A risk-embracing children's book initially rejected by US publishers is poised to be a UK bestseller...
January 2010 Archives
from 'Literary Life' in the Sunday Telegraph
Robert Munsch is a Canadian children's author whose 54 works include stories about smelly socks and mothers who forget to do the laundry, so he is an unlikely victim of the war against terror. His latest book featured a little girl who smuggled dolls on to a plane but, following the near massacre above Detroit on Christmas Day, his publishers have decided to drop the story. Why? Because nobody, not even kids, can play hide and seek with airline security today. Well, goodbye dolly...
Mary Hoffman reviews The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh:
The Crowfield Curse, under its older title of The Crowfield Feather, was a runner-up in the Chicken House/Times competition which was won by Emily Diamand. I haven't read her Flood Child but it must be pretty good to have beaten this. MARY HOFFMAN
A commuting cat that was mourned around the world after being killed by a hit-and-run driver eight days ago is to be immortalised in print...
Nigel Stoneman, one of [Simon & Schuster]'s commissioning editors, travelled to Plymouth this week for three hours of talks with Mrs Finden.
He said that the book would be aimed at adults and children, would include photographs of Casper and was due for release in the autumn. A Scottish author has been lined up to write the story but he declined to reveal her name while negotiations continue.
If the first book is successful the story will be turned into a children's book next year. Mr Stoneman said that he had been touched by Casper's tale since hearing of his adventures last year. "It is amazing and very heartwarming," he said.
Kathryn Hughes reviews Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
What it manages to do very effectively is ask its teen readers to think carefully about how being part of a herd can mean trampling weaker, peripheral members. The book has been a huge hit in the United States, with young readers hailing it as both a warning and a manual for how to get through the high-school jungle. Young British readers will inevitably have to spend some time mapping the landscape of the book on to their own parish interests. Chances are, though, that the references to diners, driving and cheerleaders will add an exotic tang rather than detract from a story whose message is universal. KATHRYN HUGHES
Most back issues (1 to 56) of Wasafiri (excluding rare issues) can be purchased directly from the Wasafiri office at £10 each. 2009 issues: 57, 58, 59 and 60 are £12 each. Student concessions are available for issues 1 to 56 at a cost of £7.50 each. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for sales.
interview by David Robinson, from a few days ago, in The Scotsman
Patrick Ness is unimpressed by The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman which, he says, "feels like those Hollywood blockbusters that have been put together by a dozen writers and twice that many producers: professionally done, but with all traces of idiosyncrasy edited out in pursuit of a blander middle ground."
It's hard to think of anything I've read recently that feels less like a book and more like a product than Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God. Arriving on an extraordinary tide of hype - YouTube trailers, an iPhone app - it has a very readable, highly buffed sheen, but also an uneasy blending of tones whereby too many demographics are being pitched to at once. It feels calculated - indeed, it feels as if it's been put through focus groups - to appeal as broadly as possible, particularly to the teenage crossover readership. The problem, as ever, is that if you try to write a story for everyone, you run the risk of pleasing no one. PATRICK NESS
Looks like a new feature in Guardian Review. Julia Eccleshare in the role of "children's book doctor", respomding to parents' questions
The Poetry of Birds
With its cover and endpapers the brilliant red of a chough's beak, The Poetry of Birds begins with Marianne Moore's ostrich ("He 'Digesteth Harde Yron'") and ends with Emily Dickinson's "'Hope' is the thing with feathers"...
The Poetry of Birds edited by Simon Armitage and Tim Dee
Frances Lincoln have acquired Barn Owl Books.
Ann Jungman started Barn Owl Books in 1999, carefully selecting out-of-print titles remembered as good reads by teachers, parents and grandparents, bringing the books back into print for a new generation of readers. Frances Lincoln have been Barn Owl's distributors from the start.
John Nicoll, Managing Director of Frances Lincoln said: "Having distributed Barn Owl for 10 years we are pleased and proud to give the list a new home. I am also very pleased that Ann will continue to work with us as a consultant."
Ann Jungman commented: "I am sad that Barn Owl could not survive on its own but feel confident that my babies will be very well looked after in their new home."
In ten years Ann Jungman has published no fewer than 80 titles and the roll call of authors on the Barn Owl list is impressive: Bernard Ashley, Malorie Blackman, Theresa Breslin, Adele Geras, Mary Hoffman, Lynne Reid Banks, Michael Rosen, The Two Steves, Jeremy Strong and Jacqueline Wilson, to name a few. The eclectic nature of the list reflects Ann's personal taste, with a focus on humorous titles as well as hard hitting political novels and ones that explore social issues. Ann enjoyed Kaye Umansky's hilarious stories about Giant Waldo so, undeterred by moving into full colour, she published them. The delightful Stanley Bagshaw titles followed. Joan Aiken's stories about Arabel and her raven, illustrated by Quentin Blake, have been bestsellers for Barn Owl as have Ann's own very funny books about the adventures of Vlad the Drac, a tiny vegetarian vampire.
Don't dwell on Waterstone's dismal Christms sales figures, check out the titles that have made the shortlist for their Children's Book Prize 2010.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday 10th February.
This excellent online resource center includes more than nine hours of originally produced audio with Coretta Scott King Book Award (CSK) authors and illustrators talking about their books in two- to three-minute clips. Searches can be executed by author, illustrator, title, grade level, and curriculum area, as well as by the year or specific Coretta Scott King Book Award citation.
In addition to the free, online primary source materials (audio recordings and book readings), the collection features hundreds of lesson plans and original movies filmed in the studios of some of the award-winning authors and illustrators.
The 13 Curses by Michelle Harrison and Rebel by R. J. Anderson reviewed by Amanda Craig in The Times [Saturday]
Philip Ardagh is mesmerised by The Battle of the Sun, Jeanette Winterson's second novel for children, in Guardian Review:
It's obvious in every word, every plot twist, and every character that Winterson had fun writing The Battle of the Sun. This book radiates enjoyment, and the reader can bask in it. I was mesmerised by [the] craft of an endlessly inventive author writing at the height of her powers. PHILIP ARDAGH
28 YA Authors give you advice on writing, publishing, and everything in-between. And they do it TO SONG.
Authors, in order of appearance:
Jackson Pearce (AS YOU WISH, SISTERS RED)
Kristina Springer (THE ESPRESSOLOGIST)
Aimee Friedman (SEA CHANGE)
John Claude Bemis (THE NINE POUND HAMMER)
Cyn Balog (FAIRY TALE, SLEEPLESS)
Barry Lyga (GOTH GIRL RISING)
Ally Carter (, GALLAGHER GIRLS series, HEIST SOCIETY)
Aprilynne Pike (WINGS, SPELLS)
Shani Petroff (BEDEVILED)
Carrie Ryan (THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH)
Neesha Meminger (SHINE COCONUT MOON)
Jaclyn Dolamore (MAGIC UNDER GLASS)
Brenna Yovanoff (THE REPLACEMENT)
Margaret Stohl (BEAUTIFUL CREATURES)
Erin Dionne (THE TOTAL TRAGEDY OF A GIRL NAMED HAMLET)
Maggie Stiefvater (SHIVER)
Jennifer Jabaley (LIPSTICK APOLOGY)
Michelle Zink (PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS)
Jessica Burkhart (CANTERWOOD CREST series)
R.J. Anderson (KNIFE, REBEL)
Kami Garcia (BEAUTIFUL CREATURES)
Jenny Moss (WINNIE'S WAR, SHADOW)
Tessa Gratton (BLOOD MAGIC)
Lauren Bjorkman (MY INVENTED LIFE)
Becca Fitzpatrick (HUSH HUSH)
L.K. Madigan (FLASH BURNOUT)
Sarah Prineas (THE MAGIC THIEF series)
Saundra Mitchell (SHADOWED SUMMER)
Javier Ruescas (CUENTOS DE BERETH)
Thanks to @tommydonbavand for bringing this to my attention :)
Susan Einzig, who has died aged 87, was one of the 20th century's key British book illustrators, and a central figure in the postwar London art scene. Best known for her illustrations for the children's novel Tom's Midnight Garden (1958), by Philippa Pearce, she illustrated for a range of authors and publishers and was a regular Radio Times artist during its black-and-white heyday in the 1940s and 50s. She continued to paint, draw and exhibit until well into her 80s...
Scroll down on the above link to view short video interview...
Also, read Patrick Ness's own blog (he calls it a diary)
Random online interview
And one from Publishers Weekly
ACHUKA congratulates Patrick Ness, named this evening as the Children's Book Category winner in the Costa Awards for THE ASK AND THE ANSWER (CHAOS WALKING: BOOK TWO)
SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had taken time out of his busy schedule to pen a children's book featuring his family pets, a spokeswoman said yesterday.
Rudd - who is so famed for his jet-setting work ethic that he has been nicknamed "Kevin 707" by the local press - wrote the book with Australian children's television star Rhys Muldoon.
Titled Jasper and Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle, the book follows Rudd's pet cat and dog on an adventure through the grounds of The Lodge, his family's official residence in Canberra....
The ACHUKA main page has been updated with a selection of titles published in January showing in the Look Out For widget...
Publlcists returning to your desks this week: now is the time to beat the drum for titles you're excited about...
Mail me on info_at_achuka.co.uk
[increasingly useful as it's my mobile address]
A shame no children's author or poet included here... At least Tove Jansson and Adrian Mitchell are included in the "...among the other wirters who died" list, but no mention for Philippa Pearce or Jan Mark.