjoyed The Agency for Scandal by Laura Wood immensely and I hope that my review for Just Imagine reflects that. This YA novel was most definitely a book that proved a welcome escape from real life for a while and I’m grateful to Jo Bowers for somehow realising that was just what I needed. Last week I described it as a little like Jane Austen with added oomph and now having finished it I stand by that description. And there’s a sequel due next year too which has made me smile.

The Rivet Boy by Barbara Henderson was a very different sort of historical novel, this time for a readership of about 9+ but was also an enjoyable and interesting read. There are several aspects of this engaging story that will appeal to young readers. Set in late Victorian times and based on, and including, real live events surrounding the building of the Forth Bridge, I think the intertwining of historical fact and exciting story is extremely well executed enabling children to learn alongside being entertained. Recommended for Upper Primary onwards.

News, articles and resources…

Wordless Wonders by Simon Smith – blog posts by picture book lover and head teacher, Simon Smith are always worth a read. In this interesting and helpful post he explores the way in which wordless picture books can be used to prompt exploration, language discovery, storytelling and writing. He also suggests some excellent books for you to use and enjoy. I warn you, this could be an expensive read as my wish list has grown!

Klaus Flugge Prize Long List Announced – from the over forty books submitted 16 books have been selected for the longlist for the 2023 Klaus Flugge Prize. This prize is awarded to the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration and this year independent publishers including small presses UCLan, Lantana, Child’s Play, Flying Eye and Book Island are all represented. The shortlist will be announced on 17th May and the winner in September. The judges have a difficult task as it’s a wonderful long list.

Yoto Carnegies 2023 Longlists Announced – A total of 31 books have been recognised, with 15 books selected for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing longlist, and 18 for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration. Some of my personal favourites from the last year or so have been included and I’m particularly delighted to see Once Upon a Tune by James Mayhew and The Comet by Joe Todd-Stanton on the illustration longlist. Congratulations to Barrington Stoke who have two books on the Writing longlist although there is a poignancy in seeing Wrath by the much missed Marcus Sedgwick included.

Young Quills 2023 – the longlist – The Young Quills for Historical Fiction is a competition for adult authors of historical fiction written for children and young people. The books can be on any historical period and subject. It is the readers – young people – who help decide the shortlist by reading and reviewing each of the books. You can see which books are on the longlist for each age group on the website above. Some real gems are included.

London LitSoc Kids’ Book Club – organised by the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival team this monthly book club is a great way of encouraging reading for pleasure. Every month they recommend a title to their mailing list for children to read, followed by an event with the author at St Pauls School Barnes where children are able to ask their questions and have their books signed. The next event is on 25th February with Hannah Gold with The Lost Whale and in March they will be hosting Aisling Fowler with Fireborn. You can find more details on the official website above.

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival Schools’ Programme – this is another great initiative! This year the festival team plan to provide more than 13,000 free places for primary schools in the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, Kingston, Twickenham and Barnes. The brings your pupils together with their favourite authors, as well as some exciting new voices, to explore a variety of topics linked to the national curriculum and guaranteed to inspire our next generation of readers and writers. Booking opens later this month and I shall share further details next week but you can sign up for information on the website above. I will also be doing a special book giveaway next week on Twitter so watch this space!

Exploring engaging families in reading for pleasure – if you missed the Engaging Families webinar, hosted by World Book Day in partnership with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, the National Literacy Trust and the Open University, you can watch a video of the event with the accompanying downloadable resources above.

Open University Reading for Pleasure: Top Texts for February 2023 – Dan Northover, senior lecturer at the University of West England has chosen some fabulous fantasy texts for KS2 including The Worlds We Leave Behind by by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Levi Pinfold which has been long listed in both categories of the Yoto Carnegies this week.

Reading Zone: Create a Picture Book Competition 2023 – ReadingZone, in partnership with World Book Day is challenging those aged four to 18 years to make a picture book for the ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2023, The competition is open to schools, libraries and homes until midnight on Friday 21st April 2023 and is a great book-based activity for World Book Day.

An evening with Candy Gourlay – David Fickling Books & Just Imagine invite you to an evening Candy Gourlay to celebrate the publication of Wild Song. Candy will be in conversation with Nikki Gamble on Friday 3rd March 2023 from 7.00 – 8.00 pm for this free on line event for adults, but children may watch with you.

Comics in the classroom: using comics and graphic novels to boost reading for pleasure – Created in conjunction with BooksForTopics, this free one-hour online session for primary schools will be hosted by Peters’ Children’s Librarian and graphic novels and comics specialist, Lucy Forrester, along with Lucy Starbuck-Braidley, Programme Manager at National Literacy Trust and host of the new Comic Boom: Comics in Educationpodcast. Richard Ruddick, Year 6 teacher and Comics in Class blogger will also talk about how he’s already using comic books in his own classroom. Tuesday 28th February 3.45pm – 4.45pm.

Why schools need inclusive books – in this article for Book Trust author Victoria Williamson explains why including books about lots of different experiences is crucial in a school.

Book Blast February 2023 – if you missed Nikki Gamble’s look at her favourite new children’s books being published this month it’s now available to watch on YouTube. Plus there is a chance to win one of Just Imagine’s Big Bonanza Book Blast Boxes. Subscribe to the YouTube channel linked above, answer the question at the end of the presentation and email it along with your Name, School Name and School Address to This competition closes at 12 noon on February 28th.

Scott Evans The Reader Teacher Cover Reveal and Book Giveaway – Scott Evans will be well known to children’s book lovers but you may not know that his book, 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Reading for Pleasure, is out on 30 March 2023 published by Bloomsbury. It’s available to preorder now but if you are on Twitter and retweet the tweet found via the link above you could win a free copy. A great opportunity!

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

Montgomery Bonbon: Murder at the Museum by Alasdair Beckett-King Illustrated by Claire Powell – this new murder mystery story sounds great fun and is also the start of a new series. Mary Esther Judy describes it as , “Fast-paced, rollicking; chock-full of mystery, family and friendship.” Out now from Walker Books for age 9+

My Name is Sunshine Simpson by G M Linton – a book for us all to look forward to in May. Tom Griffiths has lots of positive things to say about this book being published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Windrush.

Swimming on the Moon by Brian Conaghan – a Book of the Month on the LoveReading4Kids website, Louise Owen says “This funny, honest, beautiful book about the bond between a neuro-typical girl and her nonverbal autistic twin perfectly captures pre-teen life”

That’s everything for this week and I hope the selection of links has been helpful. Happy reading!

This entry was posted in Reading Matters Children’s Book News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Reading Matters – children’s book news

  1. jb5jane says:

    Thank you Anne! I have a few children who would love to make a picture book so thank you for the heads up.

    I am looking forward yo reading Scott’s book.

    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

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