Fifth Anniversary for Julia MacRae Books
Three out of four titles – including the winner – in this year’s Greenaway shortlist are from one publisher. A remarkable achievement and one which must be particularly rewarding for Julia MacRae who five years ago left Hamish Hamilton where she had been editor and Managing Director for children’s books for twelve years and started her own imprint. At the time she explained her reasons for the move: ‘my sympathies were more with the authors than with the balance sheets. The outcome of that sympathy has been a steady flow of high quality books and the encouragement and development of new talents like Anthony Browne and Ron Maris.
This autumn there are new titles from Julia MacRae Books for both artists.
Anthony Browne moves on from Gorilla to Willy the Wimp, the story of a self-effacing monkey who decides to assert himself. (0 86203 175 3, £4.95). Ron Maris, depicting the same home that appeared in My Book has Are You There Bear? (See BfK 26, 0 86203 174 5, £4.95).
Anthony Browne’s wit, style and ability to reflect and counterpoint feeling is clear to see in his illustrations to a lovely story of single parenthood by Annalena McAfee: The Visitors Who Came to Stay (Hamish Hamilton. 0 241 11224 9. £4.95).
Eleanor Farjeon Award to Shirley Hughes
In presenting this year’s award for distinguished services to children’s books to Shirley Hughes the Children’s Book Circle was highlighting an aspect of the work of this talented artist and writer of which few people are aware. Shirley Hughes is a tireless campaigner for the importance of children’s reading and a passionate believer that every child needs visual stimulus of the highest quality. She is greatly in demand as a lecturer and teacher in this country and abroad and has also been instrumental in bringing several talented young picture book artists to the fore. The same impulse informs the contribution she has made in the past four years as a member of the Mother Goose Award jury – another voluntary task. As a committee member of the Children’s Writers Group of the Society of Authors Shirley campaigned actively for the rights of children’s writers and artists in the setting up of a Public Lending Right – children’s picture books were originally excluded.
Shirley Hughes energy. enthusiasm and total dedication to children through books has been evident since her career began nearly thirty years ago. She is a worthy recipient of this very special award.
Prize for Dr Seuss
As he celebrated his 80th birthday Theodore Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss) received the news that he had been awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for his ‘special contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America’s children and their parents.
A £250,000 Read-in
During the week beginning May 28. almost a quarter of a million children of all ages from every corner of Britain devoted a great deal of their time to reading as much as they possibly could. They had one common aim: to collect sponsorship for MENCAP from family and friends for every book they completed.
They were participating in ‘READATHON ’84’. organised by Books for Students Ltd. The response to Readathon from schools was overwhelming. Support flooded in from other areas too. Many libraries were keen to help, and enrolments were received from youth groups. Sunday schools. physically handicapped centres. and even from a school for the blind in Edinburgh where the pupils read in braille. Interest in the event was not confined to Britain: children in schools in Belgium, Switzerland and Turkey also participated.
Results of Readathon 84 are just starting to trickle in: one child read 15 books (the minimum so far is 2), another raised £45, and every child so far has expressed a desire to participate in the event next year. The final results are expected to be available in September but at a guess it looks as if about a quarter of a million pounds will be raised. Readathon looks all set to become a huge annual event. supporting a different charity each year.
Any school or group interested in taking part in Readathon ’85 should get in touch with: Andree Lloyd. Readathon ’85, Books for Students Ltd., 58-64 Berrington Road. Sydenham Estate, Leamington Spa. Tel: Leamington 0926 29341.
The Youth Libraries Group is holding a weekend school on the theme Reflecting Society: library provision in a multi-cultural society at the University College of Swansea. 21st – 23rd September. The organisers say that the programme will have a broad interest and there will be a wide range of speakers. Teachers. Advisers, indeed anyone with an interest in the area would be welcome. For more information contact
Happy Birthday Magnet
Another list celebrating five years of increasingly successful publishing is Magnet, the paperback imprint from Methuen. With authors like Leila Berg. Margaret Mahy, Monica Hughes, Ruth Manning-Sanders, artists like Tomie da Paola and Tomi Ungerer and series like Pocket Bears this is always a list worth watching.
An appropriately fun-filled title just out in time for the celebrations is Crash!, a Magnet original by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake (0 416 46520 X, £1.50). Subtitled the Waldo and Wanda Book of Practical Hints this is packed with cartoon-style advice on things like Improving your Tennis, Icing a Cake, Tie-dyeing Fabric. Quentin Blake’s characteristic line captures the confident disaster of it all and there is a delightful cat with a good line in ironic comment.
One Hundred Years Old
1984 is the Centenary tear of the NSPCC and of the Society Of Authors. To celebrate the occasion many of Britain’s top writers and artists have joined together to create a very special collection of stories, poems, jokes, puzzles and pictures. All the contributors took ‘One Hundred’ as their theme. The results-including stories of all kinds y Joan Aiken. John Christopher. ‘Nicholas Fisk. Icon Garfield. Shiner Hughes, Terry Jones, Gene Kemp. Jan Mark and Philippa Pearce – have been edited by Peter Dickinson into Hundreds and Hundreds. All royalties from the sale of the book co to the NSPCC.
The Book Bus
London’s only double decker children’s bookshop, newly decorated and currently amazing children and motorists all over SE London. Eight children’s book characters (each sponsored by a publisher) are incorporated into the stunning design by Valerie Dunant and Pat Parker, students at Camberwell School of Art. A busy programme of term-time visits to schools, often with illustrators, authors and other special guests on board has got children talking about books – even before they get inside the bus.