Friday, November 02, 2007

Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007

Marcus Sedgwick is the winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007 for his gothic novel My Swordhand is Singing, published by Orion.

The prize was established by Booktrust in 2003 to recognise and celebrate contemporary fiction written for teenagers.

My Swordhand is Singing is a sinister tale of a woodcutter and his son who fight the legendary undead in the wintry isolated forests of seventeenth-century Romania. The novel is a thrilling and menacing story which draws heavily on Sedgwick’s extensive research of the vampire legend in Eastern Europe.

Sedgwick, whose novels have been shortlisted for a variety of awards including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award, was present at the ceremony held in the Pearson Building to collect his trophy and cheque for £2,500.
Anthony McGowan, judge and winner of Booktrust Teenage Prize 2006:
"The 2007 Booktrust Prize turned up some stunning novels. But one novel stood out for its utterly gripping narrative, its brilliantly created atmosphere of terror and suspense, and the subtle poetry of its language. Marcus Sedgwick’s My Swordhand is Singing hooks the reader from the opening sentence, and, like the Gypsy music at its core, resonates still in the imagination long after the last note is sounded."
Viv Bird, Director of Booktrust: "Choosing this year’s winner from such a superb shortlist was extremely daunting for all our judges. The books were all of extraordinary calibre: compelling, beautifully written and reflecting a wide variety of themes. We are delighted that the Booktrust Teenage Prize is attracting such remarkable authors and congratulate Marcus wholeheartedly on his outstanding book."

The shortlisted books for the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007 are:
Theresa Breslin The Medici Seal Doubleday
Kate Cann Leaving Poppy Scholastic
Mal Peet The Penalty Walker Books
Philip Reeve Here Lies Arthur Scholastic
Meg Rosoff Just in Case Penguin
Marcus Sedgwick My Swordhand is Singing Orion

The judges for the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007 are:
Angela Wilkinson, librarian (Chair)
Tom Gatti, Associate Editor, The Times Books
Anthony McGowan, author
Isabelle Ellis-Cockcroft, school student
Sam Audet, young judge short story competition winner
Katharine Flach, young judge short story competition winner
Matthew Sawyer, young judge short story competition winner
Francesca Grapes, young judge short story competition winner
Zita Abila, young judge short story competition winner

Friday, October 05, 2007

Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

The winner of the 40th Guardian Children's Fiction Prize went to Jenny Valentine with her first novel Finding Violet Park published, and now available in paperback, from HarperCollins. She will be on the Richard and Judy Best Kids' Books Ever programme on October 28.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Early Years Award Winners and Big Picture

Booktrust was thrilled to announce both the winners of their coveted Early Years Awards, and the launch of their Big Picture campaign whose aim is to find the best new illustrators.

Speaking at the awards ceremony at BAFTA in Piccadilly Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen revealed Booktrust’s plans to encourage and embrace the new generation of talented illustrators by launching the search for the Best New Illustrators. Booktrust aim to find the best illustrators first published in the UK in or after 2000. The winners will be announced in spring 2008.
Michael Rosen, Children’s Laureate: "The picture book is a wonderful art form that can delight the eye and the ear at the same time. It is really good that we have this campaign to support this medium. Awards like this will enable us to welcome in the next generation, which will gives us the Quentin Blake, Raymond Briggs and Shirley Hughes of the future."

Booktrust were delighted to announce the winners for their 2007 Early Years Awards, which exemplify the remarkable creativity in words, design and illustration necessary to encourage young children into reading.
The winner for the Baby Book Award:
Jess Stockham Tucking In Child’s Play
The winner for the Pre-School Award:
Polly Dunbar Penguin Walker Books
The winner for the Best Emerging Illustrator:
Emily Gravett Monkey and Me Macmillan Children’s

Wendy Cooling presented the winners for each category with a cheque for £2,000 and a customised trophy. The best new illustrator was presented with a specially commissioned piece of original artwork donated by the children’s illustrator Axel Scheffler. The publishers of the three winning titles were presented with trophies naming them as one of the Booktrust Early Years Awards Publishers of the Year.
Viv Bird, Director of Booktrust:
"We were overwhelmed by the number of entries to our awards this year. The three deserving winners hugely impressed the panel with their creativity and beautifully illustrated books to delight and inspire new readers."
The judges for 2007 are:
Wendy Cooling, Children’s Book Consultant (Chair)
Axel Scheffler, Illustrator
Elena Dalrymple, Editor of Mother & Baby Magazine
Clive Barnes, Children’s Librarian
Angela Lewis, Modernisation Lead for Children, Young People and Families at East Riding of Yorkshire Primary Care Trust
The Booktrust Early Years Awards are supported by the national Bookstart Programme and their sponsors and The Unwin Charitable Trust. Booktrust would like to thank Mother & Baby Magazine for being our 2007 media partner.

The Big Picture is a campaign to put picture books in the public eye. In particular it will work to improve the status and profile of illustrators and to engage more adults with picture books. The Big Picture's Best New Illustrators initiative is open to all illustrators first published in the UK in or after 2000. Publishers should consult the submission guidelines on for more details of how to take part. The Best New Illustrators will be announced in spring next year and will form the core of the Big Picture's national promotion through the rest of 2008. The Big Picture is supported by children's publishers and by Bookstart. For more information contact Abigail Campbell ( or Emma Phillips (

Korky Paul and the Story Museum

Would you or someone you love like to appear in a future Winnie the Witch story by award-winning children's illustrator, Korky Paul? Visit Korky’s studio (or send a colour photograph), have your likeness drawn and receive a signed copy of the book on publication. This unique gift is being auctioned online to raise money for the Story Museum project in Oxford. The auction runs from 5th to 15th October 2007.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children's Books Shortlist

The Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children's BooksThe best books of the year, as voted for by Scottish ChildrenNOW THE UK'S BIGGEST CHILDREN'S BOOK AWARD

Managed by Scottish Book

Formerly the Scottish Arts Council Children's Book of the Year, the awards were relaunched last year as a national readership development campaign to encourage readership of Scottish books in Scottish schools. During the 2006 campaign, nearly 5,000 children from every education authority in Scotland were involved in reading the shortlist and nearly 3,000 votes were cast.The 2007 awards are bigger than ever. With a total prize fund of £15,000 they are now the UK's biggest children's book award. And not only that, their reach across Scotland is bigger than ever before. So far, nearly 8,000 kids have signed up to judge this year's award .... and there are still 3 months to run. For details of this year's shortlist, visit

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition

The Times and Chicken House have teamed up to find an undiscovered new voice in children's books. The judges are Barry Cunningham (publisher and MD of Chicken House), Amanda Craig (children's reviewer The Times), Malorie Blackman (award-winning children's author), Wayne Winstone (children's category manager Waterstone's) and Karen Robinson (children's librarian and YLG committee member).

A shortlist of five will be announced in Feb 2008 with the winner announced at Easter. Publication planned for autumn 08. For details of how to submit a manuscript go to

Monday, September 03, 2007

Children's Poetry Bookshelf Competition

The new Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen, is to chair the judging of a nationwide poetry competition for 7-11 year olds. The Competition is organised by the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, a poetry book club for young people run by the Poetry Book Society.

To link with National Poetry Day on Thursday 4 October, children will be asked to write a poem no longer than 25 lines on the theme of ‘Dreams’.Now in its second year, the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf Competition is open to both individuals and schools, with prizes being awarded in two age groups, 7- 8 year olds and 9 -11 year olds. Entries will be accepted from Thursday 13 September, up until the closing date of Monday 15 October.

The winners will be announced at an award ceremony in December, where they will be presented with cash prizes and poetry books for their school. Last year’s inaugural competition attracted nearly 5,000 entries from across the UK and overseas.

Michael Rosen was appointed to the prestigious post of Children’s Laureate on 11 June, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to children’s literature. On accepting the two-year post, he said, "I think poetry for children needs to be saved from the cold dissection table of right and wrong answers and put back into rooms and halls full of wonder, compassion, haunting, laughter, music and rhythm. We need to hear its many voices, many cultures, many sounds.”

The National Write-a-Poem Competition will encourage children to play with poetry, by providing an outlet for their creativity with language and encouraging teachers to bring poetry alive in the classroom. A teacher’s guide to accompany the competition will be available to download from the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf website ( from the beginning of September, along with further information about the competition.

Michael Rosen is joined on the judging committee by children’s poet and Children’s Poetry Bookshelf patron, Valerie Bloom; award-winning poet and educationalist, Mandy Coe; children’s books expert and founder of Bookstart, Wendy Cooling; lecturer in literacy and children's books at the University of Reading, Prue Goodwin; children’s poet, Wes Magee; and Morag Styles, Reader in Children’s Literature and Education at the University of Cambridge.The Children’s Poetry Bookshelf Competition is generously supported by Old Possums Practical Trust.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Outside In - Children's Writers In Translation Bookshow

The Children’s Bookshow is celebrating its fifth year with a dazzling array of children’s writers and performers from across the globe. Boori Monty Pryor from Australia, Francesco D’Adamo from Italy and Kazumi Yumoto from Japan are amongst the authors taking part. The tour also includes three dates with Michael Rosen, the recently appointed UK Children’s Laureate.

The theme ‘Outside In: Children’s Writers in Translation’ has been chosen to introduce children to the richness of the world’s many literatures through fiction and live performance. It follows on from the Bookshow’s first successful literature in translation tour in 2005. During the tour, as well as appearing in performances in theatres, some of the authors will also take part in free writing workshops for local schools to help broaden children’s horizons and provide a fresh outlook on others’ lives and cultures.

The Children’s Bookshow is the only annual UK tour of children’s authors and poets and is supported by Arts Council England. The tour is timed to coincide with Children’s Book Week (1-7 October 2007) organised by Booktrust. Dates within the tour also form part of the Ilkley and Manchester Literature Festivals and the Bexhill Children’s Literature Festival.

The Authors:
Daniel Morden from Wales is one of the leading storytellers in the UK. His Children’s Bookshow Event will be based on his published collection of Welsh Gypsy Tales, translated from the Roma in the 1920s. He has told tales all over the world and his first published anthology Weird Tales from the Storyteller was nominated for the Tir na n-Og Welsh Children’s Book Prize.
Boori Monty Pryor is an indigenous Australian. His father is from the Birri-gubba Nation and his mother’s tribal group is the Kunggandji. Awards include the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction and the National Aboriginal and Islander Observance Day Committee Award for ‘outstanding contribution to the promotion of indigenous culture’.
Lilli Thal is from Germany; her most recent novel Mimus was short-listed for this year’s Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation. Lilli has a Master’s degree in medieval history, art and archaeology and has won multiple awards for her three previous young adult novels.
Kazumi Yumoto was born in Tokyo where she still lives today. She is the author of Letters from the Living, The Spring Tone and The Friends. Her awards include the Mildred L Batchelder Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Her book The Friends has been made into a feature film by Japanese director Shinji Somai.
Francesco D’Adamo is a writer and teacher who lives in Milan. His first novel published in the UK, Iqbal was short-listed by the American Library Association for both the John Newberry Medal and the Randolph Caldecott medal. He has also received the New York Christopher Award and the International Reading Association Teachers’ Choices Booklist Prize. Aurora Metro Press will publish his new book, My Brother Johnny, in October to coincide with the tour. Daniel Pennac is one of France’s most celebrated authors. His books for adults and children have been translated into over thirty languages. His translator Sarah Adams won the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation for his novel The Eye of the Wolf. Most recently, Walker Books have published his The Rights of the Reader with illustrations from Quentin Blake, a book that has sold over a million copies in France.

Kevin Crossley-Holland will interview Lilli Thal during the bookshow. Kevin is a poet, librettist and reteller of myth, legend and folk tale as well as a novelist. He has won numerous awards including the Carnegie Medal, Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, Smarties Prize and the Tir na n-Og Welsh Children’s Book Prize. Orion will publish his latest book Gatty’s Tale in paperback in October 2007.

Eva Ibbotson will interview Lilli Thal during the Bookshow. Eva writes for both children and adults. Her awards include Nestle Gold and Silver Awards, runner up for both the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year and the Guardian Fiction award. She has also been short-listed for the Carnegie Medal. Pan McMillan will publish her new novel The Morning Gift in October 2007.

Tim Bowler will interview Kazumi Yumoto during the Bookshow. Tim has won numerous awards for his children’s books most notably The Carnegie Medal for his third novel River Boy. He has also won the Angus Book Award, Lancashire Libraries Children’s Book Award, South Lanarkshire Book Award and the Stockton Libraries Award.

Oliver Wilson-Dickson will perform with Daniel Morden during the Bookshow. Oliver works as a performer and composer with bands and theatre companies in the UK and abroad. Recent collaborations include a show at the Royal Opera House and a new project with the poet Ian McMillan and several leading musicians.

Michael Rosen will interview Kazumi Yumoto, Francesco D’Adamo and Daniel Pennac for the Bookshow. Michael is one of the most influential figures in contemporary children’s literature and was this year appointed as the fifth Children’s Laureate. With his own writing, his anthologies and performances he has been instrumental in taking poetry out of the ghetto and into the hearts and minds of children throughout the UK and beyond.

Quentin Blake will perform with Daniel Pennac and Michael Rosen for the Bookshow. Quentin is the UK’s best-known and much loved illustrator of children’s books. Although he is known for his collaboration with Russell Hoban, Michael Rosen, and most famously, Roald Dahl, he has also created much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia. His books have won numerous awards and in 1999 he was appointed the first ever Children’s Laureate. In 2002 he won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration and in 2004, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.

The Dates:
De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill Thursday 27 September 10.30amDaniel Morden (Wales) and Oliver Wilson-Dickson For Children of Primary School ageBox office 01424 229 111 boxoffice@dlwp.comChildren £2 Teachers free

Unicorn Theatre, LondonMonday 1 October 1.30pmBoori Monty Pryor (Australia)For Children of Primary School ageBox office 020 7645 0560 Children £5 Teachers free

King Henry's School, IlkleyTuesday 2 October 1:45pmBoori Monty Pryor (Australia)For Children of Secondary School ageBox office 01943 816714Children £3 Teachers free

Library Theatre, ManchesterFriday 5 October 10:30amBoori Monty Pryor (Australia)For Children of Primary School ageBox office 0161 236 7110Children free Teachers free Library Theatre, ManchesterFriday 5 October 1:30pmLilli Thal (Germany) and Kevin Crossley-Holland For Children of Secondary School ageBox office 0161 236 7110 Children free Teachers free

Seven Stories, NewcastleMonday 8 October 10:30amLilli Thal (Germany) and Eva IbbotsonFor Children of Secondary School ageBox office 0845 271 0777Children £3.50 Teachers free (2 for every 10 children) Adults £5

Oxford Playhouse, OxfordWednesday 10 October 10:45amKazumi Yumoto (Japan) and Tim BowlerFor Children of Secondary School ageBox office 01865 305305Children £4 Teachers free (1 for every 15 children) Adults £5.50

Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield Thursday 11 October 1:00pmKazumi Yumoto (Japan) and Michael Rosen For Children of Secondary School ageBox office 01246 345 222Children £3 Teachers free

L'Istituto Italiano di Cultura, LondonFriday 12 October 6:30pmFrancesco D'Adamo (Italy) and Michael Rosen For Children of Secondary School ageBox office 020 7235 1461Children free Teachers free Adults free

L'Institut Français, LondonWednesday 5 December 6:30pmDaniel Pennac (France), Michael Rosen and Quentin BlakeFor Children of Primary School ageBox office 020 7073 1350Children free Teachers free Adults free

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Children's Book Week 2007

Children's Book Week
1-7 October 2007
Children's Book Week is an annual celebration of reading for pleasure co-ordinated by Booktrust. They provide resources to help schools and libraries focus on children's reading for a special day or week, and to plan activities and events to encourage children's enjoyment of books. The theme of this year's Book Week is the environment.

Free Resource Pack
The Children’s Book Week pack contains a useful Resource Guide including a range of activity sheets, a new poster, a bookmark and the updated Best Book Guide. State primary schools and public libraries in England will receive a free copy of the pack in the week beginning the 18 June.
For more posters or to request additional free packs, email
Children's Book Week Resource Guide (Adobe Acrobat pdf 3.5Mb)
Crayola and Children's Book Week Poster Competition
Get thinking about Children's Book Week by designing posters for this exciting competition
Children's Book Week is sponsored by Crayola. With thanks to Egmont UK Ltd, this year's lead publisher sponsor. Thanks also to Bloomsbury Children's Books, Walker Books and illustrator Deborah Allwright for their support

Children's Book Week Events
What are your plans for Children's Book Week? Let know.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Summer Reading Challenge

This year’s theme for the public libraries Summer Reading Challenge is The Big Wild Read and the aim is to encourage children to read six or more books in the summer holidays. As well as being a personal reading challenge, it’s about helping children really enjoy what they read, discover more about books, know how to find books that are right for them, and share ‘reading time’ with parents, library staff and friends. The website will offer children an exciting fusion of reading and IT, with interactive activities. Through a link with Stories from the Web children can contribute reviews and see what other children are reading.

Opportunity for Graphic Novelists

Aspiring graphic novelists should be aware that Jonathon Cape and the Observer are running a competition judged by, amongst others, member Posy Simmonds. The deadline for entries is 3 September.

Children's Book Prizes Updates


Siobhan Dowd and editors David Fickling and Bella Pearson have won the 2007 Branford Boase Award for A Swift Pure Cry (Random/David Fickling).

Rick Riordan has won the East Sussex Primary Schools Book Award 2006-7

Sophie McKenzie's debut novel Girl, Missing has won the Bolton Book Award, just a matter of weeks after it won the Red House Children's Book Award for Older Readers category.
Catalyst Book Award (North Lanarkshire) shortlistStartled by His Furry Shorts by Louise RennisonTokyo by Graham MarksHenry Tumour by Anthony McGowanJust in Case by Meg Rosoff

J A C West’s Pip of Pengersick - A Smuggler's Tale has won the children's section of the Cornish award Holyer An Gof.

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

David Wood will be directing his adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, opening on July 31st and running until August 25th. All the performances are at 2.30, with a few morning ones on Saturdays. Full details on the Open Air Theatre website,

Friday, June 22, 2007

Winner of the Top Ten Carnegie & Greenaway Medal Books

Philip Pullman has cemented his place as one of the stars of children's literature this evening, triumphing in a poll to choose book lovers' favourite winner from the Carnegie medal's 70-year history.

Pullman's Northern Lights (Carnegie winner 1995) beat off competition from Carnegie winners including Mary Norton's The Borrowers (1937), Philippa Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden (1957) and David Almond's Skellig (1998).

In an online public poll the former teacher took 40% of the total votes and also received the highest number of votes from overseas - a total of 36% from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia combined, demonstrating the international appeal of his books, which have been translated into 37 languages and sold over 12m copies worldwide.

The "Greenaway of Greenaways" - the accompanying award for children's illustration - was won by Shirley Hughes with Dogger, winner of the Kate Greenaway medal in 1977. She beat Janet and Allan Ahlberg's Each Peach Pear Plum into second place by just 1% of the votes. Lauren Child's I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato took third place.

(extracted from The Guardian)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Greenaway and Carnegie Medals

Both were awarded today at the British Library.

Carousel has championed the winner of the Greenaway since her very start - a terrific talent - and are delighted she has won this major award


The Carnegie has been won by Meg Rosoff who stormed onto the Children's Book scene in 2004 with her first novel "How I live Now" which won both the Guardian and Branford Boase Awards. This is her second novel, published in 2006.

MEG ROSOFF: JUST IN CASE Penguin ISBN: 9780141380780

Monday, June 11, 2007

Michael Rosen the new Children's Laureate

Congratulations to Michael Rosen on being the next Children's Laureate 2007-2009. You will be able to read an editorial by him in the next issue of Carousel available at the end of June.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Laureate Announcement

And whilst on the rant (see previous post) why hold the announcement of the new Children's Laureate at 11.00 (for 11.30) on a Monday. It means that anyone who lives a distance from London has either to cough up huge amounts to travel at peak time or travel down on a Sunday and face the usual Sunday rail cancellations and delays.

Mondays and Fridays, dear publishers and arrangers of such things, are the absolute worst days to travel anywhere.


Does this phrase make you want to bite the carpet?

From the proof of "What I was" Puffin announce "Meg Rosoff is THE literary brand to watch out for in 2007"

Some of us thought she was an author...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Red House Book Award 2007

Debut author Andy Stanton – a Dahl for the Noughties –
wins 2007 Red House Children’s Book Award

The many children who vote for the Red House Children’s Book Award (RHCBA) have always been the first to spot future stars. The RHCBA was the first major award won by some of the biggest names in children’s books including: Roald Dahl in 1983, Jacqueline Wilson in 1996 and J.K. Rowling in 1998. Jacqueline Wilson, the Children’s Laureate, says of the award "It’s the book award that means the most to me because it’s the one where children do the voting."
This year is no exception; debut author Andy Stanton has been awarded the overall prize for, You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! (the winner of the Books for Younger Readers category).

The Books for Older Readers category has also been won by a debut author, Sophie McKenzie for the highly topical baby snatch thriller Girl, Missing and the Books for Younger Readers category is won by Who’s in the Loo? by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds.

You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! is an outrageously funny story which features the hideous Mr Gum and the equally stinky William the Third aka Billy the local butcher, in a dastardly plot to do away with the village dog Jake, a plot that can only be foiled by Polly (as-she’s-known-to-her-friends) and the inimitable Friday O’Leary. The story echoes the darkly ridiculous humour of Roald Dahl and Monty Python but has a unique whimsical voice all of its own. Friday O’Leary’s off the wall uttering "The truth is a lemon meringue" rapidly became a catchphrase among our voters and is sure to be exasperating many more parents in the immediate future. Without doubt Andy Stanton is a huge new talent and this award marks the beginning of another illustrious writing career.

Andy Stanton lives in North London. He studied English at Oxford (which shouldn’t have been too hard given he is English) but they kicked him out. He’s had quite a few jobs including film script reader (he got better at reading), stand-up comedian, a cartoonist, an NHS lackey and lots of other things. He has many interests, but best of all he likes cartoons, books and music (even jazz). One day he’d like to live in New York or Berlin or one of those places because he’s got fantasies of bohemia. His favourite expression is ‘Good evening’ and his favourite word is ‘captain’. He doesn’t like words ‘spit’, ‘Robbie Williams’, ‘wagglemuffin’ or ‘broccoli’.

The winner of the 2007 Red House Children’s Book Award is announced at a ceremony held at the Guardian Hay Festival on 1st June 2007. The award ceremony, this year introduced by past winner Anthony Horowitz, is a unique celebration of children’s books where a lucky a selection of children from all over the country who have taken part in voting for the award winners get to mingle with some of their favourite authors including past winners and this year’s short-listed authors.

Now in its 27th year, the award was founded in 1980 by author and librarian Pat Thompson and it is run by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. It is the only national book award to be voted for 100% by children and this year more children than ever have been involved with a record 165,000 votes cast this year, which is more than 40% up on 2006.

The category winners each receive an engraved silver bowl. The overall winner is awarded the Red House Children’s Book Award Silver Tree which they are the custodian of for a year and an engraved silver acorn which is theirs to keep. Each of the short-listed authors and illustrators also receives an incredible portfolio of writing and drawing created by the children and inspired by their book.

The full winner’s list for the 2007 Red House Children’s Book Award is as follows:
Overall winner
You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton published by Egmont
Books for Younger Children
Who’s in the Loo? by Jeanne Willis and Adrian Reynolds published by Andersen Press
Books for Younger Readers
You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton published by Egmont
Books for Older Readers
Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie published by Simon & Schuster

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups was set up as a charity almost 40 years ago by Anne Wood, the originator of the Tellytubbies. The Federation’s main role is to act as the umbrella organisation to local Children’s Book Groups all over the UK. The Book Groups organise a variety of activities in their local areas in conjunction with schools and libraries. These include bringing authors and illustrators into schools and organising story-telling sessions. The Federation produces numerous specialist book lists, organises National Share-a-Story Month each May and holds an annual conference each spring.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Publising Sales Talk

The latest Walker Books catalogues - attractive in themselves - now call related backlist titles "Backlist Opportunity". Grr...

Booktrust launches short story competition to find teenage judges

Booktrust have launched a UK wide search to find five teenagers to join their Booktrust Teenage Prize panel. The winners will help to decide this year’s best fiction for teenagers, and attend the awards ceremony in London in October. Entrants are asked to write a short story in no more than 500 words on the theme of ‘Time Travel.’
Entrants must be between 11 and 16 years of age. The deadline for entries is Monday 30 July 2007. Entry forms are available to download from or

The judges for the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2007 are:
Angela Wilkinson, Librarian (Chair)
Tom Gatti, Associate Editor, The Times Books
Anthony McGowan, Author
Isabelle Ellis-Cockcroft, School student

Booktrust is delighted to maintain their partnership with the Reading Agency. The Reading Agency will be publicising the Teenage Prize in libraries across the UK, primarily through coordination with public and school library services.

The Booktrust Teenage Prize was launched in 2003 to recognise and celebrate contemporary fiction written for teenagers. Booktrust administers the prize with the support of writers, publishers, teachers, parents and libraries. Publishers may enter works of fiction, including novels, collections of short stories and graphic novels.

The specially designated website for the prize,, promotes the prize and books for young people as well as carrying comments and reviews from young people and well-known personalities on their favourite books.

The 2006 Prize was won by Anthony McGowan for Henry Tumour.

The winning author will receive a cheque for £2,500 together with a trophy. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London in October 2007 following the shortlist announcement in September.

Summer Activities at Seven Stories, Newcastle

Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 July
Harry Potter Weekend
Bookaballoo! Have you heard the last Harry Potter book is on its way? Cast off your school uniform, put on your wizard cloaks and hats and fly down to Seven Stories for a magical read. Join our Harry Potter readathon – will you finish the last book first?
Potions and Commotions workshops, Sat & Sun 11am & 2pm for children 6+ With cauldron and test-tube to hand, explore the science facts behind potions and commotions of all sorts, and create your own spell-book to take away with you. Booking essential call 0845 271 0777 ext. 714.

The Ouseburn Festival Family Day Sunday 22 July from 12noon
The Ouseburn Valley will be jam packed with activities for the day including the festival parade, free workshops, music, street entertainment and stalls. Visit

Monday 23 – Sunday 29 July
From inventions to dreams and concoctions, take a brain-boggling look at some of the facts behind the fiction of Roald Dahl and other children’s authors.
Collecting Stories workshops, Mon-Fri 11am & 2pm for children 8+ Taking inspiration from the Seven Stories collection, this workshop will look at the weird and wonderful ways in which authors get ideas for their stories! Participants will get the chance to explore inspiring material to spark their imaginations for their own stories. Booking essential call 0845 271 0777 ext. 714.

Monday 30 July – Sunday 5 August
Get into Character
Will it be the BFG, the Twits or an imaginary character you meet on your zippfizzing trip to Seven Stories this week? Enjoy meeting characters from the world of children’s books and creating new ones.
Max & Lara’s Amazing Travelling Space Circus, Wed 1 & Sat 4 Aug – drop in fun activities for families to develop reading and writing skills together. In association with BBC RaW.
Character Detectives workshops, Mon-Fri 11am & 2pm for children 8+ Using "character clue bags", participants will get the opportunity to do some detective work in order to discover what types of characters have been lurking around Seven Stories and guess at what kinds of mischief they may have been up to! Using drama and storytelling the group will create their own story using the characters they have found. Booking essential call 0845 271 0777 ext. 714.

Family Storytelling Creatures Great and Small! with Pat Renton. In Association with A Bit Crack, Sun 5 Aug, sessions start at 1.45pm.
Monday 6 – Sunday 12 August
Wild about Books
Hippodumplings and crocadowndillies, we’re just wild about animal and bird books this week. The RSPB will be running crafty activities and discovering wildlife and nature in stories from Mon 6- Fri 10 August, drop-in between 11am-4pm.
Dip into a rock pool adventure with sea creatures from the Blue Reef Aquarium, Mon 6 Aug at 11am, 11.45am and 12.30pm.
Enjoy a sing-a-long with animal characters from picture-books with storyteller, Tony Wilson, Thurs 9 Aug, 1.45 & 3pm for children 3+
Simon Rees returns with his amazing bug station and explores the insect life of Hadrian’s Wall as shown in his popular children’s guide Wild About the Wall, Fri 10 & Sat 11 August, 1-3pm.
Fishy Tales workshops, Mon-Fri 11am & 2pm for children 6+ using our special Seven Stories "story-fishing" rods participants will go fishing for parts of a story which they will then bring to life through drama! Booking essential call 0845 271 0777 ext. 714.

Monday 13 – Sunday 19 August
Funky Designs
Be inspired by the picture books in our exhibition to design and make your own funky images, illustrations and crafty creations.
Tues 14, Wed 15, Thurs 16 August – Funky Monkey and the Juicy Fruits – a funkadelic exploration of healthy eating for families. Performances at 11am and 2.30pm followed by funky fruit and veg workshops. Booking essential. For more information visit Supported by North East Regional Museums Hub.
3D Story Scenes workshops with Rebecca Pelly-Fry to coincide with her exhibition, Secret Spaces in the Book Den - create a 3D scene from paper, inspired by the stories in the exhibition. Mon 13 & Fri 17 Aug, 11am & 2pm for children 8+ Booking essential call 0845 271 0777 ext. 714.

Sunday 19 August – hopswitch along to our chocolate themed day to celebrate Seven Stories’ birthday.

Monday 20 – Sunday 26 August
Why not bring a friend along to dress up with and invent stories together for telling and acting out? Enjoy making puppets, listening to our storytellers or meeting storybook characters on your visit.
Enjoy tales from around the world with storyteller, Ravinda Cheema, Wed 22 Aug, 12 noon, 1.45 & 3pm for children 4+
Page to Stage workshops, Mon-Fri, 11am & 2pm for children 8+ Using books for inspiration, this workshop will lift the story off the page and into spectacular action; giving participants the chance to learn and develop drama and storytelling skills! Booking essential call 0845 271 0777 ext. 714.

Monday 27 August – Sunday 2 September
Beneath the Covers
Enjoy some Gobblefunk fun with our resident writer and collect writing tips for your own stories or poems. Why not get inside some new books in our cosy book den or try creating your own?
Enjoy a sing-along with animal characters from picture-books with storyteller, Tony Wilson, Bank Holiday Mon 27 Aug, 12 noon, 1.45 & 3pm for children 3+
Beneath the Covers workshops, Tues-Fri, 11am & 2pm for children 8+ Do you dream about becoming a writer or simply want to pick up some writing skills? Open up your imagination and join our resident writer for these creative writing sessions. Booking essential call 0845 271 0777 ext. 714.

Family Storytelling The Swallow Flies South with Malcolm Green. In Association with A Bit Crack, Sun 2 Sept, sessions start at 1.45pm.
Children aged 8+ may attend workshops unaccompanied but parents/carers are asked to remain in the building.

The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake

Snozzcumbers and Frobscottle!
Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books are set to launch one whizzpopping exhibition this summer! Snozzcumbers and Frobscottle! The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake opens on Saturday 14 July 2007 and promises to be as exciting and dramatic as the characters themselves.
Blake’s classic illustrations will visit the North East for the first time in a unique interpretation, based on a selection of artwork that drew a phenomenal number of visitors to London’s National Theatre last year.
Enter the exhibition through Mr Willy Wonka’s whirling swirling tunnel and be transported into the wondercrump world of Dahl and Blake. Observe original illustrations including Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Revolting Rhymes and Fantastic Mr Fox. Discover the duo’s creative process behind The Twits including manuscripts and Dahl’s ideas book.
Visitors can gain an insight into the pair’s creative process and be inspired to illustrate themselves, perhaps enthused by the exclusive film of Blake at work in his studio in London.
There are interactives throughout the exhibition including a replica BFG’s cave with Snozzcumbers, Frobscottle and dream catchers, plus audio of Dahl telling his unforgettable tales.
Quentin Blake says: "There is something magical about Roald Dahl's books. I like them because although the characters are very unreal, they're strangely true to life as well. For example, the awful people are much more horrible than real people - yet rather like them too!"

For a truly magical family day out visit Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books, tucked under Byker Bridge in the Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle. Open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm Sunday 11am – 5pm. Adult £5, Child/concession £4, Family £15. Annual passes are available. T: 0845 271 0777 W: E: Registered charity no. 1056812.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children's Books Shortlist

The nine shortlisted titles in this year’s Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children’s Books and a brand new category of best Gaelic book the year are announced today (Friday, May 18).
Such was the success of the inaugural Royal Mail awards programme in 2006, this year’s winning authors will benefit from a trebling of the prize money handed out last year, making this the biggest prize awarded for children’s writing in the UK.
The awards are split into four categories – Early Years, Younger Readers, Older Readers, Gaelic – and the winning author of each category will receive £3,000, thanks to increased financial support from Royal Mail, the Scottish Arts Council and the Arts & Business Invest programme. Runners-up in each category will receive £500 each, a significant increase on last year’s £200 prizes.

There are three shortlisted books in each of the three age-group categories, with a fourth Gaelic category winner:

Early Years (0 - 7 years)
Augustus And His Smile by Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press)
Dan and Diesel by Charlotte Hudson and Lindsey Gardiner (Red Fox)
Katie’s Moose by James Robertson and Matthew Fitt, illustrated by Karen Sutherland (Itchycoo)

Younger readers (8 - 12 years)
Chill by Alex Nye (Floris Books)
The Flight of the Silver Turtle by John Fardell (Faber & Faber)
The Highwayman’s Footsteps by Nicola Morgan (Walker Books)

Older readers (13 - 16 years)
The Medici Seal by Theresa Breslin (Doubleday)
Nemesis: Into the Shadows by Catherine MacPhail (Bloomsbury)
Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy (Puffin)

Gaelic Children’s Book of the Year (Winner)
Uspaig agus S-S by Marie C NicAmhlaigh (Marie Macauley), illustrated by Kathleen NicAonghais (Kathleen MacInnes), published by Leabhraichean Beaga.

The shortlisted books will be read by young people in reading groups at schools, libraries and bookshops across Scotland during the next few months, with children voting for their favourite book thereafter and the winners announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday, November 22.
A book review competition for children will run concurrently, with prizes awarded to the best reviews (in either Gaelic or English) of the shortlisted titles or the Gaelic category winner. Review competition winners will be recognised at the awards ceremony in November and will win book tokens for themselves as well as an author visit for their school or library.

The Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children’s Books are managed by BRAW (Books Reading And Writing), part of Scottish Book Trust, in partnership with the Scottish Arts Council and are supported by the Times Educational Supplement Scotland. The awards are an evolution of the Scottish Arts Council Children’s Book of the Year.

Gavin Wallace, Head of Literature at the Scottish Arts Council, said: "The Royal Mail Awards are unique prizes which celebrate and promote the outstandingly high calibre of writing for children of all ages in Scotland, and obviously we’re delighted with the expansion and wider inclusiveness introduced this year. And the ownership of the prizes by children across Scotland is a glorious thing - we have wonderful young readers as well as wonderful authors!"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Royal Society Junior Prize for Science Books

TopGear presenter uses ‘the Force’ to scoop kids’ science book of year

Bringing his trademark action-packed approach to physics has won Richard Hammond, presenter of TopGear and Brainiac, this year’s Royal Society Junior Prize for Science Books it was announced today (Tuesday 15 May, 2007).

Can you feel the force? uses physics to answer questions such as, ‘can you lie on a bed of nails?, ‘what’s inside an atom?’ and ‘can you walk on custard?’. It also provides an accessible and entertaining introduction to some of the great scientists, such as Newton and Galileo, and outlines simple experiments to try at home.

The book was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of six by junior judging panels made up of almost 1000 young people from 100 school and youth groups from across the UK.

Richard Hammond said: "I was immediately captivated when the team at Dorling Kindersley(DK) approached me about making a book to try and bring physics to life. Perhaps all children need is the confidence to approach a subject with enthusiasm and an open mind. The DK team gave them just that and winning this award is recognition for a group of very talented people."

Commenting on Can you feel the Force?, Anna aged 13 and one of the Junior Judges(2) said: “It was good because it had unusual facts that you wouldn’t know from science lessons.”

Andrew aged 11 said: “The illustrations were good but my favourite bit was the way of walking on custard.”

Adele aged 11 said: “I didn’t vote for it just because Richard Hammond wrote it, it truly was the best.”

Eleanor Updale, chair of the junior judging panels said: “This instantly appealing book traces the roots of physics to the dawn of civilization, but concentrates on the way physical forces are at work in all our lives today. With clear illustrations, practical experiments, and well-paced text, it makes an interest in science look like fun – and above all, normal.”

Dorling Kindersley has now won the junior award eight times – more than any other publisher. What Makes Me, Me? by Robert Winston, which is part of the same series as Can you feel the force?, won the prize in 2005.

The other books short listed for this year’s Junior prize are:
How nearly everything was invented by the brainwaves devised and illustrated by Ralph and Lisa Lazar, and written by Jilly MacLeod.
It’s true! Space turns you into spaghetti by Heather Catchpole and Vanessa Woods (Allen and Unwin)
KFK Natural Disasters by Andrew Langley (Kingfisher Knowledge)
My Body Book by Mick Manning and Brita Granström (Franklin Watts)
Science Investigations: Electricity by John Farndon (Wayland)

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert won this year’s Royal Society General Prize for Science Books.

Angus Award Winner

Author Kevin Brooks has won the 2007 Angus Book Award for his novel Candy, published by Chicken House Publishing – a sharp, sensitive and exciting novel that takes a walk on the darker side of teenage life.

Following an intensive few months of reading and debate in all eight Angus secondary schools, the five shortlisted authors arrived from all over the UK to speak to the pupils and take part in the award ceremony in Arbroath High School.

The ceremony, which is run by the S3 pupils themselves, was hosted this year by pupils Jason McNulty and Christy Scott, from Arbroath High School and pupils from the other secondary schools spoke about the shortlisted books and asked the authors questions.
But finally the waiting was over and Rachel McCullogh, Chair of the Angus Youth Congress, presented the winning author with his trophy, a miniature replica of the Aberlemno Serpent Stone, and £500 prize.
After recovering from the rush for signed copies of his book, a delighted Kevin said, “A very wonderful day! Truly unforgettable. Excitement, intrigue, artwork, rapping, cheering, laughing, thinking, believing, invigorating…..everything including a sun-filled day! What more could anyone want!”

Saturday, May 12, 2007

CLPE Poetry Award Shortlist 2007

Chrissie Gittins: I Don't Want an Avocado for an Uncle, illustrated by Kev Adamson (Rabbit Hole Publications) ;
Julie Johnstone (editor): The Thing That Mattered Most. Scottish Poems for Children illustrated by Iain McIntosh (Scottish PoetryLibrary/Black & White Publishing);
Tony Mitton: My Hat and All That, illustrated by Sue Heap (Corgi Yearling);
Gaby Morgan (editor): Fairy Poems, illustrated by Matilda Harrison (Macmillan);
Jackie Morris (compiler and illustrator): The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems (Barefoot Books);
John Siddique: Don't Wear It On Your Head, Don't Stick It Down Your Pants (Peepal Tree Press) .

This will be the fourth year of the CLPE Award - the only prize in this country for a book of children's poetry. The judges are Ian McMillan, Fiona Waters and Margaret Meek Spencer; the winner will be announced at the award ceremony Wed 13th June 4-6pm at CLPE, Webber Street, London SE1 8QW. More details on the CLPE website -

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Public Vote on the Greenaway Medal

Greenaway Favourites:

1. Each Peach Pear Plum - Janet Ahlberg
2. Dogger - Shirley Hughes
3. Father Christmas - Raymond Briggs
4. I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato - Lauren Child
5. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Helen Oxenbury
6. Mr Magnolia - Quentin Blake
7. The Jolly Christmas Postman - Janet Ahlberg
8. Mr Gumpy's Outing - John Burningham
9. Can't You Sleep Little Bear? - Barbara Firth
10.Wolves - Emily Gravett
11.The Haunted House - Jan Pienkowski
12.The Highwayman - Charles Keeping
13.Zoo - Anthony Browne
14.Gorilla - Anthony Browne
15.Pumpkin Soup - Helen Cooper
16.Tim All Alone - Edward Ardizzone
17.Ella's Big Chance - Shirley Hughes
18.Snow White in New York - Fiona French
19.A.B.C. - Brian Wildsmith
20.Chameleon - Adrienne Kennaway

The Public Vote on the Carnegie Medal

Carnegie Favourites:

1. His Dark Materials: Book 1 Northern Lights - Philip Pullman

2. Tom's Midnight Garden - Philippa Pearce
3. The Owl Service - Alan Garner
4. The Borrowers - Mary Norton
5. A Gathering Light - Jennifer Donnelly
6. The Little White Horse - Elizabeth Goudge
7. Skellig - David Almond
8. The Last Battle - C S Lewis
9. Tamar - Mal Peet
10.Granny was a Buffer Girl - Berlie Doherty
11.Pigeon Post - Arthur Ransome
12.The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchett
13.The Machine Gunners - Robert Westall
14.Watership Down - Richard Adams
15.Junk - Melvin Burgess
16.The Family from One End Street - Eve Garnett
17.Millions - Frank Cottrell Boyce
18.The Changeover - Margaret Mahy
19.Dear Nobody - Berlie Doherty
20.Stone Cold - Robert Swindells

Friday, May 04, 2007

Young Minds Book Award

YoungMinds, the national children's mental health charity, today announcesthe line-up of judges for the 2007 YoungMinds Book Award sponsored by PhilipPullman.The four confirmed judges are Stef Penney; award winning author of TheTenderness of Wolves, Shelley Jofre; investigative journalist for Panorama,Will Self; author and broadcaster and Anjula Mutanda; clinical psychologicaltherapist, agony aunt and broadcaster.

The YoungMinds Book Award, now in its fifth year, is a unique award designed
to recognise a work, either fiction or non-fiction, that gives a fresh
insight into the lives and worlds of children or young people.Last years winner Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala has gone on to win further awards both in the UK and the US.

The shortlist of six books will be announced in mid-July and the winner will be presented with the £3,000 prize at a ceremony in central London on 15th November.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kate Greenaway 2007 Shortlist

Emily Gravett, Orange Pear Apple Bear, Macmillan
Mini Grey, The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon, Red Fox
John Kelly & Cathy Tincknell, Scoop! An Exclusive by Monty Molkeski, Templar
Catherine Rayner, Augustus and his Smile, Little Tiger
Chris Riddell, The Emperor of Absurdia, Macmillan

Winner will be announced on 21 June.

Subscribers to Carousel will have read articles featuring all but one of the shortlisted illustrators - presicient or what?


Kevin Brooks, The Road of the Dead, Chicken House
Siobhan Dowd, A Swift Pure Cry, David Fickling Books
Anne Fine, The Road of Bones, Doubleday
Ally Kennen, Beast, Marion Lloyd Books
Meg Rosoff, Just in Case, Penguin
Marcus Sedgwick, My Swordhand is Singing, Orion

Winner will be announced on 21 June at the British Library

Top Ten Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal Winners

Vote for your favourite Cilip Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Winners from the ones listed below:
1937 - The Family from One End Street - Eve Garnett - Puffin
1952 - The Borrowers - Mary Norton - Puffin
1958 - Tom's Midnight Garden - Philippa Pearce - OUP
1967 - The Owl Service - Alan Garner - HarperCollins
1975 - The Machine-Gunners - Robert Westall - Macmillan
1985 - Storm - Kevin Crossley-Holland - Egmont
1995 - Northern Lights - Philip Pullman - Scholastic
1996 - Junk - Melvin Burgess - Puffin
1998 - Skellig - David Almond - Hodder
2003 - A Gathering Light - Jennifer Donnelly - Bloomsbury
Kate Greenaway
1956 - Tim All Alone - Edward Ardizzone - Frances Lincoln
1963 - Borka - John Burningham - Jonathan Cape
1973 - Father Christmas - Puffin
1977 - Dogger - Shirley Hughes - Red Fox
1978 - Each Peach Pear Plum - Janet Ahlberg - Puffin
1980 - Mister Magnolia - Quentin Blake - Red Fox
1981 - The Highwayman - Charles Keeping - OUP
1983 - Gorilla - Anthony Browne - Walker
1999 - Alice in Wonderland - Helen Oxenbury - Walker
2000 - I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato - Lauren Child - Orchard

The online poll was launched by CILIP at Seven Stories in Newcastle by two schoolchildren. One voted for Dogger for the best Kate Greenaway and the other for The Machine-Gunners (no surprise there as we were in Newcastle) for the Carnegie.

Simply register your vote by going to the online poll at before 12 noon on Thursday 14 June. The overall winner will be announced on 21 June.

National Portrait Gallery, London


Festival of Youth ArtsSunday 27 May – Friday 1 June Breaking Free is a week-long festival to celebrate and promote the creativity and vitality of Youth arts.
To mark the occasion, the Gallery will be hosting a series of events including a drop-in photo-shoot at the launch in Trafalgar Square on Sunday, and an exclusive performance by young people from the KOKI Cultural Arts Club, inspired by the bi-centenary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Edinburgh Tours

Based on his book Horrible Histories:Edinburgh (Scholastic) Terry Deary has done the commentary for an open-toped bus which tours the city. In special livery, you can listen as Terry tells of the city's often lurid past - Burke and Hare the Body Snatchers, the site of the public gallows, murder and mayhem galore! Sure to be enjoyed by the over 8s! Catch the bus at the Waverly Bridge every 20 minutes ( most of the Lothian Region tour buses carry the commentary although there is only one specially decorated bus) Family tickets available - you can jump on and off the bus all day. for more

Please note the commentary is on Edinburgh Bus Tours - City Sightseeing Tour - the Edinburgh Tour, MacTour and Majestic Tour are live guided or on a different route.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Berkshire Book Award

Awards come through thick and fast. Here is news of the latest. In first place a non-fiction title The Dangerous Book for Boys followed by Candyfloss and then The Boy in Striped Pyjamas.

The organisers say:
This is the third winner of the Berkshire Book Award and the first non-fiction book to receive the overwhelming approval of Berkshire’s young people. The winners will be invited to the 2007 Launch in the Autumn.

Since the announcement of the shortlist in December 2006, over 50 schools across the county have involved pupils aged between 11 and 14 in reading and reviewing the six short-listed titles. Their reviews can now be read on the award website –

The inclusion of The Dangerous Book for Boys on the shortlist brought a new dimension to the Award this year. Many more boys have taken part than in previous years and this has encouraged them to read the other books on the shortlist.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007



Calling readers of all ages, parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians: in fact anyone who loves children’s books.

CILIP is giving you the chance to have your say in the search to find the nation’s favourite Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal winning books of all time.

CILIP’s online poll to find the top winner for each Medal will be launched on Friday April 20th 2007 at Seven Stories in Newcastle, kicking off a season of celebration to mark the 70th birthday of the Carnegie Medal and the 50th birthday of the Kate Greenaway Medal.
A panel of children’s book experts, including three former chairs of the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway judging panel has selected a Top 10 of winning titles for both Medals, from the 120 marvellous books which have won these two prestigious awards since they were first awarded in 1937 and 1957 respectively.

Will you agree with the judges? Have they included your own favourites? Which books will you vote for?

Find out which books have made the Top 10s, and write a review of any of the past winners for each Medal at Re-read your favourites, share them with your family and cast your votes online before 12 noon, Thursday, 14 June.

On that Midsummer’s Night, the results of the vote will be announced at a huge celebration party at the British Library in London.

Don’t forget to have your say!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Henrietta Branford Writing Competition

Calling all young writers....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 the authors shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award which celebrates new children's writers, at a party to be held at Walker Books.
One of the winners will also have the chance to choose £500 worth of books for their school library, to be provided by Peters Bookselling Services.

To enter, you need to log on to to finish thestory that Frances Hardinge, last year's Branford Boase Award winner, has started on the website.Your story must be no more than 1500 words. Full details are on the website. The closing date for entries is 25 May 2007.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Portsmouth Library service is pleased to announce the shortlists for the 2007

The Portsmouth Book Award allows young people the opportunity to decide their book of the year. Pupil judges decide the winner in three categories following extensive reading and debating.
In 2007 the process involves 2,923 young people.
Longer Novel Judged by 142 Year 8 / 9 pupils from 11 schools
Fathallah, Judith, Monkey Taming, Random House
Glover, Sandra, Don’t Tell, Andersen Press
Higson, Charlie, Blood Fever, Puffin
Rose, Malcolm, Double Check, Kingfisher
Sage, Angie, Magyk, Bloomsbury
Sedgwick, Marcus, The Foreshadowing ,Orion Books
The winner will be notified after the discussion and voting event on 5th July 2007 and will be invited to attend an Award Celebration on a date to be agreed in September / October 2007.

Shorter Novel Judged by 1,522 Year 5 pupils from 24 schools
Cornwell, Nicki, Christophe’s Story, Frances Lincoln
Gardner, Sally, The Boy with Lightning Feet, Orion Books
Lawrence, Michael, The Griffin and Oliver Pie, Orchard Books
Shadow, Jak, The F.E.A.R Agency, Wizard Books
Willis, Jeanne, Rat Heaven, Macmillan
The winner will be notified when voting is completed in the last week of May 2007.
The winner will be invited to attend the Award Celebration 11th July 2007 at The Plaza Suite in Southsea.

Picture Book Judged by 1,259 Year 1 pupils from 22 schools
Andrae, Giles, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, Puffin
Durant, Alan, Burger Boy, Andersen Press
Moss, Miriam, Bare Bear, Hodder
Willans, Tom, Wait! I want to Tell You a Story, Boxer Books
The winner will be notified when voting is completed in the last week of May 2007.
The winner will be invited to attend a Award Celebration in July 2007 in a Portsmouth location to be decided.

The Award is administered by Portsmouth City Library Service,
which works closely with school staff.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Chemotherapy, Cake and Cancer

Megan Blunt has written a very good guide to the disease, published this week by the children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent, called Chemotherapy, Cake and Cancer. It's a practical manual to help children cope during cancer treatment. And though cancer information booklets are ten-a-penny, Megan's is special because it compiles all the accoumulated knowledge and survival tips of the children on the ward; stuff you won't find anywhere else. It is also very funny, dedicated to Nat Burke, and is illustrated by Nat's father, Chris Burke, a professional cartoonist.

It can be ordered through the CLIC Sargent Child Cancer Helpline on 0800 1970068 and is available to download from

For further details read the excellent article by Simon Crompton in The Times March 3 2007 in the Body and Soul section of the paper from which the above information is extracted.

19 April, Rainbow Trust

Journalist and television presenter, Mariella Frostrup will be chairing a discussion panel of contemporary children's authors. The event, Writing the Right Things will be held at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 19 April, 2007 with all funds raised to Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity. The charity support families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.
Authors taking part in the discussion include; Malorie Blackman (Noughts and Crosses, Pig Heart Boy, Hacker soon to be published Unheard Voices), Kevin Brooks (Martyn Pig, Lucas and soon to be published, Being), Cathy Cassidy (Driftwood, Scarlett, Indigo Blue and Dizzy) and Nick Tucker (The Rough Guide to Children’s Books, The Child and the Book and Family Fictions).
Each writer will talk about what inspires them to write for children and how they approach sensitive topics in their work. The panel will also discuss changes in children’s literature over the last ten years and the audience will have the opportunity to put forward their questions too.

The invited authors were chosen as they tackle sensitive issues in their work. Rainbow Trust’s own Family Support Workers often use books as a means of engaging with a child to encourage them to express their feelings about the death of their sibling in a secure and supportive way.

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity has been providing practical and emotional support to families who have a seriously ill child for over twenty years now. The charity does this in two ways; Family Support Workers can provide non-medical 24 hour care in a family's own home by helping out with daily household tasks as well as providing emotional support.

Families can also spend time at the charity’s respite houses is Surrey and in Northumberland where families can enjoy a much needed break where all the daily practicalities are taken care of, allowing families to spend quality time together.

Mariella Frostrup, who will be chairing this discussion, said:
"I’m delighted to be chairing this very special event and supporting Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity. I’m very much looking forward to discussing these topics with such a well respected panel of children’s authors."
"Once you’ve discovered the joy of reading, it’s a pleasure that never leaves you. As well as it being an enjoyable pastime, literature can help children address a wide variety of topics that may be taboo in their everyday lives including death. Books can be a marvellous tool in which to initiate discussion and help children process some very difficult feelings."
"I hope to see many young faces in the audience asking lots of questions in what promises to be a lively and interesting debate."
To purchase tickets (£15.00 per person) or for further information, please contact Judith on 01372 220042 or email;

Monday, February 26, 2007

Three Wishes: Palestinians and Israeli Children Speak

This is part of a report sent by Jehan Helou of the Tamar Institute, Ramallah:

Fouad Moughrabi in The Electronic Intifada Feb 07 writes:

I write this on the day that my family and I attended the bar mitzvah of my son's classmate and friend Aaron Steinberg. I was deeply touched when Aaron spoke so eloquently about the need for Israeli-Palestinian peace and proudly announced that he will donate half of the money he will receive as a gift to the Seeds of Peace Program which brings young Palestinian and Israeli youth together in order to promote coexistence.

Obviously, my son and his seventh grade classmates are beginning to think about these complex issues and some of them do so with some emotion, for one reason or another. The question is: do we have them read books that reinforce prevailing stereotypes and nasty media frames or do we try to show them another way. There is far too much stereotyping and dehumanizing that goes on in the public discourse about the Middle East in the media and popular culture. Our task is not to reinforce it but to challenge it.

I decided to read Broken Bridge by Lynne Reid Banks carefully and to write my own reactions to it. I concluded that, although it is well written, it is, nonetheless, not a good way to introduce the issues to a seventh grade class. I outlined the main reasons for this and then began to look for better alternatives. I found an excellent book by the Canadian author Deborah Ellis entitled Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak and another by Elizabeth Laird entitled A Little Piece of Ground that chronicles the life of a Palestinian teenager during the most recent Palestinian Intifada and the Israeli assault on Palestinian towns. What follows is a review essay of all three books.

Broken Bridge relates the aftermath of the stabbing in Jerusalem of a Jewish teenager who was visiting from Canada, by two Palestinians. His cousin, who was walking with him, was inexplicably spared and had to contend with conflicting emotions, at one point refusing to identify one of the assailants in a police lineup. The author takes pain to describe the debate among Israelis about the occupation of Palestinian territories and about attitudes towards the Palestinians.The core of the book as well as its starting point is a rather shocking act of violence perpetrated against a teenager that most Western readers will immediately identify with.

While the Israeli Jewish characters are well developed to the point where we can even empathize with them, the Arab characters are nebulous, distant and threatening. The Arab first appears in Broken Bridge on p. 21 as a taxi driver. The Jewish teenager is warned: "'If it's an Arab driver, don't get in!'/ 'Why?'/ 'Dangerous.'/ 'More than thorn?'" Soon thereafter the Arab appears as a murderer. On p. 26, news comes on the radio that a child has been stabbed in the street in a place called Gilo.The feeling of a pervasive danger that the Arab represents, followed immediately by the stabbing of a Jewish teenager, sets the tone for the entire story. Furthermore, the event happens in Gilo, referred to in the story as "our district," a suburb of Jerusalem. Just how many American school teachers would know that Gilo is, in fact, a Jewish settlement, illegal according to international law, because it is built on confiscated Palestinian land in full view of the Arab village whose inhabitants still carry the deeds to their stolen land.

Mustapha, one of the main Arab characters in the story talks his nephew into becoming a "fighter." They both finally embark on an operation during which Feisal, the nephew, kills the Jewish teenager who was visiting from Canada. Mustapha, however, mysteriously ends up sparing the life of the boy's cousin, a girl who was walking with him. The other Arab characters include Ali who tries to save his job at a Jewish restaurant in Jerusalem by reporting to the Israelis about his neighbors in the nearby village and Mustapha's brother-in-law who becomes a collaborator and finally betrays him to the authorities.

The author engages in a bit of hyperbole describing the training that Mustapha had received in order to become a terrorist: "When Mustapha had been sent abroad for training, he was made, among other things, to bite the heads off live chickens to toughen him up. Not that he'd needed it -- not after what he's been through. Each time he had told himself that the chicken was the Jew who had interrogated him ... But Feisal was not so strong and tough as Mustapha thought he needed to be" (p. 128). I have never heard of any such bizarre rituals among Palestinians and I seriously doubt that such things ever occurred. However, attributing such monstrous behavior to Palestinians is quite common in Israel. Sadly, it reminds us of the bizarre rituals attributed to Jews by anti-Semites.

In a rather odd twist, the author informs us that Mustapha is said to be originally from a small village in Jordan, just across the border, and therefore not a native but an import or an intruder. We are told that his father had brought him to the West Bank after the June 1967 war, leaving his mother and sisters behind, in order to help fight the Jews. This gives credence to an Israeli-generated myth that the native Palestinians are not unhappy with their lot and prefer to live under Israeli control if it weren't for the troublemakers who sneak in from the neighboring Arab countries and who are determined to drive the Jews into the sea.

In contrast the Jewish characters in the story are playful, cultured and normal human beings, while the Arabs appear as non-descript, without a history and a normal existence. The author, who is impressed with Arabic food, very much like most Israelis who also like it to the point where they even appropriated it as their own (we now have Israeli hummus and falafel, for example), nonetheless feels compelled to criticize the excess that Arabs go through in preparing it. She does describe the anxiety that Feisal undergoes before he commits his violent act. Yet, to a large extent, there is nothing in any of the Arab characters that would make one empathize with them in any way. They remain dark and shadowy figures, always lurking in alleyways, waiting to pounce on some unsuspecting Jew.

The author tries to appear balanced in her narrative. But this balance is rather odd because it is not a balance between the Israeli and the Palestinian narratives. There is very little here about the Palestinian narrative. We are offered scattered tidbits here and there about how bad the occupation is. We are told that fanatical religious Jewish settlers terrorize Arab villagers (she fails to mention that they do so even as the Israeli army often simply looks on). She provides a passing reference to the 300-plus Palestinian villages razed to the ground by the Israelis in 1948 in order to make sure the Arab refugees will never be able to return.

The reader will therefore know very little about the Palestinians, who they are and why they sometimes behave the way they do.What appears as "balance" in the book emerges because the author captures rather well the debate within Israel itself between those who hold the Palestinian Arabs with racist contempt and those who argue that the Israeli occupation of Arab lands and the harsh treatment of Palestinians by their Israeli occupiers may account for Palestinian acts of violence against the Jews.It is precisely the appearance of balance that makes uninitiated American readers think this is a book that tries to promote peace. This works mainly because most American readers lack the necessary historical knowledge that would provide the needed context for the stories. And herein lies the key problem with choosing a book like this as an introduction to this conflict. Without some knowledge of the context, of the history and of the nuances of the place, one ends up simply adding insult to injury and reinforcing pre-existing stereotypes that dehumanize people.

In the end, the media frame of the Arab as "terrorist" is given a substantial boost and is reinforced in the minds of Americans children.In essence, the book frames the issues almost solely in terms of conflict and violence -- in this case, Palestinian violence against Jews therefore making the Arabs the perpetrators and the Jews the victims. It provides nothing about the richness of the Palestinian narrative and its complexity.

After reading the book, one understands why Israelis engage in acts of violence against Arabs and may even empathize with them but one does not understand the circumstances that drive some Palestinians to engage in violence. More importantly, one does not see any glimmer of hope that this cycle of violence will ever come to an end, as if it really were an immemorial kind of conflict.The story is fundamentally the chronicle of a moral debate. But, because only Israeli Jews are presented as human beings, the debate occurs basically among them. In principle, this is fine except that it is really an artificial kind of debate. What the author does not tell us is that those who hold Arabs with racist contempt are in fact the majority among Israeli Jews, as confirmed over and over again by Israeli public opinion surveys. By contrast, those who argue for a humane approach to dealing with the Palestinian Arabs are in reality a very tiny minority whose voice is marginalized in Israeli society.

In the end, the impression that there is a vigorous and healthy moral debate in Israel is simply either a fraud or just an example of wishful thinking among well-meaning writers and intellectuals that serves to present Israel as a normal, civilized, and democratic society where such debates are said to occur.

Deborah Ellis begins her scrupulously balanced book by expressing a genuine concern for the plight of civilians, especially children caught in situations of war. She states what UNICEF and others have already amply documented, namely, that "in World War I, 15 percent of all casualties were civilians. In World War II, 50 percent of all casualties were civilians. In 2004, 90 percent of casualties in war are civilians." Ellis is concerned with the casualties of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She points out that "between September 29, 2000, when the second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation, began, and March 7, 2003, 3,399 people were killed. Of these, 429 were children under the age of eighteen." She then lists their names.

Ellis provides a framework and a context that enables the reader to situate the interviews with the children. She briefly explains the history of the conflict and provides the arguments as seen by Israelis and by Palestinians. Both narratives are therefore provided. The reader will also understand what a Jewish settlement is, how some roads are for Jews only and how Palestinians are controlled by a system of roadblocks and checkpoints.One hears the voices of Palestinian and Israeli children and one is able to enter into a world that is bound by fear, anxiety and sometimes despair. Yet one also sees glimmers of hope and possibilities of a better life.

What we learn by reading these accounts is at times shocking to the point where I think every Arab and Israeli politician should be required to read the book, if only to finally realize what kind of world they are creating for their children.

We learn for instance that there is absolutely no contact between Palestinian and Israeli children. One fifteen-year-old Israeli youngster, a recent immigrant from Russia, says, "I know a little bit about the Palestinians from the news. It seems they all hate us, but I don't know why. I have not met any yet. It is impossible for us to meet. We are separate people" (p. 23). An eleven-year-old Palestinian says, "I don't know any Israeli children. I don't want to know any. They hate me and I hate them" (p. 50). Merav, a thirteen-year-old Israeli who lives in a settlement (which means a place built for Jews only on confiscated Arab land in the heart of the occupied West Bank) has this to say: "I don't know any Palestinian children. They are all around the outside of my settlement, but I don't know any of them. I have no reason to meet them. They are dangerous and will shoot me if they get the chance. The Israeli army keeps them away from us" (p. 67-68).Usually, the only Israelis that Palestinian children see are the soldiers. Here is a twelve-year-old Palestinian child speaking: "There are a lot of soldiers where I live. They watch us all the time. We can't do anything without being watched by them. They carry guns, and they give me nightmares. We would like them to go away, but they don't care about what we want" (p. 25).

It is interesting to note how heavily socialized Israeli children are: nearly all mention school field trips to the Yad Vashem holocaust museum, boy scout activities, one child mentions a visit to Poland "to see for ourselves what happened to the Jews during the war," (p. 29) and army service. It is also quite interesting to see how propaganda themes and anti-Arab images filter down to children.

Here is an example from an eighteen-year-old in a Jewish settlement north of Jerusalem: "We, the Israelis have been trying, but how much can we give? After all, this is our land. I wish all the Jews in the world would come to Israel, and that all the Palestinians would leave and go live in some other Arab country" (p. 76).

By contrast, Palestinian children do not seem to undergo such a thick process of socialization. They appear to be influenced more by the texts of everyday life, what they see around them. Here is an eighteen-year-old who lives in a refugee camp near Ramallah: "A lot of people die in this camp. The Israelis shoot missiles at us. Not long ago, a missile hit a car and killed a woman and her three children. Two other women were killed by a land mine. Lots of people die here" (p. 79). The boy has been in a wheelchair for the past few years, not because of any injury, but because "he was frightened by the soldiers a few years ago, he became unable to move his legs and one of his arms. He hasn't walked since" (p. 79).

To her credit, Deborah Ellis points out that many Palestinian children have suffered what we call post traumatic stress syndrome, a widespread phenomenon that has received little acknowledgment or attention. Those who live in refugee camps have suffered the most because that is where the Israeli army focuses its most intense assaults. The symptoms include listlessness, inability to concentrate, bedwetting, aggressive behavior, insomnia and nightmares.

Israeli children who have come into contact with Palestinian children tend to see things somewhat differently. Here is a fifteen-year-old who lives in Jerusalem: "I used to take an art class with Palestinian children. I was eleven years old. It was no big deal. They were just kids doing art, same as me. We didn't fight because they were Palestinian and I am an Israeli. We were just kids doing art" (p. 96). This young man notes, "I don't think we'll ever get out of this situation unless we give the Palestinians their own state. It's the only way to make peace. Everyone will have to give up a little of what they want in order to get some of what they want. We're both here. Neither of us is going to go away" (p. 98).Some of their wishes are touching indeed. Nearly all wish for the fighting to end. A fourteen-year-old Palestinian girl says, "I wish the fighting would end, so that we can just make music and have fun and not hate each other. Maybe we could even make music with the Israelis one day" (p. 62). One sixteen-year-old Israeli says: "My three wishes? I have just one. I want the war to end, so I can keep living in Israel and raise my children here" (p. 33).

Elizabeth Laird's book, A Little Piece of Ground, written with the help of Palestinian writer Sonia Nimr, deals with issues that I am familiar with, having lived in Ramallah during the period (2000-2003) that she chronicles. The book was initially published in 2003 by Macmillan Children's books in England and reproduced in 2006 by Haymarket Books in the U.S. For a while, one could not purchase the book through USA because of a nasty campaign launched by pro-Israeli groups. I notice, however, that one can now buy a copy through USA. Recently, the book has been selected as a United States Board on Books for Young People-Children's Book Council (USBBY-CBC) Outstanding International Book for 2007, an honor well deserved by the author as well as Haymarket Books.

The book tells the story of the Aboudi family who live in Ramallah, their twelve year old son Karim and two of his friends, one of whom, Hopper, comes from a refugee camp near Ramallah and the other, Jodi, from a relatively well to do family. Karim daydreams about becoming a soccer star but has to contend with Israeli imposed curfews and checkpoints that restrict his freedom of movement.

He sounds almost exactly like one of the teenagers in Deborah Ellis's book who speaks about the threatening Israeli soldiers whose rules of engagement consider a twelve-year-old kid throwing rocks at them a legitimate target for killing. His father is humiliated in front of him by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint while the family is traveling by car to spend a couple of days in their own ancestral village near Ramallah. The family and the relatives are abused and threatened by nearby Jewish settlers who live on confiscated Arab land as they try to harvest their olives, much as their ancestors have done for many generations.

For these Jewish settlers, many of whom originate from the U.S., the land belongs to the Jewish people and the Palestinians who are said to contaminate it must therefore go.Karim and his friend Hopper decide to reclaim a bulldozed lot and turn it into a football field. They also establish a secret den as an after school hideout. This effort to reclaim a little piece of ground eventually brings them face to face with Israeli tanks and a near fatal adventure that takes the reader directly to the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation. Karim is shot in the leg as he runs away from the Israeli soldiers but he survives.

At the end of the story, the author narrates, "He'd go back soon, when his leg was better, and he'd start again, he and Hopper, and they'd bring in the other boys, and make the place theirs again, and play soccer, and play, and play" (p. 216).Elizabeth Laird captures the nuances of the place so well that one forgets that the author is actually a foreigner writing about a Palestinian story. The interaction within the Aboudi family reveals a society where the family plays a crucial role in people's lives, offering unconditional and loving support to all members. This may well be one of the main sources of strength that has allowed Palestinian society to persist in the face of Israel's fiercest attacks against it. At one point, Hassan Aboudi, the father, who had suffered humiliation at the hands of the soldiers, sits silently at the family meal and then says, "Endurance. That's what takes courage. Decency among ourselves. That's where we must be strong. When they steal from us and try to humiliate us, the real shame is on themselves" (p. 65).

The book captures the effects of the Israeli invasion on schools and education. Several schools were vandalized by the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian Ministry of Education was ransacked and its computers were smashed causing major loss in files and data sets. In the story, children are unable to concentrate; they were "edgy and restless"; they hear a big explosion outside their school and the frustrated teacher resorts to physical punishment to try to control them.

Laird also captures rather well the feelings of anxiety and loss as Karim's best friend Jodi tells him that he and his parents have decided to leave the country. In those years hundreds of middle income families and professionals decided to leave because of their worries about their children's welfare and safety. A closely knit society was being torn asunder as it had been twice before, in June 1967 and in April-May 1948.

A Little Piece of Ground is a metaphor for Palestinians who are simply asking the world to recognize their right to a tiny place where they can live freely and breathe some fresh air. It is also a story of their endurance and their refusal to bow down to superior and rapacious power. Haymarket Books dedicates the book to the memory of Rachel Corrie, the young American peace activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer.

To her credit, Lynne Reid Banks offers a brief blurb on this book and says the following: "This story of how it feels to be under the heel of an occupier and how it affects day-to-day life is an oddly homely one. We get to care about this boy and his family and, yes, to loathe their oppressors -- and I say that as one who lived in Israel for years and has written the story of terrorism in that area for children from the Jewish side ... I know it is a good book and needs to be read by others like me."

These brave authors of children's books have had to deal with the thorny issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although some of these books elicited near-hysterical outrage from hard-core pro-Israeli groups, it is, nonetheless, interesting to note that hundreds of thousands of copies of these various books have sold and continue to sell throughout the world and a number of these authors have gone on to win some important literary prizes. This means that the traditional hold that pro-Israeli groups have had, always exaggerated in my opinion, that resulted in the reluctance of known publishing houses to venture into this area has finally begun to recede.

We now have a number of well-written books that offer a rich and highly textured portrait of children's lives in times of conflict. More importantly, we now have, for the first time, portraits of Palestinian children as normal human beings engaged in the daily struggle for survival, children with hopes and fears, hates and loves, just like the rest of the world's children.

This is quite remarkable because the Palestinian, as a human being, still does not exist. His or her identity continues to be submerged under various labels -- he is a terrorist, or a religious fanatic, a hater of Jews, a moderate or an extremist. Palestinian casualties are usually just numbers, while Israeli casualties are humans with a life story. We are told their age, where they come from, who their friends are, who their parents are, what their hopes were and so on. It is therefore significant that, for the first time, we can see Palestinian children as normal human beings.

The generalized political discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict often obscures the tragic toll the conflict takes on innocent civilians. These books highlight this human dimension and they do it well. In the process, they reveal to us the incredibly huge and tragic cost of this ongoing conflict and the urgent need for its resolution.

Fouad Moughrabi is Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is also Director of the Qattan Center for Educational Research and Development, Ramallah, Palestine.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Children across the UK have been voting for their favourite books of the year in the Red House Children’s Book Award (RHCBA). This year more children than ever have been involved, casting a record 81,000+ votes for over 1000 different books. It is the goal of the Award to encourage as many children as possible to join in the voting and there are new initiatives with Brownie groups and the Black Country Schools Library Service. Also through the increased sponsorship of the Red House, 200 additional new schools are getting involved through School Link.

The winner of the 2007 Red House Children’s Book Award will be announced at a ceremony held at the Guardian Hay Festival on 1st June 2007. The award ceremony is a unique celebration of children’s books; not only are the short-listed authors and illustrators present, along with many previous winners of the award but also a selection of children from all over the country who have taken part in voting for the award winners. In the week leading up to the award ceremony the Guardian Hay Festival will also host five RHCBA author and illustrator events featuring a number of the short-listed authors and past winners, sponsored by Red House.

Now embarking in its 27th year, the award was founded in 1980 by author and librarian Pat Thomson and it is run by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. The category winners each receive an engraved silver bowl. The overall winner is awarded the Red House Children’s Book Award Silver Tree which they are the custodian of for a year and an engraved silver acorn which is theirs to keep. Each of the short-listed authors and illustrators also receives an incredible portfolio of writing and drawing created by the children and inspired by their book.

The full shortlist for the 2007 Red House Children’s Book Award is as follows:

Books for Younger Children
Silly Billy by Anthony Browne published by Walker Books
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers published by Harper Collins
The Lamb Who Came for Dinner by Steve Smallman and Joelle Dreidemy published by
Little Tiger Press
Who’s in the Loo? by Jeanne Willis and Adrian Reynolds published by Andersen Press

Books for Younger Readers
The Legend of Captain Crow’s Teeth by Eoin Colfer published by Puffin Books
Araminta Spook: My Haunted House by Angie Sage published by Bloomsbury
You’re a Bad Man Mr Gum by Andy Stanton published by Egmont

Books for Older Readers
Alone on a Wide Wide Sea by Michael Morpurgo published by Harper Collins
Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie published by Simon & Schuster
Soul Eater by Michelle Paver published by Orion Books

Children can vote for their favourite books on the 2007 shortlist via the RHCBA website:

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Patron for Seven Stories

Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle is supported by a number of distinguished patrons. These include Sir Jeremy Beecham, Quentin Blake CBE, Carol Hughes, Terry Jones, Philip Pullman CBE, Sir John Riddell Bt, CVO CA, and Jacqueline Wilson OBE. To add to the list Seven Stories are delighted to announce that local author David Almond has agreed to become a patron of the Centre.

Tim Caulton, Chair of Trustees at Seven Stories says: “David played an invaluable role as an active Board member during the development phase. Board members have been delighted to witness David’s phenomenal success as an author during this period, and we are now privileged that he has now agreed to join our illustrious list of successful children’s authors as a Patron of Seven Stories’.

Elizabeth Hammill, Collections Development Director at Seven Stories says: “As a writer David has put his native North East on the international literary map, revealing it as an ‘undiscovered country’, a place where the everyday that Northerners know is transformed by a ‘strange kind of poetry and magic’. He has been part of the fabric of Seven Stories for many years, joining us shortly after the publication of Heaven Eyes which is set in the Black Middens of a derelict Ouseburn Valley.

David Almond was born in Newcastle and grew up in Felling-on-Tyne. His first book for young people, Skellig, was published in 1998 and won the Whitbread Children's Award and the Carnegie Medal.
David says: “It's a fantastic honour to be asked to be a Patron of Seven Stories. This great organisation puts children's books right where they should be - at the heart of our culture. It celebrates the joys and passions of reading, writing and illustrating. It opens its doors to one and all. It offers wonderful resources to students of all ages. Like the best of books, it is itself serious, playful, creative, visionary and optimistic. And here it is, right by the Tyne in Newcastle.”

Friday, February 02, 2007

We're going on a Bear Hunt: Picturebook Adventures at Seven Stories

A gentle exhibition of ten Walker picture books has just opened at Seven Stories in Newcastle. Small children will delight in trying on the masks, clothes, peering through peep holes, squeezing into a large red shoe, curling up in a cat basket and joining in with the joyous performance by Michael Rosen of "We're going on a Bear Hunt" (on a looped recording - you may be there for hours!). There is some original artwork as well. Older children in the family can spend time in "Westall's Kingdom: A Writer's Life" on the next floor. And there is a well stocked bookshop, cafe and free on-street parking. For details of prices and opening times go to

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Philip Pullman receives Freedom of Oxford

Philip Pullman, who has published over twenty books, received the rare honour in a ceremony at the Town Hall in Oxford on Wednesday 24 January 2007.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Jim Campbell, said: “Oxford has an astonishingly rich tradition of children's story telling, and Philip Pullman is a worthy successor to Lewis Carroll and C S Lewis.

His Dark Materials is one of the finest imaginative works in English. While it creates and explores new worlds and new systems its roots are in Oxford and we are pleased to be able to confer the freedom of the city on someone who has given so much enjoyment to children, and adults, all over the world.”

Philip Pullman, who lives in Cumnor, said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive the Freedom of Oxford, the city which has been the inspiration for a great deal of my work.

“Oxford is a city that’s steeped in storytelling. It’s a place where the past and the present jostle each other on the pavement, and while of course that’s true of many cities in Britain, Oxford does seem to have a few extra dimensions in some strange way.

“I am immensely gratified that the city I’ve made my home has found my work worth rewarding, and very proud to receive an honour whose history goes back to the craftsmen and merchants of the Middle Ages, and which is held by a few very distinguished people of today.”

There is only a small number of people who have been given the award including Sir Roger Bannister, Nelson Mandela, author Colin Dexter and Burmese human rights campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Waterstone's Children's Book Prize

Children’s Laureate Jacqueline Wilson has announced that debut author Tom Becker has won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize for his novel ‘Darkside’ which is set in a dangerous and unimaginably exciting parallel ‘secret’ London where nightmares walk the streets.

The announcement, made at a central London Awards ceremony today, has realised a life ambition for Tom Becker at an early age. Since Tom learned to hold a pen he wanted to become a writer and now, aged 25, he has both published his first book and won his first prestigious award.

Tom Becker drew inspiration for ‘Darkside’ from fantasy novels, film noirs such as ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ and ‘The Big Sleep’, and also from a fascination with the seamier side of Victorian history. Tom has always held a fascination with fantasy novels spending many a childhood day curled up in an armchair reading Brian Jacques and he further developed his interest for supernatural adventures whilst studying history at Oxford where he found himself intrigued by the otherworldly atmosphere of the University library where he used to spend long days reading.

Author Tom Becker said “It's an incredible feeling to have won the Waterstones' Children's Book Prize, and I hope that this means that readers have enjoyed the strange and other-worldly pleasures of ‘Darkside’. Given the calibre of the other books on the shortlist, I didn't think I stood a chance of winning, and it's amazing to receive such a prestigious award at the very beginning of my writing career.”

About the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize

The Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize is in its third year and was created to uncover hidden talent in children’s writing. Open to authors who have written three or less books, the award is the only one where publishers, booksellers and the public join forces to recommend their book to the panel of judges. Over 4,000 booksellers get involved, together with local schools and reading groups, to discuss and pick their favourite book within three categories: 5-8, 9-12 and Teenage.

The Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2007 Short List

Jake Cake: The Werewolf Teacher’ by Michael Broad

‘The Dragon Detective Agency: Case of the Missing Cats’ by Gareth Jones

‘Darkside’ by Tom Becker

‘Nathan Fox: Dangerous Times’ by L. Brittney

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools’ by Philip Caveney
Random House

‘The Black Book of Secrets’ by F.E. Higgins

‘The Thing With Finn’ by Tom Kelly

‘Smugglers’ by Christopher Russell

‘A Swift Pure Cry’ by Siobhan Dowd
Random House

‘Bunker 10’ by J.A. Henderson
Oxford UP