Conference to champion public library services
Authors Philip Ardagh and Bali Rai will be joining the line up at the Speak Up For Libraries conference in London on Saturday 10 November 2012 to champion public library services and library staff. The day-long event will pull together library campaigners and supporters from across the UK and give them the opportunity to build on their existing campaigning skills and tactics, share ideas and strategies, and focus on a way forward to make their local campaign as effective as possible, with the goal of ensuring library services are supported, protected and preserved now and in the future. The day-long conference is on Saturday 10 November 2012 in central London. For full further details on the programme for the day and how to attend, visit www.speakupforlibraries.org/conference.asp“>www.speakupforlibraries.org/conference.asp
Seeing the World Differently: A celebration of reading and dyslexia
Thu 11 Oct 2012, 7:00pm, Free Word Centre, London
To celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Week, join award-winning author Sally Gardner, Times children’s book critic, Amanda Craig and Booktrust’s books and disability consultant, Alexandra Strick for a fascinating discussion around Sally’s latest novel Maggot Moon and how Hot Key Books are using new technology to open up conversations about dyslexia. This event will showcase the Maggot Moon Multi-touch iBook version, built using dyslexia friendly fonts and backgrounds, featuring video interviews with Sally and dyslexia examples aiming to show people what it’s like to see the world as a dyslexic and how this can better inform our understanding of dyslexia.
Further information: www.freewordonline.com/events/detail/seeing-the-world-differently”>http://freewordonline.com/events/detail/seeing-the-world-differently
Nina Bawden (1925-2012)
Julia Eccleshare writes…
Nina Bawden, who died last month aged 87, was best known for Carrie’s War, but she wrote over forty books all told. She was one of a number of distinguished children’s novelists who wrote equally successfully for adults and children. She made no distinction about the value of the two audiences or the importance she attached to them. On writing for both she said, ‘I consider my books for children as important as my adult work, and in some ways more challenging. The things I write about for adults, I write about for children, too: emotions, motives, the difficulties of being honest with oneself, the difficulties between what people say and what they really mean.’
The result was that all her stories, and her children’s books in particular, had an integrity which struck a chord with her readers. Writing for children, Nina skilfully balanced two things; she maintained a high regard for her readers’ ability to enjoy literary writing – she was a tremendous stylist herself – while also ensuring that the stories she told were readily accessible to her readers by being ‘real’.
Remembering the strength of her own childhood feelings, she thought it was important for children to know that what they felt wasn’t unusual. ‘Children often feel guilty and jealous.’ She once said. ‘Things that they may have done are things that frighten them greatly. I think I was a jealous, guilty child. I think a great many children are and they’re ashamed of these feelings which is why it’s quite sensible and interesting to write about them.’
Drawing on what she remembered from her own childhood, from her observations of then contemporary childhood as seen both as a parent and from her role as a magistrate, she wrote her first children’s book, The Secret Passage in 1963. Very much of its time in terms of the adventure it told, it was different from most because it featured a convincingly modern, not particularly happy family with children who went to the local school. Nina followed it with a couple of other titles before moving into a darker side of childhood in Squib, published in 1971.
For her next novel, Carrie’s War (1973), Nina wrote directly from her own experience of being evacuated. Like many others who lived through that separation from their families she later said that it marked a clear divide in her childhood with the result that she could remember it especially clearly. Carrie, like Nina herself, lived among strangers in a place that was very different from home. She is a wonderfully passionate child who observes and considers before taking action; sometimes she is right, sometimes she is wrong. How she imaginatively rides through the complex adjustments she has to make is touchingly told. Carrie, and even her more fragile brother Nick are not merely survivors, they are children who are changed and enriched by this unusual experience.
The longer version of this obituary can be found on the BfK website.
The 2012 Roald Dahl Funny Prize shortlists are:
The Funniest Book for Children Aged Six and Under:
The Baby that Roared by Simon Puttock, ill. Nadia Shireen (Nosy Crow)
My Big Shouting Day by Rebecca Patterson (Jonathan Cape)
Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton (Walker)
The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle (Templar)
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins)
The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp, ill. Sara Ogilvie (Simon & Schuster)
The Funniest Book for Children Aged Seven to Fourteen
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce, ill. Joe Berger (Macmillan)
Dark Lord: Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson, ill. Freya Hartas (Orchard)
The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey, ill. Garry Parsons (Andersen Press)
Gangsta Granny by David Walliams, ill. Tony Ross (HarperCollins)
Goblins by Philip Reeve, ill. Dave Semple (Marion Lloyd Books)
Socks are Not Enough by Mark Lowery (Scholastic)
The judges for the 2012 Funny Prize were poet Michael Rosen; comedian Mel Giedroyc; journalist Lucy Mangan; author, illustrator Liz Pichon; and illustrator and author Ed Vere.