Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nominations Open for the Little Rebels Award for Radical Children’s Fiction

 The Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) is delighted to announce that the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for radical children’s fiction is back for its 3rdyear. The award is given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) and is administered by specialist children’s booksellers, Letterbox Library.
The Little Rebels Award recognises children’s fiction (for readers aged 0-12) which was first published in 2014 and which promotes social justice or social equality or challenges stereotypes or is informed by anti-discriminatory concerns. The award is administered by the 31-year-old, not-for-profit children’s booksellers, Letterbox Library, who were recently nominated by IBBY UK for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for their work in “championing diversity in children’s literature”.
Fen Coles, Director of Letterbox Library said, “This year we’ve seen James Dawson talk about inclusion for the Patrick Hardy lecture, IBBY UK holding a conference on ‘Belonging’, the Guardian’s lgbt and diversity weeks, Inclusive Minds’ #everybodyin campaign and our Children’s Laureate’s repeated, measured words about the need for more diversity in children’s books. This couldn’t be a more judicious time for the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award; the children’s book world seems to be hungry for a little more equality and a little more ‘justice’ and so we welcome publishers’ nominations for those books which they think will make tiny steps or even leaps towards this”. Full submission guidelines can be found The closing date for nominations is January 12th 2015.
When asked for their response to being shortlisted for Little Rebels 2014, Gill Lewis replied,“thrilled”, Deborah Chancellor said, “I don’t feel I’m rebellious enough” and Geraldine McCaughrean answered, “I am a total conformist”. Meantime, Gillian Cross, who won the 2014 award for her dystopian narrative, After Tomorrow, said “I’m honoured and delighted. We don’t write tracts and we don’t write propaganda when we write fiction. But, we can’t help writing about things which engage with who we are and how we live in the world”.
The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is a sister award to Bread & Roses, which recognises radical adult non-fiction published in the UK. Both awards are the inspiration of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, a network of radical booksellers in the UK. Both prizes will be presented at the 3rd London Radical Bookfair on Saturday May 9th2015, Bishopsgate Institute, London.

Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman launches 'Project Remix'

Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman has launched a search to find the UK's most creative teens.

Project Remix, Malorie's second, and final, major Children’s Laureate project celebrates the art of storytelling in all its forms, and is being hosted on the teenage story-sharing community The competition, open to UK residents aged 13 to19 years, will be judged by Malorie, with entries published on the website and the winners announced at an exclusive event in April 2015.

To enter, teenagers are asked to make their own creative work in response to a selection of acclaimed pieces of literature, featuring fiction, poetry, graphic novels and short stories from some bestselling contemporary and classic authors, including John Green, Suzanne Collins, Philip Pullman, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker. Entries can be submitted into five categories: Music, Book Cover Design, Book Trailer, Creative Writing, and Comic Strip.

The aim of the competition is to engage young people with literature, encourage them to use it as a creative springboard into other storytelling medias, and to open doors to the arts and the creative industries. It was inspired by the growth of online fandom, including fan fiction and fan art and the surge in related digital communities.

Malorie said: "Teenagers are some of the most passionate, dynamic and creative people I know. Yet too often this creative spark is left to flicker precariously and sometimes fade entirely. Project Remix is all about fuelling that inventive spark, encouraging young people to view literature in fresh and exciting ways, putting creative control directly back into their hands. Imagine Austen’s Pride and Prejudice remixed into a drum and bass anthem or saxophone solo, Collins’ The Hunger Games reimagined as a vibrant comic strip, and Ness The Knife of Never Letting Go brought to life as a suspenseful book trailer"

She added: "As well as celebrating story in all its forms, I hope Remix will shine a light on the vast range of opportunities that there are in the creative industries for our young people – so often overlooked within traditional careers guidance".

Malorie will be joined by two fellow judges – a young Movella community member and a publisher from Penguin Random House – to select a winner and a runner up for each category. The winners and runners up will be invited to the Project Remix ceremony, with the winners awarded an exclusive experience relating to their category, including: a day at a music studio, shadowing the studio manager (Music); a design portfolio session with a Random House senior book designer (Book Cover Design); a film feedback session with BBC director Jermain Julian (Book Trailer); an editorial critique session from a top Random House editor (Creative Writing); and a behind-the-scenes visit to the Phoenix comic publisher (Comic Strip). The runners-up will receive a special goody bag of books.

Project Remix is live at with further information about the competition, plus resources to help young people create their entries, including guidance and insider tips from top industry experts from each category.

News from Nick Sharratt

I just thought it might be of interest that there is a very colourful touring exhibition about me and my work up and running now. It's called Pirates, Pants and Wellyphants and it kicked off at the 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe ( ) and will be touring for the next couple of years. The aim is to encourage interaction between families and cultural spaces and also to promote reading. If I say so myself it does look very good and it's packed with bits of info about the world of children's books, the process of creating stories and hands-on drawing activities. I wonder if it might be of interest for a feature in the magazine.
Nick Sharratt

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book Week Scotland 2014

With only weeks to go until Scotland’s annual national celebration of books and reading, communities across the country are gearing up for a week-long programme of events, activities and projects that will run from 24 to 30 November 2014.

Hundreds of free book-related events will pop up in a diverse range of locations across Scotland, including some of Scotland’s best-loved writers and illustrators appearing at a major programme of events held in libraries, funded by The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC).

Highlights for children and families include:

·         Bob, the Man on the Moon, Methil Library, Methil, 26 November, 18:00 - 19:00, Free (ticketed)
Bob is a busy man, keeping the moon clean and tidy for visiting tourists. Search for aliens, scream and shout at this hilarious session for younger children.

·         The Land of Witch and Sea, Dalkeith Library, Midlothian, 27 November, 14:00 - 15:00, Free (unticketed)
Ruby the Mergirl comes out of the sea to explore the world on dry land, local author Moira Cormack reads from her debut novel (Ages 9-12 years).

·         Jumblebum, Cowdenbeath Library, Fife, 25 November, 10:00 - 11:00, Paid (ticketed)
Join author Chae Strathie for stories, songs, fun and games that children will love as he reads from his award winning picturebook Jumblebum.

·         Bannock Bunkum, Steps Theatre, Central Library, Dundee, 26 November, 11:00 - 12:00, Free (ticketed)
Macastory tell startling tales about the Wars of Independence, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. There will even be a sing along and battle re-enactment!

In addition to this, three free picture books will be gifted to every Primary 1 pupil in Scotland. Children who are just setting off on their reading journey will receive a copy of Robot Rumpus by Sean Taylor and Ross Collins, Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray and Lost for Words by Natalie Russell, all of which are contenders in the Bookbug category for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2015.


Young children can also get into the Book Week Scotland spirit by tuning in to watch two of Britain’s best loved poets, Roger McGough and Valerie Bloom, bringing rhythm and rhyme to life during a special free author webcast on 27 November at 11.00am. Many pupils will also enjoy a personal visit from Steve Cole, author of Astrosaurs and Cows in Action, who will tour schools around the country during the week. 

If your library is important to you, Book Week Scotland is your chance to declare your feelings. Book lovers are being encouraged to take part in the Love Letter to Your Library campaign to raise awareness about the crucial role libraries play in the lives of individuals and communities. You can post, email or drop off positive stories directly to your favourite library, or pop in and read letters written by members of the public, authors and celebrities. Five large library artworks will also be unveiled across Scotland in North Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, Edinburgh and The Shetland Islands.


Book Week Scotland’s Reading Pledge campaign will serve as a gentle motivation to pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read, share a story with your child each night or simply pass on a much-loved book to a neighbour. Be sure to share your pledge on social media and don’t forget to carry it out during the week!

For those who would prefer to spend the week in splendid isolation getting lost in some beautiful stories, 150,000 free copies of a short story and poem collection written by Scottish people, Scotland’s Stories of Home, will be distributed throughout the week via libraries, bookshops and other outlets. Schools will also receive an e-publication featuring Scottish pupil’s stories of home.


In a fitting end to a week celebrating the wonders of the written word, Scottish Book Trust will reveal the nation’s favourite characters from Scottish books – will Harry Potter swoop to victory, will Miss Jean Brodie sweep the board, or will they both be frightened off by The Gruffalo? Votes can be cast via the Book Week Scotland website and the top 10 characters will be revealed on Friday 28 November.


For more information about Book Week Scotland 2014 and how you can get involved, visit, where you can find information about all the events taking place in your local area, make your own Reading Pledge and discover a whole host of resources and ideas to help you celebrate and share whatever it is you love to read.



Update from the Society of Authors newsletter....

Tony Mitton has won the CLPE award for children’s poetry with Wayland (illustrator John Lawrence, David Fickling Books).


Neilson Bookscan

Data shows that the UK children’s publishing market is up by 10% this year with consumers spending £187.9m on children’s books in the first eight months of 2014. If the market stays more than 10% ahead of last year’s figures, it is projected to be worth £337m in 2014—the best year the children’s sector will have had since BookScan records began in 1998.


Philip Ardagh is now Booktrust’s writer in residence. Over the next six months he will write a blog post every Monday and will talk to his fans on the first Monday of every month. Twitter users are encouraged to ask him questions using the hashtag #AskArdagh.

Daniel Hahn’s new edition of the Oxford Companion to Children's Literature will be released as a £30 hardback in March 2015 - more than 30 years after the book first appeared in print. It will cover all the major developments in children’s publishing since 1983. He has introduced 900 new entries, bringing the total to 3,640 adding authors such as Philip Pullman, David Almond, Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson, Dick King Smith and Neil Gaiman as well as foreign-language writers. Entries now include YA fiction, crossover books, manga, fan fiction and non-print publishing.


Books for Cambodia
Viking Cruises sponsor an orphanage and school in Kampongcham Siam Reap, Cambodia. Member Suzy Jane Tanner visited the children, who are all learning English, and noticed that they had pitifully few books. Consequently she is appealing for books from friends and colleagues. Please sign any donations with a general message of encouragement.
Viking Cruises will arrange shipping to Cambodia, but call Suzy on 0207 207 2278 if you would like to deliver or send books to her address: 25 Consort Road, London, SE15 2PH. We will also collect copies at the CWIG AGM on 25 November.



Diverse Voices – 50 of the Best Children's Books

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

IBBY World Conference




On Saturday, 14 September 2014 the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) concluded its 34th World Congress with a closing ceremony at the world-renowned Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City.  Thus closing a congress that had attracted over 900 participants!

IBBY is the leading international organization in the promotion of reading and books for young people.  Established by the visionary Jella Lepman following the devastation of the World War II, IBBY is committed to encouraging excellence in children’s books, supporting literacy and reading projects around the world, and developing international understanding through children’s books. 

In his maiden speech, the newly elected President of IBBY, Wally De Doncker shared his aims for the future of the organization: “one of our objectives is battling illiteracy.  IBBY wants to promote a reading culture and give every child the opportunity to become a life-long reader and this is only possible if the child enjoys reading.”  He went on to say that, “it is unacceptable that there are countries in this day and age in which girls are banned from reading or even learning to read. It remains unacceptable that children’s libraries are being closed because of financial cutbacks, thus rendering books inaccessible to children from underprivileged families.”  He stressed that IBBY must continue to advocate that all children in all circumstances, have the right to read. 

He thanked all the organisers, in particular IBBY Mexico/A leer; saying that for all the participants it was an unforgettable experience and must be one of the highlights of their professional lives.

THE IBBY Executive Committee 2014-2016

The newly elected members of the IBBY Executive Committee for the term 2014-2016 include children’s literature experts from twelve different countries.

President of IBBY

Wally De Doncker (Belgium) is an author and a children’s literature specialist.  Several of his books have been translated and adapted for the theatre, as well as musicals, film animations and dance films.  He served as a member of the IBBY EC from 2008-2012, with the term 2010-2012 as Vice President.  He has been the IBBY liaison with the European Union Commission since 2012. 

President of the Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury

Patricia Aldana (Canada) founded the Canadian publishing house Groundwood Books and remained its publisher until 2012.   She was elected IBBY President in 2006 and served until 2010. During her time on the EC and as President she was instrumental in establishing the IBBY-Yamada Fund as well as the IBBY Children in Crisis programme.

Vice Presidents

Azucena Galindo (Mexico) is currently the managing director of IBBY Mexico/A leer. She combines on-going studies of children’s literature and reading promotion with her previous professional experience in order to expand the impact of IBBY Mexico's programmes and projects.   

Akoss Ofori-Mensah (Ghana) is the founder of the award-winning Sub-Saharan Publishing House based in Accra.  Akoss was the elected president of the Ghana Book Publishers’ Association from 2003-2005.

EC Members

Evelyn Freeman (USA) is a Special Assistant for International Projects at the Ohio State University at Mansfield College of Education and Human Ecology.  Evie served as co-editor of the Journal of Children’s Literature, and IBBY’s journal Bookbird.  

Ferelith Hordon (UK) worked as a professional children’s librarian for more than 40 years until her retirement from the public library in the London Borough of Wandsworth.  She is currently Editor of the UK on-line children’s book review magazine Books For Keeps.

Sunjidmaa Jamba (Mongolia) is founding member and the current Executive Director of IBBY Mongolia.  She has extensive experience in working within international organizations such as the World Bank.

Angela Lebedeva (Russia) is an expert in children’s libraries and specializes in children’s literature.  She was the Executive Director of IBBY Russia from 2002-2013. Angela also served on the Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury for the 2004 and 2006 awards.

Vagn Plenge (Denmark) established his own publishing house in 1976 called Hjulet, which specialises in books by authors and illustrators from what he calls the ‘warm countries’.  He was a member of the IBBY EC from 2002-2006 and was the organiser of the 2008 IBBY World Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.  He is the current President of IBBY Denmark.

Serpil Ural (Turkey) is a founding member of the current IBBY Turkey section. She is also a well-known writer in Turkey and was IBBY Turkey’s author candidate for the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Timotea Vrablova (Slovakia) has been a researcher at the Institute of Slovak Literature at the Slovak Academy of Sciences since 1991, working on the literary culture of the 17th and 18th centuries and children’s literature.  She has been the President of the Slovak IBBY section since 2010.

Mingzhou Zhang (China) is currently Vice President of the Chinese section of IBBY.  He served on the IBBY EC from 2008 to 2012 and acted as chair of the 2012 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award. He was the organizer of the 2006 IBBY World Congress in Macau, China.

Non-voting Members

Ellis Vance (USA) was re-confirmed as IBBY Treasurer.  Ellis, a former education consultant California has been treasurer for USBBY since 2000 and for IBBY since 2008.  He served as IBBY Vice President from 2006-2008.

Björn Sundmark (Sweden) was confirmed as the Bookbird Editor for the next four-year term.  Björn is an Associate Professor of English at the Faculty of Education, Malmö University, Sweden. 

The firm Fröhlicher Treuhand (Switzerland) was re-elected as IBBY Auditor.

Liz Page was reconfirmed as IBBY Executive Director and Luzmaria Stauffenegger as Administrative Assistant at the IBBY Secretariat in Basel, Switzerland. 

To find out more about IBBY and the new members of its Executive Committee, please visit



SLA School Librarian of the Year 2014

The SLA School Librarian of the Year Award is the School Library Association’s prestigious honour to recognize the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every day and highlights the best practice of those whose work is outstanding.

This year Liz Millett, Teaching Assistant/Library Co-ordinator at Weatherfield Academy, Dunstable, has been awarded the honour of the SLA School Librarian of the Year 2014 at a celebration at the Hotel Russell in London on 6 October. Award-winning author and artist

Chris Riddell  (Macmillan Children’s Books) presented her with the award. 

Weatherfield Academy ( is a special school for students aged 7 to 19 with Moderate Learning Difficulties and additional complex needs. There are 117 pupils in the school with 52% attracting Pupil Premium funding and entitled to free school meals and 32% in social care. Much of the curriculum is aimed at giving students lifelong skills. In 2009 a room was adapted for the library and Liz Millett took on the job of developing it. The pupils make good levels of progress, as judged by Ofsted in 2013.

Liz says “My aim is to increase their pleasure from reading whatever level they are at to make sure they are not frightened by books or put off them, so that they will come to see reading as something they will always have for themselves.”

To read more about Liz go to:

Ginette Doyle, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee said:

“What we found so inspiring about our winner was that the students she deals with were

confident and efficient library users. Liz Millett uses whatever means she can to ensure that

they have books that they can access, at their level, and the response that the students

gave us, their enthusiasm for the Library and for Liz herself, showed that she is doing an

outstanding job for Weatherfield Academy.”

SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2014


Wednesday, October 01, 2014



Monday 29th September 2014 … On the eve of publication of her brand new Peter Rabbit adventure, The Spectacular Tale of Peter Rabbit, published by Frederick Warne 2nd October 2014, Emma Thompson opens a stunning Peter Rabbit themed space for young people to curl up with a book. The magical Peter Rabbit children’s section was created and donated by the book’s publisher Frederick Warne, who worked with reading charity Booktrust to transform Gorton Library in east Manchester. Frederick Warne is also donating more than £1,000s worth of children’s books.
Promoting the positive impact a joy of reading can have on children’s lives, Oscar-winning actor and writer, Emma Thompson said, ‘For those of us lucky enough to have been read to as children, to have had access to books and libraries and to have had a love of reading engrained in us, we each have a spectacular tale we can refer to which inspired a lifelong love of books. Every child should have a spectacular tale in their life that can start them on their reading journey and get them off to a flying start in life.
Peter Rabbit certainly had a big impact on me as a child and I’m thrilled to be opening the Peter Rabbit library in Gorton today. I hope the local community will enjoy the space and the books and use it to transform lives.’
Editorial Director at Frederick Warne, Jo Hanks, said, ‘The transformative powers of reading are undeniable. We also know the role Beatrix Potter’s wonderful creation, Peter Rabbit, has played in inspiring a love of reading among millions of readers worldwide. That’s why we’ve created and donated this beautiful Peter Rabbit library and hope in doing so we can contribute to making books as exciting and as attractive a proposition to as many children in the Manchester region as possible.
We are delighted to have worked with reading charity, Booktrust, who not only change lives every day with their work, but have been invaluable in helping us to find Gorton Library as the deserving recipient of our donation.’
Viv Bird, CEO of Booktrust, adds, ‘Manchester has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country and the new Peter Rabbit library provides a wonderful opportunity to get more children and families interested in reading, which is priceless. Children must not miss out on the fun, joy, as well as life-changing benefits that reading can bring. Reading together strengthens family bonds and helps children do better at school, whatever the family background. We know that children who are read to every day will be almost 12 months ahead of their age group when they start school. Even reading to them two or three times a week gives them a six-month head-start.’
Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Rosa Battle, said, ‘We'd like to thank Frederick Warne and Booktrust for working with us to provide this wonderful new reading resource for families in east Manchester. Books help to give children the best possible start in life and the Peter Rabbit library will be an invaluable space for children and their parents to enjoy together.’
Following on from the success of The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit in 2012 (the first new Peter Rabbit title since Beatrix Potter’s final tale in 1930) and The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit in 2013, Emma Thompson triumphs once more with The Spectacular Tale of Peter Rabbit.
‘It was high summer and a travelling fun-fair had come to the village … Peter Rabbit and Benjamin were forbidden to attend…’
But even the best-behaved rabbit can’t resist a fun-fair – and Peter is far from being the best-behaved rabbit. With Benjamin at his side, Peter sneaks into the fair where a roller-coaster ride of an adventure begins…
Twitter: #Spectaculartale


The Bookseller is launching a dedicated Young Adult book prize for UK and Irish literature, it was announced today at its annual Children’s Conference for publishers, booksellers, librarians and authors.
Produced in association with story publishing site Movellas, the prize is the first in the UK and Ireland to specifically focus on fiction for young adults and addresses an important unmet need for a prize in the growing YA and teen market. Open to any young adult novel published in the UK or Ireland between 1st January and 31st December 2014, the prize will celebrate great books for teenagers and young adults and aims to get more teens reading and buying books.
Publisher and Chief Executive ofThe Bookseller Nigel Roby says, ‘I could not be more delighted that we are launching The YA Book Prize. From the very first meetings with publishers and retailers it has been crystal clear that the prize is much needed and that The Bookseller is ideally placed to deliver it…The Bookseller has one simple desire that underpins everything we do - we want more readers reading more books. The YA Book Prize gives us a wonderful opportunity to put that desire into practice’.
Children's Editor CharlotteEyre added,‘In July we wrote an article about the proliferation of children's book prizes across the UK. Several publishers we spoke to pointed out that despite the huge number of book prizes there was no high-profile, dedicated prize for UK and Irish YA literature. British and Irish YA books are either judged alongside children's books, or they are over shadowed by their US counterparts. We thought that here atThe Bookseller we could launch a prize to fill that gap’.
Movellas C.E.O. Joe Cohensaid, ‘We wanted to help launch the Teen Book Award because of our community's relationships with teen books. If we can help raise the profile of YA authors and their books - we're playing a small part in helping our community -- and all young people -- to engage with great writing’.
The judging panel, led by Eyre, comprises leading industry figures such as World Book Day director Kirsten Grant, Waterstones children’s buyer Melissa Cox, vlogger Rosianna Halse Rojas and freelance journalist Imogen Russell Williams.
Teen readers themselves will be involved in the judging process and five from across the UK and Ireland will be asked to vote for their top titles.
The adult judges will also pick their top three titles. Votes will be added up and the winner will be chosen out of the top three most popular books.
Submissions are now open and close on 31st October 2014. An internal panel will then choose the shortlist, which will be announced 1st December.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony on 19th March 2015.

Books that make children happiest: UK-wide poll launched to mark Chatterbooks Week (11-18 October)

Young readers: we want you to vote for the book that makes you happiest!
A UK-wide online poll has been launched ahead of the first-ever Chatterbooks Week (11-18 October 2014, which will celebrate all the fun to be had with reading via national charity The Reading Agency’s ever-growing network of Chatterbooks reading groups for children.
The results of the poll will be officially announced on Monday 13 October.
Young readers can vote now via the Summer Reading Challenge website, which gives children all-year-round access to a whole range of exciting reading-related activities (see ‘Notes to editors’).
Voters have ten choices to choose from, compiled from all the books they’ve been reading and reviewing during this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.
They are:
· Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
· The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
· The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
· Mr Gum and the Cherry Tree: Bk. 7 by Andy Stanton and David Tazzyman
· How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
· The Worst Thing About My Sister by Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt
· Horrid Henry's Dreadful Deeds by Francesca Simon and Tony Ross
· Gangsta Granny by David Walliams
· The Twits by Roald Dahl
As well as voting, young readers can comment on and review these books – and any others that make them happy – via the ‘Chat’ section of the Summer Reading Challenge website.
Launched in 2001, Chatterbooks is now the largest network of reading groups for children aged 4 – 12 years: over 10,000 young readers around the UK are now part of over 800 Chatterbooks groups. They are run in libraries, schools and other settings by librarians, teachers, teaching assistants, or anyone with a passion for reading. Bestselling children’s author Jacqueline Wilson is the official Chatterbooks patron.
At each Chatterbooks session children talk about what they are reading, take part in fun activities inspired by the best children's books, and choose new books to take home and read. Because the Chatterbooks network is supported by The Reading Agency’s publisher partners and many children's authors and illustrators, Chatterbooks groups get access to offers, competitions, opportunities to find out how authors are inspired to create their work, together with advice and support on running a group. Chatterbooks groups are an ideal way to build on the reading for pleasure momentum generated amongst children by the Summer Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

SLA School Librarian of the Year Award

Announcement of the Honour List


SLA School Librarian of the Year Award is the School Library Association’s

prestigious honour to recognize the excellent work that is carried out in school libraries every

day and highlights the best practice of those whose work is outstanding.

“Each year the exceptional standard of nominations we receive makes our job as judges more

and more difficult. Once again we received high quality nominations and visited a variety of

schools including a primary school, a special school, academies and independents. Our honour

list librarians this year are truly impressive, each of their schools is unique, and they tailor

their library service to their clients exactly, ensuring that they give the young people they

deal with the best that they can.”

— Ginette Doyle, Chair of the SLA School Librarian of the Year Selection Committee

SLA School Librarian of the Year Honour List 2014

Helen Cleave – Kingston Grammar School, Kingston Upon Thames

Kingston Grammar School is an independent co-educational selective school for pupils aged

11 to 18 with about 820 on the school roll. Helen Cleaves moved to the school two years ago

and has transformed the traditional school library into an active and integral part of the

school. To Helen Cleaves, the library can be all in the mind, or wherever you need it to be. “I

am inspired by the idea of the virtual library and how it can exist anywhere.”

Helen works full time but is currently on maternity leave after having her second child. She

says: “I was sad not to be in school when Kevin Brooks won the Carnegie – my maternity

leave started in May, but I really wanted to know what the kids thought of

The Bunker Diary.”

Liz Millet –Weatherfield Academy, Dunstable, Bedfordshire

Weatherfield Academy is a special school for students aged 7 to 19 with Moderate Learning

Difficulties and additional needs. There are 112 pupils in the school with 60% from deprived

SLA School Librarian of the Year Award 2014

backgrounds and 32% in social care. Much of the curriculum is aimed at giving students

lifelong skills. In 2009 a new room was found for the Library and Liz Millet took on the job of

creating it.

It is hard to pin point progress from year to year because of the pupils’ range of special

needs. Liz says: “My aim is to increase their pleasure from reading whatever level they are

at to make sure they are not frightened by books or put off them, so that they will come to

see reading as something they will always have for


Tracey Needham – Sacred Heart RC Primary School, Barrow–in-Furness

Tracey is a higher level teaching assistant with management responsibility for the library and

reading promotion, and for monitoring and evaluating reading throughout the school. The

Sacred Heart RC Primary School has 35 per cent of pupils receiving free school meals and

many do not have easy access to books at home.

In the two and a half years since the school library has had a designated space, Tracey’s

promotional work has resulted in an increase in loans of 75 per cent in the last school year,

2013-14, and 111 per cent in 2012-13. Last term (July 2014), OFSTED inspectors praised

“the well-stocked and exciting library” and the pupils’ enthusiasm for reading and quoted one

pupil who said, “

Reading a good book is like dreaming. It takes you into new and fantastic


.” Ofsted also noted that the emphasis on reading has helped pupils’ writing.

Three exceptional school librarians. Each committed to create book-loving schools and to

help make learning a fascinating and rewarding journey. All would be worthy winners of the

SLA School Librarian of the Year Award.

To read their profiles visit the SLA website at In alphabetical order, the first

will go live on 8 September.

Their work will be celebrated at a ceremony held on Monday 6 October 2014 at

Hotel Russell, London. Award winning author and artist Chris Riddell (Macmillan

Children’s Books), will announce the SLA School Librarian of the Year 2014. The

celebrations will also include the announcement of the winner of the School

Library Association Inspiration Award.

For more information about the SLA School Librarian of the Year contact:

Nicky Potter 0208 889 9735 or email

For more details about the School Library Association Inspiration Award contact:

Selina Dawkins 01992 454500 or email