December 2008 Archives

Financial Crisis Hits Next Narnia Film

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from The Independent:

Disney took advantage of the seasonal news lull last week to quietly slip out news that it has decided to withdraw from producing The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the next in the Chronicles of Narnia series of films based on the children's books by C S Lewis.

Blaming "budgetary considerations" for its decision, the studio said it would not renew an option to co-finance the $200m (£137m) movie because the worsening economic climate has forced it to become more selective about the number of films it produces.

It was the second major fantasy franchise to be unceremoniously cancelled in recent months. Earlier this year, Warner Bros decided not to make a follow-up to The Golden Compass, the first instalment of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy...

from the Seattle Times:


Publishers such as Scholastic are also adding Web sites and games online to go hand in hand with book offerings such as "39 Clues," a 10-volume mystery-book project.

"We can't just ignore that kids are spending more time on the Internet -- we want to use the Internet to let them know there is still great content out there," Flaherty [publisher of Walden media] said...

Robert Louis Stevenson Website

....thanks to a grant of £34,500 from the Carnegie Trust, a project led by Napier University hopes to boost the writer's reputation at home and abroad. Work on the website will begin next year and the project is expected to be live online in early 2010...

My family values: Julia Donaldson

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Julia Donaldson

in The Guradian's 'My family values' feauture...

My parents gave us a lot of freedom. We roamed the heath and got the tube into central London from the age of about nine. I've passed so many bushes on Hampstead Heath where a man pops up and waggles his willy - but that isn't the end of the world. So I learned from my parents to take reasonable risks and I think travelling on your own is terribly important for children's development. I used to let my middle son, Alastair, go into Glasgow on the train once a week to an after-school activity. He was nine or 10 and I know other parents thought it was shocking that I let him go on his own...

My space: Jan Pienkowski, illustrator |

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Creator of Meg and Mog shows us his living room

This online version of the Observer Magazine feature is somewhat bereft, given the absence of James Royall's annotated photo of said living room

Nevertheless, I thought the link better than nothing...

Guardian Reivew

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
"a pleasingly fresh and pacy take on some much-visited themes, which will leave readers eager to know what happens next" MARY HOFFMAN

BookBrunch Children's Column

extract from BookBrunch's end-of-year children's column

Humour in children's books is finally getting the appreciation it deserves: well done the Roald Dahl prize, and Louise Rennison as Queen of Teen. Series still build: cf Malorie Blackman (with a bonus fourth book), Paolini, Higson, Muchamore ... But it has been a good year for the quirky, one-off title: consider the prizes conferred on Patrick Ness, and the adventurous publishing of such critically acclaimed oddities as Jacques Courvillon's Chicken Dance, Jack Gantos's The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs, and Ingrid Law's Savvy.

Poet Laureate Protests

The poet laureate Andrew Motion has hit out at plans to close down libraries, calling them "extremely short-sighted and counter-productive".

Borders Announce New Children's Buyer

Borders UK has announced today that it has appointed JP Hunting as Children's Book Buyer.

Winnie-the-Pooh Auction

A collection of original illustrations of Winnie-the-Pooh and his animal friends by EH Shepard sold for 1.26 million pounds at auction in London on Wednesday, Sotheby's auction house...

Reading Agency Chair

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The Reading Agency has announced that its new Chair will be Liz Cleaver, Controller of BBC Learning. Liz will take over from Martin Molloy in March 2009 and says of her appointment: "I'm thrilled to become Chair of an organisation I have long admired and that is doing such innovative work to spread a love of reading."

Observer Review - Teen Fiction

The Observer Review page has teen fiction reviwws by Geraldine Brennan


In this addictive, high-stakes world - Edith Wharton crossed with Heat magazine - the ballgowns, calling cards and cast-iron etiquette cannot mask the sheer greed on display. Rumours takes up the story of the Hollands, an old New York family of respectability but limited means, that Anna Godbersen began in The Luxe...

also
Lisa O'Kelly on Fiction 7-12

Kate Kellaway on Picture Books, in which she finds Jonathan Allen's I'm Not Santa hilarious...

Jonathan Allen was the subject of one of ACHUKA's earliest interviews...

Here's a blast from the past


Guardian Review

The Tales of Beedle The Bard by J K Rowling

...the fairy story is a tricky form, and it is not clear that Rowling's inventiveness and humour are suited to the genre... JOHN MULLAN

BookBrunch Column

Nicolette Jones thinks it's time to move the age-banding debate on to an alternative solution...

No to Age Banding

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More Support For No To Age Banding Campaign

Growing concern shown by a wide range of experienced professional groups about the dangers of age-banding books is reflected in a number of statements of support for the No To Age Banding Campaign.
The groups include CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals formerly the Library Association), The Association of Senior Children's & Education Librarians , NASEN (National Association of Special Educational Needs) and Seven Stories (the Centre for Children's Books).
Their statements can be read on the No To Age Banding website by following the link in the blog heading.

Australian Aurealis Awards Finalists

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best young adult novel

Isobelle Carmody - The Stone Key, Obernewtyn Chronicles, Volume Five Penguin/Viking


David Cornish - Lamplighter, Monster Blood Tattoo Book Two Omnibus Books

Alison Goodman - The Two Pearls of Wisdom HarperCollins


Melina Marchetta - Finnikin of the Rock Penguin/Viking

Sean Williams - The Changeling, The Changeling series book one Angus & Robertson


best children's novel

Simon Higgins - Moonshadow, Eye of the Beast Random House Australia

Sophie Masson - Thomas Trew and the Island of Ghosts Hodder Children's


Emily Rodda The Wizard of Rondo Omnibus Books

Carole Wilkinson Dragon Dawn Black Dog Books

Sean Williams The Changeling and The Dust Devils, The Changeling series books one and two Angus & Robertson


best children's illustrated work/picture book

Anna Fienberg, Barbara Fienberg & Kim Gamble - Tashi and the Phoenix Allen & Unwin


Richard Harland & Laura Peterson (illustrator) - Escape!, Under Siege, Race to the Ruins, The Heavy Crown, The Wolf Kingdom series Omnibus Books

Ian Irvine & David Cornish (illustrator) - Thorn Castle, Giant's Lair, Black Crypt, Wizardry Crag, The Sorcerer's Tower series Omnibus Books

Sally Morgan with Ezekiel, Ambelin and Blaze Kwaymullina & Adam Hill (illustrator) - Curly and the Fent Random House Australia

Richard Tulloch & Terry Denton (illustrator) Twisted Tales Random House Australia


Winners will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane on Saturday 24 January 2009


Roger Sutton Reviewing In The New York Times...

Paper Towns by John Green


Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks

Brooks is an English young adult novelist who, like Robert Cormier, uses the devices of mystery and suspense to externalize the inner turmoil of adolescence. Unlike "Paper Towns," whose where-is-Margo plot is secondary to riffs on relationships and suburbia, "Black Rabbit Summer" is a fairly conventional mystery -- there are police interrogations and investigations, even a gypsy fortuneteller. Dark but not deep, it's the more boy-reader-friendly of the two books, with short chapters, lots of dialogue and doomy atmospherics. It doesn't aim so high, but it's probably the better novel. The narration of "Paper Towns" spends too much time in Quentin's head, which, to be sure, is an entertaining place: "Renting a tuxedo seemed to me an excellent way to contract some hideous disease. . . . I did not aspire to become the world's only virgin with pubic lice." ROGER SUTTON

Times Christmas Roundup - Amanda Craig 11+

Amanda Craig's Christmas roundup for older readers...

Her roundup for the younger audience was printed last week.

My Book of the Year for 14+ is Neil Shusterman's Unwind (Simon & Schuster, £6.99/£6.64), set in a future in which teenagers who annoy their parents are put down for "unwinding", ie, total body parts donation - a topical subject, thrillingly dramatised - and three rebels go on the run together. Grumpy, paranoid teens will have their worst fears confirmed.

Guardian Review

Double Cross by Malorie Blackman


Double Cross certainly stands up on its own. For a newcomer to the series it does take a bit of effort to piece the people and past events together, but it's all worth it. Blackman "gets" people, especially young adults, in all their tentativeness, determination and energy. She "gets" humanity as a whole, too. Most of all, she writes a stonking good story. And this is what takes the book beyond the moment, giving it a timeless value. The combination packs a punch yet keeps a tender heart. DIANE SAMUELS

Horn Book Fanfare

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Horn Book - Best Books of 2008

Looks a very well-considered list to me...

Michael Rosen poem - 'These are the hands'


The NHS. Illustration (detail): Axel Scheffler

This poem was written to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the NHS...

Shanville Monthly 101

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Shanville Monthly

Darren Shan says:

"this issue features some major revelations, such as the title of Book 10 of The Demonata! And the cover of the UK edition of Dark Calling!! And a whole crop of brand new Saga covers!!! You can also find out which country has become the 38th to officially publish my books... you can find the names of the winners of last month's competition... Shanta Claus makes a welcome return to the web site... and there's a whole lot more!!!"

Douglas Keen Obituary

As editorial director of Ladybird Books, Douglas Keen, who has died aged 95, was responsible for the first experience of reading of millions of children...

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