Thursday, December 28, 2006


Phillipa Pearce died on Thursday December 21 2006. One of the very best writers of children's books she was born in 1920 and brought up in Great Shelford, a village just outside Cambridge, where she spent much of her life and which provided the setting for perhaps her greatest book Tom's Midnight Garden.

After leaving Cambridge University in 1942 she worked as a civil servant, then an educational and children's book editor and finally as a scriptwriter and producer for BBC Radio. I first met her when working in a very lowly capacity at Andre Deutsch and I have to say my chief memory is of her daughter Sally tipping out the wastepaper baskets so she could sit on them! I have fond memories of her over the years ranging from an excellent lunch at her cottage in Great Shelford (the wine was kept in the outside loo), to her incisive questions from the floor at a Federation of Children's Book Conference and to the last meeting earlier this year at lunch following the memorial service for Jan Mark. Her strong sense of humour and her slightly terrifying intelligence shone as brightly as ever.

Her first book, Minnow on the Say (1955) illustrated superbly by Edward Ardizzone was commended for the Carnegie Medal and her second novel Tom's Midnight Garden (1958) won the award. It is a powerful book, and deals so well with the contradictory longing to remain a child for ever but with the pull to explore the world beyond childhood. Her writing continued with A Dog So Small (1962) which opened and closed on Hampstead Heath, her favourite part of London - she lived for some time in Gospel Oak. The Battle of Bubble and Squeak (1978) won the Whitbread Award. The Way to Sattin Shore (1983) is set in Suffolk, another part of East Anglia well known to her. Several excellent collections of short stories were published and her final novel, illustrated sympathically by Patrick Benson, was published in 2004. The Little Gentleman tells of the friendship between a 300 year old mole (who can talk) and a lonely young girl. I have a card from Philippa in front of me as I type "I hadn't written a book for 20 years. Surely, I'd retired...until, I walked the dog round our meadow, avoiding molehills".

She will be much missed, but what a wealth of books she leaves us.

Enid Stephenson

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Medway Book Award 2006

Medway Book Award has been won this year by Stuart Hill for Cry of the Icemark. The award was presented at the Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School on 27th November when Stuart held a group of the young judges spellbound. The award is presented annually for the best debut novel for teenagers and has previously been won by Eleanor Updale and Robert Muchamore. Six Medway Secondary Schools (Math School, Rainham Girls, Thomas Aveling, Robert Napier, Chapter School and Chatham South) took part and Stuart was a very popular winner coming out top of a strong field including CILIP Carnegie medal nominee Gabrielle Zevin.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Over 500 Angus pupils gathered in Montrose Academy on Friday 8 December for the launch of the Angus Book Award 2007.

This year the shortlist features three novels by authors new to the Angus Book Award and a return by two authors previously shortlisted, Alan Gibbons 2004 and Theresa Breslin 1996. Divided City by Theresa Breslin, is a tense and thought-provoking tale which explores loyalty, prejudice and the ugliness of sectarianism
Candy by Kevin Brooks, a walk on the wilder side of life through the dark world of drug addiction and prostitution, this sharp, sensitive and exciting read is a real gripper.
Hold On by Alan Gibbons, a perceptive and powerful exploration of family relationships and how society feels the need to ridicule or exclude individuality.
Damage by Sue Mayfield, a disturbingly realistic novel, which exposes the raw emotional wounds of those who are scarred by the events of one winter night.
The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick, takes the reader on a journey through the gift of foresight and its consequences in this dark and mesmerising novel of gothic spirit.

The 2007 winner will be announced at the award ceremony in Arbroath on 15 May 2007.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


"A GOOD READ" – Berkshire’s first book award chosen by young people for young people
The Berkshire Book Award was launched in 2004 and has been tremendously successful in its first two years. Over 50 schools and 1200 young people have taken part in this new award for the best, recently published book written for young people.. The Award is the first of its kind in Berkshire and differs from similar Award schemes by involving young people in both nominating the titles and selecting the winner.

The Shortlist:
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas John Boyne
The Dangerous Book for Boys Gonn & Hal Iggulden
Beast Ally Kennen
Alone on a wide, wide sea Michael Morpurgo
Candy Floss Jacqueline Wilson
Storm Thief Chris Wooding
These titles will be read and reviewed by young people all over the county between now and the end of March 2007. The Award Website gives all the information about the Award and will enable young people to swap reviews online. Discussion groups and events will be taking place in schools across Berkshire over the next three months.
Voting takes place week commencing 12th March and the winner will be announced on 23rd March 2007.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


We all knew this as the Whitbread Prize - but will now have to think in terms of coffee not beer. I wonder if the Costa Coffee will have copies of the books in all their outlets - what an excellent promotion that would be.

The report in The Guardian gives no details, other than the shortlist, of the children's books. However, ever presicient, you can read more about Julia Golding in our most recent issue (34); or order back copies (0121 622 7458) and read about David Almond (issue 29), Linda Newbery (issue 21) and Meg Rosoff (issue 31).

Children's Books Shortlist:

David Almond, Clay, Hodder Children's Books
Julia Golding, The Diamond of Drury Lane, Egmont
Linda Newbery, Set in Stone, David Fickling Books
Meg Rosoff, Just in Case, Puffin

Monday, November 27, 2006


Early years (0 - 7 years)
Winner: Little Lost Cowboy by Simon Puttock and Caroline Jayne Church
About the authors:
Simon Puttock was born in New Zealand and grew up in Trinidad, Kent and Wiltshire. He has worked in a bakery, as a DJ and for over 10 years as a children’s bookseller. He always wanted to be a writer and in 2004 he moved to Edinburgh to write full-time. He is the author of numerous picture books and is currently working on a story for 8-12 year olds.
Caroline Jayne Church is the creator of many books for young children, published throughout the UK and abroad. Describing herself as a ‘serious daydreamer’ at school, illustrating children’s books is the only thing she has ever wanted to do.
Reader’s verdict: "When we read Little Lost Cowboy to Primary 3 they loved it. They could not stop laughing. I thought they were going to explode. I think everyone who has young children should buy this brilliant book and read it to their younger ones because I’m sure it will be the best book they will have ever read or heard." (Charlie Duffy, aged 11, St Brigid’s Primary School, Glasgow)
Shortlist panel’s comments: "A fantastically heartwarming tale about a little lost coyote pup! Humorous and well-written with a host of other animals playing their support roles perfectly this picture book reads aloud brilliantly, especially with a cowboy accent!"

Younger readers (8 – 12 years)
Winner: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J K Rowling
About the author: J K Rowling started writing the Harry Potter series during a Manchester to London King’s Cross train journey, and during the next five years, outlined the plots for each book and began writing the first novel. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in 1997 and became an all-time bestseller. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth book in the series.
Reader’s verdict: "J K Rowling is an exceptionally good author, but this is one of her best yet! ...I will definitely vote for it as it has me really gripped and passed the test with flying colours. Well done, J K Rowling! A real toe-curler!" (Margaret Ann MacLeod, aged 10, Western Isles Library, Isle of Lewis).
Shortlist panel’s comments: "A fantastically well-written and gripping read – the 6th Harry Potter book definitely lives up to expectations!"

Older readers (13 – 16 years)
Winner: Roxy’s Baby by Catherine MacPhail
About the author: Catherine MacPhail was born and brought up in Greenock in Scotland where she still lives. She started off writing short stories for magazines and radio, as well as two romantic novels. She never even considered writing for children until something happened to her daughter, Katie, which sparked off her first novel for teenagers, Run Zan Run. Roxy’s Baby is Cathy’s twentieth book.
Reader’s verdict: "When I began this book I didn’t put it down until the final word … I was exceptionally engrossed and captivated … I could feel my heart racing as I progressed nearer the end of the novel … Roxy’s Baby, a thriller I’m strongly passionate about." (Leah Aylwin, Bearsden Academy, East Dunbartonshire).
Shortlist panel’s comments: "A page-turning read which delves into a dark subject matter, dealt with with sensitivity and flair."


Who do you want to be the next Children's Laureate?

Children and adults are welcome to make nominations for the next Children's Laureate, who will be appointed in June 2007 for a two year term.

Who can I choose?

A writer, poet or an illustrator ... • who is still alive! • who has written or illustrated many books and has been published for at least eight years. • who lives and works in the UK.

Nominations are open until 31 December 2006.

For more information, read our terms and conditions and privacy policy You can only make one nomination. If you make more than one your nomination will be discounted.A summary of the nominations received will be sent to the judging panel, including the numbers of nominations for each individual. The children who write the three nominations we like the best will be invited to the award ceremony in June 2007 and 10 others whose comments we enjoy will be sent book prizes

The selection process for the new Children’s Laureate has begun. Votes are coming in from Children - by votes on line – Click on - representing librarians, critics, writers and booksellers, including the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). The voting process closes on 31 December 2006

The next step:
In March 2007, nominations will be considered by the recently appointed selection panel for the appointment of the Children’s Laureate. The new panel of experts is chaired by Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty and represents different fields in the wide world of children’s literature:
∑ Marilyn Brocklehurst – independent bookseller, Norfolk Children’s Book Centre
∑ Lindsey Fraser – literary agent, critic and member of the Children’s Laureate Steering Committee
∑ John O’Farrell – author and journalist
∑ Phyllis Ramage – children’s librarian, London Borough of Harrow
∑ Dr David Rudd – University of Bolton, academic specialising in children’s literature
∑ Representative from the sponsors, Waterstone’s

The fifth Children’s Laureate, will replace Jacqueline Wilson when she completes her two-year term of office in June 2007. Previous Children’s Laureates - Quentin Blake, Anne Fine and Michael Morpurgo.

‘The appointment of the Children’s Laureate acknowledges the importance of the exceptional children’s authors in creating readers of tomorrow. The selection panel represents and reflects the diverse world of children’s literature.’ Nikki Marsh, Head of Education at Booktrust

‘Waterstone’s is absolutely delighted to be sponsoring the Laureate in 2007 and looks forward to building on the excellent contribution Jacqueline Wilson and former laureates have made.’ Wayne Winstone, Category Manager for Children’s Books at Waterstone’s

The current Children’s Laureate:
During her first year in office it is estimated that Jacqueline Wilson had
· spoken to over 16,000 children at all kinds of events all over the country
· filled 35 days touring in England, Wales and Scotland, going to smaller venues at more remote spots as well as visiting big cities
· spent 54 hours at literary events, conferences and festivals – talking to children and adults and signing books for them· launched the Read Aloud campaign…
. Great Books to Read Aloud, published by Random House (May 2006)· given numerous interviews including Desert Island Discs (16th October 2005)
. A profile of the Children’s Laureate was a South Bank Show Special (5th March 2006)
· discussed what it means to be a Laureate with Andrew Motion, the Poet Laureate (on 28th September 2005)
· presented the Ottakar’s Children’s Book Prize (26th January 2006)
· supported charities – RNIB, Childline, Brake, The Fostering Network, Great Ormond Street Hospital, The NSPCC and Book Aid International

For full details see

For further information visit the Booktrust website:

The award is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Waterstones are sole sponsors of the 2005-7 award, which is also supported by the following publishers: Random House, Egmont, Walker Books, Oxford University Press, Scholastic and Puffin.

The award is administered by Booktrust, an independent national charity that encourages people of all ages and cultures to discover and enjoy reading. The reader is at the heart of everything they do.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Charlotte's Web at Dukes, Lancaster from Friday 24 November to January 6. Tickets £5-12 with concessions. Tel. 01524 598500. LynGardner of The Guardian says "makes the transitiion from page to stage very well with actors playing both the humans and the animals on Zuckerman's farm"

James and the Giant Peach at Octagon, Bolton from Friday 24 November to January 20. Tickets £10-£14.95 with concessions. Tel 01204 520661. This is a theatrical by David Wood - someone who can be relied on to put over Dahl books with enormous panache.

Danny The Champion of the World at Birmingham Old Rep from Saturday November 18 to January 27. A production by the well-thought of Birmingham Stage Company.

Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough from 6December - 6 January 01723 370541 This interactive play - can Susie and her enormous dog outwit Mr Accousticus - keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, and the audience is in final control of the action.

The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff unil January 6 029 2064 6900 adapted by the seasoned Mike Kenny.

Pinnocchio Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh 1-30 December 0131 248 4848 This fable usually pleases.


Carrie's War at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, Sadlers Wells, London
Carrie and her brother Nick are evacuees transported to the safety of the countryside in the 1940s. There they stay with mean Mr Evans, but there's also kind Auntie Lou, and brilliant young Albert Sandwich and Mr Johnny, who speaks his own language, and Hepzibah, the witch at Druid's Grove who makes perfect mince pies. And then there's the ancient skull with its terrifying curse…
Thursday 23rd November 06– Saturday 6th January 07, Adults £24 Children £20. Previews (23rd Nov– 8th Dec) all tickets £10
Box Office: 0870 737 7737.

Kensuke's Kingdom at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London
The Birmingham Stage Company are proud to present Michael Morpurgo's award-winning book, following their acclaimed production of The Jungle Book last year.
This is the amazing story of Michael, a young boy who goes on a fantastic sailing adventure with his parents around the world. His adventure takes a nightmare turn when their boat is hit by a terrifying storm and Michael is washed overboard. He wakes up to find a himself stranded on a Pacific island. However, soon he makes an astonishing discovery – the seemingly deserted island is already home to one extraordinary man – this is Kensuke's Kingdom.
Kensuke's Kingdom is suitable for the whole family, from 5 years upwards and runs from Tuesday 12th December – Saturday 27th January 06.
Adults £15, Children £10, Concs £12.50, Family of Four £45
Box Office: 020 7388 8822 See online trailer at

Coram Boy National Theatre 29 Novemb er - 24 February 020 7452 3000. A chance to catch this adaptation of Jamila Gavin's novel which was so popular last year.

Journey to the River Sea Unicorn Theatre, SE1 8 December - 28 January 020 7645 0560 A terrific novel by Eva Ibbotson and it should make an excellent stage play.

Watership Down The Lyric, Hammersmith W6 23 November - 13 January 08700 500511 A stage version of the still extremely popular allegorical tale by Richard Adams of rabbits adventures.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Four cities united today in the announcement of Britain’s largest ever community-based reading project with the backing of Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Small Island Read 2007 – which takes place from 11 January 2007 – builds on the success of the annual Bristol Great Reading Adventure and Liverpool Reads initiatives, and brings in new partners from Aye Write! The Glasgow Book Festival and Hull Libraries. Tens of thousands of people from Scotland to Cornwall are expected to join the project and read Small Island by Andrea Levy.
Small Island Read 2007 is linked to the 2007 commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the passing of the Slave Trade Abolition Bill – a year that is being used to explore the legacy of slavery and its continuing impact upon modern Britain. Andrea Levy’s widely acclaimed and award-winning novel describes the arrival in post-war Britain of black Jamaican immigrants, the descendants of enslaved Africans. It addresses the themes of identity, racial awareness, forgiveness, ignorance and survival with humour, high drama, anger and pathos, providing an unforgettable read in 2007.
In announcing their support for Small Island Read 2007, Adrian Tinniswood, of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Nick Capaldi, of Arts Council England, commented:
We have supported two Bristol reading projects already and are delighted to be supporting this national project. Remembering the victims of the slave trade is essential to everyone’s lives. Just as important is celebrating the diversity of the modern city.
They added:
The mass reading project – and the associated arts and heritage projects – provides a fitting start to the 2007 commemorations.

In addition to the thousands of copies of the book being available for loan in the participating cities, readers will be able to obtain a fully illustrated guide, which provides information on the author and background material on the themes of slavery and migration. Books for younger readers are also being used as part of the project to ensure all age groups can take part. These are Benjamin Zephaniah’s Refugee Boy and Mary Hoffman’s Amazing Grace.
All four cities were involved in the slave trade and the campaign for its abolition. In a joint statement the four cities said today:
We are all committed to promoting reading and literacy, at the same time as encouraging learning about the past. We are confident we will achieve both of these aims with Small Island Read 2007and are delighted to be working together on such an exciting and inspirational project. All this work will promote the pleasures of reading and learning about the past and celebrating the present – in this case the diversity of our cities.
They added:
The Bristol Great Reading Adventure and Liverpool Reads have already shown how mass-reading initiatives can engage a wide range of people in a single book, inspire discussion and debate, encourage more reading, writing and creativity, enhance social capital through the building of networks across the community, promote learning about our heritage, and be fun for all those involved.
For Small Island Read 2007:
50,000 copies of Small Island will be distributed free of charge in Bristol and the South West, Liverpool and North West England, Hull and Glasgow.
80,000 copies of a full-colour, illustrated guide will be distributed free of charge.
All the library authorities in Bristol and South West England, Liverpool, Hull and Glasgow are participating, along with many in North West England – over 500 libraries in total.
A programme of schools and adult learners workshops will be held in addition to reading group discussions, competitions, quizzes, talks and other activities.
An extensive website – – to be launched in January 2007 will provide news of events taking place as well as further background information and links to resources.
Andrea Levy said today:
I am very excited that Small Island is the focus of this ambitious mass-reading project. I feel deeply honoured that it has been chosen in the year that commemorates the ending of the slave trade, and that the novel, which is set in the 1940s, is being used as the springboard to look back to the important issues of slavery and its aftermath. It has always been one of the aims of my writing to make the history of African-Caribbean people in this country more visible and to show their story to be an important part of British history. I hope everyone who takes part in the Small Island Read 2007 really enjoys the experience.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


The distinguished children's agent Gina Pollinger will be giving a talk at Seven Stories in Newcastle on 23 November. The evening begins with wine and nibbles at 6.30. Gina's talk will bear on her memories of the late children's book editor, Miriam Hodgson as well as her own experience of editing of children's books. Gina and Murray Pollinger represented over 240 children's authors before they retired and Gina would be delighted to see as many as possible again on this occasion. Further details from Seven Stories, 30 Lime Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2PQ Tel 0845-271-0777, or email

Saturday, November 11, 2006


The Institut Francais, 17 Queensbury Place, London SW7 2DT is running its annual Youth Festival with films, workshops and free talks. The launch event is Michael Rosen and Carl Norac in conversation "On being a poet and children's author" chaired by Quentin Blake. 6.30pm 15 November. There will be a bilingual bookshop open for all three days and a "Fun" day on the Saturday. Full details on

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Congratulations to Anthony McGowan for winning the 2006 Booktrust Teenage Prize. Thought a controversial choice by some for its irreverent style and strong language Henry Tumour tells the story of Hector Brunty, who struggles with his alter-ego, his abusive but hilariously funning talking brain-tumour Henry. You can read a review of this book in the latest edition of Carousel.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Arthur Ransome’s charming collection of Russian folk tales, as told by Old Peter the forester to his grandchildren, Vanya and Maroosia, is this Christmas’s family offering on Radio 4. First published in 1916, Old Peter’s Russian Tales was published by Jane Nissen Books in 2003 with illustrations by Faith Jacques and introduction by Ransome expert Christina Hardyment. Written in Russia, where Ransome was a journalist in the lead up to and during the revolution, the stories sympathetically depict Old Peter as a devout Tsarist, despite Ransome’s strong personal friendship with Trotsky and Lenin (he married Trotsky’s secretary). The stories have been dramatised by David Britton and will be broadcast, with Trevor Cooper playing Old Peter, in Woman’s Hour at 10.45 each morning and then repeated at 19.45. Each story will be given 15 minutes and will go out from 25/12 to 29/12. (Sadko on 25/12, The Fool of the World on 26/12, Baba Yaga on 27/12, The Silver Saucer and the Transparent Apple on 28/12 and Little Master Misery on 29/12) Old Peter, Vanya and Maroosia live in a hut in the middle of the snowbound forest, in Russia, but their lives are rich. They have firewood, good soup, Vladimir, the affectionate cat, and wonderful stories to keep them going through the winter.

Trevor Cooper stars as Old Peter, with newcomers Harry Hughes and Jemmy Mackenzie Brown as the children. Trevor is a familiar face on British television, most recently seen as Oliver Hardy in BBC4’s Stan, and as Scaevinus in Ancient Rome and is currently filming The History of Mr Polly for ITV. He also played Henry Moss in Michael Attenborough’s The Late Henry Moss for the Almeida Theatre.

Arthur Ransome’s Old Peter’s Russian Tales (Jane Nissen Books £7.99 1-903252-16-4)

Saturday, October 21, 2006


The Illustration Cupboard has shown at galleries, festivals, conferences and on the web - and has done much to make the public more aware of the superb quality of many illustrators. On 15th November it will open its own all-year-round exhibition space (on three floors) at 22 Bury Street, London (Bury Street is off Jermyn Street at the St James's Street end - and Jermyn Street is the next street down from Piccadilly). The Winter Exhibition includes illustrations by Pauline Baynes, Babette Cole, Shirley Hughes, Robert Ingpen and Jan Pienkowski. The gallery will hold a constant and revolving programme of exhibitions throughout the year and there will be special family afternoons. Details will be found on the website.

Monday, October 16, 2006


The search for the 2006 winner has just started. This award was launchin in 2004 and since then the award has gone to '04 Anthony Horowitz "Scorpia"; ;05 JK Rowling "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

The press release says the award is judged by 11-14 year olds in schools and libraries across the county. It also says fiction sequels are not eligible. So I'm confused...


Nicholas Allen is opening the Fair in aid of the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. It will be held at the Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall, Hornton Street (just off Kensington High Street) London on 27th November - a preview evening at £15 which includes wine and canapes and runs from 6-9pm. The fair is open the following day, 28 November, from 9.30am-4pm admission £4.

Nicholas will be there throughout the event to meet his many fans and sign copies of his books including the latest More and More Rabbits. Why not ask him if he is prepared to do one of his conjuring tricks?!

Friday, October 13, 2006


"This is such an important award, especially in our perilous times. It makes us look beyond our horizons, and draws together readers and writers from around the world" - David Almond
The 2007 shortlist:
The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer
translated from Dutch by John Nieuwenhuizen
(Young Picador, Macmillan, 2006)
A Bridge to the Stars by Henning Mankell
translated from Swedish by Laurie Thompson
(Andersen Press, 2005)
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
translated from German by Anthea Bell
(Chicken House, 2004)
The Flowing Queen by Kai Meyer
translated from German by Anthea Bell
(Egmont, 2005)
Just Like Tomorrow by Faiza Guene
translated from French by Sarah Adams
(Random House, 2006)
Mimus by Lilli Thal
translated from German by John Brownjohn
(Allen & Unwin, 2005)
The winner will be announced on 23rd January 2007 at a ceremony at The Arts Club, London, where the award and a prize of £1000 will be presented to the translator of the winning book.

Monday, October 09, 2006


The Shortlisted books are:
Siobhan Dowd - A Swift Pure Cry - David Fickling Books
Ally Kennen - Beast - Scholastic Books
Paul Magrs - Exchange - Simon & Schuster
Anthony McGowan - Henry Tumour - Doubleday
Marcus Sedgwick - The Foreshadowing - Orion
John Singleton - Angel Blood - Puffin

The website for the prize promotes the prize and books for young people as well as carrying comments and reviews. The winner will be announced on Thursday 2 November.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Congratulations to:
Mandy Stanley for winning the Baby Book Award with "How do you feel" published by HarperCollins;
Sam Lloyd for winning the Pre-School Award with "Mr Pusskins" published by Orchard Books
Catherine Rayner for winning the Best New Illustrator category with "Augustus and his Smile" published by Little Tiger

Writer's Day in Winchester

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators are running a one day conference on Saturday 11 November 2006 at King Alfred's University College, Winchester. Entitled "Write it, craft it, sell it!" it is a day packed with seminars and ending with an editors panel. Plenty of practical information and advice from such seasoned authors as Rachel Anderson and Debi Gliori. Members of SCBWI or Society of Authors get in for £70 for the day including hot lunch(!), students £60 and non-members £90. Full details on their website

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The family film club, now in its 22nd year, presents exciting screenings and workshops every Saturday. There is a new theme each month. October is Halloween Horrors and screenings include ". The Worst Witch".

The Film Club is open to all 5-11 year olds and their families and membership costs £7.50 a year for the whole family - up to 6 people. Members pay only £2.50 ticket in advance or £3 on the day.

Check out the website for full details

Friday, September 15, 2006


The Shortlist has now been decided by the adult judging panel consisting of the Editor of Blue Peter, Richard Marson; Jane Churchill, Director Cheltenham Literary Festival Programming for the Young; Tony de Saulles, award-winning illustrator of the Horrible Science series.

The book I couldn't put down
The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins)
Blood Fever, Charlie Higson (Puffin)
GRK and the Pelotti Gang, Joshua Doder (Andersen)

The best book with facts
Connor's Eco Den, Pippa Goodhart (Barrington Stoke)
Poo, Nicola Davies and Neal Layton (Walker)
Spud goes green, Giles Thaxton (Egmont)

The best illustrated book to read aloud
Guess who's coming for dinner?, John Kelly and Cathy Tincknell (Templar)
Lost and found, Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins)
Traction Man is here, Mini Grey (Red Fox)

Ten young judges, selected as a result of a Blue Peter on-line competition, will now read the short list and meet to decide on the winners and the overall winner next month.

Friday, September 01, 2006


It is unusual for children's books to have strict embargoes - and even more unusual for those to be of sufficient interest to be breached. The New York Times on 28th August ran a story

"A copy of Ms McCaughrean's manuscript obtained by The New York Times is more in keeping(than the Barry and Pearson prequels) with the style of Barrie's educated British voice and her Peter is truer to the original: as selfish and egomaniacal as ever."

It then goes on to give hints of the story and have caused OUP to issue a press release saying that they are investigating the leak. In a joint statement with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity say they "obviously we will be trying to find out, in conjunction with the US publisher, how this happened. However the published article only included a few new details, plus some inaccuracies..."

The book, "Peter Pan in Scarlet" by Geraldine McCaughrean will be published in the UK by OUP, in the States by Simon & Schuster and will be published simultaneously in 31 countries in 34 editions on 5th October 2006.

Carousel will be carrying an interview with the author, Geraldine McCaughrean, in the next issue - available from the end of October. If you wish to subscribe please complete the form which you can access from the home page of the Carousel website or leave a message on 0121 622 7558 or email


They celebrated their first birthday on Saturday 19th August with a traditional party. Mary Briggs, Chief Executive at Seven Stories says "We have had 80,000 people through the door in our first year and fantastic feedback from visitors young and old." Elizabeth Hammill, Collections Development Director "It's been a roller coaster ride in the politics, economics and challenges of initiating a new cultural enterprise".

Seven Stories is based in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle and is open daily. There is a large children's bookshop, changing exhibitions and a growing collections of books, artworks, manuscripts and other pre-publication materials by modern authors and illustrators.

Hampshire Book Award

Students from 40 Hampshire secondary schools have chosen THE SPOOK'S APPRENTICE by Joseph Delaney as their top paperback fiction title published in 2005. This is the first time this book has won a prize despite being on many short lists. Just shows that fantasy still strikes a cord with the young. The other short listed titles were MUDLARK by John Sedden; RUBY TANYA by Bob Swindells; BLOOD PRESSURE by Alan Gibbons and THE HEAVEN SHOP by Deborah Ellis.

Friday, July 14, 2006

CLPE Poetry Award 2006

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education is delighted to annouce that the winner is

Poems about important stuff chosen by Fiona Waters
(Published by Puffin Books)
The presentation was made at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education on Tuesday July 4th 2006 by Michael Rosen.
The CLPE Poetry Award was set up in 2002 and aims to honour excellence in poetry written for children. It is presented annually for a book of poetry published in the previous year.
The judges this year were Valerie Bloom, Roger McGough and Tony Mitton, with Margaret Meek Spencer as chair of the judges.
The CLPE Poetry Ward is administered by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, Webber Street, London SE1 8QW. It is supported in 2006, as in 2004 and 2005, by Mr and Mrs J. A. Pye's Charitable Settlement.
For further information, please contact:
Ann Lazim 020 7401 3382 email
Other books shortlisted were:
Gerard Benson, Judith Chernaik, Cicely Herbert (eds): The Carnival of the Animals, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura (Walker)
June Crebbin: The Crocodile is Coming!, illustrated by Mini Grey (Walker)
Belinda Hollyer (ed): She's All That! Poems about Girls, illustrated by Susan Hellard (Kingfisher)
Michael Morpurgo, Jane Feaver (eds): Cock Crow, Poems about life in the countryside, illustrated by Quentin Blake (Egmont)

Thursday, July 13, 2006


at the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington
until 15th April 2007
Feast on a world of devouring dinosaurs and come face to face with 10 of the most incredibly lifelike moving dinosaurs ever created, discovering what these awesome creatures ate for dinner. From the flesh-eating T. rex (which could eat the equivalent of 750 chicken drumsticks a day) to the plant-munching Iguanodon, get to grips with jaws, claws, guts and even poo using exciting hands-on activities to unearth the sometimes gruesome, often disgusting, subject of dinosaurs and their food.
Book now on 0870 013 0731 or visit for more information plus fun stuff.
Tickets: £8; £5 children and concessions; £21 families. Free to Members, Patrons, 3s and under. Entrance to the exhibition is timed, so advance booking is strongly recommended to guarantee your ticket. A booking fee is payable on all pre-booked tickets.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards 2005

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal was won by
published by Macmillan Children's Books
The CILIP Carnegie Medal was won by
MAL PEET for Tamar
published by Walker Books
The awards were presented at a ceremony at the British Library
on Friday July 7th 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006



Wolf Brother, Michelle Paver
Checkmate, Malorie Blackman
Roxy's Baby, Catherine MacPhail
Raven's Gate, Anthony Horowitz
Epic, Conor Kostick
The Spook's Curse, Joseph Delaney
Lord Loss, Darren Shan
Tessa in Love, Kate le Vann
Ark Angel, Anthony Horowitz

Alas no information in the press release about the date when the winner is announced...

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Many will remember with great pleasure the series of useful little books published by Dinosaur Publications, many of them written by Althea herself.

She has now turned her considerable talents as an artist in a new direction - fused glass. An exhibition of her glorious dishes and hangings will take place during the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival from 17 June - 16 July at New Oxford House, Albert Street, Hebden Bridge HX7 8AH. Opening hours 10.30-5.00 daily opening from midday to 5pm on Sundays. It is conveniently sited opposite a pub, next to a wine bar and within a short stride of a coffee bar! The full programme can be seen at


The ceremony moved to Hay for the first time and caused at least one commentator to mutter about the costs of getting there compared to going to London. As always it depends on your starting point. Not everyone lives within easy reach of London and I'm sure there is a strong argument for the Award to take place in different parts of the country. Whether Hay is the right place remains a moot point.

The overall winner of the Red House Children's Book Award was Rick Riordan with "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Lightning Thief published, as were all the other winners, by Puffin. Books for Younger Children category was won by "Pigs might Fly!" by Jonathan Emmett and Steve Cox and the Book for Younger Readers was won by "Spy Dog" by Andrew Cope.

The prize was founded in 1980 by Carousel editor and contributor Pat Thomson who is a well-known author in her own right. It is run by the Federation of Children's Book Groups and involves children right across the country in the judging process.

Monday, May 22, 2006


This year the awards are celebrating their thirtieth anniversary.

THE ENGLISH AWARD was won by Jenny Sullivan with "Tirion's Secret Journal" published by Gomer/Pont Books. The WELSH LANGUAGE PRIMARY was won by Emily Huws with "Carreg Ateb" and the SECONDARY by Gwion Hallam with "Creadyn" Gomer. The Awards will be featured on the S4C television programme "Wedi 7" on Monday 29 May.


Congratulations to Graham Joyce who has won with TWOC a hard hitting fast paced novel which takes a step into the world of teenage joyriding (published by Faber). The prize is voted on by over 500 14 year olds and was launched in 1996 by Angus Council.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Jacqueline Wilson, the Chioldren's Laureate, said when presenting awards to two exceptional School Librarians "I think school librarians do a sterling job. It's their enthusiasm and hard work that encourage so many children to become hooked on books and develop a love of reading" The SLA Life Achievement Award was presented for the first time to Lynn Barrett from Bradford and the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award to Anne-
arie Tarter for her work at Ripon Grammar School, North Yorkshire.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Kate Petty (author) , Jennie Maizels (illustrator) and Corina Fletcher (paper engineer) have won the Royal Society's Aventis Junior Prize 2006. Lord Rees of Ludlow, President of the Royal Society and Professor Uwe Bicker, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Aventis Foundation, presented the £10,000 prize to Kate, Jennie and Corina for their book The Global Garden (Eden Books).

A judging panel, chaired by Anne Fine, selected a shortlist of six titles before handing over the final judging decision to over a thousand young people in groups across the UK.

The Global Garden helps children to explore their natural world and discover the origins of products that we all use on a daily basis. Friendly bees and moles help the intrepid reader to negotiate the secret flaps, levers and windows that reveal where jeans grow, what a bicycle plant looks like and how photosynthesis occurs. The book encourages younger readers to engage with environmental issues from an early age, and to consider the impact that their little home has on the winder global garden. Tabby (aged 14) said "We wish our text books were like this"....

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Dick Bruna is Holland's most successful living artist and at the age of 78 is still working every day in his studio in Utrecht. He is about to publish his 114th title. Utrecht's Centraal Museum opens the Dick Bruna Huis at Agnietenstraat 2, Utrecht this year. On show will be original sketches and drawings. For opening times and further information go to


Available now at £1 from most bookshops - and free from some - this is a useful list inspired by the present Children's Laureate, Jacqueline Wilson. Of course I have quibbles. Whatever list is published without people wondering why such and such is excluded. My main beef though is the exclusion of picture books from all but the youngest age range 0-5 years. I thought that particular battle had been won some years ago. And there are picture books of such superb quality for older children it seems a shame to exclude them. Talking about the pictures is as productive as listening to a story.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Crossover Novels

Said by a rather well-known and highly rated children's author of books for 12+

"I don't know what crossovers are - a load of bollocks really"

Sunday, April 23, 2006


This will be held at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London 24-25 June 2006. Keynote speakers Malorie Blackman and Trevor Philips. Contributing authors include Beverley Naidoo, Mary Hoffman, Bali Rai and Ken Wilson-Max with poetry from John Agard, workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions and a showcase event open to local families.

The conference is organised by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education and is an initiative of the Arts Council. It is designed to raise the profile of the market opportunities for culturally diverse children's books and to explore future developments in this area.

The conference is aimed at professionals in the children's book world whether as publishers, writers, illustrators, booksellers, librarians and teachers.

Registration fee is £75 but there is (in the spirit of the ubiquitious 3 for the price of 2 offer in many bookshops) a 5 for 4 offer - band together and book 4 places for £300 and send 5 delegates.

Details and online registration visit


Ty Newydd is setting up a fund in memory of the life and work of Jan Mark. This will provide an annual bursary for a writer to attend the Writing for Children course at Ty Newydd. She was a regular tutor and guest reader from the very early years of the centre. When the centre faced closure because of lack of funds, Jan suggested and spearheaded an appeal whereby for a whole season writers tutored at Ty Newydd and donated their fees to the centre. Enough money was raised, the necessary renovation work took place and a new Ty Newydd opened in March 06. They say "they owe Jan a great deal".

Bursary recipients will be selected by a panel and will be unpublished but considered to have a writing talent that would benefit from such a course. They aim to raise £10,000 which will be invested and the interest generated will finance the annual bursary.

If you wish to contribute please either visit their website or email or send a cheque made out to Jan Mark Memorial Bursary Fund and sent to The Bursar, Ty Newydd, Llanysturndwy, Cricieth, Gwynedd LL52 OLW. Somewhat bizarrely they request the envelope is marked on the back "Jan Mark BF" - I think it would have raised an eyebrow or a pertinent comment from Jan.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


A day on finding inspiration, approaching publishers, working with an art director plus a creative workshop led by Jan Ormerod. Tales place on 6 May at London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, London SE1 6SB. Organised by SWBWI. Tickets for members £65, non-members £75, full-time students £30. Further details contact

Monday, April 10, 2006


This is a fairly shameless plug for the splendid reissue of The Giant under the Snow by John Gordon (Orion £9.99). But when a reissued book (it was first published in 1968) is published with such care and attention - do look at the endpapers and the chapter head illustrations by Gary Blythe - it is worth shouting about. John was interviewed by Chris Stephenson in the very first issue of Carousel and there will be a further interview with him in the next issue. So go to your nearest bookshop and ask to see a copy - lasts longer than an Easter egg!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


If you live in or near Newcastle upon Tyne or want a break in the journey to Scotland do go and see the latest exhibition at Seven Stories (30 Lime Street in the Ouseburn Valley Newcastle). "What's in the Book" celebrates the work of Janet and Allan Ahlberg and is, according to Jenny & David Blanch who went to a preview, a stunning exhibition. Open every day from 10am (from 11am on Sundays) - admission charges apply. Details

Mini Grey is appearing at Seven Stories in the Artists Attic on 24 April at 1.30pm. Her books have been enthusiastically received by Carousel since her first book appeared. An interview with Mini appeared in issue 24. Back copies of the magazine are available from Carousel tel 0121 622 7458

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Older readers may remember the delightful little rabbit Pookie, the hugely successful creation of Ivy L Wallace, in the 1940s and 50s. Born 1915 in Grimsby, she trained as an actress before turning her hand to fairy stories. On a visit to Wm. Collins Printers in Glasgow she met the director William Collins, married him and moved to Scotland. Ivy wrote many more books - the Animal shelf series, numerous stories for magazines and Christmas annuals but ceased writing on the death of her husband. An exhibition of her drawings was recently held in the Collins Gallery, Glasgow and she died at her home in Lanarkshire aged 90 in March 2006.

Val Bierman


Judith O'Neill was born in Melbourne, Australia, the great-granddaughter of William Lyall and Anne Battersby, both convicts transported to Van Dieman's Land (as Australia was known at that time). Her great-grandfather was a Scot and great-grandmother, Lancastrian, both sentenced for the petty crimes of stealing tools and items of clothing. Judith was the first member of the family to unearth this fascinating fact during her research for the numerous novels written on her return to Britain in the '60s. It was a source of pride to discover that both great-grandparents had risen to become pillars of Australian society - her great-grandfather as Mayor, with everyone being unaware of their background. Several fine novels were written when Judith married and moved to Edinburgh - Jess and the River Kids; Deepwater and the evocative So far from Skye based on her research into transportation from Skye during the 19th century Clearances. Perhaps her most fascinating book was Transported to Van Dieman's Land, a non-fiction work based on her research into her ancestors' early struggles in their new life. Sadly, Alzheimer's took away her talent and no more books appeared. She died in Stockport, March 2006.

All books published by Hamish Hamilton/Puffin except Transported to Van Dieman's Land which is published by CUP.

Val Bierman

Friday, March 31, 2006


Any writer between the ages of 11 and 17 (inc.) can enter. Poets can enter as many poems as they choose, of any length and on any theme. Competition entries cannot be returned so please make sure you keep copies. The closing date is 31 July 2006.

Prizes include books, plus free youth membership of the Poetry Society, poet visits for your school and the prize-winners' writing course at the Arvon Centre Lumb Bank, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire in February 2007.

Further details at

Poems by the Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2005 are available in an attractive slim paperback anthology When the thunder woke me - email for details.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Celebrating Children's Books 2006 Calendar

Carousel published this calendar to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the magazine and to raise money for Lupus UK. A cheque for £6245 was presented to Lupus on Saturday 25 March. A goodly sum and thanks to all those involved whether as purchasers, publishers, illustrators or those on Carousel who organised the whole thing. A very worth while exercise, and an excellent calendar too!


Congratulations to Jeremy Strong who has won the first ever Manchester Book Award with his novel for teenagers Stuff (published by Puffin £4.99). You can read an article in issue 30 of Carousel (Summer 2005) about the author and this very novel. If you haven't a copy ring the Carousel office on 0121 622 7458 and order a copy of this issue, or better still subscribe to the magazine!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Henrietta Branford Writing Competition

If you enjoy writing and are aged 18 or under why not enter the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition. The prize includes a trip to London to meet Jacqueline Wilson (Children's Laureatge) togehter with the authors shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award which celebrates new children's writers.

To enter you need to log on to to finish the story that Meg Rosoff, last year's BBA winner, has started on the website. Your story must be no more than 1500 words. Closing date for entries Friday 26 May 2006.

And don't forget for younger (much younger) readers the Carousel/Spot competition, just click on the Carousel home page to go to the competition. Closing date 7 April.

2005 Berkshire Book Award

This prize has involved over 50 schools across the county with pupils aged between 11 and 14 in reading and reviewing the six short-listed titles details Voking took place in early March and the winner has just been announced - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K.Rowling.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Jan Mark

We heard of the sudden and completely unexpected news of the death of Jan Mark on Monday 16 January. She died in her sleep on Sunday night. It is a terrific shock to all who knew her and to all who admired her work. She was a tireless supporter of Carousel and her reviews were models of the informative, pithy and always with her distinctive wit. There will be a short mention of her work with Carousel in the February edition and a longer piece in the summer magazine. She will be very much missed.