Dahl Favourite Children’s Author
In the World Book Day poll conducted in over 4,000 bookshops and libraries, in schools and on the web, over 40,000 adults and children voted Roald Dahl the country’s favourite author. J. K. Rowling was in second place and Terry Pratchett in third.
No Dahl Shock
At the end of 1999, Scottish Book Trust asked a cross-section of ‘the great and the good’ of the book world which three books they would take into a question which would take into the next millennium. Shakespeare, with 5 votes, was the most popular writer on the list; however, R. L. Stevenson was close on his heels with 4 votes. Children’s titles were chosen 17 times but, incredibly, only two people opted for J.K. Rowling’s immensely popular Harry Potter . Roald Dahl failed to make the list at all.
Arts Minister Alan Howarth has announced that £51,000 has been awarded to the Public Lending Right Scheme that pays authors a sum according to the number of times their books are borrowed from public libraries. 30,674 authors currently benefit from the scheme.
A Million Potters
The next Harry Potter title is to be published on 8 July and the UK print-run is a record one million copies.
Flying off the Shelf is a conference organised by the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group of The Society of Authors. Open to professionals involved in children’s books, it takes place on the 23/24 September at Sussex University. Speakers include Ted Dewan, Terry Pratchett, Jacqueline Wilson and Ann Jungman. Details from Enid Stephenson, 9 Garden Terrace, Hebden Bridge HX7 8BL (tel: 01422 843769; email: email@example.com).
Rethinking Literacy in an Age of New Media is a one-day conference on 24 June at Froebel College, Roehampton to examine how literacy is defined and the role of literature, film, television and information technology in children’s lives. Speakers include Sue Palmer, Gunther Kress, Michael Morpurgo and Helen Cresswell. Details from Wendy Earle (tel: 020 8932 2696; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Under the Covers is a joint conference for the Millennium from the Library Association School Libraries Group and the Youth Libraries Group and the School Library Association from 6–9 July at Imperial College, London. Speakers include Quentin Blake, Kim Reynolds, John Dunne, Klaus Flugge, Anne Marley and Gillian Cross. Details from The School Library Association, Liden Library, Barrington Close, Liden, Swindon, Wiltshire SN3 6HF (tel: 01793 617838; email: undercover@SLA.org.uk).
Reading Pictures: Art, Narrative and Childhood is an international symposium from 1-4 September in Cambridge on the relationship between pictorial texts, narrative and childhood. Contributors include Quentin Blake, Eric Carle, Margaret Meek, Brian Wildsmith, Prue Goodwin and Victor Watson. Details from Anne Herriot, Homerton College, Cambridge CB2 2PH (tel: 01223 507136; email: email@example.com).
Chris Meade has been appointed Executive Director Book Trust. He was formerly Director of the Poetry Society and responsible for setting up the Poetry Places scheme which put poets in residence in all sorts of places across the UK.
Scholastic has appointed Richard Scrivener as Publishing Director. He was formerly Publishing Director at Puffin for Media and Popular Non-Fiction.
Penguin has appointed Catherine Bell Marketing Director for Ladybird Books.
Elaine McQuade writes…
Madeleine Lindley, who died on 11 February, was an important and influential colleague working with enormous commitment and energy in the field of children’s books and education. Utterly charming and charismatic and always glamorous, her warmth and positive attitude soon changed professional relationships into real friendships.
In 1988, after 10 successful years as a teacher, she began selling books to schools. Initially working out of the garage at home, she was eventually joined in the business by her husband, Mike. Madeleine Lindley Ltd now has a national and international customer base, a turnover of £5.2m and employs over 30 people at the Book Centre in Oldham.
Madeleine’s death from cancer at just 53 seems exceptionally cruel. She was so vital and full of life and bursting with ideas for the future. Madeleine wanted every child to become a reader and to help teachers provide children at school with the best children’s books around. The Book Centre will continue her work. She was a very special person and will be greatly missed by her friends in publishing and in the field of education.
Jane Fior writes…
I first met Helen Flint, who died in January, in 1988 when I was a commissioning editor for Heinemann Young Books. I had just read her first novel, Return Journey , and stung by the humour and bitter honesty of her prose felt that she was a natural writer for young adults. I rang her up out of the blue and Not Just Dancing was the result.
Helen was passionate, outspoken, intensely loyal and extremely sensitive. In fact, she could be alarmingly fierce for someone who looked so small and frail.
When we met, she was already ill and over time she became increasingly physically affected. However she refused to allow anything to get in the way of her priorities – her family and her writing. With characteristic purpose and against all the odds, supported by her much loved husband and two children, she continued to write and managed to complete Not Just Rescuing just before she died. As she wished, it will be published, together with re-issues of the previous two, Not Just Dancing and Not Just Babysitting , by Egmont Children’s Books early next year.
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL:
The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize
Jacqueline Wilson has won this year’s Guardian Children’s Fiction prize with The Illustrated Mum , ‘a searingly moving story of how two girls cope with looking after their manic depressive mother’. The shortlist for the award included Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling, The Eclipse of the Century by Jan Mark, King of Shadows by Susan Cooper, Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley and Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond.
This year’s award was judged by Susan Price, author of The Sterkarm Handshake , and last year’s winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize; Elizabeth Laird, author of Kiss the Dust and Secret Friends ; Keith Gray, author of Creepers ; and Julia Eccleshare, Children’s Books Editor of The Guardian .
The TES Junior Information Book Award
The winner of the TES Junior Information Book Award is The Emperor’s Egg by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Jane Chapman (Walker Books). The judges described it as ‘a delightful picture book with an almost cinematic quality…information with a light touch’. The runners-up were Castle Diary by Richard Platt, illustrated by Chris Riddell (Walker Books) and Movers and Shapers by Sarah Angliss, illustrated by Tom Connell (Belitha Press).
The TES Senior Information Book Award
The winner of the TES Senior Information Book Award is A Visitor’s Guide to Ancient Rome by Lesley Sims (Usborne). The judges described it as ‘an ingenious idea well carried through’. The joint runners-up were Fast Forward: Rainforest by Kathryn Senior and Carolyn Scrace (Macdonald Young Books) and Space Encyclopedia by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest (Dorling Kinderseley).
The Hans Christian Andersen Awards
The Andersen Award Jury of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) has announced Ana Maria Machado (Brazil) as the winner of the 2000 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award and Anthony Browne (United Kingdom) as the winner of the 2000 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration. The Hans Christian Andersen Awards are presented every two years by IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important and lasting contribution to children’s literature.
Ana Maria Machado has written 105 books for children and adults which have sold over six million copies. She has covered many political and social themes in a wide range of stories. Through her books, lecturing and enthusiastic book-related activities she has been a vital figure in building up the importance of children’s literature in Brazil.
Anthony Browne is an artist of unusual talent, exceptional technical skill and unrivaled imagination who has taken picture book illustration into new dimensions. ‘Surreal’ is a word often applied to his subtle, challenging books. Browne is the first candidate from the United Kingdom to be awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Award since Eleanor Farjeon received the first ever award in 1956.
Aventis Prize for Science Books
The Aventis Prize (formerly known as the Rhône-Poulenc Prize) shortlist for 2000 is DK Guide to Space by Peter Bond (Dorling Kindersley), The Usborne First Encyclopedia of our World by Felicity Brooks (Usborne), Evolve or Die by Phil Gates (Scholastic), History News: Space by Michael Johnstone (Walker), The Kingfisher Book of Planet Earth by Martin Redfern (Kingfisher) and Science Magic: Brainwaves in the Bedroom by Richard Robinson (OUP). The judges are David Bellamy, David Almond, Julia Eccleshare, Aleksander Jedrosz and Dr Jordan Raff.
South Lanarkshire Book Award
Following the success of last year’s Award the Library and Information Service is running the event again; last year 6 secondary schools in South Lanarkshire took part and this year there are 11. The five short listed books for this year are Soundtrack (Julie Bertagna, Mammoth), Tightrope (Gillian Cross, Oxford), The Nowhere Boy (Sandra Glover, Andersen/Corgi), Bitter Fruit (Brian Keaney, Orchard), Sweet Clarinet (James Riordan, Oxford). The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on 10 April.
North East Book Award
Designed to get and keep older teenagers reading, the first ever North East Book Award has been won by J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets . The runners-up were David Belbin’s Love Lessons and David Almond’s Skellig . The winner was chosen by Y10 students from Cramlington, Berwick and Ashington High Schools.
Sheffield Children’s Book Award
The 1999 overall winner was Abomination by Robert Swindells, which also won the Longer Novel category. The Shorter Novel category winner was Buried Alive by Jacqueline Wilson and the Picture Book Category winner was The Time It Took Tom by Nick Sharratt and Stephen Tucker.
Stockport Schools Book Award
The 1999 winners are: for Key Stage 1, The Book That Jack Made by Paul and Emma Rogers (The Bodley Head); for Key Stage 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (Bloomsbury); for Key Stage 3, Abomination by Robert Swindells (Doubleday) and for Key Stage 4, Out of the Darkness by Nigel Hinton (Penguin).
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Drug Using World
After reading the article ‘Young children growing up in a drug using world’ ( BfK , January 2000) I really feel moved to write and protest.
Although I don’t deny that picture books are frequently deeper and more serious than at first appears to be the case, I find it very sad that an enchanting story such as Six Dinner Sid should be used as an example of addiction. I bought this book for myself some years ago because I fell in love with it and because I am a cat lover/owner myself and was bowled over by the insights into the cat mind and the illustrations which made me laugh out loud.
I could be very rude and describe this part of the article as ‘pseudo psycho-babble nonsense’ but will instead content myself with saying that it saddens me that adults can so lose sight of the innocence and serendipitous approach to life of small children that they must see a moral crusade in everything or feel the need to imbue everything about them with a weighty and dolorous message.
Does everything for children have to be ‘serious’ and ‘meaningful’? I brought my own children up to love books for themselves not to worry about their ‘messages’ and as a school librarian, I frequently become involved in lively discussions about books. The children in my school often complain that too many books are written with ‘gritty realism’ or obvious didacticism especially for teenagers and they prefer the books which they can escape into and relax with.
Incidentally, I feel that the author of your article cannot be well acquainted with many cats! They are ALL in my experience, ‘opportunist, persuasive, manipulative and a charmer of people’. This is their stock in trade, the secret of their survival and who would have them any other way?!
I just wanted to say I couldn’t agree more with your editorial about the power of children’s books to address themes that continue to concern us as adults ( BfK 121 , March ‘00). And with Peter Hollindale’s remarks, that you quote, which point out that the texts can lend themselves to responses of various levels of sophistication. A good piece of writing for any audience rewards intelligent analysis, and those who dismiss well-crafted children’s books merely because they are written ‘for children’ draw attention to no one’s simple-mindedness but their own.
Children’s Books Reviewer, The Sunday Times and 1999 Whitbread Children’s Novel category judge