Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Emma Press has announced plans to launch a call for picture book proposals from writers – including those who illustrate their own work – in 2019. The independent publisher, which is based in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, will be looking for manuscripts for picture books for children with potential for crossover appeal.
The call will open on 14th January 2019 and closes on 20th April 2019.

Writers will be invited to send in full manuscripts for the first round of submissions. All finished picture books will be 32 pages long, including front-matter and end-matter. The editorial team reading the submissions will consist of Yen-Yen Lu, Charlotte Geater, Emma Wright, Richard O’Brien and Philippa Barker. Successful proposals will be matched with illustrators.
The editors are particularly keen to see picture book manuscripts from authors who are underrepresented in publishing. They are keen to see submissions from BAME writers, from writers with immigrant backgrounds, from LGBTQ+ writers, and from disabled writers. They are seeking new stories, and fresh perspectives on the world for a curious, contemporary readership.
Publisher Emma Wright said:
‘Picture books are a vital part of childhood. They are where we start to learn about ourselves and the world around us, and about the possibilities of literature, art and the imagination. There is still so much work to be done to make the world of picture books an inclusive, welcoming place where children can see themselves and also learn about others. I am looking forward to building an exciting, outward-looking list for children of all backgrounds.’
The Emma Press’s newest picture book is The Dog Who Found Sorrow, publishing at the end of this month. It is written by Rūta Briede and illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa, who were both award winners at the 2017 International Jānis Baltvilks Awards in Children’s Literature and Book Art. It is translated from the Latvian by Brasliņa.
The Emma Press celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2018, and they won the Michael Marks Award for poetry pamphlet publishers in 2016. They have published a number of illustrated poetry books, including many for children, and they launched their picture books list in early 2018 with Rūta Briede’s award-winning book Queen of Seagulls.
In 2019, alongside their call for picture book manuscripts, the press is launching Bicki-Books, a series of bijou poetry picture books, which each feature a classic Latvian poem translated into English. Every book is fully illustrated by a top Latvian illustrator. The series is art-directed by Rūta Briede.
This will be their first open call for original picture books written in English.
Check out our children’s books in our webshop to see the kind of thing we publish – shop now.

Winners announced for the first international Lauren Child Poetry Illustration Prize

•First time international award combines poetry and illustration. Prize for young illustrators from 18-25 at the start of their career.
•Exhibition of winners and runners-up artwork and the poems on display at St Pancras International until 3 January 2019.
•Prize set up by Lauren Child, current Waterstones Children’s Laureate and bestselling author of Charlie and Lola and Hubert Horatio, in association with the Betjeman Prize, the House of Illustration and St Pancras International.

The finalists of the first international Lauren Child Poetry Illustration Prize are announced today 20th November at a special celebration at the House of Illustration, London. The poems and illustration will be on display at the Upper Concourse of St Pancras International Station until 3 January.
The overall winner is Bryony Usher, 21, from Windsor, Berkshire, who illustrated a poem called His Place by Indra Carigiet. The three runners up are Jacob Courtney, from Harlow, Essex, Kerrie Maccauley, from Deptford, South East London, and Laura Wade from Edinburgh

The thirteen finalists are James Bailey, Frances Bicker, Riannon Bristow, Hyelim, Cho, Jacob Courtney, Kerrie Mccauley, Emily Morris, Juliania Shugaeva, Catriona Sweeney, Ursi Tolliday, Bryony Usher, Laura Wade, Bethany Wheeler.

All the entrants were asked to choose and illustrate one poem from a selection of ten Betjeman Poetry Prize winning poems by young poets aged 10-13. The overall winner received a cash prize of £1k. The runners-up received art materials donated by Winsor and Newton.

The prize is a collaboration between the House of Illustration, St Pancras International, Betjeman Poetry Prize and 2017-2019 Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child. Judges for the Prize were director of the House of Illustration, Colin McKenzie; Queen’s Gold Medal winning poet and illustrator, Imtiaz Dharker, and current Waterstones’ Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child.

Lauren Child comments: ‘The entries we received exceeded our expectations. We were looking for twelve finalists but in the end picked thirteen. Of the final thirteen, five illustrators were selected for special commendation because they so perfectly answered the brief, and do so with great personality and skill. The illustrator’s job is to go beyond the obvious and reach towards a response that truly evokes the poem and moves the reader and is personal to the illustrator.’

Wendy Spinks from HS1 comments: “We are celebrating St Pancras International’s 150th birthday in 2018, so it is fitting that we will help celebrate young talent like never before by putting on this wonderful exhibition. As a destination known for offering new and exciting arts and music experiences, we look forward to displaying this wonderful work from the world’s up and coming illustrators.”

To see all the finalists’ entries go to: www.betjemanpoetryprize.co.uk/laurenchildprize


Friday, June 08, 2018



Michael Rosen, children’s novelist, poet and former Children’s Laureate, today announced the shortlist for the 2018 Laugh Out Loud Awards (The Lollies), a set of awards, now in its third year, created by Scholastic UK, to celebrate the funniest children’s books.

Having long championed humorous books for children, Rosen said of the shortlist: “Anyone around children looking for books to have them giggling and laughing over and over again, these 12 books will do the job. They are infectious and contagious and dangerous! Children will want to read them and ask for more. People talk about the importance of getting children reading, well, these shortlisted books do the work all by themselves.”

Rosen and his judging panel, consisting of Katie Thistleton, presenter and host of the CBBC Children’s Book Club, primary school teachers and bloggers, Jo Cummins and Jonny Walker, as well Kate Newport, Product Director for Scholastic Book Clubs and Book Fairs, were tasked with selecting the shortlist from nearly 120 titles submitted by children’s publishers.

Rachel Partridge, Group Marketing & Publicity Director, added “The Lollies continues to grow apace as a celebration of all that is wonderful about funny books. The quality of the submissions for this year’s Lollies demonstrated the strength and depth of author and illustrator talent that abounds in UK publishing. We cannot wait to share these incredible books with teachers, kids and parents and have ambitious plans this year to engage even more schools and get as many kids as possible reading the shortlisted books and voting for their favourites before the votes closes on 14th December 2018.”

The Lollies are awarded in three categories: Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book, Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds and Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds. The shortlisted books in each category are as follows:

Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book:
Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory by Elys Dolan (OUP)
The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright and Jim Field (Hachette)
Oi Cat! by Kes Gray and Jim Field (Hachette)
I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt (PRH)

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds:
Barry Loser and the Birthday Billions by Jim Smith (Egmont)
The Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp (Scholastic)
There’s a Werewolf in My Tent! by Pamela Butchart and Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow)
Lyttle Lies: The Pudding Problem by Joe Berger (Simon and Schuster)

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds:
Tom Gates: Epic Adventure (Kind Of) by Liz Pichon (Scholastic)
My Mum’s Growing Down by Laura Dockrill and David Tazzyman (Faber)
Uncle Shawn and Bill and the Almost Entirely Unplanned Adventure by A. L. Kennedy and Gemma Correll (Walker)
Football Season 2: Where Football Saves the World by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton and Spike Gerrell (Walker)

The winning book in each category will be decided solely by children’s votes, with schools and parents encouraged to help kids get involved and vote via the Lollies website, www.scholastic.co.uk/lollies, or via the Lollies PopJam channel.

The winning books will be announced in January 2019.

The Lollies were created in response to findings from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™, (www.scholastic.co.uk/readingreport) which found that what two-thirds of children aged 6-17 looked for when choosing books for themselves were “books that make me laugh”.

The 2018 awards are sponsored by Happy Monkey Smoothies, with media partner PopJam also on board to provide a voting platform for children to pick their category winners.

Voting is open to teachers and their pupils, parents and children. The Lollies website will be open for voting from 4th June till 14th December 2018 at: www.scholastic.co.uk/lollies

Teachers can cast up to 35 votes on behalf of their class for each category.

The Lollies are also supported by Book Trust who will be working with Scholastic to encourage schools, parents and children to participate and vote for their favourites.

Scholastic received 118 submissions from publishers across all categories for the 2018 awards.

For further information, please contact:
Antonia Wilkinson antonia@wilkinson-pr.com / 0770 353 8554

Friday, March 02, 2018

The Children's Book Award Top 10 - FCBG

Top Ten Shortlist 2018 - Vote for your favourites!

Vote for your favourites and get involved in the only national children's book award voted for entirely by children. Your vote matters! You can vote online at www.childrensbookaward.org.uk/vote

Voting closes online at 12.00 Friday 18th May 2018

Books for Younger Children
Edgar and the Sausage Inspector, written and illustrated by Jan Fearnley, published by Nosy Crow ISBN 978-0857638229
Mrs Mole, I’m Home!, written and illustrated by Jarvis, published by Walker ISBN 978-1-4063-6727-0
The Secret of Black Rock, written and illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton, published by Flying Eye Books ISBN 978-1-911171-25-6
I Dare You, written and illustrated by Reece Wykes, published by Andersen Press ISBN 978-1-78344-537-0
Books for Younger ReadersThe Goldfish Boy, written by Lisa Thompson, published by Scholastic ISBN 978-1407170992
The Explorer, written by Katherine Rundell, published by Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1408882191
The Island at the End of Everything, written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, published by Chicken House ISBN 978-1910002766
Books for Older ReadersI Have No Secrets, written by Penny Joelson, published by Electric Monkey (Egmont) ISBN 978-1405286152
Optimists Die First, written by Susin Nielsen, published by Andersen Press ISBN 978-0553496932
Ink, written by Alice Broadway, published by Scholastic  ISBN 978-1407172842

The winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Saturday 9th June.

Follow us on our blog at www.fcbg.org.uk/blog on Twitter @CBACoordinator #FCBGCBA18 and our web sitewww.childrensbookaward.org.uk
On 19 March a selection of 'Model Schools' in the UK are inviting headteachers and literacy leads to attend an open day to see the Read Write Inc. education programme in practice. Attendees can find out how the programme, published by Oxford University Press, can improve literacy and help to decrease the 'word gap' between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers.  

The open day will take place on Monday 19 March in Caerphilly, Cornwall, Derby, Norfolk, Romford, Wokingham, Birmingham and East Sussex at 'Model School's for Read Write Inc., and will be open to all headteachers and literacy leads in the local area. At the open day visitors can expect to find out how the Read Write Inc. programme is implemented in their schools and see the benefits of the programme and it is improving literacy. During the day, visitors will be able to observe lessons, meet other schools in the area, get advice on how to implement the programme and see the positive impact on behaviour across the school. 

One of the highlight factors of Read Write Inc. schools is that they are talk-a-lot schools where speaking and listening skills are developed through partner work. By developing children’s vocabulary, Read Write Inc. helps to address problems associated with the ‘word gap’, recently highlighted by the government’s Department for Education single departmental planThe ‘word gap’ has been identified in children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who by the age of 3 are on average almost a full year and a half behind their more affluent peers in language development. In the report the DoE make recommendations on how to eliminate the 'word gap' through education in order to improve social mobility and equality of opportunity, the Read Write Inc. programme is in line with this.
 “Our Model Schools demonstrate an inspirational passion and excitement for teaching. Their attention to detail and focus on continuous professional development 
marks them out and is the key to their success in getting every child to read by 6. No child should get left behind and with the right teaching and assessments we can ensure
every child is understood and the gaps in their knowledge identified and addressed.”

Ruth Miskin, Creator of Read Write Inc.

For more information on which schools are taking part and to book a place at one of the schools teachers can visit this webpage: https://global.oup.com/education/content/primary/series/rwi/model-schools-open-morning/?region=uk

Or for booking enquiries please email oxfordprimaryevents@oup.com  


SEVEN Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books has launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring books and stories to life for North East children with additional needs. The Life-changing Stories campaign goes live on Crowdfunder UK from 26th February 2018.
The museum and gallery, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, is seeking support to raise £7000 to fund a range of fully accessible events and experiences that will allow children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to step into their favourite stories in an inclusive and sensory environment.
Kate Edwards, chief executive of Seven Stories said, “Our ambition is for Seven Stories to be a hub for parents and carers of children with disabilities to socialise, play and learn more about how to enrich their children’s lives through the wonderful world of children’s books.
“All of the money raised will go towards making our activities more accessible to children with additional needs and their families by providing sensory resources that will bring our exhibitions, events and stories to life in a whole new way.
 “All children deserve the chance to enjoy books and stories, however they experience the world. We already work with parents, carers and schools across the UK to inspire children and families to choose, enjoy and share books together and this is a chance to bring this offer to even more young people.”
Award-winning author and illustrator Nick Sharratt (Tracy Beaker, Shark in the Park, You Choose) recently donated his archive to Seven Stories and added his voice to the campaign. Nick said, “I love coming to Seven Stories and this campaign will open up the magic and power of children’s books to even more families, in a completely new way. I am always amazed at the creativity and dedication that goes into making Seven Stories an inclusive and immersive experience for every child and I urge everyone who has ever been transported by the power of stories to get behind this campaign. I am extremely excited to see all of the fantastic offers that it will help deliver.”
As well as providing additional sensory experiences and BSL / Makaton interpretation for performances and story times, the money raised will also allow the team to increase opportunities for children with additional needs and their families to experience Seven Stories in a calmer, quieter environment.
Beth Coverdale, learning and participation co-ordinator and access champion said, “Hustle and bustle can be overwhelming and we want to offer high-quality sensory performances tailored for children with additional access needs.  Our relaxed story times and performances will have all the magic of a Seven Stories event and will provide a supportive but informal atmosphere for everyone that needs it. These sensory performances have a slightly smaller audience capacity than other showings, to help contribute to a calmer environment for children experiencing stress or anxiety.”
Seven Stories is one of the leading inclusive cultural venues in the region and was awarded the Inclusive Tourism Award at the annual North East England Tourism Awards in 2017.
The ceremony, held on Thursday 16th November, celebrated the very best of the North East’s prestigious tourism businesses, recognising excellence in a variety of categories and credited Seven Stories for their ongoing partnership with St Oswald’s Hospice to create accessible experiences for children with life limiting illness and their families. This project kick-started the cross organisational initiative to make Seven Stories as accessible and inclusive as possible to all public visitors, including an extensive building refurbishment in 2015.
Money raised through the campaign will be eligible for match funding though the Newcastle Culture Investment Fund, in partnership with Newcastle City Council and the Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland if they successfully reach their target.
To pledge your support to children and families across the North East visit http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/life-changing-stories  today and join the conversation online by using #lifechangingstories.

Henrietta Branford Writing Competition

Call for entries: 2018 Henrietta Branford Writing Competition
For young people who enjoy writing stories!

Finish a story started by 2017 Branford Boase Award winner, Beetle Boy author M. G. Leonard

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, the annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, is now open.

The Branford Boase Award recognises a debut children’s author and their editor and was set up in memory of the outstanding children’s writer Henrietta Branford and the gifted editor, Wendy Boase, Editorial Director of Walker Books. They both died of cancer in 1999. 

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition aims to find and encourage writers of the future, something Henrietta Branford was always keen to do.

The 2018 competition is open now and anyone under the age of 19 can enter. Entrants are invited to complete this story begun by last year’s winner, author of Beetle Boy, M. G. Leonard:

‘The map had led us to an old wall covered with ivy. I reached through the leaves till I was touching the bricks and felt my way sideways. The wall continued three paces then changed from the rough touch of fired sand to the smooth damp texture of rotting wood. We pulled the evergreen curtain aside. Beneath it was a hidden door. I grabbed the heavy iron ring handle that was riveted to the ancient wood and twisted it with both hands, hoping the door would open.’

The story should be no longer than 1000 words, must follow on from the starter paragraph, and have a title. All entrants must live in the UK and be under 19 years of age. Entries will be judged by Prue Goodwinconsultant and lecturer in children’s literature. She says: ‘We are looking for stories that keep the reader wanting to know what is going to happen from beginning to end, are imaginative and unpredictable, and are written with a genuine reader in mind’.
Six winners will be invited to attend the Branford Boase Award celebration party in London in July. There they will meet M. G. Leonard and the authors shortlisted for the 2018 award as well as editors, publishers, agents, and other professionals in this field. They will receive a copy of each of the books shortlisted for theBranford Boase Award and be able to have their books signed.

The closing date for the competition is Saturday 21 April 2018.

Full details are available on the website:

For further information please contact Andrea Reece on
07807893369 or andrea.reece@zen.co.uk

The annual Branford Boase Award celebrates the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards written by a first-time novelist and also highlights the importance of the editor in the development of new authors. The shortlisted authors may have published other books in another genre – for example, poetry or a picture book – but eligibility for the prize requires that this is their first children’s novel. As well as encouraging publishers to find and promote new writers, the Award sets out to alert readers of all ages to the work of interesting newcomers.

The Branford Boase Award was set up in memory of the outstanding and prize-winning author Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase, editorial director and one of the founders of Walker Books. They worked together on a number of Henrietta’s novels, a partnership they greatly enjoyed. Both Henrietta and Wendy died of cancer in 1999.

Running alongside the Branford Boase Award, the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition encourages writing talent in under 19s.

The Award is the joint idea of Julia Eccleshare and Anne Marley. Julia is the director of the children’s programme at the Hay Festival and a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Front Row and Open Book programmes. Anne is co-founder of Authors Aloud UK and was Head of Children’s, Youth & Schools Services for Hampshire Library & Information Service for many years. She has served on many children’s book award panels, including the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards.

For more information about the award and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition visitwww.branfordboaseaward.org.uk .

Or contact Andrea Reece on 07807893369 or andrea.reece@zen.co.uk

Images are also available on



Scottish Book Trust is pleased to announce the books chosen for the 2018/19 Bookbug Bags that are distributed free to every baby, toddler and 3-year-old in Scotland.

Every year, Bookbug, the Scottish Government funded initiative, gifts over 800,000 books to families across Scotland. Bookbug bags help children to develop a love of books and promote the health and developmental benefits of sharing stories, songs and rhymes. The new bags will include books by some of the UK’s favourite authors and illustrators including Lucy Cousins, Nick Sharratt and Polly Dunbar.

Among other things this year’s bags also include Song & Rhyme Library postcards highlighting Bookbug’s new Song & Rhyme Library, with beautiful artwork from Nick Sharratt, Ross Collins and Catherine Rayner.

Bookbug also gifts 
Gaelic language editions of the selected titles and tactile books to support children with additional needs. These can be requested from your local Bookbug Co-ordinator or Bòrd na Gàidhlig Early Years Worker. Three-year-old children in Gaelic Medium Education will receive their Gaelic Bookbug Explorer Bag from their nursery.

The Bookbug programme is managed by Scottish Book Trust and run in partnership with libraries, local authorities, health professionals and nurseries.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:
“We are excited to once again be gifting books to every child across Scotland through Bookbug bags. The books selected have been chosen carefully by our Early Year experts, and we are sure families across the country will delight in sharing these stories. Bookbug bags are an excellent way to start a story time routine, and accompanied with our new song and rhyme library, will help to develop children’s language skills.”

Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years, said:
“Sharing books and stories is a fun and easy way for parents to help their children develop their reading and listening skills. And snuggling up together to read a book helps create strong bonds and makes children feel loved and secure. When my own children were little reading together was a genuine pleasure and as they have grown we have continued to share and discuss books together to carry on that love of reading.

“It is extremely important to introduce children to books as early as possible – that is why we provide over £1.6 million each year to Scottish Book Trust, to deliver the Bookbug initiative to every child in Scotland.”

The books to be distributed free in Bookbug bags to every baby, toddler and three-year-old in Scotland in the coming year are as follows:

Bookbug Baby Bag

·         Peekaboo! in the Jungle by Cocoretto (Child’s Play)
·         Baby’s Very First Black and White Book: Faces by Stella Baggott (Usborne)
·         If You’re Happy and You Know It… by Annie Kubler (Child’s Play)
Bookbug Toddler Bag

·         How to Bath Your Little Dinosaur by Jane Clarke & Georgie Birkett (Penguin Random House)
·         Maisy's Bus by Lucy Cousins (Walker Books)
·         Flip and Find Farmers by Samantha Meredith (Campbell / Macmillan)
Bookbug Explorer Bag

·         You Choose by Pippa Goodhart & Nick Sharratt (Penguin Random House)
·         Penguin by Polly Dunbar (Walker Books)
·         Is That an Elephant in My Fridge? by Caroline Crowe & Claudia Ranucci (Scholastic)

Bookbug Book Bags

Bookbug is Scotland’s national book gifting programme, gifting books to every baby, toddler, 3 and 5-year-old in Scotland in four free Bookbug bags:
·         Baby Bag (gifted by a health visitor to every baby)
·         Toddler Bag (gifted by a health visitor to every toddler)
·         Explorer Bag (gifted at nursery to every 3-year-old)
·         Primary 1 Family Bag (gifted at school to every P1 pupil, announced at a later date)

The Bookbug programme is managed by Scottish Book Trust and run in partnership with libraries, health professionals and nurseries. The programme benefits from sponsorship from children’s publishers and central funding from the Scottish Government through a Strategic Funding Partnership Grant, with support from Local Authorities, Library Services and Health Boards through the provision of local staff time and logistics solutions.

Bookbug Sessions are run by local libraries or community groups. There are 23,000 Bookbug sessions happen across Scotland every year. These are free, fun-filled story and rhyme sessions for babies to four-year-olds, attended by thousands of parents and children a year. Details of local Bookbug Sessions can be found here.

Bookbug’s targeted outreach programme, Bookbug for the Home, trains Early Years practitioners to give support to families on a one-to-one basis. Since 2012, Bookbug for the Home has helped over 14,000 families, encouraging parents to do more talking, book sharing and singing with their children.

Scottish Book Trust also supports the delivery of Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Scotland (free books delivered monthly to every Looked After Child aged 0-5).

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.