Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Look out for Little Rebels on May 11th!

Little Rebels Children's Book Award Shortlist

The winner is announced on May 11th.

The shortlist has been announced for the new award for radical children’s fiction, The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. Shortlisted 2012 titles are: Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland (Frances Lincoln), Hans and Matilda by Yokococo (Templar/Bonnier), Wild Child by Jeanne Willis (author) and Lorna Freytag (ill.) (Walker) and The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne (Random House UK: 2012).

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award recognises fiction for ages 0-12 which promotes or celebrates social justice and equality. It is given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) and is administered by specialist children’s booksellers, Letterbox Library. Guest judges Wendy Cooling, (Bookstart co-founder & editor) and Elizabeth Laird (children’s author) will be meeting next week to discuss the shortlist.

The winner of the inaugural award will be announced at the new ARB London Radical Bookfair to be held on May 11th at Conway Hall, London. The winner will receive a cash prize and a framed print by children’s author/illustrator and Guardian cartoonist, Ros Asquith. The print has been especially created for the award and features little rebels waving banners, including child-friendly slogans such as “Save the Whale, Save the Snail”.

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award will be marked by a panel discussion on ‘progressive children’s literature’ which will be chaired by Wendy Cooling and will include author Sarah Garland. The winner of the sister award for adult non-fiction, The Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing, will also be announced at the bookfair- 8 titles have been shortlisted and will now be judged by author and lecturer, Nina Power, former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone and author, Laura Oldfield-Ford.

Kerry Mason, Co-Director of Letterbox Library said of the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award, “we were surprised and delighted by the many publisher submissions we received for Little Rebels. There is a real excitement and buzz about the award which we hope to build on for next year”.

She added, “Hard economic times can sometimes lead to publishers sticking to safe and tested book series and reprints. It is heartening to see that even when the going gets tough, some UK children’s publishers are still happy to take risks, to stay creative, to venture out into the unusual and deliver us thoughtful, provocative and radical yarns. This wonderful shortlist includes the true-to-life story of a refugee family, an anarchic feline adventure, an untamed & unkempt child within a visionary picture book and a protagonist who has no business being ‘ordinary’”.

Nik Gorecki of Housmans Bookshop and co-ordinator for the ARB said, “Book prizes tend to gravitate towards the conservative. I imagine partly this is due to a culture formed of corporate sponsorship, but also a more general conformism. The two ARB book prizes are free from such pressures- the prizes being administered by bookshops reverses the usually top-down nature of such awards”.
Keep updated on the Little Rebels award by visiting www.littlerebelsaward.wordpress.com or following @LetterboxLib / @ARB_information.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Book in for a Big Adventure!

Scotland’s Children Invited to Book in for a Big Adventure
Hundreds of free ‘Big Adventure’ events to be held during Bookbug Week: 20 – 26 May
Bookbug, Scotland’s national book gifting programme, today announces details of its annual Bookbug Week celebrations, which will see thousands of families taking part in free events across the country between 20 and 26 May.
This year’s celebrations are based around the theme of Bookbug’s Big Adventure. Babies, toddlers and their parents are invited to gather at special free events across Scotland to enjoy mini adventures and wild rhymes, exciting stories and energetic songs. Children who attend the events will receive a special Bookbug Week rhyme mat featuring adventure-themed songs and rhymes, with beautiful artwork by Scottish illustrator Cate James. Parents also have a chance to win a set of her books in daily prize draws on Facebook during Bookbug Week.
Bookbug is Scottish Book Trust's Early Years programme, encouraging parents and children to read together from birth. The programme gifts a total of 540,000 free books to every baby, toddler, three year old and Primary One child in Scotland every year. Over 240,000 children in Scotland benefitted last year, with even more set to receive free books in 2013 and 2014.

Bookbug also runs regular free story, song and rhyme events called Bookbug Sessions, which attracted audiences of half a million parents and children in 2011-12, and are held in libraries, shopping centres and other community venues.

The Bookbug Week Flagship event will be held at Vogrie Country Park in Midlothian, where hundreds of parents and young children will celebrate the programme by exploring the great outdoors with the Midlothian Ranger Service and joining Bookbug for some songs, rhymes and stories.

For details of local Bookbug Week events, just visit www.scottishbooktrust.com/bookbug or ask at your local library.

Anna Gibbons, Scottish Book Trust’s Early Years Programme Manager, said:

 “We’re very proud of Bookbug Week, our annual celebration of the Bookbug programme, run in partnership with Scottish library services. Thousands of families come together to celebrate reading with their children at hundreds of libraries across Scotland. Bookbug hopes that everyone will join in with his Big Adventure and spread the message that sharing books with young children is free, fantastic and fun!”

New book from James Mayhew & Clara Vulliamy

Roll up, roll up… for a new picture book by dream team,

James Mayhew & Clara Vulliamy

Bubble & Squeak by James Mayhew (Illustrated by Clara Vulliamy)

Publishing: 2nd May 2013   Price: £11.99 hardback   ISBN: 9781408313664


Both well-known and much loved author/illustrators in their own right, Bubble & Squeak marks James and Clara’s first creative collaboration, and is a heart-warming story set at a circus and showing that friendship can overcome all differences - big and small!


People travel from far and wide to watch Bubble, the amazingly graceful elephant, perform her daredevil act, The Pyramid of Peril. But Bubble, although surrounded by friends, is desperately lonely - until an equally lonely little mouse appears. This funny and compassionate story of two unlikely companions is filled with drama, suspense and a touch of tenderness, depicted with stylish illustrations.


James Mayhew—author and illustrator of the popular Katie and Ella Bella Ballerina series—tells this tale with wit and warmth; while Clara Vulliamy—author and illustrator of the Bear with Sticky Paws, Lucky Wish Mouse, and Muffin series—beautifully captures all the glamour and glitz befitting of a golden age with adorably retro-style artwork.


About the Author & Illustrator:

James Mayhew created Katie's Picture Show over twenty years ago as a way to share his enthusiasm for art with children. His series of Katie books is much-loved and respected as an early introduction to art. Ella Bella Ballerina and the Sleeping Beauty was James's first title featuring the budding ballerina Ella Bella, with illustrations that capture all the beauty and elegance of the ballet. James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and son.

Clara Vulliamy studied at Chelsea School of Art, The Ruskin and the Royal Academy. She started concentrating on writing and illustrating children's books when she had children of her own and has now written and illustrated many stories for young children, including the Muffin and Lucky Wish Mouse series for Orchard. Clara lives in Twickenham, with her husband and children.


About Orchard Books:

Orchard Books is an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books, part of one of the UK’s largest trade publishing groups. The four children’s imprints offer an unequalled range of titles, and between them publish many of the most respected books in children’s publishing.

Orchard Books has an excellent track record in creating bestselling and award-winning books for children of all ages and interests, including New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter, Beast Quest, Rainbow Magic and Charlie & Lola.

1.5 million free books...

‘But Excuse Me, This is Your Book’: title celebrating

reading and libraries is this year’s free Booktime book

for children starting school

1.5 million free books to be gifted through Booktime: two books for every 4-5 year old in England and Wales


Booktrust and Pearson today announce the new titles for Booktime, which will give two free books to every child starting school in England and Wales in the 2013-14 school year. This year’s books for children in England are

But Excuse Me That is My Book, published by Puffin, an imprint of Penguin Children’s and Tom’s Mad Mop, from the Bug Club series by Pearson UK, part of Pearson's education business. 4-5 year olds in Wales will receive

But Excuse Me That is My Book

as well as a Welsh language title to be selected this spring.

730,000 children aged 4-5 in England and Wales will each receive a free Booktime book pack in their first year of primary school. With two free books in every pack, along with additional copies for teachers and librarians, 1.5 million books in total will be given through Booktime, which aims to inspire a lifelong love of reading by encouraging families to have fun reading together.

But Excuse Me That is My Book

stars the hugely popular Charlie and Lola characters created by Lauren Child. Children will join Charlie, Lola and their friends on a trip to the library to look at all the different types of books that Lola might like to read. It is a warm and funny story about family, friends and the importance of trying new things, in a refreshed edition published especially for Booktime.

But Excuse Me That is My Book is intended to inspire children through Booktime to seek out lots of new books and stories to enjoy.  In England, Booktime packs will also contain a book for children to support them on their reading journey, from Pearson UK.

Tom’s Mad Mop, written by Celia Warren and illustrated by Bill Ledger, is a bright and familiar story about playing with friends, which parent and teachers can
use to help children in their own reading

Peter Hughes, head of corporate responsibility at Pearson, said:
“Reading is fundamental to learning and in today's modern world, to living. Pearson,

Penguin and Booktrust hope that this gift will help unlock a wonderful world of stories.”

Booktime will be supported by a range of resources and games at


** For further information on the Booktime programme please contact Rosi Crawley on

Exhibition: The Art of Simon Bartram at The Illustration Cupboard

The Art of Simon Bartram
Simon Bartram is a profoundly talented artist, whose ability springs from his northern roots as a fine artist to a lucrative and increasingly successful career as an author and book illustrator. We are proud to throw a spotlight on the dual aspect of his creativity as an increasingly sought-after artist, who has quietly gained serious respect from collectors and publishers alike. Born in Jarrow and living in Newcastle, Simon draws inspiration from a rich heritage. His fine art paintings pay homage to heroes like Stanley Spencer, and engage us in a gritty urban realism of Newcastle life. As a whole-hearted supporter of Sunderland AFC his work is inspired by the energy and passions of his Tyneside home.

Alongside this we highlight his work as an author/illustrator and creator of Bob Man on the Moon. This impressively successful series attracts an international audience and has pinned Simon on the international publishing map. In both disciplines technical mastery and rich ability affords Simon virtuosity of execution and a uniqueness of vision, infused with intuitive sensitivity and the infamous northern humour. We commend his work to those with illustration and fine art collections.
Exhibition date
24 April - 12 May 2013
22 Bury Street, St. James's, SW1Y 6AL

Weekdays 9:30am - 6:00pm, Saturdays 11:00am - 5:00pm
gallery@illustrationcupboard.com / +44(0)207 976 1727

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The last place bookshops ought to die - Call to arms

Michelle Lovric,author of four children's books set in Venice has alerted Carousel to a horrible situation in this wonderful city.  Basically all the bookshops are closing down in a domino effect.  The writers of Venice, and about Venice, have got together for a big campaign.  You can read all about this dire state of affairs in Michelle's excellent blog  The last place bookshops ought to die  http://the-history-girls.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-last-place-that-bookshops-ought-to.html
Michelle invites you to show your support by joining the Facebook group Venice City of Readers (in Italian) https://www.facebook.com/groups/480626258677072/

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Polly Dunbar and her puppets - Free event!

Award Winning Author’s Puppets Bring the Write Stuff to Children

Award winning author-illustrator Polly Dunbar and her Long Nose puppets are set to be the star of a magical free event on Thursday 25th April, which will be broadcast live over the internet to tens of thousands of children across the UK.
Young fans of Polly’s books are invited to tune in as she brings her latest picture book, Arthur’s Dream Boat, to life with a little help from the Long Nose puppets, a variety of charismatic hand puppets, full body costumes and masks, all with huge personalities.
The free Authors Live event, run by Scottish Book Trust and BBC Scotland Learning, is suitable for children aged 4-7 and will be streamed live from the BBC Scotland Learning website on Thursday 25th April at 11am. Authors Live is funded by Creative Scotland.
The author and illustrator of many picture books, Polly is the daughter of the distinguished author Joyce Dunbar who she collaborated with on the picture book Shoe Baby. Polly’s Tilly and Friends series of books has recently been made into an animated adventure for CBeebies and her best-selling book Penguin won the Nestle Silver award 2007, The Book Trust Early Years award 2007, The Red House Award 2008 and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Polly is also the co-founder of Long Nose puppets, a touring puppet company who create inspiring, inventive and colourful puppet shows for the very young and have made successful adaptations of the books Shoe Baby, Fly Away Katie and Penguin
Commenting on the upcoming event, Polly said:
“I'm very excited that the Arthur's Dream Boat puppet show will beamed in to hundreds of classrooms! We approach making our puppet shows as though we are making a giant picture book; each scene change is like the turn of the page. With theatre you can bring a book to life with many different layers: music, movement, lighting and of course the key part to bringing a story to life…a live audience!” 
Jasmine Fassl, Children’s Programme Manager at Scottish Book Trust, said:
“Scottish Book Trust is delighted to welcome Polly and the Long Nose Puppets to Scotland for this exclusive online event. Our young viewers can look forward to letting their imaginations run riot as Polly’s books come alive on the stage through the artistry and rich drama of puppet theatre.”The award-winning Authors Live programme is an exclusive series of authors’ events streamed live over the internet to provide young people, parents and teachers with the chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s leading children’s writers. Run by BBC Scotland Learning and Scottish Book Trust, Scotland’s leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing, the programme was the first of its kind in the UK. Anyone can sign up to watch and it is completely free.
Over 800,000 people from 153 countries across the world have tuned in to watch the Authors Live events. The programme began in March 2010 with poet Michael Rosen, followed by author of The Gruffalo and Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson. The programme has also seen events from world class authors Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, Charlie Higson and Francesca Simon.

Reading Street Report

UK Parents under pressure to prioritise academic success over emotional development and self-esteem.

London, April 12, 2013: A new report into children’s reading by leading children’s publisher, Egmont UK reveals key benefits of reading for pleasure in childhood are being over-looked by parents who feel they need to focus on academic and future career success.

The Reading Street report highlights how a change in UK parenting style, a reluctance to say ‘no’ and the rise of screen-time is squeezing reading for pleasure as children and parents are surrounded by targets, results and extra-curricular activities.

Egmont UK asked parents to prioritise the most important benefits of reading to younger children from a list of ten benefits. The three benefits considered of least importance were Social development (11%), Emotional development (10%) and Increasing self-esteem (8%). The top three benefits identified by parents were Language development (64%), Improving imagination (51%) and Giving them a head-start at school (37%).
Reading Street also reveals 85% believe today’s parents are less strict in saying ‘no’ to children. The main reason for this, agreed by 47% of parents in the study, is the feeling of guilt at the lack of time spent with children. Other reasons cited include 44% believing it’s harder to say ‘no’ when their children’s friends get/do what they want and 41% identifying that it’s less stressful for the parents.

In contrast, 23% of parents believe that this same lack of strictness does not apply to them and their children in their own lives. Parents also give different reasons for their own lack of strictness, most commonly saying it is for the sake of family harmony. 25% of parents reveal it is less stressful to just say yes and deflect from arguing. Children's use of technology was identified as a key catalyst for potential confrontation, but often parents choose to avoid conflict; 50% of parents of 5-7 year old admitted to worrying about their excessive use of screens but only 20% try to restrict it.
The Reading Street report concludes this combination of circumstances is squeezing the space for children to spend time reading for pleasure and calls for a reassessment of the value of reading for pleasure in a child’s development.

Alison David, Consumer Insight Director, Egmont UK, said: "It’s tempting for people to want to point the finger at one single thing when we read headlines and statistics that say that reading for pleasure is in decline – whether that’s time poor parents, target driven schooling or the rise of screen time. As our Reading Street research unfolds we’re starting to see that it’s a combination of all those circumstances, all of which are adding up to pressure on reading. The victim right now is a time and a place in children’s lives for the simple but essential pleasure of reading."

Rob McMenemy, Senior VP Egmont English Language & Central Europe, commented, "Over half of parents we spoke to wished they had more time for reading with their children, which is fantastically positive, but many simply didn’t feel they could prioritise it. Despite wanting to help their children succeed, many parents we spoke to didn’t realise that reading for pleasure will bring their child the advantages they hope and strive for. We’ve also found that in many families reading still thrives, and through Reading Street we want to find out how and why, and what it’s going to take to inspire more children to read."

Egmont UK's Reading Street is based on work by Egmont UK’s specialist insight team who have observed the reading habits of 12 families across the UK and conducted a supporting study of over 1,000 parents of 2-16 year olds.

Full details of Reading Street – Chapter One: Reading And Home are available at www.egmont.co.uk/readinglives. Reading Lives is Egmont’s conversation about reading and children today. Everybody interested in children’s reading can take part at the Reading Lives blog or on Twitter at #ReadingLives.

Further copies of Reading Street will be published during 2013.

Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival

The Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival today announced the programme for the festival’s landmark tenth year this June.

The children’s programme is particularly strong this year, with superstars Lauren Child and Francesca Simon talking about their new books, Stoneheart author Charlie Fletcher and Astrosaurs author Steve Cole doing special sessions, and Master of Horror Darren Shan bringing zombies to Harmony House Gardens, amongst a host other author sessions and fun activities which make up the Family Book Festival.

The Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival takes place in Harmony Garden, Melrose from Thursday 13th to Sunday 16th June. The full programme is available at www.bordersbookfestival.org. Ticket prices range from £5 to £14. Box Office: 0844 357 1060 and online

Saturday, April 06, 2013



Specialist gifting website Buyagift.com has launched a new competition to find the next J.K Rowling… under the age of 10!  Budding authors are invited to submit their stories on a set theme, with the chance to have their work judged by award-winning writer Giles Paley-Phillips and leading picture book blogger Emma O’Donovan. The winning author will see their work made into a professionally published book and sold on the Buyagift website with all profits going to children’s wishgranting charity Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK.

With the Easter holidays now upon us, the experience day specialists wanted to encourage young people to stay active. “We’re all about  getting people out and about on experiences, so we wanted to give young creative minds an alternative to marathon TV sessions over the Easter holidays,” said Buyagift CEO Dan Mountain.

Children up to the age of 10 will be able to submit their short stories to be judged by an expert panel that includes famed children’s author Giles Paley-Phillips – the creator of popular stories like The Fearsome Beastie.

“I am hugely honoured to be judging this extremely exciting writing competition, which is set to inspire some budding new writers” said author Giles Paley-Phillips.

All entrants will be writing to a set title of The Unexpected Gift, with Buyagift paying all costs for the winning story to be illustrated and published.  The book will then be made available on the Buyagift website, with all profits going to Make-A-Wish.

The competition will run from April 3rd – June 2nd and the winner will be announced by the end of June.  Entries should be emailed to submityourownstories@buyagift.com