July 2004 Archives

La Jolla Light - La Jolla's Source for Local News Online

Barbara Cole, owner of the storied John Cole's Book Shop, died July 19 of congestive heart failure. She was 91. ... ...

A Coyote's On The Filmset

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Guardian Unlimited Film | Interviews | Detroit spinner

At the end of this Guardian piece about Elmore Leonard's opinion of the movies made from his books, he confesses that his children's novel, A Coyote's In The House, was written with half an eye to adaptation for the big screen:

Despite vowing never to write another screenplay - "you're thrown into this situation with all these people who think they know how to write movies" - even Leonard's impressive first children's book, A Coyote's In The House (Puffin), was written with an adaptation in mind.

"It was, as a matter of fact," he admits. "We have already offered it to animation companies like Disney. They like the story but they say, 'There's not enough sentimentality: there's not a soft little character that you can feel sorry for.'" Leonard laughs at the very idea. "I don't write that," he says. "But if that's what they want to film..."

Sainsbury Stationery

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Publishing News reports that the UK supermarket chain, Sainsbury's, has signed a deal with Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt to sell an exclusive range of stationery - The Best Freinds range - from September.

Just Us

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www.delawareonline.com : The News Journal : BUSINESS : Just Us Books creates a niche

Feature about US independent children's publisher, Just Us Books...

Squipping It

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Blurring the boundaries

From a Guardian article about the ways a few authors are using the internet creatively:

Ned Vizzini, 24, whose teen novel Be More Chill has just been published in the UK. Faust re-mixed for the age of invasive teen marketing, it casts Mephistopheles as a sentient quantum computer, known as a "squip", which takes up residence in the mind of a dorky teenage boy and advises him how to be cool. To publicise his novel, Vizzini worked with a friend to create websites that pretend squips are real. Google the word squip and you will see links to 15 or so sites with names such as SquipNews and Mothers Against Squips, which was created by a fan. In other words, Vizzini hasn't just extended his novel online, he's opened it up, so readers can add to the story. "It's a little world we've created - the squipiverse," says Vizzini.

Squip News
Celebrity Squip
I Want To Be Cool
Squip Works

Missed Event

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I was disappointed to have to miss an informal evening gathering in Covent Garden yesterday to celebrate publication of Terri Paddock's YA novel, Come Clean (HarperCollins). I had also gathered - only on the grapevine, since no information had been sent to me directly - that there was to be some kind of launch for the Centre for the Children's Book in London during the afternoon, so had intended to try and cover both events. In the end, I had to stay at home for the delivery (and construction) of a bed.

The novel, about a draconian drugs rehabilitation programme in America, and based on the experience of Paddock's sister, poured out of the author, according to a report in the TES:

?I borrowed a friend?s flat in Monaco,? [Paddock] says, ?and wrote 60,000 words in a week. One day alone I wrote 20,000. I hardly slept. I hardly ate. Writers sometimes talk about being a channel. It had never happened to me before, but this just seemed to pour out of me.

At times I was writing it with tears streaming down my face. I guess it had preyed on my mind for years.?

News: Weasley dad won't be Minister; Tom Riddle not 'Prince'

JK Rowling has updated her website to address pressing questions about Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince...

Elmore Leonard Feature

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Telegraph | Arts | A writer's life: Elmore Leonard

A writer's life: Elmore Leonard
(Filed: 26/07/2004)

The crime writer tells Tim Geary how he came to write a children's book in the voice of a coyote...

This feature appeared in the paper a few days ago, and has just come online.
A Coyote's In The House is the current ACHUKA CHOICE.

Funniest Book Ever

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Salon.com Books | The funniest children's book ever

Philip Pullman nominates the funniest book ever for Salon:

"The Magic Pudding" is the funniest children's book ever written. I've been laughing at it for 50 years, and when I read it again this morning, I laughed just as much as I ever did.

You'll have to be a Salon subscriber to read the full piece...

Forced Reading

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Hindustan Times - Juniors

Portuguese author Jose Saramago, a Nobel literature laureate, said Sunday he believed the world would be a better place if adults were forced to read children's books.


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ACHUKA was subjected to its third hack in as many weeks last night. Key files were removed from the server and replaced with others carrying a cryptic(?) message in Russian(?):

Каучуковые чукакабры захватили мир!!! :)

[Linguists, please translate]

I'm advised that the script which powers the ACHUKA calendar is the most vulnerable part of the site's architecture, and that script has therefore been temporarily disabled. All other parts of the site should be A - OK; if not, please report.
I was intending to rethink the EVENTS Calendar listing this summer anyway, as it has not developed into the resource that I hoped it would provide, with only a small number of users actively entering event details. I have even had publishers objecting to publication of party/event details, on the basis that it puts them in an embarrassing position with people who do not receive invitations. There's little point in maintaining a section of the site which is not seen as useful and, moreoever, considered by a few to be a positive nuisance.

Times Online - Books

Garth Nix, interviewed by various readers of The Times, who bowl him a mixture of long-hops and googlies. No registration required. We learn that NIx is very behind schedule with Drowned Wednesday, the third book in The Keys To The Kingdom series.

Highly recommended

Potter Leak

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The Leaky Cauldron
On Friday, the Leaky Cauldron website reported: "Extremely reliable sources tell us that British actress Miranda Richardson will play Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Confirmation is expected today.

The Boy With No Shoes

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The Sunday Times - The Boy With No Shoes by William Horwood, extract

William Horwood, children?s writer, recalls an inspirational teacher who helped drag him out of the darkness of failure, bullying and family rejection... ...

The Boy With No Shoes by William Horwood published August 2nd

Silent Bliss

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Times Online - Books

Amanda Craig reviewed The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson and How To Be A Pirate by Cressida Cowell in Saturday's Times...

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

In thew Sunday Times 'A littl;e night reading' slot, Jennifer Donnelly, winner of the Carnegie Medal, says that she is 'currently devouring' Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful:

The story is beautifully written, both heartfelt and heartbreaking, and makes the reader think hard about the dreadful sacrifices soldiers made ? and still make ? for the rest of us.

Rowling Baby

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J.K.Rowling Official Site - Harry Potter and more

J. K. Rowling has reasssured fans that the sixth Harry Potter title 'remains well on track' in the wake of news that she is pregant with a third child.

Taipei Times - archives

This is a piece about a Brian Wildsmith Exhibition in Taiwan:

The works hail not from the UK where Oxford University Press publishes them, nor from Castellaras, France where the Wildsmith family live, but from the Brian Wildsmith Museum in Izukogen, Japan, founded in 1994 to preserve and display his illustrations of famous European fairy tales, nursery rhymes and learning aids.

Comic Staying Power

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | State of the art

"Comics will be around long after most literary novels are forgotten, and they'll show us what was going on in the world a lot clearer," says Charlie Higson in The Guardian, reviewing McSweeney's 13 edited by Chris Ware:

Scotsman Reviews

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Scotsman.com News - News Archive - A dogged determination to survive

The Pack by Tom Pow

I missed the link to my reviews of teenage fiction in last Saturday's Scotsman. But here it is now...

Yorkshire Roarer

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The New York Times > Books > 'Harry Potter' Inspires a Christian Alternative

Long New York Times piece on G. P. Taylor:

G. P. Taylor, an Anglican vicar, onetime roadie for the Sex Pistols and former all-around sinner, was roaring across the Yorkshire moors on his Yamaha XV1100 in a lightning storm when the idea for his hit Christian children's book, "Shadowmancer," came to him.


Eva Ibbotson Feature

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A feature interview with Eva Ibbotson by Nicholas Tucker in The Independent...

Highly recommended

The Star of Kazan

Danziger London Tmes Obit.

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Times Obituary - Paula Danziger

Paula Danziger - London Times Obituary

The opening paragraph gives the flavour of this peculiarly disdainful obit.

HOLDEN CAULFIELD, in The Catcher in the Rye, has a lot to answer for. Certainly he was not the first American adolescent to commune with his readership about the weight of his woes, but his arrival in 1951 was to inspire a new generation of writers to the exploitation of tales told in a teenage demotic. The lucrative literary sub-genre of young adult fiction became fashionable, and prominent among its exponents, and with an eye fixed upon girl readers, was Paula Danziger.

Revenues Up Numbers Down

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The end of books?

Pessimistic summary of US report on the book business, which points out that while revenues are increasing (due to price rises) both book sales and book reading are declining.

According to Ipsos, children's books had a fairly good year in 2003, with early lackluster sales jolted by the June release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. But despite the Potter phenomenon, Rappaport said, the consumer base for children's books is actually shrinking, with 33 percent of American households buying at least one book for someone under the age of 14 in 2003, compared with 35 percent in 2002.

"Even with exciting, new and value-added books on the market," Rappaport reported recently on the Ipsos Web site, "the children's book industry has not managed to substantially increase the volume of children's book purchases or share-of-wallet."

Streep As Aunt Josephine

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USATODAY.com - Meryl works her magic

Streep's hot streak continues with this fall's Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the darkly whimisical children's book series. She says of her Aunt Josephine, "She is a woman who is afraid of everything. Everything that happened. Everything that might happen. Everything that she feels is happening now. She is sure of it."

The smallish yet significant part gave her an opportunity to match acting wits with Jim Carrey, who stars as the greedy Count Olaf.

Brazil - Brasil - BRAZZIL - News from Brazil - 2004 Jabuti Awards for Best Writers - Brazilian Books - July 2004

Jabuti Awards

Due to a tie between seven books in the children's books category only the winners of 16 categories were announced. Jurors are being called once again by the Jabuti Award organizer to break the tie in the coming days.

The illustration award was announced:

Category: Child or Juvenile Book Illustration

1st place

Title: Com a pulga atr?s da orelha
Illustrator: Ivan Zigg
Publishing House: Salamandra

2nd place

Title: O circo da lua
Illustrator: Eva Furnari
Publishing House: ?tica

3rd place

Title: Brincando Advinhas
Illustrator: Elisabeth Teixeira
Publishing House: Paulinas

Walker Party Pics

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Walker Books Summer Party

At long last, having retrieved the memory stick from the laptop, here are the photos from Tuesday night's Walker Books Party. My own favourite is the one of Allan Ahlberg bending down to speak with Naomi Lewis, with several animated conversations going on behind. Also featured (for the first time on ACHUKA) are the '2 Sues' from Birmingham Schools Library Service, with whom I sat to eat the barbecue meal.
David Lloyd's speech, echoing back to last year's, was once again a wild kind of sonic jamming on the story of a saint. The faces in the crowd of people who had never before witnessed a Lloyd speech were pictures it would have been lovely - but a little too obtrusive - to capture.

Walker Party

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I have left my camera's memory stick in my laptop, so those eager to see photos from last night's Walker Books Summer Party will, I'm afraid, have to wait another day.

Kate Wilson Move

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ACHUKA is not as hot-off-the-press with this news as we would have liked (blame it on end-of-term distractions) but during the splendid Walker Books summer party last night (the picture gallery will be posted tonight) we learnt that Kate Wilson (who has been in charge at Macmillan Children's Books for the entire life of ACHUKA) is moving to Scholastic.
More on this anon.

Smarties Judges

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booktrade.info : news : full news listing

Geraldine Brennan, books editor of the Times Educational Supplement, joins Libby Purves, Mark Lawson and children's author Sally Gardner on the panel f
of judges for the Smarties Awards.

Danziger Appreciation

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NPR : Writer Paula Danziger: An Appreciation

An online radio appreciation of Paula Danziger by Susan Stone.

Highly recommended

Walnut Grove

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Little Girls On the Prairie (washingtonpost.com)

Long, highly-readable piece about the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder gathering...

Laura's world is now about collapsible canvas lawn chairs, strollers and people wearing tank tops and sandals with their bonnets. It has a snack bar. A German sociology student from the University of Cologne, dressed in prairie garb, greets audience members as they come in and asks them to fill out a survey, which she will use for her PhD dissertation, which is an examination of people's powerful need to visit the places where their favorite pop-literary characters lived.

Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | The Bookseller

The Guardian's Bookseller column observed yesterday that the paperback edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has been kep off the #1 spot in the weekly sales chart:

It is a surprise when a JK Rowling novel performs like any other successful title. That is what the paperback of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Bloomsbury) did on its first day in the shops last week, selling 37,000 copies in adults' and children's editions, and just failing to overtake the weekly sales of the two editions of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Vintage/Red Fox).

It is a surprise when a JK Rowling novel performs like any other successful title. That is what the paperback of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Bloomsbury) did on its first day in the shops last week, selling 37,000 copies in adults' and children's editions, and just failing to overtake the weekly sales of the two editions of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Vintage/Red Fox).

Turning Point

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David Belbin

Information about Turning Point - a one day national conference on the state of Young Adult Fiction - Saturday 27/11/04, the brainchild of David Belbin.

Biggles Feature

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Long feature by Philip How...ard in The Times on the return of Biggles

Sunday Telegraph Roundup

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Dinah Hall's summer roundup appears in this week's Sunday Telegraph (July 18th) - sadly, though, no online link.
Hall kicks off her piece with a book ACHUKA is equally keen on:

Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars by Debbie Tarbett (Little Tiger Press)

Hall writes:

I would not like to own up to the amount of time I have spent fingering the 10 brightly painted bead-like caterpillars, embedded 9in the pages, which magically disappear one by one until the final spread unfolds in a psychedelic flurry of butterfly wings. With its tactile qulaity, perfectly paced rhyming text and effortless educational purpose this is a winner all round...

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Newspaper Edition

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Belonging by Jeannie Baker

This book is inspirational. There is romance in it, and neighbourliness and family affection. NICOLETTE JONES

Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | The longlist

Guardian Longlist

Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Macmillan)

Murkmere by Patricia Elliott (Hodder)

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo (Collins)

No Shame, No Fear by Anne Turnbull (Walker)

Last Train from Kummersdorf by Leslie Wilson (Faber)

Last Train from Kummersdorf by Leslie Wilson (Faber)

Kissing the Rain by Kevin Brooks (Chicken House)

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (Puffin)

Useful Idiots by Jan Mark (David Fickling)

From Julia Eccleshare's introduction to the longlist:

The submissions for the Guardian Children's Fiction prize reflect an enthusiasm for writing them. At a time when attitudes to childhood are confused, as innocence gives way to experience and we raise a generation of over-examined and over-protected shoppers, this confidence is critical. Success is unpredictable; there are no limits to what is possible in a children's book. In both the story and how it's told, anything and everything is up for experiment.

This year's judges are: Mark Haddon, who won the award last year with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time; Ad?le Geras, whose latest novel for young adults is Other Echoes; and Marcus Sedgwick, whose most recent novel is The Book of Dead Days. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare.

The shortlist for this year's prize will be published in September and the winner will be announced on October 9.

Illustrator Feature

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ic Wales - Illustrator's solitary paradise

Feature about illustrator Jackie Morris.

Jolly Bright Eyed

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FT.com / Arts & Weekend

A bright-eyed woman with a jolly laugh, Attenborough started her career in publishing, rising eventually to run children's books at Penguin and to a seat on the board. In 1995, she packed it in to take up a portfolio of jobs with charities and committees. One such job was to run the National Year of Reading, established in accordance with Labour's 1997 manifesto commitments, and the contract was granted to the National Literacy Trust whose director Neil McClelland put Attenborough in charge.

A long piece about Liz Attenborough's new campaign to boost young children's speaking and listening skills.

Highly recommended


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Straight.com: Books

A page of reviews from straight.com

Toto Of Oz

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News-Leader.com | Weekend | Adventures in Oz continue with great-grandson

The latest Oz title by the original author's great-grandson, Roger S. Baum, is Toto Of Oz And The Surprise Party.

Best Food Award

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Orion has established a reputation for providing Real Food at its parties and last night's Summer Party, held at Westminster Abbey Hall, was no exception. Pictures to follow...

Paula Daniziger - Guardian Obit.

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Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Paula Danziger

Paula Danziger - Guardian Obituary by JUlia Eccleshare

Marvel Press Appointment

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The Alien Online - Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror News, Reviews, Articles and more...

Marvel Comics have launched a brand new prose imprint, Marvel Press, which will focus on producing novels about all your favourite Marvel characters.
Marvel has hired seven-year veteran of children's and young adult publishing, Ruwan Jayatilleke, formerly of Scholastic, to head Marvel Press and he'll have his work cut out for him as they open with three titles for 2004 and a minimum of twelve titles through 2005.

Snog And Tell

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Star-Telegram | 07/13/2004 | Snog and Tell

Snog and Tell

British author Louise Rennison's teen titles, penned by an imaginary adolescent handful named Georgia, are pure geniosity...

An amusing US Louise Rennison review in Georgia-speak...

Diana Wynne Jones Film

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Neil Gaiman

This news of a Diana Wynne Jones film adaptation comes from the Neil Gaiman journal:

HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE TRAILER - downloadable here:

... ...

For those not paying attention, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE is a marvellous book by Diana Wynne Jones, one of my favourite authors (and favourite people), and it's Mr Miyazaki's next film. The clip looks like it's going to be a very faithful adaptation, which are mostly the best kind.

Eric Carle Day

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USATODAY.com - Amherst shows its affection for Eric Carle

...WHEREAS the year 2004 is the 75th birthday of Eric Carle and the 35th anniversary of the very first publication of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, "Now, therefore, we the members of Amherst Select Board, proclaim June 20, 2004 as Eric Carle day in Amherst."...

Positively Pop

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Roger McGough marks Liverpool becoming European Capital of Culture with a new acrostic. 'The Independent' asks other poets to follow suit...

Rushdie Operetta

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Music Article | Reuters.com

"...a different kind of fairy tale is making its way to the stage, courtesy of New York-based composer Charles Wuorinen and British poet/librettist James Fenton: Salman Rushdie's "Haroun and the Sea of Stories."

Observer Children's Books

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Reviews and Features from the Observer, July 11th:

Older fiction reviewed by Geraldine Beddell

Picture Books reviewed by Tim Adams

Non-Fiction reviewed by Kate Kellaway

Cornelia Funke interview by Kate Kellaway

ST Book of the Week

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Times Online - Newspaper Edition

Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson

Eva Ibbotson is one of our most enjoyable writers for the young. She tells stories with humour, warmth and perfect clarity in a way that children follow completely. They know where they are in all senses: they feel themselves to be in the places she conjures, and they know who they like and who they don't. NICOLETTE JONES

Peer Praise

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Angels, ghosts and the green fairy

Philip Ardagh (Faber author) gives G. P. Taylor (Faber author) a rave review.

"Wormwood is an extraordinary achievement told by, yes, a master storyteller. In just 312 pages he has created a world that he can just as easily destroy. The book is, quite simply, marvellous."

Illustrating A Point

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Drawn to the story

Shirley Hughes, winner of this year's Kate Greenaway Medal, on the importance of illustration...

There is a rich tradition of English illustration. The skill is acquired at the outset by applying yourself assiduously to life drawing, lurking about a lot with a sketchbook and then letting your imagination run riot. If you are attempting to engage an audience with a story, good draughtsmanship has to underpin even the most uninhibited colour technique; it is the muscular framework that holds you up as you trip a light fantastic.

Essential reading...

The Blogosphere

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Quadrant Magazine

The Blogosphere - an essay by Sophia Masson, published in the Junie issue of Quadrant, an Australian review periodical, and now available online.

Sprawling Reads

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Times Online - Books

"Children today may look as if they are addicted to computer games, but given half a chance they will sprawl on the sofa or beach towel absorbed in an imaginary world. An exceptionally strong crop of holiday books has been released this summer..."

Amanda Craig's holiday roundup in The Times includes a recommendation for Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now, a book that is garnering a bemusing litany of blissed-out rapture. It looks as if my review, when it appears in The Scotsman, will be a solitary thumbs-down for a book which I found to have a number of very serious flaws, not the least of which is a fatal inconsistency in the narrative voice, which purports to be telling the story in retrospect - 'And so here's what happened' - but then proceeds in the voice of unknowing naivety.

Morris Gleitzman Feature

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Seeking the child inside - Books - www.theage.com.au

"Children's author Morris Gleitzman wants to reach the indignant 11-year-old in all of us, writes Jane Sullivan."

Highly Recommended - long biographical feature about Morris Gleitzman

Carnegie Coverage

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Telegraph | News | American beats British writers to child book prize

"Jennifer Donnelly, a little-known American author, beat the cream of British writers to win the Carnegie Medal for children's literature yesterday..."

A Daily Telegraph report on the Carnegie & Greenaway Medals announcement.

NYT Reviews

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The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'The Trucker' and Other Children's Books

Children's book reviews from the New York Times - includes a review of Steve Augarde's The Various:

The first installment in a planned trilogy, ''The Various'' is long on atmospherics and rolls along at an unhurried pace that might test the patience of more jaded young readers. But there's also plenty of action -- including a gripping showdown between some little people and the hulking, remorseless barn cat Tojo the Assassin (''the scourge of all living things that dared cross his path'') and enough foreshadowing of mysterious secrets and future culture clashes to lock in an audience for the next two volumes.

Danziger Obit.

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The New York Times > Obituaries > Paula Danziger, Author of 'The Cat Ate My Gymsuit,' Dies at 59

Paula Danziger, Author of 'The Cat Ate My Gymsuit,' Dies at 59

New York Times Obituary

Looking Glass Wars

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"Frank Beddor, the American producer of the gross-out movie There's Something About Mary, has transformed Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland into a dark and violent tale of murder and war.
Beddor said his novel, The Looking Glass Wars, was prompted by his hatred of the "terrible girls' book" he was forced to read by his mother and grandmother as a child.
Several of Britain's best-loved children's authors, and the Lewis Carroll Society, are questioning the wisdom of reworking the greats of English literature, including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass."

From The Independent, July 5th. Includes comments from Michael Morpurgo, Judith Kerr and Jacqueline Wilson.

Carnegie Winner

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts | Donnelly wins Carnegie book prize

A US writer whose books were rejected by publishers for 10 years has been awarded the UK's most prestigious prize for children's literature.

Paula Danziger

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There will be widespread shock at the news that Paula Danziger, one of children's books larger-than-life characters - has died, from complications following heart surgery.

ACHUKA will post links to obituaries and appreciations as they appear.

Carnegie and Greenaway Press Desk

The Carnegie & Greenaway Medals will be announced at lunchtime today. The link will take you to the shortlists (the excellent Greenaway shortlist is particularly difficult to 'call') and, by this afternoon, should also link you to a page announcing the winners.

Fabulous New Fiction

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We expressed surprise, at the time that Usborne's new fiction list was launched, that there was no mention of the new books on the main Usborne site.
This has been put right with the launch of a visually impressive microsite dedicated to the new list.

Fabulous New Fiction

Honorary Degree for JKR

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News: Harry Potter author receives second honorary university degree

J K Rowling accepted an honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh yesterday afternoon.

The eBay Book

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David Belbin, UK YA author, has written a brilliantly userfriendly guide to buying and sellling on eBay.uk - The eBay Book

Billed as 'The only UK guide to eBay!' I've already noticed that chain booksellers are stocking multiple copies. Belbin is appearing on the Jeremy Vine show, Friday, to promote it.

Portsmouth Award Winners

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The results of the Portsmouth Book Awards are as follows:

Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz (Walker Books)

Cool! by Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins)

Smiley Shark by Ruth Galloway (Little Tiger)

The Portsmouth Book Award allows young people the opportunity to decide their book of the year. Pupil judges decide the winner in three categories following extensive reading and debating. In 2004 the process involved 1,265 young people.
The Award is administered by the City Library Service, which works closely with school staff.

Piccadilly Comes Of Age

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Piccadilly Press celebrated 21 years in the publishing business last night at a party held at the Savile Club.

Brenda Gardner said that the company's history could be divided into three seven-year phases. The first phase, the 1980s, saw the new company growing rapidly and making healthy profits from its mainly picture book list. On the back of this success the company moved into new offices. Then the bottom fell out of the picture book market and out of the economy generally, making the new decade a period of financial anxiety. (ACHUKA understands that things got bad enough at one stage for Gardner to sell her house and move into the office.) But during the last seven years the company has managed to pay off its debts and to grow again, having established a niche market with its brand of popular teenage fiction.

See the party picture gallery...

BBC Newsround Comp.

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CBBC Newsround | WIN | Win the Carnegie award shortlisted books

Win the Carnegie award shortlisted books...

in a BBC Newsround Competition - and the answer can be found on ACHUKA!


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Comic Book Resources - CBR News - The Comic Brief

Scholastic US will launch its new graphic novel imprint, Graphix, with the publication of Jeff Smith's award-winning series Bone, in January next year...

Renaissance Ripoff?

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I've just come hotfoot from ACHUKACHAT where Ingrid Magalinska (the designer of our ACHUKACHICK logo) has asked for advice on how to proceed following the discovery that someone in America has stolen the template for her own webpage and used it as his own...

Read Ingrid's full story

ACHUKA Interview

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Have just uploaded ACHUKA's interview with Mal Peet, winner of the Branford Boase Award, together with a short extract from the novel, Keeper.

ACHUKA Interview - Mal Peet

Lindsey Likes...

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EducationGuardian.co.uk | eG weekly | Classroom politics

Lindsey Fraser likes
The Beast by Ann Evans, a title in the Thriller series on Usborne's new fiction list:

"Good horror isn't about cheap thrills, as The Beast demonstrates with style and substance. Evans's writing is evocative and full of atmosphere, her plotting compelling and convincing." LINDSEY FRASER

Special Promotions

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EGMONT made their mark last week with a double-whammy of boxed presentations. Horsey by Simon Puttock & Russell Julian arrived in bed of straw along with a soft toy and a BEST IN SHOW rosette.

Amazon link

Sample new titles in Simon Chapman's EXPLORERS WANTED! series also came in a box, with some imaginatively selected accompaniments: a tube of sting cream, a sachet of rehydration treatment and a compass.

Amazon link

And MACMILLAN are giving Sensational! Poems Inspired by the Five Senses,chosen by Roger McGough, a stylish promotion with a slick booklet and a promotional CD of McGough reading selected titles from the anthology.

Shortlist for the 2004 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction

Anne Dublin - Bobbie Rosenfeld: The Olympian Who Could Do Everything (Second Story Press)

John Wilson - Discovering the Arctic: The Story of John Rae (Napoleon

Nicols Debon - Four Pictures by Emily Carr (Groundwood Books)

Reva Marin - Oscar: The Life and Music of Oscar Peterson (Groundwood Books)

Val Ross - The Road to There:Mapmakers and Their Stories (Tundra Books)

Blake Exhibition

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BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Aberdeen host to Dahl illustrator

"The work of world-famous illustrator Quentin Blake has gone on show at a Scottish art gallery.
The exhibition, Quentin Blake - Fifty Years of Illustration, opened at the Aberdeen Art Gallery on Saturday and runs until the middle of September."

The exhibition was first shown at Somerset House at the end of last year.

Inbuilt Obsolescence

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National Post

Long piece by Peter Shawn Taylor on the changing themes of children's literature.

Gleitzman Under Fire

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The Australian: Vanstone attacks children's author [July 03, 2004]

IMMIGRATION Minister Amanda Vanstone has attacked popular children's author Morris Gleitzman accusing him of using his books as political propaganda... ...

Pages Of Vomit

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The Australian: The dragon slayers [July 03, 2004]

Highly recommended Australian feature article about the relative merits of fantasy and 'reality' writing, with comments from the likes of John Marsden, but I particularly enjoyed this:

"I think it's pretty infantile stuff, generally, and I think most kids'll grow out of it," says Phillip Gwynne, the award-winning author of Deadly Unna? (made into the controversial movie Australian Rules), its sequel Nukkin Ya and his latest, the very funny Jetty Rats, about children, families and fishing at the fictitious town of Dogleg Bay. "Even the good [fantasy], when I read it, seems bad," says Gwynne. "And the bad stuff sounds like pages and pages of vomit. My main problem with it is that it exists in a social vacuum. We live in a world that's rapidly going down the shithole and my duty as a writer is to make sense of that world. But with the fantasy writers, every story is a battle between good and evil, with no specifics at all. "I'm always glad to see kids reading and I desperately want them to read, especially boys, but I think they'd be far more socially engaged if they spent their time watching South Park and The Simpsons."

Foul Fare

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | A whiff of unsavoury Basil

This is ACHOCKABLOG's 1000th entry

Michael Rosen raves about Ian Ogilvy's Measle and the Wrathmonk

This is a book that smells superbly foul-ideal fare for seven- to 11-year-olds. Teachers and parents take note: this would make for the perfect, serialised read-aloud before going home, going to bed or going spare.

Another Missed Feature

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The Scotsman - Critique - Terry's diner

Here's another feautre I missed from the middle of last month - an interview with Terry Pratchett who, though a sponsor of the Brandford Boase Awards, was unable to attend the event earlier this week.


Guardian Author Of The Month

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Author of the month: Ian Ogilvy

Distracted by the Branford Boase Award, I failed to cite (on Wednesday) the latest in Dina Rabinovitch's excellent Author Of The Month slots. The subject of this piece, Ian Ogilvy (of Return Of The Saint fame), reveals that the impetus towards becoming a children's author was the rise of reaility TV and its impact on acting income. "None of us saw it coming; none of us realised that the general public preferred to see the general public, and producers certainly prefer to use the public - you don't have to pay them, and you've got ratings going through the rood. I made a decent living, and it stopped overnight."

What Does Life Tell Us ABout Love? - The Times

Kate DiCamillo was the suject of yesterday's 'What Does Life Tell Us About Love?' series in The Times.
The 40-year-old author reveals speaks about her turbulent relationship with her (now estranged) father, and the effect it has had both on her relationship with men and on her determination to become a successful author. She moved to Minneapolis as a ploy to convince a man she had been dating for ten years to ask her to marry him. It didn't work and she remains single - a lifestyle she claims to enjoy.

Fine Talks Up Adult Education

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ic Newcastle - Learning is a Fine thing

Anne Fine - on Adult Education

The Branford Boase first novel award has been won by a quite exceptional book about football - Keeper by Mal Peet.

In the next day or two, ACHUKA will feature an interview with Mal Peet and a short taste of the quality of the writing in the novel.

The shortlist was extremely strong and the judges decided to make a Highly Commended Award to Fish by L. S. Matthews.

The award prizes (sponsored this year by Terry Pratchett) were presented by last year's winner, Kevin Brooks.

See the main picture gallery...

Last Night's Imagine

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I managed the stride across Vauxhall Bridge and up to Victoria station in quick time following the Branford Boase presentations and arrived home an hour earlier than expected, in time for Alan Yentob's documentary (in the BBC's Imagine series) about the 'suitability' of books for older children.
Yentob's films are always enjoyable and any film composed mainly of author interviews cannot fail to make absorbing viewing but, considered as a documentary which had a title something like 'Suitable for children?', the prgramme was infuriatingly messy, jumping about from one thing to another. As if it didn't trust the likes of Pullman and Mark Haddon to have sufficient audience appeal, it gave unnecessary space to a routine sequence about the Victorian view of childhood and Lewis Carroll's 'Alice' and substantial chunks of Salmon Rushdie speaking generally about 'storytelling' but not shedding much light on the question raised by the programme title. The result was that the other interviews - particularly those with Malorie Blackman, Melvin Burgess and a selection of young readers - were both too perfunctory and too erratically distributed in the programme's timeline to amount to anything substantial.
As so often with TV about children's literature - a great opportunity more or less wasted.

Half Blood Prince

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Headline news from Sky News - Witness the event

Actual 6th Harry Potter title revealed:

The new book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, will be the sixth in the multi-million-selling tales of the schoolboy wizard. Author JK Rowling showed visitors the title on her official website just as hoaxers tried to hoodwink fans into believing the new book would be called Harry Potter and the Pillar of Storge.

Rowling's own comment, from her official website...

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