Reading Matters – children’s book news

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

What I’m reading…

Regular readers will know how highly I rate the publishers Barrington Stoke for all they do to encourage reading for pleasure for every single child. This week I read and reviewed a selection of new titles published by them recently, all suitable for the primary age group. The stories include humour and finding your special talent, family, loss & friendship, ponies & adventure, history & mystery. There is something included here for every possible taste! I have another couple of new Barrington Stoke books for secondary age readers which I hope to read soon.

I also read and reviewed a selection of picture books this week that I think will be useful to have in schools. New Picture Books Helping Children and Families would be helpful for teachers and librarians also as they deal with subjects and situations that may cause worry and well chosen books can be enormously useful in providing reassurance and for prompting conversation.

Can You Get Rainbows in Space? by Dr. Sheila Kanani vibrantly illustrated by Liz Kay is an inviting non-fiction title just right for curious children and budding scientists. It is full of information and perfect for both browsing and learning. The enticing introduction encourages children to read on and then the information is divided into the colours of the rainbow, each section explains how we see that particular colour, and explores nature linked to it. It’s a clever presentation and one that is littered with the kind of facts which appeal to children such as What Colour is a Polar Bear Under Its Fur? Why Are Frogs Green? and What Came First: Orange or THE Orange? Published this week by Puffin Books and a must buy for primary school libraries. It would make a great present too.

This week I also read The Silver Chain by Jion Sheibani, a verse novel about mental health and the healing power of music which I found a compelling and thought provoking book. The format of this story in differing styles of poetry and accompanying illustrations incorporating musical symbols is both original and affecting. I can well understand why this was long listed for the Carnegie and hope to write my review for Just Imagine over the coming days and will share it next week.

News, articles and resources…

Poetry can move souls and thrum hearts: why wouldn’t we teach our children about it?: Joseph Coelho – following the recent publication of a report from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education and Macmillan Children’s Books this article by our Children’s Laureate is full of positivity about the teaching of poetry in schools and includes links to his Poetry Prompts initiative with Book Trust and other related activities.

If you want children to read, let them read what they love! – excellent article by SF Said in his capacity as Writer in Residence for Book Trust in which he stresses the importance of choice in encouraging reading for pleasure. “Because choice is such a vital part of being a reader; an autonomous, lifelong reader, of the kind we want all kids to be...”

Taking a look behind What the World Doesn’t See by Mel Darbon – Tracy Darnton – a couple of weeks ago I reviewed What the World Doesn’t See by Mel Darbon, a book that will undoubtedly be among my top reads of the year, and this interview on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure explains a little more about the background to this story, its inspiration, personal relevance and its importance.

Talking About Representation: Reading Diversity in the Primary Curriculum with Atinuke – Hays Education, in collaboration with partners All Around Reading, are hosting a FREE online Author-led CPD event which will take place on Thursday 30th March from 4.30-6pm. Join respected author Atinuke, who later this year will be publishing Brilliant Black British History. The session will cover: An update on CLPE Reflecting Realities research and The Lit in Colour research, The author’s perspective and how Brilliant Black British History came to be written, Resource suggestions and How to support inclusive education in schools.

Do You Know What’s In Your Child’s School Library? – a downloadable infographic from the ever helpful Lucas Maxwell. This is a great resource highlighting the many roles of the school library and great to share with parents.

Reading for pleasure: Sustaining and developing your school’s reading culture – article by Prof. Teresa Cremin for Headteacher Uodate magazine. This contains excellent advice on how to use the recent World Book Day focus as a launchpad to establishing a reading culture within a school community.

PaperBound Magazine Spring Issue – the latest issue of this free online magazine is packed full of author interviews, book recommendations, writing tips and more. Featuring Daisy May Johnson, Oisín McGann and Liz Flanagan.

Hay Festival Schools Programme – this year’s Programme for Schools takes place THURSDAY 25 MAY & FRIDAY 26 MAY, with in-person events for pupils in Key Stage 2 on Thursday 25 May and Key Stages 3 & 4 on Friday 26 May. All events will be livestreamed on the day and are free to watch again later on Hay Player(captioned in English and Welsh). You can buy books on site from the Hay Festival Shop. All events are approximately 45 minutes in duration. It’s a brilliant line up so do please explore what’s on via the link above.

The Yoto Carnegies Events Week – Scholastic are to be the official book supplier for the Yoto Carnegie Awards 2023 and are hosting a week of free virtual events celebrating this year’s shortlists starting on Monday 27th March. You can register and find out details of timings etc on the website above.

Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Winner 2023 The Cats We Meet Along the Way was this week announced as both the winner of the Books for Older Readers category and the Overall Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2023. You can read about the winners in each category, guest posts by the winning authors and the shortlisted books on the Waterstones website above.

Caboodle Classroom Launched – Caboodle is an online virtual platform, part of Authors Abroad, where top children’s authors, poets and illustrators come together so students anywhere in the world can be inspired about reading and writing. For each age category, from Early Years to aged 16, a new author event is released every month during term time and the sessions are available to view for two months. Teaching Notes provided by CLPE are supplied with every author visit. You can find out about the various subscription packages available and watch a video taster in the link above.

Books For Keeps March Issue – for many years this has been one of my favourite sources of information about children’s books as it’s also full of useful articles, interviews and reviews. This latest issue includes a guest editorial by Mary-Rose Grieve, co-chair of the Great School Libraries campaign, a feature by Nicholas Tucker about the late Marcus Sedgwick and regular features such as Beyond the Secret Garden.

CLPE’s February’s New Books Round-Up by their librarian Phoebe Demeger – Each month CLPE’s Librarian, Phoebe Demeger, reveals some of her favourite books she has recently added to the CLPE Literacy Library. These are divided into categories from Early Years Foundation Stage to KS3.

Where The River Takes Us by Lesley Parr Educational Resource Pack – last week I mentioned how much I enjoyed this novel set in 1970s Wales written by Lesley Parr and this week I noticed that Bloomsbury have published these excellent resources created by Scott Evans, The Reader Teacher. Free to download.

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

Moon’s Ramadan by Natasha Khan Kazi – this new beautifully illustrated picturebook depicts a journey of celebration around the world introducing Ramadan to young children, It explains events & traditions & the role that the moon plays in determining when Eid celebrations can begin. Catherine Friess on her Story Snug blog says, “It’s a fabulous book to read in an Early Years / Key Stage classroom to raise children’s awareness of the rituals and the significance of Ramadan.”

That’s Mathematics Based on Lyrics By Tom Lehrer, Chris Smith Illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa – I am lucky enough to have a copy of this brilliant book and think that Jo Cummins has summed up its appeal in her review which was part of the blog tour to mark its publication. “A great way to encourage children to think differently about maths and pick up plenty of mathematical vocabulary whilst having lots of fun.

Super Questers: The Case of the Missing Memory by Lisa Moss and Dr. Thomas Bernard; illustrated Amy Willcox – this insightful and fascinating review by Ben Harris gives a flavour of the book itself and also the reasons for its appeal. Perfect for puzzlers and would be coders. Ben says, “I’m so glad a series like this exists today, that treats young children with the respect they deserve in the field of programming: coding is only complicated when we have our ‘grown up glasses’ on; kids massively enjoy it and they succeed as a result.”

The Way of The Dog by Zana Fraillon illustrated by Sean Buckingham – Nicki Cleveland has completely sold this book to me in her lovely review, “Scruffity will long live on the bookshelf in my heart.” The guest article by Zana Fraillon is a thoughtful and interesting read too.

That’s everything for this week and I hope something here is helpful to you. On Monday I’m participating in the blog tour highlighting the Top Ten reads on the shortlists for the FCBG’s Children’s Book Award. You can see full details of the blog tour below.

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1 Response to Reading Matters – children’s book news

  1. Catherine says:

    Thank you for including Story Snug’s Ramadan book review Anne 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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