Now They Are Six…
Treasure Islands, Radio 4’s children’s book programme, celebrates its sixth birthday on air with a new book. Written by presenter and poet, Michael Rosen, and Jill Burridge, producer of Treasure Islands, it’s designed to help parents, teachers and librarians and young readers themselves find out more about the people who write for them. Using the interviews that they have recorded over the last six years for the programme, Michael and Jill have made each chapter of the book into a profile of a well-known author – a sort of who’s who in the children’s book world similar to BfK’s Authorgraphs. Names like Anne Fine, Dick King-Smith, Nina Bawden, Martin Waddell, Gillian Cross, Robert Swindells, Shirley Hughes, Anthony Browne, James Berry, Berlie Doherty and Quentin Blake are featured as well as favourites from the States like Rosemary Wells and Betsy Byars. At the end of every chapter is a list of the top ten titles by each of the 32 authors.
Treasure Islands is now back on the air every Wednesday afternoon at 2.45 on Radio 4, with a weekly look at topics and issues affecting children’s books. Sadly, though, you can’t catch up with the programme on a Sunday any more because the repeat has been cut. Alongside the loss of other children’s programmes with the proposed re-shaping of Radio 5 from next spring, this begins to look like a trend.
So COMPLAIN says BfK. Write in protest to Michael Green, Controller Radio 4, BBC, Broadcasting House, London W1A 1AA – remember the pressure that was brought to bear over Woman’s Hour? Treasure Islands 2, by the way, is published by BBC Books (0 563 36773 3) and costs £5.00.
Science Fiction Foundation Collection
This, the largest specialist resource of SF and related materials in Europe, is now based in the Sydney Jones Library at Liverpool University where, appropriately enough, an MA in Science Fiction Studies starts in October 1994. The Collection’s librarian/administrator is Andy Sawyer who’s already at work on creating a computerised database of the Foundation’s stock… a major resource for scholars and researchers of SF.
For further information, or to send contributions/donations, contact: Andy Sawyer, Science Fiction Foundation Collection, University of Liverpool Library, PO Box 123, Liverpool L69 3DA.
Bookchat… and a Bookcharter
One of the happiest events of last summer was a visit to BfK by Jay Heale, irrepressible and indomitable Editor of the South African children’s book magazine Bookchat, as part of his whirlwind tour of Britain and Europe. A day’s hilarious discussion suggested our two magazines have much in common… but just how much became clearer still after Jay returned home. He’s also Liaison Officer for the Southern African Children’s Book Forum, it turns out, and has issued for public consideration what he calls `an essential feature of the Democracy of our New South Africa’ –
Bill of Rights for All Children’s Books
- I, the Children’s Book in South Africa, hereby assert my right:
- to be soberly considered as an important part of the literature of our country;
- to be written free of the constraints of censorship, excessive editorial pressure, and on whatever subject matter as may appeal to my author and his or her young readers;
- to be published with careful design, typography and suitable illustration that I may appeal both to adult buyers and youthful readers, and in sufficient quantity that my price is not excessive;
- to be publicised in all forms of media in sufficient coverage that people may realise how Literature (what is actually read) is equally as important as Literacy (the ability to read);
- to be sold without the imposition of Value Added Tax;
- to be bought by educational establishments, libraries and homes from funds wisely set aside for this vital purpose;
- to be made available, where I am considered desirable by the readers concerned, in all public libraries, school libraries, teacher training colleges, classrooms, exhibitions and normal homes without any artificially imposed prescribed selection of what should or should not be on the shelf;
- and to be read by my young readers without the threat of examination, comprehension test, book report or overdue library fee.
Isn’t there a right or two here that we’d like to claim for British children’s books? Some things, it seems, are the same the world over.
Special Needs Directory 1993/94
Prepared by the National Library for the Handicapped Child for Barnicoats, the library supplier, this updated and expanded Directory is introduced by Beverley Mathias and now offers over 400 titles, ranging from picture books to young adults, which feature children ‘with a syndrome, disability, illness, learning or emotional difficulty’. The list, of course, is intended not just for the children above but for every youngster. It comes categorised, indexed and fully annotated. At only £1.00 it’s superb value… and what school can do without it?
Available from Barnicoats, Parkengue, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EP (tel: 0326 372628).
Initiatives To Catch The Eye
In these days of recession and cutting-back, almost any new initiative in the children’s book world is to be welcomed. When the initiative looks lively and interesting in its own right, then it’s time, perhaps, to break into full-scale celebration. So here are two bubbly-deserving enterprises that have caught BfK’s attention recently:
Described as ‘a new and exciting picture book list which celebrates the poetic tradition of myth and fairy tale’ Tessa Strickland’s company launched itself in September with The Birds Who Flew Beyond Time (by Anne Baring and Thetis Blacker, 1898000 00 X, £9.99), a classic Persian allegorical tale, and The Mountains of Tibet (by Mordicai Gerstein, 1898000 45 X, £9.99), a children’s version of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Also published in September was the Barefoot Mini Classic series which includes titles by Carroll, Kipling, Macdonald and Nesbit. Clearly a list to watch.
For more information contact Gail Lynch or Charlotte Eitenberg at Colman Getty on 071 439 1783.
Also worth attention is this Kent-based bookseller, established in 1987 and offering increasingly specific services to schools with pre-selected packages to support a variety of themes and subjects – mainly for primary schools but with collections for secondary schools also available. Run by Liz George and Albany Bilbe, both experienced teachers who maintain their links with education through INSET and lecturing, the company is well aware of National Curriculum requirements… and that these need to be interpreted in a book-loving context. Why, their programmes of work even look enjoyable!
Ring 0732 885063 or write to Oastdene, Ismays Road, Igtham, Kent TN15 9BD for full details .
CONFERENCES ON OFFER
Federation Of Children’s Book Groups 26th Annual Conference
Edinburgh Conference Centre, Heriot-Watt University
25-27 March 1994
Bridges and Barriers
What makes a book successful in translation?
What is the status of children’s books in other countries?
What are the cultural and commercial bridges and barriers?
Speakers include Joan Lingard, Michael Morpurgo, Robert Leeson, Anthea Bell, Christine Baker, Jane Churchill, Nicholas Durbridge and Linda Pooley of Copyrights.
Plus Exhibitions and Bookshop – The Announcement of the 1994 Children’s Book Award Shortlist – Conference Dinner and traditional Scottish ceilidh.
For programme and booking details, write to Rowena Knox, 17 West Savile Terrace, Edinburgh EH9 3DY, enclosing an SAE.
The Work of Tove Jansson Conference, August 7 – 10, 1994
To mark the occasion of Tove Jansson’s birthday, the Finnish Institute for Children’s Literature, which is the only body responsible for documentation, information and research concerning children’s literature in Finland, is organising an international, conference at Tampere, Finland.
The programme includes visits to the ‘Moominvalley’ collection in Tampere City Library, which contains Tove Jansson’s original illustrations for her Moomin books (nearly 1,000 ink drawings and watercolours) and to the Tampere Art Museum where a large number of her paintings will be exhibited.
The Finnish Institute for Children’s Literature welcomes everybody interested in Tove Janssen’s work and details can be obtained from Mrs Elina Laurikainen, Finnish Institute for Children’s Literature, Puutarhakatu 2D-E, Fin 33100, Tampere (tel: int. code + 358 31 212 1936; fax 358 31 212 2178).
Edited by Keith Barker for the Library Association’s Youth Libraries Group, Graphic Account (0 946581 16 9) celebrates what Philip Pullman calls in his leading article ‘works of substantial length in comic-strip format, with frames, speech bubbles, captions and all the rest of the comic-strip apparatus’. It’s essential reading for everyone interested in this growing publishing phenomenon… and even more essential for everyone who, so far, has not been interested in what Philip Pullman insists is ‘a new art form’. With contributions from John Wilkins and Mel Gibson reinforcing Andy Sawyer’s select listing of more than 100 currently available titles (as well as a useful bibliography of critical works) here’s a graphic account indeed of what many would regard as the most creative of current experiments in combining word and image. Not to be missed, says BfK.
Available from Remploy Ltd, London Road, Newcastle, Staffs ST5 1RX (tel: 0782 711300) priced £12.10.