Monday, June 30, 2008

Read It Again Prize

"Max and the Doglins" by Amanda Montgomery Higham is the winner of the third "Read it Again!" Cambridgeshire Children's Picture Book award. Amanda was presented with the award by last year's winner Tim Hopgood at a special presentation ceremony in front of 230 children at the Burgess Hall, St Ives in Cambridgeshire on Thursday 26th June.
The award is for a debut picture book where the story and pictures are the work of one person.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Carnegie and Greenaway Awards

CILIP Carnegie Winner Here lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

CILIP Kate Greenaway Winner Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett

The Award Ceremony at the British Library on Thursday 26 June was compared by Bob (I didn't catch his last name) who is head of CILIP. His style is very much jacket off, sleeves rolled but despite a jokey manner he made a worth while plea for local authorities to maintain their expert children's librarians. Michael Portillo presented the prizes and showed convincing interest throughout the ceremony.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lauren Child Exhibition, Manchester

Green Drops and Moonsquirters: The Utterly Imaginative World of Lauren Child
Saturday 21 June 2008 - Sunday 21 September 2008
Manchester Art Gallery
Join Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and friends in an interactive summer exhibition for under 7s and their families.

Step into the utterly imaginative world of Lauren’s books and explore playhouses where you can:

Sit at Charlie and Lola’s kitchen table and make meals with food from their fridge.
Dress-up in Charlie and Lola’s favourite outfits including Lola’s fabulous alligator costume from I Am TOO Absolutely Small For School.
Draw imaginary friends on a magna-doodle (inspired by Lola’s friend Soren Lorensen).
Visit Grubby Alley where That Pesky Rat lives.
Perform puppet shows to an audience of family and friends (in a theatre created from the four-poster bed in The Princess and The Pea).
You can also see over 40 original illustrations from Lauren's award-winning stories. And have an exclusive first peek at the author's next book.

Green Drops and Moonsquirters is the very first exhibition to be dedicated to Lauren Child's work. Her illustrations artfully combine drawing, collage and photography while witty and irreverent text weaves through the pages in unconventional ways.

Curated and developed by Manchester Art Gallery, the free exhibition premieres at the gallery from 21 June until 21 September 2008 before touring to museums and galleries around the UK.

Supported by the Arts Council England.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chris Powling: Now don't get me wrong...


Chris Powling

Number 26: Age-Banding Books

…I’m all for keeping book buyers informed. That’s what reviews and the reviewing media are for (not least this very journal). Where books for children are concerned, with choosers who may well be someone other than the intended reader, a bit of preliminary reconnaissance is especially helpful. That’s where the blurb on the book itself comes in – not to mention the hard-to-miss signals provided by the lay-out of the pages, the size of the print, the style of the illustrations and a sampling of the actual text. With evidence like this as a guide there’s nobody, so far as I know, who has ever confused the intended readership of, say, THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER with that of TREASURE ISLAND.

Why, then, are publishers now insisting that all children’s books carry a prominently displayed ‘age-band’ to indicate that a particular title is for readers of 6+, or 9+, or 12+ or, in the case of Adrian Mole perhaps, 13 ¾? Getting a ‘fix’ on a book is one thing. Getting a Kwik-Fix is entirely another.

I’m not surprised there’s been a back-lash. Go to to see what Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Jackie Wilson, Michael Rosen and Adele Geras think…along with about 2000 other writers, illustrators, librarians, academics et al. The list is growing steadily as I write. No need to repeat the website’s arguments here but Philip Pullman sums up his objections thus:

“You simply can’t decide who your readership will be. Nor

do I want to, because declaring that it’s for one group in

particular means excluding every other group, and I don’t

want to exclude anybody. Every reader is welcome and I

want my books to say so.”

For me that settles it. Well do I remember, for instance, my first encounter with TREASURE ISLAND. As a ten-year-old, I was equally impressed with the half of it I understood and the half of it I didn’t. Much more puzzling was THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER which I came across at about the same time. How could such a ‘baby’ book make me laugh so much? If the first had been banded at 12+, say, and the second at 6+, I’m pretty sure I’d have rejected both. As it was, I was happy to find out for myself if these were books for me...because neither of them made me feel unwelcome.

Chris Powling – June, 2008

Age Banding - the story continues

Over 2,000 signatures now on the website.

the following is from Peter's Library Services newsletter:
BOOK NEWS : "Age" concern continues

The Society of Authors has called for age-guidance plans to be temporarily suspended pending a review, following the unprecedented author revolt last week. Novelist Celia Rees, chair of the children’s writers and illustrators group at the Society of Authors, told the Bookseller that if publishers go ahead it should only be with individual authors’ approval.

“Not all writers are against age guidance, but given the strong opposition that has emerged in recent days, we have proposed to the Publishers Association that the Children’s Book Group’s plans should be put on hold, pending a review, which would include a number of authors,” she said. A spokesperson for the CBG said that publishers were continuing to discuss author concerns on an individual basis. “Publishers are getting lots of valuable feedback from authors, which in turn is helping them address the specific issues and concerns that authors are raising.

The CBG remains committed to the principle of age guidance, which it sees as one of several tools that will help more adults choose and buy a book for the children in their lives.” Walker and Usborne said that they were among those playing a “wait and see” game. Usborne, said that publishers were “never as united as the first statements indicated”. Whilst Walker has indicated it is in “no hurry” to join the age guidance movement.

This week’s “Publishing News” carries a full page listing of authors and book trade people, who feel age banding is ill-conceived – together with a further full page article on page 10. Incidentally last week’s most popular and most read article in Egazette was the “Age raging angst.”

Fantastic Book Awards - Lancashire

My Haunted House by Angie Sage
Oranges in No Man’s Land by Elizabeth Laird
Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire by Andy Stanton
Spy Dog 2 by Andrew Cope
Lexi by L.S. Matthews

The lucky authors have received a uniquely engraved fountain pen AND a very special letter written by one of the schools that voted them a winner! The winners were over the moon! This is what they said:

Andrew Cope said “You’ve put a huge grin on my face!”
Elizabeth Laird said, “Here’s a big huge massive enormous colossal gigantic thank you to all of you!”
Andy Stanton was chuffed with his pen & said, “ I have started writing the next ‘Mr Gum’ book with it. It’s my lucky pen!”

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bisto Book of the Year

Hurrah! A children's book wins a children's book many short listed books for Children's Book Prizes seem to be for teenage books.

Siobhan Dowd’s The London Eye Mystery (David Fickling) was named Bisto Book of the Year 2007/08 at a ceremony in Dublin last week. The author died of cancer last year, and the trophy and cheque for €10,000 were ac­cepted on her behalf by her friend and publisher, David Fickling. Siobhan's husband Geoff Morgan was also at the ceremony and the prize money will be donated to The Siobhan Dowd Trust

Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

The long list is:

The Goldsmith's Daughter by Tanya Landman

Bad Blood by Rhiannon Lassiter

Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd (David Fickling)

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife that Killed Me by Anthony McGowan

Monday, June 02, 2008

No to Age Banding

No to Age Banding
We are writers, illustrators, librarians, teachers, publishers and booksellers. Some of us have a measure of control over what appears on the covers of their books; others have less.

But we are all agreed that the proposal to put an age-guidance figure on books for children is ill-conceived, damaging to the interests of young readers, and highly unlikely, despite the claims made by those publishers promoting the scheme, to make the slightest difference to sales.

We take this step to disavow publicly any connection with such age-guidance figures, and to state our passionately-held conviction that everything about a book should seek to welcome readers in and not keep them out.

Here are some of our reasons:

Each child is unique, and so is each book. Accurate judgments about age suitability are impossible, and approximate ones are worse than useless.
Children easily feel stigmatized, and many will put aside books they might love because of the fear of being called babyish. Other children will feel dismayed that books of their ‘correct’ age-group are too challenging, and will be put off reading even more firmly than before.
Age-banding seeks to help adults choose books for children, and we're all in favour of that; but it does so by giving them the wrong information. It’s also likely to encourage over-prescriptive or anxious adults to limit a child's reading in ways that are unnecessary and even damaging.
Everything about a book is already rich with clues about the sort of reader it hopes to find – jacket design, typography, cover copy, prose style, illustrations. These are genuine connections with potential readers, because they appeal to individual preference. An age-guidance figure is a false one, because it implies that all children of that age are the same.
Children are now taught to look closely at book covers for all the information they convey. The hope that they will not notice the age-guidance figure, or think it unimportant, is unfounded.
Writers take great care not to limit their readership unnecessarily. To tell a story as well and inclusively as possible, and then find someone at the door turning readers away, is contrary to everything we value about books, and reading, and literature itself.
To sign up and show your support for this statement, send an email to . We will publish your name and any relevant description (eg writer, bookseller) on this web site and possibly in the Bookseller advertisement. We'll keep your email address confidential and won't pass it to anybody else, but we may write occasionally with relevant news.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Red House Children's Book Award

Derek Landy’s debut novel, Skulduggery Pleasant, has won the Red House Children’s Book Award (RHCBA) - the only national children’s book award to be chosen exclusively by children.

As winner of the Red House Children’s Book Award Derek Landy joins a group of illustrious past winners including Quentin Blake in 1981 with Mister Magnolia, Roald Dahl in 1983 with The BFG, Jacqueline Wilson in 1996 with Double Act, J.K. Rowling in 1998 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Michael Morpurgo with Private Peaceful in 2004. Former Children’s Laureate, Jacqueline Wilson DBE, 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.”

The category winners were in the Books for Younger Children section, Polly Dunbar with Penguin published by Walker Books and in the Books for Younger Readers Chris Riddell Ottoline and the Yellow Cat published by Macmillan Children’s Books. Derek Landy won the Books for Older Readers as well as being awarded overall winner.

· The Red House Children’s Book Award, now in its 28th year, is the only national award 100% selected by children – that includes both the shortlist and the winners.
· It’s totally democratic & accessible - any child can take part and vote via the website or via a Freepost address.