Curiouser and curiouser…
The principal geologist at the British Geological Survey, Tony Cooper, has claimed that a geological phenomenon which causes the ground to open up may be the inspiration for the rabbit hole down which Alice began her adventures in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland . Lewis Carroll grew up in an area of Yorkshire famous for its dramatic subsidence caused by the highly soluble rock gypsum which is dissolved under the Ripon area at a rate of up to a foot a year. Carroll’s father was Canon Dodgson of Ripon and it seems likely that young Dodgson would have known about the dramatic subsidence (a hole 20 metres deep and 35 metres wide) that occurred in 1834 at a house called Ure Lodge, where a contemporary of his father, Canon Badcock, lived. Badcock was also the father of Mary on whose photograph the illustrations of Alice were based.
Fewer Teens Read
The Schools Health Education Unit at Exeter University has published a report, Young People in 1998 , based on surveys of 18,221 teenagers. It reveals that the number of teenagers who read for pleasure is at a new low. Only one in five 14- and 15-year olds picks up a book in the evening. It appears that computer games may be the cause – almost three out of five boys play them regularly.
Goosebumps: Sales down
Sales of this popular series published by Scholastic peaked in the 1997-98 financial year but have since declined hitting both the sales and profits of its children’s publishing business.
Actor Stephen Fry has won a Talkie Award (the Oscar of the audiobook world) for his reading of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone . Publisher, Cover to Cover, has just signed him up to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets .
Scholastic Children’s Books Publishing Director David Fickling is stepping down to become the Publisher of ‘David Fickling Books’. The new list will be produced, marketed and sold through Scholastic.
Gill Evans , Publisher Director and Deputy Managing Director of Egmont Children’s Books, is to leave the company. Her departure follows that of former Managing Director, Jane Winterbotham .
Following Hodder Children’s Books’s acquisition of Wayland Alex Wolf has been made Publisher of the Hodder Wayland imprint, Anne Clark becomes Editorial Development Director and Kate Burns becomes Editorial Director of Picture and Gift Books. Venetia Gosling becomes Publisher, Mass Market and Series Fiction and Beverley Birch , Senior Commissioning Editor, Fiction.
Contributors: BfK team, Anne Marley. Submissions welcome.
National and International Awards
J K Rowling has won her third Smarties Gold Award (9-11 category) with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Bloomsbury). The Silver Award was won by David Almond’s Kit’s Wilderness (Hodder) and the Bronze by Louise Rennison’s controversial Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Piccadilly) – some booksellers considered it unsuitable for the age group.
The 6-8 age group category Gold Award was won by Laurence Anholt and Arthur Robins’s Snow White and the Seven Aliens (Orchard). The Silver Award went to Emily Smith’s Astrid, the Au Pair from Outer Space (Corgi) and the Bronze Award to Lauren Child’s Clarice Bean That’s Me (Orchard).
The 0-5 age group category Gold Award went to Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo (Macmillan). The Silver Award went to Bob Graham’s Buffy (Walker) and the Bronze Award to Lydia Monks’s I Wish I Were a Dog (Methuen).
The judges were authors Sue Heap and Terence Blacker, librarian Trish Botten and associate editor of She magazine Liz Gregory. Julia Eccleshare, Children’s Books Editor at The Guardian , was Chair of judges.
The Kurt Maschler Award
This annual award for a book in which text and illustration ‘enhance and extend each’ has been won by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Walker Books, reviewed in this issue). The judges were Nicolette Jones, Chris Powling and Margaret Meek.
The NASEN Special Educational Needs Book Award
The winner of the 1999 award is James Riordan’s Sweet Clarinet (Oxford University Press). Rachel Anderson’s Big Ben (Mammoth) was highly commended. The other titles on the shortlist were Benjamin Zephaniah’s Face (Bloomsbury), Wendy Orr’s Fighting Back (Orchard), Andrew Matthews’ Stiks and Stoans (Mammoth), the ‘Think About’ series (Belitha), Clare Oliver’s Animals as Carers (Franklin Watts) and Jen Green’s I’m Special (Wayland).
The 1999 Fidler Award
The Fidler Award for a first novel for children of eight to twelve has been won by Thomas Bloor for The Memory Prisoner . It will be published in May by Hodder Children’s Books.
The titles shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Book category are Carol Ann Duffy’s first children’s book, Meeting Midnight (Faber & Faber), Jacqueline Wilson’s The Illustrated Mum (Doubleday), Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom (Heinemann) and J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Bloomsbury). The children’s book prize money is £10,000. For the first time, the children’s winner will be allowed to go forward to fight for the overall title, Book of the Year, which has an award of £21,000.
Karl Edward Wagner Award
Diana Wynne Jones is the winner of the 1999 Karl Edward Wagner Award which is given annually by the British Fantasy Society to individuals or organisations who have made a significant impact on the genre. Wynne Jones’s The Dark Lord of Derkholm is the winner of the US prize for fantasy literature, the Mythopoeic Award . Wynne Jones’s books are currently being relaunched by HarperCollins.
The Colin Mears Award
A bequest from an avid collector with a longstanding interest in illustration has made possible a new award for ‘distinguished work in children’s illustration’. The first Colin Mears Award, a prize of £5,000 will be given to whoever wins the 1999 Kate Greenaway Medal.
Hans Andersen Awards 2000
IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) has announced each national section’s nominated author and illustrator whose complete works have made an important and lasting contribution to children’s literature. The Ireland Section has nominated Martin Waddell and P J Lynch and the United Kingdom Section has nominated Peter Dickinson and Anthony Browne. The winners will be announced in March 2000.
Unesco Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature in the Service of Tolerance
Nominations are invited for the 2001 award. Submissions to Gloria Bailey at the Publishers Association, 1 Kingsway, London WC2.
The Boston Globe-Horn Books Awards (Alec – there is a logo)
The winner of the fiction section of this year’s prestigious US Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards is Louis Sachar’s Holes (reviewed BfK 119 ). Holes also won the USA’s 1999 Newbery Medal and the 1998 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. It is published in the UK by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.
The Stockport School Book Award
The four winners of the 1999 award voted for by school students are Paul and Emma Rogers’s The Book That Jack Made (Bodley Head), J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Bloomsbury), Robert Swindells’ Abomination (Doubleday) and Nigel Hinton’s Out of the Darkness (Puffin).
Children’s Laureate folders containing Literacy Hour and other teaching notes using Quentin Blake’s books as a starting point are available to teachers from Lois Beeson, Children’s Laureate Administrator, 18 Grosvenor Road, Portswood, Southampton SO17 1RT (tel: 01703 555057).
Aimed at young readers, AuthorZone is a snappy, full colour introduction to 50 top children’s authors and illustrators who have all written their own brief biographies and filled in a questionnaire. £4.95 from Peters Bookselling Services, 120 Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham B5 6RJ (tel: 0121 666 6646).
Books to Enjoy: With Boys in Mind (0 900641 96 7) by Wendy Cooling is an annotated bibliography of titles for 8-15 year olds, ‘the result of talking to many boys’. £5 (£4 to SLA members) inc. p & p from The School Library Association, Liden Library, Barrington Close, Liden, Swindon SN3 6HF.
Two annotated publishers’ lists of ‘books for boys’ are available free. Great Books for Boys is compiled by Lindsey Fraser of Scottish Book Trust and available from The Marketing Department, Random House Children’s Books, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA. Boys Do Read compiled by Wendy Cooling is available from The Marketing Department, Penguin Children’s Books, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ.
Meeting Midnight by Julia Bird in consultation with Helen Taylor is a Poetry Book Society education pack (looks more like a booklet to BfK ) based on Carol Ann Duffy’s new book of the same name. Suitable for 11-14 year olds, it is available with a copy of the book from the Poetry Book Society, Book House, 45 East Hill, London SW18 2QZ at £12 (£10 for PBS members).
Poetry in and out of the Literacy Hour (0 7049 1341 0) by Michael Lockwood offers detailed practical suggestions for using poetry in the primary classroom (£5.95). Interactive Writing in the Primary School (0 7049 1342 9) by Nigel Hall explains what interactive writing is and how it can aid genuine communication (£4.50). Both publications available from the Reading and Language Information Centre, The University of Reading, Bulmershe Court, Earley, Reading RG6 1HY. Cheques payable to ‘The University of Reading’.
Children Writing is a conference on Saturday 8th April for primary teachers who want to help children at Key Stages 1 and 2 to become confident and competent writers. Speakers include Nigel Hall and Pie Corbett. Details from the Reading and Language Information Centre, The University of Reading, Bulmershe Court, Earley, Reading RG6 1HY (tel: 0118 931 8820).
Piccadilly Press and The Guardian announce a writing competition for teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. Entries should be no more than 3,000 words on the theme of ‘The Perfect Journey’. The closing date is 30th April and the best entries will be published in a book of the same name. The judges are Michael Palin, Joanna Carey and Rosie Rushton. Details and entry form on receipt of an sae to Jude Evans, Piccadilly Press, 5 Castle Road, London NW1 8PR (tel: 020 7267 4492).
BFS BEST SELLER CHART
TOP 10 FICTION TITLES FOR 6-9 YEAR OLDS
1 The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark , Jill Tomlinson, Mammoth, £3.99
2 Fantastic Mr Fox , Roald Dahl, Puffin, £4.99
3 The Hodgeheg , Dick King-Smith, Puffin, £3.99
4 The Twits , Roald Dahl, Puffin, £4.99
5 A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch , Jill Murphy, Puffin, £3.99
6 The Magic Finger , Roald Dahl, Puffin, £3.99
7 Bill’s New Frock , Anne Fine, Mammoth, £3.99
8 George’s Marvellous Medicine , Roald Dahl, Puffin, £4.99
9 Animal Ark Pets: Frog Friends , Lucy Daniels, Hodder, £3.50
10 Animal Ark Pets: Hedgehog Home , Lucy Daniels, Hodder, £3.50
The old favourites triumph again! This could be a top ten list from almost any point in the last few years, although the presence of ‘Animal Ark Pets’ books is testament to the pulling power of series fiction for all ages. It just goes to show that once children, teachers and librarians have a tried and trusted title, they stick with it loyally!
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.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I have read your correspondence about the Carnegie/Greenaway medals with great interest. If it is not too late to comment – from a safe distance – I think the two awards have to be considered separately in this debate.
The Greenaway is for illustration, which is a very old skill, far older than the novel, balanced somewhere between art and literature but belonging to neither. Graphic artists are more firmly attached to children’s books than in the days of William Nicholson and Edward Ardizzone, who worked over a much wider spectrum, and, in the current (and, in my opinion, highly introverted) state of Fine Art prizes in this country, picture books are now an increasingly important vehicle for a whole range of nourishing narrative imagery. Important even beyond the pressing need to get children interested in reading.
The Greenaway is awarded by the Library Association who have set it up to be judged by librarians who, as they are first to agree, are ‘word’ people, not visually trained. To make a musical analogy, I can hear and enjoy music but I would not be a suitable judge for the Leeds International Piano Competition. I don’t know enough about technique.
But it is not for illustrators, writers or critics to tell the Library Association how to adjudicate their prizes. To have more than one winner – a shortlist of varied excellence – would seem a fairer idea and most of us who have won it would probably agree. But unfortunately if one of the main thrusts of the prize is to capture attention and bring excellent work done for children to a wider public, I’m afraid it just has to be one outright winner to have a hope of improving on the perfunctory, if not patronising, response we tend to get from the national media.
It is up to those who judge the Greenaway medal to go on improving their visual range, to bring an educated eye to fresh styles and the design of a page for today’s visually overstimulated child, to notice when an established illustrator has really chanced their arm to extend their own frontiers, and above all to recognise good draughtsmanship, if this award is to continue to command a serious regard.
c/o Random House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA