Sunday, December 26, 2010

Booktrust, a hopeful report

Confused message...or change of heart?
Last week Booktrust was told by the Department for Education that funding for bookgifting programmes in England - Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up - would be cut by 100% from 1 April 2011.
But Booktrust chief executive Viv Bird told BBC News that, in a conversation on Sunday morning, Education Secretary Michael Gove had "committed his support for Booktrust book-gifting programmes so that every child will continue to have access to the gift of a book".
She said that the charity would hold talks with the government in the new year about the level of continued public funding.
A joint statement from the DfE and Booktrust said the department would "continue to fund Booktrust book-gifting programmes in the future".
It said: "Although the current contract will end in April, the department are talking to Booktrust about how to develop a new programme which will ensure that every child can enjoy the gift of books at crucial moments in their lives while ensuring we develop an even more effective way of supporting the most disadvantaged families to read together."
The book-gifting schemes have previously been universal, including families that can afford to buy books, because the charity says targeted programmes struggle to reach all families most in need.
Booktrust says that, through support by publishing companies, it has been able to generate another £4 for every £1 of government money.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

House of Illustration news

House of Illustration raises £59,000 at Sotheby's
(from the House of Illustrations news) We’re delighted to announce that last week’s English Literature, History and Children’s Books and Illustrations sale at Sotheby’s raised £59,000 for the House of Illustration.
Some 28 leading contemporary illustrators donated works to the auction to benefit the House of Illustration, including Eric Carle, Raymond Briggs, Oliver Jeffers, Quentin Blake, Axel Scheffler, Sara Fanelli and Peter Brookes.The works were exhibited prior to the auction in the Colonnade Gallery at Sotheby’s, alongside pieces from private collections by Beatrix Potter, E.H. Shepard, Edmund Dulac and Pauline Baynes which formed a special ‘Art of Illustration’ exhibition.
A late entry to the sale were two illustrations from 'A Christmas Carol’, drawn by Quentin Blake at the sale’s private view earlier that week. In a very special festive performance, House of Illustration Ambassador Peter Capaldi read excerpts from Dickens’s novel, while Quentin Blake illustrated Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present live.We’d like to thank everyone at Sotheby’s, John Jones, and all the illustrators who contributed works to the sale.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bookstart funding crisis

Booktrust is to lose all government funding for its bookgifting programmes in England from 1st April next year.
The book charity's bookgifting programmes, Bookstart, Booktime and Booked Up, received £13m from the Department for Education last year. This sum was used to generate a further £56m-worth of sponsorship from publishing partners and corporate sponsors.Booktrust chief executive Viv Bird said: "We are immensely surprised and disappointed by this decision and know that families, teachers, librarians, health visitors, our publishing partners and many others up and down the country will be sharing these feelings." She added: "We passionately believe in these programmes and the proven extraordinary transformative power of reading for pleasure. We will be consulting with our partners and exploring alternative funding opportunities to do our utmost to make sure that every child continues to be given the opportunity to develop a lifelong love of books."Bookstart is a national programme that gives a free pack of books to babies, and guidance materials to parents and carers. Booktime promotes reading aloud with children, and Booked Up aims to give a free book to every child starting secondary school in England.
Booktrust stressed that the cut applies to England only.

The former children's laureate Michael Rosen has expressed his utter dismay at the news.

The Guardian has covered it in its third leader today, 23 December.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Old Possum's Children's Poetry Competition

“A delight to witness very young writers discovering the power and the joy of language.”*
The judges of the Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition, led by Chair Roger McGough, have selected twelve children as winners of the Competition, with a further eight receiving high commendations. The judges awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes to children in two age groups (7-8 and 9-11).
This international Poetry Competition, now in its fifth year, is run 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 7 October, children aged 7-11 were invited to submit poems on the theme of ‘Home’.
The partnership with the British Council boosted entries to the ‘International Learners’ category for children based outside the UK who are learning English as a foreign or second language. In total, well over 3,000 entries were received from schools and individual children worldwide, nearly a quarter of which were from 31 countries other than the UK.
*Roger McGough said:
“’Home' proved to be a fruitful subject for this year's crop of young poets and the judges relished those poems in which the child's imagination was let loose. More than attention to domestic detail, the sounds and smells, the furnishings, the judges relished those poems in which the child's imagination was let loose. Above all, it was a delight to witness very young writers discovering the power and the joy of language.”
The CPB held a wonderful gala celebration and prize-giving on Friday 10 December at the Drill Hall theatre in London, hosted by poets Roger McGough and James Carter, both of whom were also judges of the competition. The winning young poets were presented with their cash and book prizes and read their poems to an enthralled audience of friends, family, teachers and children from local schools. A booklet containing the children’s winning poems was given to every audience member. The winning poems are featured on the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf website at and on the British Council’s website at
The Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition is generously supported by Old Possum’s Practical Trust.

Monday, December 13, 2010

from Public Libraries News

Saturday, 11 December 2010

800 to 1000 libraries may be under threat.
311 libraries plus 20 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed. Being the list below of individual authorities represents around one-third of those in the UK, that could mean perhaps 800 to 1000 libraries could be under threat when all budget proposals are announced*. Tim Coates today announced he was in "despair" at this news. CILIP have been active behind the scenes and have promised action in the next week to publicise the plight of public libraries. Ed Vaizey, the minister responsible for libraries has written this week to each council to remind them that libraries are a statutory service. Most councils decide their budgets for 2011/12 in February so, if you too are concerned by a proposed cut in funding for libraries in your authority, there is not much time left to let your councillor/MP/Minister know.*Thanks to Desmond Clarke for pointing this out.
Birmingham - Tower Hill library may close, protests begin - Walsall Advertiser
Doncaster - reaction to the cuts - Save Doncaster Libraries
Dorset - Public consultation on closure of 20 (out of 34) libraries - Dorset Echo
Gloucestershire - campaign to save Matson Library - This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire - local council meetings fail to sell the message of closures - Friends of Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire - deathblow to libraries? - Ruscombe Green
Gloucestershire - messages of support for libraries, inc. video - Friends of Gloucestershire
Highland - Wick Library to close, new one in school outside of town centre - John O'Groats Journal
Leicestershire - privatisation for libraries and/or co-location - Lutterworth Mail
Leicestershire - Concern at cuts - BBC
North Yorkshire - Gargrave and Grassington could be community-run, only big towns to have a library - Craven Herald and Pioneer
Oxfordshire - the news on libraries is awful so how bad will cuts be for other services? - Oxford Mail
Oxfordshire - more cuts to be announced (goodbye Oxford Literary Festival?) - BBC
Oxfordshire - Campaigners, including MP and Phllip Pullman, protest at cuts - Oxford Mail
Sandwell - doing well - Halesownen News (yippee!)
Wandsworth - your chance to take part in consultation - Wandsworth Council
Warrington - Phone Box as Library - Warrington GuardianWest Sussex - Cuts to libraries to be discussed next week - Argus.
This article suggests at least some libraries will be either closed or given to volunteers - Chichester Observer.
Wigan - did you know our library is in danger of closing? - Standish Talk
MLA "It's not the libraries that matter" Future Libraries Programme Newsletter - MLA
Tim Coates despairs - Good Library Blog
Reading Agency shows power of youth volunteering in libraries - Alan Gibbons
Arts Council (soon to be responsible for libraries) under fire - London Evening Standard
Plea for councillors not to cave into "middle class lobbyists" in favour of libraries - Public Finance
Councils to be told how much their funding will be cut early next week - Daily Telegraph - libraries mentioned several times in article as amongst those services most likely to close.
Eric Pickles seems more concerned about Winterval than the cuts - Guardian
Localism Bill - closed library? community groups may get first right of refusal on the building - BBCChoose a library for the Guardian to look at and, possibly, save - Guardian - A significant proportion of the comments after the article are in favour of closing libraries.
Kate Mosse in defence of libraries - Guardian
Aberdeenshire - some
Angus - 4 libraries closed this year (April) to be possibly replaced by a mobile
Argyll and Bute - 3 libraries and mobile library.Barking and Dagenham - 5
Barnet - some - public consultation hereBarnsley - up to 8Bedfordshire - 1 mobile to go Birmingham - 40
Bolton - Up to 8
Brent - 6 (out of 12)
Bristol - some may be staffed by volunteers
Buckinghamshire - up to 14 to close or be staffed by volunteers
Cambridgeshire - some
Camden - several plus one mobile library
(£2 million cut)Central Bedfordshire - one mobile library to go
Cornwall - up to 23
Croydon - 1 (local studies)
Devon - (mobile stops cut)
Doncaster - 13,
(may also be taken out of council control)Dorset - up to 20 (out of 34) to close or be given to community groups
Dumfries - 7
Flintshire - 5
and at least one mobileGloucestershire - Up to 25 and 6 mobiles - 11 to close or go to volunteers. 7 to close if they don't find a partner. A further 11 reduced to 3.5 hours a week (this is just a small figure I include them under "closed"), 6 mobile libraries to go. Hampshire - (58 FTE jobs to go)
(and mobile library review)
(libraries merged with IT/property etc)Harrow - (34 FTE to go)
Hartlepool - 1 confirmed to close (another to merge with community centre, all library's hours cut)
Hertfordshire - (opening hours to be cut by one third - from 2236 hours down to 1575) - At least one library (Borehamwood) faces a 40% cut
Highland - (Wick Library to close and merge with school library)
Hounslow - (12 FTE to go, 1 IT skills suite closed)
Isle of Wight - up to 10 (out of 11)
Kirklees - at least 1
Leeds - Up to 20 (out of 52)
Leicestershire - all libraries could be privatised, put to trust or shared
(merge of lending/reference- 14 FTE jobs lost)
Lewisham - 5
Milton Keynes - 2
Newport - 7
Northumberland - some
North Norfolk - some (c. £1m reduction)
North Somerset - 1 closed, 2 proposed.
Weston Mercury updateNorth Yorkshire - 24 to close or be staffed by volunteers, 9 mobiles to go off road.
Nottingham - (80 FTE jobs to go, 75% off bookfund,
30 libraries have less opening hours)
Oldham - (increase in volunteers, merging, cuts)
Oxfordshire - 20 - list of those under threat
hereRedbridge - 5 out of 12 may close, another may relocate.
Renfrewshire - (2 libraries to move into smaller sites in community centres)
Richmond - 1
Rochdale - (some library managers to to go in first phase of cuts)
Sefton - 3
Sheffield - (30% cut expected)
Shropshire - 1 (reference library to merge with central library)
Somerset - several. 7 libraries have reduced opening hours until decision made/jobs freeze.
Stoke - 2 and 1 mobile library,
(ends RNIB service)
Suffolk - up to 2
Tower Hamlets - (staff made to reapply for their own jobs -23 library staff replaced)
Wakefield - "several"
Walsall - at least 8 (30 FTE).
More details here Wandsworth - 1 plus reduction in hours in others
Warrington - 2 and 1 mobile library
West Sussex - Some (5 FTE lost, some librarians pay reduced to library assistant)
Wigan - Up to 15 out of 17
(£1.1m cut off £4m budget)Wiltshire - (26 FTE posts to go inc. 9 out of 13 community librarians)
Posted 11 Dec

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Blue Peter Book Awards 2011 shortlist

Best Book with Facts:
Do Igloos Have Loos? by Mitchell Symons (Doubleday)
How the World Works by Christiane Dorion, illustrated by Beverley Young, pop-ups designed by Andy Mansfield (Templar Publishing)
What You Need To Know Now: The World in Facts, Stats, and Graphics by Joe Fullman, Ian Graham, Sally Regan and Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Sheila Collins, Mik Gates, Jim Green, Katie Knutton, Phillip Letsu and Hoa Luc (Dorling Kindersley)
Most Fun Story with Pictures:
Alienography by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Mr Gum and the Cherry Tree by Andy Stanton, illustrated by David Tazzyman (Egmont)
Lunatics and Luck (The Raven Mysteries) by Marcus Sedgwick, illustrated by Pete Williamson (Orion Children’s Books)
Favourite Stories:
Dead Man's Cove (A Laura Marlin Mystery) by Lauren St John (Orion Children’s Books)
A Web of Air (Mortal Engines) by Philip Reeve (Scholastic Children’s Books)
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling Books)
The final nine books will now be judged by a selection of young Blue Peter viewers. They will decide the winners in each category and the overall winner of Blue Peter Book of the Year 2011 which will be announced in March 2011.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Campaign for the Book : open letter

(Contact Alan Gibbons:
Mobile: 07889981739)
Open letter to Jeremy Hunt MP and Ed Vaizey MP,
Ministers at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
Dear Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey,
Library users and staff across the country are increasingly concerned at the implications of the Comprehensive Spending Review. Over 250 library closures have been announced. Some, for example those in Oxfordshire and Lewisham, are in areas involved in the pilot of the Future Libraries Programme which promised: “A strong library service, based around the needs of local people, can play a key role in our ambitions to build the Big Society by providing safe and inclusive spaces for people to read, learn and access a range of community services.”When the then Secretary of State Andy Burnham hesitated over halting Wirral’s attempted closure of half its libraries just over a year ago, Ed Vaizey said: "If Andy Burnham is not prepared to intervene
when library provision is slashed in a local authority such as the Wirral, it is clear that he is gnoring his responsibilities as secretary of state.” Andy Burnham did, of course, change his mind under pressure after several months. Now cuts approaching the scale of those in the Wirral are
being repeated across the country, not only in Oxfordshire and Lewisham, but Buckinghamshire, Nottinghamshire, Leeds, Brent, Gloucestershire and many, many more. Ed Vaizey has written to councils reminding them of their duty under the 1964 Libraries and Museums Act to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service. It is becoming commonplace for councils to close up to half their library branch networks. It would be inconsistent if the DCMS did not superintend councils acting as unjustifiably as Wirral, preventing the slashing of services. We call on the DCMS not to ignore its responsibilities. We ask you to act in the spirit of the 1964 Act and prevent councils inflicting cuts which amount to cultural vandalism.
Yours sincerely,
Alan Gibbons
Organiser, the Campaign for the Book
The following authors, illustrators, poets, publishers, librarians, teachers, journalists, agents, screenwriters, translators, film producers and general readers have signed the petition:
Philip Pullman, Kate Mosse, Michael Holroyd, Peter Dickinson, Barry Cryer, Carol Ann Duffy,
Bonnie Greer, Kathy Lette
“Closing our libraries will make us a nation of numbskulls – theIlliterati.” Kathy Lette.
Julia Donaldson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Michael Rosen, Jackie Kay, Kwei Armah, Malorie Blackman, Beverley Naidoo, Joan Bakewell, Terry Jones, Lisa Appignanesi, President English PEN, Mark Le Fanu, Society of Authors, Simon Brett, Anne Chisholm, Chair, Royal Society of Literature, Tricia Adams, Director, School Library Association, Biddy Fisher, Cilip President,
Duncan Wright, School Librarian of the Year, 2010, Gillian Cross, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Nicola Morgan,Tim Bowler, Christine Blower, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, Tony Bradman, David Nicholls, Celia Rees, Jeremy Strong, Korky Paul, Bali Rai, Bernard Ashley
AND MANY HUNDREDS MORE including the Carousel team.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ramion Children's Story Collection Competition

The Ramion competition which was run Carousel is now closed. Congratulations to Lisa Backhouse, who has won the 14 Ramion stories, signed and dedicated to her by Frank Hinks.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


There was fun and excitement at the Kids Lit Quiz Finals™, held in Oxford Town Hall on 30 November, when the cream of our young readers came together from 13 regions around the country (extreme weather conditions prevented 2 teams from joining in) to compete for the Kids' Lit Quiz™ coveted cup.
Children’s author, actor and comedian Charlie Higson, creator of the Young Bond series and new zombie thriller series The Enemy, led almost 30 children’s authors to congratulate the winners from the regions and to support them as they answered questions on children's literature put to them by KLQ's dynamic quizmaster, Wayne Mills.
The atmosphere at a Kids’ Lit Quiz™ heat has been compared to “a pub quiz without the beer”, marked by high stakes – the teams knew that the UK winners will travel to New Zealand next July for a 20th BIRTHDAY INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATION QUIZ. Half way through the quiz, Wayne Mills announced that to mark the special anniversary the runners-up would also win the chance to compete in New Zealand. This was fortunate because two teams achieved exactly the same score. They then had to take part in ‘a sudden death’ competition – getting the best of three challenging questions correct – to win the finals. Two other teams also had to battle for third and fourth place because they had clocked up the same number of points.
In the end the results were:First – Cockermouth School (UK champions) (photograph of the four team members with Wayne Mills (in top hat) and Charlie Higson and holding cup) Second – Bristol Grammar School (English champions) (photograph of the four team members with Wayne Mills (in top hat) and Charlie Higson) . (For some reason the pics have Bristol as the first pic and Cockermouth as the second...they were meant to be the other way round!)
(Both teams have won a place to compete in the 20th Birthday International Celebration Quiz in New Zealand)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Literature Ability Media International Award

Laura Summers has won the Literature Ability Media International Award run by Leonard Cheshire Disability and supported by Orange for her book, Desperate Measures.
The AMI Awards identify creativity that encourages a more inclusive world for disabled andmarginalised groups of people. Covering every aspect of the arts, the winners have beenchosen for producing work that positively represents, involves or assists people facing majorphysical, mental, emotional or social challenges.
Laura Summers who was chosen by the judges for her creative excellence received theaward at a ceremony held at London Studios on 21 November.
Laura Summers produced this critically acclaimed first novel so readers could understand andhopefully be more tolerant towards those seemingly “different” from themselves. Regarded bymany as "affecting, honest, and totally gripping" this tale of a pair of twins – one of whom wasbrain-damaged at birth – which follows their lives after they are told their foster parents can'tcope and the family will have to be split up, is both moving and totally life-affirming.
Laura Summers said: “It is an absolute honour to have won this amazing award, althoughcreating a fictional heroine with a learning disability didn't seem an unusual thing for me tochoose to do. I wanted to show what I have learnt over the years - that we're all individualsand whatever our abilities or disabilities, we all want and need the same things - family,friends, to be treated decently and to reach our potential - a life basically.”
Wayne Drew, Chairman of the Ability Media Creative Board, said: “Today’s winnersdemonstrate outstanding creativity and are all socially and culturally of the highest importanceand Laura Summers is a perfect example of this. Desperate Measures is destined to promotea more fair, just and inclusive society, for the benefit of us all.”
Jane Jutsum, Leonard Cheshire Disability Innovative Projects Director, said: “It is a particularhonour to recognise Laura Summers as a worthy winner. Desperate Measures is an inspiringtestament to how disabled people make the world a more inclusive and better place. We hopeto ensure that disabled people will be better represented in the media industry and have moreinfluence on society as a result.”
This award, designed to identify outstanding achievement is one of 25 categories who rewardexcellence across the creative industries. The Ability Media Centre, run by Leonard CheshireDisability is a state of the art facility in London providing courses in production and postproduction, animation, graphic design, music technology and interactive media.
Visit:,, Facebook; the Ability Media Centre and
Twitter; @AbilityMediaLCD

Thursday, November 18, 2010

yet more on the library cuts

Last week saw news break of widespread proposed cuts to the nation’s library services – from Buckinghamshire’s reported plans to close Great Missenden library, beloved by Roald Dahl and credited as providing inspiration for Matilda, through to the privatisation of Wakefield’s entire library service.
There is so much news on this subject it would be difficult to list, so click here to visit Alan Gibbons’ Blog, and scroll down to Nov. 13th for his Campaign for the Book newsletter, which lists some examples.

Costa Book Prize

Costa Children's Book Award Shortlist
Flyaway by Lucy Christopher
Annexed by Sharon Dogar
Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud
Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace

The winner of this category will be announced on 5 January 11 and the overall category winner (chosen from fiction, biography, first novel, poetry and childrens) will be announced on 25 Jan.

Quentin Blake and Francois Place drawing duel

(photograph by Rosa Bianca)
The Children’s Book Show 2010 (http://www.childrensbookshow/) came to a triumphant end last night (17 November) with a sell out event at L'Institut Français, London. The popular event was also part of the Youth Festival.
Quentin Blake, the inaugural Children’s Laureate who has also been referred to as a ‘national institution’ and one of France’s most highly acclaimed illustrators illustrator Francois Place (best known in the UK for his illustrations for Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse) talked about their work, showing exquisite examples, and then treated an enthusiastic audience to an amazing drawing duel.
The artists took it in turns to transform each other’s drawings, keeping the audience guessing what would happen next. Much laughter later a splendid wordless story had been created on one sheet of paper. At the end of the show there was a round of applause when one young person asked the artists to do another drawing. The artists took up the challenge and picked up their pins, giving the audience another chance to see two masters of their craft at work.

Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2010

Louise Yates is the winner of the Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under with Dog Loves Books (Jonathan Cape). Louise Rennison is the winner of the Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen with Withering Tights (HarperCollins Children’s Books).

The shortlists for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2010 were:

The Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under
Angelica Sprocket's Pockets by Quentin Blake (Jonathan Cape)Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie (Simon & Schuster)Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates (Jonathan Cape)The Nanny Goat's Kid by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross (Andersen Press)One Smart Fish by Chris Wormell (Jonathan Cape)The Scariest Monster in the World by Lee Weatherly, illustrated by Algy Craig Hall (Boxer Books)The Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen The Clumsies Make a Mess by Sorrel Anderson, illustrated by Nicola Slater (HarperCollins Children’s Books)Einstein's Underpants and How They Saved the World by Anthony McGowan (Yearling)The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck by Jamie Rix, illustrated by Craig Shuttlewood (Orion Children's Books)Mr Stink by David Walliams, illustrated by Quentin Blake (HarperCollins Children’s Books)The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson (Macmillan Children’s Books)Withering Tights by Louise Rennison (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Workshop for Writers

Legend Press are delighted to announce a unique workshop event, including the opportunity to meet some of publishing's top commissioning editors, agents and marketers, and will include discussion of writing and editing, how to getrepresentation, submitting to publishers, the publishing process, how to market your book, and general tips for writers.
The event will be on Saturday 29th January 2011 at the Phoenix Artists Club, CharingCross Road, London from 12-4pm.
- Tom Chalmers, Managing Director, Legend Press and Paperbooks Publishing- Kate Lyall-Grant, former Commissioning Editor, Hodder & Stoughton and Simon &Schuster UK, freelance editor- Hannah Sheppard, Commissioning Editor, Teenage Fiction, Headline Publishing Group- Darin Jewell, Author and Managing Director of The Inspira Group, literary agency- Gareth Howard, Managing Director, Authoright, UK leading book-marketing company
Cost: £59.99 (plus VAT) – Early Bird Rate if you book before 4th December of £49.99(plus VAT). Places will be allocated on a first to book basis and so those wishing tobook their place just need to email
Lucy Boguslawski, Publicity Director of Legend Press, commented, “Legend Press hasan excellent reputation for being approachable, and with a fantastic panel we think this event is the perfect opportunity for new writers to gain a valuable insight into the publication process.”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chance to win an original Jackie Morris drawing

On November 27th, from 5pm, Solva Woollen Mill, Middlemill, Pembrokeshire will be having a book launch for The Ice Bear (published by Janetta Ottter Barry Books at Frances Lincoln)
Jackie Morris will be there signing books. During the evening each book bought will have a raffle ticket with it and at the end of the evening a ticket will be pulled out of a box or a hat and the winner will get an original drawing by Jackie Morris (see the drawing on her website - The drawing is an original sketch in pencil of the Ice Bear Mother, on board. To make this fair for people who live a long long way from Pembrokeshire this will also apply to all books bought from the mill's online shop -

Monday, November 01, 2010

Booktrust Teenage Prize 2010

The winner of the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2010 is Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes.
This debut novel tells the story of two Canadian orphans on an eventful road trip to New York in search of their long-lost uncle. The Prize, which celebrates the best contemporary writing for young adults, is in its eighth year. Chair of Judges Tony Bradman comments:
‘The standard of entries for this year’s Teenage Book Prize was very high, and we judges felt spoilt for choice – our shortlist is a reflection of this quality. But all of us felt that Unhooking the Moon stood out from the beginning of our discussions. As a writer Gregory Hughes has a genuinely unique voice. Unhooking the Moon is original, poignant and funny and full of terrific characters and gripping storytelling, while also managing to explore the kind of themes teenagers will find engaging. It’s also a first novel, so Gregory’s achievement is all the more astonishing. I have no doubt that this debut marks the beginning of a great career.’

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Children's Theatre at Christmas in London

At artsdepot…Catching Father Christmas3 December – 2 JanuaryAmy is staying up late to catch Father Christmas. What she doesn't realise is that on Christmas Eve, there are plenty of others in her house with the same idea. Can our young heroine save Christmas and get back to bed in time? Venue: artsdepot, 5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley, N12 OGATickets: £10/£8 conc / £32 family ticketBox Office: 020 8369 5454 /
At Half Moon Young People’s Theatre…The Sleeping PrincessSat 18 DecemberOnce upon a time, in a fairytale world, meet a Princess who fell into an enchanted sleep... This Christmas at Half Moon, a fast-moving retelling of the classic fairytale featuring beautiful puppets and integrated British Sign Language. For ages 3-7. Tickets: £6Box Office: 020 7709 8900 /
At Little Angel Theatre…Alice in Wonderland20 November – 30 JanuaryOn a lazy summer’s afternoon Alice whiles away her time. Little does she know that a great adventure is about to begin… Join her as she encounters the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts, in this puppetry adventure. For age 5+.And for younger children…Hold on Mr Rabbit! is especially for 2-5 year olds. Tickets: £5 - £13, previews £8, family £42Box Office: 020 7226 1787 /
At the Lyric Hammersmith…Snow Play2 December – 2 JanuaryLyngo, makers of Egg & Spoon and What a Wonderful World, return to the Lyric with a delightful interactive new show all about playing in the snow. This magical wonderland will even give you the chance to get crafty and make your own festive treat. Ages 2 – 7. A Lyngo and Lyric Hammersmith Production.Tickets: £8 adults, £6 children, family £25Box Office: 0871 22 117 29 /
At the New Diorama Theatre…Granny’s Christmas Journey30 November – 23 DecemberIt is that time for family getting together but for Granny Onie this is not so simple. A silly argument, all that time ago with her daughter, threatens to put a dampener on what should be a happy occasion. Determined to put things right, Granny Onie sets out on a journey to make things better. For children 3 to 5 years old and grown ups.Tickets: £6Box Office: 0844 2090 344 /
At Polka Theatre…The Snow Queen19 November – 5 FebruaryMike Kenny’s new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s much-loved fairy tale will take you on a journey through icy landscapes this Christmas as you enter the magical world of The Snow Queen. For ages 7 – 11. And for younger audiences…Lost and Found is for age 0-5Tickets: £8 - £16Box Office: 020 8543 4888 /
At Stratford Circus…The Night Before Christmas 7 - 11 DecemberA magical tale about a young girl waiting excitedly for Christmas morning, and a little mouse on a quest to ask Santa Claus why only humans get presents. A wonderful festive treat for families and school groups. For ages 3 +Tickets: £6Box Office: 0844 357 2625 /
At Unicorn…Beauty and the Beast4 December – 23 JanuaryBelle Brizzlewink has a fierce temper, but is pretty handy with a trowel. When her father meets the terrifying Beast, he is forced to trade his daughter for his life. Will she and the savage Beast be able to tame one another? For ages 7+Tickets: £19 / £13 conc, previews £9, family £54Box Office: 020 7645 0560 /
Arts Depot, 5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley N12 0GA
Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, 43 White Horse Road E1 OND
Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage N1 2DN
Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King Street, London, W6 0QL
New Diorama, 15 - 16 Triton Street, Regents Place, London, NW1 3BF
Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1SB
Stratford Circus, Theatre Square, Stratford, London E15 1BX
Unicorn Theatre, 147 Tooley Street, Southwark, SE1 2HZ

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eva Ibbotson

You can read a further obituary of Eva Ibbotson in the Scotsman written by one of Carousel's editors, Valerie Bierman

Friday, October 22, 2010

Eva Ibbotson obituary

The children's author Eva Ibbotson died on Wednesday at the age of 85 at her home in Newcastle, it has been confirmed. She was best known for the Amazon adventure tale Journey to the River Sea, winner of the Nestlé children's gold award and shortlisted for the Carnegie medal, and for her funny, magical stories for younger children, including The Secret of Platform 13 and The Great Ghost Rescue.
Ibbotson was nearly 50 when The Great Ghost Rescue was published – a degree in physiology at Cambridge having been swiftly followed by marriage and a primary focus on creating a stable home life for her four children – but she soon secured a fanbase of young and old for her tales of eccentric witches and friendly ghosts.
She was shortlisted for the Carnegie medal for Which Witch? the story of a wizard looking for a wife, while Dial-a-Ghost describes how Fulton Snodde-Brittle comes unstuck when he tries to hire some "frightful and dangerous ghosts" to scare his young nephew to death. The Secret of Platform 13 features a mysterious platform at King's Cross station that leads to another, magical world. Published in 1994, three years before JK Rowling's Harry Potter set off for Hogwart's from King's Cross's platform 9¾, the book's possible influence on Rowling has occasionally been raised, though never by Ibbotson herself.
A self-confessed "happy endings freak", she expressed some bemusement at trends for darker children's fiction and her books always reassured young readers that good would be rewarded and that spoilt brats and greedy grown-ups would get their comeuppance.
The historical novel Journey To the River Sea marked a new direction for Ibbotson. Featuring a fearless but sensitive orphan girl in a vividly described Amazon setting, it was written after the death of Ibbotson's husband of 49 years when the author felt too sad to write another funny story. It enjoyed both critical and commercial success and set Ibbotson down a path of alternating what she called her "rompy books" with longer, well-researched historical novels for a slightly older age group. The Star of Kazan was set in Vienna, the city where Ibbotson lived until the age of seven, while The Dragonfly Pool paid homage to the progressive boarding school, Dartington, to which she was sent after a period being shuttled between her separated parents.
Ibbotson described this period of her childhood as "cosmopolitan but unhappy" and she attributed to it her desire for happy endings in which her characters always find a home. She explained in a recent interview, "my mother wrote film scripts and worked in Berlin and my father was a scientist and worked in Edinburgh and my grandparents lived in Vienna and I was always on some large train going about and wishing I had a home. So when I came to write, consciously or unconsciously I always had to make things right for the hero or the heroine".
Ibbotson's third strand of writing was light historical romances for adults, including The Secret Countess and Magic Flutes. These sold better in America than in the UK but in the last few years were repackaged for teen readers, to Ibbotson's surprise.
Although she had battled poor health in recent years and was suffering from the auto-immune disorder lupus, Ibbotson continued to write. The most recent of her "romps", The Ogre of Oglefort, was published just a few months ago and was shortlisted for the Guardian children's fiction prize and the Roald Dahl funny prize. "The thing you have to do is keep writing, the habit is too ingrained, you can't stop," she said at the time.
• Eva Ibbotson, children's author. Born 21 January 1925, Vienna Austria. Died 20 October 2010, Newcastle England.

with thanks to The Guardian website 22.10.10

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Public Libraries: Joint Statement

The Value, Impact and Potential of public library services
Libraries matter to people! Even those who don’t use them regularly care about what happens to them because they recognise what they stand for; that they exist to ensure that everyone has access to the knowledge, scholarship, books and information they need to help them enjoy and make a success of their lives.
This joint statement about the value placed on library services by the public, is supported by a wide range of bodies and organisations including The Society of Authors, the Royal Society of Literature, the Campaign for the Book, Public Lending Right, the Booksellers Association, Voices for the Library, The Chartered institute of Library and Information Professionals, The Society of Chief Librarians, The Publishers Association, The Reading Agency, Unison and The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
If you would like your to add your organisation’s weight to this message, to help ensure it is heard by decision-makers at such a critical and challenging time, please email

Proposed Library Cuts

Nottinghamshire County Council said last week that it planned to cut its books budget by 75%, reduce opening hours, and reduce the frequency of mobile library visits. Councillor Cottee, who is responsible for Nottinghamshire's 61 libraries, told the BBC, that there was little choice but to reduce staff and opening hours because of the deficit crisis.

Friday, October 15, 2010

SLAMbassadors UK Championship

SLAMbassadors UK championship extends its deadline due to popular demand Launched in June this year, SLAMbassadors UK has been on the look out for some of the most exciting new performance poets aged 12-18 years old. It’s easy to enter and young people are being encouraged to simply write a poem or rap around the theme of Identity, film it and send to the Poetry Society. To make sure that as many young people take part in the championship as possible, the Poetry Society has been running workshops with leading performance poets in schools in London, Buckinghamshire, North Somerset, Liverpool, Shropshire and Manchester. With more schools than ever before signing up and poems flooding in, the Poetry Society has extended the deadline to Friday 10 December 2010 at 5pm. Remember any young person can enter – they do not need to belong to a school or to have taken part in one of the free workshops and there is now a bit longer to get your entries in! Street,London,WC2H 9BX
The deadline for receiving videos is December 10 2010. A panel of judges will select six winners from the online archives who will go on to attend a master class weekend led by SLAMbassadors Artistic Director Joelle Taylor and Adisa the Verbaliser. Here they will sharpen up their acts in readiness for a gala showcase event in London. You can see the videos that have already been entered at We are scouting out all 12 -18 year olds who have something to say, spit, rap or beat box on the theme of “Identity”. This is an amazing opportunity for young people to have their say in their way. SLAMbassadors UK is the only online slam competition. visit the website for details of how to enter. We want to make sure as many young people as possible from all around the UK take part in the championship and have the chance to appear on stage in a showcase event in London with leading performance poets.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Indian Storytelling & Tribal Art Workshop 16 Oct

Indian Storytelling and Tribal Art Workshop
as part of the DSC South Asian Literature Festival
Date: Saturday 16 October 2010
Time: 11am – 12.30pm
Venue: Rich Mix, 35 - 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA
Price: £2 per child
Age Group: For children aged 6-8
To book tickets call the Box Office on: 020 7613 7498
Discover the art and folktales of the ‘Warli’tribal community of western India in this fun family storytelling and folk art workshop. Author and storyteller Gita Wolf will take children and parents on a colourful journey while reading from her book ‘Do!’ which is illustrated by Warli artists. The simple yet incredibly dynamic figures of Warli paintings tell stories of village life, myth and legend. They are like fluid pictograms, rendered in a way that children can relate to immediately. This workshop engages children actively with Warli art and will encourage them to create.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Friday, October 08, 2010

Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2010

Michelle Paver has won the 2010 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize with GHOST HUNTER, the final book in the best-selling CHRONICLES OF ANCIENT DARKNESS.

Announced this evening at a ceremony at the Guardian, Michelle collects the £1,500 prize for the only children's award in which authors are judged by their peers.

Julia Eccleshare chair of the judges said, “Whatever the individual judges thought about fantasy before they began Ghost Hunter – and some admitted to hating it! – they were immediately captivated by Michelle’s brilliantly created world, her wonderfully dramatic story and her powerful story telling. They loved the way she described the world she has been fashioning throughout the series saying, “The language is inventive and rich. Sharp and poetic but also child friendly”. They also adored her characters describing Wolf as “endearing” and the people as “real”. Finally, one summed Ghost Hunter up in terms of awe: “The construct of the world is amazing. I am jealous and impressed!”

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Big Draw

The Big Draw1st – 31st October
The Big Draw launched last Friday and runs right through October. It’s a chance for everyone to get drawing, from those who love to draw and those who think they can’t. There are over 1,500 events worldwide.
Join the House of Illustration for our first ever Big Draw event with the Hunterian Museum, or have a look at some of the other events across the country that have caught our eye…
The Big Draw: Illustrating the body (inside and out!)Saturday 9 October, 12noon–4pmHouse of Illustration is teaming up with the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons and the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain to put on its first ever Big Draw event.Specialist medical illustrators will demonstrate their expertise and be on hand to give tips and advice, while illustrator-led workshops will inspire visitors to try out their skills, inspired by the wondrous specimens in the museum’s collections.Free, drop-in event. All materials provided. Suitable for all!35-43 Lincoln’s Inn FieldsLondon WC2A

Not in London? Have a look at some of these events happening across the country and have a look at to find out what’s happening near you.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Half Term at the National Theatre, London

What’s on this half term
Prince of Denmark 14 – 26 October Set a decade before the action in Hamlet, this is a terrific first introduction to Shakespeare’s anti-hero. Actors from the National Youth Theatre and technicians from local FE colleges have been paired with NT practitioners to produce this specially-commissioned new play. Workshops are also available for families before the performance. Tickets £5 (£7.50 with workshop).
Theatre Skills for Families 27 – 29 October Practical half-term workshops for the whole family, led by the NT's team of experts. Includes Stage Combat, Making Monsters (to accompany Beauty and the Beast) and Make Your Own War Horse Puppet. Tickets £7/£10. Age 8 – 12. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Adults must be accompanied by a child.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Graham Oakley and a Church Mice bonanza.

‘Drawing so lively you can hear the mouse squeak’ (The Guardian) Welcome back to the wonderful world of Humphrey and Samson the cat. Graham Oakley’s Church Mice series are a household institution and entertained generations of devotees. So to celebrate the re-publishing of the two latest books in this hugely popular series we are pleased to present an exhibition of the original artwork. Published work by Graham Oakley for The Church Mice Adrift and The Church Mice at Christmas is now on show at the gallery here at 22 Bury St as well as online at Over forty pictures are on view Entrance is free. Prices for original published artwork start at £450.Hardback signed books (£10.99) are also available. Nearest tube: Green ParkBuses: 8, 9, 14, 19, 22 and 37.
22 Bury StSt James’s London Sw1Y 6AL+44 (0)207 976 9.30am – 6.00pm Weekdays11.00am – 5.00pm Saturdays

Friday, September 17, 2010

Diverse Voices: call for manuscripts

Frances Lincoln Limited, the award–winning publisher, and Seven Stories, the Centrefor Children’s Books, are delighted with the success to date of the Diverse Voices Award, set up in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945 – 2001) to encourage and promote diversity in children’s fiction. The prize of £1,500 plus the option for Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books to publish the novel is awarded to the best manuscript for 8-to-12-year-olds that celebrates diversity in the widest possible sense. The closing date for the current award is Friday 25th February 2011. For full information about the award and to download anentry form go to, contact the Award Co-ordinator, Helena McConnell by emailE: or
“The exceptional quality of the winners of the first two awards is a real measure of the successof our Diverse Voices joint venture with Seven Stories. And by the time the third winner is announced in June 2011 I will have commissioned or published six books by writers who entered the award:the Takeshita Demons trilogy by Cristy Burne, winner of the inaugural award, Too Much Troubleby Tom Avery, the 2010 winner, and A Hen in the Wardrobe and Chess and Chapattis, the first two titles in the Cinnamon Grove series by Wendy Meddour, who entered the 2009 award.I am proud that the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award is achieving exactly what it set out to do –to discover and encourage new writers of exciting, culturally diverse fiction.”Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2010 Shortlist

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize was founded in 2008 by Michael Rosen as part of hisChildren’s Laureateship. It is the first prize of its kind; founded to honour those books that simply make children laugh.
The shortlists are:
The Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under
Angelica Sprocket's Pockets by Quentin Blake (Jonathan Cape)
Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie (Simon & Schuster)
Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates (Jonathan Cape)
The Nanny Goat's Kid by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross (Andersen Press)
One Smart Fish by Chris Wormell (Jonathan Cape)
The Scariest Monster in the World by Lee Weatherly, illustrated by Algy Craig Hall(Boxer Books)
The Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen
The Clumsies Make a Mess by Sorrel Anderson, illustrated by Nicola Slater(HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Einstein's Underpants and How They Saved the World by Anthony McGowan (Yearling)
The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck by Jamie Rix, illustrated by Craig Shuttlewood (OrionChildren's Books)
Mr Stink by David Walliams, illustrated by Quentin Blake (HarperCollins Children’sBooks)
The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Withering Tights by Louise Rennison (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
The judging panel comprised the comedian Shappi Khorsandi; author, founder and Chair of Judges Michael Rosen; author and winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2009’s seven to fourteen category Philip Ardagh; illustrator Bruce Ingman; and journalist and author Nicolette Jones.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

John Burningham Exhibition

Mr Gumpy and Other Outings: Celebrating 50 years of John Burningham’s work On September 18, 2010 Seven Stories in Newcastle will open its doors to a brand new exhibition, Mr Gumpy and Other Outings: Celebrating 50 years of John Burningham’s work. The exhibition will incorporate John’s creative process highlighting artwork, rough sketches, dummy books, letters, photos and childhood toys all from his personal archive. John Burningham has been making picture books for almost fifty years, and has been a master craftsman from the beginning, exploiting the potential of colour lithography with eccentric narratives making him one of the defining illustrators of our time. John is an inspiration to many illustrators today. “Burningham's own part in this great renaissance is not quite as widely documented as the rise of The Beatles, or the emergence of the Rolling Stones. But his personal contribution to the redefining of the British creative landscape, and that of his like-minded colleagues, was just as significant in its way. The 1960s also saw a revolution in the way that books for very young children were conceived and presented, with a decisive shift away from preachy narratives to exuberant and colourful chunks of wonder that strove to capture the world from the perspective of the pre-school child.” Deborah Orr, The Independent 18 April 2009. Seven Stories Exhibition Curator Gill Rennie said: “John Burningham’s first picture book, Borka, the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, was so perfect it was published without the editor making any changes and went on to win the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1963. John has continued to make unique and entrancing picture books ever since. Working on this exhibition has been an absolute joy.” Exhibition runs to 17 March 2011

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Trust Writer in Residence, Polly Dunbar

Award winning author-illustrator Polly Dunbar today (Monday 13 September) starts as Booktrust’s fourth online writer in residence. Polly, best known for her character Penguin, will be inviting visitors to the Booktrust website into her studio, opening up her sketch book with illustration tips and to download an exclusive picture book created especially for her residency. As well as winning the Nestle Silver award 2007, The Booktrust Early Years awards 2007, The Red House award 2008 and being shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, Penguin has been made into an enormously successful puppet show. Long Nose Puppets, of which Polly is co-founder, also tours adaptations of her popular books Shoe Baby and Fly Away Katie. Polly lives and works by the sea in Brighton.
Polly takes the virtual baton from award-winning debut author and independent bookseller Evie Wyld. For Evie’s last blog and for Polly’s first blog please visit the Booktrust website

Queen of Teen 2010

Cathy Cassidy has been crowned Queen of Teen! The most glamorous award in the world of fiction celebrates the authors of teen and tween fiction who are sometimesoverlooked by other awards, but who make a big difference to the lives of their young readers.
Hundreds of teenagers nominated their favourite authors for the award and the writers of the best and most heartfelt nominations were invited to meet their heroines at the utterly pink award ceremony which took place today at Catteshall Manor in Godalming, Surrey.All of the shortlisted authors, apart from Jacqueline Wilson who is on a book tour in Japan, attended the ceremony, and each was presented with a tiara and pink sash on the Queen of Teen throne before the winner wasannounced. Authors present included nominees Helen Bailey, Chris Higgins,Cathy Hopkins, Samantha Mackintosh, Sarra Manning, Joanna Nadin, Sarah Webband outgoing Queen of Teen Louise Rennison.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Royal Mail Awards 2010 Shortlist

THE 2010 SHORTLIST CONSISTS OF: Bookbug Readers (0-7 years) - WHAT THE LADYBIRD HEARD by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks (Macmillan)- LOVE FROM LOUISA by Simon Puttock and Joe Kiddie (Harper Collins)- STORMY WEATHER by Debi Gliori (Bloomsbury) Younger Readers (8-11 years) - THE DRAGON WHISPERER by Lucinda Hare (Random House)- THE SECRET OF THE BLACK MOON MOTH by John Fardell (Faber)- INVISIBLE FIENDS – MR MUMBLES by Barry Hutchison (Harper Collins) Older Readers (12-16 years) - GRASS by Catherine MacPhail (Bloomsbury) - CROSSING THE LINE by Gillian Philip (Bloomsbury)- THE WITCHING HOUR by Elizabeth Laird (MacMillan).
Originally set up by the Scottish Arts Council in 1999, the Royal Mail Awards for Scottish Children’s Books are now run by Scottish Book Trust in partnership with Creative Scotland. Gavin Wallace, Head of Literature at Creative Scotland said “The Children’s book awards have gone from strength to strength to become the largest of their kind in Scotland. With already so many children registered, I've no doubt 2010 will be bigger and better than ever, and that the thirst for reading among younger people is insatiable!'
Scottish Book Trust has once again teamed up with the Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland to transcribe all shortlisted books into Braille, audio and large print simultaneously. This means that hundreds of blind and partially sighted children will be able to help judge the competition alongside other young readers. John Legg, director of RNIB Scotland, said: "We're delighted to have been able to transcribe a further nine of the best children's books in Scotland into accessible formats, thanks again to the generous support of the Rangers Charity Foundation. We have now been able to transcribe 21 children's titles over the past two years - a wonderful achievement given less than 5 per cent of all books published in the UK makes it into alternative formats, so children with sight loss can often struggle to access the same books as their peers."

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Book Trust Teenage Prize 2010 Shortlist

The Enemy by Charlie Higson (Puffin)
The Enemy is a chilling post apocolyptic tale from TV actor, comedian and author of thebestselling Young Bond series.It is modern-day London, but something terrible has happened. A mystery illness has infectedeveryone over the age of fourteen. Those afflicted either die or become so crazed by diseasethey are little more than wild animals. Gangs of kids are left to fend for themselves, dodging thezombie adults who remain and trying not to tear one another apart in the process.
A story of one girl’s heroic voyage to discover her true identity in ancient Greece.Washed ashore as a baby in ancient Greece, Halo is discovered by a family of centaurs.Although her true identity remains a mystery, she is loved as one of their own. But when Halo isdragged away by fishermen, her wild adventure begins. Halo soon realises that if she is tosurvive then she must live in disguise – as a boy.
Nobody’s Girl by Sarra Manning (Hodder Children’s Books)
A novel about teenage love, loss and identity from the former editor of Ellegirl UK.Plain, frumpy, dull as mud – that’s Bea. So when super-cool Ruby and her posse want to hangwith her, it has to be a practical joke. But an invitation to a girly holiday in Malaga with Ruby andco. seems like the real deal. Even better, Bea can get away from her annoying mum.
Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace (Andersen Press)
A compelling and thought-provoking novel about race, bullying and the need to belong.Zimbabwe, 1980s. The war is over, independence has been won and Robert Mugabe has cometo power offering hope, land and freedom to black Africans. It is the end of the Old Way and thestart of a promising new era. For Robert Jacklin, it’s all new: new continent, new country, newschool. And very quickly he learns that for some of his classmates, the sound of guns is stillloud, and their battles rage on.
Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion)
From the winning author of the 2007 Booktrust Teenage Prize, this novel makes thereader look again at that weapon that has become so familiar to us all.1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, exceptfor the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling through a weak spot on the ice-covered lake. His sister, Anna, and step-mother, Nadya, have gone to the local town for help.Then comes a knock at the door. It's a man, the flash of a revolver's butt at his hip, and a meanglare in his eyes.
Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes (Quercus)
Two orphaned siblings set out on a poignant and gripping road-trip adventure.Meet the Rat: A dancing, football-playing gangster-baiting ten-year-old. When she foresaw herfather’s death, she picked up her football and decided to head for New York. Meet her olderbrother Bob: Protector of the Rat, but more often her follower, he is determined to find theiruncle in America and discover a new life for them both.
Winner will be announced 1 November.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Chiswick Children's Book Festival

Sir Terry Pratchett – I Shall Wear MidnightFriday 17th September 2010, 4:30 for 5pmAt St Michael & All Angels Church, Bath Road, Chiswick, London, W4 1TT Tickets £3, from The best-selling creator of Discworld introduces his new book, just out. It’s the fourth featuring teen witch Tiffany Aching and her tiny, fightin’, boozin’ pictsie friends, the Wee Free Men. Books on sale for signing by Sir Terry Pratchett afterwards.

Saturday 18th September 2010, 10:30am - middayAt St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall, Priory Avenue, London W4 1TXFree entrySupported by Trotters in Turnham Green Terrace. Classic reproductions of children's books will be on sale through Jane Nissen Books, in aid of the Festival charities.
10.30am: Katie Cleminson - Box of TricksWriter and illustrator Katie tells the story of Eva, who conjures up a polar bear – and lots of other surprises - from a box of tricks. Books on sale for signing afterwards. For ages 0 to 5.
11.15am: Anthony McGowan - Einstein's UnderpantsAnthony McGowan is a brilliantly funny, award-winning author, best known for his exciting, highly-acclaimed books including Henry Tumour, The Knife that Killed Me, Hellbent and his eternally popular Bare Bum Gang series. Einstein's Underpants - And How They Saved The World - is his new book.
12 Midday: Josh Lacey – Grk Down Under In Josh’s best-selling stories, Tim picks up a stray dog called Grk. Their adventures take them all round the world. Books on sale for signing afterwards.
Also for children...Charlie Higson – The Dead11am, Saturday 18th September
At St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall, Priory Avenue, London W4 1TXTickets £5, from www.chiswickbookfestival.orgThe best-selling author of the Young Bond books - and Fast Show writer and performer – introduces the second in his zombie series for teenagers, published this week. Books on sale for signing afterwards.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Handa's Surprise Autumn Tour

The Little Angel Theatre's production of Handa's Surprise will be on tour in October and November 2010. It will visit Crawley, Colchester, Harrow, Coventry, Nottingham, Manchester, Lancaster, Bath and London.Details will be in the what's on sections of and (from mid September.)

Friday, August 06, 2010

SLA School Librarian of the Year 2010 – Announcement of the Honour List

"The SLA School Librarian of the Year Award celebrates the essential work that school
librarians are doing at a time when school libraries are being closed at an alarming rate.
We were impressed by the passion and dedication of the librarians we visited and the
innovative and inspirational ways in which they bring books and an enthusiasm for learning
into the heart of the school and into the lives of children. We had a hard job selecting a
short list and feel that everyone on the Honour list should be celebrated.” Ginette Doyle,
Chair of the Selection committee and Chair of the School Library Association.
The SLA School Librarian of the Year Award, created in 2004, aims to recognise the
excellent work that is carried out in our school libraries every day; helping students learn
how to learn, enthusing children and young people about books and reading and raising
achievement. It highlights and spreads best practice and innovation through celebrating
those whose work is outstanding.
This year there are six exceptional school librarians on the SLA School Librarian of the Year
Honour List.
two librarians from Scotland, one from the Isle of Bute.
Sue Bastone – Licensed Victuallers’ School, Ascot
Rebecca Jones – Malvern St James, Worcestshire
Shiona Lawson – Rothesay Academy, Isle of Bute
Denise Reed – Hurst Prep School, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex
Kevin Sheehan - Offerton School, Stockport
Duncan Wright - Stewart’s Melville College, Edinburgh
Their work will be celebrated at a ceremony held at London Zoo on International
School Library Day, 4th October when the SLA School Librarian of the Year 2010
will be announced.
Alasdair Darroch, Director of Softlink Europe and the main sponsor of the 2010 Award says:
“Softlink is extremely proud to be associated with supporting the School Librarian of the
Year Award for the third successive year. We recognise the important contribution
Librarians make to schools throughout the UK, inspiring the development of student literacy
whilst keeping their libraries at the heart of learning.”
Alan Hurcombe, Group MD Scholastic UK says: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the
School Librarian of the Year Award 2011. Helping schools to support their librarians and
promote the love of reading is a key part of what we do and this award gives us the
opportunity to celebrate and recognise the best work that happens in our schools on a daily
basis. Very many congratulations to the librarians who have made it to this year’s Honour

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Exhibition, The Illustration Cupboard

The Summer Exhibition:The Illustration Cupboard presents its summer exhibition featuring a selection of highlights from the 2010 catalogue. On show at the gallery will be artwork by world-famous illustrators such as the current Laureate Anthony Browne, Shirley Hughes, David McKee, Lauren Child, Emma Chichester Clark, Maurice Sendak and many others. Introducing a celestial theme, the spotlight will be thrown onto Jane Ray with a special display of her new Zodiac paintings, recently created and never exhibited before. These unique pieces are available for purchase alongside a corresponding short-run set of editions, each hand finished and signed by Jane Ray.
The Illustration Cupboard LLP22 Bury StSt James’sLondonSW1Y 6ALPreview on 9.30am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday11.00am – 5.00pm Saturday Summer Exhibition featuring Jane Ray’s Signs of the Zodiac 14 July – 14 August 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Book Factor

PHOTOGRAPH SMALL GROUP James Pybis (winner of the BOOK FACTOR Book Blurb Competition) and Luke Gates (winner of the BOOK FACTOR cover design competition)With Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Hazel Williams, Jonathan Rigby, Liverpool’s Young Lord Mayor and author Alan Gibbons.
Liverpool’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Hazel Williams, and the Young Lord Mayor, Jonathan Rigby, congratulated pupils from schools across the Alt Valley area, Liverpool for taking part in THE BOOK FACTOR, an innovative project that got more than 500 Liverpool children involved in creating a story that they wanted to read.
The Lord Mayor asked the young people individually if they had enjoyed the competition and was delighted when they all replied “yes” . She told the audience that, while learning to read is important, the key to success is to enjoy reading for pleasure. “Enjoy it and you are half way there,” she said. She added that she was extremely proud of the pupils’ achievements and that in years to come they would still feel a sense of pride in their writing. One of her own greatest personal achievements, she said, had been when her poem, "Ghouls of Hillsborough", was selected for a poetry anthology to help remember those who had died in the Hillsborough tragedy and to recognise what the people of Liverpool did to help.
James Pybis was the winner of the Book Blurb competition and he also thought of the title, THE DYING PHOTO. Alan Gibbons turned James’ idea into a story and Barrington Stoke published THE DYING PHOTO on 14 July. Luke Gates won the jacket design competition, coming up with the perfect design for artist Dylan Gibson to use as the cover.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Children's Book Show...Free School Workshops

The Children’s Book Show 2010 – Stories from Around the World an annual tour of children’s authors and illustrators from the UK and abroad. The theme for this, our 8th Bookshow, is Stories From Around the World, and we have an exciting line-up of award-winning artists to inspire school children with their enthusiasm and passion for stories.
This year is our biggest year yet. Through September, October and November, we have 12 authors and illustrators performing in 14 different theatres around the country.
Many of our authors and illustrators are already household names, some of them may be new to you, but all are among the most exciting artists writing and illustrating for children today.
FREE WORKSHOPSThis year we are delighted to be able to offer 70 FREE workshops to participating schools. This is an exciting opportunity for children to meet and work with an author or illustrator in their own classroom. And every child that takes part in a workshop will also receive their own personal copy of a book by the relevant author or illustrator, free to take home with them.
For information see

Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition 2010

Roger McGough is to chair the judging panel for a worldwide 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 7 October, children will be asked to write a poem in English on the theme of ‘Home’.
Now in its fifth year, the competition is open to both individuals and schools. Cash prizes of £250 for first prize, £100 for second and £50 for third will be awarded, along with books and CPB memberships, in two age groups, 7-8 year-olds and 9-11 year-olds. Entries will be accepted from Friday 10 September, up until the closing date of Friday 15 October. The winners will be announced at a gala celebration in London in December.
The British Council partnership, now in its third year, will continue to encourage entries to the ‘International Learner category’ for children based outside the UK who are learning English as a foreign or second language.
The Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition will encourage children to write poems of their own and help 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 early September, along with further information about the competition.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Puffin at 70 exhibition

Come to Seven Stories in Newcastle upon Tyne this summer and tell us, and everyone else, about your favourite Puffin book. Find out what inspires your favourite authors from Jeremy Strong andMichael Rosen to Anne Fine and Rick Riordan. Fill in your Puffin Passport and decide what you're going to read next. Email us pictures of your favourite places to read( or join our Facebook group by searching Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books and upload your pictures there to see them displayed in the exhibition.There’s Nuffin Like a Puffin will be an exhibition for all the family, with a mix of special Seven Stories interactive activities. These include dressing up as Stig of the Dump and drawing cave paintings in his dump, creating your own Michael Rosen inspired poetryusing rhyming stepping stones, and making your own spells with Meg and Mog in a magical cauldron. Why not create report cards of the demi gods with Percy Jackson,and watch Eoin Colfer’s Fairies, Farts and Flatulence American tour exclusive to SevenStories! You can even make up a tune on Mr Big's piano whilst watching how Ed Vere puts his picture books together. Whatever your age there’s something for everyone inthis new Seven Stories exhibition.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Early Years Programme, Scotland

Following consultation with stakeholders and with the support of the Scottish Government, Scottish Book Trust has developed a new book gifting programme which firmly links into Scottish educational and parenting policies. The core format of the programme – including 240,000 free packs of books for babies,toddlers, three year olds and Primary ones, and free Bookbug sessions (which in 2009-10 had audiences of over 170,000) – will stay the same, although some new benefits have beenintroduced including bespoke packs, improved parental guidance and an overall greenerprogramme under a brand new Scottish identity. Scottish Book Trust is confident that the improvements to the programme will strengthen its impact on children and parents,with the continued aim that more parents will be reading more often with

Friday, June 25, 2010

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery have joined forces with award winning, picture book illustrator Tim Hopgood to create a free Family Trail to encourage children and their families to engage
with and get excited about portraiture this summer.
These free activities are part of the BP Portrait Award 2010 exhibition which runs from 24th June - 19th September with a special Moving Family Portraits event on Saturday 17th July.
Hopgood has been commissioned to create a set of original children’s characters that will appear at the entrance to the exhibition and on labels around the show highlighting paintings that are of particular interest to children. The twin characters are central to the Gallery’s free Family Trail which features a series of specially designed games and tours of the exhibition.
The Gallery has also asked Hopgood and two supporting animators to run the Gallery’s Moving Family Portraits event on Saturday 17th July, where children visiting the exhibition will be invited to experiment with drawing, painting or collage to create their own self portrait. The images will then be animated so that each portrait blends seamlessly with the next to create a film of continually changing faces of everyone who takes part on the day. The animation will be shown on the Gallery’s big screen at the end of the day.
Hopgood came to the attention of the gallery following the publication of his award-winning,
richly illustrated children’s books including, OUR BIG BLUE SOFA, A DOG CALLED ROD’
Jan Cullen, Family Programmes Manager at the National Portrait Gallery said: “We chose Tim Hopgood as we felt his style of illustration was fresh and appealing and would be a huge success with our target audience. We were impressed with his ideas on how families might engage with portraiture. He has been fantastic to work with and the results are amazing” Hopgood's unique illustrative style has bought a fresh approach to children’s picture books.
He has won numerous awards and accolades for his work including the coveted Booktrust Emerging Illustrator Award in 2008. Hopgood’s characters are being developed for a collection of merchandise, including badges and bags, for the Gallery. These, along with a collection of Hopgood’s children’s books, will be on sale during the exhibition.

Carnegie and Greenaway Medals

Neil Gaiman yesterday became the first author to win the Carnegie/Newbery Medal double - the awards are the most prestigious for children's books in the UK and US respectively, and both are judged by librarians - when he took the Carnegie for The Graveyard Book (Bloomsbury). Freya Blackwood won the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration, for Harry and Hopper (written by Margaret Wise, and published by Scholastic). You can read an interview with Freya Blackwood in the autumn edition of Carousel.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


There will be a slight delay between your comment being typed and appearing on the comments section of this blog. This is because some idiots have used the comments for daft things and so all comments come now to me to press the yes or no button! enid stephenson

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bookshops: your recommendations

From Book Notes in the current edition of Carousel:

Many of you will have a favourite local bookshop, whether independent or part of a chain. But the whole trade is facing extraordinary challenges. Customers have got used to quite ridiculous price cuts where the latest best-selling title is sold for half the price printed on the jacket and whilst, in the short term, this leads to good sales for the few the effect on the whole trade is the very opposite...The Booksellers Association state that two independent bookshops closed per week during 2009. We would love to know about your own neighbourhood bookshop. Record shops have almost completely vanished and it would be appalling if bookshops followed suit. There are some excellent shops out there, so let's pass the word round. Please click on the comment button and let us know your favourite shop, and why. Thanks.

Libraries: your comments

From Book Notes in the current issue of Carousel:

In March the Government published their long-awaited "Modernisation Review" of public libraries. The Society of Chief Librarians also published their manifesto entitled "The Numbers". It appears that overall borrowings are down and there are increased mutterings about libraries being community centres, decreasing their book stock and increasing other non-book items. Tim Coates, formerly of Waterstones and now a vocal library campaigner says "All the thinking and all the immense power in the public library service is in the hands of people who are more interested in the mechanisms and agendas of national and local government than they are in books and reading". Libraries are changing, and need to change but it does seem that some of the changes are ill thought through. In our local Suffolk library, for instance, there is no need to ever talk to a librarian. Books can be ordered online (which I welcome), then you take them off the reserved shelf, check it out and indeed check it back in. What is your experience? Do let us know.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Top Puffin

Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl has been voted Puffin of Puffins in a nationwide poll, in which more than 10,000 votes were cast. It won 68% of the online vote, while Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came in second with just 13%. The poll marked Puffin's 70th birthday and the relaunch of Puffin Modern Classics.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Former poet laureate and chair of the MLA Sir Andrew Motion has described any move to cut library spending as "foolhardy". Concerns have grown over the future of library funding in the run up to the budget announcement on 22nd June, which is likely to include swingeing cuts across sectors in a bid to reduce some of the country's deficit.
While Motion acknowledged there was no "harm in society periodically asking itself which services should be publicly funded, and how they should be run", and that the sector was already planning to deliver "quality library services with less money", he stressed its overriding value.
There was a report on the Today Programme on 8 June about KPMG Consultancy's blueprint of how the public sector could be reformed. A spokesman for KPMG said that whilst libraries are hugely important in the national psyche - we all think libraries are important - there is a problem with libraries, they are not very much used and they are very expensive to run...we are not suggesting in this report that libraries should be closed down what we are saying is that libraries and other community facilities might be better off if they were run by the communities that value them rather than by the state.
Tim Coates on Newsnight (9 June) supporting libraries seemed to hint that there was too much management in the least I think that was what he said.
I guess the KPMG report was meant to be controversial. Tim Coates did address their not much used line with this statistic "260 million books sold in bookshop and on line whereas 320 million are borrowed from public libraries". The main groups who used libraries were, surprise, surprise small children, young people with families and school children.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Joel Stewart

Award-winning illustrator and author Joel Stewart has been approached by Ragdoll Productions (In the Night Garden, Teletubbies) to develop a project for CBeebies.
Ragdoll Productions contacted Joel after apparently being enchanted by the 'filmic' feel of his work, which includes Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie and Have You Ever Seen a Sneep.
Still at a developmental stage, Abney & Teal, which centres on two friends, is a pre-school series aimed at children aged three and four.
The 52 x 11 mins animations combine CGI with real illustrations and puppets to recreate the handmade feel of traditional animation.
Stewart's latest book, Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie on the Road, will be published by Random House Children's Books in June.

Manchester Children's Books Festival

Manchester will host the Children’s Book Festival for the first time this summer from 1st-4th July, in partnership with local schools and libraries.
Michael Rosen will be joined by other authors and illustrators who will be introduced by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
For more information go to

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Nottingham and Angus Awards

The Nottingham Children's Book Award for 3-5yr olds has been won by Nick Sharratt with Foggy Foggy Forest

Angus Book Award 2010 the winner is Rachel Ward, for her novel Numbers published by Chicken House. Pupils, librarians, teachers and the four shortlisted authors gathered in Kirriemuir town hall on 18 May to present Rachel with her trophy, a replica of the Aberlemno Serpent Stone, and £500.

2010 Red House Children's Book Award

The gripping and imaginative futuristic thriller The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has won the Red House Children's Book Award 2010.
Voted for solely by young readers from a shortlist drawn up by children'sbook groups across Britain, the award is celebrating its 30th birthday thisyear and is recognised by authors, parents and librarians as a key indicatorof which books are popular with children.
The Hunger Games (Scholastic) won both the older readers' category and overall prizes in the award, which is owned and coordinated by the Federation of Children's Book Groups.
Suzanne Collins's victory was announced at an awards luncheon held at theBirmingham Botanical Gardens, attended by 200 people, including more than 80children from across the country, all of whom were involved in the voting.Unfortunately, Suzanne was not able to attend the ceremony, but she sent the following statement:
"I'm thrilled that The Hunger Games has won the Red House Children's BookAward.The fact that The Hunger Games was chosen as a favourite among more than a thousand titles by young readers means a great deal to me, and it's an honour to accept this award, especially upon its 30th anniversary.Thank you, and may the odds be ever in your favour."
Two other category winners in the 30th annual award were also announced:Jeanne Willis and Adam Stower's laugh-out-loud funny picture book BottomsUp! (Puffin Books) has won the category for younger children, while Tanya Landman's fast-paced mystery story Mondays are Murder (Walker Books) hasclinched the younger readers' category.
An incredible 140,481 votes were cast by children and young adults all over the UK.

Monday, May 24, 2010

William Mayne

There has now appeared (20.5.10) an obit in The Independent by Nicholas Tucker which is very well worth reading. (see March blog entry)

Meet the Authors

Meet Our Authors is an exclusive series of authors’ events streamed live over the internet to provide young people, parents and teachers with the chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s leading children’s writers. The programme is the first of its kind in the UK. Anyone can sign up to watch and it is completely free.
On 26 May at 11am, Julia Donaldson will talk to a live audience while being filmed and broadcast simultaneously over the internet to tens of thousands of viewers across Scotland. An astounding 65,000 children in more than 800 schools have already signed up to the event, which is supported by digital media including Facebook and YouTube featuring event information and exclusive video clips.
Julia Donaldson said: “I am terribly excited about this very special event! Not only will I be talking to a live audience in Glasgow, but I am also going to be interacting with tens of thousands of other children across Scotland who will be tuned in on their computers - either watching from their school or at home - and who will have opportunities to ask me questions directly. I have spoken to large audiences in the past but never to that many people so this will definitely be a memorable experience for me too!”
The series of live events forms the centrepiece of a two-year long programme that will feature household names including Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman, Eoin Colfer, Charlie Higson and Jacqueline Wilson. The first live broadcast took place on World Book Day in March with former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, to which over 100,000 children logged on.
Jasmine Fassl, of the Scottish Book Trust, commented: “Julia has written many well-loved and best-selling children’s books and The Gruffalo has become something of a national institution for today’s young readers. Those logging on to see Julia in action are in for a big treat and will be taking part in an event that will shape the way in which authors interact with their readers in the future.”
Neil Lovatt, sales and marketing director of Scottish Friendly, sponsor of Meet Our Authors, said: “The phenomenal demand for this event is evidence that the passion for reading at an early age is as strong as ever. Scottish Friendly has worked closely with Scottish Book Trust for over 11 years to ensure that children even in the most rural areas have equal access to the work of leading authors. We’re excited to bring to life the world of reading and writing to thousands more children in a revolutionary and interactive way.”
Full details on ‘Meet Our Authors’, including forthcoming events and information on Twitter and YouTube links can be found at
To watch a preview of Julia Donaldson’s event go to
As part of the campaign, parents have the opportunity to win a Gruffalo trunki full of fantastic Gruffalo goodies. Competition details can be found at