Celebrate Book Power! Children’s Book Week
What are you planning for the autumn? It may seem early to ask the question, but Children’s Book Week (an annual initiative of Book Trust, sponsored for the third year running by the Daily Telegraph) runs from the 8th to 15th October and information is now making its way into schools all over the country.
Over 6,000 schools and hundreds of bookshops and libraries participated last year. Schools who enrol will receive a bumper pack of free materials at the beginning of the autumn term, including posters, bookmarks, stickers, Readathon sponsorship forms and a handbook of ideas and activities to interest children of all ages.
Schools are encouraged to make Readathon the centrepiece of their book weeks. The national charity which encourages children to read recreationally by raising money for sick children is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, with an aim of raising over £1-million for the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund and the Roald Dahl Foundation.
Readathon Live! events will take place in bookshops, libraries and on the Book Bus, and a calendar of public activities will be available in September. School parties are invited to visit the Children’s Book Week reading and advice centre at the BBC Big Bash Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham from 6th to 9th October, which will include a number of initiatives to entertain and inform children and teachers about books and reading.
Enrolment leaflets are included in this issue of BfK (overseas subscribers excluded). All schools enrolling before 30th June will enter a draw to win one of ten sets of the 22-volume 1994 international edition World Book Encyclopedia, each worth £529. [See Nick Tucker’s article on page 22 for more information on this publication.]
Mind Boggling Books Award 1994
Organised by W H Smith for the best children’s book published in paperback for the 9-12 age-group … and judged by a panel of ten children aged 9-12. The winner is Hacker by Malorie Blackman (Doubleday, 0 385 40378 3, £8.99; Corgi, 0 552 527513, £2.99 pbk). Wendy Cooling talked about Malorie’s work in an article called `Rising Stars’ in the last issue of BfK. Nice to know we agree with the kids.
FREEBIES FROM BfK…
Well, via BfK, to be strictly accurate. On offer, free of charge while stocks last, are the following:
Design and Technology – A Penguin Booklist
How can a classic work of children’s fiction like The Borrowers help in design and technology education? To find out – along with many other suggestions for incorporating books into your school’s D & T curriculum – contact Emma Judge on 071416 3000, ext. 2433, at Puffin Books, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ.
Hearsay Performance Poems
From Bodley Head, a tape of selected reading to publicise their new series, edited by Paul Beasley and launched last month. It’s a neat promotional idea that’s well worth encouraging … so deluge them with requests addressed to Hearsay Tapes Offer, PO Box 1375, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA.
From Hutchinson, a poster to promote Jane Hissey’s latest (see this issue’s Authorgraph and front cover) showing Old Bear plus friends, new and old, in full colour. Postcards, with your name and address, to Ruff Poster Offer, Children’s Publicity, PO Box 1375, London SW1V 2JA.
Not free, this one, but worth every penny … See Hear!
A guide to audio-visual resources in the primary school – Chris Routh’s beautifully produced listing of story and video cassettes, picture and photo-packs, posters, multi-media packs and slide sets. It’s not exhaustive but gives a flavour of the kind of material currently available … backed up with sound advice about how best to implement it in the primary classroom. Available, at £2.95 (inc. p&p), from Reading and Language Information Centre, University of Reading, Bulmershe Court, Earley, Reading, RG6 1HY, or phone 0734 318820.
The Summer Season for these is now upon us. Here, in diary order, are brief notes about what’s on offer with addresses for further details:
Dublin Writers’ Museum, 13-15 May.
Features Gillian Cross, P J Lynch, Margaret Meek, Roger McGough … Contact Church of Ireland College of Education, 96 Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin 6, Ireland (tel: 01970033, fax: 01970878). Be quick, though!
The CBC Conference
Cumberland Hotel, London on 1 June.
Details still to be fixed but centred on the children’s book today, its position within the wider market place, and its likely future. Contact Anna Trenter at Hamish Hamilton (071416 3100) or David Morton at Random House (071973 9000) for further details.
Homerton College, Cambridge, 2-4 September.
Features Victor Watson, Geoff Fox, Jan Mark, Jill Paton Walsh, Jackie Kay … and, in its optional sessions, an impressive line-up of seminar leaders, e.g. John Rowe Townsend and Satoshi Kitamura. Contact Eve Bearne, Homerton College, Cambridge CB2 2PH. Applicants are advised to get in touch as soon as possible.
WORCESTER CHILDREN’S LITERATURE CONFERENCE
The Conference Centre, Worcester College, 29 and 30 July
Features Aidan Chambers, Alison Leonard, Peter Hunt and Wendy Stone. Contact In-Service Office, Worcester College of Higher Education, Henwick Grove, Worcester WR2 6AJ (tel. 0905 748089).
Your ferocious phone-caller (who complained of your cover on BfK No.83 reproducing Bodley Head’s new jacket for my book Over Sea, Under Stone) sounds like that Times letter-writer of long ago who signed himself ‘Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells’. He called the picture, ‘Occult exhibitionism’? Oh come now, Disgusted. Andrew Skilleter’s jacket is scary, but so, I hope, is the part of the story it represents.
A child sees a book, in library or bookshop or even supermarket. Nine times out of ten, it’s the jacket that will induce him or her to pick up the book and investigate its contents. A good jacket, it seems to me, should simultaneously reflect truthfully the nature of the story and shout at the child, ‘Pick me up!’. These days, after all, it has to compete with a lot of other visual shouts, from the television screen, from the computer, from video games.
In the last few years I’ve lived through three reissues of the five ‘Dark is Rising’ books, from three different publishers, two British, one American: that’s 15 new jackets. I grumbled at a few, but only if I thought the drawing was bad or if it showed something that wasn’t in the actual book (which kids resent). Most of the 15 were powerful and dramatic: more frightening than earlier jackets, but less frightening than the images a modern child can see every day on the TV news. The acceptable Fright Factor, like everything else (except perhaps Disgusted), has adjusted itself to 1994.
But children themselves are as resilient as they’ve always been. I’ve been hearing variations of the same reaction for 25 years, from the Everychild who goes from the jacket to the text of one of the ‘Dark is Rising’ books. ‘I liked that bit in the dark,’ he (or she) says. ‘I was scared!’
And he/she grins, happily.
WHAT KATY REALLY DID
BfK‘s third crisp fiver for Kid Lit Howlers goes to David Lewis, of Exeter, Devon. He sent us the following mis-print from the Armada Classics edition of Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did at School:
‘They went upstairs. Some girls, who were peeing over the baluster, hurried away at their approach. Mrs Florence shook her head at them.
“The first day is always one of licence,” she said…’
David Lewis comments, ‘I can’t believe it was an accidental error and strongly suspect a naughty operative somewhere along the type-setting line.’ Lovely thought! Any more howlers, anyone?