Scottish Booktrust put this "little present [together] for your festive enjoyment" - so what would YOU give to these notables, or others of your choosing?
December 2009 Archives
a highly recommended Guardian Review feature, written by Jenny Uglow
...Small children don't think of characters or settings as being invented: Charlie and Lola, the Little Princess and the Gruffalo simply are. And children possess stories in their own way too. As listeners they pooh-pooh the laws of narrative. They rush ahead, or stop maddeningly at a single page and refuse to continue. Often this page involves sudden chaos or disorder, like the joy of knocking down a tower of bricks. In Judith Kerr's Mog the Forgetful Cat the favourite picture is not the climax where Mog surprises the burglar (although that allows for a bloodcurdling "miaow"). Instead the choice is Mog's sudden appearance at the window which makes Mrs Thomas jump so that the peas in her saucepan cascade to the floor. Similarly, in Lynley Dodd's Slinky Malinki, the stopping-point is the picture of the felonious cat entangled in all his purloined goods, with milk-bottles crashing and alarm clocks screeching...
by Susanna Rustin, in Guardian Review
Graham Joyce talks to Noga Applebaum about his books and writing for teenagers...
Your most recent novel, The Devils' Ladder, is different from previous ones in asmuch as you create a parallel world of ghosts and demons which the protagonists have access to through their shared gift of seeing. Is there a reason for this departure?
It does move away a little bit, but there is the possibility that these two kids might be having a dream. The old woman is also part of this strange club, and they all may be deluded, but the story does offer ambiguity to a lesser extent. I wondered if what I was trying to write was too confusing for young people so I tried to draw thicker lines between the two positions in this novel. I had feedback when I visited schools. Lots of kids said they had a good laugh reading my books but they wanted a more definite position - was it in the character's head or was it really happening. There are also adults who don't like this ambivalence and I always want to say, 'it's a book, it's not real, I made it so that you would ask this question' - I don't actually say it because it's too cruel. Instead I say 'thanks for asking that question, I wanted someone to ask it, but I'm not going to answer it. When you find the answer, email me'. And they sometimes do...
The judges of the Old Possum's Children's Poetry Competition, led by Chair Carol Ann Duffy, have selected twelve children as winners, with a further six receiving high commendations. This international Poetry Competition, now in its fourth year, is run by the Children's Poetry Bookshelf, a poetry book club for young people run by the Poetry Book Society. To link with National Poetry Day on Thursday 8 October, children aged 7-11 were invited to submit poems on the theme of 'Heroes and Heroines'. The partnership with the British Council, established last year, boosted entries to the 'International Learners' category for children based outside the UK who are learning English as a foreign or second language. In total, nearly 4,000 entries were received from schools and individual children worldwide.
The judges awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes to children in two age groups (7-8 and 9-11). Carol Ann Duffy said, 'We judges had a wonderful and absorbing time choosing the winning and commended poems. We were impressed by the range of subject matter, the engagement with both history and the contemporary, the relish for image and metaphor. And we were particularly bowled-over by the poems from the International Learners.'
The CPB held a gala celebration and prize-giving on Monday 14 December at the Unicorn Theatre in London, hosted by poets John Agard and Roger Stevens, both of whom were also judges of the competition. The winning young poets were presented with their cash and book prizes and invited to read their poems to an audience of friends, family, teachers and children from local schools. A booklet containing the children's winning poems, and including a poem by Carol Ann Duffy from her recently published New and Collected Poems for Children (Faber), was made available on the day for the children and other audience members to take away with them.
The Old Possum's Children's Poetry Competition is generously supported by Old Possum's Practical Trust.
Couldn't find the link to Nicolette Jones's roundup last Sunday. Here it is now.
on the Scattered Authors blog
With the anarchic Vernon Bright titles leading the way the Steves have launched their first range of revolutionary eBooks. Steve Skidmore and Steve Barlow kindly spoke to Fantasy Book Review in November 2009.
Available on iTunes (currently just for for iPhone and iPodTouch ACHUKA understands), priced just £1.19
Daily Mail feature about the launch of FLIPS - interactive adaptations of children''s books for the Nintendo DS
Tales of Terror author, Chris Priestley, spent last week getting authors and illustrators to pledge a signed copy of one of their books to help make Christmas a happy time for the many children whose families have been affected by the recent flooding.
Both his blog (link above) and his Facebook page have been chronicling the logistical progress of the proposal.
His latest entry (posted yesterday, Saturday) sounded a note of pessimism. "I think the idea as originally stated is in danger of collapse."
At present there is still no mailing address in Cumbria for Priestle to pass on to the large numbers of authors and illustrators have sent in pledges to donate books.
Guardian: More companies, including McDonald's, are being moved to verse to advertise their products. Is this a welcome development?