Save or Delete
J K Rowling, Anne Fine and Philip Pullman are among a number of best-selling authors who have responded to demands from Greenpeace to help protect ancient forests by undertaking to demand that their books be printed on paper from sustainable forestry projects or on recycled material. Given the ever increasing length of some recent highly promoted titles (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a whopping 768 pages), this is just as well. It has been estimated that printing 2.5 million copies (the number of copies sold in Britain) of Harry’s latest adventure using the greenest methods and on recycled paper would save 89,000 trees, enough water to fill 105 Olympic sized swimming pools, the production of greenhouse gases equivalent to a car being driven 8 million miles and electricity to power an average home for 610 years. Sadly, no calculation has been made of the number of torch batteries needed to read 768 pages under the duvet. Further information about Greenpeace’s Save or Delete campaign may be had from
The Impact of Potter
According to the Bookseller, the trade journal of the publishing industry, the Potter sales phenomenon is benefiting the whole children’s market. While Harry Potter accounts for a large part of the 22% growth in value since 1998 in the general retail market, outperforming overall market growth of 12%, titles other than Harry also outperformed the market increasing sales by 15%. Harry sales grew from 1998 to 2000 by £24 million. With no new Harry title last year, sales in the general retail market declined by £13 million. But the children’s market grew overall, ie sales migrated to other titles. The children’s market has indeed grown!
University College Worcester has appointed Professor Judith Elkin Vice Principal. Judith was previously Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Information and English at the University of Central England. A children’s book expert, she is also the compiler of BfK’s A Multicultural Guide to Children’s Books.
Jonathan Douglas has been appointed Head of Learning and Access at Resource, the Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives. He was previously Adviser for School and Youth Libraries at CILIP.
Congratulations to Miriam Hodgson who is the winner of the 2003 Eleanor Farjeon Award for services to children’s literature. She is a much respected editor and has worked with some of the finest children’s authors around, including Michael Morpurgo, Robert Westall, Anne Fine, Jamila Gavin, Theresa Breslin, Annie Dalton and Jenny Nimmo.
At Hodder Children’s Books Anne McNeil has been promoted to Publishing Director, Fiction and Picture Books. Leilani Clark has been appointed Editor, Picture Books. Anne Clark has been promoted to Publishing Director, Non-fiction and Wayland, Maurice Lyon and Vicky Brooker Wayland Publishers and Katie Sergeant Project Editor. Margaret Conroy has been promoted to Publishing Director, Audio and Licensed Publishing. Geraldine Stroud has been appointed Head of Publicity; she was previously Publicity Manager at Egmont Books.
Miffy at the Library
Dick Bruna’s classic storybook character, Miffy, is helping to promote early reading skills to pre-school children in a new, interactive art and book event at libraries in Manchester, London and Reading. ‘Miffy at the Library’ uses pictures, storytelling and craft activities to help children discover the joys of books within a reading environment. Visually impaired children will also have the chance to join in, as special storytelling sessions will be held using some of the Miffy books published in braille. For further information and venues visit www.miffy.com
The hundredth and final issue of Signal – a bumper issue which includes a lively piece from ex-Children’s Laureate, Anne Fine – is now available for sale to non-subscribers (£17.50 post free) from Thimble Press, Lockwood, Station Road, Woodchester, Stroud, Glos. GL5 5EQ, tel: 01453 755566.
Safe Reads [ie. very good!] is an annotated guide to books for teenagers. Available free (+ accompanying poster) from Tower Hamlets Children’s Library Service (tel: 020 7247 9510).
The Guardian Fiction Award
Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (David Fickling Books) is the winner of the 2003 award. Published on an adult as well as on a children’s list, it is genuinely a ‘crossover’ book. Chair of judges, Julia Eccleshare, commented: ‘It has equal, though different appeal to all readers – 15-year-old Christopher Boone’s narrative voice is at once childlike in its observations and adult in its profundity.’ The runners-up were David Almond’s The Fire-Eaters (Hodder), Kevin Brooks’ Lucas (The Chicken House) and Alex Shearer’s The Speed of the Dark (Macmillan).
Sainsbury’s Baby Book Award
Sainsbury’s Baby Book Award Baby has been won by Sam Lloyd’s Happy Dog, Sad Dog (Little Tiger Press). Wendy Cooling, Chair of the judging panel, said: ‘We loved this book for its simple use of text and its fun illustrations. Ultimately it has been selected as the winning book for the enjoyment it offers very young children.’ The other shortlisted titles were Roger Priddy’s Baby Activity Centre (Priddy Books), Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells’s That’s Not My Bear (Usborne), Dorling Kindersley Team’s Baby Fun: Five in the Bed (Dorling Kindersley), Lara Jones’s Goodnight Poppy Cat (Campbell Books) and Amanda Wood and Fiona Macmillan’s Baby Boo! (Templar).
The Spoken Word Awards 2003
The Gold Award in the Children’s 6 and Under category was won jointly by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Room on the Broom, which is read by Josie Lawrence, and by Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry’s Stinkbomb, read by Miranda Richardson. Competition for Children’s Over 6 was very strong but in the end Mark Haddon’s highly praised novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won gold. It also took the award for Production and went on to be voted Audio Book of the Year. Silver in the Children’s Over 6 category went to the BBC Radio Collection’s dramatisation of Philip Pullman’s prize-winning ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy. The Gold Award for Children’s Classic Fiction went to Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang read by Andrew Sachs.
Wirral Paperback of the Year
Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses is the winner of the Wirral Paperback of the Year. The award was started to give young people from Years 8 and 9 the chance to read exciting new fiction, and have their voices heard by choosing their favourite book. Eight Wirral schools participated in this year’s judging process.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The Quentin Blake Europe School Naming Party
I thought your readers would be interested to know that a school in Germany is now named after one of the UK’s leading children’s book illustrators. A high over Germany called ‘Quentin’ on the weather map seemed an appropriate omen for the naming party for the Quentin Blake Europe School. Quentin himself and Ghislaine Kenyon from the National Gallery arrived in Berlin the day before in torrential rain. This in no way dampened any spirits and the reception party at Tegel Airport gave the guests a hearty welcome. Characters from Quentin’s books presented flowers and the cheerleaders performed the specially composed ‘Quentin Blake Rap’.
There followed two days of amazingly sunny weather. As well as champagne receptions for the VIPs, there was a big playground concert and party. The speeches and performances were constantly interrupted by Mrs Armitage (or rather her German doppelganger) riding up on her bike and demanding to speak to Mr Blake – ‘not now Mrs Armitage!’ There was a gigantic three tier papier-mâché cake with fireworks on the top, a performance of the school song ‘Children of the Dream’, a moving speech by Quentin, the unveiling of a plaque with the new logo for the school building, followed by the playground party. The next day Quentin took a drawing session in front of the whole school and afterwards planted a chestnut tree in the playground. Finally, in a moment of total magic, the children released three hundred and seventy blue and yellow balloons into a royal blue sky!
All these experiences produced so much excitement, warmth, laughter, untold learning experiences, and were the rewards for a year of preparation and eight weeks of intense work. But the crowning feature was Quentin Blake, who gave us a new school logo, many books, memorable artwork, and most importantly, himself. His warmth, his modesty, his ability to talk to everybody from the British Ambassador to the small child wanting an autograph, his co-operation in everything we planned, was a wonderful gift. We gave him our school, but he won our hearts too. Hurray for Mr Quentin Blake’s new school!
Here is the Quentin Blake Rap, by Anni Nicholson (4.1):
1) Quentin Blake you’re our man.
Every child here is your fan.
2) We’re so happy that you came
and proud to give our school your name.
3) Quentin Blake, you are the best.
It’s great to have you as our guest.
4) Mister Blake, we think it’s cool,
that you have come here to our school.
5) England’s not so far away,
you’re welcome back here any day.
6) We’re sorry, that you can’t stay long,
but hope, that you enjoyed our song.
Theresa Heine, The Quentin Blake Europe School, Berlin