Sonya Hartnett won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 2002 for Thursday's Child. Her subsequent novel, What the Birds See, explored childhood but did not address children. Surrender does not address children, but the fastidiously visceral narrative examines the infantile preoccupation with the wholly physical. It is a demanding experience but it can be hardly be called a crossover book. Adults who unblushingly read Harry Potter in public would never be able to cope with it. JAN MARK
April 2005 Archives
Unique by Alison Allen-Gray, edited by Kathy Webb (OUP)
Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce edited by Sarah Dudman (Macmillan)
Dizzy by Cathy Cassidy edited by Rebecca McNally (Puffin Books)
Zeus on the Loose by John Dougherty edited by Sue Cooke (Random House, Young Corgi)
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver edited by Fiona Kennedy (Orion)
How I live now by Meg Rosoff edited by Rebecca McNally (Puffin Books)
Last Train from Kummersdorf by Leslie Wilson edited by Suzy Jenvy (Faber)
The annual Branford Boase Award celebrates the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards by a first-time novelist, and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new authors.
The Award has received financial support from Jacqueline Wilson who says: "I have a special affection for this prize since I was invited to be the first Author Judge in 2000. It can be such a struggle for new writers starting out that I am thrilled to be able to offer this support to a prize which can make a real difference to their prospects�.
The winner of the 2004 Branford Boase Award will be announced on 30 June 2005.
Information about the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition for young people under 18 years is also available from the website...
US Children's book publisher Scholastic Inc. announced yesterday that it is acquiring Barry Cunningham's Chicken House Publishing Ltd...
KATE GREENAWAY MEDAL
John Kelly Guess Who�s Coming For Dinner? (Cathy Tincknell)
Chris Riddell Jonathan Swift�s Gulliver (Martin Jenkins)
Michael Rosen now has a website... a very good one too
Guardian Author Of The Month
whose new book, Zip's Apollo, will be published by Puffin in the summer...
"Marketing maverick and acclaimed author of young adult fantasy novels, R.J. Nimmo, is making waves with an innovative new Web site and marketing campaign usually only employed by self-help gurus, purveyors of exotic diet regimens, and regular guests on Oprah..."
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
The strength of the book is Dodd�s ability to write words and rhythms that roll round the tongue and that are fun to read aloud. Young children respond to alliterative, rollicking language: it is nourishing to their verbal development, and it has to be done well. For this we can count on doodley, diddley Lynley Dodd. NICOLETTE JONES
Anne Fine has attacked the dumbing down of the GCSE and A-Level English syllabus:
Anne Fine, the former children�s laureate, said: �This is a real sign of dumbing down. Many of the books which are put in front of children nowadays simply do not merit the amount of time which is spent on them.�
The top link takes you to a truncated TES report. This link takes you to a Guardian news report...
Jan Mark is impressed by Christopher Russell's first novel, Brind and the Dogs of War: "Original, humane and hugely satisfying both fictionally and historically..."
Amanda Craig reviews fiven new fantasies and poarticularly likes The Secret Country by Jane Johnson - "stands out thanks to its charming and humorous mixture of the mundane and the magical"
and Barkbelly by Cat Weatherill - "the kind of classic tale that may have more resonance for adults than it does for children"
Craig also approves of the closing installment of Mary Hoffman's Stravaganza trilogy, City Of Flowers - "Hoffman has caught up all the threads from her first two books to weave a baroque thriller about art, murder, love and family".
Although young adult and children's literature has always been available, it has recently become more abundant in university course offerings...
A course in children's and young adult literature is a course requirement in many American universities and colleges. We have two student teachers from the University of Illinois currently working in our school and their knowledge and experience of contemporary children's books far surpasses that of student teachers trained in our own universities, where the coverage of children's literature is paltry in the extreme.
MTV reports that Carey is planning her own series of illustrated children's books called "Automatic Princess." The "It's Like That" singer started working on the stories last summer, but the project had to be put on hold because Carey was also recording "The Emancipation of Mimi."
Carey is now ready to get back into the stories...
Graham Marks looks back at this year's Bologna Book Fair...
W H Smith Children's Book Of The Year
Our earlier citation of the winner in this blog entry was incorrect. Huge red-faced apologies for the error!
The winner is The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Young adult author Julie Anne Peters was shocked when her novel Luna (2004), a story about a transgender teen, was nominated for a National Book Award. �I just couldn�t believe it,� she says. A self-described reclusive writer who lives in Colorado with her partner of 31 years, Sherri Leggett, Peters had written nine children�s books before her editor suggested that she write a young adult lesbian love story. That suggestion turned into Keeping You a Secret (2003), and changed Peters�s choice of career into a calling: to tell more stories about LGBT teens. Her latest novel, Far From Xanadu, which will be published in May...
A French children's book author who claimed Disney's blockbuster Finding Nemo copied a fish of his creation, was convicted of fraud Wednesday and ordered to pay about $80,000 US in damages and legal fees...
... ...Johnson hopes to get that same reaction from the kiddie crowd next year, with his songs for the soundtrack of "Curious George," the animated film based on the classic children's-book series. Will Ferrell voices the Man in the Yellow Hat, and the title monkey is played ... well, in a sense, by Johnson.
"My songs are Curious George's voice, because he can't speak," he says, "so they tell you somewhat what's going on in his mind during the story. It's a whole different kind of project, having to write lyrical content that actually gets something across, especially for the kids."
Johnson's songs for the film will be orchestrated later this year in London, which he says poses a challenge markedly different from writing for his own albums.
"I'm still writing them on acoustic guitar, like I usually do," Johnson says, "but a lot more will happen to them than I usually wind up doing for my own records, which is exciting � and a little scary."
Jack Johnson's latest CD, In Between Dreams - a hot favourite sound in the ACHUKA offices - very summery...
Charlotte County tourism promoters have something new to crow about: they've learned their region has been cast in a feature film.
The movie is "Hoot." It's based on a Newbery award-winning children's book written by best-selling novelist and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen.
Shooting will start this summer. Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett is co-executive producer. He'll create music for the film and likely have an on-screen cameo role, according to the Charlotte County Visitor's Bureau.
The production companies involved filmed two other popular children's books � "Holes" and "Because of Winn-Dixie."
THE Archbishop of Canterbury has defended the work of a children�s author jailed for 2 1/2 years for sexually abusing his young girl fans. Rowan Williams said that although his view of William Mayne had changed since the court case, this would not stop him recommending his work, in particular A Game of Dark, which he read as a child...
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
... This lively and skilful novel explores and explodes delusions about love, learning, wealth, family duty and the nature of performance in a way that can resonate for modern readers, without being untrue to its historical setting. Roll up and be entertained. NICOLETTE JONES
Children's book publishers are understandably wary about violence in books, even books that will likely be read by parents as well, and Higson says he tried to find the balance between "Tom and Jerry and Sam Peckinpah." In the next novel, due to be published early in 2006, he made a decision to back away from the cartoonish mayhem of the movies. "In the Bond films you had those scenes where hundreds of guys in colour-matching bodysuits get blown up, and it's a bit of fun. But I thought I'd like the kids to think about this a bit more."... ...
From a Candiain review of Silverfin by Charlie Higson...
The book is intimate, feel-good and quick-fire. We dart from kitchen to street, to phone call to bedroom to school. The dialogue is snappy and full of the kind of therapy-talk that is the bread and butter of middle-class American life: "I'll deal with it." "You don't have to deal with it by yourself." The book is full of echoes of Judy Blume and the late Paula Danziger with its loving accounts of private jokes, memories and slang... ...
Michael Rosen in a very positive review of Boy Merts Boy by David Levithan.
Faber have acquired Harry Hill's Tim The Tiny Horse for publication Autumn 2006.
Alana Grace Signs With Columbia Records. Artist's Original Song, "Black Roses Red," Appears On Soundtrack Of "The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants". Vibrant Young Singer-Songwriter's Debut Album Produced By Don Gilmore And John Fields. Alana Grace, a young singer-songwriter, has been signed by Columbia Records, with plans to release her debut album in 2005. Music fans will get their first taste of the music of Alana Grace when they hear her original song, "Black Roses Red," a key track on the soundtrack of the upcoming teenage coming-of-age film "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," from Alcon Entertainment/Warner Bros. Pictures. Based on the New York Times young adult fiction bestseller by Ann Brashares, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"--starring Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, Blake Lively and Alexis Bledel--opens nationwide on June 3, 2005. "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" soundtrack album is in stores on Tuesday, May 24 from Columbia Records/Sony Music Soundtrax.
A garden which inspired children's author Beatrix Potter in one of her classic books is being returned to its Victorian look... ...
NYT feature abou the Maurice Sendak exhibition at the Jewish Museum, New York:
The large New York exhibition aims to interpret Mr. Sendak through his Jewish identity, which means that favorite characters from "The Nutshell Library" and "Little Bear" make only cameo appearances. Still, narrowing the focus is a useful and relevant - make that primal - way to digest the volume of images, ideas and emotions that suffuse these pictures... ...
Faith McNulty, 86, author of the 1980 bestseller "The Burning Bed," which focused national attention on domestic violence, died April 10 at her farm in South Kingstown, R.I. No cause of death was reported.
Ms. McNulty also wrote for the "Talk of the Town" section in the New Yorker magazine for four decades and wrote wildlife and children's books, including How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World ...
Look out for new search options that will take advantage of our categorised listings. These new search options will be uploaded over the next few days. In the meantime, I'm posting this link to beta test the basic author search function.
Due next month, [Mosley's] young adult novel "47" � part magic realism, part science fiction, part folk tale � is the story of a young slave boy's struggle toward freedom.
"Descendants of the victims of slavery find it hard to look straight into that image because it is so painful," Mosley says. "I wanted to write something � to help people understand the nature of freedom�. The only way to be free is to free yourself."
ALMOST half of Australian parents don't read to their children on a daily basis and two-thirds say they lack the time to read to them as much as they'd like.
The figures, described as "disturbing" by children's author and literacy expert Mem Fox, are included in a Newspoll survey commissioned by the not-for-profit Dymocks Literacy Foundation.
A total of 47 per cent of the respondents did not read to their children on a daily basis, the survey found... ...
Michael Morpurgo would be the first to admit he is no Jamie Oliver, but as children's laureate he is the closest pupils have to a books' champion, and he believes it is time to take a stand... ...
Will Smith may be the rapper in the family, but wife-actress Jada Pinkett Smith is no slouch in the rhyming department. Children's book publisher Scholastic announced on Monday, April 11 that the 33-year-old starlet will debut her picture book Girls Hold Up This World in second place on the New York Times children's best seller list.
Since Judy Blume began writing frankly sexual books for young adults in the 1970s, the category has come of age and moved on to increasingly harsh and sophisticated topics amid persistent efforts to censor what female teens read...
Interesting, esp. for the number of responses (so far - you can add your own - there, or here)
MAILING MONKEY Episode 5
We've published the latest edisode of Mailing Monkey in plain html (webpage) format, rather than as an animated Flash sequence, and would really appreicate feedback on which format you are happiest with. The new episode of course carries links to the previous episodes, all still in their original Flash format.
Episode 5 raises issues aired by Graham Marks in his recent Publishing News article on the effectiveness, or otherwise, of lavish launch events.
Don't forget to give us the feedback...
Dr. Ron Clavier, a Toronto-based clinical psychologist, is author of a soon-to-be-released book called Teen Brain, Teen Mind: What Parents Need to Know to Survive the Adolescent Years (Key Porter Books). Clavier says the teen brain should carry a "handle with care" label because the complex changes occurring inside the brain, especially between the ages of 12 and 15, make it vulnerable to damage.
A UK author will also be publishing a book on the workings of the teenage brain.
Blame My Brain by Nicola Morgan will be published by Walker Books in September.
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
This volume, involving a bad billionaire with interests in space and destructive plans, contains some of the series� funniest put-downs, most cunningly constructed scenes and ambitious settings. With Ark Angel, Horowitz reaches unprecedented height...NICOLETTE JONES
Philip Ardagh, in The Guardian, thinks that with Ark Angel Anthony Horowitz has written a children's book 'in the purest sense':
Highbrow literature this ain't, but neither does it purport to be. For me, this is a children's book in the purest sense. It's not a crossover title that spills over into adult fiction. It's perfectly pitched at its readership. Ark Angel reads the way a children's thriller should read...
Charlotte S. Huck, a nationally acclaimed expert on children's literature, died Thursday, April 7...
Publishing News reports that Barn Owl Books, which specialises in reprinting oout-of-print titles, will receive an Arts Council project funding grant of �21,000.
In her comic debut, Nancy wears hip clothes (and what looks like a Wonderbra), carries a cell phone and a laptop, and drives a hybrid car.
Nancy Drew, who was created by Carolyn Keene, whose books have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide, has morphed from classic to cool. Her new image, created by Papercutz, a graphic novel company based in New York, is no wholesome Pamela Sue Martin type. Rather, this Nancy resembles Hollywood hottie Sienna Miller... ...
I have a copy of this first graphic Drew title, The Demon Of River Heights (written by Stephan Petrucha, artwork by Sho Murase, and published by Papercutz), in my lap as I make this entry. It'll sell for �4.99 in the UK.
There'll be a new graphic novel in the series every three months, with #2 publishing in July.
Sophie Masson writes, in a perceptive piece about blogging:
At its best, blogging, for the writer, can be a terrific experience, enabling you to have genuine discussions with readers, and engage in the kind of thoughtful and illuminating speculation that can often inspire new ideas and new trains of thought in you. However, that is the ideal situation, and it�s rare, and precious. All too often, what the comments box turns into is a kind of dialogue of the deaf, with the original post hopelessly lost in a welter of tangents, parti pris positions, shouting matches, and a certain amount of intellectual bullying which I have found quite intimidating at times. It�s not that I�m a stranger to unpleasant missives - if you write publicly anywhere, you�ve got to expect negative as well as positive feedback - but I think that the medium itself has an atmosphere which makes people confrontational.
Those interested in children's books seem far too polite to become confrontational, judging by the empty comment boxes on this the busiest section of the ACHUKA website.
Any of you interested in blogging generally should find this final entry in a personal blog of interest - and perhaps even worthy of comment ;-)
Also, some of you may have noticed the flickr link in the right-hand panel of ACHOCKABLOG. I have begun archiving both personal and ACHUKA shots on flickr and in the course of discovering some fantastic photographs and photographic talent amongst other flickr users, I also came across this blog, which I shall duly add to the ACHOCKABLOGGER listings. I can also recommend the various street graffiti sets that Patrick Barry Barr has uploaded to flickr
The Japan Times reviews Skinny B, Skaz and Me by John Singleton...
PR NEwswire - Scholastic, the global children's publishing and media company, announced today that Barbara Marcus, President of Children's Book Publishing and Distribution and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Inc., has decided to leave the company following the July 16, 2005 release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the bestselling Harry Potter series. During Ms. Marcus's 22 years at Scholastic, she supervised the publication and release of all five previous Harry Potter books as well as innumerable other bestselling titles, and she helped guide Scholastic's growth to its position today as the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books. She will be succeeded by Lisa Holton, Senior Vice President, Publisher, Global Disney Children's Books... ...
Booktrust, the administrators of the Children�s Laureate award have announced that from the end of May 2005 Ottakars Bookstores will be the new sponsors of the Children's Laureate. The fourth Children�s Laureate will be announced by Sir Christopher Frayling (chair of Arts Council England andRector of The Royal College of Art) at a presentation on Thursday 26th May at BAFTA, Piccadilly, London.
Ottakars sponsorship will fund four major events where the new Children's Laureate will appear. They will also support the Children's Laureate with promotions in store and with a national tour of their bookshops. They have agreed to sponsor the award for two years.
Charlie Higson asks why there aren't more action thrillers published for children:
I long to see at least one cover showing two big muscly guys pounding the crap out of each other while a building explodes in the background.
Maybe it�s something to do with the fact that children�s publishing is run almost exclusively by women, or maybe it�s that the moral guardians like kids� books to be good for you rather than good for a fight. It wasn�t always like this; in the past, boys grew up on stuff such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped and, God help us, Biggles. But nowadays, well, it�s no wonder boys don�t read.
Longish Reuters feature on Darren Shan...
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
Although this is a succinctly engaging tear-jerker, it is also full of happiness and affection and has a joyful ending... NICOLETTE JONES
Dinah Hall's children's book roundup from last Sunday's Telegraph, now online...
Hall is particularly keen on Permanent Rose by Hilary McKay and Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan...
Another George Adamson obit.
See also March 19th and March 24th or click Obituaries in the Categories listings in the right-hand column
Players from the 20 Premiership clubs are linking their names to favourite books that will then be used by libraries to promote reading.
All clubs will offer tours, tickets and chances to meet so-called Club Reading Champions like... Chelsea's John Terry, who said: "It's important to act as a positive role model and I'm really pleased that people want to know about my favourite books." Terry chose the children's book Cool! by Michael Morpurgo.
Children's books were chosen by half of the players. Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg selected Richard Scarry's Cars, Trucks and Things that Go while Aston Villa's Mark Delaney went for Ted Hughes' The Iron Man. Fulham's full-back, Moritz Volz, selected Antoine De Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, while Liverpool's Chris Kirkland chose Jeremy Strong's There's a Viking in my Bed.
See also this Independent article...
Read On for full list of selections:
Kevin Crossley-Holland is won over by a debut historical novel, dep[site its lack of lexical vigour:
Like many a children's novelist, in fact, what Chandler writes is well-organised, well-observed, strongly felt, and psychologically astute, but how she writes is somehow grounded by a lack of much lexical vigour. I dare her to dare herself.
But the healing revelation with which this novel ends is so unexpected and utterly right that it made me gulp. Chandler has found the perfect way to tell us how tolerant faith, religious or secular, can in any age restore and empower what self-interest and cruel intolerance take away.
Moyoco Anno's SUGAR SUGAR RUNE is a fun, imaginative romp into a magical world. Anno has become most famous in both the U.S. and Japan for her manga aimed at young women, but with SUGAR SUGAR RUNE, she's writing for girls and boys...
Having already blogged my own teenage fiction reviews from last Saturday's Scotsman, I remembered today that all mention of Nigel Hinton's superb and unmissable TIME BOMB! had been omitted. The reason why is that the book was included at the end of a roundup of younger and middle-age fiction published the same day. So I am blogging the link to that now.
"Hilary McKay's novels are like beacons of light shining over the dark and troubled waters of so much other contemporary teenage fiction. Her latest, Permanent Rose (Hodder, �10.99), is so good it almost hurts," says Nick Tucker in his roundup of recent teenage fiction.
Picture Books were also reviewed in today's Independent...
Fine wine and fancy canapes sell no books, says Graham Marks:
Graham Marks uses his column in this week's Publishing News (an excellent issue by the way, brim full of children's books coverage) to question the effectiveness of smart launch events, arguing that they haven't led to any increase of review coverage and that anyway children's books sales do not respond to the number of column inches published by the media, but to personal appearances by authors in front of their target readership - children and families.
Of course, it's very difficult to disprove this age-old argument that reviews and media coverage don't sell books, and in particular children's books, and that it's all down to a combination of word-of-mouth and charismatic personal appearances by showbizzy authors at schools and festivals, but I happen to believe that reviews and media features can have an enormous impact, and that's why I agree with Dina Rabinovitch when she decries the fact that the media are obsessed with just three or four mega-children's authors and why I would want to support and encourage children's publicity and marketing departments to continue and further their efforts to promote new and rising authors with glitzy and innovative events.
The suggestion that it should all be left to school visits and book festivals... Well, I'm surprised atcha, Mr Marks.
Preschool channel Nick Jr thinks the time has come to end the bloodshed [found in traditional nursery rhymes]. It yesterday challenged the country to write new rhymes that can oust the "Pulp Fiction"-themed nursery rhymes of yesteryear.
Although reportedly supporting the initiative, Michael Rosen is quoted as saying, "Let's have pneumatic drills going through our feet, trees falling on us, and people going to bed and bumping their head. This is the language of folk and fairy story - kids like this. They help us explore our fears and delights."
[Mitchard] has written a children's novel, Rosalie, My Rosalie that is also being released in April. Aimed at young readers, it tells the tale of a strong-willed little girl who raises a tiny duckling and then faces tough decisions about her unusual pet. It is Mitchard's third children's book. "Writing children's books is a useful discipline because you don't have much room. A picture book is 16 pages, 32 sides and within that space you must create a complete and compelling world, filled with faucets, and blue jeans, and animals, and things that happen and people that matter. It helps remind me of the best advice I ever got from my agent, about 20 years ago...
TOKYOPOP has announced the winners of their fifth Rising Stars of Manga competition. In addition to monetary prizes and publication in TOKYOPOP's upcoming Rising Stars of Manga Vol. 5 graphic novel anthology, all winners will be invited 'to pitch and score their own future book deals with TOKYOPOP'.
Grand Prize winner, Mail Order Ninja, a hilarious tale about a boy and his pet ninja, was created by the dynamic team of writer Joshua Elder (age 24) from Chicago and artist Erich Owen (age 26), an illustrator from Knoxville, TN. Elder and Owen will split $2,500 and fight over the Grand Prize trophy in mortal combat. When alerted to the news, Joshua was heard to remark: "This is about the coolest thing that has ever happened to me... Especially considering that I totaled my car this morning!"
The ultra-cerebral story of people and their personal demons, Baggage, created by student Roald Mu?oz (age 20) of Naperville, IL, took the Second Place nod: $1,500 in booty and a commemorative trophy.
Third Place, Can I Sit Here? takes readers inside the head of an angst-riddled teen grappling with indecision. Created by George Alexopoulos (age 19) a video store clerk from Tenafly, N.J., this entry earned a $1,000 prize and a trophy to boot...
Voting is underway for one of New Zealand's most coveted book awards. School children throughout the country are giving the 20 finalist books in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults 2005, the 'thrice over', as they read, review and then vote for their favourite title in the Children's Choice Award...