Thursday, June 26, 2014

Historic Kate Greenaway Medal win for Jon Klassen’s This is Not My Hat

Jon Klassen wins Walker Books’ 10th Kate Greenaway Medal for This is Not My Hat, and becomes the only book to win both the Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott Awards.

Walker Books are delighted to announce that Jon Klassen has won the 2014 Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration for his beautiful picture book This is Not My Hat. The Greenaway Medal would always be an incredible achievement for any artist or publishing house, but for Walker Books this marks their TENTH Greenaway Medal, a feat unmatched by any other publisher, positioning Walker as the home of the very best in illustrative publishing. (See editors notes for the full list of Walker Books’ Greenaway winners)

Adding to this unique honour, Jon Klassen’s This is Not My Hat will also go into the history books as the first ever title to win both the UK’s highest illustration honour with the Kate Greenaway Medal, but also win the USA’s highest prize for illustration, the Randolph Caldecott Medal, which was awarded in 2013. Karen Lotz, Group Managing Director of the Walker Books Group said of the win; “Jon Klassen’s cunning hat thief stole our hearts at Walker long ago, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that he has now stolen the hearts of the 2014 Greenaway committee in this historic win. We are particularly proud to be the global publisher of the first creator to win both the Randolph Caldecott Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal for the same book. What on earth will the extraordinarily talented Mr. Klassen do next? Watch this space!”

On winning the CILIP Kate Greenaway, Jon Klassen said: "Winning this award is hugely encouraging. Making a book, you're kind of going out on a limb in the belief that what you think of as a satisfying story is the same as what other people think of as a satisfying story. This doesn't mean everything in the story turns out alright for everybody, but you, as a storyteller, try and make sure it ends the way the story should end. Any audience, children included, take reassurance from that. Storytelling is an act of community, of looking at one another afterward and agreeing that we enjoyed it, or not, whether the story itself portrays happiness or doom. The hope is found when we agree we liked it, and I'm so glad you liked this one." Commenting on today’s historic announcement, Deirdre McDermott, Walker Books Picture Book Publisher said: “We are all thrilled that Jon is the winner of this year’s Greenaway Medal – that tiny, hopeful fish with his teeny blue bowler hat has captured the imagination of so many children here in the UK and Ireland. It feels extra special for us that Walker Books' 10th Greenaway Medal should be won by This Is Not My Hat – stylish, witty picture book making at its very boldest.”


Jon Klassen is the creator of the Greenaway and Caldecott Medal winning picture book This Is Not My Hat, a New York Times bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year. He is also the creator of the #1 New York Times bestseller I Want My Hat Back, which was named a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year, and a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year. Jon Klassen is the illustrator of Extra Yarn and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, coming from Walker Books in October 2014, and House Held Up By Trees by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser, which was also named a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year (also published by Walker Books), as well as Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson, which won the Governor General's Award and The Dark by Lemony Snicket. Jon Klassen has also worked as an illustrator for feature animated films, music videos, and editorial pieces. Originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jon now lives in Los Angeles.

ABOUT WALKER BOOKS UK Walker is the world's leading employee-owned, independent publisher of children's books. Working with the best authors and illustrators, Walker Books is renowned for its truly original publishing and outstanding quality. Home to books for all ages, Walker Books publishes many award-winning authors, illustrators and brands including Anthony Horowitz, Cassandra Clare, Lucy Cousins, Anthony Browne, Polly Dunbar, Patrick Ness and Where’s Wally? Walker's licensing division manages licensing activity across several Walker brands including Maisy and all other Lucy Cousins properties, Guess How Much I Love You and new property Tilly and Friends. Walker Productions develops Walker content for other media platforms, with current projects including Hank Zipzer and Tilly and Friends for BBC and Fleabag Monkeyface for ITV. Walker Books UK is part of the vibrant, international Walker Books Group that includes Candlewick Press in America and Walker Books Australia. Further information can be found at

PREVIOUS KATE GREENAWAY MEDAL WINS FOR WALKER BOOKS 2014 Jon Klassen, This is Not My Hat 2012 Jim Kay, A Monster Calls 2004 Chris Riddell, Jonathan Swift's “Gulliver” 2002 Bob Graham, Jethro Byrde- Fairy Child 2001 Chris Riddell, Pirate Diary 1999 Helen Oxenbury, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 1997 P J Lynch, When Jessie Came Across the Sea 1995 P J Lynch, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey 1988 Barbara Firth, Can't You Sleep Little Bear? 1985 Juan Wijngaard, Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady

ABOUT THE KATE GREENAWAY MEDAL The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. Named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her beautiful children's illustrations and designs, the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.


News for release: Wednesday 25th June 2014: Libraries are getting ready to introduce children to an epic adventure that will keep them reading throughout the school summer holidays with Mythical Maze, the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge run by independent charity The Reading Agency.
Now in its 16th year, the Summer Reading Challenge in libraries is the UK’s largest reading for pleasure programme for primary school aged children. Last year a record 810,000 children took up the challenge to read six books or more at their local library last summer; it runs in 98% of local authorities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Pass it on!
This year thousands of children will be inspired to share their love of reading by recommending or ‘Passing On’ a book to friends, family and carers, in turn making one of the books they read this summer one that has been recommended to them. The campaign has come out of The Reading Agency’s consultation with young people and is intended to inspire children to share their reading choices, ignite playground conversations and build confidence in swapping recommendations as they undertake the Summer Reading Challenge.
A host of hugely popular children’s authors including Eoin Colfer, Cathy Cassidy, Cressida Cowell, Liz Pichon, Rick Riordon, Sarah McIntyre, Michael Rosen, Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo are lending their support to ‘Pass it On’ by recording video messages and recommending their favourite children’s books on social media in this major drive to get children sharing and celebrating reading.
Kicking off ‘Pass it On’, Cathy Cassidy, Queen of Teens short-listed author, recommends Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: “Stargirl is one of my favourite books ever… it’s all about hope and happiness and love and trust and being different. It's almost perfect, and I love it.”
While Jacqueline Wilson recommends: “The book I’d like to pass on is Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell which is a delightfully stylish, original book that is a real page turner.”
Children can also go on the website to create a profile, chat about books, and get help on what to read next, via the digital Book Sorter which already offers over 300,000 peer to peer children’s book recommendations in child-friendly categories.
Each year the Summer Reading Challenge uses a new theme to inject fun and creativity into reading. The 2014 challenge, Mythical Maze, is illustrated by award winning Sarah McIntyre. Children sign up at their local library, receive a mythical maze poster, then find their way around a labyrinth of fantastical creatures from the world of legend and mythology, reading books and collecting stickers along the way. It’s a highlight of the holidays for thousands of children and families.
The Summer Reading Challenge gets underway on 12 July (local variation applies). It’s entirely inclusive and all materials are absolutely free. There are also super-size materials for visually impaired children, supported by the RNIB, and audio books can also count.
The Reading Agency is also working with SOLUS UK Ltd to add some “digital magic” to the 2014 Challenge - for the first time, librarians and families will be able to download a free mobile App onto their devices which will recognize key Mythical Maze illustrations and trigger audio visual content including videos, games and messages from the mythical creatures.
Reading for pleasure has been shown to be pivotal to life chances. Research shows the Summer Reading Challenge increases children’s their enjoyment of reading. It builds confidence and independent reading, helping prevent the summer reading dip children’s literacy levels during the long break from school. Teachers often comment that children who take part return to school after the break as more fluent, confident readers.
Sue Wilkinson, Chief Executive, The Reading Agency says: “It is wonderful to be launching the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge. This fantastic programme which is developed and delivered in partnership with librarians across the UK is designed to inspire children to keep reading during the long summer break. We know from our own research just how much fun families and children get out of taking part in the Challenge; this year we think it is going to be more exciting than ever. Fantastical creatures from myths and legends have been designed by Sarah McIntyre to accompany everyone on their reading journey and SOLUS has sponsored an app to bring these creatures to life in the library. What we hope is that everyone who takes part this summer really will find out that everything changes when we read.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Patrick Ness Webcast

Free Patrick Ness Webcast Promises More Than Most
Patrick Ness, an author described as ‘the greatest young adult fiction writer of his generation’, will be beamed into classrooms across the UK on 12 June as part of a free webcast for Scottish Book Trust’s Authors Live programme.

Young adult fiction fans who watch the event will be plunged into Ness’ darkly complex world, as he discusses the inspiration behind his new and brilliantly imagined YA novel, More Than This.

The webcast, organised by Scottish Book Trust and BBC Scotland Learning and part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, is suitable for children aged 12-16 and will be streamed live from the BBC Scotland Learning website on Thursday 12 June at 1.30pm. It can also be watched after 12 June on the Scottish Book Trust website.

An award-winning novelist who has won the Carnegie Medal twice, Ness is best known for the Chaos Walking trilogy, which comprises The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men. The trilogy has won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Costa Children’s Book of the Year Prize, and the Booktrust Teenage Prize. His sixth book, A Monster Calls, received high critical acclaim and was the winner of the Children’s Book of the Year Award at the Galaxy National Book Awards, the Red House Children’s Book Award and the UKLA Children’s Book Prize. Patrick has also written for adults.
Commenting on the upcoming event, Patrick said:“Talking to young writers is pretty much the best part of the job for a YA author. I'm really honoured to be asked to be part of Authors Live and have the chance to talk to thousands of young people around the UK. But then, Scottish Book Trust is so amazing, I'd pretty much do anything they asked. Except dress up as an animal."
Jasmine Fassl, Head of Schools at Scottish Book Trust, said:
“I would simply say that if you love stories, then you should tune into this event. Patrick’s mastery of storytelling combined with an imagination that knows no bounds have positioned him as one of the most inspiring and passionate authors of his generation, and I can’t wait to welcome him to the Authors Live stage.”
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.

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, David Walliams, Charlie Higson and Francesca Simon and many more.

Photographs from the event will be available on 12th June 2014 on request from

Read it Again

The winner of the 9th "Read it Again!" Cambridgeshire Children's Picture
Book Award is "Weasels" by Elys Dolan

"Read it Again!" is an award for a debut picture book where the words and
pictures are the work of one person.

Over 10,000 children from 65 Cambridgeshire schools, read, discussed and
then voted for their favourite book from a shortlist of 8 excellent titles ,
all published in 2013.

Elys received the award at a special presentation ceremony at The Bellbird
School in Sawston attended by over 200 local children. She was presented
with the award by last year's winner, Jenni Desmond.

Richard Young

Children's Services Manager, Cambridgeshire Libraries


The British Council and Arts Council England have a big UK/Brazil four year partnership underway called Transform. The context for this is the Brazilian Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Legacy programme which is developing content around reading.

I recently spent two nights in Sao Paulo speaking to teachers and librarians about the work we do and learning about the strategies they are developing to help get people, particularly young people, reading more. It was interesting to hear that they too identify the need to involve young people in shaping and delivering programmes; they spoke a lot about how they use music and concerts as starting points for drawing people into reading.

The teachers and librarians I spoke with were very interested in the Summer Reading Challenge which starts running as TescoBank Summer Reading Challenge in Scotland this month. The fabulous Mythical Maze theme is about to launch on the children's Summer Reading Challenge website. New for this year is the augmented reality activity generously supported by SOLUS which we hope will encourage children to keep reading.

Through our partnership with the British Council countries around the world take part in the Summer Reading Challenge, such as Thailand and India. Next year we're hoping, given how powerful the programme is in keeping children reading during the summer break, to add Brazil to the list.

Sue Wilkinson, MBE
Chief Executive, The Reading Agency

Our work with children

Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge The TescoBank Summer Reading Challenge launches in Scotland this month the Summer Reading Challenge will be available in libraries across the UK from mid July. Watch our brand new Mythical Maze trailer to see what treats are in store this year.

Congratulations to ten year-old Laura from Oxfordshire - winner of our spring Finish the Comic competition. See her ending to the comic started by The Phoenix comic illustrators.

Read about David Baldacci who is this month’s featured author on the Summer Reading Challenge website.


Our Chatterbooks children’s reading groups are working with the charity ShelterBox again to find great young artists to have their work published in a book called The Day the Wind Blew. Find out how to take part.

Our Chatterbooks groups have also been shadowing the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards.

The new Chatterbooks activity pack to use with children’s reading groups has just been published. Download Furry Friends now.

To get a taster of the kinds of events we run in partnership with publishers read about a Geek Night we recently hosted with Bloomsbury Children’s Books at Deptford Lounge.