Book Trust – Farewell to The Children’s Book Foundation
Alas, it’s goodbye to Wendy Cooling and the CBF. Both are casualties of the re-organised Book Trust, under its new Chief Executive, Beverly Anderson, in response to the major projected financial deficit for 1993/1994.
The good news, of course, is that Beverly Anderson’s own track record as an educationist committed to children’s books and the promotion of children’s reading is exemplary. The bad news – or what could turn out to be the bad news – is that the Book Trust remit, which covers publishers, booksellers, writers, librarians and readers, is so broad. Without the Children’s Book Foundation as a separate entity to combat it, the depressingly familiar marginalisation of children’s books in the nation’s cultural consciousness looks more likely than ever. If any one person can reverse this tendency then Beverly Anderson can. Let’s hope, though, she hasn’t under-estimated the pressure she’ll be under to attend to other, higher status, imperatives.
And let’s thank Wendy Cooling for her success in raising the profile of the CBF during her time as Director … and wish her well in her new, freelance career. She can be contacted at 41A Highbury Hill, London N5 1SU (tel: 071359 0761).
A newcomer on the publishing scene but with a starry look already thanks to the Dent backlist (which includes The Borrowers), Orion Children’s Books Ltd was launched in September with a dozen titles that include Kevin Crossley-Holland’s The Labours of Herakles (185881009 4, £8.99) and Margaret Mahy’s Tick Tock Tales (185881004 3, £9.99) along with Antonia Fraser’s Robin Hood (185881002 7) and King Arthur (185881003 5) both at £9.99. Since the Managing Director is the redoubtable Judith Elliott, success looks assured. `We’ll be market-led, of course, in terms of providing books children really want,’ she says, `but also boldwe hope, in offering original, enjoyable books from within the perspective of a mainstream publishing house that’s radical and innovative in its approach.’ For a catalogue, contact Orion Publishing Group, Orion House, 5 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9EH (tel: 071240 3444).
Back to School … and Back to Books
There’s no shortage of book promotion opportunities this autumn, BfK is glad to report. Below, with details for follow-up, are some of them.
The National Literacy Association’s 99 by 99 Campaign aims to ensure that ‘by 1999, 99% of children will be leaving school with adequate literacy’. This, the organisers point out, is not just a matter for schools but concerns us all – parents and employers as much as reading and writing ‘professionals’. Pledges are invited to take on specific activities to promote literacy . . . from sharing books with particular children to writing a letter to local MPs enlisting their support.
Contact: National Literacy Association, 5 Airspeed Road, Priory Industrial Park, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 4HD (tel: 0425 272232).
Centenary Celebrations at The Book Room
Birmingham’s specialist children’s bookshop and library supplier, which has done business with local schools since Victorian days, was 100 years old in June. The company’s strong connections with The Federation of Children’s Book Groups, with Ragdoll Productions and Books For Your Children magazine are all worthy of note … and, not surprisingly, the shop often bustles with parents and teachers. Nearly 200 guests attended the Centenary Celebration evening in June. There’s a special 28-page souvenir brochure offered on request from The Book Room, 7 Carrs Lane, Birmingham B4 7TG (tel: 021 643 9235).
A Move for Charles Wilson Ltd
Founder members of the School Bookshop Association and booksellers to over 400 school bookshops in 27 years, Charles Wilson of Liverpool have recently made some changes. A move from 46 Renshaw Street after 64 years, linked to the retirement of David and Angela Stewart, means new premises and a new generation – Stephen Stewart is now in charge at 55 Seymour Terrace, Liverpool L3 5PE.
Good luck, Stephen, says BfK … and a happy retirement to David and Angela who’ve been tireless supporters of this magazine since it was first launched.
Lancashire County Library/Nat West Bank Children’s Book of the Year Award 1993
Salamandastron by Brian Jacques, Hutchinson, 0 09 176433 5, £12.99
Gulf by Robert Westall, Methuen, 0 416 18590 8, £9.99; Mammoth, 0 7497 1472 7, £2.99 pbk
Underworld by Peter Beere, Scholastic, 0 590 55006 3, £7.99
Presented back in June, the Award was judged by a panel of children representing 14 schools (one from every district in Lancashire) under the chairmanship of Hazel Townson. For the first time in the competition’s seven-year history, the Award was shared jointly.
Children’s Book Week
Sponsored once again by the Daily Telegraph, this takes place from 2-9 October kicking off with a spectacular event at Eureka! the Museum for Children in Halifax on 2nd October. Children, teachers, authors, illustrators and celebrities will build The Book Power Tower of 1,993 books which can be won by a lucky primary and secondary school for their libraries. Other events include Readathon (which raises money for charity), the Book Bus Roadshow and events in schools, libraries and bookshops nationwide.
Contact: Andrea Marks Public Relations on 081 958 4398 or send s.a.e. to the Daily Telegraph Children’s Book Week, Dept. AMPR, Laburnum House, 1 Spring Villa Road, Edgware, Middlesex HA8 7EB.
National Library Week
takes place from 1-7 November with coverage on BBC Radio 2 in the form of interviews, features and outside broadcasts. Also News International will be working with Collins Children’s Books in sponsoring a national children’s competition launched last July in public libraries … where, along with schools, prisons, colleges and companies, a huge range of regional events will be on offer.
The centrally organised national events include a new opinion poll about libraries; a public debate chaired by Melvyn Bragg; a photographic competition; a major launch with a celebrity ‘trading places’ with a librarian and a Community Initiative Award ‘highlighting the pivotal social role libraries play’. Amen to that, says BfK.
Contact: Donna MacLean, Library Association, 7 Ridgmount Street, London WCIE 7AE (tel: 071 636 7543).
Kick-starts from Cornwall
With over 50 years of experience in professional librarianship between them, who better than Christina Dyer, Jan Newton and Julie Webster of Cornwall Education Library Services, to answer two key questions? They are:
‘Can you suggest some hooks to interest an able but reluctant reader?’
‘Can you suggest some hooks that might suit an older child who finds reading difficult?’
The list they came up with, after looking at thousands of titles, is aimed at the teachers, parents and librarians who may be desperate for an answer. About 150 titles are included from the junior age-range upwards including some non-fiction. For a free copy, contact Jan Newton, Education Library Services, Library and Arts HQ, Old County Hall, Station Road, Truro, Cornwall (tel: 0872 74282).
Barnicoats, the independent library supplier helped with the design and production of the catalogue and you can also obtain it from them by speaking to Helen Carlyle on 0326 372628.
Posters from YLG
This time concentrating on teenagers, the latest batch of posters is now available from the Youth Libraries Group – a set of six, size A3, in full-colour, costs £17.00 from Remploy, London Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs ST5 I RX.