The Smarties Book Prize
This year’s gold medal winner of the 9-12 category of the Smarties Book Prize has been won by William Nicholson’s The Wind Singer (Mammoth). Beverley Naidoo’s The Other Side of Truth (Puffin) took the silver and Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Arthur: The Seeing Stone (Orion) took the bronze.
The gold medal winner of the 6-8 category was Jacqueline Wilson’s Lizzie Zipmouth (Young Corgi). Tony Mitton’s The Red and White Spotted Handkerchief (Scholastic) took the silver and Lauren Child’s Beware of the Storybook Wolves (Hodder) the bronze.
The gold medal winner of the 5 and Under category was Bob Graham’s Max (Walker). Satoshi Kitamura’s Me and My Cat (Andersen) took the silver and John Burningham’s Husherbye (Cape) took the bronze.
Blue Peter Book Awards
In the first year of this important new award, Geraldine McCaughrean has won the overall prize and the Special Book to Keep Forever category for her retelling of The Pilgrim’s Progress (Hodder) – see Authorgraph, page 10. Alan Gibbons won the Book I Couldn’t Put Down category for The Shadow of the Minotaur (Dolphin) and Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo won Best Book to Read Aloud.
The Grinzane Junior Award
Joanna Carey writes:
Artist/author Emma Chichester Clark has become the first winner of this new international children’s book award. Until now the Premio Grinzane Cavour was solely for adult books (past winners include Nadime Gordimer, Graham Swift, Wole Soyinka and Ian McEwan) but this year, in a drive to underline the importance of establishing at an early age the habit of reading for pleasure, the award has been extended to children’s books. From a shortlist of five titles that included books by Kazuo Iwamara and Maurice Sendak, a jury of literary critics along with an enthusiastic team of school children (the children had the final say) chose Chichester Clark’s I Love You, Blue Kangaroo! (Andersen Press) as the winner of the Grinzane Junior Award. The award ceremony took place in Turin.
2000 Special Educational Needs Book Awards – Winners
The Children’s Book Award for the book that most successfully provides a positive image of children with special needs has been won by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross for Susan Laughs (Andersen Press), ‘a powerful book on an important theme, looking with insight and without sentimentality at an issue that is relevant to all our lives’. Dorothy Smith, the chair of the judges said ‘This delightful book is full of fun. The reader is kept guessing until the very last page. The panel were unanimous in deciding to award the prize to this lovely book.’ This year’s Highly Commended award goes to the Friends Series (Watts Publishing) by Diane Church.
Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year Award
The shortlisted books are David Almond’s Heaven Eyes (Hodder), Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Arthur: The Seeing Stone (Orion), Jamila Gavin’s Coram Boy (Egmont) and Adèle Geras’s Troy (Scholastic). The winner will be announced on 23 January at a ceremony televised on BBC2.
2001 eBook Award to Include Children’s eBook Category
The International eBook Award Foundation (IeBAF) has announced the addition of a new Children’s eBook award category for its 2001 eBook awards. To be presented for the first time during the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in April 2002, the Children’s Award will highlight outstanding accomplishments in eBooks for younger readers.
Helen Cresswell has received the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Writer’s Award for her work in children’s drama. Her adaptations for the screen include Lizzie Dripping, Moondial, Five Children and It, The Famous Five, The Demon Headmaster and The Phoenix and the Carpet.
Jo Devereux has been appointed Editorial Director of Little Tiger Press. She was previously at Dorling Kindersley.
Tina Miller has been appointed Publicity and Promotions Manager at Walker Books. She was previously at HarperCollins.
Families Just Like Us (1 85199 144 1) is an annotated booklist produced by Book Trust and the National Council for One Parent Families. It has a foreword by that famous single parent, J. K. Rowling, and quotes from other single parents about the books are interspersed throughout. Selected by Kim Reynolds and Wendy Cooling, the list is divided into age categories. Available at £4.99 by phoning the National Council for One Parent Families on 020 7428 5405/8 or by ordering online at www.oneparentfamilies.org.uk
World Book Day 2001
Thursday 1 March is World Book Day 2001 in the UK and Ireland. Thanks to Book Tokens Ltd, principal sponsor of World Book Day 2001, and publishers and booksellers, every child in full-time education will receive a £1 World Book Day Book Token via their school which can be redeemed for three weeks around World Book Day itself. Four specially jacketed World Book Day £1 titles by leading children’s authors will replace the Children’s Book of Books published in previous years. These books will appeal to four different age ranges so that every child has the opportunity to exchange their £1 World Book Day Book Token for a book to suit them and encourage them in their reading. The titles are: for 3-5 year olds, The Gruffalo Song by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler; for 5-9 year olds, Little Wolf’s Postbag by Ian Whybrow and Tony Ross; for 8-12 year olds, Cloud Wolf by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell; and for teenagers, Shop Dead by Kate Cann.
In addition, a list of 31 bestselling children’s titles covering four age ranges has been chosen to encourage young readers. Titles include stories by award-winning authors such as Helen Cooper and Michael Morpurgo; a tale from the Children’s Laureate, Quentin Blake; well-known characters such as Martin Waddell’s Little Bear and Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry as well as science, history, jokes and fiction. The books will be available countrywide. There will be events and activities nationwide in schools, libraries, workplaces and bookshops. For further information, visit your local library or visit the World Book day website: www.worldbookday.com
Bedtime Reading Week
26 February – 4 March 2001
Bedtime Reading Week which celebrates the joy of the spoken word, will run for the first time from 26 February to 4 March. Backed by the BBC, the Arts Council of England, Tesco, Book Trust, and the National Reading Campaign, it is a week when children and their families can rediscover how much fun reading together can be.
This exciting new venture is the brainchild of businessman and philanthropist William Sieghart, and will be organised by the charity, the Forward Literature Trust. Sieghart, who also founded National Poetry Day seven years ago, has a firm belief in the power of the spoken word. The father of two young children, he says, ‘I can think of few things more enjoyable than sharing stories – with my daughters, my wife, my mother, my friends. It’s great fun. What’s more, if you want to give your children the best start in life, one of the ways to do that is quite simply to read to them for fifteen minutes every day. Try it. It’s amazing the difference it makes. In the years to come, today’s children will be tomorrow’s adults who look back and say, “Once upon a time, my parents read to me.”’
Highlights of Bedtime Reading Week will include a national survey of children and adults to discover the nation’s reading habits; Who would you most like to read aloud to you?; Storybook 2001 – a children’s writing competition with fabulous prizes, including a trip to Italy to see their winning books being printed and bound!; BBC 1 will run a week of celebrity ‘shorts’ during Bedtime Reading Week – hear your favourite star read his or her favourite story out loud on TV; reading parties in bookshops and libraries nationwide; plus promotions in Tesco stores all over the country throughout the week.
Children’s Books in Ireland Summer School
The CBI Summer School will take place in Dublin on the weekend of 18-20 May 2001. Speakers will include Kevin Crossley-Holland, Malachy Doyle, Margaret Mahy and Malorie Blackman. Further information from Clare Random, Children’s Books Ireland, tel: Dublin 8725854.
Edward Ardizzone RDI: The Born Illustrator
This lecture, part of the Ardizzone centenary celebration, will be given by Ian Beck and Judy Taylor with Brian Alderson in the chair at the RSA on 28 February at 6pm. Further details on this and other Ardizzone events at www.ardizzone.co.uk
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Chairing the Laureate
I see that Mark Lawson will chair the judges choosing the second Children’s Laureate. Is this the same Mark Lawson who revealed the true (conscious or not) attitude of the adult arts establishment that many of us have fought against for years, when he remarked on the blandness of J.K. Rowling’s prose but added that, ‘purely as a children’s writer, though’, she takes her craft seriously? (The Guardian, 10 July) That’s OK then: it is only for kids, after all.
Reffley Farmhouse, Reffley Lane, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE30 3EH
Not ‘doom and gloom’
Hurrah! I thought as I started to read Brian Lux’s letter (BfK 124) – someone concerned about what young people read is about to give his local Waterstones/WHS a rousting for not carrying even one copy of the 2000 Carnegie Medal winner. But after a few lines I realised that I was reading yet another Why-not-Harry-Potter? whinge, one moreover containing the erroneous assumption that a prize-winner should be ‘expected’; a query (insulting to the selection panel in its implication) that a modicum of private research would have rendered unnecessary; the dismissal of a complex, intelligent, serious, demanding, moving, exhilarating work which he has clearly not bothered to read himself as ‘more doom and gloom’…
But this is unfair; I expect Mr Lux dashed off his letter in haste if not umbrage. I should like to make three brief points:
1. Eleven of the thirteen librarians are chosen by democratic vote, and represent every region of the country; the other two are ex officio members. Their brief was to select by what must have been an agonising process of elimination ‘an outstanding book for children’ written in English and not previously published in the UK.
2. Postcards has been chosen (by democratic vote, and by KS4 pupils who have actually read it) to receive the Stockport School Book Award for 2000. Perhaps would-be Trafford readers, wanting more than the two copies available, could pop along the motorway to Stockport?
3. Up to this point I have been able to feel fairly light-hearted, though irritated by hasty and thoughtless criticism of a book that has moved and affected me deeply. But Mr Lux must hold his opinions as I hold mine. I am however appalled by his apparently serious desire to restrict publishers’ output to books that will have a wide appeal. Had such conditions obtained when Ms Rowling was trawling the publishing houses with her first manuscript, Harry Potter might never have made it to Trafford’s local bookshops. Ms Rowling’s books provide millions including myself with fun and enjoyment, but at a rough guess, 80% of the children’s and adults’ books that have enriched my life, extended my horizons, and made the human condition a little easier to bear have been works of ‘limited appeal’ (appeal to whom? according to whose criteria?). If the day ever comes when it is impossible to publish such books, may heaven help us all.
Jan Robbins (teacher, bookseller)
The Bookroom, Axtorpsvägen 29A, S-903 37 Umeå, Sweden