National Poetry Day
Now in its eighth year, National Poetry Day will take place on 4 October. This year’s theme is Journeys. Encompassing travelogues, poetic postcards, voyages through the imagination and the odyssey through life itself, National Poetry Day will show that there is a world elsewhere, to which poetry can take you. Education packs will be sent to every primary and secondary school in the country, packed with suggestions for using poetry in the classroom, as well as to major public libraries. Look out for poetry performances, readings and poetry-related events at a bookshop, library, festival or arts centre near you on 4 October! For further information contact Truda Spruyt or Katherine Grimes, Colman Getty PR, 17 & 18 Margaret Street, London W1W 8RP. Telephone: 020 7631 2666. Fax: 020 7631 2699. Email: truda@colmangettypr
As part of the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, Book It! will be held from 12-21 October – a ‘book bonanza for children’ of author sessions, workshops, storytelling, theatre performance, family events and school days. Visiting authors include Allan Ahlberg, Nina Bawden, Melvin Burgess, Aidan Chambers, Lauren Child, Adèle Geras, Morris Gleitzman, Geraldine McCaughrean, Roger McGough, Colin McNaughton, Tony Ross, Martin Waddell, Jacqueline Wilson and Benjamin Zephaniah.
For further information or to book tickets, contact the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, Festival Box Office, Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham GL50 1QA. Tel: 01242 227979. Fax: 01242 573902. Email: GlynisP@cheltenham.gov.uk
Congratulations to Annie Everall, Director of Young Readers UK, who earlier this year received an OBE for services to children’s libraries in Birmingham and also was appointed to the post of Service Manager, Young People and Policy Development in Derbyshire where she will have responsibility for the school library service as well as children’s services. Annie’s pioneering work in Birmingham has seen the creation of The Centre for the Child, the Young Readers UK Festival and the creation of Stories from the Web. Her tireless and innovative approach to improving library services has been an inspiration to many librarians and the OBE is a very fitting reward for someone as committed as she is to providing the very best for children.
Congratulations to Robert Dunbar who has been awarded the Children’s Books Ireland biannual award ‘in recognition of outstanding service to Irish children’s literature’. Dunbar is a founder member of CLAI (the Children’s Literature Association of Ireland); he edited the first 15 issues of Children’s Books in Ireland; he set up the Diploma in Children’s Literature course of Trinity College, Dublin; he reviews children’s books regularly in The Irish Times, in BfK and on RTE radio; and he teaches and lectures on children’s literature at home and abroad.
Hodder Children’s Books has appointed Honor Wilson-Fletcher marketing and publicity director.
Contributors: BfK team, Anne Marley. Contributions welcome.
The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals
The winner of the Library Association’s Carnegie Medal is Beverley Naidoo’s The Other Side of Truth (Puffin), a novel that explores the impact on children of having politically active parents prepared to speak out against abuse of human rights – in this case by the Abacha regime in Nigeria. Chair of judges, Sarah Wilkie, said, ‘It is an outstanding novel… it is never didactic yet it informs about the issues facing asylum seekers.’ Adèle Geras’s Troy (Scholastic David Fickling Books) and Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass (Scholastic David Fickling Books) were Highly Commended and Mevin Burgess’s The Ghost Behind the Wall (Andersen Press) was Commended.
The winner of the Library Association’s Kate Greenaway Medal is Lauren Child’s I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato (Orchard Books), a conversational style picture book illustrated with cut-out figures imposed upon wild photographic montages. Chair of judges, Sarah Wilkie, said, ‘Lauren Child has taken a classic picture book theme and interpreted it in a completely fresh, modern, edgy style…’ Anthony Browne’s Willy’s Pictures (Walker Books) was Highly Commended and Ted Dewan’s Crispin: The Pig Who Had It All (Doubleday) was Commended.
Two attractive, full colour leaflets, The Best of Carnegie and The Best of Kate Greenaway which give details of all the titles are available at £5 for 50 leaflets for LA members (£6 for non-affiliate members) + p&p. Quantities over 500 attract discount. Available from the Norfolk Children’s Book Centre, Alby, Norfolk NR11 7HB . Tel: 01263 761402; Fax: 01263 768167. Email: email@example.com
The Signal Poetry Award 2001
The Signal Poetry Award has been won by Carol Ann Duffy’s The Oldest Girl in the World (Faber). The judges (Peter Hollindale and Margaret Meek) commented that ‘if young readers become familiar with poems like these… they will have discovered poetry as a force to extend both understandings and feeling’.
The Children’s Book Award
The Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ Children’s Book Award has been won by Nick Sharratt and Kes Gray for Eat Your Peas (The Bodley Head). The award is judged by children from Federation groups.
The Branford Boase Award
The second Branford Boase Award for the most promising new children’s writer and their editor, has been won by Marcus Sedgwick for Floodland (Orion Children’s Books). Sedgwick’s editor was deputy publisher at Orion, Fiona Kennedy.
Aventis Prize for Science Books
The Junior Aventis Prize (worth £10,000) has been won by Michael Allaby’s DK Guide to Weather (Dorling Kindersley). The shortlisted books were David Lambert’s DK Guide to Dinosaurs (Dorling Kindersley), Brian Ward’s Eyewitness Guides: Epidemics (Dorling Kindersley), Nick Arnold’s Suffering Scientists (Scholastic), Janice Lobb and Peter Utton’s The At Home with Science Series (Kingfisher) and John Farndon’s The Complete Book of the Brain (Hodder Wayland). The judging panel which drew up the shortlist was chaired by Geraint Smith, Science Editor of the Evening Standard, and the winner was chosen by pupils from 25 schools.
Portsmouth Book Award
The Portsmouth Book Award 2001 has been won by William Nicholson for his book The Wind Singer – part of his ‘The Wind on Fire’ trilogy. A group of 100 Year 8 and 9 pupils from eight city secondary schools were given hundreds of titles for consideration last October at the start of an initiative run by the Portsmouth Library Service. Nicholson was chosen from a shortlist of eight titles with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in second place. The eight secondary schools involved were Admiral Lord Nelson, Copnor; City of Portsmouth Boys, Hilsea; Springfield, Drayton; Mayfield, North End; Miltoncross, Milton; Priory; St Edmund’s, Landport; St Luke’s, Southsea.
Winifred Cawley 1915-2001
Winifred Cawley’s Gran at Coalgate won the 1974 Guardian children’s prize and was a runner-up for the Carnegie Medal. It broke new ground for its time with its depiction of a child from a poor family seen against the background of a coal mining village during the general strike. It was followed by the very autobiographical Silver Everything and Many Mansions.
Tove Jansson 1914 –2001
Born in Helsinki, Tove Jansson’s Moomin books first reached the UK in 1948 with the publication of Finn Family Moomintroll. Moomins are ‘small and shy and hairy’ and they love sunshine (unlike common trolls who ‘pop up only when it’s dark’). Owing less to Finnish folklore than to Jansson’s acute observation of people and their ways, the Moomin books with their amiably eccentric characters and humorous twists have been enjoyed by a great many readers of different ages and translated into 35 languages.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
BECOME A BOOKSTARTER!
I am writing with regard to the national Bookstart programme and to congratulate you on your July edition of Books for Keeps. It was wonderful to see such in depth coverage of books for babies. This is a genre that needs to have more publicity if we are to encourage our babies towards a lifelong love of books. As you mentioned, Bookstart is leading the way and I thought it might be timely to bring you up to date with the progress of Bookstart across the UK.
In 1992 there were 300 Bookstart babies. In 2000 there were 675,000. 215 local authorities are taking part and 92% of the UK is now ‘Bookstarted’. We have become the first national, baby book-gifting scheme in the world thanks to a major two year sponsorship by Sainsbury’s PLC as part of their Millennium celebrations, the hard work and camaraderie of thousands of librarians and health visitors and, of course, the wonderful alacrity with which parents and carers have embraced the idea of sharing books with their babies. There is no doubt that Bookstart is an excellent example of a multi-agency working partnership.
Bookstart 1999-2000 has been researched by Professor Kim Reynolds at The University of Surrey, Roehampton. The findings are available from Booktrust.
Sainsbury’s sponsorship ended earlier this year since when we’ve raised over half a million pounds from the Government and charitable trusts, but we need to secure stable, long term funding to ensure a book bag reaches every baby born in the UK.
Thanks are due to the many children’s publishers who have generously given donations of thousands of baby books to Booktrust in order that we can continue to offer free books to babies. Booktrust HQ at Book House in London is currently, literally bursting at the seams with thousands of baby books. However, publishers please note, we would welcome even more donations of suitable baby book titles. Provided that they could go to our warehouse instead of Book House, as there is no more room in the basement!
Bookstart has the potential to benefit babies in so very many ways. We need secure funding but finance is not the only way in which people can contribute. The help of all interested parties is needed to help to spread the word about this life enhancing, world class, scheme. I do hope the readers of Books for Keeps will consider themselves Bookstart supporters and help to raise awareness of Bookstart and the concept of sharing books with babies.
If you would like to become a Bookstarter, and/or want more information on Bookstart, please contact The Bookstart Team at Booktrust on 020 8516 2995. Our website address is www.booktrust.org.uk
Rosemary Clarke, Schemes & Partnerships Co-Ordinator
Booktrust, Book House, 45 East Hill, London SW18 2QZ
THE UGLY DUCKLING
I seldom comment on a review of my own writing but, for the record, my retelling of ‘The Ugly Duckling’ is not an abridgement of the Bodley Head translation as Elaine Moss suggests (‘Picture Books for the Not So Very Young’ in BfK No. 128). I consulted several translations, old and new, and worked directly from the Danish.
Clare Cottage, Burnham Market, Norfolk PE31 8HE
I read with interest the letter from Philip Pullman about the word ‘sad’ (BfK No. 129, ‘SAD’ STARS) and your reply. I had always assumed that ‘sad’ was being used in its more traditional sense of ‘causing sorrow’, for it is a shame when a book for children that has been through the hands of so many adults on the way to publication, still manages not to turn out well. I find ‘poor’ harsher.
I don’t know who has the final say in the awarding of stars, but I have certainly found them invaluable when choosing books for children. For this alone I would rate BfK ‘Unmissable’ and give it five stars!
3 Begonia Close, Kempshott, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG22 5RA
As a teenager, reading books was never on my 25-year-old brother’s list of things to do. And sadly, he had not read a book since leaving school.
But after a recent accident left him unable to work for a month, I gave him Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Seeing the size of the book, he complained that it would probably take him a whole year to read. But in fact, he read it in five days Then promptly phoned me asking for the next Harry Potter book – ASAP. Within another week he was onto the third book and is currently telling all his friends about Harry. So, thank you, J.K. Rowling. And long reign Harry Potter!
PO Box 972, Ayr, Queensland 4807, Australia
THE BRITISH COUNCIL
Supporting your congratulations (BfK No. 128) to Grace Kempster, newly-appointed Director of Information Services Management with the British Council, it is a sad loss to ‘children’s library services in the UK’ but not necessarily of the UK. Given the high quality of British children’s books – something my students in a shadowing group for the LA Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards know only too well – the British Council may have a role in presenting the best of current children’s literature and librarianship at the various centres (some of which include libraries) around the world. Although local factors apply so that this role is not always prioritised, it is hoped that such ‘showcasing’ may occur more often than not, especially given the Council’s developing role in English language teaching – quality material with which English language skills may be used, as it were. Certainly, such support is helpful to those of us promoting quality English-language children’s books in other countries.
Anthony Tilke (Librarian)
Yokohama International School, Japan