Books Holding Their Own
Rumours about the death of the book have been greatly exaggerated. Well, that’s according to the business information company, Key Note, in a report issued earlier this year. Here’s what they say in their press release:
‘A survey conducted by Gallup revealed that most people would rather turn a page than plug in a CD, and just 9% of over 1,000 people questioned said that they would be likely to read a book in a multi-media format. While no one would expect older people to be keen to jump on the technology band-wagon – only 4% of the over 65s said that they would tackle reading a multi-media book – young people were similarly unenthusiastic – just 10% of 16-24 year-olds said that they would have a go.
‘Television and video – often cited as the arch enemies of the book – can spur the square-eyed to reach for the latest Joanna Trollope or a literary classic. 17% of those questioned in the survey said that they would be likely to buy a book having watched a TV or film adaptation. Young people were much more likely to be inspired by the big screen – and a quarter of 16-34 year-olds said that they would be tempted by a TV adaptation, compared to 9% of the over 64s.’
Not much here to surprise BfK readers, perhaps, even if it’s nice to have confirming facts and figures. For the full report, called UK Publishing, contact St John Farley or Clare Williams Fannin on 0181 783 0755. Since it’ll set purchasers back a cool £375, though, maybe we’ll take their word for it.
100 BEST BOOKS 1995
It’s trim, smartly presented, lucid and carefully age-ranged. Also, at a quid a copy – thanks to the financial support of Marks & Spencer and the Scottish Arts Council -excellent value for money. So don’t miss this publication by Young Book Trust under its new head, Lindsey Fraser.
In addition, this guide to the best paperback fiction for children (between 0 and 12+ years) published last year offers a complete list of children’s book prize-winners for 1994 and the personal choices of guest critics Tony Bradman, Nichole Carmichael, Julia Eccleshare, Anne Fine, Steve Hocking and Michael Rosen.
So far, so good – indeed, so very good. Doesn’t it make you long for those more opulent and expansive days of Children’s Books of the Year, though, when that unsung hero Klaus Flugge, of Andersen Press, provided so much of the funding? Well, yes. It does actually. In these straitened times, however, this will do nicely.
100 Best Books 1995: The Big Stories for Children (0 85353 455 1) is available from bookshops and libraries throughout the country or from Young Book Trust in London on 0181 870 9055/8 or Edinburgh on 0131 229 3663.
HELP AT HAND
Cannily, this list – compiled by Judith Wilkinson of Leicestershire Libraries – isn’t just subtitled ‘a selection of books to help young children deal with special situations’ but goes on to say ‘and to appreciate how other people feel when they have problems or worries’. It’s a straightforward aide-memoire which covers issues as specific as going to the dentist and as general as being ‘different’. It doesn’t claim to be exhaustive or evaluative, and is all the more welcome for its total lack of pretension and the sensible advice it offers. It was designed and produced by Peters Library Service who’ve already distributed their print-run … so cross your fingers and ask for it, free of charge, at your local library.
Also available, free of charge, from Peters Library Service is a poster for teenage readers showing their hero, Terry Pratchett, looming – just about – over a huge pile of his books. For this, send an A4 envelope, stamped and addressed, to Peters Library Service Ltd, 120 Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham B5 6RL.
DIRECTORY OF STORYTELLERS
So, you’d like a professional storyteller to visit your school … who, though? What kind of stories? How large should the audience be? These, and other questions, are answered in The Directory of Storytellers which provides full information about more than 150 professionals, nationwide, with details about how they can be contacted, as well as advice on making their visit a success. Big names include Pie Corbett, Ben Haggerty, Grace Hallworth, Mary Medlicott, Betty and Harold Rosen … all with a description of their approach and background.
Copies of the Directory retail at £10.00 (half price to society members) plus £1.00 p&p, from Tina Tilbe, The Society for Storytelling, 12 Belle Avenue, Reading, Berks RG6 2BL (tel. 01734 665983).
The Winner of the 1995 Children’s Book Award is Harriet’s Hare
by Dick King-Smith published by Doubleday (0 385 405324, £8.99).
Voted the most popular book for 1995 by over 60,000 children in Britain, this award, with its magnificent trophy in oak and silver, was presented to Dick King-Smith as the overall winner.
The two runners-up were The Rascally Cake by Jeanne Willis, ill. Korky Paul (Andersen, 0 86364 477 1, £8.99) in the Picture Book category, and Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (Pan Macmillan, 0 330 33000 4, £2.99) in the Longer Novel category.
ELEANOR FARJEON AWARD
The winner for 1995 is Helen Paiba
For 20 years Helen transformed her bookshop at Muswell Hill, in North London into a Mecca for lovers of quality literature for children. She certainly represents the true spirit and passion of the independent bookseller and is a worthy recipient of this prestigious award.
Helen has continually fought for quality in all areas of book production and was a pioneer of the successful campaign to obtain a 10% discount for all educational establishments. She’s served on many award panels and committees, including the Children’s Book Circle, who are responsible for the administration of the Eleanor Farjeon Award.
Congratulations from everyone at BfK.
MIND BOGGLING BOOKS AWARD 1995
goes to Memoirs Of a Dangerous Alien, by Maggie Prince,
published by Orion (1 85881 041 8, £9.99; 1 85881 073 6, £3.99 pbk)
This award is chosen by children from a shortlist drawn up by W H Smith. Julie Randles of their Children’s Book Department commented: ‘We selected six of the best, gripping new reads around today for the shortlist and it is a particular thrill that the children chose Maggie’s book as this is her first children’s story for 9-12 year-olds.’
This issue’s crisp fiver goes to Robert Leeson who spotted a classic clanger in your favourite magazine – on the very page we devoted to his Blindspot about Jean Webster’s Daddy-Long-Legs, in fact. Bob writes:
‘I am (as is well known) slow on the uptake and it was only on (by chance) looking through the March BfK that I noticed a gross error in the limerick attacking Rachel Anderson.
I am quite sure that it will be too late for you to use but I could not resist putting this on paper:
How pleasant to know Mr Lear
To treasure his humorous words
But Whiteman and Escreet
Are rather in-descreet
The ‘Snark’ is by Carroll, you nerds.’
Oh, well. It was bound to happen one day so we’d better be BIG about it:
How lucky to know Mr Leeson
Whose brain moves like lightnin’ with grease ‘n
We’d have been in the dark
About Carroll’s ‘Snark’,
If he hadn’t complained with good reas’n.
Keep the howlers coming …
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
August 12th: National Book Day – a focus to the Scotland-wide Readiscovery campaign. Phone 0131 221 1995 for information.
August 12th-28th: Edinburgh Book Festival, Charlotte Square Gardens. For the full list of the many children’s events, contact Alison Plackitt on 0131 228 5444.
September 1st-3rd: 2nd Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival in County Cork – phone/fax 028 39157 for more details.
September 16th: The Federation of Children’s Book Groups BOOKFEST at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington – contact Enid Stephenson on 01603 629651 to find out more.
September 22nd-24th: University of Exeter – ‘Celebrating Children’s Literature in Education’ 25th Anniversary Conference. Details from Maureen Lewis, School of Education, Exeter University, St Luke’s, Heavitree Road, Exeter EX1 2LU.
October 6th-15th: Cheltenham Festival of Literature – ’Bigger and bolder than ever before’ promise the organisers. Find out more from Nicola Russell on 01865 511065.
October 7th-14th: Plymouth Children’s Book Festival – contact Libby Allman on 01752 668607 for details