Liverpool Reads Holes
Louis Sachar’s Holes was the book chosen by Liverpool city council and literacy consortium to be the focus of a city-wide reading initiative which took place in schools, libraries, community centres, prisons and day care centres. Publisher Bloomsbury provided hundreds of free copies and offered extra discounts to booksellers to stock the book.
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s groundbreaking fund to give greater access to libraries, books and reading to disadvantaged young people and other ‘at risk’ groups has awarded five new grants through The Reading and Libraries Challenge Fund. The total fund, now eighteen months into its existence, was increased from £2.6 million to £3.7 million in April 2004. The budget for 2004-5 is £1.3 million. Thirty-two grants have been allocated since the Reading and Libraries Challenge Fund was established in April 2003 with two new funding streams. Libraries Connect is for initiatives that are intended to effect lasting change in the way libraries work with communities which currently are not well served, i.e. refugees and asylum seekers, young people at risk. Free with Words aims to help young offender institutions and prisons provide easy access to books and reading material for inmates of all nationalities and reading levels and encourage reading for pleasure. Encouraging continuity of reading support from ‘inside’ to ‘outside’ via public libraries is another important aim. There are two funding rounds per year in September and February. For details on how to apply for funding contact: Ruby Ireland, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, 18 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AA, tel: 020 7227 3500, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Poor enjoyment of reading
Arts Council England, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) have announced the launch of a £120,000 national training initiative to raise awareness of children’s literature in primary and secondary schools. Through this initiative, due to begin in January 2005, professional librarians from Schools Library Services will deliver training to alert trainee teachers to the potential of libraries and the importance of enthusing children about books and writers.
Currently there is no statutory requirement for teacher training colleges to offer training in children’s literature, and only a handful of them do so. With reading resources in schools under increasing pressure (across the UK, spend on materials by Schools Library Services is just £1.90 per pupil – the lowest since the early 90s) international research shows that British teenagers are already low in the scale of ‘engaged’ readers. Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) reported results from ten-year-olds in 35 countries. It found that while pupils in England came third in the overall table of reading achievement, their enjoyment of reading was poor in relation to the other countries studied.
After receiving a Bookstart pack for his baby son, Chancellor Gordon Brown has promised longterm backing for the scheme which aims to promote reading at an early age. Bookstart coordinator, Booktrust, will be able to extend the scheme to provide book packs for children at nine months, 18 months and three years involving an extra 1.3 million children a year.
Ted Hughes Poetry Trail to be created in Devon
A new poetry trail featuring poems by Ted Hughes is to be created at Stover Country Park near Newton Abbot. The project put forward by Devon County Council has won the enthusiastic support of Carol Hughes, widow of the former Poet Laureate. Devon was home for Ted Hughes for much of his life and the themes of many of his poems reflect the county’s rich and diverse wildlife. Stover Country Park is run by the County Council as a local nature reserve and centre for environmental education. From summer next year, visitors to Stover will be able to walk through its woodland and lakeside and pause to read 15 of Ted Hughes’ poems installed at points along the trail. Six of his children’s poems will also be featured.
Dahl on Line
The Roald Dahl Museum and Storytelling Centre has launched an official educational website containing a description of every item in the author’s archive: www.roalddahlmuseum.org
New Book Trust Website
Bookmark.org.uk aims to provide a first stop for anyone interested in books and disability issues. The resource features a searchable database of organisations that offer specific advice, services and support, as well as information relating to a range of conditions and impairments that may affect a child’s reading. The site also offers a range of book reviews, including a selection written by young people.
Congratulations to Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo, who is to be made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the Cultural Counsellor of the French Embassy.
Rona Selby has been appointed Editorial Director at Andersen Press. She was formerly head of children’s publishing at BBC Worldwide. Janice Thomson will continue to work for Andersen as a freelance editor.
Julia Eccleshare has joined the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education as co-director.
The Institut Français Youth Festival
This event brings children, from 3 to 18, together with their favourite writers and promotes meetings between French and English authors. It runs from Thursday 18 to Saturday 20 November. Participants include Quentin Blake, Michael Morpurgo, Lauren Child, Michael Rosen, Christopher Corr, Chris Riddell, Martin Jenkins, Hervé Tullet, Serge Bloch, Beatrice Alemagna, Fred Bernard, François Roca, Elisem, Claude Helft and Nathalie Novi. Further information from Anouck Avisse, French Embassy Cultural Department, 23 Cromwell Road, London SW7 2EL, tel: 020 7073 1345, email: email@example.com
Turning Point: A national conference on the State of Young Adult Fiction
Saturday, 27 November 2004 at Nottingham Trent University. Speakers include Melvin Burgess, David Belbin, Anne Cassidy, Keith Gray, Julia Eccleshare, David Fickling, Nicola Morgan and Bali Rai. Topics include: What is Young Adult Fiction?, Issues, Reviewing, Censorship, The Future.
Tickets (including lunch): £35 plus £6.12 VAT (£25 + £4.37 for students in full-time education). Register and pay by email: Simon.Dawes@ntu.ac.uk or by post: Simon Dawes, School of Arts, Communication and Culture, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham NG11 8NS. Further information can be found at http://human.ntu.ac.uk/writing
2004 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature
This year’s winners are:
Picture Book: The Man Who Walked between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein (Roaring Brook)
Fiction and Poetry: The Fire-Eaters by David Almond (Delacorte/Hodder)
Nonfiction: An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy (Clarion).
Garth Nix’s Abhorsen was the Winner of the Fantasy Category and Joint Winner of the Young Adult category and Mister Monday was voted Winner of the Children’s (8-12) category. Both titles are published by Collins.
2004 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
Established by the Swedish government, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is awarded annually for authorship, illustration and the promotion of reading in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren. The aim of the award is to uphold and increase interest in literature for children and young people around the world, and to promote children’s rights on a global level. The award is administered by the Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs. Brazilian writer, Lygia Bojunga, is the 2004 winner. She will use the prize money ‘to create a Foundation for the development of cultural projects related to books, aimed principally at disadvantaged children and young people’.
Best Book for Babies Award
Amazing Baby: I Love You! from the ‘Amazing Baby’ series created by Mike Jolley and David Ellwand (Templar Publishing, £8.99) has won the Booktrust Best Book for Babies Award.
Audio Dynamite: Spoken Word Award winners
The ‘Children, six and under – contemporary’ award was won by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Smartest Giant in Town (Macmillan); the ‘Children, six and over – contemporary’ award was won by J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (BBC/Cover to Cover); the ‘Children’s Fiction’ award was won by Philip Pullman’s The Tiger in the Well (BBC/Cover to Cover).
Portsmouth Book Award
1,265 pupil judges decided the winner in three categories following extensive reading and debating. The Longer Novel category was won by Anthony Horowitz’s Eagle Strike (Walker), the Shorter Novel category by Michael Morpurgo’s Cool! (HarperCollins) and the Picture Book category by Ruth Galloway’s Smiley Shark (Little Tiger). The Award is administered by the City Library Service, which works closely with school staff.
Southampton Favourite Book to Share Award 2004
The winner of the Southampton Favourite Book to Share Award 2004 is Traffic Jamboree by Sue Nicholson, illustrated by Christyan Fox (Campbell Books). The Award, which is in its second year, promotes the idea of sharing books with pre-school children and is supported by Southampton Library Service and Southampton’s Family Learning Coordinator. The winner is decided by the votes of Southampton’s parents, carers and children. This year over 2,000 votes were received for a shortlist of six books. The other books in the shortlist were: Cheryl Willis Hudson’s Hands Can (Candlewick Press); John Butler’s Can You Cuddle Like a Koala? (Orchard); David Wojtowycz’s Scoop the Digger (Orchard); Vivian French’s Lullaby Lion (Walker Books) and Paulette Bogan’s Goodnight Lulu (Bloomsbury).
Produced by Tower Hamlets Libraries for Black History Month 2004, Roots Reading is an annotated book-list of titles which reflect aspects of the Black experience in history, combining classics and old favourites with other more recent and intriguing choices. The aim is to introduce readers to the depth of this rich field of literature, and to encourage and guide them to discover new authors and books. As well as titles for children and teenagers, arranged by age group, it also includes a selection of adult titles designed to tempt older students to dip further into black history and literature. Single copies may be obtained from the Children’s Library Service, tel: 020 7247 9510, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Re. Alex Hamilton’s All Time Greats Bestsellers Chart (BfK No. 147). Surely there are some omissions here. Haven’t Rosie’s Walk (Pat Hutchins), Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak) and The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame) sold as many as your lowest total (459,975)?
13 Frenshaw Way, Pewsey, Wilts SN9 5HA
Paula Danziger died on the afternoon of 8 July 2004 at St Luke’s Hospital in New York City after complications from a heart attack at age 59. Danziger is best known as the author of The Amber Brown series and for her novel The Cat Ate My Gymsuit – one of the excuses that overweight Marcy gives the gym teacher in order to miss class. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this Autumn, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit was both fresh and funny and it quickly established Danziger as one of America’s most popular authors of light fiction for young adults. In the 1990s Danziger had a regular segment on the BBC’s children’s TV show ‘Alive and Kicking’ for six years.
Anthony Buckeridge OBE
The author of more than 20 books about the schoolboy hero Jennings and his friend Darbishire at boarding school has died aged 92. Agelessly about ten, Jennings’s adventures began to appear in the 1950s. The books were translated into 12 languages and sold more than six million copies worldwide. Reminiscent of Richmal Crompton’s William, Jennings’ novels were similarly full of farcical situations, stock characters and schoolboy humour. Their comic appeal proved less durable than that of William, but with the interest generated in boarding school stories by Harry Potter, they enjoyed a revival in the 1990s.
Jessica Yates writes…
Antonia Forest, the pen-name for Patricia Rubinstein, intended to write for adults but was overtaken by her increasing interest in the Marlow family she created for her first children’s book, Autumn Term (1948). In all she wrote ten books about the Marlows (a family of parents, two brothers and six sisters), two about their ancestor Nicholas Marlow, who acted with Shakespeare, and a ‘one-off’, The Thursday Kidnapping.
Living in Bournemouth, she set the Marlow books in the Dorset-Purbeck area, fascinating and frustrating her fans who tried to locate her imaginary towns and other landmarks on the real map of Dorset. Many of the places are real, but the distances between them may not be. For experienced readers, the saga is full of literary allusions. Most readers identify with Nicola, bookish yet active, who often crosses swords with her boarding-school teachers, traditionalists who seem to oppose the girls’ bright ideas and impose harsh penalties just for the sake of it, to develop their characters. The books both celebrate and subvert the Marlows’ rather upper-class, conservative values, have a cult following and of course a website (google ‘Antonia Forest’ to find it, as also details of the reprint programme). A memorial conference is planned for next July 2005 in Oxford.