December 2011 Archives

Like Teenage Temps In Currys

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Like Teeneage Temps In Currys

You will listen in vain for any recognition from the industry's trend-setters of the true value of authors' vision and imagination, rather than of the price, or performance, of the latest gizmos that carry their works. In an era of technological turmoil, you might have thought that publishers would grasp the need to act as nurturing homes for literary creativity while the platforms for its distribution change so fast. Instead, they bang on about gadgetry with all the eloquence of a teenage temp in Currys, but without the slightest nod to the individual skill and style on which this vast hi-tech edifice will rest. No wonder that so many authors are now asking whether they should make use of the digital revolution to go it alone and cut out the middlemen. BOYD TONKIN, The Independent

An the next Tintin is...

Highly Recommended Feature

Four major film adaptations of children's books ("Hugo," "Twilight: Breaking Dawn [Part I]," "Tintin" and "War Horse") have hit theaters in the past two months; throw in "Harry Potter" 7.2, released this summer, and you've got a pretty spectacular year for young-adult stories in Hollywood. The trend looks set to continue through next spring, with the release of the first "Hunger Games" movie in March.

[Salon] asked a number of authors -- most of whom write specifically for young adults -- to share their thoughts on the best and worst teen-book-to-movie adaptations, and to name the titles they'd like to see hit the big screen in the coming years.

The Hobbit Trailer

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A Question, In Anticipation

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I'm anticipating that 2012 will be the year that publishers begin thinking of supplying reviewers with eBook versions of newly published titles - at least in the case of novels - rather than posting off expensive packages. [They may already be doing this in the case of adult fiction, but it is not my experience yet with children's books.]

The ACHUKA office is currently ipodless, Kindle-less, Kobo-less and any-other-kind-of-dedicated-eReader-less. I can see that this is not a situation that can prevail for very much longer, and certainly at this time of year (the annual decluttering of bookstacks) I do see the advantage of some titles (those overlong fantasies and vampire romances) existing in cloud form only.

So my question to publishers this morning is what kind of timeline are they working to and how soon should someone in my position get ready for the gradual transition from physical to digital reviewing?

Mary Hoffman's Review of the Year

Mary Hoffman's Review of the year (in books) and her Books of the Year...

A mixed-bag of 30 Gift suggestions...

How About: These Not Just Novelty Titles

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All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome and All Dogs Have ADHD both by Kathy Hoopmann

Two books that use a novel, photographic approach to exploring the characteristic personality traits of ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome.
A novel approach but much much more than novelty books, as evidenced by the fact that the Asperger title was shortlisted by the prestigious Children's Book Council of Australia.
Must-have titles for parents with children diagnosed with either of these conditions, and also for Special Needs co-ordinators and Inclusion Managers...

Both highly recommended...

The Character I Would Invite To Christmas

a Scottish Book Trust feature

Q&A: Michael Morpurgo

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Q&A With Michael Morpurgo

Short Q&A feature published in yesterday's Guardian.

When were you happiest? When I was a young father and teaching at a local primary school in Kent.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing friends.

What is your earliest memory?
Being walked to school through a pea-souper fog in London in 1947/48.

... Read the feature for more questions and responses

How About: May Contain Nuts

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May Contain Nuts (The World of Norm) by Jonathan Meres

I was sent this in a very large red-tissue-paper-lined box together with a big packet of Nobby's Nuts which are still in date and will be enjoyed over the Christmas period.

This is the time of year when book piles are sorted and sifted and you feel bad about not finding time to promote various titles at the time of publication, especially when they have been given such lavish promotion as this title.

Confession: I still haven't got round to reading this, but I'd certainly risk it as a light reading present for any child who likes humour, even if the sole review on Amazon is not exactly informative; "The book was delivered in time and was in great condition..."

It's the first of a series.

How About: Some Lost Dr Seuss

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The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss

These Dr Seuss stories were 'lost' in the sense of never previously been published in book form.
The seven stories were first published in American magazines between 1950 and 1951, some six or seven years before The Cat and the Hat.

A great gift for Dr Seuss collectors and new child fans alike.

Entertaining rhyming narrative verse for reading aloud between those seasonal feasts. My favourite: 'The Strange Shirt Spot'.

How About: Winnie's Knickers

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Gold-stickered with a claim that this is a "Perfect gift for boys & girls age 5 - 8" ACHUKA wouldn't disagree with.

A finely produced colourful hardback with both paper and hard covers fully illustrated.
Contains eight Misadventures, beginning with Winnie's Knickers.

How About: Making Whoopie

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Whoopie Pie Fun by Claire Ptak of violetcakes.com

According to the book's Introduction, "A whoopie is not a cookie or a typical cake, and it's definitely not a pie. IN fact, no one seems to know WHY it's called a pie. A whoopie pie is somewhere between a cupcake and an ice cream sandwich - a cupcake with the icing in the middle."

Mouthwatering photography and clear, unfussy ingredient lists and instructions.

A recipe book for all ages.

How About: The Island Of Thieves

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I was an early fan of the the Grk books, which Josh Lacey writes using the pseudonym Joshua Doder. Half way through the year he published this adventure under his own name.

Just look at some of the review clips for Island of Thieves

`A modern-day treasure hunt...worth a look for the 9+ audience.'
--The Bookbag

'A thrilling adventure.' --Julia Eccleshare, GUARDIAN

'One of the best children's adventure stories of the year.' --Books for Keeps

'A stunning treasure story . . . fast-paced, exciting and very realistic. Highly recommended.' --Mandy Southgate, Blogcritics.org

`A cracking thriller packed full of treasure, intrigue, danger and daring.' --Julia Eccleshare, LoveReading4Kids

`A thrilling adventure.'
--Guardian

`A stunning treasure story . . . fast-paced, exciting and very realistic. Highly recommended.' --Mandy Southgate, Addicted

'A cracking thriller packed full of intrigue, danger and daring.' --Observer

Guardian Review 2

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Guardian Review 2

Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes by Lauren Child, reviewed by Simon Mason

It's unusual for a Guardian children's books review to be as negative:

there's an awful lot of detail and it tends to pile up all over the place, blurring the characters, clogging the dialogue and cluttering the plot. The theft-of-Mrs-Digby subplot appears in brief flashes at set intervals, breaking in like commercials for another story entirely. In the main story, clues arise at suspiciously convenient moments, like brightly coloured balloons, to be promptly solved by Ruby with a knowing wisecrack.

Codes and puzzles are at the heart of it all, some very nifty indeed, some a little shopworn, and others rather lame. Ruby herself is an odd mixture of likeable sauciness and child-genius stereotype. A child-genius is a challenging thing for an author to create, and I'm not convinced. There are some great moments - Ruby's exchanges with the Spectrum agents are funny and warm - but too often I'm told how clever she is (she's reading War and Peace in the original Russian, apparently) without seeing her intelligence in action for myself. Worse, I don't feel I get to know her. The chemistry with her best friend Clancy is intermittent, and she struggles to express herself beyond jokes and the endless "Jeepers", "Darn it" and "Boy, is this guy a prize potato head".

She's a cartoon who lives in a cartoon world, and I fear the brilliant premise, charming detail and occasional wonderful moments can't sustain her through the long haul of a novel. SIMON MASON

Guardian Review

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Guardian Review

Collected Folk Tales by Alan Garner, reviewed By Neil Gaiman

This Collected Folk Tales is, by definition and by temperament, a patchwork, and reading it is like entering a rag and bone shop in which every object has been polished up and repaired and made fit for use, while always leaving in the cracks and dents that show that the goods have had years of use already. With the exception of some of the poems, there is nothing new or shining here, and the book is all the better for it. If I had small children, or a class, I would read to them from it.

And if, by the time I have grandchildren, there are still public libraries, as I hope there will be, I trust that they will find this book themselves in one (for it will be all the better for not being given or suggested or recommended to them by an adult), and take it to a quiet corner and read. NEIL GAIMAN

How About: Some Sticky Ends

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Twenty-six cautionary verses with sticky ends - written by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross

'26 cautionary verses, all ripe for recitation, with suitably gruesome pictures.' --Country Life, Best Children's Book for Christmas

`These poems are like a modern day Struwwelpeter with a dash of Revolting Rhymes that will have you laughing and groaning at the same time.' --Booktrust Book of the Month

My hero: Russell Hoban by Will Self

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My Hero: Russell Hoban by Will Self

Will Self writes a short reminiscence...

Russell Hoban - Telegraph Obit

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Russell Hoban - Telegraph Obit

Russell Hoban - the Daily Telegraph obituary

The Artists' Artist

In an interesting Guardian feature, five children's illustrators nominate their favourite living artist in their field...

Russell Hoban, NYT Obit

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Russell Hoban - NYT Obit

Russell Hoban - New York Times Obituary

How About: Goldilocks On CCTV

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Not to be missed!
A new collection of poems by John Agard, with illustrations by Satoshi Kitamura.

So how about:

from the dustjacket:
"Here are 29 extraordinary poems that shine a 21st century spotlight on fairy tale characters. Mischievous, satirical, wicked, utterly modern...

Russell Hoban Dies Aged 86

Russell Hoban has died

I shall never forget this installment of Writers' Rooms

How About: Some Helpful Elves

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The Helpful Elves by August Kopish, one of many classic children's book reprints given a fresh existence by the splendid Floris Books

'Based on a well-known poem by Kopisch (1799-1853) and illustrated in muted tones by Braun-Fock (1898-1973), the charm of this tale lies in the tiny elf tabs found at the top of each page. Together in a row, 10 elves are perched expectantly -- each made distinct with a different smile or a long white beard -- forming a miniature audience to watch readers. One can almost hear them gleefully giggling at the comeuppance they know is coming at the end. An enchanting, if abrupt, piece of German lore brought to a new audience. The lesson, curiosity killed the cat, rings true in all cultures.' -- KIRKUS

Iassen Ghiuselev, an award-winning Bulgarian illustrator of children's classics, spent six years working on the illustrations for this very special edition of Alice.

The illustrations use perspective and point of view in a very original way - one which both reflects and enhances the disorienting nature of the narrative.

Present this as a gift and you will be remembered and thanked for a very long time.


How About: Animal Tales

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Dick King-Smith, who died at the beginning of this year, was a children's publisher's dream. With a natural storyteller's fluency, he wrote in a style that was at once exemplary and highly entertaining.

This collection of five of his animal stories is a perfect addition to any young reader's home library.

Highly presentable.

How About: The Boss

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Looking for an alternative to an Annual as a present?

How about this slapstick comic-book-style graphic adventure from The DFC Library

The Boss is the smartest kid in school and with the class heading for a field trip to the castle that very day, it's the perfect chance to find out what the thieves are up to - and just maybe catch them red-handed...

About Patrice Aggs.

John Aggs is Patrice Aggs' son.

Bounce! To Expand

The Bookseller reports:

Bounce! Sales & Marketing Ltd aims to expand the number of publishers it represents following the appointment of Catherine Stokes to the new post of sales and marketing director. The company will also begin to provide more bespoke marketing services to its clients. ... Bounce! currently represents 30 publishers, including Piccadilly Press, Book House, Templar and Tango.  Stokes was previously head of marketing and PR for Oxford Children's Books, a role she left in 2005.

How About: Big Book Of My World

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With a strapline "All a toddler needs for early learning fun" you might think, notwithstanding the word 'fun', that this book might be a little too earnest and educational to make it a suitable Christmas gift for the pre-schoolers in your family.

Think again. Kali Stileman's highly colourful illustrations are fabulously stimulating and engaging. The book is extremely well-organised - First Concepts, First Words, Can You Find? etc - and a one-page Introduction identifies 10 themed ways in which the adult might choose the share the title.

The book would also make a useful resource for anyone working with older children with speech & language needs, especially the pages that deal with concepts such as Opposites, Feelings, Manners.

So, How About:


Know a child aged 8-12 who is into space and game-playing but not necessarily into novel reading. This could be for them:

The reader's choices determine the fate of the Red Planet. There are 22 different possible endings but only one leads to success.
A well-produced chunky hardback with embossed redfoil spine, punchy black-and-white comic-book style graphics, with a full-colour planet factfile at the back.

Definitely worth a speculative purchase, if you want to buy that child a book but are worried a regular novel just won't get read.

How About: My Alfie Collection

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How about this for a great little stocking-filler:

Four small hardback Alfie stories in their own slipcase.
Contains the first four Alfie storybooks: Alfie Gets in First, Alfie Gives a Hand, Alfie's Feet and An Evening at Alfie's...

What's more it's Celebrate 30 Years of Alfie year!

How About: The Big Snuggle-up

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Looking for a cosy feelgood rhyming picture book to share with little ones while curled up on the sofa?
Then how about The Big Snuggle-up by Brian Patten & Nicola Bayley?

As you would expect from an accomplished poet like Brian Patten, the simple repetitive structure - as one by one different countryside creatures ask to be let into the house - is a joy to read aloud, the rhyming couplets tripping along rhythmically but with a refreshing variety that avoids the plodding deadness that mars many a picture book of this type.

"A cat allowed itself to be let in/And it slept on a shelf by a blue bread bin"

"A donkey looked in and said, 'I'm unable/To find my way back and into the stable.'"

Beautiful child-friendly illustrations by Nicola Bayley, with a heart-warming final double spread showing the thirteen assembled guests gathered round a roaring open fire, complete a perfect seasonal picture book gift.

How About: Orla Kiely board books

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Orla Kiely Board Books

How about:

News that the designer Orla Kiely had been signed to Egmont to create a range of books for babies and toddlers was not, it has to be said, uniformly welcomed by those within the children's books world, who tended to see it as another celebrity cashing in on the enduring bouyancy of the children's market.

The first two titles are very nice artifacts - stylistically designed and pleasingly produced, and make highly suitable present options for parents with babies or very young toddlers. If the babies don't like them, the parents will.

There will be two companion titles - Creatures and Shapes - in the spring of 2012.

Independent - Children's Books

Daniel Hahn is the reviewer, and I'm pleased to see we feel the same about...

Lissa Evans's Small Change for Stuart (Doubleday, £10.99), a small book about a small boy, and one of this year's great delights. Stuart Horten is 10, but tiny for his age. (The nickname SHorten is unfortunate.) When his mother, a doctor, and his father, a crossword compiler who uses words such as sylvan and perambulation and matutinal, decide to move to the village of Beeton, Stuart thinks the whole prospect rather grim. Until, that is, he finds himself on the hunt for the workshop that used to belong to his great-uncle, an incredible magician. It's a finely written book crammed with exciting incident and colourful characters; something quite special. DANIEL HAHN



Observer Review - Teenage Fiction

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Observer Review - Teenage Fiction

reviewed by Geraldine Brennan, who finishes her piece with a recommendation for a title to be published early in the New Year:

Look out early in the new year for India Dark by Kirsty Murray (Templar £6.99), the tale of many orchestrated hissy fits on a floating prison: the ship carrying a troupe of Australian child performers on a tour of Indonesia and India in 1910. They thought they were going to America; they won't get home for two years; their biological clocks are ticking (once past puberty they soon become too old to perform); and their promoter is a charlatan. As a result, some of them are a little disturbed. The Red Shoes crossed with Picnic at Hanging Rock, based on a true story. Unmissable. GERALDINE BRENNAN

Observer Review - Fiction

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Observer Review - Fiction

reviewed by Kitty Empire

Sapphire Battersea (Doubleday £12.99), Jacqueline Wilson's 654th novel (or thereabouts) packs in plenty of bloody tubercular coughs and end-of-the-pier freaks (kindly drawn). This is the next book along in the Hetty Feather series, in which Wilson's care home heroine Tracy Beaker is basically reincarnated as a foundling hospital girl 135 years previously. Plucky Sapphire (formerly Hetty) goes out to earn her keep, fuelled by Wilson's class rage and carnivorous sense of yearning.

Even better, though, is Lauren Child's Look into My Eyes (HarperCollins £12.99) which features Ruby Redfort, a Clarice Bean bit-parter now enjoying her own spin-off series. Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy lends a hand with the puzzles thrown in the path of this rich, pampered but razor-sharp American teen sleuth. The villains are cartoonishly bad, in the most enjoyable way. And if it lacks any actual ooze, Ruby makes up for it in being witty and stylish. Having pretty much abandoned the little ones for the tween market, the writer really ought to change her name to Lauren Older Child by deed poll. KITTY EMPIRE

follow the link for the remainder of the recommendations

Observer Review - Picture Books

selected and reviewed by Kate Kellaway

Of special note:

Christmas is a time for remembering absent family and friends, and My Henry by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins £7.99) is a picture book to touch the heart as well as make one laugh aloud. It is a new departure for Kerr, a deliciously singular extended daydream in which she imagines wild, airborne outings with her late husband, Henry. He is dressed in a pink cardigan and yellow tie and has sprouted some rather inefficient looking green wings to help him fly. Heaven, obviously, is his new address. And bliss, all round, is guaranteed. (All ages) KATE KELLAWAY

Observer Interview

Wimpy Kid author, Jeff Kinney, interviewed in The Observer:

When Kinney first had the idea for the Wimpy Kid he thought it would be a one-off nostalgic book for adults. "I never thought I was writing for kids at all," he explains. "It really shocked and unsettled me to hear kids were buying the books. If I'd known I was writing for kids I might actually have spelt things out a bit more and that would probably have killed the appeal."

He thinks the fact his characters have a slightly knowing, adult perspective is one of the qualities children find appealing. "Kids can sniff out when they are being preached to and they don't like it," he says. "So while my books aren't amoral they are not infused with morals or a message either and kids like that. They also like the fact that Greg is awkward and imperfect. He's not better than them at everything; he's struggling to manage life just as they are."



Book 6

Guardian Review

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Guardian Review

Steampunk! edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J Grant, reviewed by Mal Peet

The exclamation mark in the title of this collection suggests an announcement, a new arrival. In fact, the term was coined in 1987 to denote a burgeoning sub-genre of fantasy in which the principles of Gibsonian cyberpunk are projected backwards on to a wildly reimagined 19th century. I can only guess at what yearnings underlie this weird historical revisionism, but I find myself drawn to it. Perhaps this is because steampunk, despite its obsession with kit, boasts a great many feisty heroines who are handy with a wrench or a temporal displacement occulator. On the strength of this anthology, it is no boys-only genre. MAL PEET


Looking for a good wintry adventure to give to a 7-9 yr old?

How about The Haunting of Charity Delafield by Ian Beck, which began as a sketch of a little girl in a red coat, walking through the snow.

Washington Post Best Children's Books 2011

The Washington Post's pick of the year...

Francesca Simon Talks About Latest Book

The author of Horrid Henry talks about how she created her latest book 'The Sleeping Army', one of The Daily Telegraph's Children's books of the year.



Kirkus Best Children's Books of 2011

The Kirkus Review's pick of the best children's books of 2011 - with links to the individual reviews, so very much worht checking out...

Horn Book - The Best Books of 2011

Horn Book's pick of the year's titles



Blue Peter Book Awards Shortlist

The Blue Peter Book Awards 2012 shortlist:

Discover the Extreme World
by Camilla de la Bedoyere, Clive Gifford, John Farndon, Steve Parker, Stewart Ross and Philip Steele (Miles Kelly)
The Official Countdown to the London 2012 Games by Simon Hart (Carlton Books)
The Considine Curse by Gareth P. Jones (Bloomsbury)
A Year without Autumn by Liz Kessler (Orion Children's Books)

This year's judges who selected the shortlist are the bestselling children's author of the series My Secret Unicorn and Stardust, Linda Chapman; librarian, Rebecca Gediking; and Blue Peter Editor, Tim Levell. They were looking for the best two fiction and non-fiction titles that would appeal to boys and girls, aged between 6 and 12.

The shortlisted books will now be judged by more than 200 young Blue Peter viewers drawn from 10 schools across the UK to decide the winner. This year for the first time, the winner will be announced and awarded a Blue Peter trophy on a special edition of Blue Peter dedicated to children's books on Thursday 1 March 2012, to coincide with World Book Day.

Guardian Winter Reads

The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston


Edublog Awards Shortlisted

Betsy Bird's A Fuse #8 Production, Joyce Valenza's NeverEndingSearch, Karyn Silverman's and Sarah Couri's Some Day My Printz Will Come, and Angela Carstensen's Adult Books 4 Teens were nominated by the Australia-based Edublog website as important resources that aid educators. Hundreds of blog readers submitted recommendations in 19 categories that range from best individual blog and most influential post to best free web tool and best library/librarian blog.



Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties), and Alex Wheatle MBE, the award-winning British novelist of Jamaican heritage, have joined the judging panel of The Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Award, which was jointly founded by Frances Lincoln Ltd and Seven Stories, the national centre for children's books, in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945-2001) to encourage and promote diversity in children's fiction.

The prize of £1,500, plus the option for Janetta Otter-Barry at Frances Lincoln Children's Books to publish the novel, will be awarded to the best work of unpublished fiction for 8-to-12-year-olds by a writer, aged 18 years or over, who has not previously published a novel for children.

There have been three previous awards and Janetta Otter-Barry has commissioned or published eight books by writers who entered the award: four Takeshita Demons books by Cristy Burne, winner of the inaugural award; Too Much Trouble by Tom Avery, the 2010 winner; last year's winner Om Shanti Babe by Helen Limon, which will be published in 2012;
and A Hen in the Wardrobe and The Black Cat Detectives, the first two titles in the Cinnamon Grove series by Wendy Meddour, who entered the 2009 award.

For more details about the award and how to enter visit www.sevenstories.org.uk
The closing date for all entries is midnight on Monday 31 December 2012

Books To The Sky

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Arnold Lobel - Books To The Sky

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.

~ Arnold Lobel [1933-1987]

from Birdbooker Report 199, The Guardian

Irish Independent's Christmas Roundup

Children's books recommendations from the Irish Independent





Lex Trent Author Interviewed

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Alex Bell, author of the Lex Trent YA novels, interviewed on The Moore Show (she starts talking about the Trent books about 5 minutes in)


Eleanor Farjeon Award 2011

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Eleanor Farjeon Award 2011

The Federation of Children's Book Groups has won the 2011 Eleanor Farjeon Award.

The Eleanor Farjeon Award is coordinated by the Children's Book Circle and is given to individuals or organisations that have been deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the world of children's books.

At a ceremony in London the Children's Book Circle and Anne Harvey, from the Eleanor Farjeon estate, presented the £2000 gift to Chair Adam Lancaster. In his acceptance speech Adam spend time passionately talking about the work that everyone in the charity is involved in. This ranged from groups running numerous events in their localities with a number of partners to the national executive working as an umbrella providing opportunities for a whole host of events to take place.

Adam, who is also founder of National Non-Fiction Day, explained the Federation's past and thanked all the people over the years that played a part in creating hundreds of thousands of readers. 'Everyone involved in the Federation is a special person. They are the ones on the front line, working with tens of thousands of young people each year, doing those things that politicians and suited board men talk about. To be awarded this honour is to recognise all those people who over the years have played a part in igniting that spark and fanning those flames of reading. Books change lives. The Federation changes lives.'

very well done to the FCBG, and apologies for not posting news of this last week

Jack Draws Anything

After a family friend bought one of his drawings for 20p, six-year-old Jack came up with the idea to "draw anything" in return for donations to the hospital that treats his two-year-old brother. His parents set up a website and thought they might make £100. After two weeks, Jack had over 500 picture requests and had raised over £22,000 for Edinburgh's Sick Kids Friends Foundation.

Parents Ed and Rose with Jack, Toby and Noah appeared on the Fern Britton Show and Jack's project was featured on Russell Howard's Good News four times. Coverage by STV news, BBC news, and CBBC Newsround have all helped spread the word about this creative and generous little boy.

Jack is slowly but steadily drawing requested pictures which range from a "dinosaur diving into a pool of jelly" (#1) to "my (extremely bald) friend Brian dancing like a crazy man" (#80). He doesn't draw every day, only when he wants to, and his parents estimate that he'll finish at the end of August. For the latest drawings, or to make a donation yourself, visit jackdrawsanything.com or www.facebook.com/jackdrawsanything


Guardian: Children's Books Roundoup

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Guardian Roundup

Books for giving: children's fiction and picture books

Julia Eccleshare's selection includes






Neil Gaiman Talking To Shaun Tan

TAN: As an adolescent people would always say I was not expressive and they always made the mistake of thinking that I didn't feel anything, because I didn't react to things. My mind reacts but usually a long time after the fact - if something exciting happens I'll just sort of go "okaaaay, let me process that", and then three days later I'm excited about it, when everyone else has left the room... It's also an Australian thing and particularly characteristic of rural Australians. People have all these emotions - they're just not verbalising them.


[Last Week's] Guardian Review

You Against Me by Jenny Downham, reviewed by Keith Grey [sic]

despite the crime and punishment aspect of the novel never being fully resolved, readers wanting to discover if the relationship overcomes all the odds are sure to find themselves provoked, moved and rewarded in equal measure. KEITH GREY or GRAY?

footnote: I delayed posting this last week because I was disconcerted by the probable mis-spelling of the reviewer's surname - I still think it it likely that this is by Keith Gray and not Keith Grey, but there has been no correction, so here's the link anyway...

Pop ups, pull outs and other paper wizardry are used to explore the science of the Earth in the winner of the 2011 Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, How the World Works,, announced today (Thursday 1 December 2011).

The prize will be awarded at a ceremony at the Royal Society in London on the evening of Thursday 1 December. The authors win an award of £10,000 and the authors of each shortlisted book receive £1000.

The book was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of six books by junior judging panels made up of over 1000 young people from over 100 school and youth groups. Judging panels came from across the UK and Commonwealth - from Dundee in northern Scotland to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.


Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said: "Science captured my imagination as a child, from exploring the minutiae of the natural world on my walk to school to chasing Sputnik as it blazed across the night sky. Brilliant science books also have the potential to do this and completely change children's understanding of the world around them. We believe that by involving the young in the judging of the Royal Society Young People's Books Prize we can help to inspire them with the joys of science, whilst also ensuring that the winner is chosen by those best qualified to judge, the readers themselves."

The other books shortlisted for this year's Royal Society Young People's Book Prize were:

The Icky, Sticky Snot and Blood Book by Steve Alton and Nick Sharratt (Bodley Head)
What's the Point of Being Green? by Jacqui Bailey (Franklin Watts)
What Mr Darwin Saw by Mick Manning and Brita Granström (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)
The Story of Astronomy and Space (Usborne)
What Goes On In My Head? by Robert Winston (Dorling Kindersley)

The Royal Society Young People's Book Prize did not take place in 2008 - 2010 due to funding issues. The Prize can be offered again thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, with funding guaranteed for the next four years.

Little Mole Creator Dies

The Czech illustrator who created Little Mole has died, aged 90.

"Walt Disney used almost all animals in his cartoons, except one -- the one that I picked," Miler said about the "Little Mole", whom he created after tripping on a molehill during a walk in 1956.

Later in that year, he produced the first "Little Mole" movie which won a Silver Lion prize at the Venice film festival.

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