“It’s a bit like the Secret Seven on steroids, in a good way.” Kitty Empire, The Observer
“With its retro-futurist engineering and icy horizons, this pacy tale of lies and greed versus loyalty and derring-do is a little bit steam-punk and a lot Northern Lights…” Kitty Empire, The Observer
Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week
“Based on real experiences… It grips us with the need to know how the heart-stopping events will turn out. It is also a tale of our time, imparting understanding and sympathy for those who suffer to escape to other countries, and is powerfully told, without sentimentality or, unfortunately, exaggeration.” Nicolette Jones
Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, has acquired the archives of poets John Agard and Grace Nichols thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant…
Agard’s archive, which dates from the 1970s, includes 24 pocket-sized notebooks where the poet jotted down drafts of his stories and poems, as well as working manuscripts and correspondence with editors, agents and fans. Nichols’ archive also dates from the 1970s and comprises working manuscripts, some with annotations and revisions, and letters to printers, publishers, schools and readers.
Agard’s first collection of poems for children was I Din Do Nuttin’, published by Bodley Head in 1983, and subsequent works include Say It Again, Granny (Bodley Head, 1986) and Get Back Pimple (Viking, 1997). He won The Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 2012 and the Eleanor Farjeon Award for Services to Children’s Literature in 2016.
Nichols’ collections for children include Come on into my Tropical Garden (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1988), Everybody Got A Gift (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005), and Cosmic Disco (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2013).
Both collections will feature in Seven Stories’ 2018 programme of events and exhibitions and will be available for research and consultation at the archive.
Bestselling Irish children’s author Eoin Colfer has signed a major two-book deal for a spinoff from his popular Artemis Fowl series.
Colfer’s new novels, The Fowl Twins and an as yet untitled sequel, will focus on Artemis’s younger brothers, Myles and Beckett, who, after being left alone for just one night, end up having to save a troll from a nefarious nobleman and an interrogating nun – each of whom need the magical creature for their own gain. Readers will get to know the Fowl twins, revisit favourite characters, and enjoy all the action and wit that Artemis Fowl fans have come to expect.
“I am delighted to be back in the world of fairies, magic, and criminal masterminds, and I could not be more pleased that Disney and HarperCollins, two wonderful publishers with whom I share a long and fruitful history, are going to unleash the Fowl twins on the world,” said Colfer. “I cannot wait for a whole new generation of readers to immerse themselves in the magical adventures of Myles and Beckett. The future is bright. The future is Fowl.”
Modern-day tastemakers, unlike their forebears, shower love on comics and graphic novels without a hint of condescension. This is true even of works intended mainly for children, a category that includes — let’s be honest — most of the superhero sagas that dominate pop culture’s most lucrative precincts. I’m not complaining, by the way (I love comics too), just observing. But picture books are another story. Even the genius likes of Beatrix Potter and Maurice Sendak are shunted off to the critical equivalent of the Thanksgiving kids’ table, smiled at but not often engaged with. Yet the best picture books, far from being baby food, display a pictorial sophistication that puts many graphic novels to shame; think of them as visual haiku, an art form of juxtaposition and implication, bright colors notwithstanding. And here are three examples to prove the point — books full of surface delight that also reward close reading. Kids might love them, but I’m guessing all three will resonate even more with grown-ups.
The three picture books reviewed are:
I GOT IT! (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 32 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8), David Wiesner
Sophie Blackall’s HELLO LIGHTHOUSE (Little, Brown, 48 pp., $18.99; ages 4 to 8)
THEY SAY BLUE (Abrams, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8) by Jillian Timaki
The idea to write a children’s book started when your goddaughters asked you to write a story about kids that looked like them, but that was almost two decades ago. Why write it now?
I kept returning to it. At least once a year I would stick my head into that corner of my brain and I couldn’t come up with anything. It was a testament of my flawed imagination that every idea I had was either so preposterous or derivative that it wasn’t even worth the time to flesh it out. What ends up happening is that you eventually get rid of so many bad ideas that a good one might wander into the space that you’ve carved out. I’m one of those writers who is so slow and bad at what I do that a lot of times my creative ethos seems to be you can’t lose forever.
Full piece & interview >>> http://www.latimes.com/books/la-ca-jc-fob-junot-diaz-20180409-htmlstory.html
This is a superb blog post by Tamsin Rosewell of Kenilworth Books.
Discounting is something that affects the whole book trade of course, but is a particularly pertinent issue to those involved in the creation, publication, promotion and sale of children’s books.
Not just recommended reading – required reading:
From a bookseller’s point of view, there are now far too many books published and they are being released into an already saturated market. New books -even those by established authors are ‘allowed’ very little time within which to sell the thousands of copies required to be financially viable. This further decreases an author’s ability to build up any sort of reasonable income. Not surprisingly the largest companies have started to add in to the mix high numbers of sure-sale ghost-written celebrity titles, while simultaneously putting less support behind even the most experienced authors working today. The difference between this and the practice in smaller publishing houses is marked: a smaller publisher makes an editorial decision about whether a book is right for them, and then commits to it. Independent booksellers love the smaller publishing companies because they are genuinely producing some of the most interesting material. There is a real sense of commitment from smaller publishers with many of the books representing significant investment in an author or illustrator, and also in an idea. In short, they are actually publishing with thought and care, rather than just flinging and endless volley of books at us from London. But the small publishers too are now caught up in this desperate need to discount everything. Even the books that are highly anticipated and would most certainly sell at their published price are caught up in this plummeting whirlpool. We are all being dragged into a culture which confuses value with price. Books are already cheap for the value that they add, but by lowering the expectations on price, we are also devaluing our own industry’s product.
Nicolette Jones in her Easter roundup of the season’s best children’s books includes this praise for Running On Empty by SE Durrant
Lyrical, moving and realistic, SE Durrant’s Running on Empty (Nosy Crow £6.99, 8-11) is about the struggle of an 11-year-old carer who is starting secondary school and wants to run like Usain Bolt. With a rich and diverse cast, it sings.