Thursday, December 15, 2011

Worcestershire Teen Book Award Shortlist for 2012

Speed dating sessions in Worcestershire schools has resulted in a list of 6 top dates. Students around the county have been speeding through titles of books to choose their top 6. These will now be read over the Spring term and a winner decided at an exciting quiz and celebration event in the Council Chamber in March 2012.

Titles on shortlist:

Ultraviolet by R. J. Anderson
Diary of a lottery winner's daughter by Penelope Bush
An act of love by Alan Gibbons
Wish me dead by Helen Grant
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
There is no dog by Meg Rosoff

Announcement of winner and presentation will be in the Worcester MLS logoCouncil Chamber on 22nd March 2012 when we have the author Jon Mayhew attending, kindly sponsored by MLS.

Friday, December 02, 2011

FCBG wins Eleanor Farjeon

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups is delighted to announce that it has won the 2011 Eleanor Farjeon Award. The Eleanor Farjeon Award is coordinated by the Children’s Book Circle and is given to individuals or organisations that have been deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the world of children’s books. The award is a great honour for the Federation, its members and its National Executive.

At a ceremony in London the Children’s Book Circle and Anne Harvey, from the Eleanor
Farjeon estate, presented the £200o gift to Chair Adam Lancaster. In his acceptance speech Adam spent time passionately talking about the work that everyone in the charity is involved in. This ranged from groups running numerous events in their localities with a number of partners to the national executive working as an umbrella providing opportunities for a whole host of events to take place.

Adam, who is also founder of National Non-Fiction Day, explained the Federation’s past and thanked all the people over the years that played a part in creating hundreds of thousands of readers. ‘Everyone involved in the Federation is a special person. They are the ones on the front line, working with tens of thousands of young people each year, doing those things that politicians and suited board men talk about. To be awarded this honour is to recognise all those people who over the years have played a part in igniting that spark andfanning those flames of reading. Books change lives. The Federation changes lives.’

Sheffield Children's Book Award 2011

This year a record-breaking 222 schools from across Sheffield were involved with Sheffield's Children's Book Award. The winners are chosen exclusively through the votes of these young readers.

The Pig's Knickers, by Jonathan Emmett and Vanessa Cabban scooped the top prize.
This hilarious tale of a prancing pig and his polka dot knickers captured the hearts of local children, whose votes ensured it was not only voted the Picture Book Category Winner, but that it was also crowned Overall Winner!
The other books with prizes for the Picture Book category were: Steve Smallman and Lee Wildish's Dragon Stew, which won the Highly Commended prize, along with Mini Grey's Three by the Sea, which won the Commended prize.

In the Shorter Novel Category David Walliams took the top spot, winning the category with his book Billionaire Boy; the heart-warming tale of Joe Spud, the richest twelve-year old in the world, whose only wish is to have a friend.
Jim Eldridge won the Highly Commended prize for his book Disgusting Dave and the Flesh-Eating Maggots. While Katie Davies won the Commended prize for her shorter novel The Great Hamster Massacre.

In the Longer Novel Category, it was Malorie Blackman who was voted the category winner for her dramatic and emotional book, Boys don't Cry, which tells the story of a teenage boy who is just about to embark on adulthood when he discovers he is a father.
Sharon Dogar won the Highly Commended prize for her book Annexed, while Andy Mulligan scooped the Commended prize for his novel Trash.

The winner of the Teachers' Favourite Book was Terry Deary's Put out the Light; a shorter novel which tells the parallel stories of a brother and sister living in Sheffield and two boys growing up in Dachau, Germany, as all four struggle to survive the ravages of the Second World War.

Finally the winner of the Baby Book Award was Noisy Peekaboo! Roar! Roar! by Dorling Kindersley, which adds a new dimension to lift-the-flap books, with its accompanying wild animal noises.

Bali Rai, Writer in Residence Book Trust

Bali Rai, author of young adult titles The Crew and (Un)arranged Marriage, has taken over as Booktrust Writer in Residence. He is the sixth author to take up the position, and takes over from Clare Wigfall. In his online statement, Bali said "Booktrust is such a powerful voice in support of reading for pleasure and literacy and I feel honoured at being asked to step in."

To promote the concept of "reading for pleasure" at every given opportunity and to continue to link it with achievement in education
To encourage parents, teachers and schools to increase their focus on reading for pleasure and to support the maintenance and promotion of books, school libraries and librarians
To encourage teens and young adults to participate in the wider debate around reading and literacy. This will hopefully include a panel event at the London Book Fair in which teenagers will be asked questions by the publishing industry
To promote the concept of wider diversity in teen and young adult fiction and to challenge the artificial divide between "adult" and "young adult" books
To promote and support a new teenage section on the Booktrust website by encouraging participation from young adults at all levels, through short story competitions, book reviews etc
To actively support any organisation or campaign that seeks to promote literacy, reading and the great work done by public and school libraries.

Booktrust has a new website - go to

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Christmas Exhibitions

A few yards away from the bustle of Piccadilly is the Chris Beetles Gallery where on Sunday 11 December to lively music by the Jelly Rollers you can buy pictures by that master of festive jollity Quentin Blake - the man himself will be there at 8-10 Ryder Street, London SW1. And if you can't get there then the exhibition runs until 7 January, 10am to 5.30pm.

And just round the corner at 22 Bury Street the Illustration Cupboard are holding their Winter Exhibition until the very end of January.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Day the Rain Came

Earlier this month London’s Free Word Centre saw the launch of The Day the Rain Came, by Claire White and Heather White, which is aimed at primary school-age children, and tells the story of a community dealing with heavy rain and flooding.

The book contains illustrations by Michael Foreman, and also by children – the winners of a UK-wide competition, led by disaster relief charity ShelterBox. The competition challenged teachers and children to explore a story about flooding and bring it to life with their pictures.

The event also marked the launch of a new partnership between ShelterBox’s Young ShelterBox project, which provides teachers and youth group leaders with the resources they need to explore the difficult and challenging subject of world disasters, and Chatterbooks, the national network of reading groups for children coordinated by the Reading Agency.

The Day the Rain Came by Claire White Illustrated by Michael Foreman
Published by Shelterbox
ISBN 9780956668219 Price £5.99

Galaxy Book Awards

Patrick Ness has won the National Book Tokens Children's Book of the Year for A Monster Calls (Walker), which was based on an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, whose death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Patrick Ness beat last year’s winner of the award, Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, who this year was shortlisted for The Highway Rat (Alison Green Books).
Other titles on the shortlist were Blue Peter Book of the Year Dead Man’s Cove by Lauren St John (Orion), My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher (Indigo), One Dog and His Boy by the late Eva Ibbotson (Marion Lloyd Books), and Stuck by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins).

You can vote for the overall winner, and see the other prize-winning books by going to

Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2011

Anti-health and safety English and Drama teacher Andy Mulligan has won The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for his novel Return to Ribblestrop. Andy Mulligan was brought up in South London, and educated at Oxford University. He worked as a theatre director for ten years before travels in Asia prompted him to re-train as a teacher. He has taught English and drama in India, Brazil, the Philippines and the UK at Truro School. He now divides his time between London and Manila.

Andy Mulligan says "The Ribblestrop books certainly play with danger, and I've relished their unpredictable political-incorrectness. I've enjoyed playing against the cotton wool-wrapping health and safety executives that have somehow paralysed schools and prevented children playing. Every teacher now knows that an accident is some adult's fault. Conkers take eyes out and sports day are accidents waiting to happen. So, yes, it has been a joy allowing my characters to saw through high-voltage mains cables with chainsaws, drink rum through the winter cold and bond through adversity. In Return to Ribblestrop they literally ride tigers, and the authority that intrudes is represented by a dodgy police-officer and a murderous alcoholic priest (de-frocked, Irish and constantly cursing). I wrote Return to Ribblestrop firmly convinced that nobody would get it, so the thought that people have, and that people regard it as good, is a little bit overwhelming. I never expected the Guardian to award such a stonker of a prize to a book that is dangerous, violent, irreverent, politically incorrect, joyously sentimental, anti-adult, pro-child and sometimes bizarre - but I'm very glad they have."

Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2011

A rhyming picture book about pirate cats has seized the bounty for the funniest book forchildren aged six and under in this year‟s Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Cats Ahoy! is written by Peter Bently (who was also shortlisted in 2009 for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize), and illustrated by Jim Field. It is joined on the podium by The Brilliant World of Tom Gates,the winner of the seven to fourteen category, and the first in a series of books about Tom, an expert doodler and master of excuses, written and illustrated by Liz Pichon.

Both winners received their award and prize cheque of £2,500 today (Tuesday 8 November 2011), presented at an awards ceremony at the Unicorn Theatre in London by the judges and Roald Dahl‟s widow Felicity Dahl.

How original Charlie & the Chocolate Factory drawings were rescued from a skip & other insights into the Seven Stories collection

The Brian Alderson Series: Talks about children's literature in the Seven Stories Collection

Talks: Wednesday 9 November, 5pm; Wednesday 14 December, 5.30pm; Wednesday 11 January, 5.30pm; Wednesday 8 February, 5.30pm; Wednesday 7 March, 5.30pm; Wednesday 16 May, 5.30pm
Robinson Library, Newcastle University, Jesmond Road West, Newcastle
NE2 4HQ.

Brian Alderson, one of the pioneers of children’s literature studies in Britain, and a prolific writer, reviewer, and translator, will give a series of free lectures on authors and work included within the Seven Stories collection. Brian is a leading bibliographer in the field of children’s literature and a collector in his own right; his knowledge of children’s publishing and book production in Britain is unmatched. He has been a generous supporter of Seven Stories and children’s literature in Newcastle for many years. The series will provide a unique insight into the development of children's literature in Britain.

Topics covered include Edward Ardizzone, the illustrator of Seven Stories’ most recent acquisition The Little Train by Graham Greene. This artwork was purchased with the support of Art Fund, the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Fund, and the Friends of the National Libraries, and private donations from supporters of Seven Stories.

Also covered will be the work of Ursula Moray Williams, author of Gobbolino the Witch's Cat and other well known children’s stories, and Faith Jaques, whose work - including original, unpublished illustrations for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - became part of Seven Stories’ collection after being rescued from a skip. Faith Jaques (1923-1997) illustrated books by Roald Dahl, Nina Bawden, Ursula Moray Williams, E. Nesbit, Arthur Ransome, Alison Uttley and many others, as well as producing several books in her own right. She also campaigned tirelessly for better recognition of the rights of illustrators, and played a crucial role in getting recognition for illustrators’ rights to a share of Public Lending Right.
Following Faith Jaques’ death in 1996 a firm of house clearers was hired to dispose of the contents of her house. The house clearer packed everything from the house into bin liners and left it outside the house overnight, awaiting the arrival of a skip. However, on reading one of the books he realised that she might be important, so he made contact with Mary Briggs and Elizabeth Hammill, founders of Seven Stories, who recognised the importance of saving Faith’s archive. With a grant from the Friends of the National Libraries and some private donations, Seven Stories was able to save Faith’s archive for the nation.

The free talks by Brian Alderson are:

Wednesday 14 December, 5.30pm: 'Rooted in the 1930s: the illustrator Harold Jones and the editor Kathleen Lines.'

Wednesday 11 January, 5.30pm: Ursula Moray Williams and a lifetime of storytelling

Wednesday 8 February, 5.30pm: '"The born illustrator" - Edward Ardizzone'

Wednesday 7 March, 5.30pm: 'Peter Dickinson and a loftful of paper'

Wednesday 16 May, 5.30pm: 'Out of a clearer's skip - Faith Jaques, illustrator and fighter for "illustrators' rights"'

The talks will take place in Seminar Room 152 on Level One (basement) of the Robinson Library, Newcastle University. Admission is free and open to all. Note that the first talk in the series will start at 5pm; thereafter talks will start at the later time of 5.30pm. The Robinson Library is opposite the Great North Museum, at the other end of Barras Bridge. A member of staff will be posted at the front entrance of the Library to give directions if needed. Maps of the campus and the city here:

School Library Association Information Book Awards 2011

Winners in each category are –
Under 7s - The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman, illus Ros Asquith.
Frances Lincoln ISBN 9781845079994
7-12 - Animals at the Edge by Jonathan and Marilyn Baillie. Franklin Watts ISBN
12-16 - How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients by Adrian Dingle. Scholastic
ISBN 9781407117911
Overall Winner - How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients by Adrian Dingle.
Scholastic ISBN 9781407117911

Children’s Choice winners are –
Under 7s - My Very First Art Book by Rosie Dickins and Sarah Courtauld, illus Gus
Gordon. Usborne ISBN 9781409522850
7-12 - The Murderous Maths of Everything by Kjartan Poskitt, illus Rob Davis.
Scholastic ISBN 9781407103679
12-16 - The Life and Times of William Shakespeare by Kristen McDermott and Ari
Berk. Templar ISBN 9781840111583
Overall Winner - The Life and Times of William Shakespeare by Kristen McDermott
and Ari Berk. Templar ISBN 9781840111583

The complete shortlist for 2011 is

Under 7s
Let’s Ride a Bike by Ruth Walton. Franklin Watts ISBN 9780749688578
My Very First Art Book by Rosie Dickins and Sarah Courtauld, illus Gus
Gordon. Usborne ISBN 9781409522850
The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman, illus Ros Asquith. Frances
Lincoln ISBN 9781845079994

Animals at the Edge by Jonathan and Marilyn Baillie. Franklin Watts ISBN
How the World Works by Christiane Dorion, illus Beverley Young. Templar
ISBN 9781848771895
The Murderous Maths of Everything by Kjartan Poskitt, illus Rob Davis.
Scholastic ISBN 9781407103679

How to Make a Universe with 92 Ingredients by Adrian Dingle. Scholastic
ISBN 9781407117911
Stories about Surviving Gangs and Bullying by Michaela Miller. Franklin Watts
ISBN 9781445100722
The Life and Times of William Shakespeare by Kristen McDermott and Ari
Berk. Templar ISBN 9781840111583

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


IBBY Christmas Card 2011- Shirley Hughes

Help support the work of IBBY UK by purchasing a special Christmas card featuring Shirley Hughes’ timeless illustration from Out and About Through the Year (Walker Books) which she has kindly donated.

Order form

Cards are 105 x 150mm and are available in packs of 10 @ £6 each pack (incl. postage and packaging). The text inside reads “Happy Christmas”.

Number of packs of cards required @ £6 each pack _________________

Total cost of packs ordered @ £6 each pack ____________

Please make cheques payable to IBBY UK and send to: John Dunne,
2 Goodison Close, Fair Oak, Hampshire SO50 7LE

Name (please print) _____________________________________

Address (please print) _________________________________________



Post code_______________________ _________________________

E-mail ______________________________________________________

IBBY UK is a Registered Charity in England and Wales No. 1141741.
For more information visit the website

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Alice at the Illustration Cupboard

17 October – 5 November 2011.

Illustrationcupboard invites you to join an excursion into Alice’s second adventure, Through the Looking Glass. Launching the new edition of this timeless classic, by boutique publisher Artist’s Choice Editions, this exhibition of John’s Vernon Lord’s original artwork is a truly a feast for all Alice-enthusiasts and more. Two year’s in production his long-awaited sequel to Alice in Wonderland, exhibited here at the gallery in 2009, exceeds every expectation. The exquisite illustrations are truly breathtaking not only in their imaginative exploration of Alice's world but also the virtuosity of John’s profound technical abilities, which have been so influential to scores of students throughout his long academic career.
Original artwork starts at £99
Copies of Alice Through The Looking Glass: Cloth-bound edition of 420 copies, signed and numbered. (£99)
Special edition (with 4 coloured-prints and John Vernon Lord full-colour illustrated bibliographical text in slipcase) of 98 copies, signed and numbered. (£360)
Enjoy a brief walk-through of the gallery exhibition here:
Preview the artwork on

*Please note that Animation Autumn celebrating 40 years of Mr Benn and 30 years of Danger Mouse continues on our first floor gallery.*

Illustration Cupboard
22 Bury St, St James’sm London SW1Y 6AL

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jackie Morris Book Launch

Marilyn Brocklehurst (left) with Jackie Morris at the launch of Jackie Morris's The Cat and the Fiddle, a Treasury of Nursery Rhymes (published by Janetta Otter- Barry Books at Frances Lincoln) launched on National Poetry Day (6 October) at the Norfolk Children's Book Centre.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Read It Again and Young Quills Awards

Congratulations to:
Chris Haughton for winning the Read It Again Award run by Cambridgeshire Children's Libraries with "A Bit Lost" (Walker). This award is for the first picture book where both the words and pictures are by the same person.
and to
Gill Harvey for winning the Primary Section of the Young Quills Award 2011 with "The Sacred Scarab" (Bloomsbury) and to Theresa Breslin for taking the Teenage Prize with "Prisoner of the Inquisition" (Doubleday).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture

The 2011 Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture was given by Philip Pullman on the 8th September to a full house at Homerton College, Cambridge. A video version of the lecture will be available on by the end of the month.

PHILIPPA PEARCE died in 2006, but respect and affection for her writing is as strong as ever. In her memory, a series of lectures is now underway, each intended to celebrate excellence in writing for children. Previous speakers have included Michael Morpurgo and Michael Rosen.

Malorie Blackman will give the 2012 lecture - for more details see

Read Adele Geras’s report on the evening posted on 11 September on

PHOTOGRAPH credit Jill Paton Walsh
Outside Homerton College, Cambridge after the 2011 Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture, given by Philip Pullman
From left to right
Sally Christie (Philippa’s daughter)/Nat Norland (Sally’s son and Philippa’s grandson)/Philip Pullman and Morag Styles (Chair of Steering Committee)

The 2011 Roald Dahl Funny Prize shortlists

The Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under
· Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere (Puffin)
· Cats Ahoy! by Peter Bently, illustrated by Jim Field (Macmillan Children’s Books)
· First Week at Cow School by Andy Cutbill, illustrated by Russell Ayto (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
· Limelight Larry by Leigh Hodgkinson (Orchard)
· Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintosh (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
· A Place to Call Home by Alexis Deacon, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz (Walker)

The Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen
· Animal Tales by Terry Jones, illustrated by Michael Foreman (Pavilion Children's Books)
· The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon (Scholastic)
· The Get Rich Quick Club by Rose Impey (Orchard)
· Letters from an Alien Schoolboy by Ros Asquith (Piccadilly Press)
· Penny Dreadful is a Magnet for Disaster by Joanna Nadin, illustrated by Jess Mikhail (Usborne)
· The Wrong Pong by Steven Butler, illustrated by Chris Fisher (Puffin)

The judging panel comprised: author and Twitter queen Grace Dent; author, Chair of Judges and founder of the Prize Michael Rosen; Horrid Henry illustrator and author duo Tony Ross and Francesca Simon; and Yes Man author and journalist Danny Wallace.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

School Librarian of the Year

“Being in a post where I meet a wide range of school librarians, I had thought I had a good grasp of the highs and lows of school librarianship. However, my horizons have been stretched further this year by the amazing dedication of the school librarians who have reached this year's Honour List of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Award. However much we all know, we can all learn from these exceptional school librarians. It was a pleasure to see them in action as they all represent the exciting work school librarians do every day.”

The School Library Association created this Award in 2004 in response to the need forrecognition of the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every day, and to highlight best practice through celebrating those whose work is outstanding. Nominees do not need to be members of the SLA, and may be from any phase of education.

This year there are three exceptional school librarians on the SLA School Librarian of the Year Honour List.
Helen Emery, LRC Manager, King Edward VI School, Lichfield, Staffs
Wendy Roberts, LRC Manager, Ardingly College, West Sussex
Carol Webb, Librarian, Forest Hill School, London

John Burningham Exhibition

You can see a exhibition of his work at The Fleming Collection, 13 Berkeley Street, London W1 from now until 22 December and also the posters he designed for London Transport at the London Transport museum, Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2 from now until the 2 December. A book is accompanies the exhibitions: John Burning an Illustrated Journey published by Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation £19.95.


The shortlist for this year’s Scottish Children’s Book Awards has been announced today, Tuesday 6th September.

As Scotland’s largest children’s book awards, they recognise excellence in Scottish writing and illustration for children across three age categories: Bookbug Readers (0-7 years), Younger Readers (8-11 years) and Older Readers (12-16 years), with the winners decided by Scottish children themselves, who will be reading and voting for their favourite books of the year. The winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony on 23rd February 2012 at Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre.

So far, over 5,000 children in 81 Scottish schools and libraries have already registered to vote. In 2010, 16,000 children took part, and with registration open until 27th January 2012, this year’s awards are likely to be the biggest ever in terms of children participating!


Bookbug Readers (0-7 years)
- DEAR VAMPA by Ross Collins (Hodder)
- THE LOON ON THE MOON by Chae Strathie and Emily Golden (Scholastic)
- APPLE PIE ABC by Alison Murray (Orchard)

Younger Readers (8-11 years)
- ZAC AND THE DREAM PIRATES by Ross MacKenzie (Chicken House)
- THERE’S A HAMSTER IN MY POCKET! by Franzeska G Ewart (Frances Lincoln)

Older Readers (12-16 years)
- WASTED by Nicola Morgan (Walker)
- THE BLACKHOPE ENIGMA by Teresa Flavin (Templar)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Banned Books

The National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge Street, Edinburgh has a fantastic exhibition of banned books which goes on to 30 October. There are early examples of censorship by the Spanish Inquisition, footage of those queueing up to buy Lady Chatterley's Lover after the trial and their reasons for doing so, a range of children's books including "The Rabbits' Wedding" by Garth Williams, Judy Blume (of course!)and many more. You can also grab a decent sandwich and cuppa. Civilised places libraries...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Shaun Tan Exhibition

Shaun Tan – The Bird King and Other Artwork

“Wow, this is quite surreal,”
Shaun Tan accepting his Oscar for the animated film of The Lost Thing, January 2011.

Shaun Tan needs little introduction. Recognized as one of the great illustrative talents and rising stars of animation film-making, he has gained yet further accolade in recent months with the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Dromkeen Medal. His books, including Tales from Outer Suburbia and The Arrival, show this truly original artist to be a foremost creative talent working today. His following is deservedly global.

In a month-long presentation a unique collection of artwork, chosen personally by Shaun Tan, will be on show for visitors at the gallery and include working drawings, preliminary studies and published artwork from his major books including The Lost Thing. This unprecedented event offers a unique opportunity to see the imaginative work by this superb artist. Furthermore Shaun Tan is offering a selection of this work for purchase from the gallery.
Shaun Tan will be making his only London appearance of 2011 at Illustrationcupboard gallery on Wednesday 31 August from 5.00pm to celebrate the launch of his new book The Bird King, and sign copies. Books at cover price and selected artist's edition prints are also on sale.

Original artwork and sketches from £750
Artist’s edition prints from £395
The Bird King and other signed books at cover price from £12.99

View a brief online tour of the exhibition

22 Bury St
St James’s

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Branford Boase 2011 Award

Out Of Shadows by Jason Wallace, edited by Charlie Sheppard and published by Andersen
Press, has won the Branford Boase Award, which is given each year to the most outstanding work of fiction for children by a first time novelist.

The Branford Boase Award was set up to encourage new writers and is given each year to the most promising work of fiction for children by a debut novelist. The Branford Boase Award also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.

The book was reviewed in Carousel in the Spring 2011 issue:

"This tough, bleak book has won the Costa Children's Prize. This is not a book for children but for young adults and adults. The question at the heart of this powerful story is a moral one - would killing Mugabe be defensible given all that we now know about this administration. The story begins with a thirteen-year-old English boy at a mainly white boys school in Zimbabwe. The time is the early eighties when many thought Mugabe was a force for good as the man who bought peace to the country. The language of the boys is often racist, they see their futures evaporating, their parents distraught. One boy, Ivan, seeks a remedy and it is his and the narrator's story that drives the book to its tragic conclusion" Enid Stephenson

CLPE Poetry Award

The winner was Off Road to Everywhere by Jonathan Gross and published by Salt. Described by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, last year’s winner of the prize and a judge as, “an outstanding winner for this Award” while fellow judge Fiona Waters who is also a previous winner said, “This is wonderful stuff. Here are real, proper poems
which are full of beauty and imagination. I loved it!”

Philip Gross is Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University. His collections of poetry for adults and children include The Water Table, which won the T. S. Eliot Prize, and The All-Nite Café which won the Signal Award. Philip Gross is also the author of ten teenage novels - most recently Going for Stone, The Lastling and The Storm Garden.

The judges selected If You Could See Laughter by Mandy Coe to be Highly Commended.
The shortlisted titles are Everybody Was a Baby Once by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Bruce Ingman, Walker; Cuckoo Rock by Phil Bowen, illustrated by Fred James, Salt Publishing; A Million Brilliant Poems (part one) edited by Roger Stevens, illustrated by Jessie Ford, A & C Black.

The CLPE Poetry Award which was judged this year by Carol Ann Duffy, Andrew Lambirth
and Fiona Waters, honours excellence in poetry written for children. Previous winners include Jackie Kay, Roger McGough, Fiona Waters, Carol Ann Duffy, Grace Nichols and John Agard. The 2011 award was sponsored by Travelling Books.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Polka Theatre Wimbledon autumn season

23 Sep – 29 Oct 2011
Polka Theatre presents
‘I Have a Dream...’By Levi David Addai
Take a leap into the past in this time-travelling adventure
August 1963, USA: Martin Luther King prepares to deliver a speech that will change the course of American history forever. But Yolanda, his daughter, isn’t happy that her Dad never has time for her.48 years later and Raheem is at home in south London. Life seems so unfair: not only is his mum a teacher at his school, she is now applying for the job of head; this is sure to ruin his reputation! But when Raheem falls asleep, he finds himself transported back to the 60s, face to face with Yolanda King. Their friendship takes them on a journey of discovery across decades and continents in this powerful and inspiring production.
After-show Talk Sat 8 Oct 2pm BSL Interpreted Performance Sat 15 Oct 2pm

The Untold British Civil Rights Movement by Tony Warner
Fri 30 Sep 7.30pm
Tony Warner, Director of 100 Black Men of London, returns to our stage as we celebrate 400 years of Black British Rights Heroes. Tony will illuminate this largely untold history in an interactive presentation using music, videos and imagery. Come and experience this FREE event after watching the 6pm performance of ‘I Have a Dream...’ Contact the Box Office on 020 8543 4888 for more information or to book your place
For ages 7 – 11
Tickets £6 - £12
Main Theatre
Running time approx 1 hour no interval
Usually two performances daily Tuesday – Saturday; please check or call Box Office on 020 8543 4888

19 Oct 2011 – 18 Feb 2012
Polka Theatre presents
The Ugly Duckling Adapted by Jonathan Lloyd
It’s summertime and there’s one egg left to hatch. Crack! Peep! Quack!?? What’s this...? Out tumbles the biggest, strangest duckling you’ve ever seen. Honk! Hiss! Argh! Follow Ugly Duckling through all the sights and sounds of the duckyard, as he waddles, swims and flaps his way into the big, wide world. Lost and lonely, will he ever find where he belongs? This brand new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale is by the director and designer of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the composer of Skitterbang Island. The Ugly Duckling promises to be a playful and tender production, brought to life with delightful music, movement and puppetry.
For ages 1-5 years
Tickets £7-£9
Usually two performances daily Tuesday – Saturday (either a 3-5 year old performance or a specially adapted performance for 1-2 year olds), please check or call Box Office on 020 8543 4888

11 Nov 2011 – 4 Feb 2012
Polka Theatre presents
E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web Adapted by Joseph Robinette
Come and meet the award-winning pig!
Wilbur’s no ordinary farmhouse pig and he’d do anything to avoid ending up on the dinner table. But help arrives from the most unlikely of places... a spider’s web, in the corner of the barn. As Wilbur grows bigger and plumper, his friendship with the tiny spider Charlotte grows too. But how far will she go to save her best friend?
Casting a web of enchantment over children and adults this winter, E.B.White’s classic is brought to life in the best tradition of Polka’s winter shows, with magic, excitement, songs and unforgettable characters. Will Charlotte and Fern the farmer’s daughter be able to save the “terrific” and “radiant” Wilbur? Head to Polka to find out!
BSL Interpreted Performance Sat 3 Dec 2pm
After-show Talk Sat 10 Dec 2.30pm
Autism Friendly Performance Sat 14 Jan 2.30pm
For ages 5-11
Tickets £8 - £16
Usually two performances daily Tuesday – Saturday, please check where you will find further events in the season listed.

Monday, June 27, 2011

SLAMbassadors UK

Now in its tenth year, SLAMbassadors UK continues to seek out the most inspirational
young performance poets from around the UK. Any young person aged 12-18 who wants
to speak, rap, rant, chime or rhyme around the theme of ‘Identity’ can enter. The deadline for entries is Friday 9 December 2011.

Look out for workshops and filming in London, Manchester, Yorkshire, Liverpool, Leicester, and Scotland. A team of established performance poets and rappers will go into schools, youth clubs and theatres to find those voices that express what it means to be a young person in Britain today. Young people can also enter independently by emailing their films to the Poetry Society.

Poets taking to the road this year include leading spoken word artists Joelle Taylor (co-ordinator of SLAMbassadors UK), Nikki Blaze, Khadijah Ibrahim and Beyonder. Alongside these are former SLAMbassdors UK winners Chris Preddie, PACE, Louise Hill and Kayo Chingonyi all of whom, since winning SLAMbassadors UK, have gone on to become big names on the performance poetry circuit.

How to enter: any young person aged 12-18 can enter – they do not need to belong to a school or to have taken part in one of the free workshops. Simply write a poem or rap around the theme of ‘Identity’, film yourself performing the poem, register your entry online and send the video to the Poetry Society.
Full details and entry forms are available at

All the videos published on the Poetry Society website will be judged by Joelle
Taylor and a high profile guest poet who will be announced later in the year.

For further information
Telephone Lisa Roberts on 020 7420 9895
or Alan Ward on 020 7420 9886

The Poetry Society,
22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX
Tel: 020 7420 9880 Fax: 020 7240 4818
The Poetry Society is grateful to the following for their support of SLAMbassadors UK: North Somerset Council, Tower Hamlets
Schools Library Service, Buckinghamshire County Council, Glastonbury Festival and Pop Up Festival of Stories.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Carnegie and Greenaway Medals

Congratulations to Grahame Baker-Smith for winning the Kate Greenaway medal for FArTHER and to Patrick Ness for Monsters of Men (the third of his Chaos Walking trilogy). As Philip Ardagh said in The Guardian on Saturday 25 June about the clashing of the Harry Potter announcement with the book award ceremony "It would have been nice, though, if someone bookish in Team Potter had nudged them towards picking another date. When Harry Potter's in town, he usually sucks up most of the oxygen and column inches.

Which is a shame as, in particular, the speech by Patrick Ness was well worth reading. And you can read it by going to the Lovreading website.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Enid Blyton Trust Fund

A new £¾m fund to benefit the work of Seven Stories, the national centre for children’s books in Newcastle upon Tyne, has been founded thanks to the Enid Blyton Trust for Children. Its Trustees have decided to wind up the Enid Blyton Trust for Children and donate its assets to set up a permanent fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. This fund will support the work of Seven Stories for years to come. Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven Stories said, “We are thrilled that the Enid Blyton Trustees have asked us to continue their work to improve the lives of children through learning and leisure opportunities. This new Fund, founded in Enid Blyton’s name, deepens our connection with her and her outstanding contribution to children’s literature in Britain. Grants from the Enid Blyton Fund for Seven Stories at Community Foundation will support our work to inspire more children from different walks of life to enjoy reading and the life opportunities that this brings.” An Enid Blyton Trust for Children trustee explained their decision, “Seven Stories is a truly inspiring place. We know that we have made the right decision and believe that Enid herself would feel very happy with everything Seven Stories is doing for her, her work and for the children”.
The founding of an endowment fund for Seven Stories is timely. As public funding is set to decline,cultural organisations are being encouraged to raise more funds from private sources. Endowments,which are large sums of money invested to provide a regular income for the charity, are common in the US and are increasingly seen as a way that UK arts charities can strengthen their long term future.Kate Edwards says, “The Enid Blyton Fund for Seven Stories has made it possible for us to have an
endowment, which until recently was just a dream. Though support from our public funders continuesto be vital, our fundraising ambition is to grow our endowment to £5m, building a more secure future for Seven Stories and our mission to protect, share and celebrate our precious literary inheritance for children with generations to come.”

Seven Stories is the only gallery and archive in Britain that celebrates the wonderful world of children’s books. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Seven Stories gives a unique insight into the making of a children’s book through engaging exhibitions, events and learning activities that encourage children, young people, families and researchers to explore their own creativity.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Michael Morpurgo's Shadow wins children's book prize

Michael Morpurgo is a triple winner of the Red House book award Michael Morpurgo's novel Shadow has won this year's Red House children's book award, which is voted for by young readers.

It is a third win for Morpurgo, who becomes the only author to do so in the award's 31-year history.

Shadow tells the story of boy who is befriended by an army sniffer dog in Afghanistan.

"Shadow was a difficult book to write because I was writing about a contemporary conflict," Murpurgo said.

He was presented with the award at a ceremony in Birmingham on Saturday.

His book, which is partly set at a detention centre for asylum seekers in the UK, was published last September.

'Raw and real'

"I was conscious of the fact that there are families of soldiers who are fighting now in the war and dying in it," said the 67-year-old author, who is based in Devon.

"So there is a sensitivity that is raw and real. I wrote Shadow, as I do with all my books, because I felt so passionately about the subject - the detention centres and the suffering of war.

"I felt compelled to write it but wasn't sure how it would be received. Winning this award, voted for by so many readers, means such a lot."

Shadow was published in September 2010 Shadow won both the category for younger readers and the overall prize in the awards, which is co-ordinated by the Federation of Children's Book Groups.

Morpurgo's previous wins were for Kensuke's Kingdom and Private Peaceful.

His novel War Horse, published in 1982, has been made into a successful theatre production in the West End and on Broadway.

A film version, directed by Steven Spielberg, is out early next year.

Other winners at the 2011 book awards were Angela McAllister and Alison Edgson's Yuck! That's not a Monster in the category for younger children, and Alex Scarrow's TimeRiders in the older readers' category.

Previous winners of the award include JK Rowling, Robert Swindells, Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and Sophie McKenzie.

For Arthur Ransome Fans

Peter Duck will be moored in St Katharine’s Dock, Lon-

don, June 14th—16th 2011 to celebrate the publication of

The Salt-Stained Book. Visitors are welcome

10.30 —6 (Tues & Weds) 10.30 —2.30 (Thurs).

If you’d like to come please phone the author of The Salt-Stained Book, Julia Jones on 07765 703700

to check arrangements (and weather!)

Writing the World

Polka Theatre is delighted to announce the winners of their annual story-writing competition for children of primary school age. Inviting children to write short stories inspired by a different country each year, the winners of this popular competition will have their stories performed on Polka’s Main Stage at the Writing the World Festival on Saturday 9 July 2011.

This year, young writers looked to Brazil to inspire their creativity alongside children’s author Marcus Sedgwick. Marcus supported the competition by blogging on Polka’s website about the writing process and offering some top tips for applicants. He also wrote his own story; Charlie, which is inspired by Brazil and available for all to read for free on Polka’s website.

With a prolific career in young adult fiction and the author of The Raven Mysteries, Polka were delighted to have Marcus’s support who was equally pleased to be part of the scheme:
‘Writing the World is such a great idea. How better to get us all thinking about parts of the world we know less about, than to explore them through story writing?’ Marcus Sedgwick

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Children's Laureate 2011-2013

A packed hall at Kings Place sat through nine(!) speeches which, in differing ways, celebrated the post of the Children's Laureate.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries said "I am determined to see the library service thrive" and he also expressed his view that "libraries and the book are fundamental to children's education".

Julia Donaldson said that she wants to reinforce the work done by the six previous laureates and to bring a touch of drama and music to the role. She said "I'd like to encourage children to write plays as well as act in them" and that "drama and music are going to be my main mission". She said she would put an emphasis on helping deaf children participate fully. She would speak up against the cuts and "library closures that are so damaging to our children's future". She mentioned the Campaign for the Book and that she would "like to do a libraries tour and combine drama with libraries".

18 children's publishers sponsor the award and the main sponsor is now Waterstone's who said they would be having window displays in something like 120 of their stores (sorry not to be precise my attention drifted). Waterstone's further announced that they planned to increase the size of their children's department where possible. Administration continues to be handled by Book Trust.

Enid Stephenson

(top pic: Floella Benjamin, Chair of the CL selection panel, Anthony Browne outgoing Children's Laureate, Ed Vaizey. Second pic: Julia Donaldson during her acceptance speech)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Judith Kerr Exhibition

"From The Tiger Who Came to Tea to Mog and the Pink Rabbit" a retrospective of the work of Judith Kerr will be on display at the V & A Museum of Childhood 28 May to 4 September. Well worth a trip to Bethnal Green. You can easily visit the museum, open every day 10am to 5.45pm, by tube to Bethnal Green (a five min. walk from the station) or numerous buses stop outside D6, 106, 254, 309, 388. Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA

Shirley Hughes Exhibition

A celebration of 30 years of Alfie at the Illustration Cupboard Galley, 22 Bury Street, St James, London - just off Piccadilly. Always worth visiting this attractive and enterprising and unstuffy gallery. This exhibition runs from 2-25 June.

Charlotte Voake et al

A whole raft of joyous illustrations to buy by such artists as Charlotte Voake, John Lawrence and Salvatore Rubbino. Have a look at the website

Hackney Short Novel Award

The votes are in....and Hackney pupils have declared ‘The Uniform’ by Tommy Donbavand the winner of the 2011 Hackney Short Novel Awards!

Now in its second year, the Awards sees pupils from secondary schools in Hackney reading and reviewing a shortlist of five novels and voting for a winner. The Short Novels Awards scheme is the result of a collaboration between The Learning Trust, the publishing house Barrington Stoke, local bookshop Victoria Park Books and the Ministry of Stories in Hoxton.

The winning novel was announced at an event held at Hackney Town Hall on Thursday (26 May) with close to 60 pupils in attendance from the five participating schools – Bridge Academy, Cardinal Pole Catholic School, Petchey Academy, Skinners’ Academy and Stoke Newington School.

Commenting on his win, author Tommy Donbavand said: “I'm thrilled that The Uniform was chosen as the winner of the Hackney Short Novel Award. I'd always wanted to write a spooky story without any zombies, werewolves or other creepy characters - just real people in a terrifying situation - and The Uniform was that story. To hear that people are enjoying reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it is simply wonderful!”

Monday, May 16, 2011


The 2011 shortlist for the Branford Boase Award is announced today. The Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children.

The books on the shortlist are:

I Am The Blade by J.P. Buxton, edited by Beverley Birch (Hachette, £5.99)
When I Was Joe by Keren David, edited by Maurice Lyon (Frances Lincoln, £6.99)
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay, edited by Bella Pearson (David Fickling, £5.99)
Unhooking The Moon by Gregory Hughes, edited by Roisin Heycock (Quercus, £5.99)
Out Of Shadows by Jason Wallace, edited by Charlie Sheppard (Andersen Press, £6.99)
The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh, edited by Imogen Copper (Chicken House, £6.99)

Carousel has reviewed all the shortlisted titles in the last few issues.

The Branford Boase Award was set up to encourage new writers and is given each year to the most promising work of fiction for children by a first time novelist. The Branford Boase Award also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.

The Branford Boase Award judging panel has had an uncanny ability to pick future best-selling and critically acclaimed authors. Previous shortlisted and winning writers include Marcus Sedgwick, Meg Rosoff, Philip Reeve, Cathy Cassidy, Kevin Brooks, William Nicholson,Frank Cottrell Boyce, Mal Peet and Bali Rai.

This year’s eminent judging panel is: independent bookseller Isla Dawes, of The Barnes Bookshop; Jake Hope, librarian and Bookseller Magazine reviewer; Damian Kelleher,journalist and writer and Lucy Christopher, author of Stolen, winner of last year’s Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of The Guardian.

Julia Eccleshare says: “This year’s varied and impressive shortlist is a very positive statement about the strength and health of children’s books. Everyone is looking for creative new authors and it good to see them being spotted by both the major houses and the small and independent publishers”.

The winner of the Award will be announced on July 6th at a ceremony in London. The
winning author receives a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor receive a unique,hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.

The Branford Boase Award gratefully acknowledges support from Walker Books and
Dame Jacqueline Wilson O.B.E.

Monday, May 02, 2011

suffolk libraries - u-turn hurrah!

East Anglian Daily Times reports
Controversial county council proposals to stop running its library service have been abandoned.
Suffolk County Council had planned to divest the service and hand over responsibility for running libraries to community groups, parish councils or other organisations. The plans could have resulted in the closure of 29 community libraries if no groups took over the running of them. However, due to the strength of feeling across the county, which resulted in a number of demonstrations in towns such as Saxmundham, Leiston and Eye, the county council has made a dramatic U-turn.
It emerged last night that the authority will retain ultimate responsibility for running libraries – although communities will have an opportunity to help run individual branches. And while there is no guarantee that all branches will be retained, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries Judy Terry said she expected the overwhelming majority to stay open. She said: “I really hope that all libraries will remain open, ultimately we would like to be able to see new libraries created for communities across the county.” The libraries are set to be run by a community interest company which will be fully owned by the county council – but will include representatives of communities across Suffolk as well as councillors and officials.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Looking for change – going out on a wire to find a new favourite book

I get a bit frustrated sometimes at the fact that the same books, or authors, always seem to crop up on lists of recommended books. Of course we all love Dear Zoo (Rod Campbell) and The Gruffalo(Julia Dondaldson). The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle) is a staple in the homes of young children and many children can’t imagine going to bed without Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown). Similarly, you’re hard pressed to find a child who can’t relate to Max in Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak).

These are all great picture books – of course we want to recommend them. They are books that you want to share with parents, to ensure that all children have a chance to experience them. They have delighted children for many years and families can’t help but pass them down through the generations. They’re well loved and well known, which make them perfect for gifting. But if parents, friends, experts and librarians are always recommending these same books, it does beg the question -what are we missing out on?

I once read an article that said parents should read children three books a day and aim for variation. The article recommended that these three books included one of the child’s favourites; a classic fairy tale and something new to help the child and parent) discover new books. Of course, involving the child in the selection processes will help encourage success. If we stick to this three book rule, then we get the best of all worlds – classics, favourites and the chance to discover something new.

Finding new books is actually quite a fun task. Follow blogs and read book reviews to get an idea of newly published books. Talk to friends and family to find out what books they love and most importantly take time to browse your local library. Ask librarians to point out new titles and recommend books. Visit bookshops and ask the book sellers to recommend something new. Pick up books you haven’t looked at before and try reading them aloud.

It’s all about diversifying reading habits and giving children the chance to explore something new.You can have fun exploring books along the way. There is nothing wrong with sticking to the favourites. Of course, those books have stood the test of time and are favourites for a reason. They were once newly published and someone had to recommend them to others. If we support new authors and new titles then maybe in 40 years time these books will join the classics on all the lists of recommended books.

Tracy Lowe is the Early Years Training Manager at Scottish Book Trust.
She runs training programmes on a wide range of topics linked to early literacy, including brain and language development and use of songs,rhymes and book sharing with children under five. Check out her blog at

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ursula Moray Williams Exhibition

The Enchanted Country – Hampshire celebrates Ursula Moray Williams’s

Several generations of children have enjoyed books written – and in many cases illustrated – by Ursula Moray Williams, such as Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat and
Adventures of the Little Horse. She wrote 68 books between 1931 and 1987, which can be enjoyed by a wide range of age-groups, and she used a variety of styles of illustrations, from lively figure-drawings to intricate scissor-cuts. The centenary of her birth on 19 April 1911 is being celebrated through a series of events, mainly in herhome county of Hampshire, providing a chance to celebrate her long career, and theways in which her early surroundings inspired the characters and settings in many of her books.

An exhibition, The Enchanted Country: the extraordinary world of Ursula Moray
Williams, is touring venues in Hampshire and elsewhere. Using copies of photographs
and other archive material provided by her family, it tells the story of Ursula’s life and career, and in particular will explore the ways in which her Hampshire childhood influenced her writing. Her early years growing up as a twin near Petersfield, playing with hobby-horses and walking past a shop which sold wooden model horses,influenced such books as The Twins and their Ponies as well as Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse. From the age of 11 until her marriage she lived at North Stoneham Park, between Eastleigh and Southampton, a magnificent, yet unfinished and dilapidated, mansion set in magical grounds, which inspired such books as A Castle for John-Peter, Grandpapa’s Folly and the Woodworm-Bookworm, and
Bogwoppit – which features cuddly yet ferocious animals living beneath a mansion
closely based on North Stoneham. She was a keen member of the local Girl Guides,
and many of her early stories were written for Hampshire Brownies. The exhibition
also covers her later life, showing how her work as a juvenile court magistrate
inspired her to include children from troubled backgrounds in her later writing.

Copies of early editions of many of her books, and translations into other languages
of some popular works, are included in the display, together with two toy Bogwoppits
made by Ursula herself. Browsing copies of a selection of the books are also being
made available for visitors to enjoy.

The exhibition is now on show in the foyer of Hampshire Record Office in
Winchester, where it will remain until 28 June. The foyer is open on Mondays-
Fridays, 9am-5pm, and Saturdays 9am-4pm (closed 22-25 April, 29 April, 2 May and
30 May). It will then tour to Surrey History Centre in Woking from late July until theend of August, returning to Hampshire for showings at Petersfield Museum, 5 Sept-20Oct, and Eastleigh Museum in Nov-Dec, before heading north to Tewkesbury Library
in 2012.

A number of events have been arranged to complement the exhibition. The first
full biography of the author, Through the Magic Door: Ursula Moray Williams,
Gobbolino and the Little Wooden Horse, was published by Northumbria Press on the
same day that the Winchester exhibition opened. Its author, Colin Davison, who has
collected the material for the exhibition, will be giving a number of talks including a free half-hour lunchtime lecture in Hampshire Record Office at 1.15pm on Thursday 28 April, ‘Through the Magic Door: the extraordinary life and work of Ursula Moray Williams’ (no booking required). Colin will also be speaking at Surrey History Centre on 23 July and at Petersfield Museum on 24 October, and a number of children’s events are being planned, including the chance to make a collage, Ursula Moray Williams-style, at Petersfield Museum in half term week, 25-29 October.

A special evening has been arranged at Hampshire Record Office on Wednesday
11 May, 7pm-9pm. Colin Davison will speak in more detail about her links with
Hampshire, including North Stoneham, and Harry Willis Fleming will set this in the
context of the story of this mansion, built for his family in the first half of the 19th century. Light refreshments will be available, there will be a chance to meet two of Ursula Moray Williams’s sons, get copies of the biography signed by Colin Davison,and see an additional display. The evening costs £7.50 per person, and advance booking is essential, on 01962 846154.

More information about the events at Hampshire Record Office can be found
at or by phoning 01962 846154.
Surrey History Centre’s website is at
and information about Petersfield and Eastleigh Museums can be found at and

David Rymill
Hampshire Record Office
01962 846146 / 846154

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Anthony Browne at the Illustration Cupboard

An evening with Anthony Browne
Playing The Shape Game
Thursday 14th April 2011
5.30pm onwards

Anthony Browne will be in attendance at the gallery this Thursday from 5.30pm onwards to sign copies of his biography, Playing the Shape Game, written by his son Joe and published by Jonathan Cape. (£25)
He will be happy to dedicate books, meet and talk to fans and collectors. Families are most welcome and entrance is free. No booking is required for this event and refreshments will be served.

A showcase exhibition of Anthony Browne original illustration artwork will accompany this event, and all artwork will be available for purchase from the gallery.
Preview of this can be seen at
Signed books are sold at cover price.

22 Bury St
St James’s
+44 (0)207 976 1727

Thursday, April 07, 2011

From Jam Tarts to Jabberwockys

WONDERLAND COMES TO OXFORD Tea parties galore as Oxford – and the Red Queen, Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit, not to mention Alice herself, start to get ready for Alice’s Day 2011. This year’s brillig event takes place on Saturday July 9 with a host of activities planned in historic and world-class locations, many of them known to Lewis Carroll and the real Alice – from Christ Church and the Bodleian Library, to Oxford Castle and the Botanic Gardens.

Highlights will include an outdoor Jabberwocky performance by Mad Dogs theatre group, Mad Hatter’s tea parties, outdoor film screenings, colourful tales by leading storytellers, waterland walks along the River Thames – with White Rabbits and other Wonderland characters along the way. Alice enthusiasts young and old will enjoy a unique chance to view special exhibitions of Alice memorabilia, take part in panel discussions and listen to talks from distinguished experts – all in the city of the Dodo, where Lewis Carroll first told one of the best-loved children’s stories in the world.

More than a dozen Oxford organisations are involved in Alice’s Day, which is coordinated by the Story Museum. Director Kim Pickin said; “We are buzzing with ideas for Alice’s Day, but Tea will play a big part! We’re encouraging people to dress up for the day, bring a picnic and join in this family day, where once again nearly all events are free.”

The Story Museum will be announcing more surprises as plans progress. In the meantime, enthusiasts can enjoy a treasure trove of all things Alice and view pictures from previous years at See below for short listings entry.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dr Who Script Competition for 9-11 year olds

To herald the new series of Doctor Who, BBC Learning and Doctor Who Confidential today announced Script To Screen, an exciting competition that will give one lucky team of school children the chance to write their own Doctor Who mini-adventure starring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith.

To win this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, school children aged 9 to 11 years will be encouraged to collaborate on a three-minute script that takes the resident Time Lord on a new quest travelling through space and time inside the TARDIS.

The lucky winners will travel to the BBC's studios in Cardiff where they will see their script brought to life by the Doctor Who team and cast, including Matt Smith.

Children can be as creative and imaginative as they like in order to put together a story that's filled with all the excitement and adventure of the popular BBC One sci-fi drama.

The action-packed script must feature Matt Smith and can include one of four fearsome monsters/aliens from the show: Ood, Judoon, Cyberman or Weeping Angel, as well as a brand new human character to test the wits of the Doctor.

Tailored learning resources will be available on the BBC Learning website to help guide teachers and pupils through the process.

BAFTA winner and head writer at Doctor Who, Steven Moffat, will also offer his expert advice and helpful tips on how to pull together a stand-out script with memorable characters.

Steven Moffat said: "Doctor Who made me want to write. It made me fall in love in television, script-writing and storytelling, and led me by the hand to the best job in the world. It also made me want to defend the Earth from aliens but that hasn't come up so often.

"I know the power this show has to set young imaginations alight, because I've lived it, so I'm incredibly excited to be involved in this project. Plus it's never too early to start looking for your replacement."

The winning script will be chosen by Steven Moffat, Saul Nassé and executive producers of Doctor Who, Piers Wenger and Beth Willis.

Full details of how to enter the competition are available on

Downloadable BBC Learning resources will be available from 23 April 2011 and the closing date for entries Monday 13 June 2011.

A Fantastic Bookshop

Salts Mill, Saltaire just outside Bradford is one of those places that never disappoints. Saltaire itself is a wonderful place and the Mill contains the most incredible number of David Hockney's work plus on the top floor some of his stage sets. And on the first floor there is this terrific bookshop. The vast majority of the books are not on shelves but on enormous mill tables, and it is almost impossible to leave without buying a book or two. For those interested in children's picture books the selection would put most shops to shame - and they are lucky enough to have sufficient space to show them properly. And then when you have finished looking and buying you can have an excellent lunch just beyond the bookshop, but on the same floor. There is a lift for those who find stairs difficult. And on the raised ground floor a good assortment of art books and materials surrounded by the most glorious array of vases and of course Hockneys. Further up the building there is a fish restaurant, and other extremely stylish shops. A real treat.

The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition

Michelle Paver, the creator of Wolf Brother, launched the 2012
Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition on Saturday
26th March. It is the only prize of its kind, with the winner
being offered a worldwide publishing deal with Chicken House,
the independent-minded publishing company run by
Barry Cunningham OBE who is highly regarded for his ability
to spot and nurture new talent. The prize also includes an offer
of representation from top literary agency Christopher Little.
The aim of the competition is to find a talented new children's
author, and an exciting new novel.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Scottish Book Trust Meet our Authors Programme

Each author is filmed (in front of a live audience of children) either reading from their books, answering questionings or chatting about becoming an author (for about 40 minutes) and the film is simultaneously broadcast live over the internet so that children in schools across the UK can watch for free. Last year we had an overall audience of 300,000 children taking part in the webcasts. They are really popular but Scottish Book Trust are still keen to let as many schools and parents as possible know that they are happening.
The authors for 2011 are as follows:
James Mayhew 12th May 2011>
Andy Stanton (focussing on reluctant readers)16th June 2011 <>
David Almond (focussing on creative writing)29th September 2011 <>
Kjartan Poskitt (focussing on maths)1st December 2011 <>
You might want to watch a recent Meet our Authors event that we did with Eoin Colfer (it’s really funny) to get an idea of what we do:

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Library Cuts: Legal Challenge

The Campaign for the Book has launched a legal challenge over the widespread library closures, claiming culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has failed to comply with his duties under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act.
Author Alan Gibbons, campaign organiser, said he had instructed his solicitors to "pursue the campaign's concerns". He said: " I think it is vital that the courts examine the legality of the Secretary of State's approach on the provision of libraries in England and Wales.
"He has a duty to ensure that councils provide a 'comprehensive and efficient' service. I believe that he is failing in that duty."

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Blue Peter Book of the Year 2011

The overall winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards 2011 is Dead Man’s Cove - the first in a series - follows the adventures of Laura Marlin, an 11-year-old amateur sleuth, as she departs her children’s home and embarks on a new life with her mysterious uncle in St Ives. Packed with all of the ingredients of a classic British adventure novel, mixed in with modern-day themes, the book triumphed in the Favourite Story category before securing the ultimate accolade of Blue Peter Book of the Year 2011.
The book’s author, Lauren St John, was born in Rhodesia, living on a private game reserve until she was 16. She is also the author of the bestselling The White Giraffe series and has worked as golf correspondent for The Sunday Times. She now lives in London.
The enormously popular and influential Blue Peter Book Awards have been recognising and celebrating the best authors, the most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children since 2000.
There are three categories of awards: Best Book with Facts, Most Fun Story with Pictures and Favourite Story. The favourite of the three is voted Blue Peter Book of the Year.
The category winners are:
Best Book with Facts:
Do Igloos Have Loos? by Mitchell Symons (Doubleday)
Most Fun Story with Pictures:
Lunatics and Luck (The Raven Mysteries) by Marcus Sedgwick, illustrated by PeteWilliamson (Orion Children’s Books)
Favourite Story:
Dead Man's Cove (A Laura Marlin Mystery) by Lauren St John (Orion Children’s Books)
The winning author and illustrator in each category were awarded a special Blue Peter Book Award Trophy.
The final nine books were judged by a selection of young Blue Peter viewers, who decided the winners in each category and, from these, selected the overall winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year.
Lauren St John was interviewed in Carousel issue 43 (back copies available from Carousel).

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Divine Poetry Competition

Acclaimed author Meg Rosoff joined Divine & Christian Aid to judge this year’s nationwide Divine Poetry Competition Divine Chocolate, the chocolate company owned by cocoa farmers, is delighted to announce the winners of the ninth national Divine Poetry Competition, held in association with Christian Aid. The quality of poems this year was particularly high making for a tough selection process. The judging panel was headed by Meg Rosoff, author of the critically acclaimed novel How I Live Now. Thousands of budding poets of all ages from all over the UK embraced this year’s theme: From Bean to Bar. Videos of Meg reading out the winning poems can be found on the Divine website. Nine years of fantastic poems about cocoa, farmers, chocolate and Fairtrade means they have a wonderful collection.

Very Short Story Competition

CREATING STORIES IN 247 WORDS Bloomsbury’s VERY short story competition for young writers! is an online writing competition from Bloomsbury that challenges young writers to create stories using only 247 words or less. Launched in 2009 the competition has proved very popular, with more stories being entered month on month. In 2010 there were over 100 entries each month showing there is a lot of potential in our young writers.
In 2011, the competition is back with a new look website, thrilling stories and inspiring topics. Each month a different Bloomsbury author will pen a 247tale on a given theme. It is then over to the UK’s budding young writers aged between 10 and 16 to create their own miniature masterpiece.
One winner will be chosen each month and they will have their 247tale featured on the website as well winning a selection of books and a framed copy of their story. Ten runners-up will get a signed copy of the latest book from that month's featured author, and their story will appear in the 247Library section of the website.
The competition launches at 2:47pm on World Book Day (Thursday 3rd March) with a 247tale from new author Jim Carrington on the theme of The Money. Rules and details of how to enter are on the site - This year the site has been re-launched in a blog format to encourage entrants to comment on the work, talk about short stories and become part of a 247tales community. Authors taking part in 2011 are Celia Rees, Angie Sage, Cathy MacPhail, Alyxandra Harvey, Irfan Master, B.R. Collins and Isobelle Carmody.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2012

John Burningham and Philip Pullman have been nominated by IBBY UK for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Awards which are given to “great authors and illustrators who have made an outstanding contribution to children’s literature”. Regarded as the equivalent of Nobel Prizes, they are the leading international awards in the fields of writing and illustrating for children and young people. In their fifty year history they have been won by some of the great names in children’s literature, including Britain’s Anthony Browne, Aidan Chambers, Quentin Blake, and most recently, David Almond.
John Burningham has been writing and illustrating picture books for more than forty years and has produced a number of classic titles including Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers and Mr Gumpy’s Outing, both of which won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1963 and 1970 respectively.
Philip Pullman’s first book, The Ruby in the Smoke, was published in 1985 and since then he has gone on to write a number of significant titles including the His Dark Materials trilogy the first volume of which, Northern Lights, won the Carnegie Medal in 1995. In 2005 he was presented with the International Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award which is given to authors in recognition of their entire literary output.
Nominations have now closed from more than 70 IBBY national sections and will be sent to the International Jury when it meets at the Bologna Book Fair next month. A detailed dossier for all the nominated authors and illustrators will then be prepared by each national section with a closing date for the end of June this year. The final announcement of the winners will be made at the Bologna Book Fair in 2012 and the Awards will be presented atthe IBBY International Congress which is being held in London in August of that year.
IBBY is a worldwide non-profit making organisation dedicated to bringing children and books together

Red House Children's Book Award

Children nationwide are now invited to vote for their favourite of the ten shortlisted books. The category winners and the author of the best children’s book published in 2010 will be announced at the Award Presentation Ceremony which takes place at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham on 11th June 2011. A dedicated website showcases all the shortlisted titles and featured authors. Any child can vote for their favourite book until 21st May 2011. The full shortlist for the Red House Children’s Book Award 2011 is as follows: Books for Younger Children Gilbert the Hero – Jane Clarke and Charles Fuge (Simon & Schuster)Annie Hoot and the Knitting Extravaganza – Holly Clifton-Brown (Andersen Press)Yuck! That’s not a Monster! – Angela McAllister and Alison Edgson (Little Tiger Press)Dragon Stew – Steve Smallman and Lee Wildish (Little Tiger Press) Books for Younger Readers The Great Hamster Massacre – Katie Davies (Simon and Schuster)Time Train to the Blitz – Sophie McKenzie (Usborne Books)Shadow – Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins) Books for Older Readers Trash – Andy Mulligan (David Fickling Books)The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid – Rick Riordan (Puffin)TimeRiders – Alex Scarrow (Puffin)
The Book Award is organised by the Federation of Children's Book Groups.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

World Book Day, in aid of Book Aid International.

World Book Day is an opportunity for people to celebrate the education, imagination and information that books provide us all with. There are a whole host of events and activities you can get involved with, whatever your age. They include Meet Talk Give (, an easy fundraising initiative that anyone can follow with their friends or book group. Or there are the ten new books in the Quick Reads series to try, from which proceeds go to World Book Day.
So where's the best place to start finding out more? Take a look at Book Aid International's blog ( for a start.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Read It Again shortlist

The shortlist for the sixth "Read it Again!" Cambridgeshire Children's Picture Book Award has just been announced.
The award is for a first time picture book where the story and pictures are the work of one individual.
Between World Book Day and mid June, thousands of Cambridgeshirechildren in schools, libraries and reading groups will be reading and discussing the 8 books on the list and then voting for their favourite.
The winner will be announced at a special award ceremony in late June/early July.
Short List
"Immi" by Karin Littlewood [Gullane]"A Bit Lost" by Chris Haughton [Walker]"Birdsong" by Ellie Sandall [Egmont]"Not Me!" by Nicola Killen [Walker]"Annie Hoot and the Knitting Extravaganza" by Holly CliftonBrown.[Andersen]"Magpie's Treasure" by Kate Slater [Andersen]"The Talent Show" by Jo Hodgkinson [Andersen]"The Wychwood Fairies" by Faye Durston.[Macmillan]

Royal Mail Awards 2010

Julia Donaldson, Barry Hutchison and Catherine MacPhail have been named as this year’s winners of the 2010 Royal Mail Awards, Scotland’s largest Children’s Book Prize (each winner receives £3,000 ) which is voted for exclusively by Scottish children themselves. The winners were announced today during a special circus themed ceremony at Glasgow’s Tramway Theatre, attended by 500 young people from all over Scotland. Best-selling author Julia Donaldson won the Early Years (Bookbug) category (0-7) for her picture book What the Ladybird Heard ((Macmillan), which is illustrated by Lydia Monks. Julia said: “I am absolutely thrilled that What the Ladybird Heard has won - especially as it's the fourth time I've been shortlisted, so I have been saved from despair! These are such worthwhile - and fun - book awards and I'd like to offer a big thank you to Scottish Book Trust and the Royal Mail, to my brilliant illustrator Lydia Monks, to the other authors and illustrators, and especially to the children who took part (even the ones who voted for the other books!)” Debut young-fiction author Barry Hutchison won the Younger Readers category (8-11) for his first novel, Invisible Fiends – Mr Mumbles (Harper Collins). He said: “When I found out that my first book was shortlisted for the award, I was shocked and delighted in about equal measures. I’ve been practicing my ‘gracious runner-up’ face for months now, fully expecting not to win. So to find out that Mr Mumbles has taken the prize was an absolutely brilliant surprise!” Popular teenage fiction author Catherine MacPhail won the Older Readers category (12-16) for Grass (Bloomsbury). A previous winner of the Royal Mail Awards in 2006, Catherine commented: “To win this wonderful award once was exciting enough, but to win it twice, I still can't quite believe it's true. It's a mistake, someone is going to come up and snatch it from me. But they won't get it. It's mine! And I am so proud that so many young people voted for Grass, such a simple story about such an ordinary boy. Delighted doesn't come close to describing how I feel."

Monday, February 21, 2011

World Book Day

World Book Day is an opportunity for people to celebrate the education, imagination and information that books can provide.
There are a whole host of events and activities you can get involved with, whatever your age. They include Meet Talk Give (, an easy fundraising initiative that anyone can follow with their friends or book group. Or there are the ten new books in the Quick Reads series to try, from which proceeds go to World Book Day.
Take a look at Book Aid International's blog (

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Polly Dunbar Exhibition

The Picture Book World of Polly Dunbar an exhibition of artwork presented by Children’s Book Illustrationat Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High St, London W1U 4QW 17th – 24th March 2011
Specialist online gallery, Children’s Book Illustration, is staging an exhibition of artwork by a current star in children’s book illustration, Polly Dunbar, at Daunt Books. Featuring over 60 original illustrations from such favourites as Penguin, My Dad’s a Birdman, Here’s a LittlePoem and Tilly and Friends amongst others. This is the first time so much of Polly’s artwork will be on public display and available for purchase from the exhibition itself and online at
Meet Polly Dunbar and have your books signed on Saturday 19th March, 10.30 – 12.30 and2.30 – 4.30. Free entry. Further information from
The illustration is Penguin bit Ben on the nose. 170mm x 170mm. Original unpublished artwork from Penguin, written and illustrated by Polly Dunbar. Published by Walker Books. Framed, £450. Penguin has won numerous awards including the Book Trust Early Year's Award 2007, the Nestle Silver Children's Book Prize 2007, the Practical Pre-School Award 2007, the Red House Children's Book of the Year Award 2008 and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Debut author Sita Brahmachari has won one of the most valuable and prestigious children’s book awards in the country for her striking coming-of-age novel about life, death, friendship and love. Artichoke Hearts was announced as the winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2011 by Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne at an evening ceremony at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, on Wednesday 9th February. Anthony Browne described Artichoke Hearts as “a beautifully written book about family, friendship, grief and hope, which made me laugh and cry – sometimes at the same time.” Inspired by the author’s ‘beautiful and bohemian’ mother-in-law, whose long battle with cancer was heartbreaking for her family, Brahmachari started writing the book as a way of dealing with her grief. Artichoke Hearts was praised by the judging panel for the way it tackles the issue of death head on, treating it as part of the cycle of life and of growing up, and for the “effortless way in which it shows how inspiring grandparents and the older generation can be for children.”


Girl aged around ten in the Aldeburgh Bookshop

Mother "Are there too many books for you to choose"

Girl "No, I'm just fed up with all those books about magic"

Publishers please note!

Bookbug funding

Government Announces £1.05 million for Bookbug Programme
The Scottish Government today announced funding of £1.05 million to Scottish Book Trust to enable it to continue its highly successful Bookbug early years book sharing programme in 2011-12. The Bookbug programme distributes 240,000 free packs of books to young children and runs free Bookbug song and rhyme sessions in libraries and other venues all over Scotland. It also promotes best practice for early years professionals in Scotland and provides valuable support to parents encouraging them to share books. The pledge of continued funding to the Bookbug programme will ensure that despite tough economic circumstances, young children in Scotland will not lose out these vital early years experiences. Announcing the funding today, Children's Minister Adam Ingram said:"Evidence shows that reading with a child can make a real difference to their development and help lay strong foundations for their future learning. By helping our children enjoy reading during those early years we can also develop a love of books which can last a lifetime.We want to maintain [Bookbug’s] good work and ensure that despite the tough economic times facing us all - and regardless of what decisions are taken over equivalent programmes in England - that we continue to do what we can with Scottish Book Trust to promote and encourage reading among our children."
The provision of the funding was announced following the passing of the Scottish Government's budget for next year. Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said:"We recognise the valuable contribution Scottish Book Trust is making through its Bookbug programme. As well as being great fun for children, it is helping to equip them with the literacy and creative skills they need to succeed. By instilling an early love of books and reading, it is also helping to inspire our next generation of writers and grow Scotland's rich literary landscape."
Marc Lambert, CEO of the Scottish Book Trust, said:"The renewal of Scottish Government support for this universal programme is seriously brilliant news for all children, families and carers right across the length and breadth of Scotland. It will also be hugely welcomed by library services, NHS Health Visitors, educators and all those who recognise that investment in Early Years represents a vital and effective contribution to individual lives, society as a whole, and the future of this country.”

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Save Our Libraries Day in Edinburgh

90 people gathered outside the Scottish Parliament building on Saturday morning led by writers Theresa Breslin and Julia Donaldson. They were joinedby many writers including Nicola Morgan, Keith Gray and Vivian French as well as others from the children's book world and readers ranging from a baby to septuagenarians! Theresa Breslin received over 700 e-mails when, just 4 days ago, she wrote of her concerns for the closures of schools and library services throughout the UK. A former librarian, she said '...the cuts to book budgets, library opening hours, mobile services, branches and the drastic and unnecessary deletion of professional posts strike at those most in need of a library service and those least able to protest against the cuts in the service....'The petition, containing the first 100 names plus a large portrait of the founder of modern libraries and fellow Scot, Andrew Carnegie was handed into Parliament. Readings from favourite books then took place including a small 6 year old girl, a dad holding his 6 week old's board book, Gavin MacDougall, a publisher as well as Julia and Theresa. This protest took place on a UK-wide Day of Protest against library closures when thousands gathered to protest again Government plans to reduce or delete library services.
Valerie Bierman

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Libraries Saturday 5 February

Much has been written in the press about the threat to libraries...central government has cut funds to the counties who in turn are looking at ways to make savings. Here in Suffolk 29 libraries are under threat - the local council would possibly call it a volunteering opportunity - and the rural subsidised bus service may be decimated. My local library, Halesworth, is not under threat but pretty much all the ones surrounding it are. There was a good turn out today of people gathering signatures against the closures. The library was being used in a fairly typical fashion (5 lads - some with books - chatting on the sofas, some on the computers, toddlers on cushions hearing a story, all ages browsing and borrowing from the not over well stocked shelves - perhaps there has been a supportive surge in borrowing - a group of older people reading newspapers, a couple of meetings taking place upstairs; altogether a quietly pleasant, positive place to spend time). A place of value I think. Enid Stephenson ps. 200 protestors in the small town of Leiston, a large number in Bungay and at other places across Suffolk showed that people do appreciate public libraries and the professional staff.

How to find out about new authors

this I think from a terrific indep. bookshop in New England (Northshire) goes to the heart of the problem:

With the impending bankruptcy of Borders, Barnes & Noble laying off 50 of its core buying staff, and indie bookstores continuing to be challenged ,it is clear that there will be many fewer new books on shelves across the country in the coming years. This brings up an interesting question - how will books be discovered in the future? According to new research by the Codex Group, over 28% of titles are discovered in bookstores. Add in communications and advertising from bookstores and the number is much higher (browsing internet booksellers was 6%). The impact of physical bookstores on book sales is larger than one would think in this digital age.So, as the bricks & mortar bookstores disappear or shrink, the big challenge for authors and publishers is how to get noticed. And the challenge for readers will be how to discover great new books. You just can't replace the serendipity of browsing in a well stocked store with fine booksellers making recommendations.

So support your local bookshop where and when you can.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

NE Teenage Book Award

Keren David has won the 2010 North East Teenage Book Award with her debut novel When I Was Joe. Receiving the award Keren David said: ‘I am completely thrilled to win, especially with such fabulous books on the shortlist.’For more information about the award see

Monday, January 31, 2011


Hay Festival and BBC Radio 2 launch competition to encourage children’s literacy Hay Fever – the family programme at Hay Festival – and BBC Radio 2 have teamed up and are very pleased to announce a new and exciting story competition for children aged under 13.
500 WORDS was launched this morning by Chris Evans on his Breakfast Show. Chris Evans will be joined by some of the best known and best loved names from the world of literature in picking the winners.
The judges will be:The 2010 Man Booker Prize-winner Howard JacobsonDame Jacqueline Wilson, former Children's Laureate and author of The Story of Tracy BeakerLittle Britain star and author of Billionaire Boy David WalliamsAnthony Horowitz, award-winning screenwriter and author of the Alex Rider seriesOliver Jeffers, author of global best-selling picture books including How To Catch A Star, Lost And Found and Up And Down
Chris Evans is also calling all teachers to help judge the competition – if you are a teacher and would like to be involved, get in touch here.
Children are asked to write a 500-word story based on any made-up subject they choose and submit it through the BBC Radio 2 website. The deadline for entries is 3 March 2011 – World Book Day.
Fifty chosen finalists will be invited with their families to The Telegraph Hay Festival in June as special guests, where they will watch Chris Evans live broadcast his BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show live to the nation. Five winners will receive book tokens and a wonderful range of books for their school library.

Friday, January 21, 2011

London's Southbank Children's Festival Feb 2011

IMAGINE ZOMBIES, BALLERINAS AND WILD ROCK GIGS… SOUTHBANK CENTRE’S CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 10 INSPIRATIONAL YEARS IN 2011 Saturday 12 – Sunday 27 February 2011, Southbank Centre Readings and performances by Charlie Higson, Jeremy Strong and Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne World Exclusive Preview Screenings of The Flying Machine 3D starring Heather Graham and Lang Lang Dan Zanes’ rock gigs for kids returns to Queen Elizabeth HallArlene Phillips reads from her new book and introduces a ballroom dance class Imagine’s favourite stand-up comedian James Campbell returnsSpecial concert by 12 Cellos of the Berliner Philharmoniker Shoebox Living exhibition created by children from Kids Company Comic-themed Clore Ballroom plus free events and chances to join in Children ‘Takeover’ running the Festival for a day Imagine, Southbank Centre’s inspirational children’s festival – one of the most diverse in the UK – returns for the 10th year with an unbeatable mix of readings and storytelling by favourite children’s authors and poets and a full programme of music, dance, comedy, film and performance. Taking over Southbank Centre’s family-friendly venues and spaces during the February half-term, Imagine is designed for children aged five to 11, with some of the performances and activities also suitable for younger children.

Marsh Award 2011

LETTERS TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE Wins the Marsh Award 2011. Written by Toon Tellegen, translated from the original Dutch edition by Martin Cleaver, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg and published by Boxer Books. The small, independent Children's book publisher based in London, celebrating their fifth year in publishing, Boxer Books is justly proud to be recognised by The Marsh award for the best children's book in translation 2011. Toon Tellegen is an extraordinary author and while a huge seller in many parts of the world from his native Netherlands to France and Russia - he is now available for the first time in English. Published by Boxer Books UK and US.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dick King-Smith

News of the death of Dick King-Smith came in early January. Full obituaries appeared in the national press - particularly interesting ones in the Independent (Nicholas Tucker) and The Guardian (Julia Eccleshare) appeared on 6 January. We have fond memories of him at Carousel and here is an article from the autumn edition of the 1999 Carousel online

More Dickens Schools Competition

To celebrate the bi-centenary of Charles Dickens’ birth in 1812, the Dickens Fellowship and the English Association announce the More Dickens Competition.A first prize of £500 will be awarded for an extended class project based on one of Dickens’ works. The runner up will receive £250. The competition is open to classes of all ages in primary schools in the UK and can be completed at any time during 2011—the closing date for entries is January 1st, 2012.
Projects may link with regular literacy and numeracy work and include other areas of the curriculum, for example, art, geography, history, music, science. The judges will be looking for originality and lively outcomes, but are also very much interested in hearing about the teaching and learning processes that are part of everyday good practice.
Notes for Guidance and Registration Forms are available from the English Association— go to