NATIONAL YEAR OF READING
Young Book Trust’s Parent’s Pack
Especially designed for parents and other carers, the pack provides guidance on selecting sharing books with children. It is available in four age categories: (0-4, 5-7, 8-11 and 12+). Available free. Send an A4 sae to Young Book Trust, Book House, 45 East Hill, London SW18 2QZ.
World Book Day 1999
Every schoolchild in the UK and Ireland will again receive a free £1 book voucher from the bookselling and publishing industry for World Book Day on 23 April (Shakespeare’s birthday). The voucher can be exchanged for a copy of The Children’s Book of Books 1999 (a compilation of stories and poems from well known authors such as Michael Morpurgo, Anne Fine, J.K. Rowling and Narinder Dhami) or it can be redeemed against any book or audiobook worth £2.95 or more.
Read Me T-Shirt
A National Year of Reading t-shirt with the Read Me logo is available from The Marketing Department, Peters Library Service, 120 Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham B5 6RJ at £6.50 (plus p&p).
Year of Reading events are too numerous and frequent to cover fully in BfK. National Year of Reading updates are available from The National Year of Reading Team, National Literacy Trust, Swire House, 59 Buckingham House, London SW1E 6AJ (0171 828 2435).
The Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year
David Almond has won the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year with his first children’s novel, Skellig (Signature). The prize is worth £10,000, £11,000 less than the adult Whitbread Book of the Year. To the annoyance of the children’s book world, Whitbread and the BBC did not televise Almond’s win. It was announced briefly but he was not interviewed; his book was not discussed by the studio panel and he was not seen receiving his prize. As Adèle Geras put it, in a letter to The Guardian, ‘(Almond) is lucky that the BBC and Whitbread let him stay up late and join the grown-ups at the banquet.’
The Marsh Award
The Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in translation has been awarded to Patricia Crampton for her translation of Gudrun Pausewang’s The Final Journey (Puffin). This powerful novel, about a 12-year-old Jewish girl’s experiences in a cattle truck on the way to Auschwitz, also won the 1997 Birmingham Children’s Book Award which is judged entirely by children. It is reviewed in BfK 108.
The South Lanarkshire Book Award
The South Lanarkshire Book Award is a new award which involves libraries and secondary schools in the area as well as author visits. From a shortlist of four titles chosen by librarians and English teachers, students in six schools will vote for the winning title. The shortlisted books are Wicked by Anthony Masters (Orchard), Asian Triangle by Sailesh Ramakrishnan (Mantra), Love on-line by Lisa Tuttle (Mammoth) and Starlight City by Sue Welford (Oxford). The presentation will be made in April. Details from Margaret Cowan, Central Library, 40 The Olympia, East Kilbride G74 1PG (01355 248581).
The Children’s Laureate
Three top children’s writers and illustrators have been shortlisted for the first Children’s Laureate. They are the writer/illustrator Quentin Blake and the novelists Peter Dickinson and Anne Fine. They were chosen from a list of twenty nominations by a judging panel comprising a member of the IBBY committee (International Board on Books for Young People), a librarian, a publisher, a critic, a bookseller and an academic specialising in books for children. The panel was chaired by James Naughtie, journalist and presenter of the BBC Radio 4 Today and Bookclub programmes. The winner will be announced in May.
Book of the Year
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Bloomsbury) has won the Children’s Book of the Year Award at the 10th annual British Book awards.
Naomi Mitchison who has died aged 101 was, amongst her many activities of a literary, social and political kind, also a writer of books for children. There were around 25 titles, many set in other cultures or at other times, often at moments of turbulent change. With their vivid and recognizable characters, they enabled young readers to empathise with experiences not their own. Mitchison was a sort of tribal mother to the Bakgatla people in Botswana and some of her stories have that setting.
Ross Shimmon, chief executive of the Library Association, has been appointed Secretary General of the International Federation of Library Associations. The post is based in the Hague.
Congratulations to Shirley Hughes who has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours lists.
Congratulations to Grace Kempster Head of Libraries, Information, Heritage and Culture in Essex, also awarded an OBE for services to Libraries. She has always been a stalwart supporter of children’s books and libraries and is a past Chair of Youth Libraries Group. She is a member of the Library and Information Commission and chaired its task group on training for ‘Building the New Library Network’.
Corrine Gotch has been appointed to launch and oversee the marketing of Simon & Schuster’s new children’s list.
Helen Dunning has been promoted to Publicity Manager at Penguin Children’s Books.
Contributors: BfK team, Anne Marley. Submissions welcome
PoetryFest, the Aberystwyth International Poetry Festival and Summer School which runs from 19-26 June is offering a number of ways for schools to participate. There will be schools’ workshops on Tuesday, 22 June. Schools can also nominate two students for Bursary Course Places (£15 each) which includes free admission to festival events, two course workshops and individual tutorials with experienced tutor poets. Details from Louise Amery, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Penglais, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DE (01970 622889).
The Religious Tract Society: A Conference
To celebrate the bicentenary of the Religious Tract Society, there will be a conference organised by The Lutterworth Press and The Children’s Book History Society on the history and influence of the RTS in the field of children’s literature from 29 July – 1 August at the University of East Anglia. Details from Pat Garrett (01992 464 885) or on the Lutterworth Press website at http//www.lutterworth.com.
Reading the Future
Reading the Future, Homerton’s 5th Children’s Literature Conference takes place from Friday 3 – Sunday 5 September. Speakers include Mary Jane Drummond, Peter Hollindale, Philip Pullman, David Rudd, Victor Watson and Jacqueline Wilson. Fee £240 residential, £150 non-residential, with prices available for single day attendance.
Further details from Judith Hammond, CPD Administrator, Homerton College, Cambridge CB2 2PH (tel: 01223 507144).
The Waterstone’s Guide to Children’s Books
This updated version is an annotated Guide to over 600 titles presented in age categories, plus a subject index and author profiles. All the titles listed are available from Waterstone’s as is the Guide itself (1 902603 06 0) at £2.99.
Film Education have produced a Film and Literacy pack in two parts for primary teachers who want to use film in the classroom. Each pack comprises a study video of film extracts supported by a workpack containing photocopiable worksheets for use in the classroom. Part One is available now; Part Two (which focuses on myths, legends and fairytales) will be available in April. £16.50 each inc. p&p from Film Education, Alhambra House, 27-31 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H OAU.
Books for Students
BEST SELLER CHARTS
TOP 5 FICTION TITLES OF 1998
For 6-9 year olds
1 Giggle Club: The Caterpillow Fight, Sam McBratney, Walker, £1.99
2 Fantastic Mr Fox, Roald Dahl, Puffin, £4.99
3 Giggle Club: One Day in the Jungle, Colin West, Walker, £1.99
4 Animal Ark Pets: Duckling Diary, Lucy Daniels, Hodder, £2.99
5 The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, Jill Tomlinson, Mammoth, £3.99
For 9-12 year olds
1 Goosebumps: Chicken, Chicken, R.L. Stine, Hippo, £3.99
2 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis, Collins, £3.99
3 Matilda, Roald Dahl, Puffin, £4.99
4 Goosebumps: How I Learned to Fly, R L Stine, Hippo, £3.99
5 The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson, Corgi, £3.99
Walker’s ‘Giggle Club’ picture books continue to be strong sellers, made particularly attractive for younger book buyers by their price. ‘Goosebumps’ doesn’t appear to have the grip on the nation’s youngsters it once did, and the presence of time-honoured favourites on both lists may indicate a healthy mix of old and new reading.
These listings have 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.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Books in Paperback
Having subscribed to Books for Keeps for more years than I care to remember, I wonder if you could answer a question for me about reviewing policy.
When you became editor the policy was changed to include hardback books in your reviews rather than paperbacks only. Since I only stock paperback books in the English Library here, I mostly ignore the hardback reviews and buy, and read, the paperbacks which are reviewed. Do you (or could you) repeat the review when the book then appears in paperback – or at least give a list of previously reviewed books now out in paperback? It’s OK for publishers and librarians I suppose, but English teachers such as myself are not aware of when books appear in paperback, and at the moment I’m missing gems simply because I don’t know they’re available.
I can see that printing reviews of hardbacks has made your magazine more interesting for librarians, but those of us with more modest budgets (or who don’t know children who still read hardback books) find it less useful than we used to.
European School, Bvd Konrad Adenauer, L1115 Luxembourg
We have been discussing a way of solving the problem you raise for some time. Space is the main difficulty as well as resources to follow up when each title appears in paperback. More systematic information from publishers on this would be very welcome. However, we will henceforth be including in each issue a list of previously reviewed titles (in hardback or trade paperback) that were awarded three or more stars and are now out in paperback. We would welcome further feedback on this. Ed.