Things have been moving fast at Harmondsworth since Eunice McMullen became the new Puffin Club Manager last autumn. The New Puffin Club was launched on February 1st and its form and style may give a nasty jolt to the members of that exclusive band of Founder Puffineers. The Puffin Club of the eighties it is hoped will have something to offer to all sorts and conditions of children who are (or might be persuaded to be) interested in reading. The target for recruitment is schools – rather than middle-class homes. And the package includes direct selling of books (some at a discount) via the Puffins by Post book club.
Eunice gives us the details
First of all Puffin Post has changed to a new large format and will be more colourful and open in its design. There will be a regular feature on an author or illustrator; Nina Bawden, Jan Pienkowski and Mike Rosen are the first three. All these authors are giving up a week of their time to work intensively in schools and libraries in a particular area. These Puffin Author Tours will be a regular feature to link with each new issue of Puffin Post.
The biggest change is that we are now a registered book club. There will be a regular four page, full colour insert going out to all members with The Egg or Puffin Post. The insert, Puffins by Post, offers some books at reduced prices as well as new books. Postage is free if four or more books are ordered.
As an alternative to the normal subscription of £2.50. Starter Packs containing £6 worth of books can be bought for £5 and membership is then free. (This is also available to existing members wishing to renew.)
We also have special deals for schools and libraries. They can all take out an annual subscription to either magazine for just £2. Copies can be ordered in bulk for 25p each (cover price 30p) provided there is a minimum order of ten: postage, of course, free. There is also a school membership. Individuals can join through their teacher (£1.25 each). For this they receive four issue of Puffin Post and a membership badge; they share the same membership number and magazines are posted in bulk. There must be a minimum school membership of ten.
If anyone has queries or wants information just contact me at the Puffin Club, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth, Middx. (01 759 1984).
The Annual Puffin Show
This year it’s The Fantastic World of Puffin Kingdom and there will be plenty of Dungeons and Dragons-type activity at Chelsea Town Hall, 23 April-5 May. Official opening by Dahl and Blake on Easter Monday and lots of other things to do and see and people to meet.
Send s.a.e. to Hamondsworth for detailed time-table.
Surely some of the most determined and dedicated booksellers around must be those running mobile bookshops. Their concern to get books and children together and their love of what they are doing pushes them on in a job where no-one is going to make a fast fortune. Recently disaster struck Althea’s Travelling Bookshop which has been making books available in the remoter parts of Cambridgeshire for two years.
Tony Haszard, who, with Althea, set up and runs the bookshop, writes `With the help of an unsuspected patch of black ice, our 25ft caravan and gaily-painted Sherpa van. along with several thousand assorted titles and two staff, plunged into a deep ditch beside the B1040 near St Ives in Cambridgeshire. Thanks to safety belts, I and our assistant Kate Brodrick (on the second-to-last day of her YTS placement) were unhurt, but the vehicles and stock are likely to be a write-off.
In its career to date the Bookshop has covered all of Cambridgeshire and large parts of surrounding counties, visiting nearly 400 primary schools, fairs, playgroups, and conferences at the rate of up to ten a week, spreading the message that children’s books are exciting. Welcomed everywhere by teachers, parents and best of all. children, it has not so far managed to cover its costs. But it has sold a lot of books that might not have found homes otherwise, as well as (we sincerely hope) giving an occasional boost to local bookshops whether school or high street based.
While salvage is sorted out the future remains unclear. Meanwhile the mobile bookselling torch is in the hands of among others Bob Cattell whose Greenwich Bookbus (run in concert with local authorities) has shown the way, Ian and Maria Barclay who continue to make headway against daunting odds in Mid-Wales with Bws Llvfrau and Christine Willison with her new Book Bug in Suffolk.’
Let’s hear from any others of you out there.
NEW FROM SIGNAL Signal Review 2
A selection of the best in children’s publishing from 1983, edited by Nancy Chambers. (0 903355 14 0. £4.50 post free)
An exhibition based on the Review will be at the NBL from May 26 – 31, and then at the London Book Fair, the Barbican Centre. April 10 – 13.
Poetry for Children
A selection of in-print hardback and paperback poetry books, made by Jill Bennett (for up to 8’s) and Aidan Chambers (9-14’s). Over 120 annotated titles. (0 903355 13 2, £1.95 post free)
Both lists available from The Thimble Press, Lockwood, Station Road, South Woodchester, Stroud, Glos. GL5 5EQ or The NBL, Book House, 45 East Hill, London SW18 2QZ.
NBL Touring Exhibitions are also available based on both lists. For details apply to Andy Patterson at the NBL (01 870 9055).
National Tell a Story Week
The Federation of Children’s Book Groups is planning its annual orgy of storytelling and reading aloud which lasts from May 5th – 12th.
The theme this year is Stories from Around the World. The week will be launched in London at the Commonwealth Institute on May 5th. There will be storytelling (of course). drama, craft, competitions, fancy dress and lots of fun around stories and books. All welcome.
Details from Sue Cole, Aptonfields. Hounslow Green. Barnston, Near Dunmow, Essex CM6 3PP. (0371 82004).
Why not join in with an activity of your own”
Something to think about?
Making Literacy Purposeful is the first Manchester Literacy Conference. April 26 and 27 at Didsbury School of Education, Manchester Polytechnic. ‘Fourteen speakers, a practical orientation aimed at teachers and extremely low cost’ are promised. Details from Manchester Literacy Conference, School of Education. 799 Wilmslow Road. Didsbury, Manchester M20 8RR.
The Kathleen Fidler Award
The second winner of this award set up in memory of the Scottish children’s author is Elizabeth Lutzeier for No Shelter.
The award is for a first novel for 8-12 year olds. Last year’s winner, Adrift, by Allan Baillie was well reviewed and Blackie, who will be publishing No Shelter in September. think they have found another winner.
No Shelter tells the story of a boy and his baby sister struggling to survive in Germany during and immediately after the Second World War. The judges say, ‘Although the story does not shy away from portraying the full horror of war, it does end on an optimistic note. It should provide much food for thought.’ Elizabeth Lutzeier was born in Manchester. In 1977 she married and moved to Berlin where she now lives with her husband and two children.
Free Gifts from Hippo
Hippo books are working hard to make everyone more aware of their existence. At the end of March they will have available their very first catalogue and along with this they are offering free 4″ Hippo stickers. Postman Pat bookmarks and a Hippo poster. To get your very own promotional package apply to Hippo Books. 10 Earlham St., London WC2 (01 240 5753).
Join the Club: getting books to children
May 24th. An IBBY Seminar on bookclubs and bookselling for children. For librarians. teachers, publishers, authors, parents. At Birmingham Triangle Cinema (formerly the Arts Lab) 10.00-4.30. Details from Sheila Ray. Tan-y-Capel, Bont Dolgadafan, Llanbrynmair, Powys SYI9 7BB.