Friday, March 02, 2018

The Children's Book Award Top 10 - FCBG

Top Ten Shortlist 2018 - Vote for your favourites!

Vote for your favourites and get involved in the only national children's book award voted for entirely by children. Your vote matters! You can vote online at

Voting closes online at 12.00 Friday 18th May 2018

Books for Younger Children
Edgar and the Sausage Inspector, written and illustrated by Jan Fearnley, published by Nosy Crow ISBN 978-0857638229
Mrs Mole, I’m Home!, written and illustrated by Jarvis, published by Walker ISBN 978-1-4063-6727-0
The Secret of Black Rock, written and illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton, published by Flying Eye Books ISBN 978-1-911171-25-6
I Dare You, written and illustrated by Reece Wykes, published by Andersen Press ISBN 978-1-78344-537-0
Books for Younger ReadersThe Goldfish Boy, written by Lisa Thompson, published by Scholastic ISBN 978-1407170992
The Explorer, written by Katherine Rundell, published by Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1408882191
The Island at the End of Everything, written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, published by Chicken House ISBN 978-1910002766
Books for Older ReadersI Have No Secrets, written by Penny Joelson, published by Electric Monkey (Egmont) ISBN 978-1405286152
Optimists Die First, written by Susin Nielsen, published by Andersen Press ISBN 978-0553496932
Ink, written by Alice Broadway, published by Scholastic  ISBN 978-1407172842

The winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Saturday 9th June.

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On 19 March a selection of 'Model Schools' in the UK are inviting headteachers and literacy leads to attend an open day to see the Read Write Inc. education programme in practice. Attendees can find out how the programme, published by Oxford University Press, can improve literacy and help to decrease the 'word gap' between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers.  

The open day will take place on Monday 19 March in Caerphilly, Cornwall, Derby, Norfolk, Romford, Wokingham, Birmingham and East Sussex at 'Model School's for Read Write Inc., and will be open to all headteachers and literacy leads in the local area. At the open day visitors can expect to find out how the Read Write Inc. programme is implemented in their schools and see the benefits of the programme and it is improving literacy. During the day, visitors will be able to observe lessons, meet other schools in the area, get advice on how to implement the programme and see the positive impact on behaviour across the school. 

One of the highlight factors of Read Write Inc. schools is that they are talk-a-lot schools where speaking and listening skills are developed through partner work. By developing children’s vocabulary, Read Write Inc. helps to address problems associated with the ‘word gap’, recently highlighted by the government’s Department for Education single departmental planThe ‘word gap’ has been identified in children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who by the age of 3 are on average almost a full year and a half behind their more affluent peers in language development. In the report the DoE make recommendations on how to eliminate the 'word gap' through education in order to improve social mobility and equality of opportunity, the Read Write Inc. programme is in line with this.
 “Our Model Schools demonstrate an inspirational passion and excitement for teaching. Their attention to detail and focus on continuous professional development 
marks them out and is the key to their success in getting every child to read by 6. No child should get left behind and with the right teaching and assessments we can ensure
every child is understood and the gaps in their knowledge identified and addressed.”

Ruth Miskin, Creator of Read Write Inc.

For more information on which schools are taking part and to book a place at one of the schools teachers can visit this webpage:

Or for booking enquiries please email  


SEVEN Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books has launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring books and stories to life for North East children with additional needs. The Life-changing Stories campaign goes live on Crowdfunder UK from 26th February 2018.
The museum and gallery, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, is seeking support to raise £7000 to fund a range of fully accessible events and experiences that will allow children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities to step into their favourite stories in an inclusive and sensory environment.
Kate Edwards, chief executive of Seven Stories said, “Our ambition is for Seven Stories to be a hub for parents and carers of children with disabilities to socialise, play and learn more about how to enrich their children’s lives through the wonderful world of children’s books.
“All of the money raised will go towards making our activities more accessible to children with additional needs and their families by providing sensory resources that will bring our exhibitions, events and stories to life in a whole new way.
 “All children deserve the chance to enjoy books and stories, however they experience the world. We already work with parents, carers and schools across the UK to inspire children and families to choose, enjoy and share books together and this is a chance to bring this offer to even more young people.”
Award-winning author and illustrator Nick Sharratt (Tracy Beaker, Shark in the Park, You Choose) recently donated his archive to Seven Stories and added his voice to the campaign. Nick said, “I love coming to Seven Stories and this campaign will open up the magic and power of children’s books to even more families, in a completely new way. I am always amazed at the creativity and dedication that goes into making Seven Stories an inclusive and immersive experience for every child and I urge everyone who has ever been transported by the power of stories to get behind this campaign. I am extremely excited to see all of the fantastic offers that it will help deliver.”
As well as providing additional sensory experiences and BSL / Makaton interpretation for performances and story times, the money raised will also allow the team to increase opportunities for children with additional needs and their families to experience Seven Stories in a calmer, quieter environment.
Beth Coverdale, learning and participation co-ordinator and access champion said, “Hustle and bustle can be overwhelming and we want to offer high-quality sensory performances tailored for children with additional access needs.  Our relaxed story times and performances will have all the magic of a Seven Stories event and will provide a supportive but informal atmosphere for everyone that needs it. These sensory performances have a slightly smaller audience capacity than other showings, to help contribute to a calmer environment for children experiencing stress or anxiety.”
Seven Stories is one of the leading inclusive cultural venues in the region and was awarded the Inclusive Tourism Award at the annual North East England Tourism Awards in 2017.
The ceremony, held on Thursday 16th November, celebrated the very best of the North East’s prestigious tourism businesses, recognising excellence in a variety of categories and credited Seven Stories for their ongoing partnership with St Oswald’s Hospice to create accessible experiences for children with life limiting illness and their families. This project kick-started the cross organisational initiative to make Seven Stories as accessible and inclusive as possible to all public visitors, including an extensive building refurbishment in 2015.
Money raised through the campaign will be eligible for match funding though the Newcastle Culture Investment Fund, in partnership with Newcastle City Council and the Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland if they successfully reach their target.
To pledge your support to children and families across the North East visit  today and join the conversation online by using #lifechangingstories.

Henrietta Branford Writing Competition

Call for entries: 2018 Henrietta Branford Writing Competition
For young people who enjoy writing stories!

Finish a story started by 2017 Branford Boase Award winner, Beetle Boy author M. G. Leonard

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition, the annual competition for young people which runs in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, is now open.

The Branford Boase Award recognises a debut children’s author and their editor and was set up in memory of the outstanding children’s writer Henrietta Branford and the gifted editor, Wendy Boase, Editorial Director of Walker Books. They both died of cancer in 1999. 

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition aims to find and encourage writers of the future, something Henrietta Branford was always keen to do.

The 2018 competition is open now and anyone under the age of 19 can enter. Entrants are invited to complete this story begun by last year’s winner, author of Beetle Boy, M. G. Leonard:

‘The map had led us to an old wall covered with ivy. I reached through the leaves till I was touching the bricks and felt my way sideways. The wall continued three paces then changed from the rough touch of fired sand to the smooth damp texture of rotting wood. We pulled the evergreen curtain aside. Beneath it was a hidden door. I grabbed the heavy iron ring handle that was riveted to the ancient wood and twisted it with both hands, hoping the door would open.’

The story should be no longer than 1000 words, must follow on from the starter paragraph, and have a title. All entrants must live in the UK and be under 19 years of age. Entries will be judged by Prue Goodwinconsultant and lecturer in children’s literature. She says: ‘We are looking for stories that keep the reader wanting to know what is going to happen from beginning to end, are imaginative and unpredictable, and are written with a genuine reader in mind’.
Six winners will be invited to attend the Branford Boase Award celebration party in London in July. There they will meet M. G. Leonard and the authors shortlisted for the 2018 award as well as editors, publishers, agents, and other professionals in this field. They will receive a copy of each of the books shortlisted for theBranford Boase Award and be able to have their books signed.

The closing date for the competition is Saturday 21 April 2018.

Full details are available on the website:

For further information please contact Andrea Reece on
07807893369 or

The annual Branford Boase Award celebrates the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards written by a first-time novelist and also highlights the importance of the editor in the development of new authors. The shortlisted authors may have published other books in another genre – for example, poetry or a picture book – but eligibility for the prize requires that this is their first children’s novel. As well as encouraging publishers to find and promote new writers, the Award sets out to alert readers of all ages to the work of interesting newcomers.

The Branford Boase Award was set up in memory of the outstanding and prize-winning author Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase, editorial director and one of the founders of Walker Books. They worked together on a number of Henrietta’s novels, a partnership they greatly enjoyed. Both Henrietta and Wendy died of cancer in 1999.

Running alongside the Branford Boase Award, the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition encourages writing talent in under 19s.

The Award is the joint idea of Julia Eccleshare and Anne Marley. Julia is the director of the children’s programme at the Hay Festival and a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Front Row and Open Book programmes. Anne is co-founder of Authors Aloud UK and was Head of Children’s, Youth & Schools Services for Hampshire Library & Information Service for many years. She has served on many children’s book award panels, including the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards.

For more information about the award and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition .

Or contact Andrea Reece on 07807893369 or

Images are also available on



Scottish Book Trust is pleased to announce the books chosen for the 2018/19 Bookbug Bags that are distributed free to every baby, toddler and 3-year-old in Scotland.

Every year, Bookbug, the Scottish Government funded initiative, gifts over 800,000 books to families across Scotland. Bookbug bags help children to develop a love of books and promote the health and developmental benefits of sharing stories, songs and rhymes. The new bags will include books by some of the UK’s favourite authors and illustrators including Lucy Cousins, Nick Sharratt and Polly Dunbar.

Among other things this year’s bags also include Song & Rhyme Library postcards highlighting Bookbug’s new Song & Rhyme Library, with beautiful artwork from Nick Sharratt, Ross Collins and Catherine Rayner.

Bookbug also gifts 
Gaelic language editions of the selected titles and tactile books to support children with additional needs. These can be requested from your local Bookbug Co-ordinator or Bòrd na Gàidhlig Early Years Worker. Three-year-old children in Gaelic Medium Education will receive their Gaelic Bookbug Explorer Bag from their nursery.

The Bookbug programme is managed by Scottish Book Trust and run in partnership with libraries, local authorities, health professionals and nurseries.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:
“We are excited to once again be gifting books to every child across Scotland through Bookbug bags. The books selected have been chosen carefully by our Early Year experts, and we are sure families across the country will delight in sharing these stories. Bookbug bags are an excellent way to start a story time routine, and accompanied with our new song and rhyme library, will help to develop children’s language skills.”

Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years, said:
“Sharing books and stories is a fun and easy way for parents to help their children develop their reading and listening skills. And snuggling up together to read a book helps create strong bonds and makes children feel loved and secure. When my own children were little reading together was a genuine pleasure and as they have grown we have continued to share and discuss books together to carry on that love of reading.

“It is extremely important to introduce children to books as early as possible – that is why we provide over £1.6 million each year to Scottish Book Trust, to deliver the Bookbug initiative to every child in Scotland.”

The books to be distributed free in Bookbug bags to every baby, toddler and three-year-old in Scotland in the coming year are as follows:

Bookbug Baby Bag

·         Peekaboo! in the Jungle by Cocoretto (Child’s Play)
·         Baby’s Very First Black and White Book: Faces by Stella Baggott (Usborne)
·         If You’re Happy and You Know It… by Annie Kubler (Child’s Play)
Bookbug Toddler Bag

·         How to Bath Your Little Dinosaur by Jane Clarke & Georgie Birkett (Penguin Random House)
·         Maisy's Bus by Lucy Cousins (Walker Books)
·         Flip and Find Farmers by Samantha Meredith (Campbell / Macmillan)
Bookbug Explorer Bag

·         You Choose by Pippa Goodhart & Nick Sharratt (Penguin Random House)
·         Penguin by Polly Dunbar (Walker Books)
·         Is That an Elephant in My Fridge? by Caroline Crowe & Claudia Ranucci (Scholastic)

Bookbug Book Bags

Bookbug is Scotland’s national book gifting programme, gifting books to every baby, toddler, 3 and 5-year-old in Scotland in four free Bookbug bags:
·         Baby Bag (gifted by a health visitor to every baby)
·         Toddler Bag (gifted by a health visitor to every toddler)
·         Explorer Bag (gifted at nursery to every 3-year-old)
·         Primary 1 Family Bag (gifted at school to every P1 pupil, announced at a later date)

The Bookbug programme is managed by Scottish Book Trust and run in partnership with libraries, health professionals and nurseries. The programme benefits from sponsorship from children’s publishers and central funding from the Scottish Government through a Strategic Funding Partnership Grant, with support from Local Authorities, Library Services and Health Boards through the provision of local staff time and logistics solutions.

Bookbug Sessions are run by local libraries or community groups. There are 23,000 Bookbug sessions happen across Scotland every year. These are free, fun-filled story and rhyme sessions for babies to four-year-olds, attended by thousands of parents and children a year. Details of local Bookbug Sessions can be found here.

Bookbug’s targeted outreach programme, Bookbug for the Home, trains Early Years practitioners to give support to families on a one-to-one basis. Since 2012, Bookbug for the Home has helped over 14,000 families, encouraging parents to do more talking, book sharing and singing with their children.

Scottish Book Trust also supports the delivery of Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Scotland (free books delivered monthly to every Looked After Child aged 0-5).

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.