Young Telegraph Paperback of the Year
Launched in May this year, and judged by children from 50 schools across the country, this award goes to Jacqueline Wilson for The Bed and Breakfast Star (Doubleday, 0 385 40434 4, £8.99; 0 440 86324 4, £2.99 pbk), plus a trophy and £1,000 in prize money.
Nottinghamshire Children’s Book Award 1995
Again chosen with the involvement of young readers themselves, the Acorn Award was won by Colin McNaughton for Suddenly (Andersen, 0 86264 540 9, £8.99) and the Oak Tree Award by Anne Fine for The Diary of a Killer Cat (Hamish Hamilton, 0 241 00213 3, £5.99; Puffin, 0 14 036931 7, £3.25 pbk).
Library Association / Holt Jackson Community Initiative Award
This goes to Sunderland Libraries for their BOOKSTART Project – providing books for encouraging readership amongst the very youngest children in deprived parts of the city.
Yoker Youth Library – for work with teenagers in Glasgow
Newcastle Libraries – for their creative writing project amongst primary schoolchildren
British nomination for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Awards of The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) are Anthony Browne (illustration category) and Nina Bawden (author category).
The international jury will consider nominations in April 1996 at the IBBY secretariat in Basel prior to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair where the winners will be announced.
Library under threat
Winner of the CBC’s Eleanor Farjeon Award in 1988, the National Library for the Handicapped Child needs to raise £10,000 in the next three months in order to survive, following a decision by the Enid Blyton Trust to reduce its funding. Director, Bev Mathias, quoted in the Bookseller, says ‘We are very well supported by publishers in terms of the books that they donate but we still need funds for our overheads and services. Although we have just received £25,000 from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we desperately need help from other sources as well.’
It’s about as good as a cause gets, says BfK … Readers interested in helping should contact Felicity Trotman, who is co-ordinating fund-raising efforts, at Downside, Chicklade, Salisbury, Wilts SP3 5SU (tel/fax: 01747 820503).
Farewell to Liz
Comings and goings amongst children’s book publishers are normally of consuming interest only to insiders … but the departure of Liz Attenborough from Penguin, after 18 years, is something special. There’s nothing sinister afoot, though – simply a career re-think. Liz Attenborough herself comments: ‘When I took over Puffin in 1983, I told friends I thought ten years would be enough time for anyone to do the job and stay fresh. I have had a marvellous, stimulating time at Penguin and am proud to have worked with the best children’s authors and illustrators, but I feel it’s time for someone else to take over through the coming years, which will be a challenging period for the children’s book market. I know that my successor and the team will do a great job for our authors and for Penguin.’
Liz’s replacement is Philippa Milnes-Smith who assumes overall responsibility for Puffin, Dutton, Hamish Hamilton and Viking children’s books leading a redoubtable group which includes Jane Nissen and Rosemary Stones.
Liz will be sorely missed, though. BfK sends congratulations and thanks for her invaluable contribution to children’s reading over the years – also best wishes for what’s sure to be an eye-catching future whatever she undertakes.
Two very different, but very welcome, recent publications in support of children’s reading … or, indeed, writing:
This ‘handbook for writers in education projects’ comes from West Sussex County Council, with the help of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. It’s written by Liz Fincham, Literature Development Consultant for West Sussex, and provides detailed examples of how working with writers can enrich the curriculum – advice, in fact, about all aspects of organising an author visit. Also included is a comprehensive database of information about literature professionals who have worked successfully in West Sussex schools. Invaluable, says BfK, both for schools familiar with this kind of work and those attempting it for the first time. Lovely, too, to see so many splendid examples of children’s work … the best possible endorsement of Liz Fincham’s approach. Copies cost £3.00 within West Sussex, £5.00 beyond (inc. p&p). Apply to Dot Slattery, NE Area Professional Centre, Furnace Drive, Furnace Green, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6JB (tel: 01293 615837 or fax: 01293 533359).
BA Children’s Directory
From The Booksellers Association comes the fourth edition of their Directory of Specialist Children’s Booksellers – details of around 100 committed children’s booksellers in Britain and Ireland. With the Net Book Agreement a thing of the past, here are the enthusiasts who may soon be experiencing the chill wind of the new order … and who need all our backing if they’re to survive. Do you know who your local specialist is? If not, or if you’d like information on others in your vicinity, send for a free copy from Meryl Halls, The Booksellers Association, Minster House, 272 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1BA (tel: 0171 834 5477 or fax: 0171 834 8812).
Michael Ryan, Assistant County Librarian (Primary and Special Schools) for Buckinghamshire County Council writes:
I have always admired Books for Keeps for being a perceptive and reliable guide to the world of children’s books and so was somewhat alarmed to read in Mary Hoffman’s review of the School Library Campaign (Sept ‘95) that the primary school library service in Buckinghamshire had been closed down. What, I thought, does Mary Hoffman know about the next Policy and Resources Committee meeting of Bucks County Council that I don’t? I am pleased to report that her statement is not true and that the service to primary schools in this county is, at least at the time of writing, alive and kicking.
ED: Oops! When we checked with Mary Hoffman we discovered that, quite uncharacteristically, she’d slipped up. She adds her apologies to ours – and joins us in wishing the Bucks primary library service a long and healthy future.
Rosemary Lanning of North-South Books writes:
Thank you very much for the generous and perceptive article on Alan Marks by Shirley Hughes.
Contrary to the suggestion in the box ‘Details of the books mentioned’, Alan’s book Over the Hills and Far Away is happily very much in print, as is his earlier nursery rhyme collection Ring-a-Ring O’Roses. I hope you are able to correct this misunderstanding in a future issue.
Vanessa Doughty of Oxford University Press writes:
Thank you for agreeing to put right the errors in the September issue of BfK.
As I mentioned, The Green Children and the collection of poems, Peace and War, both with illustrations by Alan Marks, are still very much in print.
I was also a bit concerned to read in the Authorgraph on Gareth Owen that Gareth’s first novel with us, which will be published in April of next year, is listed as two: ‘Rosie No Name’ and then ‘The Forest of Forgetting’. In fact, the title is Rosie No Name and the Forest of Forgetting and will be published by us – not Harper Collins!
Alan Marks writes:
It’s always galling to hear people report that, on trying to order my recently published book (or even one in its second or third print run), ‘the man in the bookshop said it’s out of print!’ I suggest no blame, but wonder how booklists are updated and maintained. With the collapse of the Net Book Agreement, and the likely loss of space on the shelves for less well known authors, it seems all the more important that books are not written off before they are dead.
ED: Again, apologies are in order and are happily offered … though this time with a suppressed but heartfelt scream of frustration. As every librarian and bookseller knows, the rapidity and unpredictability with which particular titles go into and out of print these days means that – however carefully and recently their status is checked – there’s an in-built ‘so far as we can tell at the time of writing’ factor about any book details we print. In every single case above, for instance, we consulted the latest catalogues, CD Rom Book Find or the actual publishing house … and still got it wrong! Of course, the same applies to titles we list as in-print which may turn out to be no longer available by the time our readers try to buy them. All we can do is our best – pending the arrival of more consistent and reliable systems within the book trade itself.
The books illustrated by Alan Marks are:
Over the Hills and Far Away, North-South, 1 85618 047 6, £9.95
Ring-a-Ring O’Roses, North-South, 1 55858 363 7, £9.95
The Green Children, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Oxford, 0 19 279958 4, £7.99
Gareth Owen’s novel is:
Rosie No Name and the Forest of Forgetting, Oxford, 0 19 271550 X, £5.99 (due April ‘96)
IN OUR NEXT ISSUE
January’s BfK offers
Julia Eccleshare’s overview of the current situation in children’s books
Susan Price on writing historical fiction for children
Tony Bradman on writing for 5s to 8s
Louis Baum on the Collapse of the Net Book Agreement
Beverly Naidoo on her novel, No Turning Back
Philippe Dupasquier in Authorgraph plus Reviews, Comment and News