Thursday, May 26, 2016

‘Refugee’ revealed as Children’s Word of the Year

‘Refugee’ revealed as Children’s Word of the Year by
Oxford University Press for Radio 2’s 500 WORDS writing competition
·        Oxford University Press and BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show ‘500 WORDS’ competition reveals fascinating insights into British children’s use of language

·        OUP results released ahead of the 500 WORDS live final, Friday 27 May from Shakespeare’s Globe, London

·        Honorary Judge, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, to present the winners’ prizes

Refugees, Tim Peake, Star Wars, Shakespeare, and social media are just some of the events, people, and subjects that influence British children’s creativity and use of language, says a report published today by Oxford University Press (OUP).

Following OUP’s analysis of the 123,436 entries for the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show’s 500 WORDS short story competition, a wealth of fascinating insights into the lives of British children and their imaginative use of English have emerged. The winners of this year’s competition will be announced live on-air on Friday 27 May in a very special broadcast of the Breakfast Show live from Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, in London. This year, HRH Duchess of Cornwall is an Honorary Judge. Her Royal Highness will attend the Final and present the Gold winners’ prizes. Celebrities including Julie Walters, Warwick Davis, Andy Serkis, Nick Jonas and Raleigh Ritchie will be reading out the Bronze, Silver, and Gold winning entries in the two age categories (5-9 and 10-13 years), and One Republic, All Saints, and Foxes will be performing with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Community Gospel Choir during the show.
‘Refugee’ is the Children’s Word of the Year, due to a significant increase in usage by entrants writing in this year’s competition combined with the sophisticated context that children were using it in and the rise in emotive and descriptive language around it. Despite the tenderness of their years, youngsters show a sensitive and mature understanding of the issues involved (the war in Syria, the journey across the Mediterranean, people smugglers, the camps in Calais) and they wrote compassionate, moving stories. The subject matter was mostly the plight of children their own age leaving home and undertaking difficult journeys, with powerful descriptive language and visual imagery—showing how they respond to what they see on TV, in newspapers, and on the internet. There was also a marked increase in vocabulary associated with refugee, words such as boat, camp, dinghy, crisis, border, shelter, journey, sea, desperate, safe, flee, travel, and trek. The OUP’s analysis of the stories found that the attitude towards refugees was empathetic.
One entrant wrote ‘I’m in France . . . place called Calais. It turns out that nobody wants us after all. There was no gold at the end of the rainbow. I have no idea when or how I will get away from this prison’; whilst another said ‘“Son our neighbours just got bombed. We’re lucky we weren’t in the house! It’s decided we’re going!” “Ok . . .” Replied Yusuf solemnly “I’ll go pack . . .” This was a tough time for Yusuf. He was going to leave his friends, School and home.’
 
Vineeta Gupta, Head of Children’s Dictionaries at Oxford University Press, says: “The children writing in this year’s competition have demonstrated a sophisticated use of language in their storytelling. They have used rich descriptions to convey emotion and have produced powerful stories that resonate with the reader. Our extensive research has provided a deeper understanding of children’s language skills across the UK and we continue to be inspired by their creativity.”

Chris Evans says: “This analysis has once again proved fascinating. OUP’s research has shown how aware and engaged children are with the world around them, not just at home, but globally and even inter-galactically! The imagination of kids never ceases to amaze me and I’m so proud that BBC Radio 2’s 500 WORDS has again fired up their creativity and shown how talented and inspiring the young people of the United Kingdom are.”
 
Using specialized software for the first time in the 500 WORDS competition, all the entries were analysed by an academic and technology team from Oxford University. Each word was scrutinized in relation to the words around it, enabling the experts to determine how positive or negative it was. The ‘happiest’ words used were adventure, heart, chocolate, and, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, school and teacher. The ‘scariest’ words were monster, dragon, firehouse, and door.
 
 
Taking their analysis a stage further, the Oxford University linguists were also able to determine the top positive and negative words from different parts of the UK. In England top positive words were school and adventure, in Scotland teacher and school, and in Wales they were friends and light. Top negative word in England was day, door in Scotland, and dragon in Wales. In Northern Ireland top negative words were fire and time, and in the Channel Islands it was day and eyes. Top positive words in Northern Ireland were dad and family – it was dad and mum in the Channel Islands. The entries with the highest overall levels of ‘happiness’ were from Llandudno in Wales.
 
 
500 WORDS went interstellar in 2016, and that is because one person really captured children’s imaginations—Tim Peake. The British astronaut was a new entry in the Top 10 list of famous people appearing in the stories. Many stories featured children meeting Tim and travelling to the International Space Station—A man in a spacesuit approached them, “Hello, I’m Tim Peake, welcome to the ISS. You must be very tired after the adventures you’ve had finding us”.’ Words associated with space also showed significant increases in usage on previous years—spacewalk, space station, astronaut, asteroid, space shuttle, and rocket all zoomed up.Again, children drew inspiration from visual imagery—I was watching the news on TV. Tim Peake, the Astronaut was space walking to remove a mystery object that was stuck on the space station.’
 
The other space word that saw a huge boost in use was galaxy—this could be due to a film that famously starts ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . .’ This iconic phrase also saw a 274% increase in use on the previous year. The release of the latest Star Wars movie really captured the imagination, resulting in a plethora of lightsabres and Stormtroopers, plus references to Princess Leia, Rey, Han Solo, Darth Vader, and of course for the first time, Kylo Ren. Children were inspired by the film to create their own words and language—One morning when I woke up I couldn’t stop thinking about my dream last night of a crazy but kind robot called botvader’—or even to mash-up the characters with figures from American politics—‘He threw chairs, tables and smashed plates on the floor. Then his short burst of rage suddenly ended. He thought to himself. “What was that and how on earth did this happen.” The next morning his business partner Donald Trump came in and he fired Luke Skywalker for horrible work.’
 
After hashtag - and the symbol used to represent it ‘#’ - triumphed as Children’s Word of the Year in 2015, the irrepressible rise of social media was just as strong in 2016. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram continue to appear liberally in stories from the 10–13 age group, and the term social media itself is becoming far more common. Three text-speak abbreviations were widely used—OMG, BFF, and LOL. Notably, this year showed a significant increase in the use of computing and coding words—stories included use of words like server, cache, malware, and URL.
 
Once again, OUP looked at top characters from real life and fiction—both historical and contemporary—to see who really resonates with children in the UK. In this year’s Top 10, Characters Santa Claus takes first place, followed by 2) Zeus, 3) Lionel Messi, 4) Cristiano Ronaldo, 5) Adolf Hitler, joint 6th) William Shakespeare and Cinderella, 7) Snow White, 8) Tim Peake 9) James Bond, and 10) Harry Potter. This being the year of Shakespeare 400 (marking four centuries since his death), the Bard makes an appearance in the Top 10 for the first time ever, and many of his characters’ names, such as Banquo and Prospero show a 1,000% increase in use, whilst Fleance, Orsino, and Malvolio are used for the first time. David Cameron is the most frequently mentioned politician closely followed by US figures Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
 
OUP’s research has found that spelling has consistently improved during the five years since 500 WORDS launched. The top five words which are now more frequently being spelt correctly are accidentally, frantically, definitely, doesn’t, and beginning. However, there are two words that children still really struggle with—soldiers and minute, the latter having 20 different error forms (the most frequent being minuet, which wouldn’t get picked up by a spellchecker).

As always, a big favourite with the 500 WORDS judges and the OUP team is the invented word. Where a term simply does not exist to name or describe something, children will create one. Their creativity was charmingly evidenced in the form of phantasmagorical monsters like the weti (a water yeti) or the campaigning manffragettes (who fight for men’s rights). A coveted title amongst the competitors is for the Longest Word. This year’s winner,pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis, is a whopping 45 letters and a very real respiratory disease.
 
 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge


This year's Big Friendly Read Summer Reading Challenge  (2016) which will run across the school summer holidays, is linking up with the global year-long Roald Dahl 100 celebrations, honouring the world's No.1 storyteller. 
 
The Big Friendly Read will feature some of Roald Dahl's best-loved characters and the amazing artwork of his principal illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. It will encourage reading on a giant scale and will feature themes such as invention, mischief and friendship as explored in Roald Dahl's books.
 
Children can sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge (the Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge in Scotland) at their local library as the school summer term ends and the holidays begin -- there's no charge to participate so why not pop down to your library?
 
The Big Friendly Read will encourage children to expand their own reading by exploring similar themes across the best contemporary children's writing.

 
 

 
......

Alice's Day 2016

Alice’s Day 2016Animals in Wonderland
Saturday 4 July, Oxford, UK
Link: 
http://www.storymuseum.org.uk/alice
 
Take a trip down the rabbit hole as Oxford city centre transforms into Wonderland for this year’s Alice’s Day.  The annual festival, which takes place on 2nd July and is coordinated by The Story Museum, is a daylong celebration of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s novel Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. This year the theme of the festival is all things animal!
 
Venues across Oxford including The Story Museum, Museum of Natural History, Bodleian Library and Oxford Castle will be hosting Alice-themed events and activities. Visitors to the city will have the opportunity to sing and dance a Lobster Quadrille, join the Caucus-Race, take a seat at the mad hatter’s tea party and enjoy the amazing Alice street puppetry all the way from the Barcelona in the form of theatre group Teatro Nu. The Story Museum is encouraging visitors to embrace their inner animal by donning their very best pair of bunny ears to take part in the white rabbit trail – an exciting scavenger hunt across the city. Other events for visitors to the city to enjoy include Alice In Wonderland themed gallery activities at the Ashmolean, Alice guided tours of Christ Church – the home of Lewis Carroll, and an exhibition of some of Carroll’s photography work at Pitt Rivers Museum.
 
Alice’s Day 2015 saw the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the largest Alice’s Day to date, with thousands of visitors from across the world flocking to the city centre to celebrate the much loved children’s classic. With Alice’s Day 2016 set to build on last year’s success, this is one trip down the rabbit hole that you’ll want to be on time for!  
 
Most events are free and full details of the programme will be published on The Story Museum’s website www.storymuseum.org.uk

About Alice’s Day

One golden afternoon on 4 July 1862, Charles Dodgson, an Oxford don, took Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boating picnic up the River Thames from Folly Bridge in Oxford. To amuse the children he told them a story about a little girl, sitting bored by a riverbank, who finds herself tumbling down a rabbit hole into a topsy-turvy world called Wonderland. The story so delighted the 10-year-old Alice that she begged him to write it down – the result was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published in 1865 under the pen name Lewis Carroll. It became one of the best-loved children’s books ever written.
To celebrate that first telling, Oxford turns into Wonderland for one magical day every year.
Alice’s Day 2016 is supported by Oxford City Council.

About The Story Museum


The Story Museum works to celebrate and demonstrate the power of stories to inspire learning, especially for the young. A charity and non-profit company, it is in the process of creating a magical new world centre of children’s literature and storytelling in the heart of historic Oxford. The Museum currently has two exhibitions open to the public: Time For Bed, inspired by Helen Cooper’s award winning book The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go To Bed, and Draw Me Story, which explores how picture books grow from start to finish. The Museum continues to campaign for funds to complete its development. The Museum’s patrons are Kevin Crossley-Holland, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman, Michael Rosen and Jacqueline Wilson and Malorie Blackman.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2016 12th May 2016

Announcement of shortlist for the Award 

Launch of Schools Shadowing Scheme 

The CLiPPA (The Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) is the only award in the UK for published poetry for children. It is run by The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). CLPE is delighted to announce the shortlist for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2016 at the opening of the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival following a show featuring performances from children and the 2015 shortlisted poets and judges. 
Established in 2003, this annual Poetry Award encourages and celebrates outstanding poetry published for children. 

The shortlist is as follows: 
 Sarah Crossan: One, Bloomsbury Publishing A powerful and moving verse novel narrated from the viewpoint of one of a pair of conjoined twins. A significant change in the girls’ lives is documented in verses that are contextualised within a page-turning narrative but also work as standalone poems. 
 John Lyons: Dancing in the Rain, illustrated by the poet, Peepal Tree Press This collection provides an insight into the poet’s Trinidadian childhood described by the judges as ‘breath of fresh air’. Readers are treated to poems with themes including the climate, ghosts and ghouls from Caribbean folklore and sharing food with family. 
 Roger McGough: Poetry Pie, illustrated by the poet, Puffin Books This collection is an invitation to be excited about poetry and not be limited by the world. Food is a subject often chewed upon whether it’s the fate of a chip summed up in English and French or the delicious variety of ingredients that can be baked in a poetry pie. 
 Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright (editors): Falling Out of the Sky, Poems about Myths and Monsters, illustrated by Emma Wright, The Emma Press This anthology brings together new poems inspired by myths, legends and folk tales. Poems inspired by classical Greek myths join those inspired by Norse myths and traditional tales. An exciting collection that challenges in a way few anthologies for children do. 
 Michael Rosen: A Great Big Cuddle, illustrated by Chris Riddell, Walker Subtitled ‘Poems for the Very Young’ this is a collection children can have fun and identify with, enabling them to see the point of poetry. This large and beautiful book is a happy marriage between words and pictures, the illustrations like another version of each poem. 

The winner of the 2016 Award will be announced on July 13th 2016 at a ceremony in the Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre in London. 

There will be poetry performances by children participating in the Shadowing Scheme and the shortlisted poets. The winner of the Award will receive £1000. The judging panel is chaired by the much-loved poet and performer, John Hegley and the other members of the panel are: 

 Joseph Coelho - poet and CLiPPA 2015 winner for Werewolf Club Rules 
 Isobel Colchester – Chief Executive, Poet in the City 
 Charlotte Hacking - CLPE Learning Programme Leader 
 Maisie Lawrence - Programmes and Digital Manager, Forward Arts Foundation 

John Hegley, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2016 Judges commented: “The judging process was a celebration of delight in the volumes which were laid out before us. The particular five of our choosing are a bunch which show poetry for youngsters to be busily alive and ticking. ” 

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “The CLiPPA exists to recognise the very best in published children's poetry and to support teachers and schools across the country to include the creative study of poetry in their classrooms. This shortlist exemplifies such a range and breadth of wonderful poetry for all age ranges and we are looking forward to celebrating this remarkable collection of books with the children from schools across the country who will be shadowing the Award. “ 
The CLPE Children’s Poetry Award was developed to ensure that children’s poetry has a recognised place within children’s literature. Previous winners of the prize include: Joseph Coelho, Rachel Rooney, Roger McGough, Philip Gross, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, John Agard and Grace Nichols. 
The Shadowing Scheme to involve schools in the Poetry Award 2016 is now open. In 2015 over 400 children participated in the first ever Shadowing Scheme. Early registrations received for 2016 suggest we will see a much higher number of children participate this year. The Scheme offers schools an excellent opportunity to enhance their literacy curriculum in a fresh and exciting way. As part of the Shadowing Scheme, a competition will see children from winning schools invited to perform on stage at the Award Ceremony. All schools, regardless of whether they are participating in the Shadowing Scheme, can take poetry into the classroom supported by free high quality resources including films of shortlisted poets performing, the poets talking about their work and accompanying teaching resources; available on CLPE’s Poetryline website www.poetryline.org.uk 

2016 English 4-11 Picture Book Awards – Winners announced

The English Association is now delighted to announce the WINNERS of the 2016 English 4-11 Picture Book Awards.
Four imaginative, illuminating, engrossing books display the diversity of excellence in picture books today, and clearly demonstrate their relevance to children of ALL ages.  See details below, or on the attached Press Release. 
 The Awards will be presented to the winning authors, illustrators and publishers on Wednesday 25 May at the British Academy, following the English Association’s Annual General Meeting.
 The WINNERS are:
 4-7 yrs Fiction
I Am Henry Finch   Alexis Deacon, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz   Walker Books
 7-11 yrs Fiction 
Greenling   Levi Pinfold   Templar Publishing
 4-7 yrs Non-Fiction
Take Away the A   Michaël Escoffier, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo   Andersen Press
 7-11 yrs Non-Fiction
The Wonder Garden   Jenny Broom, illustrated by Kristjana S Williams   Wide Eyed Editions
Shortlisted:
Counting Lions   Virginia McKenna and Katie Cotton, illustrated by Stephen Walton   Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Dreams of Freedom   Amnesty International/various   Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
I Love This Tree   Anna Claybourne   Franklin Watts
One Day on Our Blue Planet in the Savannah   Ella Bailey   Flying Eye Books
The Bear and the Piano   David Litchfield   Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
The Crow's Tale   Naomi Howarth   Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
The First Slodge   Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Jenni Desmond   Little Tiger
The School of Art   Teal Triggs, illustrated by Daniel Frost   Wide Eyed Editions
The Story of Life: A First Book About Evolution   Catherine Barr and Steve Williams, illustrated by Amy Husband   Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
William Shakespeare: Scenes from the life of the world’s greatest writer   Mick Manning and Brita Granström   Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

About the English 4-11 Picture Book Awards:

      Established in 1995, the awards are presented annually by the English Association to the best picture books of the previous year, in four categories:  Fiction 4-7 and 7-11 yrs, and Non-Fiction 4-7 and 7-11 yrs.

·        The winning books are chosen by the editorial board of English 4-11 from a shortlist selected by a panel of teachers and primary specialists.

·         The prizes are awarded at the English Association’s Annual General Meeting each May, and the winning and shortlisted books are featured in a full-colour poster in the summer issue of English 4-11.  This poster is also circulated to libraries, children’s bookshops and other interested parties.

·         English 4-11 is the only journal dedicated to English in the primary classroom.  It is a joint publication of the English Association and the United Kingdom Literacy Association .

·         Published three times an academic year (Autumn, Spring, Summer), English 4-11 contains material produced by, and for, the classroom teacher, practical resources, outlines of successful projects, case studies, and reviews of books, DVDs, IT and other teaching materials, as well as news, views and reports on current research.  It is intended for all those involved in English in the primary classroom.

·         The English Association, founded in 1906, is a registered charity which received a Royal Charter on its centenary in 2006.  It is the oldest established association in the United Kingdom for those interested in English at all levels, from primary to higher education and beyond.  Its aim is to further knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the English language and its literatures and to foster good practice in its teaching and learning.

·         The United Kingdom Literacy Association is a registered charity, which has as its sole object the advancement of education in literacy.  UKLA is committed to promoting good practice nationally and internationally in literacy and language teaching and research.  The Association was founded in 1963 as the United Kingdom Reading Association.  In 2003 it changed its name to the United Kingdom Literacy Association, to reflect more accurately its wider range of concerns.

·         Full details of the Awards, with links to the winners (from 9.00am 11 May), the shortlist, and reviews of the winning and shortlisted books, are on http://bit.ly/4-11awards


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

BRANFORD BOASE AWARD: SHORTLIST 2016

Stars of the future named today on the shortlist for the award that singles out the most talented debut authors for children
 The shortlist for the 2016 Branford Boase Award is announced today (Wednesday 4th May 2016). The Branford Boase Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children. Uniquely, it also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.
Now in its sixteenth year the Branford Boase Award is recognised as one of the most important awards in children’s books with a hugely impressive record in identifying authors with special talent at the start of their careers. Meg Rosoff who has just been awarded the world’s biggest children’s book prize, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, won in 2005 with How I Live Now, while Frances Hardinge, who this year won the Costa Book of the Year Award with her children’s novel The Lie Tree, was named Branford Boase Awardwinner exactly ten years ago. 
From this year’s longlist of 23 books, the judges have selected a shortlist of six outstanding debut novels:
Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare, edited by Penny Thomas. Illustrations by Jane Thomas (Firefly Press)
Stone Rider by David Hofmeyr, edited by Ben Horslen and Tig Wallace (Penguin)
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt, edited by Ben Horslen. Illustrations by Ross Collins (Penguin)
My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow)          
Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford, edited by Nicholas Lake (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson, edited by Bella Pearson (David Fickling Books)
This year the judges are Russell Allen team leader for children’s services across the West Sussex Library Service, recently awarded Public Librarian of the Year; Simon Key, bookseller from the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green; Marion Lloyd, former children’s editor; and Rosie Rowell, author of Leopold Blue, winner of the 2015 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of the Guardian.
Julia Eccleshare says: “UK children’s publishers are more eager than ever to find and nurture talented new authors and this is an extremely exciting shortlist. All areas of the children’s book market are flourishing so this list includes books for young readers and for teenagers. It reflects current trends and features some wildly inventive books that play with language and ideas; a time travel story; a book that explores a transgender teenager’s struggle with identity; a book about a parent’s depression. They are all distinguished by the quality of the writing, the author’s ability to control plot and create character, and by an originality of approach.”
 Other previous winners and shortlisted authors include Kevin Brooks, Siobhan Dowd, Mal Peet, Philip Reeve, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness, all of whom went on to win the CILIP Carnegie Medal.
The winner of the 2016 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Thursday 7th July at a ceremony in London. The winning author receives a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor receive a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.
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 18s.
The Award is the joint idea of Julia Eccleshare and Anne Marley. Julia is the children’s books editor of The Guardian, chair of PLR and director of the Hay Festival chidlren’s programme as well as a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Front Row and Open Book programmes. Anne is now co-director 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.
Last year’s winners were Rosie Rowell and her editor Emily Thomas with Leopold Blue(Hot Key Books).
For more information about the award, including a full list of past winners, and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition visit www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk .