January 2004 Archives

Chance Meeting

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Windswept and dressed in the ancient wax jacket P. only allows me to wear in extreme weather, I had just stumbled out of the buffeting gale into Rounder Records, a favourite Saturday afternoon haunt, in Brighton's South Laines, when someone said "Oh, hello..." My verbal responses are not quickfire at the best of times, but there was an even longer delay than normal before I said 'Oh, hello there' back. I'm not sure whether it was just that we'd never bumped into one another outside London before, though I knew she is based in Brighton, or whether there had been a change of hairstyle or colour. Anyway, it was Rowan Stanfield, publicist at Orion, who had come in to track down an obscure Japanese CD. The CD was too obscure even for Rounder Records, so she was intending to order the CD online. But seemed keen enough to find something else in the shop to buy.

I've had a good bit of luck at the start of the year with purely speculative purchases, including the first CD by The National (the one that preceded Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers and is now difficult to find). I only made one modest, non-speculative purchase today - the Sweatbees EP by My Morning Jacket.

Driving home via Seaford (we usually go to Brighton by train, but the heavy rain decided us in favour of Berlingo today) I stopped off at the seafront to take pictures of the heavy sea.

Malorie Blackman Feature

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Black Is The New White

As ACHUKA followers know, I have long been an enthusiastic fan of Malorie Blackman and of Noughts And Crosses in particular, so it is gratifying in the extreme to see her getting the recognition and feature-length exposure she deserves.

This long interview-cum-review by Amanda Craig, accompanied in the print edition by a full-page photograph of Malorie Blackman, is highly recommended.

"Filled with love, sorrow, suffering and stinging satire on injustice, Noughts & Crosses is a remarkable novel, not least in tackling the subject of race with brilliant simplicity. Every page shocks; Knife Edge, the sequel, is no less impressive. The style is simple and direct, but the ramifications of what it describes are thought out in devastating detail. Children?s fiction has long been the repository of great satirical writing, but Blackman?s trilogy takes it into levels unseen since Orwell?s Nineteen Eighty-Four." AMANDA CRAIG

Peer Reviews

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Under the umbrella

Keith Gray reviews fellow author's new novel and gives it a B+.

"Intricate questions about truth and honesty are asked, but few answers are given," Gray finds, at the end of Kevin Brooks' Kissing The Rain, current ACHUKA Choice.

And Gillian Cross gives Catherine MacPhail A- for Another Me

Cross's review...

Talking Heads

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Snipping and marking up cuttings can be the worst kind of drudgery and I would much sooner have been at Graham Marks' launch party, but the act of scanning through saved papers from six weeks back inevitably throws up one or two pieces that were turned back and put aside but never actually read at the time.

One such piece was 'Bring back the talking heads' from The Times, December 20 2003, in which Philip Pullman, in the course of appraising the Big Read, came up with this suggestion: "Imagine this: every night for a year, say around the time that Newsnight finishes, there's a very short straight-to-camera piece - no longer than five minutes - in which a different person each day speaks about a book they love. No competition; no voting; no distracting visuals; no ranking in order; literary people and non-literary people, old books and new books, fiction, poetry... It would be the best thing on television."

Well, in these days when most families have digital camcorders, and Windows Movie Player is freely available to compress movies into web viewable format, this is an idea that ACHUKA could take up. Shall we say 3-minutes and 3-megabytes as our maximum length and filesize, in the first instance? Who's up for talking about their favourite book first? I'm not expecting an onslaught, but we'll see.

How It Actually Works

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How It Works is I should be at Two Floors Bar enjoying the company of reviewing felloween and the lovely team at Bloomsbury as they celebrate the launch of Graham Marks' new novel How It Works.

But How It Actually Works is that I'm at the ACHUKA desk grappling with the challenge of converting the old Profiles information into a decently expandable database, catching up with cuttings and other general things I've fallen behind schedule with as a consequence of the weather, school meetings that take twice as long as anticipated (which was the principal reason for my not making tonight's event), domestic plumbing crises and other sundry annoyances which I normally try and rise blithely above.

So, although I won't be having a glass of wine till a good bit later, I'll say cheers in absento to Graham, author and Publishing News children's books correspondent. Thanks for a book steeped in reality, set in London, about a teenage boy with a convincingly contemporary handle on life.

Farting Defence

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Coulee News - News: Publisher defends dog farting book

Walter The Farting Dog

Grossinger [publisher at North Atlantic] said the book's depiction in words and colorful drawings of a dog farting didn't strike him as being a problem. He also pointed out the existence of another popular children's book recently published called "Everyone Poops."

"I don't think it's obscene in any sense," Grossinger said of "Walter." "Not in today's world."

Grossinger said the word "fart" "has passed from being taboo to pretty normal." But the fact that "it's still ever-so-slightly taboo" has, he believes, helped it sell so well. "It's just bad enough" to generate interest, he said.


'Osbourne, star of MTV's reality comedy "The Osbournes," has been cast in the Touchstone TV drama pilot, which Stu Bloomberg is executive producing. Based on British author Melvin Burgess' controversial young-adult novel, "Doing It" centers on the sexual antics of three 16-year-old Seattle boys: Dino (Sean Farris), Jonathan (Chris Lowell) and Ben (Jon Foster)... ....'

Doing It by Melvin Burgess

Unjam The Plumbing

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None Of Us Is Normal - Times Feature: Mark Haddon

Mark Haddon, quoted explaining his lack of excitement due to his long wait for success, in Times feature. Perhaps his Whitbread triumph will have helped unjam the plumbing.

?It?s rather like needing a pee on a long coach journey,? he says cheerfully. ?If you get to the service station in time, it?s fantastic and you pee like a stallion. If the service station is slightly too far, the plumbing just jams. It?s like that for me: it?s hard to get excited because I?ve passed the service station.?

Favourite Wins

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Scotsman.com News - Latest News - Whitbread Book Prize Winner 'Throws Light Upon the World'

Mark Haddon has won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award...

Bloodtide On Stage

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Greenwich Theatre

Melvin Burgess' novel Bloodtide has been adapted for the stage...:

"Pilot's world premiere production of Melvin Burgess' novel draws on the game playing culture of the 21st Century to tell a story steeped in Norse myths and legends, shape changing and cloning, violence and love..."

Tuesday 2 ? Saturday 6 March
Evenings at 8.00pm
Wednesday matinee at 2.30pm

Tickets: ?12 - ?18 (Concessions available)

For Box Office - see link

In Hollow Lands

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Times review

Praise for Sophie Masson's In Hollow Lands

"A blend of Sir Gawaine and the Loathly Lady, Breton folk-lore and medieval history (the real-life Bertrand, had a wife with reputedly supernatural gifts), what beguiles is Masson?s seductive vision of faerie worlds, and her understanding that what really matters for adults, as for children, is not looks but trust. A tale of real talent and charm..." AMANDA CRAIG

Lindsey Likes

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EducationGuardian.co.uk | eG weekly | What lies beneath

Lindsey Fraser recommeds
Deep Secret by Berlie Doherty

A memorable story, beautifully told

Fantasy Before H.P.

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Journal Gazette | 01/25/2004 | Before Harry Potter, there was Le Guin's EarthSea

Feature about Ursula Le Guin:

"We all know that the landscape of children's fantasy is dominated today by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Magic, a school of wizardry, and a talented child struggling to prove himself is now the stuff of multimillion dollar marketing and blockbuster movies. Whatever we make of the Potter phenomenon, it is to Le Guin that we must turn to find the classic source of the Rowling formula... "

Not Religion, Authority

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IHT: Leaps of faith in 'His Dark Materials'


Long Philip Pullman feaure from the International Herald Tribune, which includes this:

'New Line's executives say they will probably insist that the books' repudiation of religion be softened in the film into more of a meditation on the corruption of power in general. Mark Ordesky, executive vice president and chief operating officer of New Line Productions, said that "the real issue is not religion, it's authority - that's what's really the driving issue here." ' ...

US Soccer Signing

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HarperCollins Children's Books Signs Soccer Star Mia Hamm to Picture Book Deal

HarperCollins Children's Books [US] announced yesterday that they have signed female soccer star Mia Hamm for a picture book titled Winners Never Quit! which will go on sale in the US this summer. Editor-in-Chief Kate Morgan Jackson signed the deal with Byron Preiss Visual Publications, and the book will be illustrated by Carol Thompson.

Teenage Drama Queen

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Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen

The official American website for the film version of Confessions a Teenage Drama Queen.

Dyan Sheldon's Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen will hit the screens in the UK this August (February in the US). Walker Books will be bringing out a film-tie-in edition to mark its release. Lindsay Lohan (Parent Trap, Freaky Friday) and Adam Garcia (Coyote Ugly) are to star in the production, directed by Sara Sugarman.

Dyan Sheldon has published 15 Titles with Walker Books including Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and the sequel My Perfect Life. The third book in this series is to be published in 2005.

American by birth, Dyan Sheldon divides her time between London and New York.

DiCamillo Feature

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A Fairy-Tale Ending (washingtonpost.com)

Washington Post interview with Newbery winner Kate DiCamillo:

"The story of Despereaux came to be when the 8-year-old son of DiCamillo's best friend asked "Aunt Kate" to write a book for him. But he didn't want just any book from DiCamillo, whose previous children's books include "The Tiger Rising" and "Because of Winn-Dixie." He wanted a book about "an unlikely hero . . . with exceptionally large ears."
DiCamillo spoke with Tracy Grant about her writing, Despereaux and soup..."

Writer Quits NHS

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The Observer | UK News | Casualty staff crisis looms as GPs give up evening cover

'The final straw came two weeks ago, when managers asked me to man a casualty department at night,' said Dale, a 42-year-old mother of two. 'In the past I've been part of a co-operative and my nights on duty have been busy but not unmanageable. Working in casualty and seeing everyone who wasn't an emergency would be enormously pressurised. Why would I want to do this after a long day at work?'
Dale, who has written children's books and now intends to devote herself to it full-time, said: 'The goodwill that has held the NHS together for years is disappearing. I don't think the Government realises how many doctors like myself intend to leave. It's something they would rather not think about.'

ACHUKA assumes the Louise Dale referred to here is the author of:

The Keys of Rome

Wired Prodigy

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Interview: Christopher Paolini

An Observer feature interview with author-of-the-moment, Christopher Paolini. Although Kit Spring writes of the "slightly built, bespectacled Paolini, who looks younger than his years," her feature is accompanied by a lowlight, black-and-white portrait shot by the esteemed photographer Jane Bown, which makes him look a 35-year-old father-of-three, whilst at the same time capturing the wired twinkle in his eye.

"Unsurprisingly for a prodigy (he got his high-school certificate three years early), he has a wired energy and a breadth of knowledge that leave you slightly breathless. He litters his conversation with references to films he has seen (but you haven't), books he has read (but you haven't), throws in the odd bit of Old Norse, pauses to wonder why he loves The Aeneid, but can't stand The Iliad, mentions the fact that he's colour-blind and sees mostly in shades of blue and then enthuses about chainmail, which he makes, by the way." KIT SPRING

At a Random House dinner in the Festival Hall restaurant earlier in the week, Paolini was systematically interrogated by a sequence of senior UK reviewers, either sitting at his side, or perched behind his chair. From the opposite side of the table it appeared that the young man held his own very well and was only once ill-at-ease: - when the waiter took his order for food, and due to a misunderstanding it appeared as if he were ordering a main dish as his starter.

ST Book of the Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

"There is no doubt that this book is an achievement. And readers who like to imagine themselves in Middle Earth-ish other worlds will be transported." NICOLETTE JONES

Bad Language

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Crying foul over profanity in a kids book

This writer takes Polly Horvath for task for using a profanity in her award-winning novel The Canning Season, and objects to its characters on the basis that they are 'strange'. She also says, "I can't imagine what inspired Horvath's story."

South Bank Award Hor Haddon

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Haddon wins South Bank Show prize

Novelist Mark Haddon has won the best book prize at the South Bank Show awards given by the ITV1 arts series.

Holocaust Stories

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January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day. In the current edition of TES, Tom Deveson reviews half a dozen recent fictional and non-fictional accounts, including Last Train From Kummersdorf by Leslie Wilson and August 44 by Carlo Gebler.

It seems to be TES policy to put reviews online a week after print publication.

Alan Garner & Toad Hall

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BBC Radio 4 - Open Country - 24 January 2004 - Alan Garner

'Richard Uridge meets author Alan Garner at his home near the Jodrell Bank Telescope and discovers that the medieval hall where he has lived for over 40 years is built on a site that has been occupied by people since the end of the last ice age. Garner says he finds his creativity in the house, tapping into an energy that he is only now beginning to understand.'

As I'm blogging this morning, I'm taking advantage of the BBC's splendid Listen Again feature to hear Alan Garner speaking about his love of the Cheshire landscape in this radio interview.

Not to be missed...
[Look for the Listen Again link in the left-hand panel, or use this direct link to the Real Player file...]

Thursbitch, Alan Garner's latest book

The Owl Service


Love Story

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | An unsung heroine

Adele Geras blows a clarion trumpet for No Shame, No Fear by Ann Turnbull:

"There's a fashion for historical novels at the moment which is greatly to be encouraged. These often follow the fortunes of girls or young women, and the contrasts with our own times that this throws up is something children can appreciate. But the main pleasure here is the touching love story. The end of the novel, which reduced this reader to tears, leaves you longing for the sequel which Walker has had the good sense to commission." ADELE GERAS

Captain Kangaroo

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KSDK NewsChannel 5 - News Article

Bob Keeshan, the actor and producer responsible for the success of the long-running children's program, Captain Kangaroo has died at age 76...

Female Characters

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BBC - Radio 4 - Woman's Hour - Favourite female character in children's fiction

Favourite female characters in children's fiction:

A 10 minute Listen-Again segment from today's Radio 4 Woman's Hour with Sarah Wilkie and Adele Geras discussing tomboy vs. 'sweet domesticated' characters.

Highly recommended

Caldecott Winner Profile

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Boston.com / A&E / Books / Mordicai Gerstein's tightrope act

Excellent Boston Globe profile of Mordicai Gerstein...

Another Mark Haddon Profile

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Independent: Enjoyment: MArk Haddon - This Year's Big Read

This full-length feature interview by John Walsh provides indispensable background on Haddon and his Whitbread finalist title.

Highly recommended.

Let The Old Girl Be

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Ace detective goes thoroughly modern

"They might maintain a bigger market share if they just let the old girl be herself. People aren't ready for her to be hip," says Roger Sutton, editor of Tehe Horn Magazine, in this article from USA Today about the revamped Nancy Drew titles.

Branford Boase Judges

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The judges for this year's Branford Boase first novel award, announced in the summer, will be:

Julia Eccleshare - Chair
Lesley Agnew
Kevin Brooks (last year's winner)
Michael Thorn
Sarah Wilkie

Where Willy Went

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EducationGuardian.co.uk | eG weekly | Wicked Willy

Lindsey likes:

Where Willy Went by Nicholas Allen

"News of a new Nicholas Allan book doesn't usually fill me with anticipation, despite the undoubted success of The Queen's Knickers and Cinderella's Bum. There's something about his attention-seeking humour that brings out the party-pooper in me. But Where Willy Went is an exception..." LINDSEY FRASER, The Guardian

Randy Pandy

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The Sun Newspaper Online - UK's biggest selling newspaper

"CLASSIC kids TV character Andy Pandy has turned into RANDY Pandy after creators admitted the show contains hidden sexual innuendos," according to British tabloid, The Sun.

HP Proof Value

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Ananova - Rare Harry Potter book sells for ?1,468


Rare Harry Potter book sells for ?1,468

A draft copy of the first Harry Potter book in which the author's name was wrongly spelled has sold for ?1,468 at auction.

Louise Rennison Transfer

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HarperCollins announced today that they will be 'global publishers' of Louise Rennison?s next two Georgia Nicolson novels, which will publish simultaneously in UK and USA. A substantial 6-figure deal was brokered by Rennison's agent, Clare Alexander of Gillon Aitken Associates.

Book 5 in the best-selling Georgia Nicholson series, And That?s When It Fell Off In My Hand will be published in hardback on 1st June 2004, with the paperback following in May 2005, to coincide with the hardback of Book 6.

The series launched in UK with Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging in 1999, followed by On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God (2000), Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas (2001) and Dancing In My Nuddy Pants (2002). Sales in UK for the series already top 350,000, with US sales of nearly a million.

Gillie Russell, Publishing Director of Fiction says, ?Louise Rennison is the original and best writer of her genre, reflecting the humour and angst of teenage life. HarperCollins US have been her publisher from the beginning and it makes sense to publish her globally. It is a fantastically exciting opportunity for us to take Louise to even greater heights.?

Clare Alexander says , ?Louise Rennison?s Georgia novels are now bestsellers in over 30 languages and her success in America has been phenomenal. We believe that the team at HarperCollins will be able to build on Louise?s terrific fan base in the UK and to take her to the next level internationally as well?

The UK launch will be supported by a huge publicity, marketing and sales campaign to build on the international success of the series and to further raise Louise?s profile.

Mr Mom

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U.S. News: When Mr. Mom is a teenager(1/26/04)

Mini Q&A with Coretta Scott King winner, Angela Johnson

ST Book of the Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week

echoing a recent ACHUKA Choice:

Stripes Of The Sidestep Wolf by Sonya Hartnett

"This contemplative book is full of a precise sense of place and people who are realistically complicated, notably the father who is both amiable and frightening, and the girl who is simultaneously pathetic and sympathetic. This book not only exercises the mind, but also stirs the heart." NICOLETTE JONES

Yet More Sambo

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Academics savage the return of Sambo

"WHAT are black and white and red all over? The faces of the Brooklyn publishers whose new version of the children?s story Little Black Sambo has plunged them into the middle of a racial storm..."

A Writer's Life

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David Almond is the subject of the 'A Writer's Life' feature in today's Daily Telegraph (Books Section, p12). As is too often the case with the DT, there is no online link.

The Australian: Porn alert on children's books [January 17, 2004]

An Australian professor and child abuse expert has called for a system of age-appropriate classification to be used on children's books...

"This is violent, hard-core porn being disguised as children's literature," Professor Briggs said. "All we're asking is for children's books to have an age-appropriate warning."

NYT Reviews

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%u2019Two Eggs, Please%u2019 and Other Children%u2019s Books

New York Times reviews: 'Two Eggs, Please' and Other Children's Books

NYT Reviews, In Brief

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Bookshelf: Children%u2019s Books in Brief

New York Times Bookshelf: Children's Books in Brief

A Kiss And A Handshake

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: A Sterkarm Kiss by Susan Price

Jan Mark reviews A Sterkarm Kiss by Susan Price (sequel to The Sterkarm Handshake) in The Guardian:

"Does A Sterkarm Kiss pass the test and stand alone? Without doubt it does, and to make sure, I read them in reverse order myself. Moreover, it sends the reader in eager pursuit of the first book, happily available in paperback. It gives away nothing of either plot to reveal that a Sterkarm kiss is quite as antisocial as a Sterkarm handshake."

Hodder Acquisitions

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Hodder Children's Books have announced two major acquisitions: both debut novels. Louise Arnold is heralded as ?A major new talent for the future of our industry.? Hodder have signed her up to a two-book deal (the first is called The Invisible Friend), with UK and Commonwealth rights brokered by Kate Jones at ICM for a ?substantial sum?. US rights were then swiftly sold by Richard Abate at ICM New York to Emma Dryden at Margaret K. McElderry Books (a division of Simon & Schuster).
The Invisible Freind will be published next year. Publishing Director for Fiction and Picture Books, Anne McNeil, describes the story as "a ghost story with a difference, this is a fabulous first novel from a very talented young writer. The story has a truly timeless feel to it ? Louise, is a major new talent for the future of our industry. She suffers from mild dyslexia and her determination to write is immense.?

The other acquisition is also a debut novel, from Canadian illustrator Gillian Johnson. Already published in Australia, Thora "is a witty, enchanting adventure story about a young girl who is half human, and half mermaid."
In addition to UK rights for Thora, Anne McNeil has acquired UK rights for two further books featuring Thora from Philippa Milnes-Smith at LAW. Johnson is is married to author and critic Nicholas Shakespeare.


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theBookseller.com - Wayland restructures school sale

Non-fiction publisher Hodder Wayland has made its entire schools sales team of 15 redundant... ...

Cybersquatters Evicted

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BBC NEWS | England | Oxfordshire | Tolkien estate wins net ruling

The estate of JRR Tolkien has won a cyber-squatting case against a company that had registered the Oxford author's name as a web address.

Set Videos

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BBC - BBC TWO - Listings

Those of you in the UK might want to set your videos for this:

Lemony Snicket: Profile
Fri 16 Jan, 12:35 am - 1:05 am 30mins


New Nancy

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USATODAY.com - Nancy Drew dusts off 'musty appeal' for new readers

High Risk, one of 4 new Nancy Drew titles:

"Nancy Drew, the fictional teen sleuth popularized in mystery novels for eight decades, is about to get a heavy dose of 21st-century hipness and relevancy..."

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Rowling up for adult book prize

"JK Rowling's latest Harry Potter book is up against some of the year's most acclaimed adult novels in a vote to find the best work of fiction of 2003."

The full Fiction Shortlist comprises:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time - Mark Haddon
Dancer - Colum McCann
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J. K. Rowling
Nobody True - James Herbert
A Question of Blood - Ian Rankin

Packing A Punch

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EducationGuardian.co.uk | eG weekly | Sea stories

Lindsey Liked (in yesterday's Guardian) Saskia's Journey by Theresa Breslin

"This quiet novel packs a terrific emotional punch whilst highlighting the contemporary concerns of fishing communities under threat of economic extinction..." LINDSEY FRASER

Wise Man Pullman

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Philip Pullman makes list of Top 50 Sages:

"A survey to find the wisest person in Britain has been launched by Saga Magazine, the country's highest circulation journal, as a backlash against more superficial measures of celebrity..."


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ALA | American Library Association Announces Award Winners

Newbery Winner

Caldecott Winner

Kate DiCamillo, author of The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread, and Mordicai Gerstein, illustrator and author of The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, are the 2004 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott medals.

The ALA page, linked above, also details the other award winners, which include a double for Angela Johnson's The First Part Last:

Coretta Scott King Awards
Angela Johnson, author of The First Part Last and Ashley Bryan, illustrator and author of Beautiful Blackbird

Michael L. Printz Award
Angela Johnson Printz Award for her moving novel The First Part Last

Robert F. Sibert Award
Jim Murphy, author of An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, was named the winner of the 2004 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children published in 2003.

Margaret A. Edwards Award
Ursula K. LeGuin is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her lifetime contribution to young adult readers.

Boys Of Blood And Bone

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Truth and dare - www.theage.com.au

Boys Of Blood And Bone by David Metzenthen

"Too many authors see kids' writing as a bubblegum industry where they can produce crap, market it to death and make a fortune. Well, you can sell a few books through good marketing but eventually you won't make it," says David Metzenthen, Australian author of YA fiction.

A Day With Wilbur

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Coming Soon! - Latest News

A Day WIth Wilbur by William Joyce

"Walt Disney Feature Animation will produce a feature length animated film based on the bestselling William Joyce book, A Day with Wilbur Robinson, it was announced today by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios..."

The World of William Joyce website


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I'll Put A Sell On You

Mysti: Teenage Fairytale, Episode 1
[Episode 2 publishes February, #3 April]

Sunday Times Magazine feature about 'Mysti':

"You may not have heard of Mysti yet, but you soon will, because there's a ?350,000 marketing and publicity campaign under way to make sure of it. It's directed at your tweenage daughters, from your 10-year-old, who still wonders if fairies are real, to your 14-year-old, who knows they're not but secretly wishes they were..."

This Is Not My Nose

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This Is Not My Nose by Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen writes an article in today's Sunday Telegraph about his hypothyroid condition, ahead of publication of a book of poems on the subject.

No online link available.

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week

The Big Ugly Monster And The Little Stone Rabbit by Christopher Wormell

"This book is both funny and sad, and is rich in life's small pleasures, such as doing cartwheels and watching storms roll by. It also resonates with ideas: how you can't judge by appearances; how chance might be a friend to us; how silent objects might be the only evidence of a moving history..." NICOLETTE JONES

There is something both excruciatingly sad and philosophically disturbing about the ending to this powerful picture book. (MT)

Love The Book - Hate The Cover

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Secrets of the deep

Deep Secret by Berlie Doherty

Adele Geras loves Berlie Doherty's new novel, but thinks the cover's 'soppy':

"The publishers have made a very strange decision about the cover, however. It seems to bear no relation to the novel. It's vague and wispy and shows hands waving underwater, but it completely misses the mood and tone of voice of the book. Perhaps when it comes out in paperback we might have a less soppy image, as it's not a soppy book."

More On New Sambo

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Joan Aiken - The Times

Joan Aiken - Children?s author who wrote a hundred books and liked to live in magical worlds of her own

Joan Aiken - NYT Obit.

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Joan Aiken Who Wrote Children%u2019s Adventures, Dies at 79

New York Times Obituary:

Joan Aiken Who Wrote Children's Adventures, Dies at 79

Mark Haddon Profile

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | The curious tale of author Haddon

The curious tale of author Haddon: a profile of Mark Haddon by BBC Online

Guardian Aiken Obit.

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Joan Aiken

Joan Aiken

Outstanding storyteller with an unusual ability to write for all ages

Obit. by Julia Eccleshare

Jeanne Willis Feature

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Author of the month: Jeanne Willis

[Guardian] Author of the month: Jeanne Willis
Dina Rabinovitch

Paolini On Simon Mayo

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Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon, will be talking to Simon Mayo tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon on Radio Five Live...

Haddon v. Almond

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Story of autistic boy's life wins over judges

The Guardian, in its report of the Whitbread category winners, sees the Book of the Year selection as being a contest between Mark Haddon and David Almond. [You can have your vote on ACHUKACHAT]

"The book of the year award, to be made on January 27, is seen as largely a contest between Haddon and Almond. This is partly because of the acknowledged quality of the two books."

Joan AIken Obit.

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Telegraph | News | Joan Aiken

Telegraph Obituary for Joan Aiken, who died last Sunday:

"Joan Aiken, who died on Sunday aged 79, was a popular and prolific author who infused her work with a sense that the strange and quietly terrifying live just around the corner; she wrote 92 novels - including 27 for adults - as well as plays, poems and short stories, although she was best known as a writer of charmingly quirky children's stories, notably The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (1963)... ..."

Almond Wins Whitbread

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Whitbread win for Booker victor

"The children's book award this year has been won by David Almond for The Fire-Eaters, a tale set in Newcastle at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis... ..."

Lindsey Likes...

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EducationGuardian.co.uk | eG weekly | Class inspection

Lindsey Fraser's recommendation in Education Guardian:

I Spy with Inspector Stilton by Judith Rossell (Little Hare)

"Rossell's faintly surreal illustrations depict an animal world in which penguins run ice-cream shops and gorillas sell hardware. This is the kind of book that children will probably "get" more quickly than their teachers - and the process should be hugely enjoyable and provide plentiful mental exercise."

Telegraph Theatre Reviews

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Telegraph | Arts | Working with the wrong material

From the Telegraph's review of the stage production of His Dark Materials:

"... for much of its punishing length, this stage version never quite matches the sense of wonder, awe and delight created by Pullman in his superb sequence of novels."

and this page has snippets from various papers:

Dr Seuss Exhibition

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The Dr. Seuss You Never Knew," featuring early work from Geisel's school days at Dartmouth and Oxford, his advertising and magazine work in the 1920s and 1930s, plus his illustration work for other authors, is now open on the main floor of UCSD's Geisel Library through ro March 27.

When Everybody Wore A Hat

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commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN: Books

An appreciation of William Steig, who died last year:

When Everybody Wore a Hat gives peek at writer Steig

His Dark Materials Mumbo Jumbo

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Times theatre reviewer, Benedict Nigthingale, distinctly underwhelmed by the stage version of His Dark Materials:

"... I increasingly felt that Pullman the would-be Shelley or Blake was actually Pullman the paranoid purveyor of muddled mumbo jumbo. ..."

I may well miss theatre reviews, so I would be grateful if people could point them out to me.

Dahl Nominated As Welsh Hero

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BBC NEWS | UK | Wales | Hero poll countdown goes on

"Catherine Zeta Jones and Roald Dahl are just two on a list of 100 personalities nominated in an online poll to find the ultimate Welsh hero... ..."

Entertainment: Needed: A healthy fare; Jan 11, 2004. The Week

"...while foreign authors, such as Enid Blyton and J.K. Rowling, wean children away from TV, few Indian authors hold such appeal. But Alka Shankar of the National Book Trust says that there is no dearth of good Indian writers. "With a little hype they could recreate the popularity of Harry Potter." ...

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week:

Lily Quench And The Dragon Of Ashby by Natalie Jane Prior

AUDIOBOOK also available...

Anne Wood Profile

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She Speaks 3-Year-Old

Highly Recommended:
Long New York Times profile of Anne Wood, Teletubbies producer.

Pullman Sellout

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Telegraph | News | Daemons leap into limelight as Pullman's dark fantasy takes life on stage

"Every one of the 126 performances in the National's 1,110-seat Olivier auditorium, is sold out until the end of the run on March 20, apart from 30 tickets available each day on the day... ..."

Not William, Quentin

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Telegraph | Arts | Viewfinder: Quentin Blake

Review of Blake exhibition...

'Quentin Blake: Fifty Years of Illustration' is at the Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, London WC2 (0870 906 3765) until March 28.

Happy Ever After

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | AS Byatt on the lure of the fairy tale

"Stories of sleeping princesses, ice palaces and witches in woods may be supplanted by storytelling, real and fantastic, on the web. But, argues AS Byatt, the lure of the fairy tale is as strong as ever..."

The Wallander Mystery

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The Wallander mystery - www.smh.com.au

A profile of Henning Mankell, author of Playing With Fire, whose latest Wallander mystery is The Return Of The Dancing Master

Jeff Brown Obit.

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Jeff Brown

Practically a month after his death, The Guardian gets round to printing an obituary (by Julia Eccleshare) of Jeff Brown, author of Flat Stanley.

Tory Slates Illustrated Mum

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ManchesterOnline - Entertainment - Film and TV

In a report from Manchester Online, previewing the Channel 4 televisation of The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson, screened last night (New Year's Eve), we learn that it was Ann Widdecombe's least favourite read while judging the Whitbread Award.

'Tory MP Ann Widdecombe showed just why she is not a bestselling children's writer when asked to choose her least favourite book. "I had to read this while judging the Whitbread prize.

"It is a children's book about a drunken mother and her two children by different fathers. I thought these themes should not be promoted for children and I disliked it intensely on those grounds." ... ...'

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