Scholastic is being taken to task by a growing army of educators, librarians, and parents not for what [a biography recently published] says about Donald Trump, but for what it omits.This past weekend, Teaching for Change, a nonprofit that builds social justice around education, posted a critical review of the book and invited others to join in sending a message to Scholastic. The social media campaign, #StepUpScholastic, urges the publishing company to pull the book and issue a version that tells the truth about the president… … So far, #StepUpScholastic has generated about 530 letters of protest to Scholastic from teachers, parents, librarians, and others across the country.
Two new editions to this excellent series of illustrated biographies for young readers, beautifully page-designed and printed. Each book contains a timeline at the back.
Highly recommended non-fiction for the younger primary age groups (Y1-Y4) and must-have titles for school libraries. To be appreciated for the artwork as much as the information.
The beloved children’s author of Goodnight Moon secretly hated kids and had a string of lovers including a married man and a female poet, according to a new biography.
Millions of parents have relied on Margaret Wide Brown classic books for a bedtime story for their little ones.
Her most famous work, Goodnight Moon, sold more than 14 million copies, making her one of the best selling American children’s authors ever.
But Brown’s simplistic, child-friendly books could not be further away from her own wild, complicated lifestyle.
This biography is particularly revealing about Potter’s relationship with the family of her publisher, F Warne & Co. You could blink and miss the timid romance that blossomed between Potter and Norman Warne. His sudden death in 1905 was the catalyst for Potter’s first great act of independence — the purchase of Hill Top Farm in Lancashire. By the end of her long life (she died in 1943), the profits from all those rabbits and mice had been spent on nearly 4,000 acres of unspoilt countryside, which she left to the earliest incarnation of the National Trust.
The picture on the cover shows Potter in her final incarnation — the plump, white-haired sheep farmer, comfortably married to the local solicitor. Dennison’s clever, searching account of her life shows the incredible fight she had to make herself into the kind of woman she wanted to be.
Over the Hills and Far Away: The Life of Beatrix Potter by Matthew Dennison, Head of Zeus, 262pp, £18.99
Nesbit’s influence can be felt everywhere from the Chronicles of Narnia to Kate Saunders’s Costa Prize-winning Five Children on the Western Front, which takes Cyril, Robert and the rest from the eternal Edwardian summer of the earlier books to the First World War. Meanwhile, Jacqueline Wilson’s modern retelling, Four Children and It, is currently being made into a film with Michael Caine as the Psammead.The link between Wilson and Nesbit is closer than you might think. Wilson’s resolutely contemporary creations, Tracy Beaker and Dolphin in The Illustrated Mum, share the same determination and hopefulness that make Nesbit’s children, despite the knickerbockers and pinafore dresses, still as fresh and engaging still as they must have been a century. Nesbit’s clear eye for the way we interact makes her a startlingly modern writer.
When I was young (pre-teen), reading biographies and memoirs of famous and inspiring individuals was commonplace. I had a particular penchant for reading about explorers and adventurers. When I visited the children’s section of the public library there was no shortage of such books. But individual biographical subjects no longer feature so prominently on children’s publishing lists.
The subject of this book has, of course, just been presented with the Nobel Peace Prize. Back in the summer Orion published her memoir on their teenage Indigo list. Although the book has all the appearance of an adult hardback biography (with inset coloured photos) it has been co-written with Patricia McCormick in a manner that makes it eminently accessible to children of older primary age, and would make an excellent present for anyone aged 10+.
It’s thought-provoking and engaging. Malala herself comes across as extraordinarily well-balanced and rounded.
At the end there is a very useful Timeline of Important Events, but also a set of Discussion Notes which give the book an unnecessarily overt educational agenda.
Boel Westin, professor of literature at the University of Stockholm, has written an affectionate biography. She wrote her doctoral thesis on the Moomin world and knew Jansson. In the book, Westin compares her to Shakespeare, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, even "Chekov spiced with Poe". Actually, Jansson needs no such comparisons: that she wrote well is self-evident from the enduring popularity of her surreal and prankish tales.
Pushkin is to publish a children’s biography of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince, under its Pushkin Children’s Books imprint.
The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís will hit the shelves on 3rd July, in time to mark the 70th anniversary of the disappearance of Saint-Exupéry that month.
James Tait Black Memorial Prize Winners
The acclaimed novelist Alan Warner and the celebrated art historian Tanya Harrod have received this year’s James Tait Black prizes. They join an illustrious roster.
Each year, one prize goes to a work of fiction, and the other to a work of biography. The latter was awarded to Harrod’s ‘The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew, Modern Pots, Colonialism and the Counterculture’, while the former went to Warner’s novel ‘The Deadman’s Pedal’.The novel was described by Lee Spinks, the prize’s fiction judge, as “an exceptionally fine novel, richly evocative in detail, beautifully poised in execution, which in the story of one young mans journey to adulthood through the mysteries of childhood, sexuality, work, the realities of class society and the experience of divided family loyalties, offers a compelling poetic vision of a changing Scotland.”Tanya Harrod’s book won the following praise from the biography judge Professor Jonathan Wild: “The Last Sane Man’ offers an exceptional portrait of a remarkable craftsman and his world. Harrod constructs this biography with the same eye for form and purpose that marked the work of her subject.”Both authors were picked from weighty shortlists. Alan Warner’s rivals for the fiction prize were Jenny Fagan The Panopticon, Kirsty Gunn The Big Music and Ben Lerner Leaving The Atocha Station. Tanya Harrod’s book was chosen from a shortlist that featured Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton: A Memoir; Michael Gorra’s Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of a Modern American Masterpiece; and Thomas Wright’s Circulation: William Harvey’s Revolutionary Idea.