July 2005 Archives

ST Book Of The Week

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Children's book of the week - Sunday Times - Times Online

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

A Sound Like Someone Trying Not To Make A Sound by John Irving illus Tatjana Hauptmann

...has a curious and poignant text, made even more interesting by Hauptmann�s expertly pencil-drawn illustrations, which take the daring path of expressing the mood of the story without exactly depicting the action. NICOLETTE JONES

Fairytale For Our Times

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Books - reviews and literary news from The Times and The Sunday Times

This is a classic new novel by an author who has written a rich fairytale for our times. AMANDA CRAIG


I Coriander by Sally Gardner

Barrie As Vampire

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | A peculiar brilliance

...What stands out in Chaney's account is how much he needed to be seen in relation to other people; to his mother, to Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, to her sons, and eventually to his secretary, Cynthia Asquith, with whom he reprised his relationship with Sylvia. He emerges as a strangely vampiric figure who fed off the energies of those around him and could not love without needing to possess...

from a review of Hide And Seek WIth Angels: A Life Of J M Barrie by Lisa Chaney

Into The Gloom

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Into the gloom

It is difficult not to think that, rich and adored, JK Rowling's gusto has gone. Now she is just, like her hero, set on completing the grand scheme. Into the gloom she is determined to take all those devoted readers.

John Mullan, senior lecturuer in English at University College London, writes an extended review of Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince in The Guardian.

Highly recommended

Guardian Correction

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Corrections and clarifications

In the profile of Philip Ardagh in Author of the month, page 17 (Parents), G2, yesterday, [blogged below] we implied that Ardagh's collaboration with Paul McCartney and Geoff Dunbar, High In the Clouds, was out this month. That is not the case. It is not published until October. However, Philip Ardagh's Horrendous Habits, the latest instalment of The Further Adventures of Eddie Dickens, was published this month.

Horowitz Hails Hoodies

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Hoodies and baddies - Health features - Times Online

They are demonised as yobs and louts in scruffy trainers but we ignore the inherent goodness of teenagers at our peril, argues bestselling author Anthony Horowitz

In a hardhitting piece from last Saturday's Times (I've only just caught up with it) Anthony Horowitz defends 'traduced' teenagers...

The piece may have been commissioned to help promote Horowitz's latest book, Raven's Gate, but it is written with real passion

Highly recommended

Scotsman.com News - Features - Harry Potter versus Willy Wonka

The Scotsman asks leading authors and children's literature experts how the works of Rowling and Dahl compare...

Recommended

New Blog On The Block

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Read Alert

Heads up everyone, there's a new blog on the block. Read Alert, a blog focusing on 'youth literature' in Australia, is maintained by the State Library of Victoria.

Very highly recommended!

Canadian Shortlist

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Another 'belatedly' award listing (details from Andrea Deakin):

2005 Norma Fleck Award for Non-Fiction: Shortlist


Marthe Jocelyn: A Home for Foundlings (Tundra)

Marthe Jocelyn's book is an account of Thomas Coram and the Foundling Hospital. Her interest in the hospital was first aroused when she discovered that her grandfather was raised there. Her history, with its moving fictional first chapter, is packed with detail in text and illustration and written in a very accessible and interesting way.


Shari Graydon In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You (Annick Press)

An account of what was considered beauty throughout time allows young adults to look more carefully at our present culture of beauty. Shari Graydon helps teens to become critical of the pressures put upon them to conform to type.The book criticises popular culture without criticising the young people drawn to it.


Ange Zhang Red Land , Yellow River A Story from the Cultural
Revolution
(Groundwood Books)

This is an account of his childhood in China and the impact of the "cultural revolution" on the Chinese people, particularly on the Zhang family. "All I wanted was to be just like the other kids...." It also depicts his growing determination to be himself , and the inner strength that he had to develop.

Hazel Hutchins A Second is a Hiccup: A Child's Book of Time (North Winds Press:Scholastic)

This book for young children tackles a child's perception of time. Each passage of time, "to jump a rope"- a second, "to build a sandy tower"- an hour, links into the experience of a small child in a very effective way.


Kathy Kacer The Underground Reporters (Second Story Press)

Forbidden to attend school, a small group of Jewish children found a swimming hole on the Vlatava River and founded their own centre. Here they wrote their own newspaper, typed out one copy and distributed it
person to person throughout the town. This picture of life under Nazism, and the way it affected young people also conveys their growing awareness of what is really happening to their community.

Author Of The Month

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Author of the month: Philip Ardagh

Dina Rabinovitch meets Philip Ardagh and ends up talking mostly about Paul McCartney - in this regard, her final paragraph is priceless :-)

Faber Flanimals II Fanfare

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Faber has sent out excited notice that it will be publishing Ricky Gervais� MORE FLANIMALS on 10 October 2005.

MORE FLANIMALS, a sequel to last year's bestselling Christmas title, takes the study of Flanimals to a higher level, and comes complete with charts, a fold-out genealogical table, family trees, and anatomical diagrams.

Ricky Gervais says: �Book two is a sort of Advanced Flanimals. Things get a bit more detailed - their evolution from simple Splorn and Blobs of Gumption through Austrilo Ployb to Fud Dumpton , there�s a Flanatomy section where we see inside the Mernimbler and the Glonk, and we try to understand what makes them tick with a more in depth Flanimal behavior study. Basically I�ve made up some more nonsense for a laugh. Hope you like it.�


The first FLANIMALS has been translated into 6 languages (more to come) and was a huge hit in the States. A major deal with a Hollywood studio is currently under negotiation to bring Flanimals to the big screen. If it happens, the film will be big-budget with Ricky providing the voice for one of the characters.

A pocket-sized edition of the first FLANIMALS book is also due for publication by Faber in October in a collectable format (150x130mm) with a pvc cover.

Beck To Bloomsbury

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Bloomsbury have announced that Ian Beck is to join their children�s list.

His first work for Bloomsbury, illustrating Digory the Dragon Slayer by Angela McAllister, is published next month. In 2006 he will also illustrate Winston the Book Wolf by Marni McGee.

Val Brathwaite, Design Director for children�s books comments: �I am delighted that Ian Beck has joined the Bloomsbury children�s list. One of the UK�s leading illustrators of children�s books, Ian brings a unique traditional charm and quality to everything he illustrates. Whether it be a fairy tale collection, picture book or fiction title, Ian has the ability to harmonise pictures and words that are a pleasure for both children and adults alike to enjoy.�

Popular Gesture

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Bag of tricks - Leading articles - Times Online

The Times, in a leader from yesterday, consider book bags are an extravagant poularising gesture. What do you think? [comment if you have stong views]

With free books already available to those who need or want them, there is something misguided about investing millions in headline grabbing �book bags� when that money could go towards ensuring that, when deprived children finally do enter the education system, schools have the resources to bring them up to speed.

Obliged To Read

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Parenting: Go on, give it a try - Review - Times Online

This piece was tucked away in the Sunday Times News Review section...

Children are being urged to read six books this summer, but how do you get them to start, asks Nicolette Jones

The pressure is on for parents to get their children reading over the summer. Schools are eager, sending children home for the holidays with suggested reading lists and instructions to read �at least three books�.
And last week David Lammy, the libraries minister, launched the Summer Reading Challenge, a promotion that challenges children to read six books over the vacation...

Dina Disapproves

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Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Good idea, shame about the selection

"this is a pedestrian list of some of the least exciting characters around" DINA RABINOVITCH

Find out what Dina Rabinovitch thinks of the Booktrust list and which titles she would far rather have seen on it...

Highly recommended

Freebies For Toddlers

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Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | ?27m scheme to give free books to all under-fives

Every child up to the age of four is to get a free bag of books under a ?27m government scheme designed to promote reading. The education secretary, Ruth Kelly, will announce the initiative during a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in London tomorrow. She will outline plans to hand out 9m free books over the next three years...

...

The revamped Booktrust scheme, to start in the autumn, will distribute free books across three age brackets. Bookstart, for babies aged up to 12 months, will provide a bag of books, a nursery rhyme placemat and a booklet on sharing stories with young children. The Bookstart plus pack, for children aged 12 to 24 months, will comprise two books, a scribble pad and crayons and a booklist. The third, My Treasure Chest, is for three- and four-year-olds. It will have hidden compartments for small toys and include reading books, an activity book, a scribble pad and crayons to encourage writing.

Endangered Species

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Harry Potter and a day of small profit - The Herald

Rosemary Goring on the effect of the HP price-war on independent bookstores, in a piece which ends up being a meditation on indpendent smalltown bookshops in general:

On one of the few days in the publishing calendar when the endangered species of independent bookshops might have been given a terrific financial boost, they were instead reduced to masochistic price cutting in order to catch what retailers call "footfall".

Recommended

HP As Pomp 70s Rock

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Harry and a glimpse of love - The Herald

Reviwwing HP6 for last week's Glasgow Herald, Julie Bertagna cannot help but see parallels with pomp rock bands of the 1970s:

... ... [the now book] got me thinking of pomp rock bands of the 1970s. The bigger they got, the more inflated the songs. Once they started on 13-minute guitar solos, it was time to find punk. At the World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow this summer, I'm speaking at an event that asks: "Has Harry Potter Set Children's Fiction Back 50 Years?" The paradox is that an essentially old-fashioned story has become an unparalleled phenomenon via the modern wizardry of the most brilliantly inspired, unconventional, expensive and ruthless global marketing pomp the publishing world has ever seen. Harry might vanquish Voldemort, but what about the pomp? In HP7, I'll be rooting for him to find some punk.

Grand Dame Jane

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.:: Welcome To The Jewish Ledger ::.

A profile of Jane Yolen, whose online journal is listed in our ACHOCKABLOGGER section (see right panel)

Recommended

Tir Na N-og Winners

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Another belated award result:

The Welsh Books Council recently announced the winners of the 2005 Tir na n-Og awards. (The shortlists were blogged on May 15th.)

The winner in the category Best English-language Book with an authentic Welsh background was JACKIE MORRIS for the picture book for readers aged 7-9 years The Seal Children (Frances Lincoln).

This the second time that Jackie Morris has won the Tir na n-Og Award.

Also Highly Commended was the novel In Chatter Wood, Jac Jones (Gomer/Pont Books).

Formal presentations take plac ein the autumn.

For winners of the Welsh language categories, read the extended entry.

Portsmouth Book Award

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Belated conveyance of the Portsmouth Book Award result. The winners were:

LONGER NOVEL
(as judged by 133 Y8/9 pupils from ten Portsmouth secondary schools)

Private Peaceful by Michal Morpurgo

SHORTER NOVEL
(as judged by 1055 Y5 pupils from twenty Portsmouth junior and primary schools)

Grow Up, Dad! by Narinder Dhami

PICTURE BOOK
(as judged by 1076 Y1 pupils from twenty-one Portsmouth infant schools)

Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me Alone by Frieda Wishinsky ill Nea Layton

Bertagna On Dahl

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Scotsman.com News - Features - King among the kids

Julie Bertagna writes about Roald Dahl for The Scotsman:

Dahl is the godfather of the modern children's novel. If he had lived, he would have been the first Children's Laureate (his sense of self-importance would have overcome his contempt of

establishment roles) and it felt right that the honour went to his brilliant illustrator, Quentin Blake... ...

Highly recommended

Dahl Museum

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The Observer | Review | Museums: Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre

Kate Kellaway gives her verdict on the Dahl museum in The Observer...

ST Review Of HP

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Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J K Rowling - Sunday Times - Times Online

Nicolette Jones reviews HP#6, and prefers it to #5:

It is impressive, given the unprecedented pressure that Rowling is under to sustain a sequence that she planned in obscurity, that she maintains its emotional energy, humour and the many spinning plates of its plot without showing the strain. There will always be those who say that Harry Potter, measured against Great Literature, is not worth the hoo-hah. But the hoo-hah is born of genuine enjoyment, and those who have enjoyed the first five volumes can�t possibly abandon the story now. Rather than miss this, most enthusiasts would, as Peeves the Poltergeist urges in the book, set fire to their own pants.

Dahl'S Movie Eye

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Telegraph | Arts | Sweetness and fright

"He was definitely a man of the movies," says Hunt. "I'd argue that he was quite deliberately writing scenes that were filmable. You can see this in a lot of children's book writers these days; they're not writing for the book, they're writing for the film. And I think Dahl was very well aware of that. I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't writing Matilda or The BFG for the screen, really."

S F Said's article about Dahl in the telegraph includes several such quotes from Peter Hunt.

Recommended

Reality As Well As Magic

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Who knows what lies beneath? - Books - Times Online

Amanda Craig is impressed by the domestic comedy contained in Troll Mill, Katherine Langrish's sequel to Troll Fell:

One of the many things I love about this writer is the way that she allows for the possibility not only of magic but of reality, which is much harder for children to grasp.

G. P. Taylor On Dahl's Humour

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Parental advisory: not suitable for adults - Books - Times Online

G. P. Taylor identifes himself with Roald Dahl and defines reviewers as "adults who would like to write books but can�t"...

As adult fiction increasingly moves towards the banal demands of large chains selling the literary equivalent of soma, so it is the realm of the children�s author to deal with the more weighty matters of life, death and the reason for living. I was shocked when a recent survey declared that 60 per cent of my readers were adults with an even male-female split.

More About Dahl

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Liccy Dahl talks to Amanda Craig - Books - Times Online

�The thing about Roald was that he loved children, and wrote for them,� Roald Dahl�s widow Liccy says. �He had the mind of a child, which was why he was able to reach them. Once you�d read one chapter you longed for the next. So many children�s books then were boring for adults to read, but he always made you long to go to bed. He said that in writing for children you had to grasp them by the neck in the first sentence. He had a perfect simplicity in the construction of each sentence which is what made him so readable.�

Times Exclusive

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The secret ordeal of Miranda Piker - Books - Times Online

Spiked Chocolate Factory character & chapter:

Before Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published in 1964 Roald Dahl pared down his cast of characters. Last to go was Miranda Piker and her chapter has appeared only once � in mirror script. Here, for the first time, we publish her comeuppance the right way round... ...

Indian Morals

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Pulped Fiction- The Times of India

Interesting feature - in light on Nandini Nayar's recent Opinion pieces - on state of children's literature in India:

Children's fiction is still in its nascent stages in India. But that's not the only reason for not having Potter-like success stories. "While contemporary children's fiction is still very young in India, what exists is an extension of adult fiction. It's only in the last decade or so that publishers and retailers have woken up to the potential of children's fiction. So, we can't expect an explosion like Harry Potter," says Radhika Menon, MD, Tulika Publishers. Children's author Ranjit Lall feels that fiction for kids in India stresses on morals -- that's where we go wrong... ...

Recommended

Dinah Hall In Telegraph & Standard

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Dinah Hall's summer roundup appeared in Sunday's Telegraph, containing this persuasive endorsement of Julia Green's latest novel, Hunter's Heart:

Of all the books I�ve read this year Hunter�s Heart by Julia Green (Puffin, �4.99), with its undertow of menace and superb portrait of male adolescence, was the one that truly got under my skin... ... For mature twelve to sixteen year olds � and any mothers wanting insight in to the psyche of teenage boys.

Also, in yesterday's (Monday's) Evening Standard, Hall reviewed Malorie Blackman's Checkmate. In an excellent, broadly positive single-title review, she took Blackman's editor to task for allowing some flaccid figurative writing occasionally to stall the narrative flow:

Blackman is a terrific thriller writer, driving her plots forward with skill and tenacity. It�s only when she occasionally pauses to admire the view, and throws in a badly turned simile, that the prose skids to a halt. How did a sentence like �my lower jaw hanging like a limp piece of wet lettuce� ever get past the red pen? Would that be Little Gem or Cos? you find yourself wondering. And I fear Blackman�s description of Sephy�s first sexual experience � a �single dazzling rocket bursting into a shower of silvery lights� followed by a whole volley of rockets one after another after another� - will be setting up more than a few teenage girls for disappointment.

This is good, critical reviewing at its best.

Rowling's Heir?

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Hype after Harry - Harry Potter - Times Online

An article from last Saturday's new Books supplent in The Times, focusing on Random House's $500,000 advertising campaign and 1m first printrun for Christopher Paolini's second novel, Eldest.

Footnoted by this fascinating factifile about HP promotion:

Potter by numbers Bloomsbury has spent an estimated ?1 million to promote Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Here is where the money has gone: 632,000 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince carrier bags 177,500 cover art banner posters

171,530 packets of Bertie Bott�s Every Flavour Beans (in independent retailers� party packs)

20,000 �The wizarding hour approaches� banner posters

16,700 mobiles featuring Harry and Dumbledore

15,000 Countdown Clocks

7,500 Harry dumpbins

2,022 buses advertising �Hop aboard for Harry Potter!�

2,000 spectators outside Edinburgh Castle

700 party packs for independent retailers

70 cub reporters from UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa

12 cannon shots, at the stroke of midnight outside Edinburgh Castle
3 ITV programmes

2 cub interviewers (one British, one Australian)

2 minutes of midnight footage beamed worldwide via satellite

Brief Hiatus

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Daily visitors will have noticed that updating of the Blog and main page has been a little glitchy over the past week. And there has been another hiatus in the Mail List Updates. It's all because a happy family event has stolen my attention! Still, there's been the mass media coverage of the Harry Potter launch to keep everyone amused, entertained and distracted.

Borrowings Defended

Harry Potter and the art of lifting ideas - Review - Times Online

where Rowling has used traditional fairy-tale creatures, she has put her own spin on them. Fairies and sprites are not pretty, benign wish-granters but domestic pests; owls are not familiars but postmen. For every dragon and unicorn there are invented creatures like Thestrals (skeletal horses visible only to those who have seen death), Blast-Ended Skrewts (don�t ask) and, of course, the Dementors.

Amanda Craig defends Rowling's borrowing (Sunday Times)

Harry Sacrifice

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | A hero for our time

Feature by Natash Walter in Saturday's Guradian Review...

Recommended

ST Book Of The Week

Children's book of the week - Sunday Times - Times Online

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

The Invisible Friend by Louise Arnold

double Times tribute to new author [see below]

"delightful debut" NICOLETTE JONES

Invisible Friend

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Books - reviews and literary news from The Times and The Sunday Times

Amanda Craig reviewed The Invisible Friend by Louise Arnold in yesterday's Times:

Louise Arnold�s debut, The Invisible Friend, is so wise on the subject of friendship that I�d like adults to read it as well as children. Grey Arthur is a ghost � not a glorious eccentric of the kind that graces Eva Ibbotson�s novels, nor yet the scary but thespian spook of Oscar Wilde�s The Canterville Ghost, but one so meek and unobtrusive that he tends not to get noticed at all. Ghosts, Arnold tells us, are not dead people but inhabitants of a world that is spread �like butter sits on toast� over our own...

Luc Besson

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Luc Besson's children's stories

So how exactly did France's most popular but least-acclaimed director come to be a bestselling children's author? Stirring his tea in a large but spartan office on the not-very-spartan rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor�, he is faintly surprised by the question.

"Why did I make Subway? Why did I do all that crazy undersea stuff in The Big Blue? Why did I go all black and nasty with Nikita?" he asks. "I don't know. Because I did. I do what I do because I want to do it, because I want to explore, go looking for things. This time it was kids."

Besson's fourth Arthur book, Arthur and the War of Two Worlds, is at the top of the French bestseller lists less than a month after its launch. The first three, starting with Arthur and the Minimoys - which has just been published in Britain - have sold more than 1m copies in more than 30 countries.

Not All Of Us Are Loaded

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Harry Potter and the stony broke authors

The group was JK Rowling's fellow children's authors, a third of whom earn less than the national minimum wage of �8,827 a year. And yesterday they published a survey of their own, claiming that some work for about 2p an hour.


Article continues

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Their survey, headed Not All of Us are Rowling in It, is released as talk of mega-million incomes was being bandied about in the build-up to Saturday's publication of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
The unkindest cut, they say, is to find that "How much do you earn?", or "Are you rich?" are now the first questions that children, even small children, ask when they do a school visit.

Lionboy Giveaway

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Scotsman.com News - Top Stories - Waterstone's expects Potter to weave his magic

Article about Waterstone's Lionboy giveaway promotion...

Millions Author

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Jacqueline Wilson Interviewed

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How To Sell 20m Childrens Books (from This Is Local London)

Jacqueline WIlson interviewed

Recommended

Rowling Vids

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Harry Potter at Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury's Harry Potter news page carries some short video promotions...

Here's two of them...

J K Signing

Jason Cockcroft talking

Malorie Blackman Million

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Parenting: A deeper shade of child's story - Review - Times Online

Recommended feature about Malorie Blackman

Last week Malorie Blackman became the first black British writer to have sold 1m books � something that may come as news to those who see Zadie Smith or Andrea Levy as the champions in their field... ...


Checkmate, final book in Noughts & Crosses trilogy, under half-price!

ST Summer Roundup

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Children: High days and holidays - Sunday Times - Times Online

Nicolette Jones' summer roundup in the Sunday Times includes a recommendation for Boy2Girl by Terence Blacker, just out in paperback


Terence Blacker�s sharp-witted and contemporary Boy2Girl (Macmillan �4.99) for 11+ relates what unpredictable things happen when a new American boy at an English secondary school passes himself off as a girl for a dare. Under the humorous surface it is thoughtful and revealing about identity and relationships.

I've just read Blacker's latest children's novel, Parent Swap, which among other things is a bitingly satirical take on reality TV and is also both very funny and thought-provoking.

Truly Depressing

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: Permanent Rose by Hilary McKay

In yesterday's Guardian, Diana Wynne Jones was depressed by Hilary McKay's Permanent Rose


As this is supposed to be a funny book, any distress is glossed over. At the bad times, we are told that the family is "stressed" or "arguing" or both, but no more. And Rose's actual name, the Permanent Rose of the title, is said at the end to be "A promise". I wonder why? Nothing has substantially changed. No guidance has been given. As a child of a dysfunctional family myself, I found it truly depressing.

More Harry Data

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The Observer | UK News | Potter's magic spell turns boys into bookworms

The first five Potter books have now sold more than 265m copies in 200 countries and been translated into 62 languages. They contain 717,800 words - making Rowling's earnings about ?1,393 per word. Bloomsbury's plans for the Half-Blood Prince are top secret, but Scholastic, the US publisher, has announced an unprecedented first print run of 10.8m copies, a 27 per cent increase on the previous title...

McCrum On Rwoling's Deadly Prose

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The Observer | Review | The World of Books: July 10

When the current generation of Harry Potter readers has grown up, it will look back on the Harry Potter phenomenon with a mixed thrill of intense nostalgia, embarrassment and dismay. Our children's children will certainly read these books, but as curiosities, bizarre literary relics from a lost world. JK Rowling has certainly come up with some great stories. She knows in her bones that children prefer incident to character and, as a spinner of yarns, she is in a class of her own. But try reading her aloud to an eight-year-old and you quickly discover that her prose is deadly - automatic writing, over-literal description and lazy dialogue. Perhaps The Half-Blood Prince will prove me wrong, but the series so far does not hold out much hope... ...

Harry's Percentages II

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Harry Potter casts spell on publishing

Waterstone's said there has been a tenfold increase in the number of new children's books released every month since 2000. In a state of decline before the appearance of Harry Potter in 1997, sales of children's books excluding the young wizard have since been growing at a rate of 2% a year. "Demand for other children's authors, stimulated by interest in Harry Potter, has helped the publishing industry as a whole," Waterstone's said. "New writers are now taken more seriously, recognised more quickly, and invested in more heavily."

Harry's Percentages

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Scotsman.com News - Scotland - Potter works wonders for kids' literacy

New research by the Federation of Children's Book Groups (FCBG), shows that JK Rowling's storytelling has had a major impact on literacy and reading habits in the UK.

Almost six out of 10 children (59%) think the books have helped them improve their reading skills. And 48% say Rowling's creation is the reason they read more... ...

The Cartoonist Talks

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Chris Riddell on being a children's illustrator

'So why do you work for a newspaper?" a journalist once asked me when he discovered that I also worked as a children's book illustrator.

Here, in a highly recommended feature from the Guardian, Chris Riddell, winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, explains...

Carnegie Report

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Guardian Unlimited Books | News | Carnegie medal for Millions

Report from yesterday's Guardian about Frank Cottrell Boyce's winning of the Carnegie Medal

Hitler's Canary

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Media Savvy Harry

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Books - reviews and literary news from The Times and The Sunday Times

Harry is no longer a hero in the purest sense of the word; he is now a celebrity, and that is something rather different. The books (and the films) have become Events, hardly appreciable in themselves but phenomena viewed through the mirror of the media...

Erica Wagner on Harry who, she feels, is no longer a hero but a celbrity...

See what you think.

Carnegie & Greenaway

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Carnegie and Greenaway Press Desk

Frank Cottrell Boyce and Chris Riddell are the winners of the Carengie & Greenaway Medals...

Karazan Quartet Author

The New Zealand Herald

Feature about Vicky Jones, author of The Karazan Quartet:

Where did Vicky Jones erupt from? In 2001 she was a publishing cliche: the well-read, articulate book-lover who dreams of maybe sitting down to write a novel some day. In 2002 she became the one-in-1000 who actually does it, and at that point our story takes a sharp turn into not-in-my-wildest-dreams territory.

In the last three years she has had six novels published, won the New Zealand Post Junior Fiction award, and had her children's fantasy series The Karazan Quartet picked up for international distribution by Puffin.

CILIP have issued the following Press Release, following today's bombings in central London:

Following this morning�s terrorist incidents in central London, we have reluctantly decided to postpone the ceremony for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children�s Book Awards.

We have taken this decision with extreme reluctance, because we feel strongly that these Awards represent precisely the civilised values that the terrorists are seeking to destroy.

However we recognise that it would be irresponsible to encourage people to come into central London when the emergency services are so stretched, and we also feel that a celebration of this kind would be inappropriate when so many people are suffering from injury and, in some cases, the death of loved ones.

The ceremony was due to take place at the English Heritage headquarters in central London, on Friday 8 July. As soon as possible, we will make plans for a further ceremony when we can honour the achievements of the winners and the shortlisted authors and illustrators.

Meanwhile, we will announce the winners at 12:30 tomorrow, Friday 8 July, as arranged.

Rowling Advised

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USATODAY.com - Like magic, she's wealthy

In a USA Today article about J K Rowling:

Barry Cunningham, her first editor at Bloomsbury Publishing in London, remembers giving her "terrible advice" when they met in the 1990s. Rowling was a divorced woman without much money.

"She was telling me about her circumstances. I was worried she was really relying on Harry to be the future for her and her daughter," Cunningham says. "I told her she wouldn't make any money at children's books, and she should get a day job,"

What Girls Want

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North Jersey Media Group providing local news, sports & classifieds for Northern New Jersey!

Interesting piece about Alloy Entertainment:

The masterminds behind some of the most popular books for adolescent girls are a couple of thirtysomething men.

... ...


Alloy Entertainment Inc., a division of marketing and advertising giant Alloy, has developed a slew of hot book series, including "Gossip Girl," "The A-List," "The Clique" and "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," which was made into a hit movie.

Horowitz On Dahl

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Telegraph | Arts | Roald and the story factory

As a new film of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opens, children's writer Anthony Horowitz - a long-time Dahl fan and rival - marvels at the staying power of cheerful malevolence... ...

Highly recommended

Harry EPK's

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Bloomsbury has just announced that it will make available 'Electronic Press Kits' to accompany the launch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The first one, issued 11.00am BST (British Summer Time), Monday 11th July, will include three sections of mpeg footage footage:
- J K Rowling signing the first copy of �Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince� ahead of publication
- Jason Cockcroft, illustrator of the book jacket
- Bloomsbury�s �All Aboard for Harry� buses - part of Bloomsbury�s biggest marketing campaign ever for a single book

The second 'kit, available at 00.20am BST, Saturday 16th July will have footage of
- JK Rowling arriving on the red carpet at Edinburgh Castle
- JK Rowling reading from the beginning of �Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince� in the Great Hall at midnight to the audience of 70 children

The same press release announcing these press kits confirms that, as with the previous title, 'No review copies will be available before 00.01am on Saturday 16th July.'


Foreshadowing Author Interviewed

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ACHUKA Interviews

Blogging our own interview with Marcus Sedgwick.


The Foreshadowing

by Marcus Sedgwick
(Orion)

An immensely compelling, impressive and thought-provoking young adult novel. ACHUKA has not always been a fan of Sedgwick's writing, particularly the early novels, but we began to be converted by Cowards (non-fiction) and if all his future fiction is as good as this truly exceptional new novel our admiration will be permanent!

Check out the old-style AUTHORFILE


Jackanory

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Jackanory turns the page after nine-year silence


Jackanory, which saw a revolving cast of big names reading children's books, is to become the latest much-loved show to be revived...

Gruffalo Gordon

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The Observer | Review | Barbara Ellen meets the elusive Mr Brown

I was amused to read this in Barbara Ellen's feature interview with Gordon Brown in today's Observer. To find out if Brown's son enjoyed The Gruffalo, check the final paragraph of the feature.

It seems as good a time as any to give Brown The Gruffalo for his son. Brown is extremely pleased and demands I leave my details so he can send something back. 'It's amazing how kids love books,' he says. 'You do feel that for kids who are denied books it's really unfair.' Then he tells me about a government initiative called Book Start, where young children will receive free books. He's so enthused I fight the urge to feel cross that he's dragged the subject back to politics again... ...

ST Book Of The Week

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Children's book of the week - Sunday Times - Times Online

Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week

Nicolette Jones has her qualms swept away by Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Somewhere under the wild, rebellious surface are reactionary values: killing makes you feel bad, but sometimes it is appropriate revenge; mothers who make cookies are the ideal; prayer helps. But this skilled and compulsive tale is so involving about kids being brave against the odds that it sweeps away any qualms.... NICOLETTE JONES

Fantasy Crop

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Personal demons - Books - Times Online

Amanda Craig reviews the latest crop of fantasy fiction, including Lord Loss by Darren Shan - "not for children under 12, and those who do read it should be immune to nightmares"

Delirious Intangible Melancholy

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

Jan Mark reviews The New Policeman by Kate Thompson


There is something hallucinatory, if not delirious, about this stylish, magical book, the sensation of tenuous recognition, of watching a dream slip away after waking. Then there is the fiddling - every chapter ends with appropriate sheet music for dance tunes - the prevalence of goats, any one of which might turn out to be a p�ka (member of the devil class, according to O'Brien), the ominous shadow of transience that always takes the young unawares, the air of intangible melancholy, all preserved from any suspicion of whimsy by the matter-of-fact voice of the author, her robust sense of fun, and the sheer energy of her writing.

Branford Boase Award Winner

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No, this is not the Branford Boase winner, nor is it Howard Hannah. It is, of course, Ted Dewan, snapped at last night's TES Summer Party. The only other photograph I took was this one of the TES front page encased in a block of ice.

It was a luxury not to have to flit around with camera in hand, just chat with some of the other Michael's on Geraldine Brennan's reviewing team, as well as speaking with Elaine Williams and Tom Deveson who, observing that my beard was bushier than when we had last met (he was polite enough not to add whiter) was told that it was a physical manifestation of impending grandfatherdom.

One reviewer I missed was Jan Mark who had left before I arrived to attend the Branford Boase Award presentations. (My own plans to attend both events were scuppered by the late running of my train up from Sussex.)

The winner was How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. The award was presented by Mal Peet. Jacqueline Wilson, Children�s Laureate, who sponsored the �1000 cheque accompanying the award said �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�.

Read the Press Release in full...

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