Netflix is taking a page from a retro children’s book format to experiment with interactive programming.
“Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale” launched Tuesday on the streaming service with a format that will remind some parents of the so-called gamebook genre, more commonly called “Choose Your Own Adventure.”
For now, the interactive experiment with the popular animated swashbuckler Puss in Boots is limited to only a few episodes.
Viewers can decide which characters he will encounter to determine the path of the storyline.
Animated teen comedy “Buddy Thunderstruck” will debut an interactive episode on July 14, while Netflix will also use the format for the upcoming series “Stretch Armstrong” sometime next year.
You’ve seen it in cosmetics, Starbucks coffee cups, and even hospital scrubs, and now Pantone mania has infiltrated the children’s book section.
A series of literary classics cloaked in stark, plain covers are designed to look like the color-standard company’s iconic color-specification chips. Published by Puffin Books this month, the set is touted as an alternative to illustrated book covers that young readers have come to expect.
The project is the brainchild of graphic designer Danielle Calotta, who used a process of free association to come up with the color for each title. Some choices were obvious: green for Anne of Green Gables; black for Black Beauty; metallic gold for A Christmas Carol. Others titles were harder, like The Wizard of Oz, which is covered in a sunny yellow hue. “Some people don’t know that her [Dorothy’s] original shoes [in the book] were silver, but a lot of people know her ruby red shoes. Then there’s also Emerald City, but inevitably, we settled with the yellow brick road,” explains Calotta.
Almost 50 years after the appearance of one of the most famous felines in children’s books, Mog creator Judith Kerr is to publish a book inspired by her latest pet cat, Katinka. The much-loved author and illustrator, who celebrated her 94th birthday last week, is to publish Katinka’s Tail in the autumn.The story of a “perfectly ordinary cat with a not-so-ordinary tail” was inspired by Kerr’s observations of her cat, the ninth in an inspirational line. “She is a ridiculous-looking white cat with a tabby tail that looks as though it belonged to somebody else,” she said. It was watching the “bizarre” behaviour of her first family pet, Mog – which included licking her sleeping daughter’s hair – that inspired the eponymous stories beloved by generations of children.
The Carnegie & Greenaway Medals are highly prestigious annual British awards, this year celebrating their 80th and 60th anniversaries respectively. The judging process is conducted entirely by librarians.
Until 1969 – that is during the first 30 plus years of the Carnegie (named after Scottish-born American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie) – winners of the awards had to be British. It is still a requirement of the Newbery and Greenaway Medals (America’s equivalent of the Carnegie & Greenaway) that eligible authors are “citizens or residents of the United States”. Since 1969 there has been no such restriction here.
“To be eligible for the Awards, titles must have been first published in the UK between 1 September and 31 August of the previous calendar year. Books first published in another country must have been co-published in the UK within three months of the original publication date.” The first person to benefit from this opening up of eligibility was Ivan Southall of Australia in 1972, for Josh. Since then a significant but not dominating number of winners have been international rather than British. This is the first occasion both awards have been won by Americans and it may well mark a point in time when British authors and illustrators will find it more difficult to feature prominently in the shortlists.
I do not have any data at my fingertips, but I’m fairly sure the number of books now eligible under the clause “Books first published in another country must have been co-published in the UK within three months of the original publication date” is very much greater than it was in 1969. Of the eight books on this year’s Carnegie shortlist only three were by British authors.
The award ceremony took place in London yesterday, at RIBA. A large number of previous winners of both medals were present. When I arrived my eyes were already streaming and unbearably itchy with hay fever. I took myself to the edge of the gathering area with a coffee and a glass of water and found myself next to a larger than life young black woman, facing the wall, swaying from side to side and muttering under her breath. I thought at first she was on her mobile phone, conducting a conversation through earplugs and mic. Then I saw that she kept glancing down at a sheet of paper, apparently memorising lines. I presumed she was a librarian due to give a speech at some point.
It proved to be Amy Leon, an American poet and singer, who had been invited as one of the warmup speakers. She sang a short song Daydream and in a stirring speech about the power of words and reading spoke about how liberating it had been when she was given a blank notebook with no subject written on the cover, freeing her to record any daydreams that came in to her head. [I remembered this later that afternoon when another young poet passed me her notebook outside a bar in Camden Town and let me read the carefully hand-written poems inside.]
It turns out Amy Leon is well-known and a fairly regular visitor to literary events in the UK. It was my first encounter with her. I’m a fan.
MC for the occasion was Cerrie Burnell, children’s TV presenter, who ensured the audience was suitably responsive.
The first award announcements were for the Amnesty Honour titles. This category, coinciding with the beginning of Refugee Week, was announced by Kate Allen from Amnesty. The Amnesty CILIP Honour from the Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist went to Francesca Sanna for her debut, The Journey, a picture book depicting a family fleeing their war-torn country in search of refuge. From the CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlist, the Honour went to Zana Fraillon for The Bone Sparrow (Orion Children’s Books), the story of a boy living in an immigration detention centre in Australia. In her acceptance speech Fraillon was fiercely critical of those who hold up the Australian rules on immigration as worthy of emulation.
Ruta Sepetys won the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Salt to the Sea (Puffin), a New York Times-bestselling novel that explores the events leading up to the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the worst maritime disaster in history in which over 9,000 people, mainly refugees, perished. The daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, with a family connection to the disaster, Ruta spent three years researching the book.
57-year-old Lane Smith, still best known for his collaborations with JonScieszka, such as The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Stinky Cheese Man and Maths Curse, won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations in There is a Tribe of Kids (Two Hoots), a picture book exploring the power of collective nouns and the importance of play and exploration. In his speech, Smith credited leading British illustrators, including Brian Wildsmith, Quentin Blake and Helen Oxenbury as his inspiration as a young illustrator starting out. “Years ago, when graduating from art school, I was told that my work was too stylised-looking for the kids’ book market in the States and I would probably have to move to London where they took a more enlightened view of quirky artworks. I told my instructor that he was wrong, and that there were many wonderful books being published in the States, and showed him my books by Wildsmith, Blake, Browne, Steadman, Cousins, Oxenbury, Foreman and Burningham. And my instructor politely informed me that those were all British artists. To be acknowledged from the land of many of my favourite illustrators is an enormous honour.”
Ruta Sepetys, who had previously been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2012 for Between Shades of Grey, commented: “When I began work on [Salt To The Sea] years ago, I had no way of knowing that when it was published, we would be amidst a refugee crisis. Then and now, my thoughts return to the children.” She added: “History allows us to examine decisions. Yes, history can be full of sadness and pain but it also shines light on hope, freedom, courage and the miraculous nature of the human spirit. History divided us, but through reading we are united in study and remembrance. That is the power of books.”
Sepetys and Smith each receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 cash prize from the Colin Mears Award.
Eyes still streaming with hay fever, I was ill-disposed to taking photographs after the announcements. Hence, for once, this is a words-only report. And it was a pleasure, actually, simply to stand and observe as the two winners, Sepetys especially, were thronged with groups of young students eager to get autographs and selfies. Interesting too to observe the effect that becoming Laureate has had on Lauren Child, who was also present, and was hardly able to take three stops forward without having to stand still for selfie moments, and not just with children.
It is a little ironic that the first floor auditorium of RIBA was light and airy, perfect for photography and portraiture, in contrast to poorly lit areas such functions are often held in. Damn you hayfever!
I was very pleased that Jake Hope introduced me to Chris Moore, blogger and co-founder of @YAfictionados, and one of those instrumental in helping to organise last weekend’s celebratory Carnegie/Greenaway #YATakeover Twitter Festival. I’d like to have talked with him at more length but he sidled off when Keven Brooks came up for a chat and before I had a chance to see if both of them knew one another. Brooks, I learned, has a new novel coming from Egmont next February. “A bit of a departure for me,” he said, just as he was leaving for home. “A happy ending?” I called out. He hesitated, teasingly. Then shook his head.
A very special #YATAKEOVER Twitter Festival is taking place this weekend to help celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Carnegie & Greenaway awards. There are discussions taking place throughout Saturday and Sunday – timings for the programme on both days are shown above.
Highlights include a conversation with Neil Gaiman discussing The Graveyard Book; Melin Burgess talking about taboos in fiction; the new laureate Lauren Child talking about her work; a guest appearance by Philip Pullman.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, originally published in 1964, tops the list of 20th century children’s books which are still being read today, in a poll commissioned by the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals, the prestigious book awards for children and young people that celebrate its 80th anniversary this year.
The story of Charlie Bucket’s adventures in Willy Wonka’s factory, illustrated by Quentin Blake and written 53 years ago, was the top choice of parents of children aged 1 to 12 across every region of the UK. Two other Dahl stories – The BFG (1982) and Matilda (1988), also illustrated by Blake – came second and third in the list of favourite reads for parents and children.
The Top 15 were selected from a list of books that were at least 20 years old and published after 1936, the year the Medals began. The oldest book on the list, at number 10, is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, first published in 1937. Carnegie Medal winner The Borrowers by Mary Norton makes it onto the list alongside Kate Greenaway winner Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs. Interestingly, books published in the 1950s take the highest number of spots on the list.
The Top 15 are:
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (1964)
- The BFG by Roald Dahl (1982)
- Matilda by Roald Dahl (1988)
- A Bear called Paddington by Michael Bond (1958)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997)
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950)
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952)
- The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (1957)
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell (1982)
- The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr (1968)
- The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (1978)
- The Borrowers by Mary Norton (1952)
- Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs (1973)
The majority of parents questioned (80.75%) agreed that distinctive covers and illustrations made a book stick in the mind, with picture books (32.3%) and fantasy (27.65%) thought to make the most impact on kids, a fact reinforced by the choices selected in the poll.
When asked why they believed their chosen books remained popular, parents cited timeless settings and reminisced about being transported into another world. The study shows almost 84% actively encourage their children to read their own favourite classics. 53% like their children to know and experience a character they loved themselves as a child and 44.3% like the idea that their child is sharing an experience with millions of other children. When asked how they felt reading these classic books, 76.84% of parents said they themselves felt happy, nostalgic and comforted.
Other reading habits were revealed through the poll, with the majority of parents only reading to their kids an average of two hours per week, but overwhelmingly (over 80%) preferring print books to ebooks.
Quote from Chris Riddell, former Children’s Laureate and three times CILP Kate Greenaway winner, comments:
“These results show that parents enjoy sharing books they love with their children and connect with these books through their engaging covers and illustrations. There is a special alchemy by which illustrators bring characters to life for the reader. They turn words and pictures into gold in our imaginations. That is why I believe all books should have pictures.”
Children’s Book Award 2017
The overall winner of the Federation of Children’s Book Grops’ 2017 CBA Book Award was An Eagle in the Snow by Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman. It also won the Books for Younger Readers Category.
One by Carnegie Medal-winning author Sarah Crossan won the Books for Older Readers category and Oi Dog!, written by Kes and Claire Gray and illustrated by Jim Field was Books for Younger Children’s category winner.
The full shortlist for the Children’s Book Award 2017 was as follows:
Books for Younger Children
Chicken Nugget, Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Tom McLaughlin, published by Puffin
Oi Dog, Kes Gray and Claire Gray and illustrated by Jim Field, published by Hodder
Grandad’s Island, Benji Davies, published by Simon and Schuster
Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger, Helen Stephens, published by Scholastic
Books for Younger Readers
The Accidental Pirates (Voyage to Magical North), Claire Fayer, published by Macmillan
An Eagle in the Snow Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman, published by Harper Collins
The Jam Doughnut that Ruined my Life Mark Lowery, illustrated by Hannah Shaw, published by Piccadilly
Books for Older Readers
Download the CBA 2017 Pick of the Year leaflet here CBA 2017 Pick of the Year
The Federation is currently seeking sponsorship for the award to be able to continue in 2018. If you are interested in knowing more, or if you think you could become involved in sponsoring this unique award, contact email@example.com or visit the Children’s Book Award Facebook page.
Lauren Child takes over today from Chris Riddell as the UK”s Children’s Laureate.
I was unable to attend the presentation in HULL but Jake Hope has just sent in this dispatch:
Anticipation is high as we await the revelation of the new Children’s Laureate, the 10th person who will have held the honour of this title. Radzi Yanganya from Blue Peter is whipping the audience to a fever-pitch of excitement in Hull. It feels an appropriate time to reflect back on some of the previous Children’s Laureates, looking at their work and the causes they championed.
Quentin Blake was the first laureate (1999-2001), most well-known as the illustrator who envisioned Roald Dahl’s deliciously dark humour, Quentin has a highly distinctive style and from his first picture book ‘Patrick’, has brought incredible zeal, energy and colour to his work. Quentin established the House of Illustration during his time as Laureate and curated an exhibition to showcase children’s illustration, The Magic Pencil.
Anne Fine was the first novelist to be honoured as Children’s Laureate (2001-2003), she has pushed at gender assumption with novels like Bill’s New Frock and has twice won the Carnegie Medal with Goggle-Eyes and Flour Babies. Anne’s work astutely observes socio-politics with a wickedly wry humour and a beguiling turn of phrase. During her time as Laureate she set up the www.myhomelibrary.org to encourage book ownership, promoted poetry with three specially curated collections A Shame to Miss and worked to promote reading to visually impaired children.
Michael Morpurgo became the third Laureate (2003-2005). A consummate storyteller, Michael’s War Horse and Private Peaceful both focus on humanitarian aspects of war. His writing builds tremendous empathy and compassion among readers. During his tenure as Laureate Michael sought to honour war without glorifying it and to promote the joy of the oral traditions of the form.
Jacqueline Wilson became the fourth Laureate (2005-2007). Jacqueline is well known for tackling social issues in her stories and for building an insatiable appetite for reading among her legion of fans. Jacqueline is the creator of the mischievous but endearing Tracy Beaker. Jacqueline championing reading aloud and sharing books and reading. She also worked to ensure more books were available for visually impaire children and championed well-resourced children’s television drama.
Michael Rosen was named as the fifth Children’s Laureate (2007-2009) and the first poet to be honoured with this accolade. Michael’s work is well recognised for its humour and for its ability to convey childhood experiences in accessible language. One of Michael’s best known works Is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. During his time as Laureate, Michael champion the arts, literature and poetry in education including working with the BBC on an exploratory reading for pleasure in school project Just Read.
Anthony Browne became the sixth children’s Laureate (2009-11). His surreal approach to children’s illustration encourages creativity and shines a light onto class difference and misogyny. Anthony has twice won the Kate Greenaway medal, fir Gorilla and Zoo. Anthony was the 2000 winner of the Hans Christian Andresen Medal. During his time as Laureate, Anthony encouraged visual literacy and creativity in art through stimulating others to play the game in his The Shape Game book.
Julia Donaldson became the seventh Children’s Laureate (2011-2013). A playwright and author, Julia is best known for her well loved story The Gruffalo illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The cadence and rhyme of Julia’s work makes it perfect for sharing aloud and her interest in drama became a focus during her time as Laureate when she encouraged performance and dramatized reading as well as passionately campaignin against library cuts and embarking upon an extensive tour of libraries across the UK.
Malorie Blackman became the eighth Children’s Laureate (2013-2015). Malorie writes thought provoking novels that encourage children to think about ethical dilemmas and social concerns. Malorie won the Red House Children’s Book Award for Noughts and Crosss a powerful, insightful and utterly compelling exploration of race ideology. During her time as Laureate Malorie championed Young Adult fiction and set up the massively successful Young Adult Literary Convention (YALC).
Chris Riddell was the ninth Children’s Laureate (2015-2017). Well known for his detailed pen and ink illustration, Chris is the only illustrator to have won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal three times with Pirate Diary, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver and most recently in 2016 with The Sleeper and the Spindle. During his time as Laureate, Chris has encouraged children to draw, using this as a hook to get into reading. Chris’s parting Laureate advice to anyone wanting to be an illustrator or artist is ‘keep a sketch book and draw all the time – especially men with big noses.’
We are delighted that Lauren Child is the tenth Children’s Laureate (serving from 2017-2019). Her portrayal of the imaginative inner world of childhood is immense and we are confident she will make a sterling Laureate. We look forward to following and supporting their initiatives and interests.
6-8 years shortlist
Future Ratboy and the Invasion of the Nom Noms
The shortlist was judged by Michael Rosen, children’s novelist, poet and former Children’s Laureate, and a panel, consisting of CBBC presenter Katie Thistleton and The Sunday Times’ Children’s Books Editor, Nicolette Jones.
Voting on the shortlists is now open and closes on 8th December.
Winners will be announced in January 2018.