COUNTDOWN TO THE NATIONAL YEAR OF READING
School Standards Minister Stephen Byers has announced the launch of the National Year of Reading website which can be found at www.yearofreading.org.uk
Byers also announced the allocation of £400,000 for 28 National Year of Reading projects across the country. Details from The National Year of Reading, National Literacy Trust, Swire House, 59 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AJ.
The Arts Council of England has launched a country-wide Writers in Schools initiative to which Local Education Authorities can apply and a scheme to enable development of reading promotion initiatives in conjunction with the National Year of Reading. The schemes which will share funding of £200,000 will be run by the Arts Council. For details and an application form, send an A4 self-addressed envelope to Christine Paris, Literature Department, The Arts Council of England, 14 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 3NQ.
The shortlisted titles for the 1998 science book prize are How Did I Begin? and Yum-Yum! by Mick Manning and Brita Granström (Franklin Watts), The Big Bang by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest (Dorling Kindersley), The Kingfisher Book of Oceans by David Lambert (Kingfisher), Understanding Your Muscles and Bones by Rebecca Treays (Usborne Publishing) and Yikes! by Mike Janulewicz (Collins Children’s Books). The six books were chosen by Dr Adam Hart-Davis, Karen Davies, Elizabeth Hammill, Justine Hopkins and Damian Kelleher. The winning book will be chosen by students from 21 schools around the country.
Bisto Book of the Year Award
The shortlisted titles are Mark O’Sullivan’s Angel Without Wings (Wolfhound Press), Gerard Whelan’s Dream Invader (O’Brien Press), Siobhan Parkinson’s Four Kids, Three Cats, Two Cows, One Witch (Maybe) (O’Brien Press), Larry O’Loughlin’s The Goban Saor illustrated by John Leonard (Blackwater Press), Soinbhe Lally’s The Hungry Wind (Poolbeg Press), Ed Miliano’s It’s a Jungle Out There (Wolfhound Press), Dan Kissane’s Jimmy’s Leprachaun Trap illustrated by Angela Clarke (O’Brien Press), P J Lynch’s When Jessie Came Across the Sea (Walker Books/Poolbeg Press), Mark O’Sullivan’s White Lies (Wolfhound Press) and Mairead Ashe Fitzgerald’s The World of Colmcille Also Known as Columba illustrated by Stephen Hall (O’Brien Press).
Angus Book Award 1998
The Angus Book Award, which involves third-year students in all the eight Angus secondary schools in the reading and voting process, has been won by Robert Swindells for Unbeliever (Puffin). The winner received a trophy in the form of a replica Pictish stone and £250. The runners-up were Julie Bertagna’s The Spark Gap (Mammoth), Lynne Reid Banks’s Broken Bridge (Puffin), Ann Halam’s The Powerhouse (Orion) and Ian Strachan’s Which Way is Home? (Mammoth).
Reed finds a home
After three years of uncertainty Reed Children’s Books (Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh) has been bought by Egmont, owner in the UK of World International and Egmont Fleetway. Reed Children’s Books has been renamed Egmont Children’s Books. Jane Winterbotham continues as Managing Director with Gill Evans as Deputy Managing Director.
Bloomsbury Children’s Books are to launch a poetry list in October with new titles from Faustin Charles, Jackie Kay and Adrian Henri.
A new publishing house based in Edinburgh, Barrington Stoke is launching a list aimed at reluctant readers from eight to 13 which will ‘bridge the important gap between graded reading schemes and “real” books’. Authors on the new list include Michael Morpurgo, Vivian French and Mary Hoffman.
BEST SELLER CHART
TOP 10 POETRY BOOKS
January – June 1998
1. Please Mrs Butler, AIlan Ahlberg, Puffin, £3.99
2. Heard It in the Playground, Allan Ahlberg, Puffin, £3.99
3. ’Ere we go! Football poems, edited by David Orme, Piper, £2.99
4. Tongue Twisters and Tonsil Twizzlers, edited by Paul Cookson, Macmillan, £2.99
5. Parent-free Zone, Brian Moses, Macmillan, £2.99
6. Over the Moon! Championship football poems, Red Fox, £2.99
7. Dirty Beasts, Roald Dahl, Puffin, £4.99
8. Revolting Rhymes, Roald Dahl, Puffin, £5.99
9. I Like This Poem, edited by Kaye Webb, Puffin, £4.99
10. You Wait Till I’m Older Than You!, Michael Rosen, Puffin, £3.99
BfS’ bestselling poetry books highlight the way in which tried-and-trusted titles dominate the sales charts – it’s no surprise to see the likes of Allan Ahlberg and Roald Dahl here, or an old favourite such as I Like This Poem. Notice, however, the presence of two collections of football poems. World Cup fever is upon us!
This listing has been specially compiled for BfK by Books for Students from their sales data. Books for Students Ltd is a major specialist supply company to schools and libraries.
This year’s Carnegie/Greenaway panel is chaired by the Chair of Youth Libraries Group, Tricia Kings. The judges, who represent Youth Library Group regions, are Dorothy Porter (East Midlands), Anne Llewellyn (Eastern), Ravinder Brah (London & South East), Danny Middleton (North West), Eileen Armstrong (Northern), Valerie Christie (Northern Ireland), Margaret Patterson (Scotland), Lucy Squires (South West), Julia Greenway (Wales), Sheridan Hunt (West Midlands), Margaret Woodcock (Yorkshire).
Moira Arthur, formerly Customer Services Director, has been appointed Assistant Managing Director at Peters Library Services, a children’s library supply company.
Ingrid Selberg has left Dorling Kindersley where she was Joint Managing Director with responsibility for children’s fiction. She is currently working as a consultant at Levinson’s Children’s Books. Linda Davies has been appointed DK’s Family Learning Non-Fiction and Fiction Publisher.
Debbie Sandford, formerly deputy Managing Director, has been appointed Managing Director of Random House Children’s Books.
Melinda Connelly has been appointed Promotions Coordinator with special responsibility for children’s book at Dillons while Tessa McGregor becomes Promotions Coordinator for Waterstones.
Linda Banner, formerly Manager, Promotion and Marketing, at Watts has been appointed Associate Director.
After 21 years and 132 issues, Bookchat, South Africa’s leading children’s book review magazine, has published its final edition. Editor Jay Heale, whose dedication and enthusiasm kept Bookchat going throughout the years of apartheid, is now setting up a Bookchat website (email@example.com). He will also be putting his energies into the South African Children’s Book Forum newsletter, The Book Door.
Following the acquisition of David Bennett Books by Collins & Brown Publishing, David Bennett has been retained as Publisher and Creative Director.
Happy 40th birthday to Paddington Bear. Collins Children’s Books are celebrating with a range of Paddington titles.
Two annotated booklists, Books for Key Stages 1 & 2 Reading and Books for Key Stages 3 & 4 Reading, both featuring Puffin titles, have been compiled by Wendy Cooling. Available from Puffin Marketing, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TX.
Ledbury Poetry Festival
This festival runs from 9-19 July. Poets performing include Roger McGough and Adrian Mitchell. For details call Blanca Rey-Surman on 01531 634156.
In Lisa Kopper’s article, Will the Real Drawings Please Stand Up (BfK No.110), the two large computer pictures derived from Lisa’s photograph of model Jessica were placed in the wrong order. The top picture is of course Lisa’s ‘photo-drawing’, not the bottom one which is simply the image changed by the computer.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I hope everybody enjoyed my article about ‘photodrawing’ in BfK No.110 and that you weren’t too confused by the fact that the large pictures of Jessica were swapped. As the Erratum reproduced elsewhere in this BfK points out, the top image was my‘computer drawing’ and the bottom image was the computer’s raw processing of the original photograph. Just as well, or I think all illustrators would soon be out of a job!
I’ve been trying to ‘do’ computer illustration for the last twelve years or so; only now do I feel the technology of real use. I agree with everything that Lisa says. Computer artists have a hobby called Spot the Filter. My wife gets fed up with me telling her that pretty looking adverts are just a matter of filtered layers with a dollop of Kai’s Power Tools thrown in! Not only can you spot that a drawing is a photograph, with experience you can deconstruct the digital processes that it has gone through.
To the point! I’m currently writing the sixth story in a set of six. I’ve written not in a word processor, but in a page layout program called Pagemaker. As I write, I know what the page will look like.
I will paint the artwork in grey tones and scan them into Photoshop image editing software. What is different is that I’m painting in paper with image enhancement in mind. I think the illustrations are going to be quite different but because of their ‘analogue’ origins it might not be obvious.
Oh dear! As if the world of children’s books isn’t cosy enough. The May issue of BfK featured a glowing review of the admittedly very talented Emma Chichester Clark by none other than Quentin Blake, her partner for several years. Even worse, in the same edition, Shirley Hughes, when asked to nominate the contemporary children’s illustrator she most admires, picks who? Her own daughter! Shirley says she has set family affection firmly aside. Come off it, Shirley – there are hundreds of young and brilliant illustrators out there; in my opinion Clara just isn’t among them. At least BfK noted the connections, but it’s tough enough for young artists as it is; let’s have a level playing field – please, no more reviews by friends, family or editors of illustrators or writers.
I can sympathise with the reactions of your correspondent; which is why I addressed the matter in the first sentences of my article, and made it a condition that I should be allowed to do so. I’m not quite sure what is meant by ‘partners’ – does he know something I don’t? Quentin Blake
In her review of the new season’s picture books (BfK No.110) Elaine Moss mentions the importance of the international market. What she fails to point out is the restrictive effect this has on publishing in this country.
These days no UK publisher will take on a colour-illustrated text without at least one ‘international co-edition’ (preferably American) signed up for it. However enthusiastic an editor may be about a particular project, it invariably has to be dropped unless it has proven world appeal.
Elaine claims that ‘folktales, by their very nature, are international’. Yet I’ve had an American co-publisher turn down such a book as being ‘too Eurocentric’. And there’s a dearth of Indian myths and legends in illustrated books, because in the USA ‘Asia’ means Japan and its neighbours.
For authors and artists this is a stifling restriction on creative freedom. Even worse, for British children of all ethnic groups it represents a disturbing censorship on what they know of their traditional literary heritage, and on the type of books that they get the chance to read.
Age Group/Class Grade
I am writing from far away both to express my appreciation of your excellent publication and to make a suggestion. Firstly, even at this distance we look forward to each new Books for Keeps issue; the articles, author/illustrator profiles, reviews and news re prize winners are of great interest and relevance.
In a recent issue, the feature was ‘suitable reads for reluctant male readers’ – extremely useful except for one detail. In New Zealand the compulsory school age attendance is 6-16 years. It is customary for children to begin Primary School at age five. Recently we have changed to a new system for naming classes where classes are given a Year 0-13 number. I am uncertain whether this corresponds precisely to either Australia or the UK’s system, as our compulsory ages for schooling may be different.
My plea is, in articles or reviews can you also indicate the age group as well as the class grade, to ensure overseas readers are clear regarding the intended audience. So what age are Year 7, 8 and 9 boys?
Children’s & Young Adults’ Librarian, Tasman District Library, Private Bag 3, Richmond 7031, New Zealand
11-14 year olds. We will give age suitability in future. Ed.
Time Left for Reading?
‘Will There Be Any Time Left for Reading?’, Jeff Hynds’ article in the May edition of Books for Keeps, makes interesting reading itself, both for its important contributions to the current strategy, as well as for what seem to be misconceptions. Highlighting absences such as the role of picture books and the ‘dramatic interrelationship’ between text and illustration, will help to draw attention to that aspect of reading which is so vital for both literacy development, and not least, the joy of reading. Jeff Hynds is surely right to remind us that enjoyment must lie at the heart of what makes reading and book sharing worthwhile. The strategy is intended to be responsive, so let’s be positive, and take his point, and include it in our work, as many teachers do, rather than assume its absence means it is unimportant.
Above all, it is the way the strategy is implemented, and the way teachers are transforming what lies on the Framework page, into something living and exciting, that negates some of Jeff’s criticisms. In the Literacy Hour teachers do read aloud to children, indeed this is a vital part of shared reading. They do hold reading conferences as part of the target setting process, they are engaged in monitoring and assessment of literacy behaviours and outcomes, and writing does have a very high profile. Good literature should never be the servant of teaching objectives, but interestingly enough, the kind of teaching Jeff Hynds recommends in his ‘Using a Big Book’ is not so dissimilar to many a good practice now going on up and down the country.
Primary Literacy Inspector and Consultant, Northamptonshire