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