Tell us and perhaps win a £5 book token.
Everywhere you turn you come across children’s book awards. There’s the Carnegie Medal, the Kate Greenaway Award, the Guardian Award, the Other Award, the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Award, the Eleanor Farjeon Award, the Mother Goose Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. All these acknowledge and celebrate excellence in one form or another in children’s writers, illustrators and people who make outstanding contributions to children’s literature. They are also all decided upon by people very much inside the children’s book world, be they publishers, librarians or reviewers.
It’s all very nice. The trouble is that it does rather leave out an important group of children’s book users who experience in many different ways the effects, both successes and failures, of books that children read: namely teachers. We thought therefore it would be a good idea to ask you for your nominations for the book that worked best either with an individual child or with a class or group during this current school year.
What do we mean by `worked’? We’re looking for a book that suddenly broke through, or worked in unusual circumstances and got an individual or group really enthused and absorbed. It could be an unexpected title or a very popular one.
What we’d like you to do is send us just one title that has worked its particular magic on a child or children that you teach, with a brief description of how and why this occurred. The only restriction is that on this occasion we’d like to stick to fiction only.
We have five categories to match most of the teaching ranges:
Nursery and infant (up to 7)
Lower Junior (7-9)
Upper Junior/Lower Middle (9-11)
Upper Middle/Lower Secondary (11-13)
We will publish the winning titles in our September issue, and award a £5 book token to the best reasons why in each of our five categories. Send your votes to Books for Keeps, 1 Effingham Road, Lee, London SE12 8NZ, no later than 15th July.
Reversals: a personal account of victory over dyslexia
Eileen Simpson, Gollancz, 0 575 02760 6, £5.95
A fascinating account of Eileen Simpson’s battle with dyslexia – a condition which for her remained undiagnosed until she was 22. She tells how she concealed, eventually faced and finally conquered the problem and became a psychotherapist and novelist. Full of interest and insight. Recommended not only for parents of dyslexics but for those whose children are having problems of any kind (and that means most of us).
Cushla and her Books
Dorothy Butler, Hodder & Stoughton, 0 340 22768 0, £3.95
Soon after Cushla was born it became clear that she was very ill and severely handicapped. The book is an account of how her family helped her to cope with pain and frustration and to achieve a potential few would have allowed her to possess. It deals with her first four years and concentrates on the huge part books (first introduced at four months) played in her development. This book should not be missed by any parent or teacher.
Reading through Play’
Carol Baker, Macdonald, 0 356 07048 4, £1.95
Advice and ideas for activities and games to help children towards reading. Aimed at parents, it’s lively, practical and informative. Just two quibbles: I wish the vitally important reading aloud, sharing books, library visits had been given a more central place rather than mentioned in passing (on page 41); and why refer to a first reading book as a `reader’? A book is a book is a book. Nevertheless recommended. Get some for the Infant bookshop.