£500,000 boosts Bookstart
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced new funding of £500,000 to significantly boost the future development of Bookstart, a national programme begun in 1992 which gives free books plus reading advice and support to parents and carers of 7-9 month old babies. Bookstart Plus schemes in some areas have extended this to babies of 18 months and 2-3 years.
The Foyle Foundation announces a three-year sponsorship of the Poetry Society’s Young Poets of the Year Award
The Foyle Foundation, established under the terms of the will of the late Christina Foyle, is to sponsor The Poetry Society’s Young Poets of the Year Award for young writers between the ages of 11 and 18.
As part of their prize, 15 overall winners will spend a week tutored by this year’s judges, Matthew Sweeney and one other poet (still to be confirmed), at the Arvon Foundation’s centre at Lumb Bank. For young writers this is a wonderful opportunity to develop their writing under the guidance of professional writers and gain an insight into all aspects of poetry. The winners also get to see their poems in print in a specially published anthology.
For further information about the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award telephone 020 7420 9894 or visit www.poetrysociety.org.uk
Library Science Clubs
The Library Association’s Frontiers Science in Libraries campaign is encouraging library-based out of hours study support groups to become Frontiers Science Clubs. Since the launch of the clubs project in January, 50 groups have signed up with many more expected throughout the spring.
Study support groups and homework clubs, whether in public or in school libraries, have an important role to play in encouraging young people in their studies. The Frontiers Science Clubs project provides resource packs for club leaders and a website (www.frontiersclub.org.uk) has been specially developed for Frontiers Science Club members to take part in on-line activities. Further information from Philippa Perry, tel: 020 7247 9695; fax: 020 7247 6069; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Young Oxford Encyclopedia of Science to be corrected
Following a review in BfK No.133 by Professor Felix Pirani, Emeritus Professor of Rational Mechanics at the University of London, which pinpointed ‘many mistakes and erroneous simplifications’, OUP have acknowledged the need for corrections and revisions in their The Young Oxford Encyclopedia of Science which, they say, will be implemented on reprint. The BfK reviewer followed up his review by sending an extensive list of the mistakes and misleading statements contained in this volume to the publisher. OUP are to be congratulated for their ready acknowledgement of the need for corrections and for the seriousness with which they have taken the comments made by Professor Pirani and his colleague, Dr Margi Johnson. This incident underlines the importance of the reviewing of children’s non-fiction by subject specialists whenever possible.
Children’s Books into Movies
Philip Pullman’s trilogy, ‘His Dark Materials’, is to be filmed following a deal between New Line, producer of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and Scholastic Entertainment US. Meanwhile, BBC Online reports that the Harry Potter movie has become the second most successful film to date after Titanic.
Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of Children’s Writers
Celebrating a century of children’s literature, this exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London from 15 May–26 August 2002 features popular writers and writer-illustrators who have created some of our most enduring children’s stories spanning the period from 1902, when Beatrix Potter had her first book published, until the present day. The exhibition features approximately 65 exhibits in a variety of media. Although the majority of the portraits are photographic, the exhibition also includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and original manuscripts. Highlights include Beatrix Potter, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Kenneth Grahame, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Raymond Briggs and J K Rowling. The exhibition is curated by Gyles Brandreth, author and broadcaster, and Michele Brown, writer and children’s publisher. A book, written by Julia Eccleshare, with a foreword by Anne Fine, accompanies the exhibition. Admission free.
Magic Carpets: An International Perspective on Children’s Books
This conference organised by The Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group of The Society of Authors takes place from Friday 13 – Sunday 15 September 2002 at Bodington Hall, University of Leeds. Speakers will include Anthony Browne, Isobelle Carmody (Australia), Anne Fine, Klaus Flugge, Adèle Geras, Hugh Lupton, Beverley Naidoo, Philip Pullman, Tony Ross and Jane Yolen (USA). Parallel sessions will be held by Evelyn Coleman (USA), Julia Donaldson, Ann Jungman, Diana and Steve Kimpton, Robin Kingsland, Elizabeth Laird, Gillian McClure, Shoo Rayner and a speaker from the British Council. Further information from Enid Stephenson, 9 Garden Terrace, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8BL; email: email@example.com
May the Myth Be Your Muse
Organised by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, this international children’s literature conference will take place on the Greek island of Hydra from Thursday 30 May – Sunday 2 June. Topics covered include Humour in Children’s Books, an Art Director panel, Writing for Boys, Walking near the Edge – Risky Picture Books, Taking Children’s Literature to the Screen, etc., and those attending include Tony Ross, Diane Duane, Paddy Bouma, and editors and art directors from Hodder, Oxford, Walker and HarperCollins. Fee including three nights in a shared double hotel room, most meals and the conference, starts at 368 Euros (approx. £250, or $330 US). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a registration form or visit the conference web site at www.geocities.com/scbwi_hydra/program.htm
Inspired by Place
Professor Kimberley Reynolds and Nicholas Tucker will be running two ten-day conducted residential tours this summer, concentrating on places that inspired some of the best loved children’s literature classics. Those attending will also have the chance to meet a number of Britain’s most distinguished living writers and illustrators in their own homes. Based in historic Lewes, Sussex, but with a three-day stay either in an Oxford or Cambridge college, sightseeing is combined with learning more about authors and illustrators both old and new. More details from www.literarylandscapes.com
Mary Tapissier, Managing Director of Hodder Children’s Books, has been appointed Chair of the division.
Judith Elliott, currently Managing Director and publisher of Orion Children’s Books of which she is also co-founder, is to take up a new role as Chair of the division. She will work part time at the end of the year although she will continue to be actively involved with her authors.
Richard Scrivener has been appointed Publisher of Scholastic Children’s Books.
Lisa Edwards, Senior Commissioning Editor at Scholastic, has been appointed Editorial Director Non-Fiction.
Helen Dunning, formerly Publicity Manager at Puffin Books, is now working as a freelance children’s publicist and can be contacted at email@example.com or 01743 341252.
Harvey Darton Award 2000-2001
This prize ‘for a distinguished contribution to the history of English children’s literature’ is awarded biennially by the Children’s Books History Society to a book, published in English, which extends our knowledge of some aspect of British children’s literature of the past. The fifth award, covering books published during 2000 and 2001, has been awarded to Nigel Tattersfield’s John Bewick: Engraver on Wood 1760-1795 published in London by The British Library and Newcastle DE by Oak Knoll Press 2001. The judges recognized that this meticulous and scholarly work was an important contribution to the history of early children’s books, being the first to establish John Bewick as an artist-engraver in his own right. Largely overshadowed by his brother Thomas and his superlative wood engravings of animals and birds, John Bewick was one of the earliest designer-engravers in England, engraving books and contributing illustrations and engravings to no less than 60 titles, mostly children’s books, before his tragically early death. Nigel Tattersfield was able to draw upon unpublished correspondence which has come to light during the last few years.
Highly commended were Wayne Hammond’s Arthur Ransome: A Bibliography (Oak Knoll Press), Rosemary Auchmuty and Joy Wotton’s Encyclopaedia of School Stories (Ashgate), Dawn and Peter Cope’s Postcards from the Nursery: 1900-1950 (New Cavendish Books).
The Stockton Children’s Book of the Year 2002
This award has been won by Michael Lawrence for The Killer Underpants (Orchard). The runners-up were Richard Kidd’s Deadly Famous (Corgi Yearling), Philip Ardagh’s Awful End (Faber), C C Chessell’s Uncle Edward and the Egg (Poolbeg Press) and Stephen Elboz’s A Land Without Magic (OUP).
South Lanarkshire Council Book Award 2002
Tim Bowler has won the fourth annual South Lanarkshire Council Book Award for his book Storm Catchers (OUP). The winner was chosen by pupils from secondary schools throughout the area. The other shortlisted titles were (Un)arranged Marriage by Bali Rai (Transworld), In Flame by Gaye Hiçyilmaz (Faber), and Red Velvet by Carol Hedges (OUP).
John Rowe Townsend writes…
Virginia Hamilton was a force in American children’s literature for over 30 years, and took a leading role in establishing a place in the forefront for black writers. She was born and bred on a farm in the small town of Yellow Springs, Ohio; her grandfather, Levi Perry, was an escaped slave. She lived for a time in New York, married the poet Arnold Adoff, and later returned with him and their children to Yellow Springs, to remain there for the rest of her life. Both regional and racial roots went deep, yet one of her great strengths was universality; readers of all backgrounds recognised themselves and their feelings in her books.
Her first book, Zeely, in 1967, made an immediate impression. In it a young girl on holiday in the country encounters the beautiful and regal Zeely and sees her in make-believe as a Watutsi queen. Actually Zeely is a tall girl who looks after hogs. But perhaps the illusion has not been totally illusion; perhaps she is queen as well as pig-keeper. The Planet of Junior Brown (1971) was a kind of magic realism: a startlingly original book about ‘planets’ of homeless boys dotted around a big city. With M C Higgins the Great (1974), an equally strange but compelling novel about a wild youth whose retreat is atop a forty-foot pole on the side of a mountain, she won a cluster of top awards and recognition of an outstanding talent. Later novels, including A Little Love (1984) and Cousins (1990), though still distinguished, did not make so great an impression, perhaps because so much was expected. She also published many books of traditional tales, notably The People Could Fly in 1985.