The author Philip Pullman yesterday condemned the "soulless, bland and corporate" plan that would turn a part of Oxford from which he drew inspiration into a "ditch imprisoned between brick walls"... ...
Castle Mill boatyard is, in the author's fictional world, home to the gyptians, a group of boat people who befriend Lyra Belacqua, the main character in the books.
February 2005 Archives
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
This resonant, graceful poem about the link between generations (or about a big friendly tiger, if this is what young readers can respond to) is affecting on its own, and is complemented by tender paintings full of glowing moonlight and the splendour of the countryside. NICOLETTE JONES
While old favourites, such as Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce and Robert Westall's The Machine Gunners, were still used by many teachers, the authority said "an orthodoxy was emerging around newer texts". Skellig, about a creature who lives under a family's garage, and Louis Sachar's Holes, about an American boy who is sent to a detention centre, were among the most widely read, often for the second time, having already been covered in the last year at primary school.
This article about Reading Aloud, from The Times, is billed as being 'by Philip Pullman'. But it's not. Pullman is referred to and quoted in the piece, as is Francesca Simon, but it is not he who has just finished reading The Princess And The Goblin to a 9-year-old:
I've just finished George MacDonald' s The Princess and the Goblin, which my nine-year-old would not have managed alone, but which he begged for each night, once the story was launched. That moment when a child's eyes begin to shine because they have fallen in love with a story, or a character or with reading itself is magical.
On the weekend prior to World Book Day (this Thursday, March 3rd), The Guardian has eschewed its usual custom of making a single title the focus of its lead children's books
review. Instead, Julia Eccleshare has collected together a roundup of titles that children might wish to put their ?1 book tokens towards. Her last suggestion is a rare commodity in children's books, a collection of stories by a single author.
Amanda Craig likes Julie Hearn's new novel, The Merrybegot:
Like Arthur Miller ?s play The Crucible, this is as much a novel about adolescent sexual hysteria and parental conflict ? as about witchcraft ? yet in The Merrybegot, the piskies are real, as amoral as weather, and affect the course of history. Told in clear, vivid prose, and peopled with sympathetic yet complex characters, it is a huge leap forward for a talented new storyteller whose debut, Follow Me Down, was enjoyed by many.
but is disappointed in the new book by Celia Rees, The Wish House:
One doesn?t care about any of these characters, and the plot they?re in is as skimpy as a cheesecloth tunic even before the predictable hints of incest. Rees has shown such a gift for genuinely magical fiction in Witch Child, it?s disappointing not to find her on characteristic form.
Eminent children's writer Anne Fine, Carnegie and Whitbread winner and the author of Madame Doubtfire, Goggle Eyes and Flour Babies, tells Dina Rabinovitch about her unconventional working methods and why she's the "fiend of compartment D"
Dina Rabinovitch's 'Author of the month', from Wednesday's Guardian...
The Charlie Higson CBn Interview A discussion with the author of the new Young Bond series. Written by John Cox (23 Feb, 2005, 11:30)
On March 3, 2005 Ian Fleming Publications and Puffin Books will release SilverFin, the first of a series of Young Bond novels written by Charlie Higson, co-creator of the hugely popular BBC comedy series, ?The Fast Show", and a successful screenwriter and adult thriller novelist. Today CBn has the extreme honor of being the first James Bond website to interview Mr. Higson about SilverFin and the Young Bond series.
Highy recommended interview from commanderbond.net
A previously unpublished book by Michael Rosen, You're Thinking About Tomatoes, was launched last night at a special Barn Owl party which also celebrated the reissue of Stone Me! by Steve Barlow & Steve Skidmore.
Barn Owl Books, run by Ann Jungman, specialises in reissuing out-of-print titles. The event was MC'd by Bernard Ashley and included songs from Leon Rosselson, who has a book out with Barn Owl later in the year.
A short feature about Nick Gifford from The Alien Online, with mention of his latest teenage novel, Incubus, and substantial quotation from the author himself.
The shortlisted books for the 2005 Red House Children's Book Award in the three categories are:
|Books for Younger Readers|
|CLARICE BEAN SPELLS TROUBLE by Lauren Child (Orchard, ?9.99)|
|BEST FRIENDS by Jacqueline Wilson (Doubleday, ?10.99)|
|THE LEGEND OF SPUD MURPHY by Eoin Colfer (Puffin, ?7.99)|
|Books for Older Readers|
|ERAGON by Christopher Paolini (Doubleday, ?7.99)|
|THE RECRUIT by Robert Muchamore (Hodder, ?5.99)|
|THE STAR OF KAZAM by Eva Ibbotson (Macmillan, ?12.99)|
The winner of the Red House Children?s Book Award will be announced at a ceremony in London on Saturday 11th June.
Read on for Award background...
Coming Up... on Lebrecht Live, BBC Radio 3
Sunday 27 February 2005 17:45
Norman Lebrecht debates another cultural issue with guests in the studio and around the world. Why are we all reading children's books? Are we becoming willingly infantilised?
An invitation to respond:
At a time when fiction is flourishing as never before and new writers are breaking left and right, more and more adults are turning to children's literature for relaxation and their commuter read. Harry Potter apart, the works of Philip Pullman, Mark Haddon, Jacqueline Wilson and others are selling in multi-millions - and more grown-ups are reading them than kids.
So what's going on? Are we as readers retreating into childhood fantasy? Are
we becoming willingly infantilised? Do children's books offer a purer form
of escapism than adults'? Or are we so bored with repetitive descriptions of
sexual calisthenics and relationship difficulties that we turn to children's
writers for an honest, untainted view of the world?
Your thoughts please to firstname.lastname@example.org and listen in on Sunday February
27 at 1745 (UK time) on BBC Radio 3
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
This unconventional family, which was always fun to read about, and seemed laughable because it was chaotic and ill-run, has become, with our increasing knowledge of its members, a kind of model of how to make the most of life. NICOLETTE JONES
Jan Mark is transported to a different world in The Widow and the King by John Dickinson
So reads the sub-heading on Jan Mark's review in Saturday's GUARDIAN.
The review itself is atmospherically descriptive but strangely and (for the publisher and author as much as for the prospective reader, no doubt) frustratingly neutral.
Apologies for the unusually quiet weekend on ACHOCKABLOG. There's a simple explanation - I've been pole-axed by a 'flu type bug.
Back-logging of the weekend's reviews and any other news should start tomorrow.
Subscribers to the weekly Mail List Update will receive it later than usual - Tuesday or Wednesday.
For my 'sickbed' reading, I chose a proof copy of Keith Gray's forthcoming novel, The Fearful, published in April. I'm two thirds of the way through and, whoo, it's five-star stuff.
David Levithan, author of Boy Meets Boy, is scheduled to appear on the daytime This Morning show at around mid-day.
He is also the subject of ACHUKA's latest interview.
Author Chris Crutcher will not speak to students at Grand Haven High School next month... ... "Didn?t want controversy to be the focal point of his visit," says the superintendent. "Wanted his message to be the focal point of his visit".
Crutcher is the author of a story that uses racial slurs to help teach young people about prejudice. He says Grand Haven is just worried about criticism.
Alan Durant, now a fulltime writer, having left his job at Walker Books last year, is to run a special course for aspiring children's authors at his house in France this August. Here are the details:
|Want to write children?s books ? and get published?
Join Alan Durant, acclaimed author of over 50 books, on a residential writers? course in Northern France.
This course on writing for children of all ages will offer the opportunity to develop techniques and share ideas, during one-to-one tutorials and group workshops, with plenty of time for writing in a relaxed holiday atmosphere and lovely rural setting.
The course runs from 19.8.05 ? 24.8.05. Cost ?375 to cover fees, accommodation and all meals.
Interested? For further details contact Alan Durant by email or by phone on 07944 374734.
Read ACHUKA's archive interview (from FEB 2000) with Alan Durant:
Coinciding with first paperback publication of Eoin Colfer's The Supernaturalist, a special online challenge site is being launched today. The potential prize is a mini iPod. Get in touch if you want to join the ACHUKA team!
A mini iPod was also up for grabs at the paperback's launch party in London on Friday. Guests were given a word to stick to the reverse of their name badge. The first word mentioned by the author in his party speech would win the prize. ACHUKA's word was 'flan'.
After presenting the prize to the lucky winner, Colfer had some fun at Adele Minchin's expense, psychoanalysing her list of words for the lucky dip.
An award-winning novel 48 Shades of Brown by Australian author Nick Earls is to be made into a feature film, with shooting scheduled to begin in Brisbane in August.
Katherine Paterson, talking about her new work, "Long Road Home," a serialized children's story published by Breakfast Serials and running Mondays in The Free Lance-Star's Life section through May 30, and life as a reader and author.
Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week
With a cast of comical cops, phone-tappers, heavies, down-and-outs and spoilt rich kids, plus the bigoted founders of a nasty right-wing eugenics project, this is a well-crafted, sassy, involving tale of betrayals and misunderstandings and learning to be a man. It might even make [Elmore] Leonard look over his shoulder. NICOLETTE JONES
Keith Gray learns a thing or two form Hole In My Life by Jack Gantos
This is much more than simply a scared-straight confessional; there's nothing didactic or patronising in it. Teenage readers will appreciate the frankness and sincerity with which he explores how it feels to be a young person struggling to discover exactly who you are. It also perhaps serves as an illustration of the workings of an adolescent mind bereft of strong family support. Much of the action - raw and unflinching as it is - will be riveting for most young readers, but aspiring writers of any age should read this book. I know I learnt a thing or two.
And Adele Geras finds The Merrybegot by Julie Hearn duly spellbinding:
Hearn writes with great brio and style. Her characters - human, supernatural and animal - all spring off the page. We can hear their voices, and the details of their lives are economically but vividly depicted.
Jacqueline Wilson, holder of the record for the longest bookshop autographing sessions (7 hours), is top of the latest public lending right (PLR) tables for the second year running. A younger writer in the genre, Mick Inkpen from Essex, is fourth.
Jacqueline Wilson's latest title - Clean Break
Brief children's books reviews in the New York Times.
Stuart Hill, author of The Cry Of The Icemark, on his best teacher, from the January 28 edition of TES (not previously blogged or included in Mail List Update)
A long article about the growing popularity of hip-hop manga, such as Tokyo Tribes, with the YA audience...
SHOJO BEAT will offer a format modeled after the tremendously popular, easy-to-read SHONEN JUMP Magazine, also published by VIZ. It will carry a �T � rating for older teens and feature six ongoing titles each month from Japanese publishing giants Shogakukan, Inc. and Shueisha, Inc. (both parent companies of VIZ), as well Hakusensha, a subsidiary of Shueisha, another one of Japan�s leading manga publishers. The premiere issue of SHOJO BEAT will launch several serials that include CRIMSON HERO and NANA (from Shueisha), KAZE HIKARU and ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND (from Shogakukan), and GODCHILD and BABY AND ME (from Hakusensha). To further complement the new magazine�s launch, VIZ will also simultaneously debut a SHOJO BEAT graphic novel line, which will offer an ongoing library of new sh?jo titles from all three publishers at $8.99. No longer just for male readers, manga has become a fast growing trend among teenage and young adult females in North America. Sh?jo manga often depict plots set around love, family, responsibility and identity. The level of fantasy, artifice or artistic ambition involved in most sh?jo stories are endearing, and the universal appeal of these subjects has helped to drive the genre�s popularity. VIZ has been a leading proponent of sh?jo manga and the debut of SHOJO BEAT will further affirm the company?s belief in the continuing viability and success of the trend.
Paramount are going to adapt Michael Stadther's bestselling children's book A Treasure's Trove, according to Variety.
A Treasure's Trove, caused a sensation over the clues in the book that lead to a dozen gold tokens hidden in public places in the U.S. and are redeemable for jewels worth a total of $1 million.
Pooja Makhijani, 26, is the editor of Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America.
The webpage includes an interview with the 26-year-old author, who says, "My first picture book, Mama's Saris (Little, Brown & Company Books for Young Readers), will be out in spring 2006, hopefully in time for Mother's Day. The book tells the story of a precocious girl's desire to dress up in her mother's beautiful saris. I am working on another picture book, a young adult book, and a book for adults."
An article about the rise & rise of teen chicklit, which includes mention of the forthcoming Bras And Broomsticks as an example of the genre...
Since the late 1990s, teen "chick lit" ? think Bridget Jones in high school ? has been gaining popularity, bringing in fortunes for publishers and booksellers, prompting established adult authors to target younger audiences and giving teens and tweens (9- to 12-year-old girls) their own heroines.
"(Teen chick lit) is still growing each year by double digits," said Joe Monti, national young adult buyer for Barnes & Noble. "I can't see a ceiling yet, and I can't even gauge when that ceiling will be hit."
Puffin's Marketing and Publicity Director, Elaine McQuade is to become 'Consumer Development Director', working across the Penguin Group. What will thise entail? The Penguin Press Release explains, "This new position addresses the increasing opportunities for researching, reaching and communicating with new readers, who are not necessarily accessing Penguin books at the moment. As part of the company?s bid to expand the market for books, Elaine will be leading many of the projects currently in their infancy at Penguin, such as diversity work, a commitment to working collaboratively with the public sector and the book trade on community reading projects and involvement in the industry-wide World Book Day Adult Literacy drive."
Elaine McQuade comments, ?There are an increasing number of diverse initiatives both inside and outside the industry to grow the market. It is extremely far sighted of Penguin to create this brand new position which really will help us maximise all current and future opportunities and I?m very much looking forward to the new role.?
The move means that Adele Minchin becomes Head of Puffin Publicity and Kirsten Grant Head of Marketing, both reporting to Joanna Prior, Group Marketing and Publicity Director. These new roles will become effective from Monday 28th February.
Another novel by "Because of Winn-Dixie" author Kate DiCamillo will get the big screen treatment. The rights to her unpublished children's book "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" has been picked up by New Line, report news sources.
Scholastic US announced yesterday that
it was going back to press for 50,000 more copies of its best-selling fantasy
novel, The Land of Elyon Book 1: The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman. In
less than a month after its release, the book has risen on The New York Times
bestseller list for three straight weeks and is now at #6.
An interview with illustrator, Dave McKean
Lawyers for author JK Rowling are investigating a US army magazine cartoon whose characters bear an uncanny resemblance to Harry Potter.
Healing herbs help children?s author Julie Hearn cope with her failing sight...
An article in The Times body&soul supplement reveals that children's author Julie Hearn (see ST Book of the Week) has been diagnosed with severe congenital retinal degeneration...
Darren Shan is due to be interviewed on Irish radio 2FM on Monday, February 7th, on the Gerry Ryan show, during the morning.
You can also listen to the show live online:
Schoolgirl... Publishing sensation... 50,000 copies in six weeks (er, wouldn't this make it figure in the bestseller charts, if true?)
Emma Marie, 13, says (of her own book, mark you) in The Times ?It?s a perfect read for the computer generation. Lots of kids out there like playing computer games and this is taking it to a whole new level. The characters go into the world and experience it for real.?
Mmm, original idea, that.
The Times piece continues... "Although Dragon Tamers has a recommended retail price of ?9.95, a copy has featured on eBay for ?35, her publishers discovered."
Blimey, those book-dealing speculators know no bounds. ?35!
Charles Faulkner, for Aultbea Publishing, says: ?I would describe her as a genius . . . You would not know this novel had been written by a 13-year-old. She can take a situation and make it come to life. Even adults have found it interesting. It?s difficult to put down.?
Even adults find it "interesting". It must be some book, then.
The Times adds, "He anticipates sales topping six figures in the book?s first year."
Either numbers are not Times arts reporter Dalya's strongest suit (was it really five and not fifty thousand in the opening para.), or the publisher actually means seven figures.
Jan Mark shares ACHUKA's enthusiasm for Nigel Hinton's Time Bomb, wholly convinced by:
...Andy's philandering spiv of a father, the war-hero cleric with moral feet of clay, the children's unashamed tenderness and affection for each other, and above all the loving recreation of postwar suburban London - the Saturday morning cinema, the traffic-free streets, and the bomb-sites, those Edens of buddleia and fireweed that we took for granted and thought would last for ever.
Gary Soto, author of Big Bushy Mustache, is under fire for a story that is bundled with a Latina doll:
A storybook that accompanies a Latina doll added to the popular American Girl Today collection for 2005 has offended some Hispanic activists in ZIP code 60608.
A short piece in The Economist, citing titles such as The Otterbury Incident by C. Day Lewis, asks why role models in books for older children were far more rowdy in the past than they are today.
Diane Purkiss of Oxford University believes that rowdiness on such a scale would fall foul of most editors these days. It is not that modern children's literature is devoid of outlaws; rather, rebellious behaviour is either the result of inadequate upbringing or exists safely in the realm of fantasy. "Children don't get to raid people's dustbins any more, although they do sometimes have the power to change the world."
A feature in the Herald about Quentin Blake:
Quentin Blake, 50 Years of Illustration is at the Dick Institute, Kilmarnock, until March 26. There are book signings,lectures and workshops to accompany the exhibition. Call 01563 554 343 for further information.
"That little plaque aroused my curiosity," [SHeila P.] Moses says. "I started doing research, and the more I did, the more I began to think about Dred Scott. Who was he? What was he like?" She tries to answer those questions in I, Dred Scott (McElderry, $16.95), a 96-page fictional slave narrative based on history and aimed at readers ages 10 to 14.
Universal Pictures-based production company the Sommers Co. has hired writing team Josh Oppenheimer and Thomas Donnelly to adapt Airborn as a feature film, says Variety.
"I had to put aside Jane Eyre for a couple of days," says the sophomore at Ursuline Academy of Dallas of her required reading for honors English. "Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down."That's the response author Ann Brashares is hoping for. After a nearly two-year wait, readers can catch up with Tibby, Bridget, Lena and Carmen in Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood (Delacorte Press, $16.95).
Recommended (worth the hassle of filling out the registration form)
Sisterhood Central - Your source for all things sisterhood!
MARGI McAllister looks like the most unlikely target for a Hollywood film company. Wearing a green velvet hat, brown boots and windcheater, the Yorkshire children's author could easily be mistaken for a PhD student or harassed social worker and her long and happy 27-year marriage to a clergyman is hardly the stuff of gossip columns. ...
Urchin Of Tbe Riding Stars, first book in the Mismantle Chronicles trilogy
Darren Shan's latest monthly online newsletter - which he always signs off "all the bloody best") - carries a report of his January trip to Japan and further news of the Shan movie rights sale.
Sarah Johnson, one-time children's books reviewer for The Times, is selling a large model of Aslan the lion on eBay.
The lion was made by a film props studio for the Granada TV series HOME ON THEIR OWN presented by ULRIKA JOHNSSON. The Johnsons were among the first families to be featured in the series of programmes in which children applied their own ideas to their parents' homes...while the parents were away. Inspired by the C.S. Lewis children's classic story, the Johnson children turned their bedroom into NARNIA IN WINTER...complete with iron lamp-post, snow-covered trees bolted to the floor...fake snow on the floor...and the life-size model of Aslan, King of Narnia, which is now for sale.
Animator Curtis Jobling will be purring with pride when his new cartoon Good Cat, Bad Cat is let loose at a film festival this week.
Curtis - the creator of Bob the Builder and his cat Pilchard - will see his new animation receive its world premiere on Teesside at the Animex International Festival of Animation.
Jobling is also a picture book illustrator: