January 2005 Archives

Disbelief In Birddom

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Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/30/2005 | Mythical land comes alive, but with too much violence

In the end, the story is rousing, but not real. Though we must suspend our disbelief to step inside Birddom, once we're there, we need to believe in it emotionally, in its characters' hopes and fears. And that goes for readers of every age.

A review of One For Sorrow, Two For Joy by Clive Woodall [paperback due March 2005]

Bidding Hotting Up

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eBay.co.uk - crowswing, First Editions and Books Comics Magazines items at low prices

Bidding on the Crowswing Book Aid Tsunami Appeal is hotting up...

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

This picturebook was inspired by an article about a consignment of 29,000 rubber toys, including ducks, that fell overboard from a container ship in 1992. Some of the toys washed up in Alaska, others passed the icebergs of the Bering Strait to find their way into the Atlantic. Carle was moved to write about 10 rubber ducks, swept from a ship in a gale, that drift in all directions. NICOLETTE JONES

10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle

Theological Richness

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Times Online - Books

Amanda Craig admires the 'theological richness' of John Dickinson's new book The Widow and the King, sequel to The Cup of the World:

Dickinson?s fusion of Viking and Christian myth becomes particularly powerful when Ambrose and his raggedy band of knights cross into the spirit world in order to defeat Paigan, and the lessons he learns concerning power and responsibility are grimly adult ones. Teenagers should love it.

She also reviews The Witch Of Clatteringshaws by Joan Aiken

Driven By The Macro

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: Candy by Kevin Brooks

Nicola Morgan agrees that Kevin Brooks' fourth novel, Candy - the current ACHUKA Choice - lives up to the expectations set up by his previous three books:

Joe does have a weakness - a habit of hyper-self-conscious dithering, very cleverly portrayed. He worries on the micro-level and lets the macro drive itself, knowing he can't control it. But those small things - boy, does he worry about them! Linking arms with Candy, what should he do with his other arm: "Should I stick my elbow out? Should I hold her arm? Should I put my hand in my pocket?" As a lesson in using small details to paint character, it's perfect.

Orthodox YA

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Washington Jewish Week Online Edition

Matthue Roth's new book, Never Mind the Goldbergs, features Hava, a 17-year-old punk Orthodox girl from New York who gets asked to act on a sitcom, goes to Hollywood and encounters the outside world...

Read a report by Rachel Zuckerman from the Jewish Exponent on the launch event...

Visit the Matthue Roth website...

Mokee Jomobile

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When children's author, Peter Murray, decided to buy himself a new car, he had it adorned in pr0motional graphics for his Mokee Jo books...

?I wanted to do something unusual to bring my characters to life so when I needed to upgrade my car, decorating the new one with Mokee Joe and the rest of the gang seemed like the logical solution!?

More Movie Rights Sold

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Yet another announcement about sold movie rights has been made today - this time by Orion, regarding Caroline Lawrence's 'Roman Mysteries' series:

Here is the Press Release:

Orion Children?s Books today announces that film and TV rights to Caroline Lawrence's globally popular children?s book series, THE ROMAN MYSTERIES, have been sold to Martyn Auty and Ian Gordon of Suitable Viewing Ltd (in association with Dashiell Productions) for a good five figure sum.

Set in first century Rome, this debut series tell the thrilling adventures of feisty heroine Flavia and her crime-fighting friends; Jonathan, Nubia and Lupus. Their first mystery, The Thieves Of Ostia, takes place in the port of Ancient Rome ? and the tombs of the dead. It is a fast moving, exciting whodunit which is full of twists and turns. There are another 8 books in the series (with 9 more to follow) which combine to paint a vivid picture of the Ancient Roman world. They have already built up a large and loyal following with translation rights sold in 14 countries, from Italy to Thailand to USA, with nearly 400,000 copies sold in the UK alone.

Caroline Lawrence says, ?'I'm thrilled to be working with such creative filmmakers who share my vision of depicting first century Rome in a completely new way, which we are confident will excite children of all ages about Ancient History.?

Dahl Writer In Residence

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Publishing News - News Page

VAL RUTT, WHOSE debut novel Race for the Lost Keystone (Puffin) was published last year, has been appointed the first Writer in Residence at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden...

The Race Of The Lost Keystone by Val Rutt

Young Bond Website

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The official website for the forthcoming Young Bond series of children's books has been launched...

The Headteacher's Novel

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A school meeting prevented me from attending last night's launch party for Steve Voake's debut novel The Dreamwalker's Child. It has been noted that the author is headteacher of a primary school and "in order to find the time to write the book, he used to get up at 3am".
Not that this is going to prevent Voake being asked the question, "How did you find the time?" Somehow it seems that those following occupations other than teaching - lawyers, doctors, MPs - are allowed to write books in their free time, but teachers, of course, are not supposed to have any free time, not if they're doing their job properly. I sometimes suspect some such angle of thought lies behind the selfsame question when it is addressed to me, apropos this website.
So I applaud Voake for demonstrating that a headteacher can have a creative life beyond the school gates. I would love to have met up with him last night and hope that he's busy with another book.
The Dreamwalker's Child is a refreshingly 'young' fantasy in which characters climb into the heads of insects and fly them as if they were fighter jets. There is a baddy out to destroy the human race. A young hero thrust into the role of saviour, and a feisty female accomplice. It's refreshingly straightforward; strongest in the action scenes; and weakest in some of the long conversations between Sam and Skipper that aim to give the book a patina of environmental concern.

Pullman On Grammar

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Common sense has much to learn from moonshine

Phlip Pullman on the teaching of grammar, from last Saturday's Guardian - quite how I failed to blog this at the time, I ... ...

Frog Creator Dies

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Gulf Daily News

Dutch children's book author and illustrator Max Velthuijs [last year's Hans Christian Andersen medal winner], whose books about Kikker (Frog) won him international acclaim, died on Tuesday aged 81, his family announced yesterday. Velthuijs, who initially worked in advertising, started writing children's books in 1962. In 1989 he broke through internationally with his book Frog in Love.

Andersen Press information page
Guardian Profile


Los Angeles Times

(by Nick Tucker)

New York Times

Morpurgo & War

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icWales - Stories of war suffering must be read to the children of today

TODAY, as we commemorate the Holocaust, the Children's Laureate underlines the need to read children stories - lest we forget.

Last night Michael Morpurgo, acclaimed children's author, gave a talk at a Welsh school and told children, parents and teachers, why the legacy of war has dominated his writing... ...

Salford Winner

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Managing Information News

Author Michael Morpurgo has landed the Salford Children's Book Award ?1000 prize for his novel Private Peaceful.

Sussex Award

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Eastbourne Today: News, Sport, Jobs, Property, Cars, Entertainments & More

A TEACHER and a school librarian have pioneered a Sussex-based children's book award where literature is assessed by young readers themselves, not a panel of adult judges.

The presentation took place about 10 days ago, but this is the first online mention I've come across.

Pen and paper - how to put your child on the write road

A bestselling children's author aims to foster the talent of the future THE FIRST NOVEL SET is the most elaborate item in a range of stationery endorsed by the novelist Jacqueline Wilson, who enjoys god-like status among the under-10s. Her following has been expanding quietly for years, culminating in her novel Best Friends, on which the range is based...

Krazee Robin Williams

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Indo-Asian News Service -> Britain-Cinema-Robin -> Robin Williams to play 'Krazees' dad

"Mrs Doubtfire" star Robin Williams will play a stressed-out shrink in a fantasy comedy based on author Sam Swope's popular children's book The Krazees.

Williams will play a father who cannot cope with his daughter Iggie's puberty. He will also voice some of the computer-animated creatures...

Sean Wright - writer and illustrator

Sean Wright has announced the starting time for the Tsuname eBay Auction Appeal co-ordinated by Crowswing Books. The wblink takes you to a page which logs the development of the appeal from its launch on December 30th and lists donated copies.

The auctions will begin at 7PM Thursday 27th January on a 10 day listing, appearing every 15 minutes. So far we have six lots of up to 9 books per lot. But more books are coming in daily, so more lots will appear. Look out for Crowswing Book Aid Tsunami Appeal when searching for lots.

Young Adults Not Reading

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Why Johnny Won't Read (washingtonpost.com)

Contentious article about a slide (both in quantity and quality) in reading amongst Young Adults during the past decade:

When the National Endowment for the Arts last summer released "Reading at Risk: a Survey of Literary Reading in America," journalists and commentators were quick to seize on the findings as a troubling index of the state of literary culture. The survey showed a serious decline in both literary reading and book reading in general by adults of all ages, races, incomes, education levels and regions. But in all the discussion, one of the more worrisome trends went largely unnoticed. From 1992 to 2002, the gender gap in reading by young adults widened considerably. In overall book reading, young women slipped from 63 percent to 59 percent, while young men plummeted from 55 percent to 43 percent.

Recommended, but be prepared to bristle

Potter Movie Update

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Update on Beatrix Potter Movie

The Monsters&Critics website has backtracked on its earlier report that Cate Blanchett was lined up for the proposed movie about Beatrix Potter:

With regards to casting we had reported Cate Blanchett had been cast but Phoenix told M&C today they could "neither confirm or deny" this.

David Kirschner, Mike Medavoy and Corey Sienega are producing with Bruce Beresford set to direct via David Kirschner Productions.

With regards to casting we had reported Cate Blanchett had been cast but Phoenix told M&C today they could "neither confirm or deny" this.
David Kirschner, Mike Medavoy and Corey Sienega are producing with Bruce Beresford set to direct via David Kirschner Productions.

Peter Neumeyer Award Win

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SDSUniverse | Peter Neumeyer Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Neumeyer has written hundreds of essays on children's authors and works. He may be best known for "The Annotated Charlotte's Web," in which his painstaking presentation of details is matched by a goodwill and amused outlook that resembles that of E. B. White, the book's author.

Donald Has a Difficulty - one of several 'Donald' book written in collaboration with the illustrator Edward Gorey.

Edinburgh Evening News - Education - JK Rowling in ?20,000 donation to book centre

MILLIONAIRE author JK Rowling has donated ?20,000 to help create a centre in Edinburgh which will promote children?s literature.

The writer, who is said to be passionate about encouraging youngsters to read, has given the cash to help get the Scottish Centre for the Children?s Book off the ground...

Marsh Coverage

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Forget the cheesemakers, blessed are translators - The Herald

More coverage of the Marsh Award, from Scotland's HERALD, in a piece by Rosemary Goring:

Last week it was announced that Anna Paterson, a Swedish medic turned translator who has lived in Scotland for many years, had been shortlisted for a prestigious prize: the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation. This column went to press before the winner was announced, but perhaps more important than whether or not Paterson carried off the prize is the fact that translation of children's books is being recognised as a serious literary realm...


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Golem by Elvire Murail, Lorris Murail, Marie-Aude Murail

Alteration to Mail List message

I should amend the following:

PROMOTION OF THE WEEK goes to i) Walker Books for commissioning this cinema-style Flash-promotion for the GOLEM series (see Sarah Adams above, in the Marsh Award entry) http://www.golem2005.co.uk/golem.htm

Closer inspection reveals that the Flash promotion was first filed last summer, as part of the dedicated GOLEM website, and is therefore probably quite independent of Walker Books.

Sarah Adams, winner of the Marsh Award, is also translator of the GOLEM series, and is the subject of a feature article in the current issue of the Times Educational Supplement (FRIDAY section p15), :

Shan Movie News

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Movie deal news!!!!! - www.ezboard.com

Darren Shan has announced, on his Official Message Board, exciting news abour a Shan Saga movie deal:

I didn`t want to publish this until every last bit of the deal had been finalised, but news has leaked and spread like wildfire via the internet, so ... I can exclusively (well, not quite!) reveal that the movie rights to The Saga of Darren Shan have been bought by Universal!! They also have a top-notch production team attached (headed by Lauren Shuler Donner - responsible for the X-Men movies) and an Oscar-winning director (Brian Helgeland - the writer of L.A. Confidential and Mystic River)... ...

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week

Siberia by Ann Hallam

Perceptive about greed and jealousy in an environment where everyone has too little, Halam?s novel reminds us that hope and love survive, while the heroine?s tender relationship with creatures and her indomitable mother are the core of the adventure and give it its humanity and power. NICOLETTE JONES

The Independent Online Edition > Enjoyment

Charlie Sheppard, a commissioning editor for children's books at Random House, picks up the story. "I sat opposite [28-year-old Dean Carter] at the office Christmas party, and realised who he was," she says. "He's painfully shy and must just come alive when he writes. And that's what editors look for. I said, 'You must be a writer; you obviously feel the need to play with words,' and I asked him to write something for me."


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The children's and YA winners in Australia's AUREALIS Awards are as follows:

YA novel: Scott Westerfeld, Midnighters (Harper Eos)

YA short: Margo Lanagan, Singing My Sister Down (Black Juice, Allen & Unwin)

Childrens long: Colin Thompson, How To Live Forever (Random)

Childrens short: Gary Crew & Stephen Woolman, Beneath the Surface (Hodder Headline)

Margo Lanagan is also a winner of the inaugural GOLDEN AUREALIS Award for short fiction, a 'best of the best award', taken from the winners of the five divisions within the Aurealis Awards for excellence in Australian science fiction.

Full details on the AUREALIS website...

Advance Notice

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FICTION FOR CHILDREN COMES OF AGE - a one-day conference at Homerton's Faculty of Education, Hills Road, Cambridge
09:00-17:30, Saturday 23rd April
Registration fee: ?75* (student concessions ?35)
Julia Eccleshare
Geoff Fox
Nikki Gamble
Peter Hunt
Jan Mark
Philippa Pearce
Kim Reynolds
Margaret Meek Spencer
Nicholas Tucker
Victor Watson
Tel 01223 767600 for application form

N.B. The full registration fee includes a signed paperback copy of The Coming of Age in Children's Literature by Margaret Meek and Victor Watson

The Gruffalo Song

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Highbury and Islington Express

MONKEY puzzles, hairy spiders and musical Gruffalos will all be on offer at four special singalongs at the Pleasance theatre this weekend.

Children's author and songwriter Julia Donaldson is launching The Gruffalo Song and Other Songs CD and book with a show at the venue in Carpenter's Mews.

l Sing Along to the Gruffalo Song and Other Songs with Julia Donaldson is on at the Pleasance theatre, Carpenters Mews. North Road at 1.30 and 4pm today and Sunday. Tickets are ?7.50 or ?26 for a family of 4 - go to www.pleasancetheatre.co.uk, or call 020-7609 1800.

Booktrust Expansion

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Guardian Unlimited Books | News | Booktrust expands 'Books for Babies'

Booktrust, the charity responsible for a raft of national reading programmes and literary prizes, including the National Children's Book Week, the Children's Laureate, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Nestle Smarties Book Prize, [yesterday] outlined its intention to expand its Bookstart 'Books for Babies' scheme over the coming year.

Time & Place

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: The Whispering Road by Livi Michael

Adele Geras, reviewing The Whispering Road by Livi Michael, especially appreciates the novel's description of Manchester in the 1830s:

Manchester nowadays looks and feels like a European city. I've lived there since 1967 and we have outdoor caf?s in the summer, Harvey Nicks and Selfridges, the Curry Mile, the best Chinese restaurants. One of the best things about Michael's novel is the picture she paints of Manchester in the 1830s: dirty, smoky, busy manufacturing for a world market while the poor lived crowded into filthy cellars. It's fascinating to register the differences. Deansgate, where it was not uncommon to find hundreds living in one building, is now home to Waterstone's and Daisy and Tom. The Portico, a library in the 1830s, is a library to this day.

Puffin Announcement

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For the past two years Matthew Skelton has been living out of a suitcase in a borrowed room, surviving on ?12 a week whilst writing his debut novel, Endymion Spring. Just before Christmas 04 a furious bidding war began between five of the UK?s leading children?s publishers to acquire the rights to his debut novel which was plucked from the slush pile of an Oxford agent for its outstanding originality of style and content. Puffin?s Fiction Publisher, Rebecca McNally, finally clinched the deal, offering Matthew Skelton a life-changing six-figure advance and acquiring world English language rights from Catherine Clarke of Felicity Bryan... cont.

Marsh Award

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The biannual Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation (administered by the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature at Roehampton, sponsored by the Marsh Christian Trust and subsidised by the Arts Council) was presented last night to Sarah Adams for her translation of Eye Of The Wolf by Daniel Pennac.

The award was presented by Aidan Chambers, who chose as his focus for his presentation speech the work of William Tyndale, translator of the Bible. Although the number of books submitted for the award is increasing every two years, Chambers argued the process of bringing interntational literature to young UK readers was too piecemeal, and he urged a major publisher to seize the initiative and publish a minimum of five books in translation per year, each produced in a distinctive and consisstent jacket design. Such a publishing programme would take five years to embed itself, he predicted.

Aidan Chambers, ACHUKA learnt last night, has recently delivered his first novel in five years to Random House.

Ridley Scott Film Deal

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Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

LONDON: In one of the largest book-to-film deals in Hollywood during the past six months, Orion Children?s Books today announces that film rights to the best-selling Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver have been sold to renowned film director and producer Ridley Scott.

Set 6000 years ago, in a world of dark enchantment, menace and superstition, these are stories of 12-year old Torak and his wolf companion as they battle great evil to save their world. WOLF BROTHER, the first book in the series, sold over 100,000 copies in hardback in the UK within weeks of its launch in September 2004. The paperback will be published by Orion Children?s Books in June 2005, and book two, SPIRIT WALKER, will be published in September 2005. Rights have been sold to more than 30 territories around the world.

Ridley Scott said, "Wolf Brother is an enchanting book. Michelle has created a world that we have not seen before in any previous film. We are thrilled to be working with Michelle on this project.?

CHRONICLES OF ANCIENT DARKNESS will be produced by Ridley Scott and Erin Upson for Scott Free, whose most recent critically acclaimed production is MAN ON FIRE directed by Tony Scott, starring Denzel Washington. Scott Free currently has four films in post production; KINGDOM OF HEAVEN directed by Ridley Scott, starring Orlando Bloom, IN HER SHOES directed by Curtis Hanson, starring Cameron Diaz, TRISTAN AND ISOLDE directed by Kevin Reynolds, starring James Franco, and DOMINO directed by Tony Scott, starring Keira Knightley.

Ridley Scott adds his voice to a growing number of A-list celebrities who have been spellbound by WOLF BROTHER?s magic. Sir Ian McKellen, known to millions as Gandalf in ?Lord of the Rings?, recently recorded the WOLF BROTHER audio book and said, ?Like other great children's books which also entrance adults, Wolf Brother conjures up an utterly believable, yet original world where the story grips you to the very last page.?

Michelle Paver is represented by Peter Cox?s newly-launched Redhammer agency. Film rights were acquired by Rodney Ferrell at Fox 2000 for Scott Free under their overall deal with the studio. Fox 2000 is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.

Weetzie Winner

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ALA | Margaret A. Edwards Award

An author still under-appreciated in the UK was amongst those honoured alongside the Newbery and Caldecott medal winners:

Lanky Lizards! Francesca Lia Block is the slinkster-cool recipient of the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her outstanding contributions to young adult readers. The award was announced Monday, January 17, during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Boston. The Edwards Award recognizes Block's ground-breaking Weetzie Bat books, which enable teens to understand the world in which they live and their relationships with others and society.

Carpenter - NYT Obit.

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HarperCollins Acquisition

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HarperCollinsChildren?s Books


by Laura Ruby

Gillie Russell, publishing director at HarperCollins Children?s Books has acquired The Wall and the Wing, a wildly imaginative fantasy adventure about an orphan girl who can make herself invisible - all set in a bizarre, Dahl-esque Manhattan.


Aquamarine Star

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Sara Paxton Joins 'Aquamarine' Cast

Sara Paxton [star of Darcy's Wild Life and Greetings From Tuxon] has signed on to star as the lead in 20th Century Fox's comedy Aquamarine, says the Hollywood Reporter.

The project, helmed by Elizabeth Allen, is based on an Alice Hoffman children's book...

Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman

Julia Roberts To Voice Charlotte

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Roberts, Cleese and Winfrey Among Voice Cast for Charlotte's Web

Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, Cedric The Entertainer, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates, Thomas Haden Church and Andre Benjamin have joined the voice cast in the upcoming live-action/photo real CG animated feature adaptation of E.B. White's Charlotte's Web for producer Jordan Kerner and his Kerner Entertainment Banner... ...

Hole In My Life

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Daughter On Dad's Book

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CBBC Newsround | Press Pack Reports | I'm the inspiration for a character in a book

Steve Voake's daughter talks about being the inspiration for one of the main characters in her father's first novel, The Dreamwalker's Child

Skipper is my favourite character and I was amazed when my Dad told me that I was the inspiration for her. I suppose she's a bit like me because we've both got blonde hair and blue eyes.

I was also always doing handstands and cartwheels when I was younger, bouncing off trampolines and stuff - although I'm not as brave as Skipper!

What I like best about Skipper is that she is just so optimistic and nothing ever seems to get her down.


Blue Badge For Madonna

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Madonna awarded Blue Peter badge

Pop star Madonna has been given a coveted Blue Peter badge by the long running BBC children's TV show. Presenter Matt Barker interviewed the singer about her fourth children's book The Adventures of Adbi.

The interview will be shown on digital channel CBBC on Tuesday and on BBC One on Wednesday... ...

And more Madonna news here:

Madonna has persuaded Britney Spears to appear in the animated film version of her children's book "The English Roses," voicing the story's heroine Binah says M&C Movies. She has also managed to secure the vocal skills of David Bowie and rapper Snoop Dogg for the big-budget movie, whilst she will voice the Fairy Godmother...


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ALA | 2005 Media Award Winners

The winners:

Newbery Medal

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

Author website - www.kira-kira.us

Newbery Honor Books
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman

Caldecott Medal

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes


Caldecott Honor Books
The Red Book by Barbara Lehman
Coming on Home Soon illustrated by E.B. Lewis, written by Jacqueline Woodson
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems

Printz Winner

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ALA | Michael L. Printz Award

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff has been awarded the Michael L. Printz Award.

I can't bring myself to comment. Not quite true. I wrote several lines of comment, then deleted them ;-)

Children's Books Oscars

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ALA | Literary & Related Awards

It's Oscars day, for children's books in America (although UK titles are eligible for the Michael Printz YA Award).

The 2005 ALSC Media Awards, including the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, will be announced on Monday, January 17, 2005, at a press conference from 8:15-9:15 a.m. (Eastern Time) during the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The winners will be posted on the ALSC Web site as soon as possible after the press conference (approximately 10:30 a.m. Eastern time). Visit the ALSC home page at www.ala.org/alsc to locate the link to the winners list under "Breaking News." A press release with all the information will also be available on the ALA Web site at www.ala.org.

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week

The Dreamwalker's Child by Steve Voake

This debut novel, by a primary school headmaster, proves that it helps to know your audience. Voake?s inventive adventure has a neatly constructed plot and brave, funny child protagonists called Sam and Skipper. It has what it takes to stop kids yawning and mucking about at the back... NICOLETTE JONES

Icarus Girl

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Telegraph | Arts

Helen Oyeyemi, one of the thirteen authors in John McLay's young adult story collection Thirteen, which was launched last Wednesday, has also had her first novel, The Icarus Girl, published on Bloomsbury's adult list. She was interviewed by Helen Brown in the Telegraph a week ago.

Little Big Things

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A Little, Big success for author Chris

THE death of Chris Mawson's mother-in-law unlocked his talents as a children's author as he faced some difficult questions... ...

The Little, Big Things In Life by Chris Mawson

Quietly Rejected

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Jane Yolen, in her online journal entry for January 15th, reflects on changes to the children's books market:

As to OWL MOON, when I first sent it around, in 1984-5, five editors turned it down as being too quiet, too gentle. The sixth editor, Patricia Gauch, bought it as her first book at Philomel. She was old school, as am I. The rest is history. But could that book (or would that book) be bought today and published successfully? I doubt it. I have much bouncier books being turned back as too quiet. I think if I sent it around now, I would pile up even more rejections. And if I were lucky, maybe a small house might take it on. But the houses that originally turned it down--like Viking and Harcourt--would still turn it down today. As would their big sisters. In a heartbeat.

Inspired By The River

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semissourian.com: Article

The Mississippi River region of Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois have been an inspiration to award-winning author Richard Peck over the years... ... "There's a debt I owe to the Midwest, to Mark Twain and the great river that has nurtured my writing."

The River Between Us by Richard Peck will be published by Puffin in April 2005. This link is to the American edition.

Well Worth The Effort

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Guardian Unlimited Books | By genre | Review: The Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill

Philip Ardagh finds Stuart Hill's The Cry Of The Icemark 'fantastic fun':

"I find it difficult to take much interest in a man whose father was a dragon," said Dante Gabriel Rossetti by way of an apology for not appreciating the epic poem Sigurd the Volsung... and I know how he felt. Much fantasy writing remains a closed book to me, so I picked up the near-500-page The Cry of the Icemark with some trepidation. I'm delighted to report, however, that it was well worth the muscle strain.

Amanda Craig liked it too. Read her Times review, which also praises The City Of Ember by Jeanne Du Prau:

a thrilling novel, funny, sympathetic and full of action, precisely the kind that pupils of 11+ would love to study. Written in clear, direct prose, it asks moral questions: what if the world as we know it came to an end, and only a few could survive? Who would be chosen? What kind of society would we create, and how?

New Award

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New York City - AP Entertainment

A division of the American Library Association has created a new award for children's books, to be named after the late Dr. Seuss. The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for outstanding children's literature will begin next year, the Association for Library Service to Children announced Friday...

Farmyard Stamps

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Farmyard Favourites To Feature On New Stamp Collection (from Wandsworth Guardian)

A pair of working dray horses from Young's brewery took time off from their deliveries to help launch the Royal Mail's farm animal stamp collection. Created by award-winning children's author and illustrator Chris Wormell, the stamps feature bright and colourful designs of farmyard favourites, including horses, sheep, pigs and geese... ...

The set of 10 stamps was issued on January 11th.


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USATODAY.com - A cart full of buzz for 'Winn-Dixie'

The drumbeat is starting for the movie Because of Winn-Dixie. It arrives Feb. 18 [in US] and is based on the 2001 Newbery Honor-winning children's book by Kate Di-Camillo... ...

Movie Tie-In Edition

Wolf Plaque

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left to right: Michelle Paver Fiona Martin, Wayne Winstone, Claudia Mody and Fiona Nobel

Earlier this week, Michelle Paver presented a plaque to Ottakar?s commemorating the fact that they had sold 10,000 copies of WOLF BROTHER by December 2004 (although by the time of the presentation this had risen by a further 2500 copies). The plaque was received by Wayne Winstone, Ottakar?s Head Office Manager, who said: ?One of the most satisfying things in this trade is to promote a book with great commercial potential that is also a very good read. It gives me great pleasure to say WOLF BROTHER was both those things?.

The author said: ?Ottakar?s got behind WOLF BROTHER right from the start, and have given it the most fantastic support ever since. It?s just really nice to be able to say thank you?.

Spirit Walker, the sequel to Wolf Brother, is published in September.


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Orchard Launch Party

The launch party for Thirteen, a collection of short stories about being on the brink of young adulthood, edited by John McLay, was launched at Soho House last night.

The thirteen authors included in the collection are: Paul Bailey, Kevin Brooks, Eoin Colfer, Mary Hooper, Margaret Mahy, Karen McCombie, John McLay, Helen Oyeyemi, Bali Rai, Marcus Sedgwick, Eleanor Updale, Jean Ure and Kay Woodward. Ten of the thirteen authors were present at the launch.

View the full picture gallery and see if you can spot which three were missing.

Read A Little Louder

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Opinion Page

READ A LITTLE LOUDER is the latest Opinion Column from Peni Griffin and is, as usual, full of thought-provoking comment:

the reluctance of writers to toot their own horns is not just a dysfunction... ... We must find ways to make ourselves into semi-public figures, despite the naturally isolating nature of our business...

You can comment on this article by clicking the Comments link below, or by contributing to the discussion thread on ACHUKACHAT.

Lindsey Liked

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EducationGuardian.co.uk | eG weekly | Critics' choice

Lindsey Fraser liked The Cup Of The World by John Dickinson in yesterday's Guardian:

Dickinson's novel is structurally and emotionally complex, the kind of book that nags to be reread and whose layered narrative reveals even more to the mature reader.

Ottakars Winner

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Guardian Unlimited Books | News | First-time author wins Ottakar's inaugural Children's Book Prize

Stuart Hill, a former car upholsterer turned bookseller turned writer, ... said he was "thrilled" to be the first ever winner of the Ottakar's Children's Book Prize for his novel, The Cry of the Icemark... ...

Ironically, Hill works for Waterstones.

Hard Man

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Unlikely hard man of children's fiction

Very useful biographical feature (by the ubiquitous Amanda Craig) on Eoin Colfer, tucked away in a Who's Who supplement in yesterday's Times.

EOIN COLFER?s meteoric rise in the world of children?s fiction since the publication of the first best-selling Artemis Fowl adventure in 2001 surprises few who have read his work. The former primary school teacher from Wexford, Ireland combines high-concept ideas that are a staple of Hollywood thrillers with immense charm, talent and wit.

Now 39... ...

Highly recommended

Straydog Author

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Author Koja to discuss origins of 'Straydog'

Author Kathe Koja started writing in the horror and science-fiction genres, but now she's making a name for herself as a leading young-adult author... ...

Straydog by Kathe Koja

Hans Christian Andersen

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The little prince

Hans Christian Andersen won literary immortality with his stories of an outcast boy made good. But were his timeless fairytales thinly veiled parables of his own life as the illegitimate son of a future king? Neil Philip investigates... ...


Feeling Like A Princess

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U-Press Telegram - Books

Meg Cabot feature...

"I definitely feel like a princess," admits Cabot, who recently purchased a second home in Key West, Fla. "At the same time, the work hasn't decreased. I'm working all the time. It's still pretty crazy."... ...

Willo Davis Roberts

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HeraldNet: Author leaves behind a legacy of children's books

An article about US author Willo Davis Roberts, who died last November:

Her Edgar Awards were in the young adult category in 1997 for "Twisted Summer," in 1995 for "The Absolutely True Story: How I Visited Yellowstone Park With the Terrible Rubes," and in 1989 for "Megan's Island."

"Undercurrents," a recent book, has been nominated for a 2004-2005 Mark Twain Award... ...

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Bad, Bad Darlings by Sam Llewellyn

What makes these stories so enjoyable is that they are anarchic in their attitudes and unexpected in their twists and turns, yet are written with careful skill and control. Every mad mannerism and wild notion is precisely intended. NICOLETTE JONES

Gulliver's Disproportions

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: Jonathan Swift's Gulliver by Martin Jenkins

John Mullan admires Jonathan Swift's Gulliver
retold by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Chris Riddell

From Hogarth to Arthur Rackham, great illustrators have been drawn to the satire by its disproportions. Not only children's books, but also illustrated Victorian versions for adults, would try, however, to make Gulliver's ordeals look heroic. Here Gulliver is as ridiculous as the beings he encounters. Riddell finds a certain idiom for each land... ...

Livi Michael Feature

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INDEPENDENT feature on adult and children's writer, Livi Michael


The Whispering Road (Puffin, ?9.99), [Livi Michael's] latest book for children, follows a brother and sister, Joe and Annie, as they escape the 1830s workhouse only to find worse threats are waiting for them in the unforgiving world outside.

Humphrey Carpenter Obit.

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Humphrey Carpenter - TIMES Obit.

TIMES obituary - Humphrey Carpenter

with Prichard he produced The Oxford Companion to Children?s Literature (1984), and his study of 19th-century children?s books, Secret Gardens (1985), is a modern classic. His own series of Mr Majeika books became a popular children?s TV series with Stanley Baxter, and led to a quixotic and unforgettable exercise in 1992.


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Publishing News - News Page

Publishing News reports:

Macmillan Children's Books is launching an interactive poster campaign for Teen Idol, the new Meg Cabot title. Running from 3-16 January, this innovative promotion, which was planned by Total Media, uses ?mobile marketing technology" devised by Hypertag to get the market - in this case 10-14 year olds - to interact with outdoor advertising using their mobile phones.

Whitbread Winner

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Geraldine McCaughrean scooped a record-breaking third children's book award with Not the End of the World...

McCaughrean, who has written nearly 140 books, said it was good to prove she had not been a flash in the pan with her first Whitbread win in 1987. This book, for teenagers, was one of her most serious and had a "horrible topicality" in its story of Noah and vast floods.

But she was confident she would not prove the overall victor. "Two children's books have won in the last three years [The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon last year and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman in 2001] and there won't be a third."

Mr Majeika Creator Dies

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BBC NEWS | UK | England | Oxfordshire | Mr Majeika creator dies at home

Humphrey Carpenter - biographer, broadcaster and children's author - has died suddenly at home...

Guardian Obituary

Shanville Monthly

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Darren Shan Monthly 54

Darren Shan's latest online monthly newsletter...

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Candy by Kevin Brooks

This is a fine and tender portrait of (unconsummated) teenage passion, and a nail-biting adventure. It would be a great shame if teenage boys, in whose voice the story is told, were deterred by the girl?s name in the title. NICOLETTE JONES

I don't think Jones's concerns about the title are likely to affect male readership of the book. Quite the reverse really. It's not as if it's called 'Jackie' or 'Sindy'. Candy is one of those names that has alluring connotations for the male psyche, and it's never put off teenage boys discovering brief amusement and titillation in Terry Southern's humourously graphic novel of the same name...

Classic Reissues

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Times Online - Books

Amanda Craig praises those who manage to keep old favourites in print, and admires even more those who bring forgotten books back into the fold:

The granddaughter of Lucy M. Boston, whose ravishing and thrilling Green Knowe series about a small boy and his grandmother living in a haunted house, has just republished her work (under the Oldknow Books imprint at ?4.99 each), but few enjoy such a dedicated fan base. Not every reprint is going to appeal, of course. Philip Pullman has long cited The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay as his favourite ? ?the funniest children?s book ever written?. It has just been reissued by The New York Review Children?s Collection (?10) and, alas, did not raise a single smile in my own family.

Two new champions of forgotten children?s fiction who seem to get it right are Jane Nissen and Young Spitfire. If you?re searching for something timelessly enchanting to give a child of 8 to 12, their lists are well worth checking out... ...

Easy Does It

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Easy Does It

Julie Burchill defends the ease with which she wrote her first YA novel, Sugar Rush:

When my teen epic Sugar Rush (soon to be a major Channel 4 smut-fest) was published last year, there was a great deal of pointing and tutting over the fact that I was quite open about having written it in the space of ten scattered afternoons after what is euphemistically known as a 'good lunch'. But what's wrong with that? Why shouldn't work be easy?

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