Happy Birthday Paddington!
Paddington Bear is 25 years old on June 25th and December 25th (he has two birthdays like royalty). A Bear Called Paddington was first published in 1958 by Collins and they are organising different kinds of activity round the country to celebrate its anniversary and the publication of two new Paddington books in August: The Paddington Suitcase, a small case containing Paddington’s notebook and birthday book (£5.00) and Paddington’s Storybook, (£5.95) a special omnibus edition containing ten stories with new illustrations by Peggy Fortnum. Michael Bond will be travelling round the country signing books and will be special guest at the opening of a special Paddington Grotto at Selfridges in mid-October ready for Christmas. Even British Rail are joining in the fun and taking part in a major competition for children. Something to look forward to is Paddington Bear’s Magical Musical which is currently touring the country and will arrive in London for Christmas. An LP and a single (Cross my Paws and Hope to Die) are also available.
After twenty five years, Paddington is still growing; there are over thirty titles in print in the UK, and he has been translated into 20 different languages. 11million copies of the books have been sold worldwide, and he has collected even more fans due to the popularity of the TV series, the enormously high sales of the Paddington Bear toy and dozens of other pieces of merchandise.
If you would like to celebrate Paddington’s birthday in school, and are going to be selling Paddington books, Collins are willing to supply special display material. Contact Nicky Henderson at 8 Grafton Street, London WIX 3LA, tel. 01 493 7070.
National Tell-a-Story Week
Tell-a-Story Week started with a splash at St Katherine’s Dock, near the Tower of London on May 7th. Hundreds of children and parents dodged the showers and climbed all over the Dock’s Historic Ship Collection which were temporarily converted into Jolly Roger-flying pirate ships, manned by scar-faced deckhands, all celebrating the hundredth year of publication of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. One ship had a bookshop aboard with a special selection of rousing sea stories and treasure-seeking tales; another was full of Federation of Children’s Book Groups members, cunningly disguised as pirates, helping children to make hats, eye patches and cutlasses, inflicting them with terrible painted facial scars, singing songs and telling stories. The day wouldn’t have been complete without the most famous pirate, Captain Pugwash and his creator John Ryan, and Terrance Dicks, author of books about the futuristic traveller on the inter-galactic high seas, Dr Who. Even Long John Silver was spotted hobbling aboard the Greenwich Bookbus to tell children about his sea-faring adventures. There were long queues to meet Roald Dahl that even the weather didn’t shorten. It was a smashing day out, combining real naval history with existing fantasy – and could form the basis of a similar book event in your school; a visit to nearby boats or ships if you’re lucky enough to live close to water, followed by pirate garb, stories and pictures in school and a selection of relevant stories in the school bookshop.
The One that Got Away?
An interest in books and helping children to enjoy and understand them has found a school bookshop organiser a job in publishing! Eunice McMullen, a teacher at Howarth Cross School in Rochdale, was so involved with books that she started to produce her own children’s magazine, Bookworm, which reviewed books and provided information about authors, invented puzzles etc., and with the help of her husband Nigel, a talented artist and fellow teacher, the circulation eventually rose to over 3,000. She also organised a large and successful book fair at her school each year, inviting popular authors and personalities. This energy has now landed Eunice the job of organising the Puffin Club – and she is delighted about being able to communicate her enthusiasm about good books to thousands more children.
Michael Foreman does it again
This year’s Kate Greenaway Medal has been won – yet again – by super talented Michael Foreman.
And the award was made for his work on two books.
Longneck and Thunderfoot, Helen Piers, Kestrel, 0 7226 5704 8, £5.25 and The Sleeping Beauty and other favourite Fairy Tales, Angela Carter, Gollancz, 0 575 03194 8, £6.95.
Highly commended was Graham Oakley’s The Church Mice in Action, Macmillan, 0 333 33635 6, £3.95 and Commended was Janet Ahlberg for The Baby’s Catalogue, Kestrel, 0 7226 5777 3, £4.95.
The Carnegie Award
The Carnegie Award went to Margaret Mahy for The Haunting, Dent, 0 460 06097, £4.95.
A junior age story about Barney and his wonderfully varied family who possess the `gifts’ of second sight, telekinesis, and thought transference. A chilling read.
Highly commended: The Dark Behind the Curtain, Gillian Cross, OUP, 0 19 271457 0, £5.95.
Commended: Wall of Words, Tim Kennemore, Faber and Faber, 0 571 11856 9, £5.25.
The Signal Poetry Award
This year’s selectors, Margaret Meek and Neil Philip have given the Signal Poetry Award to The Rattle Bag, compiled by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, Faber and Faber, 0 571 11976 X, £4.95 (paperback).
The choosers write extensively about their choice in the May issue of Signal.
Watch Out For
Bridgwater is hosting a “never-been-anything-like-this-round-here-before” event on November 7th, at schools and at the Arts Centre. There will be competitions, visiting authors and poets, exhibitions and books for sale. Interested schools should ring Ian Hague at the Arts Centre on Bridgwater (0278) 422700.
Yvonne White, who organises W. H. Smith’s School Bookshops in the Northern half of England has just finished her latest competition, to design a book mark. She says that she always gets more response from asking children to make their own book marks than any other kind of competition and suggests that school bookshop organisers might enliven flagging interest by organising their own competitions. Several children in the latest set of entries had designed book marks that moved when strings were pulled – if you’re a bit short of ideas. get your kids to invent animated book marks . .
Last Orders Please!
The closing date for orders for Children’s Book Week promotional material is Friday 29th July, so if you haven’t sent yours in already, now’s the time to do it. There are attractive posters, bookmarks, stickers, badges and balloons available, with a surprise free gift for the organiser! For more information ring Dorothy Wood on 01-870 9055.