Now out in paperback, this laugh-out-loud tale about friendship and sharing from the award-winning creators of The Lion Inside and The Koala Who Could. Perfect for competitive friends and sibling rivals!
Petr Horáček Q&A
The book that my parents read to me
When I was a child my father used to read to me ‘Rumcajs’ by Václav Čtvrtek, illustrated by Radek Pilař. The stories were about a shoemaker, who lived in the little Czech town of Jičín. Rumcajs fell out with the local count and went to live in the woods.
Rumcajs was strong, he wore a hat made from oak bark and he shot acorns from his ancient pistol.
The stories were fun and I liked the illustrations too.
Like many of my generation I grow up on truly amazing pop-up books designed by Vojtěch Kubašta.
Apart from books we also had lots of very good quality animated films. Here I must mention Jiří Trnka who was one of the most prolific and incredibly talented artists who worked as a puppet maker, animator, illustrator and writer.
During Communism many talented writers and artists were unable to publish and exhibit their work. Working on books and animated films for children was often the only way these artists could fulfill themselves and earn some money. Writing for children wasn’t as carefully censored, as it wasn’t considered to be important or dangerous by the ruling communistic government. The artists often wrote and illustrated under different names.
Now read the other sections in this excellent feature:
- The book that first got me excited about reading
- The book that I most wanted to make
- The children’s book I read and re-read the most
- The book I read as a teenager that blew my mind
- A children’s book I discovered later in life and which had a profound effect
- My latest book
Klaus Flugge, founder and publisher at Andersen Press, sounds rather pleased that Melvin Burgess is to return to his fiction list: “I am very proud to be Melvin Burgess’ first ever publisher, working with him since 1990 through major successes including winning the Carnegie Medal in 1996 with Junk. To bring him back to our list with The Lost Witch feels like a real homecoming and we’re delighted to be publishing such a fantastic book.”
As for how the author feels: “I’m delighted to be back with Andersen Press. Small is beautiful as they say, and small publishers don’t get any prettier than Andersen. Special thanks go to my editor Charlie Shepherd, it was she who suggested witches in the first place and guided me all the way through.” And, rather tellingly, he adds, “Hard experience has taught me that I cannot do good without a good editor, and Charlie is the best.”
The Press Release has rather a good headline: The Godfather of YA Is Back: Melvin Burgess Returns to Andersen Press with The Lost Witch
The book sounds rather different from what we are used to from Melivn Burgess. It’s described as “a powerful, thrilling fantasy for young adults about magic, myth and following your instincts… Bea has started to hear and see things that no one else can – creatures, voices, visions. Then strangers visit Bea and tell her she is different: she has the rare powers of a witch. They warn her she is being hunted. Her parents think she is hallucinating and needs help… All Bea wants to do is get on with her life, and to get closer to Lars, the mysterious young man she has met at the skate park. But her life is in danger, and she must break free. The question is – who can she trust?”
I shall be hoping for a book as good as Bloodtide.
Things have been quiet on the Melvin Burgess front for a good while, so it’s good to hear him say, “The Lost Witch is the first book that I’ve felt really committed to for a long time. It’s given me a chance to explore a world that people everywhere believed in for hundreds of thousands of years and rebuilding that world in the modern day has been a remarkable experience. I hope that comes across in the reading of it.”
The book’s release will be backed up by a large scale publicity and marketing campaign, with appearances from Melvin at festivals and events over the summer and autumn, including special events at YALC, Edinburgh International Book Festival and more.
Andersen Press will release The Lost Witch in hardback on 2nd August.
Annual research has revealed that the number of pre-school children being read to daily has dropped from seven out of ten (69%) to just over half (51%) over the past five years.
Egmont co-funds Nielsen Book Research’s annual Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer survey into the reading habits of UK children which found that 58% of parents of 3-4-year-olds were stopped from reading to their children by a number of obstacles, the greatest being the struggle to find energy at the end of the day (19%), as well as the child’s preference to do other things (16%). This correlates with an uptake in toddlers watching online video content daily (up by almost one fifth between 2013-2017).
Whilst daily reading for pleasure among 0-17s was up by 4% year-on-year, with three in ten 0-17-year-olds doing so, Egmont stressed that this steep decline in pre-schoolers reading and being read to signalled a significant threat to child development, with potential long-term social impact.
The data, which was presented by Egmont to industry peers at a conference yesterday, also revealed that one in five (21%) parents of children in the 3-4 age group don’t feel comfortable in bookshops, and nearly half (46%) are overwhelmed by the choice of children’s books, acting as further barriers to raising children who enjoy reading. Further research by Egmont also revealed that parents often felt anxious about taking disruptive toddlers into a bookshop or library.
The survey also showed that three in five (61%) parents with children in this age group worry about the amount of time their children spend in front of a screen.
“We know that parents are increasingly concerned about screen time, especially the popularity of YouTube amongst young children. Our research tells us we need to give children a real range of print alternatives to choose from: whether that’s a magazine, a graphic novel, a comic or a picture book. A sense of agency, and being given the freedom to pick their own reading material, is far more effective in creating life-long readers than a strict reading list.”
Egmont has been working with retailers on a number of projects to explore how to increase the numbers of children being read to and reading for themselves, and how to reach those families who buy the smallest proportion of books a year: 70% of the UK population who buy children’s books – around 11.2 million people – only buy between 1-5 children’s books a year.
After a break of more than two years, we have re-instated our Reviews section.
You can find the link in a sub-menu under News.
The first title reviewed is MISFIT by Charli Howard:
Charli Howard struggled for years to become the size 6 or under model her (then) agency was demanding. After they finally dropped her, she gained notoriety when her post of protest on Facebook went viral. She is now a highly successful ‘curve’ model known for making a stand against the fashion industry’s obsession with slimness, and for being the public voice of the body-positive movement.
I was keen to read MISFIT, both as a reviewer of YA books and as someone who regularly photographs models and aspiring models.
Told with a free-flowing, highly-readable momentum, her memoir should become required reading for any teenager currently involved in, or with ambitions of becoming involved in, the fashion industry.
See other Poetry recommendations here >>>
Or click the image to go to the Book of the Month details page…
I’ve only just come across this feature from last weekend’s Sunday Times Magazine.
It’s a well-constructed piece by Matt Rudd about Terry Deary and his Horrible Histories colleague Martin Brown, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the series, “aimed at 8-to-12ers, that wonderful age when your children read autonomously and you can, finally, have some you-time.”
Today, when I meet him and Brown at their publisher, the irascible 72-year-old is quoting Primo Levi within five minutes. “It’s the duty of righteous men to make war against all undeserved privilege,” he says. “And that’s what we do. We make war against the undeserved privilege. I want children to understand that people in alleged power are not necessarily entitled to it. That’s why it’s odd having Horrible Histories adopted by schools. Don’t these teachers understand that we’re training kids to question authority? And they use them in schools. Bizarre. Occasionally somebody picks it up and understands, then sends me offensive emails.”
He is amused when I tell him my eldest son has become something of a flag-burning socialist since reading his books. “Don’t worry,” he says. “He’ll get balance. The schools will teach the conventional stuff. We are the counterbalance.”
Recommend reading the whole piece, if you have a means of getting past the paywall:
It’s not easy to come up with a new concept for an ABC but Mike Jolley and Amanda Wood have thought up a good one here and have been well-served by the illustrator Allan Sanders.
Inside this book are words to spot.
Some you will know. Some you will not.
But if you like your ABCs, then you can do no better –
for here you’ll find and ALPHABET to learn for every letter./
Poems written by dogs, with help from Brian Moses and Roger Stevens.
This funny and perceptive canine collection will be treasured by dog-lovers of all ages.